Saturday, February 6, 2016

Got Snow?

In my 66 years living in Vermont, I have never seen a February without snow. The winters accumulation melts around the first of April when the temperatures reach into the fifties and sugaring is well on its way. This morning I took a picture of the front of our house while walking Tucker for his morning deposit to show the lack of snow in our yard. I found a picture taken a day later in February in 2011 which was taken after a "normal" (typical for February) snow storm. To think there are actually some people that still don't believe in global warming astonishes me. Granted they say the weather this year is due to a record El Nino but why did we have a record El Nino? Global warming!


  1. We have had only a couple of dustings of snow here in southern Missouri. It's been a very mild winter so far. Does this affect the maple syrup Vermont is so famous for?

    1. Sherri, this is a long reply but below is an interview with a sugar maker here in Vermont that was on the news:
      FAIRFIELD, Vt. -
      These are busy times at the Branon Family Maple Orchards. The Branon family has been making maple syrup for six generations. They have 68,000 taps and make between 30,000 and 40,000 gallons of syrup a year.

      On this day, Tom Branon and his sons are checking the lines for leaks, and installing a new evaporator, while getting ready for the sap to run. They have even had an early sap run and made syrup. It's been a strange winter.

      "Every year is different and weather is always different. Weather has been very mild, December into Christmas actually too warm, a little bit of a freeze up the first part of January and now we are getting some warmer weather again. Yeah, it's a little scary," Tom said.

      Tom says they are halfway through tapping their trees.

      Some are very concerned about what effect this warmer, less snowy winter will have on the maple industry. According to the folks at the Proctor Maple Research Center, it's the particular weather during sugaring season that has the most impact on production.

      The Branons take their cues from Mother Nature.

      "So we just changed our philosophy today our mind, what we are going to do so we stopped tapping and we will go fix our leaks in the woods here in Fairfield and do our repairs and probably start getting some sap here in a few days. So it looks like it could be a little early definitely compared to the last two years," said Tom.

      The last two years saw late sap runs due to the cold, snowy winters. Making syrup in April compared to the usual March. This year, it looks like it could be the exact opposite.

      "What I tell people with our business, it's 30 days and 30 nights. They don't all come consecutive. Looks like we are going to have four or five in January, may have a few in February but then it could be April before we get 20 more. That's just what we have seen for our lifetime," Tom said.

      And there is an upside to the low snow totals for sugarmakers. It is much easier for them to work in the woods, no deep snow to slog through. Tom says because of that, they are ahead of schedule when it comes to preparing for the bulk of sugaring season, whenever that may be.

  2. Thank you for going to all that trouble, but it was very interesting Judi. The weather affects so many things we just don't think about. I love maple syrup and the price has gone up substantially the last couple years. I've wondered if weather had something to do with production. Same with honey. There are problems with the bees. I think it's called colony collapse and they don't know what causes it. plus several other pests, fungus and pesticides that are killing them. Bees are important in so many ways. It's scary Judi. There is a fungus here in Missouri and other parts of the country that is killing the bats. Most people don't like bats, but they eat flying insects and keep them in check. Everything is connected in a delicate balance and I fear it's all going down hill! I know that sounds doom and gloom but we only have one earth and we are not taking very good care of it.

    1. We have also had problems with bats dying from a fungus. I have planted more flowers so the honey bees have plenty of food besides our two cherry trees and apple trees. It is scary and I fear for the next generations to come if something isn't done very quickly.


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