Wednesday, March 4, 2015

It's Tree Tappin' Time!

The maple tree buds will be swelling soon.
There are certain things that signal the end of winter and in a year that we didn't think could possibly be as bad as the last (but was), we're celebrating each one as it occurs. It's officially the beginning of the end.

Strangely enough, this was a winter that just five months ago, I was dreading in the worst way. Just the thought of what was to come threatened to be my undoing, but here we are on the down side and I'm none the worse for wear! Yay!

This past week brought the Ft. Wayne Home and Garden Show, the first of such shows for me for the year and though I thought I'd not attend this year, I grabbed my cousin Debbie and off we went. I didn't find a single thing that inspired me there, but it wasn't a bad way to spend a bitterly cold day either.

On the home front, we're wrapping up a long-awaited (15+ years!) kitchen renovation and soon the spring season will be in full swing with other shows and travel. But as daytime temperatures finally inch upward past the freezing mark, it's time to tap the maple trees!

Monday, we gathered up our spiles and collecting pails along with the drill and headed out to get maple syrup season under way. It was a beautiful, sunny winter day with a fresh, fluffy white layer of snow covering the ground, belying the interaction going on between the trees and the ground around them.

Both of the maple trees tapped in this photo are large enough to support
two spiles/buckets. The rest of the maples we tapped only have one each.

Five trees are slated to be tapped this year - two more than last year - and we got three of them set up with their buckets. Two trees got two taps each while another one received just one tap. We'll tap the other two when the drill battery is recharged.
After last year's season, we decided that processing the sap for syrup would not take place in our kitchen especially now that we've got a brand spankin' new one. That's just too much steam to deal with, so this year I purchased a portable induction cooktop for use with my stainless steel stock pot (thanks for the suggestion, Susy Morris!) and it will be done either outside or in the garage, depending on the weather.

About an hour after we finished tapping the trees, I went back outside to see if the sap was running yet, and sure enough, three of the taps had liquid dripping from the spiles. I was rather surprised since we've not had any days above freezing yet, although Monday came close at 31°F. Night temperatures below freezing and daytime temps above are what are needed to get the sap flowing.

A sapsicle!

It won't be long before we'll have enough sap to process for some of that unbelievably scrumptious maple syrup, but for now, we wait. You can read about our last year's maple tree tapping experience (our first!) here.


Jane Rutkowski said...

What an interesting post. Here in PA, there are Maple tree tapping events that are open to the public to attend. I've never gone to one, though I think I just might this year.

RobinL said...

This coming week should be just right for the sap to run, right? Finally! How much syrup do you think you'll get out of it all?

Kylee Baumle said...

Jane ~ I've never been to an event like that, but I'll bet they're interesting and fun!

RobinL ~ YES! This coming week is ideal for the sap to run! I don't really know how much we'll get this year, because we're tapping two additional trees this year. Last year, we collected something like 42 gallons of sap, if I remember correctly. That translated into a little over a gallon of syrup.

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