The first step each at the start of a new season is tapping the trees. Its necessary to make a new hole each year for each tap. The old tap holes are in the process of being sealed off with new wood and no longer will run sap.
The snow in the sugar bush has accumulated to about 75 cm or 3 feet and very soft which has made it very difficult to move about even on large snowshoes. The brief mild spell with rain showers earlier this week has been a blessing. The crust is now firm enough to support a person on snowshoes and tapping is now much easier. We are about 40% completed and should finish well before the expected first run of sap sometime after March 10.
Eric Boysen, one of our helpers, is tapping one of our trees with an electric drill. Over the 46 years we have been tapping we have progressed from manual tapping with brace and bit to tapping with a modified chain saw. Then to a lightweight gas powered tapper followed by an electric drill with NiCd battery and finally to an electric drill with lithium ion battery as shown. This is the perfect outfit as it is lightweight, powerful and the battery is long lasting. It’s almost fun on a nice sunny day like it was today, not too cold and with a crust to walk on over the deep snow.
We are looking forward to that taste of fresh syrup.