It’s that time of year. The sap is running and the buckets and tanks are filling. Backyard syrup makers large and small have been taking advantage of the recent sugaring weather to fire their arches and settle into the ancient and accepted rite of watching the boil.
Whatever you call it – a sugar party, sugaring-off, maple days – people will gather this weekend in old sugar shacks across Upstate New York around rising steam for one of the great revelries of the season. [Read more…] about This Weekend In A New York Sugar Shack
Some foods give you gas, but March is the time of year when gas gives you a delicious food. Maple syrup, which is nutritious enough to be listed by the US Department of Agriculture as a food, is carbon dioxide-powered. If it wasn’t for a bunch of little gas bubbles in the wood or xylem tissue, maple sap would not flow.
Who knew that trees were carbonated? [Read more…] about Sugaring Season: Maple Sap Runs On Gas
For many, including myself, autumn is a time to accept the ever-changing climate of our lives. This metaphorical billboard reminds us that in life, change is not only necessary, but inevitable.
The change begins in early autumn and can last for several weeks into October. Although correlated to the change in temperature, the process is actually triggered by the shortening length of the days as the northern hemisphere moves further from the sun. This process is referred to as photoperiodism. [Read more…] about What’s Behind The Changing Leaves
With fall officially upon us, there’s no better native to highlight than one of the first trees to showcase its autumn colors – the red maple (Acer rubrum). [Read more…] about New York’s Native Red Maples
Conspiracy hypotheses (or theories, as we like to call them, since “hypotheses” cannot be uttered without a lisp) seem to multiply unfettered these days, so I feel awkward birthing yet another.
But you may be intrigued to learn that the wide spectrum of color in the region’s fall foliage is largely the result of a Depression-era project implemented by the Hoover Administration. [Read more…] about A Fall Leaf Color Conspiracy
To a highly mobile species like humans, the fact that other animals relocate their families – or entire populations – isn’t a big surprise. We know historical migrations have been the norm, though the fossil record shows that generally these changes happened at a snail’s pace.
The “Great American Interchange” in which northern animals spread southward and South American critters expanded north during the Pliocene Epoch, took a million years. Give or take a few, I assume. [Read more…] about Northern Tree Migrations: Nature on the Move
I love that time in spring when the hills around my house change from gray and brown to shades of yellow, green, and red. The trees have not yet leafed out, so what’s painting the forests these wonderful colors?
The answer: most of our northern hardwood trees are flowering. [Read more…] about Tree Flowers Color the Hills
As I start to write this, it’s raining and 50°F outside. Several days of above freezing nighttime temperatures are in the forecast, as well. It appears that the maple sugaring season is quickly coming to an end. Most of the producers that I’ve talked with are saying it’s been an average to good season. [Read more…] about Covid-19 Impacting Maple Sugaring Season