Last year we experimented with a handful of wireless vacuum sensors. With 22,000 taps, 110 miles of tubing, and 270 acres to cover, it can be difficult to find leaks in an efficient manner. Not only are leaks a concern, but frozen main lines as well. When a tree falls on a main line it creates a dip where sap can freeze, often blocking vacuum for hours in the morning while the sun works to melt the freeze. Sometimes these dips go unnoticed, not anymore! Last year we only had a dozen boxes, but they proved incredibly useful. This year we’ll have around 50 boxes in the woods, all sending back real time vacuum levels for 125+ mainlines. We’ll also have a dozen tank level sensors so we don’t accidentally spill sap. Finally, a box in each pumphouse will control our vacuum pumps, spinning them down when the temperature approaches freezing. More posts to come as we get these hooked up and running!
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It seems like the beautiful fall colors hit their peak later this year than in the past. We took a quick break earlier this week for a team photo before the rest will fall just like the temperatures. (It was below freezing this morning!)
As we head into November we are thankful for each of these individuals and all the hard work they put in every day.
TOP: Brian, Nessie, Hailee, Jake
BOTTOM: Lauren, Nova, Kameron
This month we’ve started the process of replacing all 22,000 drop lines. A drop line is the section of tubing next to each tree. Ours are around three feet long which allows us to tap the entire circumference of the tree. Each year bacteria builds up inside the plastic as the sap flows. When a tree freezes at night it actually sucks sap back into the tap hole, bringing any contaminates along with it. This bacteria grows and closes off the taphole prematurely, reducing overall sap yield. Studies have consistently found that replacing spouts every year and drop lines every 2-4 years produces the most sap with the least cost in time/materials. We’re coming up on our seventh season and now installing our third set of drops. This year we decided to go with blaze orange for visibility, pre-assembled with polycarbonate spouts and straight connectors. These pre-made drops will significantly reduce the time we spend installing them.