Well, it is that time of year again. Today after getting home from work we went out and tapped a few maple trees. This year we tapped three trees, our maple on the boulevard in front of our house and the two gigantic maples at my parents house. These are the same trees that we have tapped the past two years, and they have always produced very well for us. It was fun being outside performing this ritual again. This is our third year tapping maples and I think it is becoming a family tradition.
In Minnesota, our winters can get quite long, and sometimes kind of depressing, so it is nice having something to look forward to at the end of the cold and dark winter. It is a way for us to usher in spring, and start anew. We are really not doing much different from last year. The one new piece of equipment that I got for this is the proper bit to use when tapping the trees. Last year I was using a spade bit, this year I am using an auger bit and it works so much better. The spade bit would dull easily, and it also left a lot of debris inside the hole. By nature, the auger bit spits out the debris as you are drilling the hole. One other note and difference from last year is the spiles, or taps that I am using. Last year I made my own out of stainless steel pipe, this year I am using prefabricated maple spiles made out of cast aluminum that I received from a friend. The homemade spiles worked just fine, although they were a bit harder to remove from the tree after the sugaring season was done. Other than that everything is the same, we are using tubing and five gallon buckets to collect the sap, and the DIY maple syrup evaporator (aka-The Maple Hog) is ready to go. The articles I wrote last year concerning backyard maple sugarin’ are by far the most popular posts to date on this site; here are the links to all of them if you want a quick reference…Part 1…Part 2… Part 3….and Part 4. They cover building a maple syrup evaporator, tapping trees and making spiles, boiling down the sap, and the finished, sweet end result. Good luck to everyone out there sugarin’, and if ya’ all have any questions or comments you can leave your remarks here or email me at email@example.com. Cheers!