For the past week, my inner voice has been telling me to get the sugar maples tapped, and today I listened!
Though the weather is not right for the sap to flow (it's still snowy and cold here, as it seems to be everywhere!) it is wise to get things ready a few weeks beforehand.
Now, I only tap a handful of trees... this is a hobby, not a commercial venture for me! I think I put in two-dozen taps today. I'll walk you through the process...
Gather your equipment: You need sap buckets and lids, a drill with a 7/16" bit, a hammer, a 6" piece of heavy wire, and spiles and hooks.
I just had to include this picture of my mom... she is such a blessing and a help to me!
Start drilling your tap holes. Again, use a 7/16" bit, and drill at a slight upward angle and about 2 1/2" to 3" into the tree.
In this photograph, you can see I wrap a piece of tape 3 inches up the bit to help me easily gauge the depth.
Next, using a sturdy piece of wire, clear the tap hole of any remaining sawdust.
With your hammer, gently tap the spile firmly into the hole. Make sure to secure your hook onto the spile before setting it into the hole!
Securely set your bucket onto the tap.
Place the lid on the bucket, making sure it is tightly fastened. We have ceaseless winds up here, and it's amazing how far a lid can blow
It never fails that before all the trees are tapped, the cold makes the drill's battery fall asleep on the job. So, I resort to using my other cordless drill!
Repeat til you have all your sugar maples tapped. Then, wait until the weather is ideal for the sap to start flowing, which should happen in the next two weeks! Sap will start flowing when the daytime temperatures are above freezing and the nighttime temperatures are below freezing. I'll follow up when the sap starts!