Spring has arrived!!!!!
What a beautiful Sunny day. With the changes in the season and mother nature slowly awakening with her array of wonderful colours, smells and sounds, we ventured out this week for our first experience of…… Birch Tree tapping. It’s something I’ve been looking forward to since a good friend randomly turned up last March on my door step with a bottle, and educated me on something I had never heard of!!!! So, after plenty of reading, making a few tapping kits out of random bits and bobs in the garage we ventured up the woods, both very excited about putting our new nature knowledge into practice.
Birch Tree tapping is an ancestral art of extracting the Birch sap water from early Spring when Gaia is replenishing all the beautiful nature around us. At this time the trees are drawing up oodles of beautiful spring water and essential life giving sugars for all those hungry baby buds that are beginning to pop right now. During this period (15th Mar – 15th April ish!) it is ideal tapping time.
A few unwritten rules to go by and things we’ve learned this week:
- Stick to trees bigger than 300mm across
- Ask the tree first….. manners are important!!
- no need to drill more than 30-40mm max
- an angle upwards around 30 degrees really helps
- Silver Birch are very giving
- Kits on line are silly prices, searching the garage and being creative was much cheaper!!
- If you can see the sap oozing on the outside you are on to a winner!!
So after constructing 3 kits out of old hose pipe, 90 degree angle pieces and empty water bottles, off we trundled into the woods.
Birch tree tapping is trial and error, but our little tips above should help to move the odds in your favour. First couple of trees we drilled, we didn’t seem to be getting anywhere, but we set the pipes and bottles up anyway as it was all new for us, but then Eureka!!!! We spotted tree 3, with amber nectar literally dripping all down her!! We tapped her and the sap was flowing straight away.
On our return the following day we were greeted by two bottles with a smidgen, and one bottle with 4 LITRES of woody sweetness!!! Me and Kate were jumping around little big kids!!! We did it!!!
Now for the important part. Plugging up the tree. Best option is to use a branch off the tree and carve it with a knife to plug the hole. Another option is to use pre made dowels. Sealing with wax after would be even more protective to the tree. Now last of all. Say thank you to the tree for his/her offerings.
After a few hours of wondering through the woods we have now made friends with 3 Silver Birch who are happy to share their beautiful Sap water with us. We are collecting on average 6 litres a day, I’ve had a noticeable change in my energy levels since starting drinking it and my skin feels way smoother. Is it just from the Birch sap? Or a combination of that and Spring time arriving as well??
Either way, nature is playing her song again so let’s get back out there from our hibernation and enjoy all the fruits she has to offer.
Matty and Kate – Mamas Cottage Mushrooms