At the old house, we had a sweet little red maple in the front yard, but it was young and tiny and also not a proper sugar maple. Do you know what we have at the new house? Two (at least. There may be more in the woods, but since we've never done this before, we're in the "do it to learn something" phase and two trees is plenty for that.) enormous sugar maples quite near the house. Obviously we had to give it a try. Doing the seasonal things is one of the ways to find magic in a place with seasons, you know?
|Note the snow up to the dog's belly on the right. Snow too deep to go without snowpants, day too warm for a coat. #puremichigan|
Step one: watch 15 quadrillion youtube videos about tapping maple trees.
Step two: visit 362 quintillion websites featuring information on tapping maple trees.
Step three: worry that the whole business is quite too complicated and obviously it will never be spring anyway and sort of give up hope.
Step four: but secretly don't actually give up hope and instead rinse out and save empty gallon jugs "just in case it ever gets warm even though I can tell it's always winter but will never again be Christmas"
Step five: Order this pack of four spiles from Amazon. Decide that even if you could do more, four is quite enough for the first year, thankyouverymuch
Step five: Obsessively check the weather forecast. Hourly refreshing of your screen should not be considered out of the realm of acceptable.
Step six: Aaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaah! It's above freezing! It's warm! The sun is shining! Miracles are real!
Step seven: Grab your gear. Our bag included the spiles/hooks, the cordless drill, a 3/8" drill bit ( 1/16" too small, but if you drill the hole two or three times and kind of purposely make the hole bigger, it can work), a hammer, a spool of wire, and a pair of pliers with one of those wire cutting blade thingies, and our four empty jugs. We cleaned all of our sap-touching items with a one part bleach, 20 parts water solution and then rinsed a zillion times before we headed out.
Step eight: Drill the hole
Step ten: hang the bucket.
www.TapMyTrees.com (not an affiliate), we can use the sap in place of water in any sort of brewing or cooking application, though, so maybe we won't even make syrup, know what I'm sayin'? Maybe we'll just drink it straight like proper pioneer folk recovering from winter and hang up our tappy-tappins until next year when we can level up to boiling...or...you know...whatever you're actually supposed to do with sap.