Friday, February 27, 2009

More Adventures in DIY

Say... What's he doing there with that drill, a tree, some buckets and a curious 3 year old?

Maple tapping, that's what!

(I just love that my resourceful husband is so willing to try these kind of "old-fashioned" projects!)

We have four beautiful maple trees in our yard. They make wonderful shade in the summer, keeping our yard and house so cool and pleasant. We really love them, but I admit that sometimes we begrudge them the space they take up on our small property. We're really into producing our own food, but not much will grow in the deep shade under these big trees. So this year, we're putting them to work. They may be older than we are, but they still have to earn their keep. We figure that our four trees should easily be able to provide us with enough enough syrup for our own use, and maybe even more.

Many of our Amish neighbors are tapping their maples and making syrup now, so one of them came over this morning to show us how to do it. He and Nathan quickly set the taps and now we (and I use the term "we" loosely, as PW would say) just have to empty the buckets every day. We'll be taking the sap down to the Amish neighbors house where they'll be cooking large quantities throughout the "run" as it's called.

It's amazing how fast the sap actually flows. As soon as the hole was drilled, the sap (which tastes like sweet water-- I tasted it!) starts dribbling down the tree.

It takes 30-40 gallons of sap to get a gallon of syrup. But we could get several gallons of sap each day from each tree for as long as the run goes on, which I'm told can be up to a month depending on the weather (freezing at night and just above freezing during the day is ideal).

I am very excited about this undertaking!

Jonah tagged along with grocery bags in his boots because he got them wet and muddy yesterday. He didn't like the bags, but it was better than the alternative, so he put up with it.

I can tell that he, too, is dreaming of summer when he can play in the sandbox and pool. Barefoot, instead of wearing bags on his feet.

So now I know that spring really is around the corner. I can tell by the buckets hanging on my trees!


  1. AWESOME!!

    When I was a teenager and we lived in Holly, MI we had three or four HUGE sugar maples in the front yard. One year Randy tapped them and I don't know who (prolly Dad and Randy) made syrup with it. I remember we (I) wouldn't eat it because the sap was discovered to have a dead mouse floating in it. Dad tried to esplain that the syrup was boiled and sterilized and such, but I wasn't buying it.

    It is so cool that you are doing this and that you can use the neighbor's evaporator. Otherwise it would be a ridiculous amount of work.

  2. Mom-- I read your comment to Nathan and he said, "Hm. Sounds like Alyssa..."

    Yeah, I guess the neighbors have a pretty awesome evaporator system and it's no extra work for them if we dump our sap in there with theirs. We've never done this before because we couldn't figure out how we would cook it.

  3. Why the heck does that sound like me? He REALLY must not know me.

    Tell him he needs to come visit and get to know the REAL me, not some....idk...whatever...

  4. wow! just this morning my 5 year old was asking when we could make our own maple syrup. the fact that we live in texas doesn't seem to discourage her need to make her own! that is sooo cool that you guys are doing that!

  5. What a terrific project! And your very own maple syrup, all year long. I'm green.