We just made about 450-500 new drops yesterday. A drop has a tap on one end, is about 32-34″ long tubing and has a tee on the other end. That tee then joins the tubing going from tree to tree, which in turn enters a mainline. Mechanical vacuum is on all lines. Tomorrow a small crew of 5 will be working in my leased bush making tubing repairs and installing the new drops. All drops are replaced every 3 years. I now use silver bearing taps which help kill any bacteria that gets in the lines, the taps with that are good for 3 years, those without need to be new every year.
While we have surveyed the tubing in both bushes, this will be our first day fixing lines. We changed all of the drops last year at the sugarhouse bush, about half got the silver bearing taps, the rest will be changed to those this year there.
We hope to have all repairs done in 3 weeks, then whenever the forecast is right we can tap in 2-3 days time, and then start making syrup again. At that point it all depends on the weather, to make syrup we need good freeze thaw cycles, down to 27F or colder then up to 40-45 works best, but smaller swings still work, just not as well. Once we get a freeze to 27 or colder then if it stays warm (above freezing) the sap can run well for 2 days, then a little slower for another day, sometimes 2. If we get the freeze thaw cycles every day for a while we get lots of sap and the sugar percent in the sap rises, if we just get 1 freeze and then no freeze for more than 2 days the sugar percent in the sap gradually falls.
If we have 2% sugar in the sap we need to remove 43 gal of water from 44 gal of sap to leave 1 gal of pure maple syrup.