Sugaring!

by Michelle on March 14, 2009

Maple syrup making, aka “sugaring“ takes place at the end of winter all over the northeast, midwest and Canada. Maple Sugar farms and some backyard enthusiasts known as “sugarmakers“ look for weather that alternates between freezing and thawing; the temperature fluxuations is what makes the sap flow. Sugaring weather usually starts around the beginning of March, and normally lasts for about six weeks.

I am so excited!

My first grade teacher, Mrs. Wilcox, owned a Maple Tree Farm and every once in a while she would give us maple sugar candy as a treat. Mrs. Wilcox was very proud of her farm and would tell us stories upon stories about daily farm life. I still remember some of those stories and I can almost taste the maple sugar candy. I have wanted to tap a maple tree since I was 7 years old and I finally did it today! WOW! I am just so excited.

I watched some Youtube videos (I love this guy’s Maine accent), to get some ideas. You only need a few tools; Drill, Hammer, Maple Sugar Tap, Bucket and of course a Maple Tree but Oaks work well too. Your maple tree needs to be big enough to hug so I’d say probably at least 25 years old and a good 25-30″ around.

Drill a hole with an upward slate about 2″ into the tree. Then pound the tap into the tree. I used a 2by4 as a cushion because you can break the tap if you’re not careful.

Here I am setting the sugar tap dressed to the “9s” in my finest sugaring outfit. Joe seemed to enjoy getting the “behind” shot. Not that my size 8 butt is that big but gee thanks honey?

I bought my sugaring buckets years ago at a flea market for $1 a piece and they’ve been stored in our barn ever since. It took me some time to find the buckets and they were covered with cob webs and straw so a thorough washing was due.

On the tap there’s a little hook for the bucket. But you can rig up many different things to catch the sap. Some people use coffee cans or plastic bags. But the sap is heavy so make sure that whatever you use will hold the weight.

If there’s a cold night and then a warm day the sap really starts running. So it will be fun to see how the weather effects the sap totals. Yes, I am a weather fanatic and will keep track of the temperatures and yield.

Here’s a close up of the sap as it’s running down the tap. Actually the sap started running as soon as I drilled the hole. I’m still so excited and it’s such a simple thing. But it’s so much fun to finally do something you’ve always wanted to try. Thank you, you gorgeous Maple, you just made my month!

I am still so excited!!!!!!!!!!!

Here’s my Maple Tree in Nov 2008. Not only is a gorgeous tree throughout the seasons, it’s going to sweeten our table as well.

AllRightsReserved©BigBlackDog

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Comments

  • Elyse March 14, 2009 at 11:09 pm

    This is so exciting!! Congrats on setting up this wonderful tap. Can’t wait to hear more updates.

  • Melissa Clifford March 15, 2009 at 1:04 am

    This is one of the most beautiful, most pure things I’ve seen. It’s perfect.

  • Pam March 15, 2009 at 1:10 am

    I agree, this is exciting. I can’t wait to see what you get.

  • Elyse March 15, 2009 at 1:30 am

    that is so fun!!! today we took our boys to watch the boiling process, tasted some FRESH maple syrup, and then bought ourselves a jug. guess what we’re having for breakfast tomorrow? very cool!looks like another elyse! i will have to say hello!ps – happy pink saturday!

  • Joie de vivre March 15, 2009 at 1:43 am

    Thought I’d stop by for a visit since you’ve been so nice on Twitter. I contemplated planting a big ol’ sugar maple in our front yard here in Southeast WA. After thinking it over though, probably not the smartest move being so close to the house, sewer and water mains, etc. But I’ve always wanted to try it too. There is a recipe for making your own maple syrup from sap in an old edition of Joy of Cooking that I have. I don’t know why I was surprised that the sap was clear? Nice to visit your space! Thanks for having me!

  • katrina March 15, 2009 at 2:04 am

    Sugaring is so exciting – and it makes Spring come a little faster! Congratulations!

  • MyThoughtsMyVoice March 15, 2009 at 6:13 am

    Oh I wonder what you’ll make out of them :-)One thing’s for sure, it’s ……. swweeeeettttttttttttt :-)

  • Angela March 15, 2009 at 7:15 pm

    AWESOME! I’m so excited for you! Your post reminded me of a “Little Bear” episode I watched with my kids. Did you do more than one tree? Thanks for visiting my blog.Happy Pink Saturday!Angela

  • giz March 15, 2009 at 10:38 pm

    The tree is totally awesome – so majestic looking. We went to the sugar bush today – posting it this week – it’s fantastic isn’t it? I have yet to make my own.

  • Natashya KitchenPuppies March 16, 2009 at 12:34 am

    Wow! Our own little maple syrup maker! I love the real stuff, dark and tasting just a little like tree.

  • Deb Beisel March 16, 2009 at 4:33 am

    I’m excited for you too. You can visit my pictures of sugaring on http://biggreenplanet.spaces.live.com/default.aspx?sa=536137743 I love sipping the sap as it comes out of the tree. If you get a bucket full, you can dip out a cup, heat it and add a tea bag. Sweet, pure tea, yum. We boiled down 100 gal of sap Sat and today for 2 1/2 gal of syrup. It’s worth it. Hope you enjoy your syrup. Let me know how it turns out.

  • Andrea at Nummy Kitchen March 16, 2009 at 2:47 pm

    Wow, this looks like so much fun! Your maple tree is gorgeous. We love going to the maple tree farms for their syrup festivals, I was just checking the calendar for events. How neat that you can do it right at home!

  • artis1111 March 16, 2009 at 7:00 pm

    My pancakes are ready!!! hehe This would be so much fun to do. Kathy

  • Kathleen March 17, 2009 at 2:17 am

    That’s great! Now I have to go look for a tree…Where do you get the tap?BTW, Mr Linky is up..and working..hooray!

  • Kayte March 20, 2009 at 1:34 am

    What a fun post…I enjoyed seeing and reading all this so much…thanks for sharing! I can’t wait to get the next installment!

  • Maggie March 21, 2009 at 12:27 pm

    How awesome! I’ve always wanted to try this myself.

  • Feast on the Cheap March 3, 2011 at 1:35 pm

    So exciting! This is definitely the stuff you miss out on living in a city…

    • Michelle March 3, 2011 at 2:29 pm

      You can tap a Maple or Oak in the city! You just need some simple tools and a big enough tree.

  • lo March 3, 2011 at 2:40 pm

    I’m all excited for/with you! I’ve always wanted to tap some trees on my parents’ property, but have never gotten around to doing it. Can’t wait to read more about your maple syruping adventures!!

  • Mary March 3, 2011 at 7:43 pm

    Yeah! Good for you! You will love this. Please feel free to visit my maple sugaring in Maine blog. I make maple syrup from about 15 trees in my back yard and have been recording the process via my blog for the past 3 years. Fun stuff! Good luck!

  • Shelby March 4, 2011 at 5:07 am

    My cousin makes maple syrup too and I LOVE IT. I always get two gallons from her because one gallon does not last a year in our house! YUMMY!

  • Grace March 5, 2011 at 11:06 am

    You’ve taken me right back to grade school Michelle. We used to visit the sugar bush once a year. It was a tradition my husband and I picked up again when the kids were younger. We would enjoy the wagon rides and of course warm apple cider. Thanks for the memories. I am so jealous, what a wonderful opportunity and what a beautiful Maple tree. Your property is lovely, you must enjoy it very much.

  • Amanda March 6, 2011 at 8:19 am

    Wow Michelle, that’s really cool! What a fun post!!

  • simplesoul April 28, 2011 at 9:00 am

    I remember Farmville.. Now I know what a maple tree is and my questions had been answered. I was wondering why there’s no fruit to harvest instead a liquid or something in its stem.. hehe

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