Tag Archives: maple sugar

Tapping Trees

A couple of people have expressed interest in seeing more about making maple syrup, so I headed on over to the farm today to visit everyone tapping trees.  I’m no expert, but I used to help when I was a kid and I understand the basic process.  If you would like to learn to make maple syrup, I suggest you speak to people in your area for more specifics.

Step 1: Gather materials.  A big family (or lots of friends) is important, because lots of hands make quick work.  You’ll also need:

  • Farm Dogs- They’re not required, but why wouldn’t you want to bring the dogs along?



  • Transportation vehicles- Again, not required, but they make it more fun. 

My cousin’s truck: Big Blue

Nate on his quad cutting off me and Jon on the gator. See mom? I told you I had proof!

  • Oh yes, you can’t make maple syrup without: maple trees, drills, quills, hooks, pails, covers, tubing.

Step 2: Drill holes in the maple trees.  We used to use hand-drills when I was little, but now battery drills are much faster.

Um, Dad, I seem to remember that you’re not supposed to climb ladders due to your bad back!!!

Drilling a hole

The bigger and older the tree, the more taps you can put on it.

Step 3: Hammer in the quill. A quill is like a little spout that allows the sap to pour out.

Step 4: Hang pails or attach tubing. We use both pails and tubing to collect the sap.  They each have their own advantages.

Pails have a nice old-fashioned look to them.  The disadvantage is that you have to collect sap from them every day to avoid overflow. 

They also have covers, but I forgot to take pictures of them…

Tubing for sap lines is convenient because it runs from tree to tree and collects in a container.  The advantage is that you don’t have to collect sap every day, it runs right into the collection tank.  However, it just doesn’t have the same New England rustic appeal that the metal pails have.

After the trees are tapped, you hope for the perfect weather for the sap to run.  Temperatures need to be freezing at night, but above freezing during the day.  When you get enough sap, you can start boiling it down in the sugar house to make maple syrup.  It takes 40 gallons of sap to make 1 gallon of maple syrup.


Filed under Living from Scratch, Local Agriculture, Sustainable Living

Tapping Trees

Sunday Stroll

Today, Ed’s family took advantage of the warm weather to get outside and tap trees.  Maple syrup is a tradition that both of our families carry on.  I remember when I first started dating Ed, he was so happy that I could talk to his dad about tapping trees, making maple syrup, and I even got to make maple sugar candy with him.


Pails collect the sap the old fashioned way.


Melissa and Chris also set up sap lines, plastic tubing that runs through the woods and lets the sap collect into a large drum.


The sap was running today thanks to the warm weather, but it’ll be cold again this week.  The sap will pick up when the weather warms up more during the day.  My family will wait to tap their trees until then.


Ed and his dad split wood for the fire that boils the sap down into syrup.


Molly, the Scottish Highlander, wonders what everyone is doing in her pen.


The little sap house sits waiting, with stacks of wood next to it.  Soon, it will be filled with bubbling sap and sweet steam.

And don’t worry, I’ll be sure to post my family’s maple syrup set up when they tap trees, too!

To see who else is strolling today, visit the Quiet Country House.


Filed under Food, Local Agriculture, Outside, Sustainable Living