Like everyone else, we are trying to adjust to what some have called "the new normal" in terms of the weather. While 2012 was an unusually early year, 2013 started more closely to the typical start of late February to early March. Unfortunately, at our elevation, we experienced much colder than normal temps. from March 12 to March 24, when it never got out of the high 20's. As a result, we collected zero sap, and lost a major portion of the syrup production season. Temps.
As I write this, it’s a sunny day, but only 28 degrees out here in Charlemont. Because of that, we’ll see no sap run today. However, the weather in February has been absolutely perfect for sugaring, with daytime temps in the low 40s and nighttime ones in the low 20s, and we made about 30% of a normal crop in that month alone. Whether such extremes are due to global climate change or just natural variation is a question, but it is pretty clear, that ideal conditions for sugaring have tended to occur earlier and earlier over the past 100 years.
Sugaring came early in 2010, matching a trend that we have noticed for many years of earlier and earlier sap flow. We were tapped early (by Feb 22), and were able to collect sap from those early runs. It’s fortunate that we did, because the season sort of petered out as we got further and further into March, the normal peak sugaring time. In spite of the odd season, syrup quality was good and we ended up with a decent year.
We were finally forced to put a new roof on The Cottage this summer. The previous roof consisted of three layers of asphalt shingles, and all three were well past their usable life. It was really challenging to strip all that asphalt, and we hope to never do a job of that sort again. The new metal roof should outlive us.
Although we are rarely able to get away from the farm for prolonged periods, we were fortunate to be able to take a trip to Alaska in May. The trip (University business for Bill) saw us flying to Anchorage, and then taking the Denali Star train up to Fairbanks. The train trip took twelve hours, and provided fantastic views out every window.
Julia Horton, Jolene Rickter and Margaret Williams, riding for Blue Heron Farm, completed a great summer of competition at Open Shows and Gymkhanas.
After a snowy winter and a good sugaring season, 2006 took a turn for the worse with the passing of Bill’s Father, Dante, two and a half months into his 96th year. Dad lived with us here, first in our farmhouse, and then at The Maples, the place we built together in 1999-2000. His obituary ran in his home town newspaper, The Providence Journal. Dad really loved the farm, and we will miss him.