Marking Maples

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marking-maples-1178Today was probably our last warm day of the year.  It was quite glorious actually, and I didn’t want to spend much of the day inside, so I called for the children to put away their school books early and we went outside to accomplish one of the big things on my “before winter” list.  We needed to mark the maple trees.

I know it sounds easy to tell the difference between an oak tree and a maple tree, and it truly is easy – when there are leaves on the trees.  But in late February when you’re out in the snow trying to find maple trees to tap, it’s rather easy to mix them up (and we do have one or two oak trees with tap holes in them from a few years ago, oops!).  This year, I was determined to somehow mark a few more maple trees so that tapping in February would be an easier (and more accurate) task.  And as so many of the leaves are falling off the trees pretty quickly this week, my time to get those trees marked would be ending soon.

It took me a little while to think of a way to mark the trees, and when today turned out to be the perfect day for marking I needed to use what we had on hand. Enter the baling twine from the hay bales we feed to our goats.   It isn’t super bright like the surveying tape that some recommended we use, but I think we’ll be able to see which trees we’ve marked come late winter.  We tied the twine up pretty high as we never know quite how much snow we’ll have on the ground when it’s time to place the taps.   Some years there are still a couple of feet of snow on the ground in February, so if we had tied the twine markers too low they’d be buried.   But right now, February seems a long way off.  We’re still enjoying a most brilliant autumn.