Just before I got sick, I told Mark I would like to tap some maple trees and make some syrup. I made a total of about one pint last year, and I was hoping to get closer to a gallon this year. Stangely enough, my family would rather have high fructose corn syrup that is maple flavored than the “real McCoy”. Not me! I love the real deal!
Mark did some research and discovered that Sprague’s Restaurant (where everything revolves around maple syrup!) sells the spiles and accessories for making syrup. He called and ordered spiles and some tubing to insert onto the spiles. I was thrilled because I happened to have many five gallon buckets sitting around. I scrubbed them clean and then off we went to tap the trees….
It really is a simple process. The spiles we bought are plastic and the tubing fits snugly over the spout. We cut the tubing just shy of three feet and then placed it on the spiles. I placed a piece of masking tape at 1 1/2 inches from the end of the drill bit so the spile would got in about that far. Using the 5/16″ bit, I made a hole in the tree running the bit in and out to get rid of the excess shavings, then inserted the spile into the hole, tapping it gently with a rubber mallet to make sure it went in deep enough. The end of the hose runs into a five gallon bucket and that is it!
I tapped six trees all together, and the photo below shows five of the six. (even though I had named the photo four of the six trees)
This system seems like it will work quite well as the lids are mounted on the buckets with just enough room for the tubing to squeeze into the bucket; this will not allow rain to enter the buckets.
Here is a closeup of the end of the spile. Love the design on them! (and wonder if they are made in Canada?)
And here is a spile inserted into the tree.
When we first moved here some eighteen years ago, I dreamed of having a sugar bush. We have several maple trees on the west side of the house and the lay of the land is such that a gravity feed system would be a piece of cake for us. We need to see how these six trees do this year. I am so excited!