Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Paul Bunyan's Favorite Time of Year

I think I remember saying last year at this time that you ain't nobody around these parts during sugaring season unless you've got a sap container in the back of your pickup.
Well, Paul Bunyan does.

This is the old fashion way of doing it.

There is something very aesthetically pleasing about these buckets. It's so old Vermont.

But nowadays all the maple sugarers are tapping their trees with plastic tubing and plastic taps.

It's so much more efficient. But not quite as beautiful.

Everything ties to a main line and the main line feeds to a holding tank. There are lots of different kinds of holding tanks, but we'll get to that in a later post.

It can be a squirelly mess.

And a zig zagging maze of sugar juice.

Paul Bunyan will demonstrate how to put a tap in the line.

First, you have to have one of these Two Handed tools. I swear to you that's what it's called. A Two Handed tool. I'm not making that up.

The tool spreads the tubing...and then you cut.

So now you got a space.

Then you stick your thingy in. Yea, you know what I'm talking about.

Yea, that thingy that gets drilled into the tree.

And then you squeeze on the two handles of the Two Handle Tool. See? Paul Bunyan is squeezing.


All the small tubes lead to the big blue tube which leads to a smaller holding tank at the bottom of the hill near our road.

If you look closely you can see the sap level in the tank- it's about 3/4 full.

Paul Bunyan emptied the small tank into the tank in his truck to drive it up the hill 1/4 mile to HERE.

Did you know Sap is clear? It looks like water but tastes sweet and sugary.

These are the days that I wish the spawn could skip school and we could hang out in the woods and listen to sap fall into the buckets. The drip drip drip of liquid gold. Or we just hang out under a tap and let the sweet water flow right into our open mouths. And then, after our tank is full, we drive up the hill to help Paul (the real one) fill the fire box as we cleanse our clogged pores with the steam from the boiling sap, while the kids play in the streams created by the hot water coming out of the boiler and Paul Bunyan and me get drunk on whiskey.

Note to Sue (the secretary at my spawn's school): Claire, Timmy, and Auggie will be absent on 3/10/10 due to foreseen circumstances. They'll return on 3/11/10 caked in mud and dried sap. Thank you very much, The Hussy.


  1. Ahhh, sugaring! An old high school boyfriend's family used to do it with buckets and pull their old school metal sap container by tractor or horse (once they were trained). Really hard work!! BTW, don't sip too much sap...not good.

    Great pics and have fun tomorrow with the kiddos!

  2. Oh I LOVED this post! Great pics.

    I have learned something this morning.