How to share with you the feeling of walking into the woods these mornings to discover so much goodness around us? Walking from tree to tree and checking taps is so much fun. Before moving here from Florida, our biggest experience in maple syrup and how it comes to be was largely from the Little House books and reenactment events. The idea of tapping trees just out in our woods and coming out with a sweet sugar source is so exciting and mysterious.
Last year I decided not to tap our trees and just take the year to learn, observe and learn some more. Back in the fall, on a very cool day, the kids and I headed out to our woods with bright neon pink plastic ribbon tape (the kind that is used to rope off areas of traffic I suppose) and identified the trees. Then came the long wait through winter where every few days, John Paul or Chris would come to me and ask me how many more days till we tap. It was very reminiscent of kids on a long trip in the back seat. A few more weeks I would say and they were off to another activity until the thought and excitement would come back and the question would come up again.
I was lucky enough to find some old taps and buckets, which I love because I imagine how many years these taps were part of creating this magical syrup that we love so much. Even with all the planning, I tapped a bit late according to most people but even late we have gotten quite a bit of maple sap to process. Just like every other learning adventure, the words “next year will be even better” are commonly spoken and we are already planning next years maple season and I too am saying that next year will be even better.
Next year we will already know which trees were great and which may not be worth retapping. We have decided that we love the metal taps better than the plastic taps and tubing and though I like the metal buckets, I LOVE the mason jars I rigged up with twine. Indeed, next year will be better and this year we will enjoy the fruits of our labors. Sweet labor. That is my kind of reward and I will be posting the entire process once we are finally finished and have our syrup bottled up.