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Drip, Drip, Drip….

March 8th, 2014

Yesterday was beautiful and it felt like maple sugaring season. When we got home from running errands I grabbed my spiles, drill and got to work setting a few maples taps.
maple sap 1
I set 10 taps yesterday and hope to head out and put in at least 10 or 15 more. The maples closest to the house and on my route to the coop and on dog walks got first priority. They’ll be the easiest to monitor and empty.
maple sap 2
Maple sugaring season is one of my favorites – I love heading outside to check all the collection jars, gathering sap and boiling it down into a tasty treat. There’s something so exciting about the process. For me it’s the official end of winter and the beginning of spring.
maple sap 3
As soon as I set the taps most of them started dripping, one tree is already proving to be a champ, giving a quart of sap in only a few hours. My goal is to get at least 3 gallons of finished syrup this year, that means I need 12-15 taps. As we have found out in the past, some trees produce a bounty of sap and others not quite as much. I’d rather have more syrup than I need than not enough, so I’ll shoot on setting 20 taps.

Is there a specific thing that signals the end of winter and beginning of spring for you?

9 Comments to “Drip, Drip, Drip….”
  1. Sonya on March 8, 2014 at 8:05 am

    Question: When you remove the tap, do you plug the hole? Does the tree heal over? Do you “re-tap” it in the same place as last year. A Florida girl wants to know. :-)

    Reply to Sonya's comment

  2. Nebraska Dave on March 8, 2014 at 8:31 am

    Susy, I did a double take on your statement of ” My goal is to get at least 3 gallons of finished syrup this year “. That means you will have to gather and cook down 120 gallons of sap. That is definitely not a kitchen project. How will you do it? This is a little bigger project than what you did last year. I don’t recall how much you did in Ohio when you started making syrup.

    Yes, indeed, there are signs here as well that Spring weather is about to pop. After three long bitterly cold months of Winter I am ready for some warmer weather. I’m really itchin to start digging in real dirt and not just potting mix.

    Have a great sap running day.

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  3. Joan on March 8, 2014 at 8:54 am

    It looks like you have sugar maples – you are lucky. All we have are red maples (which take 100 gallons of sap to make one gallon of syrup, as opposed to only 40 gallons of sap for a gallon of syrup from the sugar maples). Still, I’m thinking of going out this weekend and setting a few taps. Or, I might tap my grandmother’s sugar and norway maples – it’s a pain because it’s a 20 minute drive every day or two to check them, but there’s a lot less boiling involved!

    Signs of spring – I watch for the buds on the trees starting to swell… should be any day now!

    Reply to Joan's comment

    • Susy on March 8, 2014 at 11:19 am

      We only had red maples in Ohio Joan, it’s more like 50-60 gallons of sap to make syrup. The syrup is really good though, I think it tastes a bit better than sugar maple syrup.

      Reply to Susy's comment

  4. Amys on March 8, 2014 at 9:37 am

    What are your temperatures right now? I know here in Illinois we’re getting closer but I thought I had to wait. Our weather is not cooperating with steady temps.

    Reply to Amys's comment

    • Susy on March 8, 2014 at 11:19 am

      Our temps are starting to climb into the low thirties during the day and dip down anywhere between 0-15 at night.

      Reply to Susy's comment

  5. daisy on March 8, 2014 at 10:43 am

    Does the sap eventually just stop dripping? Can the same tree be tapped each year? This is one of my future dreams, so I’m glad I can ask advice from someone so experienced.

    Reply to daisy's comment

    • Susy on March 8, 2014 at 11:20 am

      The sap gets cloudy as the tree buds out. Then taps are removed and the hole heals up. You can tap the same tree each year, you’re supposed to tap about 12 inches away from where you tapped the previous year.

      Reply to Susy's comment

  6. Lorna on March 8, 2014 at 11:54 am

    I couldn’t agree more–Spring is here! Eight taps went in our front row of sugar maples this morning. Last year we just tapped Old Faithful, a very large very beautiful old sugar maple, and got nearly a gallon of finished syrup from just one tap (the other tap didn’t run at all). This year is not shaping up so well though–most locals have gotten very little and even Old Faithful is not cooperating. I hope your sugarin’ season fares better than ours! Either way, it feels good to be out with the sun on my back and getting things ready for saving up a little sweetness–I’m getting to the point where I don’t like to bake with store-bought sugar any more :)

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This is a daily journal of my efforts to cultivate a more simple life, through local eating, gardening and so many other things. We used to live in a small suburban neighborhood Ohio but moved to 153 acres in Liberty, Maine in 2012.

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