This afternoon we went over to my parents and had a lot of fun helping to gather the maple sap. They had tapped quite a number of trees this year and we are planning on helping with the making of it as much as possible as they share the bounty with us. Sap collecting is something I remember very fondly from childhood. The sap starts running when the days are getting warmer and you just feel like getting outside. The woods are so beautiful with snow here and there and much of it melting as the season goes on. It is also fun to tend the wood fire that we boil down the sap over. I thought I would share some of the pictures with you. Above Mara is pouring the sap from the bucket that we attached to the tree to the one we were collecting in. Sap looks pretty much like water but Mara tasted it and said it was quite yummy.
Here are Dad and Jonathan with some full buckets.
This is their collecting system. PVC taps in the tree and the tubing going down into little holes in the 5 gallon bucket lid. Growing up we used milk jugs but this system works a lot better. Dad was able to collect all the buckets for free from area restaurants.
This is the boiling down spot. Dad welded a large tank/pan to put the sap in (it takes around 30 gallons of sap to make a gallon of syrup). This pan will hold around 25 gallons. Underneath is a barrel wood stove which we make a fire in so that we can boil the sap down. At some point you need to strain it as well because sometimes things that you don't want in your pancakes will get in the sap.
Here is Jonathan with Grandpa and Grandma. He was totally thrilled with collecting sap. He would get all excited when he would find an extra full bucket.
While we were there we also got to see some of the new baby goats. This is Lola. (Actually Little Lola licked a Lollipop ~ named by my 3 year old niece)
Here is Megan enjoying time with the kitty.