Simply Resourceful

Simple ways to be more conscious about how we use our resources.

Preparing for Maple Syrup Tapping

We are really excited to finally live in an area where we can tap maple trees for syrup!  We are doing a small operation here with maybe 2 dozen taps and we are boiling the traditional way over an open fire outside.

In the above picture I am measuring the circumference of a tree and recording it in my notebook.  I am still learning tree identification without relying on leaves so I wrapped pink surveyors tap around each tree.  The circumference tells me if the tree is large enough to tap and how many taps I can drill.

I sketched maps showing the location, size, and species of each maple tree.

We are using traditional metal buckets with lids for our small-scale operation.

I found several maple trees on the property that have large splits in the trunk.  From what I could find doing a general Google search, these splits are caused from drastic freezing and warming temperatures.  I won't be tapping these trees because I consider them wounded and/or stressed.  Perhaps they are also diseased?

We used bricks left from the previous owner to make the fire place area.  We are still working on the design but this is our first try.

My dad found this kettle at an antique store for $55.00.  It holds about 25 gallons and will be used for boiling the sap. 

To support the kettle, my Dad welded a stand for it to sit on. The stand can also be used as a grill.

We are going to need a lot of wood to burn for the sap boiling.  This is a snapshot of what the woods looked like after the Derecho storm and Hurricane Sandy.

These 4 gallon water jugs are thrown away at Jon's work because there isn't curbside recycling pickup here. These jugs will hold the sap we collect from the trees before boiling over the fire.


Sonny Jobe December 3, 2012 at 7:59 PM  

I live in WV and have several hundred maples tapped. I would recommend that you reconsider tapping the trees like the one from your picture. It will provide you god sap for years.

Holly December 4, 2012 at 5:00 AM  

Hi Sonny,

Thanks for the recommendation. I may have to try those if we have enough taps.


warren December 6, 2012 at 9:54 AM  

We used to cook sap over an open fire and it gets super hot...if those aren't firebricks, they will eventually be adversely effected by the heat and may fail. I'd hate for your sap to dump if part of it caved in...just thinking out loud...

Holly December 6, 2012 at 12:25 PM  

Thanks Warren for your wise words. I think they are firebricks leftover from when the previous owners built the fireplace for the house. If they aren't, I guess we'll find out!

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A weekly update on our adventures of trying to be more self-sufficient by using resources wisely. We explore a variety of topics that most broadly fit in the "Homesteading" category, i.e. beekeeping, organic gardening, edible landscaping/fruit forest, food preservation/canning, woodworking, soap-making, and environmental stewardship.

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