Thursday, March 14, 2013

OK, So I Got Lucky!

Pictures from a better time!

With last weeks success in the book I figured the chance for a repeat was in the cards.  Heck, I didn't even reveal the name of the lake last week, that's how confident I was.  My spot was 300 yards from the nearest house, no real activity present, it just had to be at least good for one more night.  In my dreams!  So with that my second weekend at South Stanchfield Lake was a total bust.  Convincing my neighbor Lory and my wife's cousin Jason that I had the spot, we headed out on Sunday afternoon to repeat the action of last Saturday night.  With daylight savings time just starting, there was no need to get an early start as darkness was an hour later, 7:30.  Having snowed 6 inches between the weekends, maybe there would not be as many people and it would even be better, yeah!  Heading up Highway 47, a quick stop to get some grub and off to the lake.  I was surprised there were as many people on the lake as there was but still, no one in my "secret" spot.  Like last time the perch were hitting like crazy yet the anticipation of darkness and the bite kept us focused.  Well, it never happened.  After an hour of fishing past sunset with nothing to show, it was time to leave.  There were fish there but lord knows what they were thinking, certainly they weren't hungry.  We packed it up, stopped for a beer and headed home.  I guess I should not be surprised, last week was just an anomaly.  Oh well, there is always next weekend.

Collecting sap in my yard

March as been pretty cold as it goes.  My neighbor Brandon has asked if he could tap the mature maple trees that I have in the yard, all 5 of them.  Being a guy that likes to do this kind of stuff I gladly obliged and now have 5 - 5 gallon buckets waiting for the right day/night temperatures to get the sap flowing.  Sap flow is really dependent on the weather.  Below freezing temperatures at night and 38-42 degree day temperatures get that sap flowing at it's maximum level.   Each tree has a hole drilled into it and a tap inserted.  A bucket is hung on the tap and a tube from the tap to the bucket assures that all the sap is collected in the bucket.  Maple Syrup is made by boiling maple tree sap to the point where the sugar content is about 66 - 67%.  You can easily determine this by the temperature of the boiling sap.  When sap is mostly water it boils at around 212 degrees F.  As the water is driven off the sap, the boiling point goes higher and when the boiling liquid finally reaches 219.1 degrees, it is at the point of perfection...Maple Syrup.  It normally takes about 30 gallons of sap to make 1 gallon of pure maple syrup.  Brandon has done a great PR job in the neighborhood as there must be at least 100 buckets scattered throughout the streets of my development, Wildwood Springs.  My friend Bill Lundeen also makes maple syrup and has a fairly large "sugar bush", a name commonly associated with a stand of maple trees used to collect sap.  Both Brandon and Bill have large wood fired evaporators to concentrate the sap to syrup, Brandon's is pretty nice and Bill's is a production grade piece.  Either way I am sure that there will be plenty of syrup this year as this spring is set up just perfect for collecting sap.  With plenty of snow on the ground it's assured to be below freezing at night and with the sun higher in the sky, it's bound to warm up.  Last year we had temperatures in the 70's and the sap never did flow much, this year will be completely different.  I'll let you know how they do. 

Next week I am off to Long Beach for our biggest trade show of the year.  I am looking forward to seeing my good friend Joe Stanfield, it's too bad we can't do a little fishing in California for an afternoon, oh well.  Arriving back on Wednesday night, Thursday marks the first day of the Northwest Sportshow.  The biggest of the season, I look forward to checking out the latest and greatest each year.  Some people say that not much changes but I guess it depends on how you look at it.  For me, it's a chance to see my contacts, question the guys that should know, and dream about the next new adventure.  My friend Keith is heading back to Alaska for a few weeks and I actually talked him and his wife Jane into having lunch with me before he goes.  Life is pretty damn good.

1 comment:

Duane said...

You shouda gone to Mink Lake.....