Tapping My Maples

So after two posts on maple spiles, I’m finally getting to the point: tapping my maple trees! We have about a dozen maples in out yard, but I’m only tapping four today, with my neighbor tapping two more on Wednesday. I was worried that it might take a lot of work, but I actually finished very quickly, and the sap is flowing faster than I had imagined!

To tap a tree, find a large root, and drill between two and four feet above it. Make sure you drill at an angle, so the sap will flow out more easily. Unexpectedly, the simple wooden taps work better than the metal ones, so I don’t think I will be putting effort into making metal spiles in the future.

2-First Tap

Here I am pushing in my first tap. Within seconds it started dripping like crazy!

3-Running

I inserted a metal hook right above the spile, and then hung the bucket from that.

The metal spiles are similar, but for some reason they produced less flow than the wooden ones.

8-Metal Spile

After letting them run for about 45 minutes, I collected the buckets, and poured them out through  a strainer lined with a cloth into a five-gallon bucket. I had 1-2 cups in each bucket already! .

13-Straining

I then rehung the buckets, and covered them with plastic to keep leaves, bugs, and rain out.

11-Covering

Now, I just have to empty the buckets regularly. Once I have enough collected, I can boil it down to make syrup! If I fill the entire five-gallon bucket, it should make about a pint of syrup.

~The Homesteading Hippy

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