Home Mike's Geeky Stuff


In 2016, I put a single borrowed tap into a single tree that I thought was a maple and ran a tube to a Home Depot plastic garbage can and went to Florida. When I returned, I found the trash can tilted over at about 45 degrees with a few gallons of clear liquid mixed with sticks, bugs, rainwater, and who knows what else. Thankfully, there were no drowned animals or fish, so I didn't abort the whole operation.

I took the whole mess, filtered it, and to Kathy's horror, began boiling it in the kitchen. As I have since learned in my vast research into maple syrup production :), the kitchen is an exceedingly poor choice for boiling maple sap. With any quantity of sap, your house could be transformed into a sticky mass of goo after a few gallons. At the least, your wallpaper could peel off the walls.

But I marshaled on, and after several hours, I had converted my entire yield of maple sap for the year into just enough for a single 8oz maple-leaf shaped jar of genuine maple syrup.

And in spite of my best efforts, it tasted AWESOME!.

Inspired by this triumph, Kathy and I spent the summer and fall looking for maple trees. We found 5 likely candidates, mostly kinda on our property, and I labeled them with very bright, very large, and seemingly very permanent white spray paint.

On February 3, much earlier than usual (global warming?), I tapped all five, 3 of them with double taps. To the left is the second best producer. As you can see, I have replaced the tacky Home Depot trash can with very stylish Stop and Shop 2.5 gallon water jugs. Each tap is currently producing well in excess of a gallon per day.

After further research, I discovered that one of the maples was a swamp maple, another one was a red maple, and another one was I don't know what. So my producing maple supply was now down to 2 trees, each double tapped.

Time to boil the sap into syrup. Purists will scoff, no doubt, but the Native Americans would have loved one of these. Then they could have fried turkeys for the pilgrims as well as boil their maple sap.

Here it is in full swing boiling several gallons of maple sap.

Yours Truly adding a gallon of sap to the boil. Note that the sap looks just like water. In fact, it is 99% water, considering that it takes 40 gallons of sap to make one gallon of maple syrup.

Is it just my imagination, or is that propane tank a little too close to the flame?

Well, it's February 27, and I think that the maple sap flowing season is over, I have collected 46 gallons of sugar maple sap and boiled it down.

This is it. The entire production of Smiths of Weston Maple Farms. Taking into account parts, and labor, I think $5000 per bottle is probably pretty accurate.

Michelle and her work partner Amy created some very cool labels for the syrup with an excellent heavy metal theme. Love them!