|Hammer, hand drill, spiles and hooks|
|Don't forget the most important piece of equipment - boots!|
There is still snow out there!
I don't know why we do it this way, but when tapping the trees, we never use the battery operated drill, we use an antique hand drill that my husband has had for years. Using the hand drill takes more time, but you have a better feel for the tree with it.
After heading out to the maples, I looked for the scars from past tapping and made certain I was a good six inches away from the scars. I drilled out a hole about and inch or so deep - it is easy to see when you have gone far enough since the wood fragments start looking mushy and wet.
Next, just tap in the spile and wait for the first drips of sap.
|Note the mushy looking wood fragments|
|Setting the spile|
|the first drops of sap|
|No sap buckets? No problem - cut a small opening in a milk jug, then recycle it when you are done.|
|Three of the bigger big maples wearing their late winter accessories|
It seems plausible, considering the cold winter we have had, that even though there was food, the bees could not break cluster to move around to get to it. Feeling a little let down, I went back up to the house and ordered two more packages of bees. My local bee guy sells nucs as well, but he makes them from splits of his own hives. The packages ship from Georgia, I believe. Considering what I found, I cannot be certain he would have enough live hives to split, so two packages it is.
For now, the focus is on the maple trees. In a couple weeks or so we should have enough sap to boil down for syrup. Our sugaring off is as low tech as our tapping, but we have fun. More about that later.
Have a good night!