Last week Struggling_along brought me home a surprise – a stack of metal syruping buckets with lids and spiles! It was like Christmas. I had resigned myself long ago that metal buckets were too expensive. Luckily Struggling_along just happened to be at the feed store at the right moment (ordering this year’s chicks) and he was able to snatch up the last of these previously used buckets sold by a man getting out of the business. Score!
And it was perfectly timed too as this weekend it finally warmed up, and even rained!
We went from this:
It’s finally starting to look like spring is on it’s away around here.
So the boys and I went around identifying our maples and fighting over who got to drill which tree and whether the person who drilled also got to use the hammer to tap the spile in. There was also much sap sampling- straight from the tap of course.
Since then I can’t count the number of times we’ve crossed the field to check on the sap levels. We have 4 buckets on each side of the field. It’s quite the journey across because it’s a ways, plus, every step has to be taken with caution. Sometimes the crust holds us up, or we may sink an inch or two, but the next step may send us suddenly lurching forward, sinking us down past our knees and potentially onto our faces, or alternatively, stuck like a turtle on our backs. It’s all good fun though.
So yesterday Ishi and I went around and collected the sap.
The first buckets didn’t have too much sap yet. I use my own methods to boil the sap down; it takes a while, so I don’t want build up too much in sap storage.
The trees on the other side of the field held a surprise for us-
our first full bucket. Those buckets are deceptive – they hold a lot! It just about filled my 5 gallon pail and with the little bit from the other buckets I had a slow return journey trying not to slosh sap over the sides of the pail.
Boiling it down has begun. Here’s to a great season- and syrup on waffles!
Here are some links to last year’s sap collecting posts back in Maine, using our previous collection method. An informational how to: Sap to Syrup and photos: Tapping the Trees: A Short Photo Essay.