Dunham Kids Get Their HoneyBees

Today we made the trip to get some Honeybee NUCs for a couple of our children.  Leaving our home at 3:45 am, we arrived at our destination around 6 am.  Riley and Daisy both bought a NUC for themselves.  I am very proud of their decision to take a risk on honeybees.  They paid for the bees and are using extra equipment that I had hanging out in the barn.  If you are asking yourself what a NUC is, here is a link http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nuc.   Rosey is sharing a hive with her dad.  She is calling it the Daddy-Daughter Hive.  She will be decorating our hive for installation tomorrow.

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Then we got all suited up.

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Lit the smoker

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Played with the bees

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Here is Royalty from one of the NUCs The Queen

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Finished loading the NUCs and headed back to the car.

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Installed in their permanent home.  I will let you guess which one if Daisy’s Hive.

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Rabbit Feeder / Litter Box

Here is another Dunham Homestead Creation.  A special request from a friend, but we can make them for you too!!!  You are able to feed your rabbit hay in the hay feeder while they take care of necessary business.  These can be shipped wherever you need them.  The cost of the feeder/litter box is $39.00 plus shipping.  I can’t wait to see the photos of the happy bunnies.

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Maple Sap to Maple Syrup Conversion

Most of the time when I am talking with people about pure maple syrup from maple sap, the question of how much sap does it take comes up.  Then I tell them that it depends on the sugar content of the sap that the tree is dripping out, so I made the following chart.  This chart is based off of the 86 Rule, which says, a fluid with 1% sugar content will take 86 gallons to boil down to one gallon of fluid at 67% sugar content.  Sixty-seven percent is what maple syrup is in its finished state.  Most of the time, the sugar content from trees is between 1.7% and 2.7%.  This year has been a  pretty slow year for sap all over the country.

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Sap Season?

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Half way through January I posted that sap season was coming soon.  I had no idea that we would start a lot later this year.  We just put our first taps in the trees today!  Hopefully we will still have a decent season with many sap runs.  I continue to be amazed at the process of making maple syrup.  Nothing is added to the sap after it comes out of the tree.  The boiling down process removes the water by turning it into steam.  The sugar content goes from around 2% all the way up to 67%.  There have been several studies done on the medicinal values of this God made sugar. The University of Rhode Island found that there are 54 potentially medicinal compounds found in pure maple syrup.  inflammatory agents. Initial studies also suggest that maple compounds may inhibit enzymes relevant in Type 2 diabetes management.  Everyone should add this champion food to their diet

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Sap Season is Almost Here!!!

Well, it is almost that time of year again where we can sneak a little sap out of the maple trees while they refill with carbohydrates to start leaf production.  We are excited about sap season at the Dunham Homestead because we use the sweetener a lot.  We love that it is all natural with nothing added to it except heat.  We use maple syrup along with the other all natural sweetener (honey) for just about everything.  This year we will be scaling back some, and we will not be using any buckets at all.  Everything that we have on tubing will be all we tap this year.

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Doll Houses

Another CNC creation at The Dunham Homestead.  Here are some pictures and a link to a 360 degree video of one of the larger dollhouses.  I just love the audio track to the video, so I stretched out the video to almost the entire song.  Message me on Facebook if you want pricing.

Video DollHouse Video

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 Lily wants to sleep in this house

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 Furniture area

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Fancy Detail

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Side view with shutters

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Another Style

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Another Style

A Puzzling Dunham Homestead Creation

Well, we started up the CNC Router last night and into the morning to try out our latest idea.  This is a small sample of a larger scale project.  The pieces are cut out of 1/2 inch plywood.  I will be posting more later as the project progresses into the desired final outcome.  The full size puzzle piece is around 8 1/2 inches by 11 inches.  Special thanks to Chad for helping me out.

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Homemade 12 Frame Honey Extractor

This has been a long time coming.  I started out in a 55 gallon drum as a two frame spinner.  As you would guess, moving from a 2 frame to a 12 frame cuts down on a lot of time.  There have been a few issues along the way, but this extractor worked great.

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Here is my uncapping bucket.  The frame rests on the screw that is on the top bar allowing it to spin around freely as I uncap the frames.  The screen catches the caps and allows the honey to continue to the bottom with the valve.

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Here are the guts of the extractor.  I cut the bottom and top plates out of 3/4 inch plywood with a CNC router.  After all the bugs are worked out, I will re-cut out of 3/4 inch HDPE.  I drew the patterns in Adobe Illustrator then exported them to BobCad to generate the toolpaths.  Notice the pulley at the top is out of an old drill press.  I used the drill press motor with the same belt and pulley system.

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There is the completed unit with stand and steps.  The drill press motor and pulley system.  Also, you can see the 40 frames that I am getting ready to extract.

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A look down into the extractor where the frames get loaded.

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View from the other side where the honey exits the extractor and goes into a bucket.

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Let the honey flow.  Sweet gold pouring from the extractor.

Picking Pecks of Peppers

Well, we finally decided to put the garden to bed.  We pulled up all the plants and picked them clean.

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Now that is a lot of peppers!!!

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Rylin holding up his prize pepper

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Ryan cleaning off a chile pepper plant.

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Rylin holding up a sweet banana pepper plant

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Riley cleaning off a habanero pepper plant.

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Nice looking butternut squash Rylin

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Part of the crew (some looking at the camera)

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Lily decided she wanted to take a few pictures, and I liked this one.

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Cleaning plants off and jumping, what a great combination.

Pressing Cider with a Smile

We started out the night getting our apples and getting all of the cider press tuned up.  This is a press that I have been working on for a few years now.  I modify a few items each year as I turn it into a “well oiled machine.”  This first press what the best first press we have had, since we get a little more organized each year.

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Giving the apples a good hydrogen peroxide wash.

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Grinding the apples up into apple mash

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 Load the press up, and we are ready to squeeze the juice out of them.

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The sweet nectar flows out of the apple and into our bucket!

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This is soooo much fun.

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Just about all squeezed out.

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What remains after the juice is pressed out.  This year I want to make an attachment to the Cider Press which I named the “Candy Apple Press.”  The attachment will be a deer block attachment.  I will add a few choice ingredients to the apple pulp and press it into blocks that the deer will love.