Friday, February 11, 2011

Tapping our maple trees

I hope our maple syrup making is more successful than my lard rendering.  Last night the temperature was well below freezing and this afternoon the thermometer neared 50, a perfect day for gathering the sap (or water, as I've heard a more experienced maple syrup guy say) from our maple trees.  I had ordered 5 buckets and 10 spiles (taps or spouts) off ebay to get us started. 

It was actually pretty exciting to see how the sap came dripping out almost immediately after we drilled the 7/16's inch hole and inserted the spile.  James yelled, "quick, put the bucket under. We don't want to waste any", which is kind of funny because one of our trees was dripping all over anyway.  It fell from the branches and dripped on our heads. 

It was a big tree, probably more than 3 1/2 feet in diameter.  We were told we have 15 sugar maples in our yard and probably lots more down by the river but we concentrated on about 6 trees today. 

My friend, Susan, and I recently attended a poultry and garden club meeting where they had a guest speaker (thank you Elizabeth) teaching us how to make maple syrup.  Susan is a better listener than I so it's good she was here today to help us do this.  My friend, Pat, showed up with about 20 kitty litter buckets she got from the Humane Society to use as collection buckets since I was too cheap to buy more metal ones on ebay. 

I'm amazed how fast the sap is collecting.  We will dump it into large trash cans and then when we have enough to make a good amount of syrup we'll begin the evaporating.  I think this will be within the week.  Stay tuned for another blogging about maple syrup.  It takes 40 parts sap to make 1 part syrup. 

Listen to the sap drip into the metal bucket. 

I'm sure anyone driving by our house is wondering why we have cat litter buckets hanging on our trees.  It's not a pretty sight.  These buckets are fed by 3 inch pieces of PVC we cut to fit.  They seem to work just as well as the ones we paid money for. 
Can you see the little PVC "spile"?
Just so you know, we washed the cat litter buckets before we used them.

To be continued.............

1 comment:

  1. Good job chronicling our adventures. Love the way you can hear the sap.