While sitting under a large maple in early December waiting on this year's venison supply to stroll past, I was struck by the idea that I should actually take advantage of our small grove of sugar maples.  We love maple syrup, but I had never considered making our own.  Making syrup would also provide a great way to share a lesson on where food comes from with our young daughters.  After a bit of research and the purchase of four spiles from www.tapmytrees.com, we were ready to experiment with the process of sugaring.  

Last weekend we tapped four healthy sugar maple trees.  My wife, always the scientist, had the brilliant idea of improving my setup (one gallon milk jugs tied around the tree) by using 5/8 inch tubing from each spile into a five gallon bucket at the base of the tree.  This was a great setup as two of the trees are perched on the side of a steep ravine making sap collection more than a little nerve-racking.  Since she was the one collecting the sap during the week I believe self preservation instincts led her to find a better solution. :-) Over the course of the week we collected about 11 gallons of sap.  

For those of you that have experience in with making maple syrup it will come as no surprise that Saturday, and I mean ALL DAY Saturday, was devoted to boiling down the sap.  Twelve hours later we finally had something approaching syrup and called it quits for the night.  Today we finished up the syrup and canned 24 ounces of golden colored maple syrup.  Not a large batch, but we should have several more weeks of maple syrup season in front of us.  I'll post some photos once the photographer / scientist / wife / farm goddess gets them uploaded.

- Gary

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