Finally, maple season has started here at the farm. Last week we tapped the maples and have 25 buckets collecting sap. So far we got enough sap to make about 1.5 gallons of syrup. The first batch is in the house ready to finish.
We do the majority of boiling outside, down in the woods where the sap is collected. The evaporating pan sits on a wood fired stove. This way most of the 39 gallons of water that must be boiled off to get one gallon of syrup will go into the atmosphere and not into our house. When the syrup is reduced to about 4 gallons we carry it to the house and reduce it to syrup on the stove where the temperature can be better controlled.
I drill each tap hole with my antique hand drill, making a 7/16″ hole for the spile. The sap runs out the spile and into the bucket. On a good run day when the temperature is in the 40sF and it’s not too windy, a tree will nearly fill a 2 gallon bucket. Older trees that are over two feet in diameter can have more than one tap in them.
When the sap is running well, the sound of drops plinking into buckets fills the maple sugar bush. This time of running sap and early spring work passes quickly. In a blink the snow will be melted away and the temperatures stay above freezing at night. The trees start to open their leaf buds and sap season is over.