WEATHER: Balmy this morning, chilly this evening. A northwest wind set in and suggested a change of weather. Moody skies. SAP STATUS: No sap in the tanks.
BOILING STATUS: No boiling. Will we boil again? No one knows. One neighbor said years ago, "Sugar season isn't over until the fat lady sings." We haven't heard her yet.
SEVEN DAY NITER PRIMER, Saturday. Larger sugaring operations filter syrup by pumping it through a filter press. First they stir diatomaceous earth into the hot syrup. DE is a white powder of one-celled organisms deposited on ancient ocean floors. It does not dissolve in the syrup but forms a suspension. The DE sticks to paper filters lining a whole rack of square metal waffles and spacers. As the syrup passes through, the DE absorbs the niter. When the filter press is full, the crew takes it apart, replacing the paper filters and dumping the waffle-like cakes of mocha residue in a bucket. Lots of light syrup can be run through the filter press before it must be cleaned, not so with the dark syrup and its slimy niter.
MACRO: Nebraska Valley kids, two boys and a girl, cooking sugar-on-snow on the picnic table in front of the sugarhouse.
MICRO: The sixth-grader spooning bubbly syrup on a bowl of snow to test it.
The high school sophomore smiling as she cuts up pickles.
The third grader rolling up sugar-on-snow on his fork for the fifty-ninth time.