How to Tap your Trees for Maple Syrup

March 5, 2012

We're still puttering away on our bathroom renovation, 17 days into it. Considering where we were, I think we`re doing pretty well since we're already at the drywall and tiling stage (well, almost at the tiling stage).

Sunday morning was a little bit of a tough one. If you follow me on Twitter, you might have seen that our furnace crapped out sometime in the night. We woke up to a house at just 14 degrees Celcius (sorry folks, I have no idea what that means in Farenheit!). Mike may or may not have equated our morning with living in a third world country. Clearly - or maybe not so - this was when the frustration had worn off and we were no longer cursing our house. Our furnace repair guy is great, and came over early in the afternoon, which we really weren't expecting on a Sunday. We're now the proud owners of a brand new fan motor, and are toasty warm once again.

But on to the title of the post!

maple syrup tap

Friday evening after work, Mike and I tapped five of the six maple trees on our property that are mature enough to collect sap from. The mature tree that we didn't tap is a huge old maple that didn't produce all that well last year. I have visions of it dying, which would make me incredibly sad, so I convinced him to leave it be (I have no idea if there is any scientific basis for this).

If you have sugar maples of your own (or birch trees, which Martina from Adventures in Building Beauty tipped me off on), and are interested in making your own maple syrup, you might find the following information useful (note that we are not experts by any means!).

What you'll need:
  • spiles (see the picture above for what a spile is)
  • collection buckets 
  • bucket lids 
  • drill bit (size will depend on the size of your spile)
  • cordless drill (battery operated or gas powered)
  • hammer
We get all of our equipment from Atkinson Maple Syrup Supplies, a company based out of Orillia, about a half an hour's drive from our place. We purchased their handy "Beginner's Bucket Kit" last year. While I prefer the classic look of metal spiles and galvanized buckets, they didn't come in a kit. We did end up with some metal spiles though, because some of the plastic ones went missing in a brutal wind storm!

What you'll need to do:

1. Pre-drill holes for your spiles. This information sheet has great detailed instructions on how many spiles you can use per tree, as well as how deep to drill.

tap tree maple syrup drill

2. Insert your spile into the hole, and lightly hammer to set in place.

3. Hang your bucket from the hook on the spile. Each bucket should have a hole specifically for this purpose.

maple syrup tap collection bucket plastic

4. Attach the bucket lid. Our metal lids have a little metal rod that slides out.

maple syrup bucket lid metal

Slide the rod out far enough so that the gap at the "top" of the lid is open.

maple syrup bucket lid

Position the lid over your spile, and slide the rod through the holes located on either side of the spile.

maple syrup bucket lid metal tap spile

After sliding the rod all the way into place, you're set! The sap was flowing pretty good on Friday evening, but we had a pretty bad windstorm over night and a lot of our buckets blew off the trees, dumping a bunch of sap. Even so, we've collected around 8 gallons already. Which doesn't translate to that much syrup because sap has a really high water content that gets boiled off.

As we carry on with our syrup making activities, I'll be adding more of these "how to" posts - I hope you enjoy them!

If you feel so inclined to "pin" this post, I've made a labeled picture so that you can easily remember at a glance why you pinned it to your Pinterest board.

How to tap your trees for Maple Syrup lightened

Wait! There's more! Over at One House, One Couple, Lisha has awarded me with the very first Yostie Blog Award! Check back tomorrow for more details of my acceptance (and passing on) of this award.

I linked this post up to...

Home Stories A2Z
Homestead Barn Hop #52

Blog Design by Nudge Media Design | Powered by Blogger