Sap happened early this year – in fact, the earliest ever in our 30 years of tapping birches in Alaska. Yes, it’s our 30th Anniversary! It’s hard to believe it’s been that long since deciding, all those years ago on the homestead, that it was a concept worthy of investment and a way to live our dream of living off the grid and the earth’s bounty. It has been a wild ride, and every year brings deeper understanding of the forest along with unexpected surprises.
The climate is changing rapidly in the far north and we have to innovate and adapt. Sap flow in March? It’s occasionally happened during brief warm-ups in past years, but the sap always re-froze. This year we have been tapping into the 9000 trees on our vac system for a couple of days, and we tapped and hung pails on 2000 trees yesterday. So today, on April Fool’s Day, we will be making our reserve (first day) syrup from sap collected mostly in March. And that’s a first!
We are fortunate to have an all veteran crew this year. When we realized that this was going to be an extremely early harvest they all kicked into high gear; some changing plans to be here early and some joining us just to get the trees tapped quickly. We all understand that the sap does not wait for us to be ready and the sooner we can begin the harvest the longer it will last, and the sweeter the sap and resulting syrup.
Michael and I are grateful to the many wonderful people who have helped us through these challenging harvests. They understand our vision and share our passion for the giving birches. This season of harvest connects us to the bounty of our Earth and the importance of protecting and preserving her.
Here is our 2019 Crew (left to right): Dulce, Michael, Abby, Dylan, Katie, Daveen, Matt, Zoe and Ian