Tapping Treeees!

 Buckets on my floor, tubing and spiles on my counter...
Chilly, chilly nights and warm, drippy days...
And reminders on the outside signs of all of our local Hardware Stores to "Get Your Supplies Here!"
That's how I knew it was time!
 (SnooooooW!  I'm so sick of snoooooooow.....)
But mostly, it was our neighbor Mr. Lew traipsing over for a game of Cribbage this past weekend who put my brain all in a flurry of remembrance of what March really means!!!  Over a black cup of coffee and him trash talking me for being just a few points behind, he casually asked:  "You guys going to do any tapping again this year?  It's just about time, you know..."

And that's all it took!

I think if we hadn't had that conversation, and if I hadn't stumbled across a couple of people just mentioning in passing that "it's about that time," I would have completely missed our tree tapping window this year.  It's so short up here, anyway -- not much more than three weeks, at best.
 And, OH how we love it!
Our operation is tiny, and our experience is pretty minimal.
I grew up with my Dad and brothers tapping every year...but I was mostly just an onlooker.
And a "tea-stealer" during the days when they would boil the sap down, down, down...

My favorite was to sit out in the garage where all of the guys were with a little teacup full of the goodness - sipping it while it was hot and thin - and just barely sweet; long before it boiled down into that beautiful liquid gold.

As I recall, my bros weren't the biggest fans of their kid sis doing all of that tea stealing, either; and now I understand why.  It takes about 40 gallons of sap to make 1 gallon of syrup.  And I liked to try and drink my weight in "tea."  But they were gracious....as my preggo, foggy brain tries to recall, anyway..
 Catching the drips!
We don't have too many trees to work with on our land.
We only have about 4 clusters of maybe 10 maple trees that are on our property, but we tap them all!
So far this year, we have nine buckets hooked up, and Kev just brought back a few more last night, so we'll tap a few more in the next couple of days.
 We use a variety of methods depending on the trees and how well each of them run.  Also, depending upon how many buckets, how much tubing, and what types of spiles we have available.  I have just a bit of my Grampy's old equipment which is such a treasure to me.  It's hard to find anything like that these days - most places just sell the black and blue plastic stuff.  I love my Grampy's old weathered stuff so much better.  But, mostly just because it reminds me so much of my own childhood.  Really, anything will work.  We've even put some duct tape to good use on one of our trees and tubing....

True, redneck Maine-ah's that we are...
And now that the trees are tapped, the boys' "job" is to run outside about ten times each day and tell me how full the buckets are getting.  They like to give the play by play for each and every one.
My favorite thing is to listen for the "plink. plink. plink" of the drips into each of the buckets.
Childhood memories right there...
And so, we'll collect until the "experts" tell us that collecting time is over.  And then, we'll set up a big old camp stove at the mouth of our garage with a big old propane tank hooked up to it, and we ourselves will begin the process of boiling our precious sap down, down, down into the few little pints of goodness that all of our gatherings will have yielded.

But, there won't be as much as there could have been - I know that much for sure, right now.
Because there is still "maple tea" that will need to be sipped and savored...and stolen at just the right moment when backs are turned.


Anonymous said...

Mmm! Love me some sweet dark amber.
Get tappin'

Shannon said...

Lovely! We are tapping my parents trees. Only 3, but we get a good ratio. 24 to 1 last time we tapped!!! The trees haven't been tapped in a millennia since they live in town.
Enjoying all your posts!