I got ahead of myself a bit when I put up my post about collecting maple sap. After all, I was both a little excited about the prospect of real maple syrup and also a little put out about getting my feet wet. So, when Mr. Farmer decided to put another tap in another tree, I followed him around with a camera to document the process.
First, he drilled a hole about 4 feet from the base of the tree. The slightly upward angle is important, and the hole should be slightly smaller in diameter than the tap, and slightly deeper.
Then he bangs the tap in with a hammer:
And it starts running almost immediately!
In this case he used a gallon sized mayonnaise jar from a friend who works at a deli to catch the sap.
After some fiddling, he found he could cut a hole in the side of the jar to hang it on the tap. Then he could just screw the lid back on to keep rainwater out!
So there you have it. This very low tech (but truly ingenious) tree tapping method has been used for centuries. The only thing that has changed is the hardware. The first taps were whittled of wood, and the first buckets were wood as well. We won't be cooking our sap into syrup using an open fire or fireplace, either, but that is a post for another day.....