We boiled off another two batches of sap - last Tuesday, and Sunday. It's been too warm here, which is bad for the sap run, but there is potential for some below freezing temps at the end of this week, and hopefully one more batch of sap. The problem is that weather isn't the only factor - as the season progresses and the trees mature, the sap's flavor changes, and eventually gets "buddy" as the trees begin to bloom. Our second and third batches of sap were definitely darker than our first batch, but still probably in the "fancy" grade of syrup. We managed to solve our sugar sand problem in batch #2 by taking our time with the filtering process - repeatedly stopping to wash off the filter. Strangely, though, we repeated the same process for batch #3, and the sugar sand somehow ended up in our bottles again.
Of course, I've kept detailed records of our sap collection and syrup production. Check these numbers:
Boil Date Sap Collected Syrup Produced Ratio
3/7/10 37.5 gallons 1.1 gallons 2.93%
3/16/10 41 gallons 1.1 gallons 2.68%
3/20/10 14 gallons 1/4 gallon 1.79%
Notice how fast the syrup ratio is dropping - that's because the sugar content in the sap is dropping.
Here's a picture of Oscar guarding the sap buckets:
For good measure, here's a bonus picture of Oscar hunting his nemesis: chipmunks