Hi groupies, Today I had a strange yet really nice thing happen. I was sitting upstairs folding some laundry when I hear some commotion outside and suddenly my 8 year old comes running up the stairs to tell me that there are some guys cutting down the trees in my yard! Well I go running around the corner to look out the window and find that they aren't cutting my trees down, they are drilling holes in my Sugar Maples and putting sap buckets on them! So I told my DH to go outside and ask them what this is all about because we were planning to tap our own trees this year or next to make maple syrup. Anyway, we just wanted to know what the heck they were doing because they certainly hadn't gotten permission to tap our trees and they didn't do them last spring which was our first year here... We would have remembered seeing huge white 5 gal buckets on the trees! So he goes outside and I'm all irritated and stuff, I get pretty possesive of my trees! I'm watching my husband and one of the 6 guys talking and the main guy is nodding his head and everything and then starts talking to my husband more and showing him how the buckets work and stuff. I watched him go into the back of his truck and hand my husband a good sized jug of maple syrup and 4 more 5 gal buckets and then they shook hands and the sugaring guys left in their three vehicles. He comes in and I say to him "Well that certainly doesn't look like you told them to get their buckets off my trees!" And he starts telling me that the guy was super nice and hadn't known that the house was sold, and that the prior owner always let them put buckets on the trees. He told us that we can take as much of the sap as we want and he left us the extra 4 buckets and lids to keep, he showed my husband how to open the buckets on the trees and remove the sap. Apparently they will leave the buckets on until early April. They said on a warmish day, it could take only two days to fill the buckets! They put 3-4 buckets on each tree! Okay, so DH and I were planning to do this ourselves and bottle the maple syrup for Christmas gifts for this upcoming year. We obviously haven't had a chance to read up on how to boil the sap down into syrup... Is there anyone here who knows the process and wouldn't mind telling me about it? One of the biggest things I'm curious about is how much will the sap boil down? How much do I need? They said that they will come by once a week or so and take any surplus sap from us. To me this seems like a good arrangement, I use their equipment for collection, save myself the money of buying taps and buckets and whatnot, have someone install and remove them for me, and I still get all the sap I want! We saw about 4-5 other house today when we were leaving that they had put buckets on. When we asked them why we didn't see them last year, they said they had let the trees rest, is that routine? Thanks!