So, that damn Punxsutawney Phil saw his shadow, as most of us know, and we have been in the throes of a long and frigid winter. For one amazing Saturday we were teased by mid-40 degree sunshine, only to have it ripped away from us. This Saturday our thermometer registered -5 degrees (and that was in the sun).
Today is March 2nd and we decided that enough was enough, shadow or no shadow — today we would tap our maple trees. It is a rite of Spring. We put holes in five of the trees on our front lawn which usually (depending on the year) provides sap to make enough syrup to last throughout the year. I have to admit, Xandy usually taps the trees, but this year I thought it would be a fun family activity so I invited myself along.
Here I am drilling a hole in my first tree. Online I see that most people in the 21st Century use electric drills for the holes, but not us. Our drill is part of the tradition.
After the hole is drilled we place the tubing. We don’t have those cool pails like the big sugar houses, but this works. We use food-grade five-gallon buckets to collect our sap. If you look close enough you can see that they are wine making buckets. We have a carboy of banana wine fermenting right now.
Although I think our tapping right now is wishful thinking as NOAA is predicting the temps not to get above 20 for most of the week, this tree had some sap flowing after we took the drill out.
Kitt by the end product. I was freezing by this time, but she seemed to be doing just fine.
A photographer from the local paper stopped in the dooryard just as we were finishing up and had us pose for some photos.
“I’d rather take pictures of people doing this than shoveling snow,” he said. We nodded with the understanding of just how God-awful this winter has been.
As the photographer drove away, Xandy had an idea.
“You know I have always wanted to tap the telephone pole. Wouldn’t that be hilarious? People would drive by and wonder what the hell we were doing.”
Thankfully, we don’t have any more tubing, or that photographer would have had another pic for the paper. I shook my head walked towards the barn as Xandy and Kitt went off to “feed things.”
I think the critters were getting hungry.