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

Cincinnati - LP: M. Latos 4 FINAL
Baltimore - WP: B. Norris 5
Boston - WP: J. Kelly 9 FINAL
NY Yankees - LP: S. Greene 4
Detroit - WP: P. Coke 4 FINAL
Cleveland - LP: C. Allen 2
NY Mets - WP: J. Niese 8 FINAL
Miami - LP: B. Penny 6
Philadelphia - WP: K. Kendrick 4 FINAL
Atlanta - LP: M. Minor 0
Toronto - WP: R. Dickey 8 FINAL
Tampa Bay - LP: J. Hellickson 2
Milwaukee - LP: Y. Gallardo 1 FINAL
Chicago Cubs - WP: J. Arrieta 7
LA Angels - LP: C. Wilson 3 FINAL
Houston - WP: B. Peacock 8
Chicago WSox - WP: D. Webb 6 FINAL
Minnesota - LP: L. Oliveros 3
Texas - LP: M. Kirkman 1 FINAL
Kansas City - WP: J. Frasor 2
Pittsburgh - LP: J. Locke 4 FINAL
St. Louis - WP: A. Wainwright 6
San Francisco - WP: G. Kontos 12 FINAL
Colorado - LP: M. Belisle 7
Seattle - WP: J. Paxton 6 FINAL
Oakland - LP: S. Gray 5
Washington - LP: D. Fister 1 FINAL
Los Angeles - WP: C. Kershaw 4
Arizona - LP: B. Ziegler 1 FINAL
San Diego - WP: K. Quackenbush 2
Green Bay 9/4/14 7:30 PM
Seattle
Buffalo 9/7/14 12:00 PM
Chicago
New Orleans 9/7/14 12:00 PM
Atlanta
Minnesota 9/7/14 12:00 PM
St. Louis
Cleveland 9/7/14 12:00 PM
Pittsburgh
Jacksonville 9/7/14 12:00 PM
Philadelphia
Oakland 9/7/14 12:00 PM
NY Jets
Cincinnati 9/7/14 12:00 PM
Baltimore
Washington 9/7/14 12:00 PM
Houston
Tennessee 9/7/14 12:00 PM
Kansas City
New England 9/7/14 12:00 PM
Miami
Carolina 9/7/14 3:25 PM
Tampa Bay
San Francisco 9/7/14 3:25 PM
Dallas
Indianapolis 9/7/14 7:30 PM
Denver
NY Giants 9/8/14 6:10 PM
Detroit
San Diego 9/8/14 9:20 PM
Arizona
Miami-Florida 13 FINAL
(25) Louisville 31
Arizona 9/4/14 7:00 PM
TX-San Antonio
Pittsburgh 9/5/14 6:00 PM
Boston College
Washington St 9/5/14 9:30 PM
Nevada
SMU 9/6/14 11:00 AM
North Texas
Fla Atlantic 9/6/14 11:00 AM
(2) Alabama
Buffalo 9/6/14 11:00 AM
Army
(24) Missouri 9/6/14 11:00 AM
Toledo
Arkansas State 9/6/14 11:00 AM
Tennessee
(7) McNeese State 9/6/14 11:00 AM
(19) Nebraska
Central Mich 9/6/14 11:00 AM
Purdue
Akron 9/6/14 11:00 AM
Penn State
Western Ill 9/6/14 11:00 AM
(18) Wisconsin
(20) Kansas State 9/6/14 11:00 AM
Iowa State
(4) Oklahoma 9/6/14 11:00 AM
Tulsa
Western Ky 9/6/14 11:00 AM
Illinois
SC State 9/6/14 11:30 AM
(23) Clemson
Navy 9/6/14 12:00 PM
Temple
UAB 9/6/14 1:00 PM
Miss State
South Alabama 9/6/14 1:00 PM
Kent State
New Mexico St 9/6/14 1:00 PM
Georgia State
Colorado 9/6/14 2:00 PM
Massachusetts
Fresno State 9/6/14 2:00 PM
Utah
(2) Eastern Wash 9/6/14 2:00 PM
Washington
(14) USC 9/6/14 2:30 PM
(13) Stanford
Ohio U 9/6/14 2:30 PM
Kentucky
Middle Tennessee 9/6/14 2:30 PM
Minnesota
Northern Ill 9/6/14 2:30 PM
Northwestern
Missouri State 9/6/14 2:30 PM
Oklahoma State
Ball State 9/6/14 2:30 PM
Iowa
Maryland 9/6/14 2:30 PM
So Florida
Eastern Mich 9/6/14 3:00 PM
Florida
Georgia Tech 9/6/14 3:00 PM
Tulane
(15) Ole Miss 9/6/14 3:30 PM
Vanderbilt
Old Dominion 9/6/14 5:00 PM
NC State
(7) Michigan State 9/6/14 5:30 PM
(3) Oregon
(17) Arizona State 9/6/14 6:00 PM
New Mexico
Louisiana Tech 9/6/14 6:00 PM
Louisiana
San Jose St 9/6/14 6:00 PM
(5) Auburn
East Carolina 9/6/14 6:00 PM
(21) So Carolina
Duke 9/6/14 6:00 PM
Troy
Idaho 9/6/14 6:00 PM
ULM
(15) Sam Houston St 9/6/14 6:30 PM
(12) LSU
Michigan 9/6/14 6:30 PM
(16) Notre Dame
Lamar 9/6/14 6:30 PM
(9) Texas A&M
Northwestern St 9/6/14 6:30 PM
(10) Baylor
BYU 9/6/14 6:30 PM
Texas
Citadel 9/6/14 6:30 PM
(1) Florida State
San Diego St 9/6/14 7:00 PM
(21) North Carolina
Virginia Tech 9/6/14 7:00 PM
(8) Ohio State
Memphis 9/6/14 9:00 PM
(11) UCLA
Colorado State 9/6/14 9:15 PM
Boise State
Air Force 9/6/14 9:15 PM
Wyoming
Oregon State 9/6/14 9:30 PM
Hawaii
Texas Tech 9/6/14 10:00 PM
Texas-El Paso
Toronto 12 FINAL
Hamilton 13
Edmonton 13 FINAL
Calgary 28
Brt Columbia 9/5/14 6:30 PM
Ottawa
Calgary 9/6/14 6:00 PM
Edmonton
Hamilton 9/7/14 12:00 PM
Montreal
Saskatchewan 9/7/14 3:00 PM
Winnipeg
Minnesota 78 FINAL
Phoenix 96
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