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Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Great day to do the wash AND boil sap!

     The temperature is going into the fifties today and there is a stiff breeze blowing.  It's a great day to do the wash and hang it outside to dry.
     I plugged up the silver maple that is in our front yard because it has budded.  This particular maple tree always buds early.  Its sap now smells woody.  Time for me to quit pestering that tree and let it do its thing and let it get on to leafing out.  However, the sugar maples that are down by the creek generally bud late, not for a couple weeks yet as long as cold nights hold out for a spell.  I tapped three more trees down there and already the jugs each have about a quart of sap in them.
     I will be boiling sap again tonight (already boiled down two gallons this morning) as well as working on re-writes of my novel.  Oh, I'll also be folding laundry.
     So far I have a quart and a half of syrup in the refrigerator. 


  1. So this is a test comment. I could look this all up, but never do mind finding a knowlegable source speaking from experience all in one place: so, wouldn't hurt my feelings to have a whole layout of sap tapping: what size trees, or how many taps per inch diameter tree, or whatever. Why do you hang out the whole time you are boiling? What do you use for buckets and how do you hang them? What's the temperature rule for when to start tapping? When to stop? You could call this, "Sap for Dummies."

  2. Thank you, Dennis, for asking so many good questions. In Pennsylvania we wait till second week of February. It used to be first week of March but now you have to go outside and sniff the wind and say "Now is the time." When the nights go below 32 F and the days around 45 to 50. We had that in January this year, but it was not normal for us. So I waited. If you tap a tree too early it might not give and it might heal over - not good. So I waited. Trees should be at least 10" in diameter. If you have a clump of maple(you know, the kind where many large branches grow up from one root - go ahead a put a tap in a couple of the branches as long as thery are 10" in diameter. One tap per 10" or more of trunk and about 3' up from the ground. Maybe 4'. Talk to the tree. Feel it out. That's what I do. I always talk to the trees. I use plasic water jugs because then not so many bugs get in them. You can always strain out the bugs anyways, and WTH, a boiled bug won't kill you. Don't use milk jugs. The fat residue will sour your sap. I use an 16 penny nail (#16 but it doesn't matter what # as long as the nail holds) and a pipe cleaner for a loop on the jus. See the pictures! Spare me the 1000 words. I stop tapping the tree when it buids - when you can see clumps of stuff at the ends of the high branches.

  3. Thanks---very confidence-engendering.

    Peter Falk memorial moment:

    One more say you plug the hole when you've finished. How?

  4. Cut a twig from the tree or find one on the ground that is approximately same size as the hole drilled, and pound it into the tap hole, kind of like corking up a bottle. Use a small twig for the nail hole.


Comments on this blog are welcome. Ask questions, post your own experiences about the subject, post recipes, helpful tips, stories. Thanks! ~Bev