Sunday, February 28, 2016

A new farm project

We have a couple of huge old maple trees in our yard, not sugar maple but another variety of maple and last year I started thinking that it would be fun to try making homemade maple syrup.  A couple of nights ago when I was shopping with my sister we were in a store that carries the equipment for tapping trees and collecting sap.  I bought a sap bucket, tap and cover along with a book to guide me through the process.  When we were driving back to my sister's house she mentioned that the family down the street collects sap and makes syrup and I asked her to let me know when she noticed that they had put out their buckets and lo and behold, driving past their house we noticed that their buckets were hanging on the trees in their yard.  My sister assures me that they were not there that morning. According to my new book the sap starts to run when the temperatures are warmer during the day but still cool at night.  I decided that I would hang my bucket and tap my tree the very next day.

The process is not too bad, you drill a hole with the drill and then use a hammer to tap the tapper into the tree.  There is a hook that goes on the tapper that holds the bucket below the tap and a cover that attaches to the top of the tapper and all you do is hang the bucket and the sap drips into the bucket.  It was fun to check the progress of the sap collection.  My book suggested that the buckets be emptied daily and the sap strained and stored until it is boiled to evaporate the water and concentrate the syrup.

Today it was warm out and my sap collecting went a little faster.  Tonight when I emptied the bucket there was enough to fill a gallon milk jug and a second container that was probably another half gallon.  The book suggested boiling the sap at least once a week but I am not really prepared to store large quantities of sap and to cook those same large quantities.  In typical setups the sap boils for hours usually outdoors and often over a wood fire.  I will plan to boil my syrup in small batches and if it goes really well perhaps next year have a bigger setup for making the syrup.  My trees are large enough according to the book to use three taps per tree and that would greatly increase the amount of sap that could be collected.  My understanding is that it takes about 40 parts of sap to get one part of syrup.
my lone bucket on the tree

shared at Met Monday


  1. You are a very ambitious lady!! I have heard about this process and it doesn't look easy! Keep us posted!

    1. Thanks Kim,I will post updates. So far it has not been too hard. The first couple of days it was warm and the sap accumulated more quickly in the bucket. Yesterday and the next few days are going to be cooler so everything appears to be slowing down. That will give me time to figure out the next steps.