Sunday, February 25, 2018

Lighting Of The Fire

Last week, we ceremoniously lit the first wood for our maple evaporator.  

We're excited to start boiling maple sap and it looks like it's going to be a good season (knock on wood!)  The temperatures are going to be perfect for the sap to run over several days. 

LadyBird loves exploring while we tap trees.  Her breed, Viszla, needs a lot of exercise to not get crazy and a day in the woods is perfect for her.  

The sap is running out of the bottom of our lines.  We let the lines run free for a day so the gunk can get washed out - even though the sap will be boiled for many, many hours.  

An almost full tank of sap - a beautiful sight!

Sometimes, you see an arrangement of nature so beautiful it just takes your breath away. 

My bees have sugar patties inside the inner cover of their hives, but the warm weather prompted me to make up a sugar syrup to feed them.  Liquid sugar syrup is more easily usable to the bees.  The bees are flying on warm days and when I checked, I found that their stores of honey are getting low.  To make my sugar solution, I boil four quarts of water, turn it off, pour in four quarts of sugar, then stir to dissolve.  This creates a 1:1 sugar solution for spring feeding.

This year, with the wildly fluctuating temperatures I decided that I didn't want to put a top feeder on the hive because it would create a large space for the bees to heat and they may freeze in the hive.  

I punched tiny holes in the lids of canning jars and I'll put the jars over the hole in the inner cover.  The bees will lick at the tiny holes to get a drop of sugar water.  Always turn the jar over and let the syrup stop running out before you put it on the bees.  You don't want to soak the little girls!  It takes a second for the pressure in the jar to equalize.  

I put an empty hive body over the jars so that we don't start robbing behavior by other bees and any critters waking up from their long winter nap!  Then I put on the top cover.

The bees are enjoying the opportunity to get out and take a "cleansing" (i.e. pooping) flight!

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