The winter's been sweet for maple syrup makers in Connecticut. One of the biggest is hoping the season will last into spring, but it depends on the weather.
"Everything that we do is controlled by Mother Nature," said Robert LaMothe of LaMothe's Sugar House in Burlington.
No one in the state has more taps. He defends 26 miles of lines against squirrels, deer, and falling trees. This mild winter he waited to tap maple trees til well into February, til the nights were really cold, days sunny, and the sap really running.
"So the quality's been good. Quantities have been good. For us coming in with five thousand gallons of sap a day, we're pretty happy about that," he said.
How happy? One hundred twenty gallons of syrup a day happy. His new reverse osmosis gear separates the sugar from the water in the sap so he only has to boil down seven gallons of concentrate to get a gallon of syrup. Last year was different.
"Last year we never tapped, we never made syrup until the 11th of March. And we went all the way to the 11th of April," he said.
But this year the syrup making may stop by mid-March if warm weather returns as forecast.
"I hope that that's not true," said LaMothe. "If we had a very brief period of really warm weather we could sustain that but it would have to go right back down below freezing, you know, within a couple days."
He said when the tip of a maple branch begins to bud, that's when the maple syrup season is over with.