A Tree Tapping Good Time

I'd like to remind you that we live more or less in the forest. Living in the forest means there are a lot of trees. Now, some of those trees are maple trees.  And maple trees are where maple syrup comes from...

...see where I'm going with this? 

A note before we continue... I have never done this before.  I am under the direct supervision of the Mister who did this growing up.  This whole process is totally amazing to me.  And I am seriously worse than a little kid running around checking all my buckets and their progress.  Crazy!

If you would rather read about professionals doing it and a more serious how to... this is a pretty good read.

Ok, so it all started with getting our buckets, spouts, hooks, and lids ready.

The Mister was so smart to mark a bunch of maples with a small dot of spray paint last fall, so that this time of year when their are no leaves we can still tell the maples from the oaks. 

Each of the trees got a small hole drilled into them.

Then you insert the spout and tap it in gently.  And at this step some of the trees quickly started leaking sap.  So dang exciting!

The buckets have a small hole that is used to rest them on the hook under the spout.  Then you cover the bucket with a lid and wait. 

And yes, of course, the dogs were snooping around trying to figure out if we were doing anything that resulted in food for them.  (Isn't Sammy getting big?)

We put up a total of 14 buckets and I just adore the look of them around the property!!  It all feels so farm-like! 

And no, I have no idea how much syrup we will be making.  I think you need something like 40 gallons of sap to boil down yielding about 1 gallon of syrup.  I told the Mister that I would be clam happy with enough for one breakfast.  Ha!

It's pretty cool to have a purpose outside this time of year as one can constantly fiddle with and check the sap levels in the bucket.  I also found out quickly that I adore the calming effect of listening to the steady drip drop sounds of the sap methodically filling the bucket. 

Nature is amazing!  I feel so in tune with my primitive self and maple sugaring is nurturing my need of getting my hands in the dirt to be more self sufficient.  We'll see if I still feel that way after we boil down the first batch of sap. 

...to be continued!

And thank you for all the well wishes after my wisdom teeth removal.  All four are out.  I have made it to day three of recovery and I'm feeling pretty good.  The next step is getting back to normal food.... and I think I'm well on my way!


Seaweed and Raine said...

Oh my goodness! I love maple syrup. YOu make me want to rush to the kitchen and make pancakes!!! (Maybe tonigt - yes, we even eat them for dessert!!!) :)
I'd love to hear how the process turns out. Mmmm. Yum.

Jientje said...

This is so exciting!! There are no maple forests here in Belgium, so for us Belgians Maple Syrup is just something you buy in a good ( not just any!) supermarket. Looking forward to see more about this magical project of yours!
Glad you're feeling better!

Teresa said...

Welcome to one of the best rites of spring. You know it's spring when the sap is running, and Dad is outside stoking the fire in a 45 gal drum that he uses to 'cook' the sap. The kids spend the time running around checking the buckets, and bugging Dad - "Is it done yet?"
In the end, the results are so worth it! Don't forget to over cook some and have maple candy on snow. Mmmm

Wendy said...

Hey Christy, this is SO cool. It reminds me of the Little House on the Prairie book series I read growing up...I think it was Little House in the Big Woods where they talked about making the maple syrup. Growing up in California, I just don't see things like this...it's like a fictional world. I can't wait to hear how things turn out. Thanks for sharing!!

Becky said...

Oh, you'll have plenty of syrup with that many taps! I did a much more crude collection in Michigan with 5 taps, and ended up with about a gallon. It depends on the weather a lot. We boiled ours on top of our wood stove, but you'll need something bigger. How fun! Makes me miss our old home. Here's my blog about it (one of my very first posts): http://becky-beckysblabber.blogspot.com/2009/10/food.html

Selfsewn said...

Maple syrup lovers here in the UK!!
I shall be showing my husband tonight, thanks xx

Denise said...

You make this sound so exciting! Thanks for sharing your enthusiasm. I can't wait to see and hear more about the whole process.

Megan said...

Thank you for sharing the process, it is so interesting! I can't believe you need 40 gallons to make just one. Wow! Homemade maple syrup, now that's something I am never going to get in Australia!

Although, that has made me have a hankering for pikelets (mini pancakes). It's 11pm and I haven't had dinner yet, being incredibly uninspired tonight about food. Perhaps I might go make them and drizzle them with (shop bought) maple syrup?

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