March 19

WEATHER: A repeat of yesterday. T-shirt weather. BOILING STATUS: Day 16

SEVEN DAY NITER PRIMER: Friday. Early and mid-season syrup filters nicely through the cones, but the niter in dark syrup clogs them up. The syrup sits in the cones and cools off. You must lift out the cone and pour the cool syrup into a clean cone, then quickly rinse the niter out of the soiled one. Often the dark syrup must be transferred three or four times. Sugarmakers with this old-style filter dread making dark syrup. That slimy niter clogs the felts so darn fast!

NOONTIME VIEWS FROM THE BUSH: LOOKING UP, lacy silver twigs of sugar maples, opposite twigs reaching for the sun in a gesture of praise. LOOKING DOWN, patches of wet corn snow, new lagoons where the snow just melted, or dry crackly beech leaves. LOOKING ACROSS: gas bubbles chugging silently along in the tubing lines, put out by the tree in addition to the sap.

MACRO: It's hot.

MICRO: Smell of the earth for the first time. Moths in the sap tanks.

QUOTES OF THE DAY: "What it boils down to is the bottom line."   "You mean the red line, the top one." [a reference to the hydrometer]