Maple syrup season started about three weeks back. I decided this year to put out about 25 taps which should in theory get us the 5 or 6 gallons of syrup that we seem to consume every year (kids eat lots of waffles). I had 5 tap and bucket sets from last year, and I added the other 20 in the form of white plastic food buckets (mostly blueberry pie filling) connected to the trees with sap tubing and tubing spiles that I got from the neighbors at Loch's Maple. This is the first time I have used sap tubing for it's intended use. I mostly use it for watering livestock. Big maple producers like the Lochs run the sap from many trees down into a central collection tank, but I opted to just drop 2 or 3 taps from one tree into a bucket.
I have my evaporator setup up at Sap House Bill's sugar shack, under the assumption that two guys hanging around feeding fires together would be better than two guy's doing the same separately. My evaporator is built out of a heating oil tank that I cut part of the top off of so that an evaporator pan that I traded a half of a pig for would sit on it. It has a door for feeding the fire and a stovepipe connected in the back. So far after 2 firings I have about two and a half gallons of syrup, and we haven't quite got into a heavy sap flow yet.