Each year for the past 43 years staff from the Conservation District’s Environmental Education Center have loaded up the Maple sugaring gear and supplies and opened the Meesing Sugar bush. A sugar bush is an area where you tap trees to make maple syrup. This small 30-40 acre site, which is located 5.5 miles north of Marshall’s Creek on DCNR land, has proven to be a very important part of the EE Center’s programing for over 40 years. The work involved to setup and operate the sugaring process is more than most people realize but also well worth it when you taste the sweet maple syrup that is produced at the end. Over the years many different people have been involved with the sugaring process and since 2003 a daily journal has been kept of the activities in the sugar bush. To get the real feel for the experience I have selected some of the log entries for your reading pleasure, please enjoy.
Thursday, February 20, 2003
Arrived at 9:30, Roger, Brian, Jamie, finished clearing trails of snow from the storm on Monday. Tapped 40 trees behind Indian station along creek and behind sugar shack. Temp. 44 in shade and sap running good, heard a few birds. We moved equipment into shack and got things set-up. We burned a small fire in evaporator to cure the bricks for approx. 2 hrs. everything worked great. We hung the signs at 2:30 and the new sugar shack was officially ready for business.
Tuesday, March 18, 2003
3:30 pm -60 degrees. Well in an attempt to be really productive I also burned a batch of syrup. Evaporator was running all too well and I decided to split a few pieces of wood. Alas when I checked on the syrup it was done and upon draining…well…crystallized maple syrup was the final product…moral of the story when cooking just cook.
Thursday, March 25, 2004
12:30 pm. The evaporator is going smoothly. If you listen closely you can learn to monitor it just by the sound, you can hear when to add wood and if the hose and regulator are working properly.
Wednesday, March 30, 2005
Woodcock behind sugar shack, Brian spotted a porcupine in the singing Hemlock tree. There’s animals everywhere!
Wednesday, March 29, 2006
Maple Sugaring Season
by Karen N. Boyle
It starts in February sometimes a cold snowy day
The day after the Presidents Holiday
Setting up buckets and tubing galore
Cuz the staff can’t carry as much sap anymore
The sugarbush has been asleep all winter long
Waiting for the singing Hemlock to sing its song
The groups come to visit us
Often times many in one bus.
They walk into the woods and down the trail
Following their noses smelling smoke in the air
They want to find out what all the fuss is about
Hoping to see just a little sap drip out of a spout.
They came to learn all about maple syrup
Walking along the nice trails trying to keep up
Going to the Indian and Pioneer stations
The staff are able to answer all of their questions
Around the stations they go
Waiting for the best part of the show
A taste of the sweetest syrup we’ve made
Spending six weeks of bliss while getting paid!
Wednesday, February 21, 2007
I always forget how peaceful the sugar bush is in the morning. It is 32 degrees, sunny and the snow is slightly frozen, bird calls around the bush but none at feeders. I hear Nuthatches, Downy Woodpeckers and Chickadees. We are tapping today and the weather looks good for sap.
Friday, February 27, 2009
Birds finally started coming to feeders but it was quiet early in the day. Collected sap in the rain 106 gallons. The Indian #2 line is really flowing we added a second garbage can at the end. Hope our system works.
Saturday, March 7, 2009
Public Day: Purpose of the day-serve the finest lip-smacking pancakes to the public, who have braved the weather to attend this monumental festivity. Fun and education, camaraderie and work. Everyone loves it. A record setting day in the sugarbush 703 people attended.
Friday, March 11, 2011
Major flooding from the 4 inches of rain. Streams over their banks and water flowing over the bridge in public day area. Up to the bottom of the Indian bridge. The “Sometimes Raging Stream Trail” is definitely raging!
Wednesday, March 14, 2012
11:00 warm and sunny 55 degrees. Sap flowing from tree when tapped but other holes not flowing. Lots of birds singing. Evergreen school students were wearing shorts and complaining about the nats, the nerve of kids these days.
Thursday, April 3, 2014
Arrived at sugar shack and was treated to a gobbler behind the public day tree area, phoebe was singing. Not much sap in buckets so we will spend today and tomorrow finishing up sap in tank Geese flying and even some insects flying around.
Monday, March 30, 2015
The evaporator is humming, regulator is functioning and the steam is rising at 10:15 am. Add to that the fact that the sun has come out and the brown creepers are singing- it is a beautiful day in the Sugar bush.
Tuesday, February 23, 2017
Unbelievable, it’s Feb. 23 and its 65 degrees and sunny, but then there is no such thing as climate change!
Thursday, March 9, 2017
The Phoebe arrived at 10:52 am and perched on the maple by the big rock. We negotiated with him to continue to make maple syrup for at least 2 weeks, we’ll see.
Tuesday, March 14, 2017
The blizzard of 2017 22” of snow fell.
Thursday, March 29, 2018
8:00 am cloudy and damp. Slight misty rain. No one came yesterday a catch-up day in the office and not much sap. We will make the final push today with sap/syrup and plan on taking down all the buckets and tubes.
Thursday, March 7, 2019
8:00 AM , 12 degrees, BRRRR! Sunny slightly breezy as the day went on. Not collecting sap today everything is frozen in buckets and tubs.
Wednesday, March 27, 2019
10:00 just realized that after cleaning evaporator pans on Mon. I put the sap blocker on wrong side of syrup pan, OOPS. It should work better now. After 16 years of using this evaporator you would think that I knew what I was doing, oh well chalk it up to a long season.
There is no day quite like a day in the Sugar bush! All the staff work together to produce the syrup that we use for our programs and tree sponsors. I must admit we also look forward to being outside and getting a chance to see winter transition to spring each year. Please spend some time with us in the sugar bush this year on our Public Day, Sat. March 7 tours ongoing from10:00-3:00. Learn about the history of the process and enjoy some of our syrup on the best pancakes you will ever taste. Stop by a bucket and watch the sap drip, which is more exciting than it sounds. And finally just enjoy the day outside.