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.