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DPChallenge Forums >> General Discussion >> The sap's running! Yay!! :-)
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02/24/2013 02:26:57 PM · #1
Hey all

As some of you may have guessed, I have some sugar maples on my property and tap them each year and make maple syrup. Set my taps yesterday and as of now all the trees are starting to produce.

Well, mostly cause I have such a small bush, I like to try and rotate the trees a bit so no one tree gets stressed from being tapped each year. For the most part my sugaring setup is the traditional metal spiles and galvanized pails and lids. Commercial operations often use pale blue plastic tubing, which makes the job a lot easier if you have 1800 trees.

Anyway two of my trees - 3 and 4, my two biggest maples - have been very difficult to work with, mostly cause they have burls on their trunks at where you would normally tap. Burls essentially sop up any sap so they're like hige dense sponges. Trees with straight trunks and lots of branches are the best ones for tapping.

Now, 3 and 4 both have straight trunks...but the straightness only appears above the burls. Like a good 6.5 feet up. So obviously some thinking needed to be done, and I came up with a whacky idea.

It involves some of the traditional pails and lids, yes, but also involves 5-ft lengths of the tubing and spiles, a stepladder, a drill with a 3/8ths bit and oh yeah, a crazy woman with a good sense of balance :-) Here is the result: ' . substr('//images.dpchallenge.com/images_portfolio/55000-59999/59029/120/Copyrighted_Image_Reuse_Prohibited_1054768.jpg', strrpos('//images.dpchallenge.com/images_portfolio/55000-59999/59029/120/Copyrighted_Image_Reuse_Prohibited_1054768.jpg', '/') + 1) . '' . substr('//images.dpchallenge.com/images_portfolio/55000-59999/59029/120/Copyrighted_Image_Reuse_Prohibited_1054770.jpg', strrpos('//images.dpchallenge.com/images_portfolio/55000-59999/59029/120/Copyrighted_Image_Reuse_Prohibited_1054770.jpg', '/') + 1) . ' Looks pretty dumb, right?

But here's the kicker: my crazy-ass idea WORKS!!!! I checked the trees at noon today and was astonished to see 4 has already produced a good amount of sap and 3 was just starting to produce. The other 4 trees, geared up with the conventional galvanized, have also began producing a little later this afternoon, which is quite normal.

Either way I am so happy that sometimes my weird ideas pay off :-) So I think I'll call it the Chateau Snaffles Method :-)

Message edited by author 2013-02-24 14:27:57.
02/24/2013 02:48:44 PM · #2
Isn't it a bit early for the sap to start to flow?

Hopefully the folks in your area are more understanding than those who recently called in the cops because they mistook the neighbors' syrup-making operation for a meth lab ... :-(
02/24/2013 03:17:57 PM · #3
That's using your brain!!! Congrats! From a former upstate New Yorker - maple syrup is the ONLY kind to have!
02/24/2013 03:55:36 PM · #4
Reminds me that I have to order a bunch for friends of mine in Australia who apparently took a liking to maple syrup.

Just don't mention this to ' . substr('//www.dpchallenge.com/images/user_icon/21_F.gif', strrpos('//www.dpchallenge.com/images/user_icon/21_F.gif', '/') + 1) . ' Beetle...it's supposed to be a surprise. :O)

Ray
02/24/2013 04:13:24 PM · #5
ARGGGGHHHHHH I gained too much chub over the Thanksgiving thru Jan flu, I don't feel like moveing time. Back on WW and you post this.... ARggghhhhhhhhh

Any one who LOVES Maple Syrup should beg her to sell you some, It was the BEST I'VE EVER HAD IN THE WORLD ... I am drooling thinking about it!

Got any sugar free.... ROFLAMO
02/24/2013 04:28:42 PM · #6
Originally posted by littlemav:

ARGGGGHHHHHH I gained too much chub over the Thanksgiving thru Jan flu, I don't feel like moveing time. Back on WW and you post this.... ARggghhhhhhhhh

Any one who LOVES Maple Syrup should beg her to sell you some, It was the BEST I'VE EVER HAD IN THE WORLD ... I am drooling thinking about it!

Got any sugar free.... ROFLAMO


Psssssssssssst... I know where she lives, maybe I can pilfer...err convince her to give you some. :O)

Ray
02/24/2013 05:05:35 PM · #7
Originally posted by littlemav:

ARGGGGHHHHHH I gained too much chub over the Thanksgiving thru Jan flu, I don't feel like moveing time. Back on WW and you post this.... ARggghhhhhhhhh

Any one who LOVES Maple Syrup should beg her to sell you some, It was the BEST I'VE EVER HAD IN THE WORLD ... I am drooling thinking about it!

Got any sugar free.... ROFLAMO


+100
02/24/2013 07:10:06 PM · #8
Originally posted by GeneralE:

Isn't it a bit early for the sap to start to flow?

Hopefully the folks in your area are more understanding than those who recently called in the cops because they mistook the neighbors' syrup-making operation for a meth lab ... :-(


@ ' . substr('//www.dpchallenge.com/images/user_icon/user_id/1031.gif', strrpos('//www.dpchallenge.com/images/user_icon/user_id/1031.gif', '/') + 1) . ' GeneralE...Yes, it is a little early, and sometimes I don't get any sap for a day or two once the spiles are set. But all last week and every day, I've heard nothing but ideal tapping conditions - above zero during the day and below zero at night. So far I have collected a grand total of one litre :-)

And no fear, I doubt around here anyone would mistake my sugarbush for a meth lab - I don't have a sugarshack, which is probably what they thought was the lab. Though as you might have guessed, it is very good and very addictive!

@ ' . substr('//www.dpchallenge.com/images/user_icon/21_F.gif', strrpos('//www.dpchallenge.com/images/user_icon/21_F.gif', '/') + 1) . ' littlemav...sorry Katie, sugar-free maple syrup would be like potato chips without potatoes. Mind there are tons of good minerals etc in syrup, maple syrup is healthier than all other natural sugars. Even honey comes a distant 2nd.

Oh yeah technically I didn't sell you any maple syrup, just charged for the shipping ;-) And as ' . substr('//www.dpchallenge.com/images/user_icon/21_F.gif', strrpos('//www.dpchallenge.com/images/user_icon/21_F.gif', '/') + 1) . ' Kelli and a couple others can attest, they've sent me various goodies of their own in exchange!

Message edited by author 2013-02-24 19:12:32.
02/24/2013 07:13:10 PM · #9
I'd better be on that mail-to list, or there'll be trouble in Dodge :-) I'm putting Raymie to work as an enforcer on my behalf...
02/24/2013 09:03:15 PM · #10
Originally posted by Bear_Music:

I'd better be on that mail-to list, or there'll be trouble in Dodge :-) I'm putting Raymie to work as an enforcer on my behalf...


..Oh, oh...best that Raymee take out his trunk full of disguises. :O)

Ray
02/24/2013 09:06:22 PM · #11
And here I thought this thread might be about one of our members who is on the run from the law.....
02/24/2013 09:09:58 PM · #12
... actually, to me it sounds more like one of the people I work with when I see him running down the hall. :O)

Ray
02/24/2013 09:14:03 PM · #13


@ ' . substr('//www.dpchallenge.com/images/user_icon/21_F.gif', strrpos('//www.dpchallenge.com/images/user_icon/21_F.gif', '/') + 1) . ' littlemav...sorry Katie, sugar-free maple syrup would be like potato chips without potatoes. Mind there are tons of good minerals etc in syrup, maple syrup is healthier than all other natural sugars. Even honey comes a distant 2nd.

Oh yeah technically I didn't sell you any maple syrup, just charged for the shipping ;-) And as ' . substr('//www.dpchallenge.com/images/user_icon/21_F.gif', strrpos('//www.dpchallenge.com/images/user_icon/21_F.gif', '/') + 1) . ' Kelli and a couple others can attest, they've sent me various goodies of their own in exchange! [/quote]

Yep I know that, I just figgured I'd try to get you some $$$$ for this best in the world Maple syrup... We traded I sent her Sourguhm, for Syrup.. Now I guess if you haven't had home made sourguhm, it might be a real treat. But, I felt like I got the worlds best steak n I sent her cheap hamburger.. LOL ;)

Yeah healthy... only problem is Calories make me break out in FAT
02/24/2013 09:22:46 PM · #14
Originally posted by littlemav:

@ ' . substr('//www.dpchallenge.com/images/user_icon/21_F.gif', strrpos('//www.dpchallenge.com/images/user_icon/21_F.gif', '/') + 1) . ' littlemav...sorry Katie, sugar-free maple syrup would be like potato chips without potatoes. Mind there are tons of good minerals etc in syrup, maple syrup is healthier than all other natural sugars. Even honey comes a distant 2nd.

Oh yeah technically I didn't sell you any maple syrup, just charged for the shipping ;-) And as ' . substr('//www.dpchallenge.com/images/user_icon/21_F.gif', strrpos('//www.dpchallenge.com/images/user_icon/21_F.gif', '/') + 1) . ' Kelli and a couple others can attest, they've sent me various goodies of their own in exchange!


Yep I know that, I just figgured I'd try to get you some $$$$ for this best in the world Maple syrup... We traded I sent her Sourguhm, for Syrup.. Now I guess if you haven't had home made sourguhm, it might be a real treat. But, I felt like I got the worlds best steak n I sent her cheap hamburger.. LOL ;)

Yeah healthy... only problem is Calories make me break out in FAT [/quote]

Oh you should know that Snaffle's Maple Syrup is calorie free...try it again and see!
02/24/2013 09:54:28 PM · #15
Hmm I been thinking...of course I don't know how much syrup I will end up with, and legally I can't sell it as it's not been commercially processed. And in a couple of cases I haven't been able to send syrup abroad, ie Oz, for that very reason :-/

However if fellow food junkies are really interested I may end up with enough to trade for various regional and/or homemade nummies of comparable value. Shipping $$ will have to be discussed depending on where peeps live.

But first things first, I have to collect and boil down a helluvalot of sap first and this season will probably go into early April...so it'll be awhile!

Them's of you who are really serious, please PM me.
02/25/2013 12:13:18 AM · #16
Originally posted by snaffles:

I don't have a sugarshack, which is probably what they thought was the lab.

As I heard it, it was the kitchen in an ordinary suburban home ... :-(
02/25/2013 05:04:27 AM · #17
Originally posted by snaffles:

and legally I can't sell it as it's not been commercially processed.

The maple syrup companies must have been jumping for joy when that law was passed.
02/25/2013 05:15:12 AM · #18
Originally posted by JH:

Originally posted by snaffles:

and legally I can't sell it as it's not been commercially processed.

The maple syrup companies must have been jumping for joy when that law was passed.


...considering the amount of work involved, most people simply could not be bothered with making their own.

Ray
02/25/2013 07:32:27 AM · #19
Originally posted by GeneralE:

Originally posted by snaffles:

I don't have a sugarshack, which is probably what they thought was the lab.

As I heard it, it was the kitchen in an ordinary suburban home ... :-(


Which is where I process mine, too, though my home's rural...lots of steam involved!
02/25/2013 07:48:58 AM · #20
Oh btw someone asked whether a certain state (I forget which) produced maple syrup. According to where I hang out for all matters relating to maple syrup - Mapletrader.com (basically the equivalent of DPC in relation to matters pertaining to sugaring) - the following States produce:

Conneticut, Illinois, Indiana, Kentucky, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Vermont, Virginia, West Virginia and Wisconsin.

And apparently so does the entire country of Canada!!! :-)
02/25/2013 02:03:49 PM · #21
Brings back memories! From 1978 to 1995, I worked for a privately held medical equipment manufacturer in WI. Behind the factory, on our property was a few acres of woodland with some mature maples. Every Spring, a volunteer group of gals & guys would tap the maples and boil down the sap to make some pretty awesome syrup. Then we'd have a pancake breakfast! In the mid-1980's, we opened an on-site day care center, and they would involve the kids in the process of gathering the sap. A great learning experience for the young folks.
02/25/2013 02:21:18 PM · #22
Originally posted by kirbic:

A great learning experience for the young folks.

This whole thread is a learning experience for me. And, it's making me hungry for some pancakes. Careful on that ladder, Susan.
02/25/2013 02:57:17 PM · #23
There are coops here where you can take in sap from your trees during sugaring and trade it in combination with volunteering if you like for a share of the finished product. My friends tapped their two trees in their backyard...they didn't get much credit for the sap, but it was better than nothing.

Also, all maple sap will work, but the other maples' sap has a lower sugar content.
02/25/2013 03:09:16 PM · #24
Originally posted by Spork99:

Also, all maple sap will work, but the other maples' sap has a lower sugar content.


Yeh, I have three large Silver Maples, among the lowest species in sugar content. They are of a size that I could tap them, just not sure that I'd get enough sap to make the boil-down worth the trouble. Although I go through so little syrup (I'm the only one in our hosehold that prefers the real thing) that I suppose it could work. Hmmm.
02/25/2013 04:31:07 PM · #25
@ ' . substr('//www.dpchallenge.com/images/user_icon/21.gif', strrpos('//www.dpchallenge.com/images/user_icon/21.gif', '/') + 1) . ' kirbic...mapletrader could give you some idea what to expect from silvers. I only know from childhood school visits to sugarbushes and the people I learned sugaring from down the road from me. I know all mine are sugar maples, though the first year I almost tapped a big ol' poplar - not at all like the tulip-shaped ones - that was in the smaller maple treeline!

One of my brothers lives on a northern Gulf Island off the coast of BC and has tapped bigleaf maples....72/1 ratio, which is pretty brutal! Generally for sugars you are looking at a 35/1-50/1 ratio. 40/1 is the ratio most people know of.

And @ ' . substr('//www.dpchallenge.com/images/user_icon/21.gif', strrpos('//www.dpchallenge.com/images/user_icon/21.gif', '/') + 1) . ' markwiley...Thanks for your concern, but I don't need to go up that ladder again til removing the spiles. The taps you see in those trees are 6.5-8ft up so a fall wouldn't kill me, but wouldn't be much fun either :-/ Good thing I'm tall.
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