From my bedroom window, this is one of the views:
Look at the bottom of the trees, you can see the buckets (there are 2 more out of sight). I have a pretty good scope on my .22 rifle, and I can measure how much sap is in any one of the buckets by reading the graduation-lines on the outside while I’m still in my bathrobe.
A bucket of 5 gal of sap is pretty heavy and my grass is slippery and has a lot of deer poo. I’m not enjoying hauling around buckets of sticky juice so much, I have to admit.
I still don’t know if I’m going to bother doing this next year, because boiling down is a pain in the ass. But this year, when the leaves are out on the trees, I’m going to mark 6 maple trees along my driveway. See, the driveway goes through about 1/4 mile of woods (aka: “my woods”) and it’s a mixture of oak, maple, and pine. Instead of hauling along buckets, I’ll just do a slow drive-through in the tahoe and aggregate the sap into a big container in the back. I’ll have to be careful of the ditches on the side of the driveway – they’ll eat a car pretty easily.
A couple of other random maple-related things: a lot of syrupers age the stuff in oak barrels, which brings up the question of char and watering the barrel. It sounds like a fun thing. Originally I wrote that idea out of consideration because I have childhood experience with wine barrels and I think of “barrel” as a mighty heavy force of nature. But it turns out there are places that sell practical small barrels: 1 and 2 liter models are available. [barrels online] Barrel-making is a project that is too demanding and over the top for me, but barrel-buying is something I’ll be considering for next year’s harvest.
That’s a pretty good haul for a day, really! I’m going to take one of those to my parents, as a “thank you” for the many years of pancakes.