Sugaring 2013 – The First Taps of the Season Part 1
Saturday afternoon was our first attempt at hanging tubing. My little guy and I had just gotten back from our morning jaunt (4-hours) to Bascom’s Maple supply house for some tubing supplies, mostly fittings to hang the tubing we had purchased months earlier. I had no idea what I was going to buy and figured between a two year old and myself we would just pick stuff up that we thought we needed. I figured we would get a tubing book just incase we needed something to blame any shortcomings of our tubing installation on…
Later that afternoon, with our muck boots on and sugaring vehicles loaded we set off into our sugarbush to hang some of the super cool ice blue 5/16” diameter tubing.
The plan is to put between 3-4 maple trees on a sloping lateral or run of tubing with the low point in the run terminating at a 5 gallon bucket. The goal this year is to take maybe 50% of our trees, especially those that are in hard to access hillsides or overgrown areas, and have them terminate into 5 gallon buckets that are in a more accessible, central location. This should hopefully speed up the sap collection process for the 50 maple trees I intend to tap this year. Tubing is something I am learning as I go and already I can see how I will eventually want to run the lines permanently to one or maybe two collection tanks. I have also learned that I need to spend some time later this year cleaning out and trimming back the sugarbush, it’s a little overgrown in spots, and there were a couple of tricky blow-downs out there.
After arriving at the Little Creek Sugarbush we parked our vehicles and began planning our first run of tubing. Conditions were a little treacherous!
I started with an end line fitting that I will not use in the future, because I am afraid that some sap may get stuck in a low spot at the start of the line. Its hard to visualize but would be obvious if I had a photo of the condition… It’s amazing how a little field experience changes your thought process on the installation of something.
From the end line fitting I side-hilled the tubing alternating between maple trees and ending at the creek with another end line fitting. I still need to cut in drop lines with tees in this run of tubing, but the goal today was to get some tubing in the air. I found that there were a lot of little branches in my way that I should have cleared ahead of time, but there would be plenty of time Sunday to tackle that project. In about 1-1/2-hours we had the first line threaded through the woods and pulled tight. This line should pick up about 4 taps.
The second line we pulled cut across a large mess of a blow down that I did not notice earlier in the year. This could have been a casualty of the last windstorm we had blow through and will have to waint until after the season is over for clean-up. This line will pick up two trees that would have been a major pain to access and empty buckets!
After stringing this last line the kids were pooped and I needed to read up on how to cut the drop lines and tees into these runs. Thankfully we still had Sunday to put some taps in.
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