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Maple Syrup ~ Melted Boots and Empty Bottles

March 20, 2011

I love, love, love this time of year!  The smell of spring is in the air, people are starting to emerge again, peeking their heads out slowly to see if the snow is really melting and it is.  And although, we are still experiencing below freezing temperatures at night that is  a good thing because we need the cold nights with warm days to get the sap flowing.  That’s right it is maple syrup making time again.  Another reason we love, love, love this time of year! 

Yesterday, Matt and I tapped all of our maple trees and a few on our neighbours property.  It’s a relatively new tradition for us but one that we hope to partake in for years to come.  I can’t really explain what makes it so much fun.  Maybe it’s that our friends are constantly dropping in to share a bottle of beer up against the warm flames or maybe it’s the simplicity and wonderment of the process.  Whatever makes us Canadians get up to stoke the fire at ridiculous times of the night it is a tradition that many of us continue and look forward to from one year to the next.

There are lots of great websites out there that can provide you with the necessary information about getting started.  We found this four page document from The University of Maine  helpful and definitely worth a read.    The supplies are fairly basic and readily available at most hardware and supply centres.  We are fortunate to be located about 45 minutes north of Ontario’s largest Sugar Bush Supply Store, Atkinson Maple Syrup Supplies.   The people there are extremely helpful and the store has everything you need for tapping trees and creating your very own liquid gold. 

To start, you will need a drill with a 7/16″ drill bit (we used a 1/2″ and it worked well), spiles for each hole, a hammer, sap pails, and lids.  To finish, you will require a pot or pan, filter bags, a sieve for removing the foam, a thermometer, and glass jars or bottles. Oh, and a place outside to have a fire.  So, let’s get tapping, drinking, and making some syrup.

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