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Friday Favorite: Maple Tapping

February 19th, 2016

AH, I think every year at this time I talk about how much I LOVE sugaring the maple trees. Yesterday I went out to tap one tree, I do this each year to monitor sap flow. When the sap starts flowing from that tap, I tap the remaining trees. The sap started flowing right away, so I tapped 8 more trees. I’ll probably add a few more taps today.
maple sap 3
I really love sugaring because it gets me out in the garden during a time when I wouldn’t be out there. It makes me go outside and I get a ton of exercise, it really helps get me in shape for the upcoming gardening season. I also love that it’s such a simple process, really, you just gather sap and boil it down, it’s really that simple. When you drizzle homemade maple syrup on your pancakes in the morning there’s nothing quite like it, it somehow tastes sweeter.

Do you live in an area where they tap trees?

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?

The Cycle Begins Again

February 8th, 2012

The weather seemed perfect on Sunday afternoon, so we decided it was time to tap our maple trees. Out came all the supplies, the spiles and jars were scrubbed, the extension cords were brought out and the first tree was tapped.

As soon as the hole was drilled sap was running down the side of the tree before we could even get the spile in. Thirty taps later and we were done. That evening we collected five and a half gallons of sap and so the cycle of collecting and boiling has begun again.

Last year was a long sugaring season and we got 5 gallons of finished syrup. This year we tapped more trees because we think the season will be short, which is the usual here in our area of Ohio. In total we have 30 taps going and are hoping to get a few gallons of syrup once again.

The little black garage cat (aka “The Sweets”) loves it when sugaring season rolls around. Just like her mama used to do, she followed us around the woods as we tapped trees and she runs ahead of Mr Chiots on the paths when he collects the sap. No doubt she’s enjoying some human companionship after a long lonely winter in the garage.

Our maple syrup is precious and since we use it as almost our only form of sweetener, we use it sparingly throughout the year. We’re always happy to reach the next cycle with a few jars of syrup left in the pantry. When I checked last week we still had almost 2 gallons left.

What’s your favorite way to use maple syrup?

If you want to read up on maple sugaring I’d highly recommend these books:

Reading & Watching

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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.