Just a Small Taste

For a few brief hours last week, the maple sap was running. Silas and I were playing in the living room when I noticed one of our kitties intently staring out the window. When I followed her gaze, I saw one of our squirrel friends suspended upside down on the maple tree trunk. It took me a moment to realize what he was doing; licking the sap from one of the test holes that I had drilled earlier in the week. Sap!

We had been eagerly waiting for the run. We did a maple syrup week of Circle Time (reading Sugaring by Haas and Sap to Syrup by Snyder - both instant favorites) earlier in the month and a dear friend procured a spile for us from a local nature center to tap one of the old maples in our yard. Pancakes and waffles and the like make a frequent appearance on our breakfast table, so there had been ample opportunity to talk about the process of making maple syrup and our gratitude for it. 

I excitedly pointed out the squirrel to Silas and then we ran outside to check the bucket. Sure enough, there was about a quart of sap and the setting sun was glinting off the drops that were quickly drip-drip-dripping to add more.

We filled up a jar and had a taste, a first for both Silas and I. Thinner that I expected, more watery. Not at all sticky and only the faintest hint of sweetness.

The bucket has been dry every day since then and with a ratio of 40 gallons of sap to one gallon of syrup, I don't think a sap boil is in our future. Especially since, as Silas so astutely pointed out, "Mama, we don't even have a sugarhouse! We need to build one!" 


  1. I don't have experience with Maple trees/sap/tapping - so this is fascinating. Does this mean there won't be any sap for you this year?

    Thanks for sharing your lovely pictures.

    1. I have no experience either, so it's all new to me too! When the nights are below zero and the days are above zero, there is a "pumping" action in the tree where the sap rises and falls due to the temperature and if you tap a tree when those weather conditions are right, you can collect quite a bit of sap. But, on cold days (when the temp doesn't get much above zero) the sap doesn't run. It takes about 3 weeks for the hole to heal and however much sap runs during that time is the amount of sap that we get for the year! We're just doing it for fun, though, and luckily aren't relying on it for our maple syrup supply. :)

  2. That's a great tap and bucket holder. We've been collecting birch sap, which is very watery like too. I don't know anything about boiling it into syrup so we are just drinking it.
    Have a great weekend.