The Walden Effect: Farming, simple living, permaculture, and invention.

Making a roof for a Sugar Maple spile

how we protected our sugar maple splie from the rain

We tapped our easy to get to Sugar Maple tree today.

It's got a nice and steady drip rate.

Attaching a couple of shelf brackets with bungee cords was an easy way to make a roof for the bucket without damaging the tree with screws or nails which is a whole lot prettier than the way we did it last year.

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About us: Anna Hess and Mark Hamilton spent over a decade living self-sufficiently in the mountains of Virginia before moving north to start over from scratch in the foothills of Ohio. They've experimented with permaculture, no-till gardening, trailersteading, home-based microbusinesses and much more, writing about their adventures in both blogs and books.

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Wouldn't running a plastic hose off the stile into a hole or under the edge of a bucket top be easier?
Comment by Anonymous Thu Jan 22 15:49:46 2015

Hi guys! This question is coming from a city dweller with no experience...but many dreams that will hopefully come to fruition in 2015!

Could a hole drilled into the side of the bucket to allow the spicket to drain while using a bucket lid keep the rain & other falling debris out? I like your roof-without-screws option since it is nicer to the tree, but a bucket lid could probably protect it more from any significant rain - if the drain could work properly.

Thanks for your blog! I'm a long-time reader & ebooks fan!

Comment by Erin Thu Jan 22 17:53:10 2015

Anonymous --- You use a different kind of spile if you're using tubing. Those spiles (and the tubing itself, of course) tend to be plastic, and we wanted to stick to long-lived metal for now.

Erin --- Mark considered that, but the problem is hanging the bucket, since the spiles are made to hang the bucket below. It might still work, but might pull the spile out of the tree (and would probably be harder to empty daily). We might still change over to something like that, though, if Mark's lid doesn't keep the rain out!

Thanks for your kind words!

Comment by anna Thu Jan 22 20:54:08 2015
I had never really thought about where Maple syrup comes from - out of interest, what sort of quantity do you get from a tree of what period of time? I have seen rubber trees where the bark is scored to produce the latex milk, but never maple.
Comment by Alex Fri Jan 23 13:06:37 2015
Alex --- The yield varies a lot depending on factors like where you live (climate), genetics of the tree, and the habitat of the tree. I think we got about a quart last year from one tree over the month-or-so season, which was a so-so yield, but good enough for us!
Comment by anna Sat Jan 24 16:55:45 2015
That´s near a litre of syrup - very impressive from one tree! Thank you.
Comment by Alex Sat Jan 24 17:34:05 2015

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