Country Maple Farms Shelburn MA Jim and Angel Bragdon
Mar 2, 2015

Getting Started!!

We were very busy this weekend out in the woods.  After this weekend we have more than half our pipeline taps in...


On Saturday when we were out it was a beautiful day.  It was rather chilly out but the sun was shining bright.  The sun helped some of the trees loosen up a bit and have a little bit of sap when we drilled holes into the trees.  In the above picture you can see a little sap glistening in the sun.

Here is a closer picture of a tap hole that is starting to drip sap.

In the fall we spent quite a bit of time walking our pipelines to make sure all the lines were up off the ground.  We do this so this doesn't happen....

Sometimes this is easy to fix.  You just walk along the pipeline and pull it up out of the snow.  other times there is a tree or branch going across the pipeline.  If you're lucky it is just a stick and you can pull it out of the snow.  We carry a small saw with us just in case the branch is too big to pull out of the snow.

This next picture was taken on our way to a new section of pipeline that needed to be tapped.

Sometimes taps need to be removed from the pipeline because the tree it belongs to has died.


The videos below are a series of videos on the process of putting a tap into the tree.  In this particular sugar bush the drop lines (the section of pipe that goes from the tree to the pipeline) have stubby spouts on the end of them.  Every year you have to put a new tap into the tree.  One of the reasons the tap holes close up is because of bacteria getting to the hole.  So we do everything we can to prevent this from happening.  In the first video Jim is drilling the tap hole in the Maple Tree.

In the next video Jim is hammering the brand new check valve tap (I'll explain after) into the Maple Tree.

In this last video Jim is putting everything together.  Just a few light taps and you're done!

Sometimes animals get curious and they chew on the pipe line.  We have one section of pipe line where a bear was curious and then figure out something sweet was in our pipeline.  Lets just say we have a lot of replacing to do.  Anyway... here is a picture of a drop line.  The drop line that was there had quite a bit of squirrel damage and we didn't have any more extra tubing with us.  So we did the next best thing...  Cute little drop line.

 Now if you noticed this check valve is clear unlike the one in the videos that was black.  These are just a different style of check valve.  They both are similar in the fact that they have a little ball on the inside of them that prevents anything going back into the tree.  The ball moves and blocks anything going towards the tree.  The biggest different these check valves have compared to the black ones is they do not have the stubby spouts to go with them.  Every year we have to cut a little bit of the drop line to put in a new check valve.

One of our sugar bushes has a snow mobile trail that runs right through it.  Up until now the lines were not going across the road.  After connecting all the lines back together we made sure every one had a tag hanging from it.

After a tiring day taping on Saturday it was nice to come home to lunch ready and waiting.  My parents (Sam and Juanita) supplied us and our helpers with lunch.  Everybody was very thankful!

Well that is all I have for now.  Thank to everyone who helped us out this weekend.  We really appreciate it!