Syrup Crazy


Here’s the maple tree that tried to kill me.
It doesn’t look that devious, does it? IT IS. That slope going up to the tree is really slippery. Trying to get a toehold on that slope and manage a bucket at the same time wasn’t working very well for me, so Adam switched to a plastic gallon jug on this tree for me.
There’s a hole in the side of it near the top and it slips right onto the pipe to collect the sap. I have two of these jugs so when I pick one up, I just replace it with the empty one.

Not that anything helps me much. I fell down again, this time on my knee (which, believe me, is better), then crossing the creek with the other buckets from the other tree and the gallon jug, my boot got sucked off my foot and I stepped in the creek in my sock.

There’s a lot of stupidness involved in maple syrup. Apparently. At least if you’re me. And yet, the syrup is so delicious, it’s impossible to resist! This is going to be a really good week for the sap to run with the perfect temperatures, so by the end of the week, I should have a black eye and a broken leg!

Getting hurt making maple syrup is a really good excuse, though. Need a mental health day off work this week? Try telling your boss, “I got hurt making maple syrup!” Everybody believes that one–it’s too stupid to not be true! I used it to get out of the first day of my food safety for food managers class last week. Of course, for me, it was actually true, but I’ll let you borrow it! (Got my score back–I got a 91 on the test! See, I didn’t need that first day anyway. Ha.)

Not sure yet how much syrup I’ll end up with. I only have three taps in two trees. I didn’t want to be overly optimistic on my syrup-making capacity the first time I tried it. The week I took off because the maple tree tried to kill me, it was pretty cold so the sap wasn’t running that much that week anyway. Right now, I’m up to four pints of finished syrup. It’s like 40 or 50 to 1 ratio from sap to syrup, so that’s still a lot of sap I’ve handled. This should be a good week. I’ll make syrup as long as the sap runs, might have a couple good weeks left.

I’m intrigued by the idea of tapping other trees for syrup, and talked to Adam about tapping a couple of black walnut trees on my farm next year.

If I’m not dead by then.


A farmer in Roane County was found dead near a maple tree in the woods behind her fields. Her 17-year-old daughter discovered the body when she got hungry and went looking for that person who makes the pizza. Several sheep, goats, horses, and chickens were interviewed in the investigation. One of the horses, a short one, claimed to never get near the woman and didn’t even know her name. Several hens noted that the only one they knew that actually liked the woman was a large blue goose who was known for attacking upright objects and had been seen following the woman.

The goose is considered a person of interest in the case, and when officers can get him unwrapped from a pole in front of the woman’s barn, he is expected to be taken into custody. The tree is also being questioned.

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Posted by Suzanne McMinn on March 11, 2013  

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12 Responses | RSS feed for comments on this post

  1. 3-11

    I have never known anyone who made their own syrup from sap. I thought this was only northeastern state thing. Are the trees sugar maples? What trees can you make syrup from besides maple?

    Take care out there on those rugged W. Va. hillsides.

  2. 3-11

    Just remember that the word “sap” also has a pejorative slang connotation. Now you may well know why.

  3. 3-11

    The buckets are the hardest part of sap season. I did my first boil of the year on Saturday. As you say, the temps this week should be good for more sap, so we’ll keep gathering and do another boil next week.

    Have you tried making tea with the boiling sap yet? Divine! I like to make it with the sap early in the boiling process [not too too sweet yet] and I like it with Peach Tea. Just drop a tea bag in a mug and pour the boiling sap over it. Heaven in a mug.

  4. 3-11

    HA!,,,,now there is a visual for all us:: you splayed out at the base of a mapel tree! lol,,,,funny stuff girl, funny indeed: not that that you got your tail whooped by the accused,,,but that fact you keep going back for more! lol

    I have never had fresh maple syrup:: somthing I’m looking forward to trying in the near future. :wave:

  5. 3-11

    Yummy! Sorry about the fall though. Take care of yourself! Sap collecting injuries… not funny.

  6. 3-11

    We were just at a very informative maple sugar bush this past Sat. They mentioned how hard it was to carry full buckets of sap down the hilly terrain. They went to a tubing system. I asked the guide if you could tap any kind of maple, and he said yes. We have a 200 yr.old maple in the backyard. He also said they put up to 4 spiles in a very mature tree. I just don’t know if it would be enough to warrant all the effort.
    Anyway, hopefully, your plastic jug system will work out for you! Stay safe!

  7. 3-11

    get Adam to make you a lean to ladder to lay against the bank. doesn’t have to be elaborate. we have one on the creek that leans against the bank so that we can get up and down the bank in a certain spot. has helped me from cracking my noggin many times

  8. 3-11

    I was just thinking you should have a bridge over the stream. A ladder up the hill sounds like a good idea.
    You know we really miss your posts, we would not like to hear the goose story was real or any sort of thing as such. BE CAREFUL!
    You are really getting my interest up and I may have to start tapping here in Oregon.

  9. 3-11

    Or get some tubing and run it from the bottom of the jug to a covered bucket on the ground in a safe spot downhill from the tree. Let gravity be your friend instead of your enemy!

  10. 3-11

    I didn’t know that tree tried to kill you – I must have missed that post….. but I am glad you are ok!

    Yay for syrup!

  11. 3-11

    Oh, I really needed that laugh! :sheep: :sheepjump: :snoopy:

    Thank you, thank you, thank you.

  12. 3-11

    Just this evening I had an email from a YouTube channel on how they tap their maples. Though someone might be interested as they don’t do it the way “everyone” does it.
    Looks like it’s the answer to keep from falling and busting knees or other body parts.
    And if you have any questions, Eric has always been quick to answer – at least in my experience, he’s been quick to answer me.

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