Last week I tapped my one maple tree, and then was very pleased that the weather seemed perfect for syruping – below freezing at night, and above during the day. But in spite of that, the sap isn’t flowing yet. I put on my snowshoes and went out again today after work to check on things.

Ready for action

Ready for action


Still no sap. Penny knew right where I was headed though, so she led the way. Not that she’s interested in sap – she was looking for sticks for me to throw for her:
Found one!

Found one!


We had some snow Sunday. I knew we were supposed to get a couple of inches, and I had to drive to Maine to pick up our February citrus shipment. I was surprised to find five inches in the driveway when I left the house.

Then today we had freezing rain followed by regular rain, so the snow is pretty wet.

I wanted to do a little snowshoeing on Saturday, but couldn’t talk Beth into going. So I went out alone (well… with Penny), but just stayed on our place. I checked out the frog pond and did the loop on the trail through the woods. I saw this mouse hole in the snow:

Mouse tracks

Mouse tracks


The tracks went along the surface for about five feet. I couldn’t see a hole at the other end of the trail because Penny had gone ahead of me and spoiled the trail (though she was oblivious to mouse sign, as best I could tell).

I don’t know how much longer this snow will last, but it’s over the well head in the back yard again. I guess that makes it two and a half feet deep or so. The snow we got Friday was light an fluffy, and the snow we got Sunday was wet and heavy. That definitely makes for a different snowshoeing experience. In the light stuff, the shoes sink down six to twelve inches (depending on how deep the light stuff goes). In wet, heavy snow, the snow gathers on the webbing. I guess the deck is webbed to allow the snow to sift through, but I’ve never read that anywhere. It just make sense. But it breaks down in wet stuff.

The other thing I did Sunday besides fetching fruit from Freeport, was dig a trench through a snowbank at the church. Two years ago we had even more snow than we got this year, and the snow pile at the church was preventing the parking lot from draining. We ended up bringing in a backhoe to cut a drainage channel. It was set to do that again, and I had to be at the church for a while in the evening so people could come and get their fruit orders. So instead of sitting around, I got a snow shovel and went to work. The snow shovel wasn’t enough though, as the snow bank had a lot of ice in it. In fact, it was solid ice at the bottom. But I had a mattock in the trunk of my car, so I fetched it and brought it to bear on the situation. It did nice work.

While I was working on that, Austin, our teacher’s husband came by. They just had their first baby a couple of weeks ago, and his wife had dispatched him to the school to pick up some papers or something. He offered to help me with the drainage trench, so I handed him the shovel. We talked about polar explorers as we worked, and in forty minutes or so, the trench was pretty much done. It’s about 30 feet long. We hit a curb and had to jog to the left to get around it (otherwise the water would not drain).

With today’s rain, I got to see if the trench was being effective or not – and I think it was! The water was “only” three inches deep at that end of the lot, compared to the six-eight inches it was two years ago. Also, the trench was full of water.

If nothing else, the trench would be a fun attraction for the kids during recess.