Sugar maple tree with a beautiful blue sky background.
We could not have picked a better time to start tapping the maple trees. Saturday morning after feeding the cattle and cleaning up from breakfast we got started. It was clear, sunny and still a chill in the air. First we gathered the bucket and cleaned them and then we cleaned the 210 gallon water tank.
All the gallon buckets have been washed and ready to hook up to the taps.
Nice and clean gallon buckets.
Shiny and clean tank.
It holds 210 gallons and it was specifically purchased just for sugar maple processing!!
A regular garden/water hose will attach to the fauce when we’re ready to fill the pans.
From here we gathered the portable drill, wood bits, hammer and taps and headed for the maple trees in the yard. From there we tapped the trees behind the garage and then went to the mansion and tapped the tree that we know has been in the family since the 1800’s. She is still producing and we tapped with six buckets on her and from there went to our daughter’s house on the farm and tapped two trees at her house. In total we nine trees in all and as tonight at 7:00 p.m. the tank is full. We’ll hold it in the tank in the garage until Friday morning. It will stay ice cold in the garage.
26 taps sterizied and ready to put in the trees. Eddie likes using the plumbing tees best because they stay in the tap hole better.
Metal taps were used in the tree at the mansion and at our daughter’s house.
Drillling the first hole about a 1/2 inch in diameter and about 1 inch deep.
These trees are not being damaged. The one inch hole heals within a few weeks and as I said before the tree at the mansion is in a photo we have of the family back in the mid-1800’s and it’s still living.
Tapping the tee in the tree good and tight so it won’t leak around the hole.
Up close view of the hole drilled into the tree.
Tap, tap, tap!
Three buckets on this tree in the yard and the taps are dripping away. This tree is at our daughter’s house.
Around 1:30 Saturday our son joined us and he was kept busy emptying the buckets into the tank and was glad to have the ATV for collecting. He won’t be still long enough for Mom to take his picture. But sometimes we have to do what we can and here’s a picture helping at the sugar house in years past.
Our son, Shawn, manning the pans in the past.
From the tree to the straining bucket.
By Saturday night we had 100 gallons in the tank and the high temperature at the farm on Saturday was 49*. Sunday morning we got up to 27* temps, the buckets were running over with ice and the sap had even pushed out of the top of the tee.
Beautiful Sunday morning.
Icy buckets and frozen hands.
Bucket of ice from the cans which we thawed and poured into the tank.
Ice frozen all down the tree.
Ice coming out all over the tee.
Sap running over onto the ground! The honeybees enjoyed it once it warmed up.
On Sunday we got another 75 gallons and the sap has slowed a little. The temperatures got up to 52* and at 9:30 p.m. it was still 49*. For the sap to run really good the temps MUST get below freezing at night.
Today hubby filled up the tank and the trees have slowed down immensely but the tank is full of 210 gallons of pure sugar maple sap. The cooking will begin on Friday and finish up on Saturday around noon if all goes well.
Here’s a few of today’s photos:
Last bucket to empty for the day (Monday).
Hard to see the water line on the tank.
Stainless steel bucket with lip and strainer. Every bucket on the tree is emptied into this bucket and then strained into the tank.
Straining into the big tank.
Better view of the full tank!
Hopefully more pictures of the process when completed on Saturday!!