Chronicles of a sap queen: Part One

March 4, 2009 at 10:34 am | Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

By: Melissa Katz (Winter Fellow ’09 and Fall ’08)

100_3251I am excited to announce that after much anticipation and preparation, February 26, 2009 became the first official day of maple tapping. This was the day I had been looking forward to since I arrived at Isabella Freedman in the beginning of January; when the weather was just right, and I could finally wear my crown and my duct taped gloves with pride.


I was called to my throne (the cob oven) in the afternoon, and as I walked toward my destiny I felt the 45 degree sun filling me with warmth that I thought I would never be able to feel again. “This is it,” I thought to myself, “once you tap, you can never go back.” There was hesitation in the air as Shamu and I debated if it were indeed the right day to begin tapping. The forecast was calling for below freezing temperatures within the next couple days, and sap can not flow in such cold weather. Regardless, we felt it was time to begin the process, to at least get the spouts and buckets on the trees.


We gathered our materials in a wheel barrow; spouts, buckets, covers, drill bit, a hammer, and the whole Sadeh family was there to help guide me through the process.

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With Yonah’s assistance and strength, I drilled my first hole. We had to be careful not to drill it too close to previous holes or too deep in the maple. As soon as the drill bit left the tree, sap moistened the hole and tiny drops came down the bark. The sight alone caused excitement among the group surrounding the tree.

By the end of the next day about 20 or so trees had been tapped on camp. The sap was flowing, making and echo in the tin buckets with every drop.

Then before I knew it, the sky turned grey, the wind became sharp, and the echoing stopped. The only drops that fell was snow from the sky, and I knew then that I would have to wait until I could wear my crown and my duct taped gloves once again. 100_3286

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