I can't believe that the maple sap is flowing already after our warm 3 or 4 days. I'm sure this is the earliest ever; the Maple Syrup Tour we usually go on isn't held until mid-April! But syrup season does come and go with the weather, cold nights and warm sunny days are best, which is what we're having right now.
I actually ran into the farmer and his grandson when they were out tapping some trees down the road and we chatted for awhile. This is just a fun family project for them, not by any means a commercial operation - perhaps an activity to share with their grandchildren. They were only tapping about half a dozen of the big roadside Sugar Maples.
But those old roadside maples with a big crown do generate a lot of sap compared to maples in a woodlot. I know because we've tapped trees ourselves in some past lives. The taste of the syrup is what makes it fun!
These big old trees are plenty large enough to carry three taps, maybe even four. So with 2-3 buckets per tree on 6 trees they should make their family supply for the year easily.
These are the traditional older style metal buckets and spiles. Most people use blue plastic buckets with lids now, and plastic spiles. Many commercial operations use plastic tubing.
I tried my best to get a picture of a drop of sap falling, but failed. You can see the drop about to fall here though. So the sap was actually running!