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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
The time is here to get your equipment ready for making one of Michigan's treats - maple syrup! Mid-February is a good time to tap maple trees and take advantage of the freeze/thaw conditions which gets the sap moving. This is an easy and fun project to teach your kids. The end result is heaven on earth, especially on top of a stack of hotcakes!

There is lots of how-to information on the web, here are some links:

http://www.mi-maplesyrup.com/

http://www.massmaple.org/

The only odd-ball piece of gear you need are the spiles, or metal spouts driven into the trees. There are suppliers listed in the links above. You can also get them at some hardware stores. For reference, I got some at Downtown Home & Garden in Ann Arbor, (734) 662-8122.

One tip I learned last year, is that cordless drills are not great for drilling the tap hole, because the cold means the battery doesn't last long. This year I'm going with the old fashioned bit-and-brace with a 7/16" auger bit.
 

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Wow is it really time already? I did this last year and we had the end result on fathers day dinner :)
I guess I will have to tap the tree in the back yard again. I should of marked some trees on the property I hunt earlier in the year now I will have to guess.
 

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I live in the Detroit area and have been watching the snow at the base of hardwoods. Usually I tap when the snow has melted about 18" away from the base of hardwoods. Anyone else tapping yet?

You can make syrup from the sap of lots of trees - Birch sap works, I know. Sugar Maples have the highest % of sugar in the sap, so they are the most popular, and yield the most syrup for the amount of sap collected. I get the highest yield in years when I can start early. The end seems to come about the same time every year, so an early start gives a definite advantage.
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Put our first taps in today. Good news was that the last tree (and biggest) we tapped was running already! The pictures show the last tree with some sap running out of the hole.

I put the taps in the south sides of the trees, hoping sun from that direction would generate more sap. Around late March I'll stop collecting and start boiling.



 

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Man does that bring back some memories. We (my family) use to go to Rudyard to visit with some friends of my parents-not sure how they met-every March for a long weekend and help them with their sugar shack. By help I mean eat the maple candy, er test it.

It was a great time. They had a dog that could catch any frisbee you threw, a bear rug hanging on a door...that scared the crap out of me (It was probably the stories that Ray concocted up about it). Man that was a fun time.

Thanks for sharing the pictures kroppe, they are some good ones.
 

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The temps are supposed to be in the low 40's for a few days. I want to tap, but will be out of town over the weekend, and I hate to waste sap.
I start cooking (I never boil my sap) as soon as I have enough sap to fill a couple roasting pans. I just do this in my kitchen, and am not an "operation" to speak of. My best year produced 8 gallons, which was great for my family and some friends.
 
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