This weekend was a bit different as we focused on Steven’s Estate.
On Saturday Paul’s dad, Buster, came out with us in the field. Paul’s mom, Maxine, stayed at the house for two hours and played with the kids. During the two hours, the three of us were able to run a fair amount of new mainline. We took a different path this year deeper in the woods which allowed us to pick up an additional 44 taps in a small sugar maple grove on the Southern portion of the estate and just West of the tote road. Interestingly, the beginning of this run comes within feet of the beginning of the Cullen Estate run, because each run starts at the top of a hill and run down each side respectively. We started with running 12 gauge high-tensile wire strung a long distance between two trees. The wire is tightened by using gripples and inline strainers at each end of the wire. When we say the wire is tight, we mean the wire twangs like a guitar string when you hit it. It must be in order to hold all the weight of the 1/2″ mainline pipe filled with maple sap, and not sag or loose its pitch (2 to 3 degree down sloping angle).
On Sunday we went back out to Steven’s Estate for a couple hours, to begin to tie in trees at the beginning of the mainline to the manifolds on the mainline. This is done through the use of “lateral lines”. These smaller (5/16″) lines string through the woods from tree to tree making their way down hill till they reach the 1/2″ mainline. Think of these as roads to a highway. At some point we will be putting a more descriptive overview of the tubing process on the website. With some trees that are somewhat below the topology of the mainline, we needed to use a 6′ step-ladder and string latteral lines higher up the trunk so that the line still runs down towards the mainline at about a 4 to 5 degree pitch. We ran lateral lines to about 12 trees, but did not tap.
Since Monday was a holiday, we took the opportunity to go out again despite the rain. Yes, even when it is miserable out, we go out and work because it won’t get done otherwise. Luckily, it was a light rain so it wasn’t so bad to work in. We finished running the lateral lines through the woods. We also ran a length of mainline through the grove of sugar maples on the back lawn to the tank area of the other mainline run. Unfortunately we ran out of daylight, so we have about an hour or so worth of work in order to finish the lateral lines in the small grove area.
At Steven’s Estate there are also three separate trees that won’t be connected to mainline due to their location. So they will have a 5 gallon bucket or small tote next to the tree to collect the sap. We will install these when we tap as these are easy to do.
We not ready to tap yet as it is too early in the season, but running the lines before hand really helps spread out the work. And at this point you can probably begin to appreciate how much work there is to do. Remember, this is just 116 out of 500+ taps!