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​Find past newsletter articles, press releases, and other media showcasing local agriculture, placed-based education, and conservation of natural resources in Sullivan County.

A Sappy Story

After 6 years of living in NH in Sullivan County, which produces the most gallons of maple syrup in the state, I finally tapped my first tree this past month. I had seen it done and had helped collect sap many years in a row, but had never tapped a tree before. I didn't realize I would need a drill to start the hole. Common sense would tell me that maple wood is a hardwood tree, so I wouldn't be able to just pound the tap right into the bark, but I just hadn't thought of that.

The whole reason for tapping the tree was to teach home school and high school students about the maple sugaring industry in our area. This was one of the hands-on aspects that make a lesson on this topic so much fun. Checking the metal buckets for sap, tasting the sap, collecting the sap, boiling the sap, etc.

Well, once I had gathered all the needed materials to tap the tree (drill, drill bits, spile, hammer, hook, bucket, and lid), I had to get to the sugar maples. The only large sugar maples in the sunshine I know of near the forest classroom at the Eco Ag Center is at the Sullivan County Complex Cemetery. They were a bit harder to reach than I thought they would be, because of 30" of fresh snow. It took me at least half an hour to make a trail with my snowshoes out to the maple trees.

After I got to the tree, I had to figure out where to put the tap. I remembered back to my younger years growing up in Plainfield, MA that I could reach the bucket from the ground even as a 6 year old, so I figured about 2-3 feet up would be good. So I drilled a short hole, hammered the tap in, hung the bucket and voila - in a matter of seconds I had tapped the tree. It was incredibly simple, just took me over any hour to get myself prepared!


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