Tag Archives: family

Saps Making Syrup

16 Mar

As the cold Midwestern winter gives way to crisp spring chill, the sap starts flowing and the saps make for the maple forest.  Maple syrup season is a fleeting spring fling!  Too cold, the sluggish sap won’t flow.  Too warm, bacteria grow and stimulate the tree to start heeling its wounds and close up the sap taps.  So in just a few short weeks between afternoon highs reaching the 40s and climbing to the 60s, the maple farmers have to make the most of their sweet time.  This year is warming up fast!  And the beautifully balmy spring days are cutting the sap season short!

I got a brief chance to spend a short weekend in the woods helping my family harvest sap from my uncle’s Ohio tree farm.  (Ironically, the “Pancake” tree farm was named for the nearby road years before the idea for a family-run maple business ever occurred to the Berg family.)

It’s a family affair!  The Berg family takes to the woods as a trio (or more when they can convince friends and family to help).

The serious sappers:

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A family that samples together…

5 May

Among the finest votes of confidence I’ve received: a biologist with the Illinois Department of Natural Resources assured me I would clearly be able to accomplish grand things in my future, because I had managed to turn my sample collection into a family vacation.  That’s right, I convinced my parents and sister to leave the comfortable southern warmth of Arkansas and travel to northern Illinois (in December!) to collect bits of deer tissue from hunter check stations, so that I would have plenty of samples for the analysis of deer population genetic patterns relative to the CWD-infected zone in the Midwest.

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