Saturday, March 07, 2015

Tapping a Maple Tree in 10 Neurotic Steps

Hey, we did something new today!

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 nine: Tap in the spile

Step ten: hang the bucket.

Now before you ask, Imma go ahead and spoil it for you.  We are not at ALL prepared for actual sap filling up those milk jugs.  Nopety nope nope.  According to (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 know...whatever you're actually supposed to do with sap.

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  1. You are complaining about endless winter, but your daughter is outside - in snow - in short sleeves (with a power tool, I might add). What a CA wimp you are!

    1. I'm not complaining ANYMORE! I was complaining when it was terrible out. Today was glorious :D

  2. Above freezing is good enough!!!

  3. Above freezing is good enough!!!

  4. Dwija, please, please please don't EVER let your precious child use a drill without eye protection. I knew someone who was blinded when the drill bit sheared off and flew into his eye. I still to this day cannot bear to see anyone using a drill without wearing goggles

  5. Getting any sap at all sounds wonderful! Please let us know how it turned out!

  6. Maple syrup is the Nectar of God. It's beautiful, beautiful stuff.

    The Starving Inspired

  7. We were just listening to the maple sugar chapter from Little House in the Big Woods earlier, sooo...kind of in love with this post!

  8. We were just listening to the maple sugar chapter from Little House in the Big Woods earlier, sooo...kind of in love with this post!

  9. Oh what would I give for living in an area where Maple trees grow...

    And because of the child with the electrical drill: go for it. She just drilled a little hole in a tree... It's not like she really risked her sight.

  10. Maple sap is a natural laxative, just sayin.
    (using my son's profile 'cause I can't get mine to work)

  11. I love this! I'll probably never do it, but I'm a bit of a syrup snob and love it when my dad hooks me up with good maple syrup from NY. Keep us updated!


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