WEATHER: Snow and sleet for two nights and a day. This morning the temp crept above freezing but only as far as 40 degrees, not the high 40's forecasted. Ball bearings of ice rattled in the air like glass shards. Walking up the driveway through them was like climbing a sand dune. This weather script, a 30-40 hour freeze-up after several warm nights, is pitch perfect for extending the season. HOW'S IT RUNNING? Choose your adverb: swimmingly, phenomenally, copiously, amply, abundantly, generously, very well indeed. Or you could say it's running good, real good. You could also say it rivals The Gift Run. In other words, the tanks are close to overflowing; twice as much sap is coming in per hour as the RO can handle. It will run all night.
WHAT TO DO, WHAT TO DO? The crew offered to start boiling now and boil all night, but Chief of Operations plans to let the RO do the night work. When the concentrate tank fills up, he can circulate the concentrate back through the RO. We'll get boiling by 7:00 am and see if we can't break the Nebraska Knoll 454 record of April 5th. It may be tough, since this batch of sap is considerably weaker. It's sugar content is only 1.3%.
BALL VALVE MANIA, A Primer in Five Parts: Day One, contributed by Chief of Operations: Plumbers frequently use valves of many different types to control the flow of liquid in pipes. Sugar makers are to great extent plumbers, and these valves are an indispensable part of their operation. They tend to sprout like mushrooms in modern sugarhouses, and their sheer numbers can be overwhelming. A quick look at our operation revealed 6 in the canning room, 9 in the evaporator room, 18 in the RO room, 28 in the sap sheds, and 85 in the woods. This doesn't count the 10,000 check valve taps in our trees, or the ones I probably missed.