It's Maple Time In Upland!

Dateline: 19 February 2017

My first taps of 2017.

I finished my income taxes yesterday, so the most dreadful time of the year is now behind me. And today the sun came out. A warm stretch of weather is in the forecast. It is time to make maple syrup.

Last year at the end of maple season I bought 10 new stainless steel spiles like you can see in the next picture (on the right)...

The traditional-style spile on the left requires a 7/16" tap hole. But the new style of spile on the right requires only a 5/16" tap hole. I like the idea of making a smaller hole in the tree. And I like the quality of the machined stainless steel tap.  

Every spring that we've made maple syrup in the past, I have always spent a lot of time getting the evaporator set-up (as you can see above) in place. But last year, after maple season was done, I just left everything right where it was in the wood shelter next to our house. That was a first. So, all I had to do today was uncover the equipment and hook up the stovepipe.

We have been making our own maple syrup since our kids were little. And we've made some great family memories along the way. Back in 2008 I blogged a whole series about how we do Backyard Sugaring

The beauty of our system is that it is very low-tech, and the evaporator is set up right next to our house (for convenient tending through the day and into the night). 

I have never wanted a more deluxe evaporator, and I've never wanted to tap more than the 20 to 25 (occasionally up to 30) trees we typically tap. The simplicity, the rusticity, and the economy of our system suits us perfectly. We can make more than enough gallons of maple syrup to supply our needs for the year. I have homemade maple syrup in my coffee every morning.

All of which is to say... I've gone from the most dreadful time of the year yesterday to one of the most delightful times of the year today. Maple season is that special.


  1. How much of that beautiful stack of wood is left when you are finally done "cooking the sugar"? Back in the day, not so many moons ago, I used to love splitting and stacking wood! Beautiful day here also. Got the hole dug for my root cellar right next to the barn. Of course I cheated a bit using a mini excavator to do all the "hard" work of manipulating those two levers! Phew, I'm tired, time for a nappy!
    Hope you get lots of syrup put up this spring. I am also hoping for a good apple year this year as we got zilch last year! So no cider at all and I'm damned if I was going to buy enough apples from the store!

    1. Hello Everett,
      Digging with a mini-excavator sounds like fun. Your gardening season is obviously closer than mine. There is still snow and frost in the ground here. If you had a bad apple year last year, you should have a good one this year. That seems to be the way it goes, eh? Most of that wood is "house wood" I have several pallets of "syrup wood" covered with a tarp and old metal roofing. It is primarily poplar that blew down in my woods a couple years ago. Burns fast and hot. Good enough for maple syrup production.

  2. I enjoy making syrup also. My grandson helps me. We put out a 100 taps here in Michigan yesterday. We usually only put out 50. But my grandson wants to make a little extra and try selling it.

    M in Northern MI

    1. M—
      It warms my heart to know you and your grandson are making maple syrup together!

  3. It sounds lovely. Something we in the more southerly climes never experience.

    1. Toridhealidbeach Beucail—
      I'm sorry. But there are certainly other plusses to being in those southerly climes!