DIY · family fun · Homeschool

Day 369: Tapped Out

Image description: The trunk of a maple tree with a copper pipe sticking out of it. A plastic bucket is suspended from the tree with green twist-tie material.

Our field trip today took us to a farm in Stouffville, where we learned about how maple syrup is made. At first it felt almost comical, a caricature of such field trips; there was a puppet show featuring a tree and a squirrel. The older kids snickered through it, but later it became apparent that they retained every fact the puppets had mentioned.

Back at home, we decided to take my mum up on her offer to let us tap some of the maple trees in her backyard. Because of who I am, and who my parents are (by which I mean we like to save bits and pieces of “useful” things,) we had everything we needed: I had a huge (and very long) drill bit and a clear plastic bucket that once held several pounds of Laffy Taffy, and my parents just happened to have some short pieces of copper pipe sitting around.

The kids took turns using the drill and we hammered the pipe into the tree. Nothing. Maybe it was the wrong kind of tree.

So we went and found another maple and drilled into it. The sap started dripping a minute later. I jury rigged a way to hold the bucket in place and we watched as two droplets, then three, collected at the bottom of the bucket. By the time we were ready to leave there was probably about a tablespoon of sap at the bottom of our bucket; based on what we learned from the tree and squirrel puppets, that would make us one fortieth of a tablespoon of maple syrup.

So it was a pretty cool day overall. Still, I’m exhausted and everybody is annoying me. I think I’ll take a book and hide somewhere by myself.

One thought on “Day 369: Tapped Out

  1. Hope you got a rest and read and refreshed. Such excursions are wearing. But what a hands on lesson about food and the care and patience involved in getting it to consumers. Hope you left collection buckets in place at your parents and that you are able to actually collect enough to make a minimal amount of usable maple syrup. Such important lessons!

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