My husband has been making fun of me for weeks. He has a whole skit in his head about the first person to decide to boil down tree water and what his friends think.
“Oh, that’s just Crazy Al. He’s boiling tree water.. been at it for 3 days” Is a favorite line.
I am Al in this skit… Crazy Al the tree bleeder… He’s lucky I need him to lug the 5 gallon buckets.
Last year was the first that I had the opportunity to try sugaring. My parents bought a new property that came with a few nice old trees in convenient locations. My back yard is nothing but scrub, barn, and feral cats.
Tapping trees is the easy bit. Knowing what is a maple tree and what is not when there are no leaves on them is a bit tougher. Turns out I taped a bunch of Norway Maples, a red maple, and not one sugar maple. Turns out you can get sugar from any of these, but the content in the sap being a higher percentage water, you end up boiling the stuff longer to get your final product.
Ferrin Brook Farm in New Hampshire has great article on how to identify sugar maples in the winter. This is very helpful if you, like me, only get these great ideas when the trees are bare.
Once you have identified your trees, the next step is to tap those babies. Reading lead me to purchase a special maple taping bit :