The Brellis House


Backyard Sugarin’

Posted on March 1st, 2014 by Susanna

We’re backyard sugarin’! After boiling sap from craigslist last year we wanted to tap our own trees so badly. Only, we knew we didn’t have any sugar maple trees in our yard. But after going to a maple syrup festival at a local park last weekend, we learned that you can tap all sorts of maple species. We brought home 2 spiles made from a sumac stem, which is apparently how the Native Americans would tap trees. I searched around in our yard, found a Norway maple, and immediately went to google. Not many people were talking about tapping Norway maples but it sounded like it might work.
sumac spile sumac spile

We didn’t want to invest in real spiles or collecting buckets just yet, so we improvised with an old maple syrup container (1 gallon)

maple sap collector

We drilled into the tree, about 3 feet from the ground, and about 2 inches deep, with a slight upward angle to help the sap flow down.

tapping tree

Then we gently tapped the wooden spile into the tree and placed the jug in a little notch we made on the spile.

tapping maple tree

Backyard Sugarin'

We’re excited but not really sure what to expect! Hopefully we’ll get some sap!

Sappy Sap

Posted on March 17th, 2013 by Susanna

I spend a lot of time on craigslist… when I saw a post giving away maple sap for free I got seriously excited. I’ve always wanted to make maple syrup, but tapping trees sounds like a lot of work. So we e-mailed the guy and picked up 13 gallons of sap the next day, and immediately started boiling it. Thank goodness we had an empty carboy plus a bucket for brewing to transport the sap.

maple sap

We had 3 pots going at once and about 20 hours later we had about a quart and a half of maple syrup!

boiling sap

It was super easy and super fun. I sure wish we had a hood over our stove though, our house got pretty steamy, and was above 65 degrees for the first time this winter! Anyway, Dan was thoughtful enough to take some samples as we boiled and so we got these cool pictures to compare the colors along the boiling process.


We ended up combining all of these samples towards the end and boiling it down a little more so it got even darker. We made pancakes last weekend and used it- delicious! I may be biased, but I think it’s the best maple syrup I’ve ever had!