After a tree is tapped then the next step is in Mother Nature's hands. We wait for the temperatures to climb above freezing. When this happens, a pressure difference is created in the maple tree and sap drips out of each tap hole. The temperature needs to fall back below freezing and warm up again to keep the sap flowing. The sap flows down the 5/16th sap lines until it reaches a saddle, where the sap drops into a lateral main line to travel towards the sap tank. This photo shows Jim drilling the hole in the main line for a saddle.
|Our lateral main lines are connected to a pair of larger main lines. You can think of the 5/16th lines as the roads or lanes which lead to the paved county roads (lateral main lines) which intersect with the super highways (the bigger main lines.) The super highways are a pair of wet (green) line and dry (black) line. The hoop connecting the two lines at the intersection is used to increase the vacuum pulling on the lateral line.|
|We help the sap to move through the pipeline via a vacuum pump at the bottom of the lines which sucks on the lines. The dry or black line carries vacuum up the hill, and the green lines carry sap down the hill. Some people think that the vacuum pump is sucking sap from the trees, but it is really just sucking the sap away from the tap hole and through the lines. The sap is extracted from the lines into the sap tank via an extractor.|
|As you can see in the photos, sap looks like water. In fact, raw sap from our maple trees is typically between 1.5 and 2.5 Brix, whereas syrup must be 66.9 - 68.9 Brix. You can measure Brix with either a refractometer or a hydrometer. Stay tuned for the next post about how we transform raw sap into maple syrup!|
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