What The Heck?


Is this not just a little creepy?

Not only does it look like surgical tubing to me, it looks like the poor trees are part of a science experiment.

It just strikes me as creepy.  Smart, but creepy.


Apparently, this is the new way of gathering maple sap to make maple syrup.


Well, new to me.  I’m used to seeing metal buckets hanging from maple trees out here in the mid-west this time of year, but I read that some folks have collected with plastic tubing since the late 1950’s.


Did you know it takes one fifty gallon drum of sap to make one gallon of finished syrup?  I didn’t.  (The average is 40 gallons of sap to 1 gal of finished syrup).

No wonder pure maple syrup is so stinkin’ expensive!

(The proceeds of maple syrup sales for the folks that set up these barrels, our Alcona County FFA, goes back into the FFA fund – A good thing to support and very cool deal.)


By and large, gone are the days of doing it like this.


Todd didn’t have the plastic tubing luxury in the spring of 1988 while living in Upstate New York.  He had the immense displeasure memory making experience of collecting it in this fashion the one and only spring we were there.

In all fairness, I read that the plastic tubing is predominately used when trees are close together and is not cost effective when they aren’t.

Todd’s got some funny (“funny” because I wasn’t involved) stories of what a challenge it was with a Belgian team pulling the gathering sled, trudging through wet snow with two slopping sap buckets in each hand, on the hillsides of Maple Ridge Farms.


Whenever he sees this I know he has flash backs to a time when a guy really had to work for it.

*Pictures taken last week out the back gate of the farm and the West 80 property.


6 thoughts on “What The Heck?

  1. Up the street they have all the buckets hanging on a couple trees. He was the one that told me how much it took to make a bucket of syrup. Unreal. We will have to have Todd tell us the story when we are in LaCrosse.


  2. Very interesting. How long do they stay “hooked up”? I still want a blue FFA jacket… ;) I’m still a bit bitter we didn’t have FFA in the CDA area. But I loved my 4H! What a cool project.


    1. They stay “hooked up” till the temps during the day and night even out some. I guess it’s the big temp swings (super cold at night, much warmer during the day) that forces the sap to keep flowing.
      Didn’t know you wanted to do FFA! Jake is thinking he may like to join.


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