Anderson: Waiting eagerly for sap to flow

  • Article by: DENNIS ANDERSON , Star Tribune
  • Updated: March 15, 2013 - 12:21 AM

It’s a vulnerable time for those who cook syrup, and less expensive to ponder matters near home than to visit a supply store.

hide

Sap being collected in buckets in Quebec in March 2008.

Photo: Yannick Grandmont, Associated Press

CameraStar Tribune photo galleries

Cameraview larger

On Wednesday in the sugar bush, the world appeared a peaceful place. Singing from a nearby treetop, a male cardinal serenaded squirrels that bounded on the crusted snow, while overhead, an eagle carved oblong loops in the cobalt sky. Taking it all in, a great year, it seemed, was in the offing for sap and, ultimately, for syrup.

Not that sap is flowing much just yet. Neither in winter nor quite yet spring, sap gathering often begins on chilled mornings, continues on warm, sunny afternoons, and concludes again in the cold of night.

Finally, when sufficient quantities of sap are stockpiled and the cooker is fired up, swans, ducks and cranes can be spotted aloft, pushing the snow line north, migrating.

Lon Navis is a fan of these times. A neighbor and master sap gatherer, Lon, a retired corporate pilot, stopped over early Wednesday with news that he might need help this year bringing his sap to the fire.

His son, age 30, Lon said, was due home from Los Angeles soon, and the two of them would be quickly off to D.C., not in a G-IV, in which Lon is more accustomed to traveling, but rather in his Prius.

“Apparently it’s important we get to Washington quickly,” Lon said. “My son wants to walk back to Los Angeles, across the country, and if he doesn’t get going in March, he says he could run into trouble come fall in the mountains.”

I considered this a long moment.

Then I said, “Makes my little world seem even more inconsequential than widely believed.”

“But there you have it,” Lon said.

He also said much of his sugar bush work in coming weeks would be relegated to another neighbor, a guy I alternately refer to as John the Welding Artist, or The Dude.

Relatively new to the neighborhood, John the Welding Artist hangs up his acetylene torch for long periods during sapping time. This requires customers of his welding business, which, curiously, he operates under the name Stranger Things Have Happened, to wait until a dozen or more gallons of syrup have been bottled before they receive their steel flowers and other metallurgical handiwork.

“I’ve got news for you, too,” I told Lon. “Big John up and bought a new cooker. It’s in the garage.”

Big John is a sap-gathering partner of mine who on a recent day visited Anderson Maple Syrup supply near Cumberland, Wis. — a daring move, considering he was in the highly fragile emotional state common to sugar-bushers in the pre-sapping season.

“Before he knew it,” I said, “he suffered a purchasing breakdown and coughed up a couple grand for a high-speed cooker.”

“Wood-fired?” Lon asked.

“No other,” I said.

With that, Lon was soon off to the East Coast, while I dispersed to the maple woods to size things up.

One concern was the deep snow. We gather sap using a four-wheeler with a 35-gallon tank strapped to it. If spring arrives early, the downside to this approach is a certain rutting of the landscape. Conversely, in deep snow, like this year’s, our rig might too often get stuck, reducing the collection of sap entirely to footwork — a worrisome possibility.

  • get related content delivered to your inbox

  • manage my email subscriptions

Click here to send us your hunting or fishing photos – and to see what others are showing off from around the region.

ADVERTISEMENT

Oakland - LP: D. Otero 8 FINAL
Kansas City - WP: J. Frasor 9
Minnesota 10/2/14 7:25 PM
Green Bay
Buffalo 10/5/14 12:00 PM
Detroit
Chicago 10/5/14 12:00 PM
Carolina
Cleveland 10/5/14 12:00 PM
Tennessee
St. Louis 10/5/14 12:00 PM
Philadelphia
Atlanta 10/5/14 12:00 PM
NY Giants
Tampa Bay 10/5/14 12:00 PM
New Orleans
Houston 10/5/14 12:00 PM
Dallas
Baltimore 10/5/14 12:00 PM
Indianapolis
Pittsburgh 10/5/14 12:00 PM
Jacksonville
Arizona 10/5/14 3:05 PM
Denver
Kansas City 10/5/14 3:25 PM
San Francisco
NY Jets 10/5/14 3:25 PM
San Diego
Cincinnati 10/5/14 7:30 PM
New England
Seattle 10/6/14 7:30 PM
Washington
NY Islanders 5 FINAL
Boston 3
NY Rangers 2 FINAL
Philadelphia 4
Ottawa 1 FINAL
Winnipeg 2
Carolina 1 FINAL
St. Louis 3
Tampa Bay 5 FINAL
Dallas 1
Colorado 0 FINAL
Calgary 2
Los Angeles 4 FINAL
San Jose 1
Fla Atlantic 10/2/14 6:00 PM
FIU
UCF 10/2/14 6:00 PM
Houston
Arizona 10/2/14 9:30 PM
(2) Oregon
Louisville 10/3/14 6:00 PM
Syracuse
San Diego St 10/3/14 9:00 PM
Fresno State
Utah State 10/3/14 9:15 PM
(18) BYU
(6) Texas A&M 10/4/14 11:00 AM
(12) Miss State
Ball State 10/4/14 11:00 AM
Army
Iowa State 10/4/14 11:00 AM
(21) Oklahoma State
Marshall 10/4/14 11:00 AM
Old Dominion
Southern Miss 10/4/14 11:00 AM
Middle Tennessee
(20) Ohio State 10/4/14 11:00 AM
Maryland
Purdue 10/4/14 11:00 AM
Illinois
Florida 10/4/14 11:00 AM
Tennessee
SMU 10/4/14 11:00 AM
(22) East Carolina
Virginia Tech 10/4/14 11:30 AM
North Carolina
Eastern Mich 10/4/14 1:00 PM
Akron
North Texas 10/4/14 1:30 PM
Indiana
Massachusetts 10/4/14 1:30 PM
Miami-Ohio
Tulsa 10/4/14 2:00 PM
Colorado State
New Mexico 10/4/14 2:30 PM
TX-San Antonio
(3) Alabama 10/4/14 2:30 PM
(11) Ole Miss
(14) Stanford 10/4/14 2:30 PM
(9) Notre Dame
(17) Wisconsin 10/4/14 2:30 PM
Northwestern
Navy 10/4/14 2:30 PM
Air Force
(7) Baylor 10/4/14 2:30 PM
Texas
(4) Oklahoma 10/4/14 2:30 PM
(25) TCU
Wake Forest 10/4/14 2:30 PM
(1) Florida State
NC State 10/4/14 2:30 PM
Clemson
Buffalo 10/4/14 2:30 PM
Bowling Green
Ohio U 10/4/14 2:30 PM
Central Mich
Oregon State 10/4/14 3:00 PM
Colorado
Vanderbilt 10/4/14 3:00 PM
(13) Georgia
Kansas 10/4/14 3:00 PM
West Virginia
Kent State 10/4/14 4:00 PM
Northern Ill
South Alabama 10/4/14 5:00 PM
Appalachian St
Texas-El Paso 10/4/14 6:00 PM
Louisiana Tech
(15) LSU 10/4/14 6:00 PM
(5) Auburn
UAB 10/4/14 6:00 PM
Western Ky
Texas Tech 10/4/14 6:00 PM
(23) Kansas State
Michigan 10/4/14 6:00 PM
Rutgers
Hawaii 10/4/14 6:00 PM
Rice
Toledo 10/4/14 6:00 PM
Western Mich
ULM 10/4/14 6:00 PM
Arkansas State
Georgia State 10/4/14 6:00 PM
Louisiana
Idaho 10/4/14 6:00 PM
Texas State
Memphis 10/4/14 6:00 PM
Cincinnati
Arizona State 10/4/14 6:30 PM
(16) USC
So Carolina 10/4/14 6:30 PM
Kentucky
Pittsburgh 10/4/14 6:30 PM
Virginia
Miami-Florida 10/4/14 6:30 PM
Georgia Tech
(19) Nebraska 10/4/14 7:00 PM
(10) Michigan State
UNLV 10/4/14 7:00 PM
San Jose St
Ga Southern 10/4/14 7:00 PM
New Mexico St
California 10/4/14 9:30 PM
Washington St
Utah 10/4/14 9:30 PM
(8) UCLA
Boise State 10/4/14 9:30 PM
Nevada
Winnipeg 10/3/14 6:00 PM
Ottawa
Calgary 10/3/14 9:00 PM
Saskatchewan
Edmonton 10/4/14 3:00 PM
Toronto
Brt Columbia 10/4/14 6:00 PM
Hamilton
Connect with twitterConnect with facebookConnect with Google+Connect with PinterestConnect with PinterestConnect with RssfeedConnect with email newsletters

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

question of the day

Poll: Should the lake where the albino muskie was caught remain a mystery?

Weekly Question

ADVERTISEMENT

 
Close