Our season was a bit better than last year and I guess we would say just a bit above average production. We are pleased with Mother Nature's generosity to us this year. Even though we are through with production, I do want to continue to feature our employees. I would not want to leave the impression that the woods crew is any less valuable than the sugar house crew. Today I will mention two pump station care takers.
Jordan is the woods boss and during the season he takes on the responsibility of the experimental section of the woods. Because production of maple syrup is an old industry you would think that there is nothing new to develop. Actually the industry is evolving and there are all kinds of new developments. Canadian Organic Maple is putting lots of emphasis on new developments - testing new taps, modifications to the evaporators, new pumping systems. Hopefully I will get Gus to sit down one day and do a little blog on some of the new areas we are working on. Jordan has direct responsibility for two of these experimental sections plus the John White section. He looks after sap collection and transfer under vacuum without extracting to atmospheric pressure. He is operating an experimental vacuum pump in one section.
Jordan travels by skidoo or four-wheeler if he is lucky, sometimes snowshoes and sometimes two feet and a heart beat. Jordan puts lots of miles on checking his sections for leaks and he takes pride in maintaining a high vacuum in his systems. Jordan is quiet by nature but i think he likes a good joke. He too has a dry wit; I’m not sure how we ended up with all these witty people and they are mostly in the woods. Do you think they practise on the trees?
I should explain this term sap transfer. We have sap in pumping stations all over the sugar woods. Some of the sap is running directly into the sugar house but some sap is pumped. It's a balancing act to keep tanks from overflowing in the woods but also not to send too much sap from the stations so that the sugar house is flooded. The further away from the sugr house you are, the harder it is to keep in contact and to coordinate the transfer. It is a three mile journey for a drop of sap from the end of Duane's section to the tanks in the basement in the sugarhouse. Our goal is to have that drop of sap converted to syrup within 3 hours from the time it leaves the tree 3 miles away. Stay tuned for Duane's new Youtube video which will feature this journey!
That pretty much ends the pump station operators and I would like to mention one other employee. Ray has been with us about 8 years and I know Ray will correct me on this if I am wrong. Ray's speciality is twisting wire. I can't begin to estimate how many miles of black line that we have running through the woods but Ray has had his hands on much of it. His fingers are nimble and he works quickly. Because I got off with the Devin challenge I am not going to push my luck with another challenge but Ray has twisted a tremendous amount of pipe. Ray has a pretty good overview of each section because he has worked in all sections installing pipe. Ray is not a tall person and much of this would be done working above his head. It is by no means easy and though I will not give out his age because we were born less than a year apart – let`s just say he is no spring chicken. Ray too checks for leaks, helps wash lines and puts lots of miles on in the run of a year. Thank you, Ray.