This is our first year tapping trees and we've learned A LOT! First and foremost, we need to do a better job of identifying our sugar maple trees this summer. We moved in only 9 months ago and we weren't very observant as to what trees are where so this time around we'll make sure to keep a better record or journal of where they all are.
Bear ordered a spile and tubing kit from Amazon.
Lesson #1, use longer tubing if that's the route you're going. These tubes are too short so it limits how high we can go on the tree if the bucket is on the ground.
Bear also ordered 1 gallon buckets and cut a small hole in the lid to accommodate the tubing.
Lesson #2, use larger buckets. When that sap gets flowing, this lil' bucket will fill up within hours.
And finally, Lesson #3.....have plenty of storage and a plan. We filled up all of our buckets and reserve storage faster than anticipated. We were scrambling to boil it all down and make room for the buckets that were filling up in the meantime.
In order to spare my kitchen from the steam, Bear rigged his grill to accommodate a large pot. He set bricks on the top of the grill and put the pot on top of the bricks so he could feed sticks in to the fire between the bricks and keep the syrup boiling. It was tedious, and next year we plan to build a rocket stove to spare his grill. In the meantime, I'd boil down a smaller pot each night in the kitchen just to keep up with production.
Overall, we've loved the experience and plan to make this a tradition.