Maple syrup and elderberries

This was an up-and-down week, weather-wise. Some warmer and sunny days, some cold and icy. But we were able to collect and for 2 days boiled enough sap to get 1.75 gallons (we sampled the sap to be about 2%, which, according to the “86 Rule” of thumb means 86/2=43 gallons of sap per gallon of maple syrup. Tasted very good. We’ll be boiling again this week, after a nice day yesterday. Temps need to be below freezing at night, and above freezing during the day. Sunny days tend to warm up the trees more, so sap flows more. It’s sunny this morning, and will be above freezing by noon, so we’ll get some good flow today. We had a pancake supper last week to celebrate the first harvest.

Taking the wee dog for a late morning farm walkabout. The Cuyahoga is high right now! Despite the cold, loved the sun.

We were planning to continue Jan’s marketing session, but felt the need to nail down our position on elderberries, since sticks for planting are starting to become scarce. We decided to set aside the lower meadow – 1/4 acre or so – for this, and I ordered nearly 600 elderberry cuttings. That’s how they are propagated – you take a 6-8″ section of last year’s canes while they’re dormant (early spring, like… now) that has at least 2 nodes on it, and basically, just stick ’em in the prepared ground. How simple is that? They’re vigorous growers, and while it might be better to coddle them a while (leave in water until the first roots appear), that makes planting a large field of them very time-consuming, since the roots are so fragile. We won’t get 100% germination from these cuttings, but close enough to it that we’ll be happy.  And we can take cuttings from our existing plants in subsequent years, so this is a one-time purchase. Love that about elderberries.

That’s been the talk around our table this week – maple syrup and elderberries. Sounds like a good combination.

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