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Big Black Dog: Sugaring!

March 14, 2009

Sugaring!


From Vermont Maple Syrup: Maple syrup making, known as “sugaring“ takes place all over the Northeastern U.S. and Canada just as winter is losing its grip. The maple producers, or “sugarmakers“ look for weather that alternates between freezing and thawing; this is what makes the sap flow. In Vermont, sugaring weather usually starts around the beginning of March, and normally lasts for about six weeks.


I am so excited!

My first grade teacher, Mrs. Wilcox, owned a Maple Tree Farm and every once in a while she would give us maple sugar candy as a treat. Mrs. Wilcox was very proud of her farm and would tell us stories upon stories about daily farm life. I still remember some of those stories and I can almost taste the maple sugar candy. I have wanted to tap a maple tree since I was 7 years old and I finally did it today! WOW! I am just so excited.

I watched some Youtube videos (I love this guy's Maine accent), to get some ideas. You only need a few tools; Drill, Hammer, Maple Sugar Tap, Bucket and of course a Maple Tree but Oaks work well too. Your maple tree needs to be big enough to hug so I'd say probably at least 25 years old and a good 25-30" around.

Drill a hole with an upward slate about 2" into the tree. Then pound the tap into the tree. I used a 2by4 as a cushion because you can break the tap if you're not careful.







Here I am setting the sugar tap dressed to the "9s" in my finest sugaring outfit. Joe seemed to enjoy getting the "behind" shot. Not that my size 10 butt is that big but gee thanks honey?












I bought my sugaring buckets years ago at a flea market for $1 a piece and they've been stored in our barn ever since. It took me some time to find the buckets and they were covered with cob webs and straw so a thorough washing was due.

On the tap there's a little hook for the bucket. But you can rig up many different things to catch the sap. Some people use coffee cans or plastic bags. But the sap is heavy so make sure that whatever you use will hold the weight.

If there's a cold night and then a warm day the sap really starts running. So it will be fun to see how the weather effects the sap totals. Yes, I am a weather fanatic and will keep track of the temperatures and yield.






Here's a close up of the sap as it's running down the tap. Actually the sap started running as soon as I drilled the hole. I'm still so excited and it's such a simple thing. But it's so much fun to finally do something you've always wanted to try. Thank you, you gorgeous Maple, you just made my month!

***Make sure to click on the below photo to enlarge it so you can see the sap dripping out of the tap.





I am still so excited!!!!!!!!!!!











Here's my Maple Tree in Nov 2008. Not only is a gorgeous tree throughout the seasons, it's going to sweeten our table as well.










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17 Comments:

Blogger Elyse said...

This is so exciting!! Congrats on setting up this wonderful tap. Can't wait to hear more updates.

March 14, 2009 at 6:09 PM  
Blogger Melissa Clifford said...

This is one of the most beautiful, most pure things I've seen. It's perfect.

March 14, 2009 at 8:04 PM  
Blogger Pam said...

I agree, this is exciting. I can't wait to see what you get.

March 14, 2009 at 8:10 PM  
Blogger Elyse said...

that is so fun!!! today we took our boys to watch the boiling process, tasted some FRESH maple syrup, and then bought ourselves a jug. guess what we're having for breakfast tomorrow?

very cool!

looks like another elyse! i will have to say hello!

ps - happy pink saturday!

March 14, 2009 at 8:30 PM  
Blogger Joie de vivre said...

Thought I'd stop by for a visit since you've been so nice on Twitter. I contemplated planting a big ol' sugar maple in our front yard here in Southeast WA. After thinking it over though, probably not the smartest move being so close to the house, sewer and water mains, etc. But I've always wanted to try it too. There is a recipe for making your own maple syrup from sap in an old edition of Joy of Cooking that I have. I don't know why I was surprised that the sap was clear? Nice to visit your space! Thanks for having me!

March 14, 2009 at 8:43 PM  
Anonymous katrina said...

Sugaring is so exciting - and it makes Spring come a little faster! Congratulations!

March 14, 2009 at 9:04 PM  
OpenID MyThoughtsMyVoice said...

Oh I wonder what you'll make out of them :-)One thing's for sure, it's ....... swweeeeettttttttttttt :-)

March 15, 2009 at 1:13 AM  
Blogger Maryann said...

I love sugaring time too! I would be just as excited as you!

March 15, 2009 at 9:14 AM  
Blogger Angela said...

AWESOME! I'm so excited for you! Your post reminded me of a "Little Bear" episode I watched with my kids. Did you do more than one tree?
Thanks for visiting my blog.
Happy Pink Saturday!
Angela

March 15, 2009 at 2:15 PM  
Blogger giz said...

The tree is totally awesome - so majestic looking. We went to the sugar bush today - posting it this week - it's fantastic isn't it? I have yet to make my own.

March 15, 2009 at 5:38 PM  
Blogger Natashya said...

Wow! Our own little maple syrup maker!
I love the real stuff, dark and tasting just a little like tree.

March 15, 2009 at 7:34 PM  
Anonymous Deb Beisel said...

I'm excited for you too. You can visit my pictures of sugaring on http://biggreenplanet.spaces.live.com/default.aspx?sa=536137743 I love sipping the sap as it comes out of the tree. If you get a bucket full, you can dip out a cup, heat it and add a tea bag. Sweet, pure tea, yum. We boiled down 100 gal of sap Sat and today for 2 1/2 gal of syrup. It's worth it. Hope you enjoy your syrup. Let me know how it turns out.

March 15, 2009 at 11:33 PM  
Blogger Andrea said...

Wow, this looks like so much fun! Your maple tree is gorgeous. We love going to the maple tree farms for their syrup festivals, I was just checking the calendar for events. How neat that you can do it right at home!

March 16, 2009 at 9:47 AM  
Blogger artis1111 said...

My pancakes are ready!!! hehe This would be so much fun to do. Kathy

March 16, 2009 at 2:00 PM  
Blogger Kathleen said...

That's great! Now I have to go look for a tree...Where do you get the tap?
BTW, Mr Linky is up..and working..hooray!

March 16, 2009 at 9:17 PM  
Anonymous Kayte said...

What a fun post...I enjoyed seeing and reading all this so much...thanks for sharing! I can't wait to get the next installment!

March 19, 2009 at 8:34 PM  
Blogger Maggie said...

How awesome! I've always wanted to try this myself.

March 21, 2009 at 7:27 AM  

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