Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Tree tapping day!

I wasn't sure if we were going to get to it this year because we have been extra busy.  But this winter has been mean, harsh and nasty BUT it has been a fantastic year for sap so the tapping weather stuck around long enough for me to get to it!  Last night was the night.  I was determined to do it this week because the entire week should be lovely for good sap flow. 

Last year we only tapped two trees to try it.  This year we decided to do all 6.  So after a quick trip to the Amish farm store around the corner to get taps and tubing we were set to tap.  We were trying to be resourceful and find the cheapest way to collect.  Last year we had a tubing system which worked well but was more costly than we would like.  Not that we consider this a money saving venture but we also don't want to spend a bunch of money on it.  This year we used a combination of milk jugs, tubing and rubermaid containers.  Pretty much what we had on hand other than the taps and a little tubing.  Bottom line is you don't need any fancy equimpent if you ever want to try it yourself.  If you have a milk jug, a little tubing and some twine you can pull this off.  It can be a fun learning experience!  Or you can read about me doing it and make me do all the work and you can follow along in the process.  Also taps are cheap I bought some online last year for $2.50 but this year I found them here locally for plastic one they were only $.52.

It was a fairly quick process except when my dear husband got a bit zealous and broke the bit off in the tree.  So a quick trip to Lowes and we finished just before dark with the first 4 trees at least since I needed some time to come up with a few more collection methods.

Here is the over zealous husband and our crazy little helpers!

Milk jug metal taps and tubing, method.

We came up with this last year.  It is a combination of tubes and connectors all going in to one 5 gallon bucket.  It works ok but the jugs are a bit better and less cost and less complicated.

These are the milk jugs and plastic taps.  The plastic taps are made to fit that blue tubing so it all fits great and easy to put together.

I got to last two today.  I invited a friend and her kids to come over and take part in it.  Here is me and my wild monkey "helpers".

Here is a closer look at the platic taps, tubing and milk jug assembly.

 This is the last tree.  Here we had some tubing and a rubermaid container so I drilled 3 holes in the top for the tubes and just connected it all.

If you look close you can see the sap line.  This was only 20 minutes after tapping.

This morning we woke up to some gallon jugs over flowing and others almost full!  For a total of 9 gallons in about 12 hours!  And that is only the four.  So we are adding two more to that today.  So after 7 days of collecting 20 gallons a day we should end up with 140 gallons!  That is fantastic except when it comes to the fact that we are not adequately prepared to store 140 gallons of liquid.  So we get to practice our resourcefulness again and come up with something.  The cool thing is sap to syrup is about 40-1 so 140/40 we are talking over 3 gallons of syrup!!!  That is awesome!  We shall see how the week goes and I will try to update you on collection numbers.

Lastly our resourcefulness will be tried again when it comes time to boil.  I have a feeling there will not be a whole lot of sleeping going on for a couple days.  But I am going to see if there is interest in a boiling party with some friends of ours and at least it would be fun times!

My hopes are to continue this series with the rest of the sugaring (that is what it is called by the "real" syrup people,though I don't know how much sense it makes) process along with some of the technicality of tree tapping.


  1. we havnt tapped in a few years, but when we did we just did a tree or two and i kept a big pot boiling on the woodstove. the house was warm and sticky smelling, but i could keep up with it that way!

  2. The sap runs more in the morning. I have read a ton about this. I would love to do it. You will have to check your bottles earlier. How fun. And yummy!


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