Maple Syrup :  From Start to Finish

Spile in the Tree

Spile in the Tree

The spile is tapped into the tree. This is how the sap in the tree travels into the pipeline.

Drilling holes

Drilling holes

We drill a small hole in the tree. We tap with all tree saver taps. These are smaller holes and spiles so the tree will heal up even faster. A tree that is 18" in diameter is ready for one tap.

Taps on a line

Taps on a line

This tree is all tapped. It is connected to the main line to allow the sap to flow down to the holding tank.

Pipeline connection

Pipeline connection

In the woods, the pipeline will look pretty all in a row when everything is tapped.

A helpful tool

A helpful tool

This tool is helping us add our spiles onto the pipeline. The tool holds the pipeline as we guide the spile into the pipeline. The tool pushes the two together

Pretty trees all in a row

Pretty trees all in a row

After the trees are tapped the pipeline is what connects all the taps together.

The buckets are hung

The buckets are hung

The buckets are hung on the trees with care in hopes that the wind will not blow them off and they will be full of sap the next day

Pretty little buckets all in a row

Pretty little buckets all in a row

The buckets are hung on our roadside trees. The sap must be gathered everyday. The faster you cook it down, the better.

Dripping Spile

Dripping Spile

When the sap is running it is dripping out of the tree

The boys gathering

The boys gathering

Every bucket must be emptied into pails then carried to the dumping station.

On average it takes 40 gallons of sap to make 1 gallon of maple syrup.

Gathering Rig

Gathering Rig

The gathering pails are dumped in the dumping station here on the trailer the pumped into one of these two tanks. All the sap is then hauled back to the saphouse.

Drawing off

Drawing off

Maple Syrup is 7 degree above boiling water. We opening the value draining the syrup into a pail, then carrying the syrup to the finishing pan.

Syrup Bubbles

Syrup Bubbles

As the sap comes into the pan it moves as the density increases. The closer to syrup the smaller your bubbles will. (Sap is on your right, Syrup to the left)

Sheeting Method

Sheeting Method

When maple syrup is done instead of dripping off the scoop it will come off in sheets like the picture.

Firing the Evaporator

Firing the Evaporator

On our wood fired evaporator we must stoke the fire and add wood every 7 minutes.

All Fired Up

All Fired Up

With everything up and going the front pan puts steam in the building, where the back pan is going up the stack.

Rolling Steam

Rolling Steam

When the sap is boiling, the steam is rolling out of the stack. You can see here going straight up into the air.

Honey

Swarming Bees

Swarming Bees

Every dot that you see is a honey bee looking to find a new home.

Finding their Queen

Finding their Queen

Honey bees gather together with their Queen until that new home is found by a scout bee.

Calming Down

Calming Down

As they all calm down the bunch gets larger and larger.

All together

All together

Now they are all back together. This poor branch was straight up until the weight of the bees pulled it down.

What does a Swarm take with them?

What does a Swarm take with them?

When bees swarm they take half to two thirds of the honey bees in the hive, gorge themselves with honey plus a Queen bee and leave to find a new home.

Hanging Out

Hanging Out

This swarm is waiting for the scout bees to come back with a new location.

Gathering nectar

Gathering nectar

This bee is a worker bee. Working hard to gather the nectar. She will only live up to six weeks in the summer until she can no longer fly.

Nectar comes in many colors

Nectar comes in many colors

Nectar and pollen change color depending on the flower. This can also change the taste of the honey.