When I was a kid, my parents fully believed in child labor. My brother and I shoveled snow and cut wood and actually had to clean up after ourselves. We also carried maple sap through the woods from trees that we tapped to the storage barrel where it was stored until we cooked it into maple syrup. Every spring we’d haul gallons and gallons of sap on our backs…well, as long as I was bigger, my brother hauled gallons and gallons on his back while I “encouraged” him. We built a huge fire every weekend and boiled the sap into syrup and generally had great times making the sweet magic from the trees. Anyhow, with their “advanced” age and lack of kids living in the house, my parents are now, fundamentally opposed to child labor (i.e. they don’t heat with wood).
Not wanting to deprive my kids of the joy that is child labor making maple syrup, we are tapping our tree this spring. Yesterday the temperature fit the bill for when to tap (below freezing at night, above during the day) so we did our work.
When I was a kid, we drilled a hole by hand and tapped a piece of pvc pipe into the tree to let the sap flow into our collection buckets. Our buckets were typically anything we could find that would hold liquid…from milk jugs to pop bottles to commercial sized grease containers. I found a place to order taps meant for maple sugaring and they work but sort of lack that originality that I remember as a kid.
Anyhow, we tapped our tree with two taps and the sap began to flow like mad. I only have small containers to capture the sap so I will have to get the kids out twice a day to collect it. They only have to walk 50 feet to do their chores though. Maple syrup for them may be waaaay too easy. Maybe we need to heat with wood…