By Derek Graham
When I first met my wife, I quickly discovered a few unique things about her family — one being that they own and operate a maple syrup farm in Logan County, Ohio. This is not a corporate farm — this is a small, family-owned farm that relies upon equipment that is older than most of the maple trees, and a volunteer workforce of friends and family members, some of whom are like me and still can’t tell the difference between a maple tree and birch tree!
But this time of year, there is nothing more fun than getting out in the woods and doing the physical, mindless work of tapping these maple trees and eventually helping haul the sugar water that is tapped.
This past weekend started the beginning of a new maple syrup season as family and friends got together in the woods and tapped around 1,300 trees.
Now that the trees are tapped, we sit back and wait for the combination of cold nights with warm days to cause the water to really run through the trees and fill up the hanging buckets. Then we plod through the woods and collect the buckets by hand to dump them into a hauling tank which takes the water back to the sugar shed. At that point, my father-in-law and his friends boil the water (usually late into the night) and turn it into syrup.
It is a process that takes a lot of skill and people who really know what they are doing (not me) and even more people who are willing to do the work of trotting through the woods trying to get buckets of water from trees to the hauling tank without spilling any.
It's a lot of work, but I’ll take doing this activity with my family over sitting behind a desk and looking at a computer monitor just about any day. After all, who doesn’t like maple syrup?
Want to know more about tapping maple trees? Check out this helpful site that walks you through the process step-by-step: https://tapmytrees.com/tap-tree/