Collecting the Maple Sap
To collect the sap from the tree, simply hang a bucket on the tap and watch the first few drips fall into the bucket. This should happen quickly, though they will be little drips and won't amount to much at first. Place the lid over the bucket and let the sap continue to drip.
The best time of year to collect maple sap is in the early part of the year - between January and the early weeks of March. This is when the sap is moving more readily through the tree, allowing you to collect the highest volume of sap.
After a day or two, you can check to see just how far your sap collection has come. If you're satisfied with the progress, you can drain this bucket into a larger vat or collection bucket to take inside to start making syrup. You do not want to store your sap, however, as it can spoil.
Replace the collection bucket and if you have enough sap, it's time to begin the syrup making process.