Rotten Snow and Widow Makers
Yesterday was such a perfect sunny day and today it is raining. The up side is that the sap was flowing yesterday afternoon and with the day temperatures high enough today, sap will continue to flow. George was sugaring yesterday afternoon and late into the night, he looks pretty dragged out this morning. He will probably be sugaring tonight too.
The warm temperatures give thought to the changing landscape and the annual rotting of snow. For those who are away, rotten snow is the snow that is corrupted by fog, rain, and warm temperatures. This is also the time you see snow fleas, an uninvited bit of protein you should avoid in your Sugar on Snow.
Besides making good clean snow harder to find for treats if you are doing an open house, rotten snow makes footing in the woods or on the path to the sugar house a bit unstable increasing the risk for slips and falls. If you are having an open house and bringing in guests to see your operation, signs that say “watch your step” or “caution” will remind you and your guests to slow down. Having these signs also conveys trust to your potential market. If the sugar maker cares to take time to tell me to use caution, I am more likely to buy syrup. And if the sugar maker is friendly and makes the time to tell me where to stand the sugar house, out-of-the-way of danger, but still in a place where I can see, then I will buy his syrup.
And rotten snow means that sugar makers are generally looking down to watch their footing, while all along the danger can be high above. This winter we had a number of high wind storms and up there in the trees are dead limbs and broken branches that can come down and kill you with a bonk to the head, hence the name Widow Maker. Any time you are going out to check your lines, you should also be looking up into the trees.
I will be going up to a sugar house tomorrow. The weather is planning to be a bit dryer and maybe the sun will come back out. I am a big fan of the hotdog and donut done up in maple. The office has had quite a discussion about the correctness of certain foods put into the pan, so the best thing is to always check first. But enjoy, this is such a great time of year.