It's been a few weeks and we are WAY past this stage in the maple syrup game now-but what can I say? I am backed up on blogging!
Putting the mainline out from the top of the woods down to the Saphouse is only the beginning when it comes to saplines-and the easiest part too! After the mainline goes up, THEN you have to put zillions of small lines out-that go from tree to tree to tree and all eventually end up connecting to the mainline.
Connecting into these secondary lines are smaller tubing with spiles on the end (hard plastic spicot-like things that go into the trees) that need to reach to the particular trees being tapped.
There can be 20-50 trees to be tapped on ONE secondary line and many trees are tapped twice!
This means that each small tube with spiles connects into a very LONG secondary tube which eventually connects up with the MAIN LINE. And since sap needs to flow THROUGH these lines (and not spill out) all the tubes need to flow into one another without debris, without leaks, and without faulty connections.
This also means that the tubing has to be PERFECTLY SIZED to match where the trees are and where the spiles are going to be tapped on that line! (the part that REALLY amazes me!)
It is like a labyrinth of tubes. No kidding. A labyrinth that they spent all morning setting up.
To connect the spiles to the tubes, the connectors to the tubes or the tubes to the mainline-we had to CHEW the ends of the tubing to get the ends flexible enough to be put on the hard plastic.
No one was exempt from this chore....
... and there were many a sore jaw that night.
We then divided into teams. John and Nate were partners. Matt and I were partners. (Are we EVER!)
Matt walked ahead of me and drilled holes into the proper trees and I followed the tubing on the ground and hammered the spiles into the trees. Because Matt was just drilling holes, he could go a LOT faster than I could-often leaving me in the dust. Or, er...snow.
I had to follow the tubing on the ground and look for sawdust at the base of the trees for a clue as to where the drilled holes were and what trees had been drilled. Kinda like a treasure hunt for holey trees. Some were a bit battleworn.
Don't worry, they eventually heal.
It is all very pleasant.... until a snow squall bears upon you or you realize a line has been put in ALL WRONG and doesn't match (or reach) the proper trees. Then....not so much.
We brought Ruby along on this trip and she excitedly ran from person to person, checking the progress. I found her once taking a rest on a bed of leaves like a big old bird. Lazy mutt. humph.
Ruby Factoid #1: If she wants your attention, she will run and sit between your legs.
She's a good dog, she is. Yes you are Looby.
We came in for the day pretty well spent at around 5:30. But it was a good spent. And the job was done (well, this part of the job anyway....).
And~ Did you think I forgot?!?
- Dippy Eggs
- Homemade Whole Wheat Toast with Strawberry Freezer Jam
- Meatless Chili (leftover from weekend)
- A hunk of bread (the whole wheat stuff)
- Snickerdoodles-fresh from the oven (Judah was very good and put the balls in the sugarbowl without snarfing them all-or maiming them and Adele rolled 'em around and plunked them on cookie sheets. Sometimes my life feels very Deja vu-ish.)
- Shredded BBQ beef sandwiches on ciabatta. (The ciabatta was given to Matt by his boss.)
- Wheat berry salad with peppers, celery, a few tomatoes and onion flakes (instead of minced)
- Homemade Applesauce
- Snickerdoodles for dessert!
- MILK (It was time.)