Buckets
Buckets
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Sugar Bush
Sugar Bush

This is from our second year of producing maple syrup. We tapped roughly 100 trees and still had a lot to learn about syrup production.

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Sap Collecting
Sap Collecting

This shows our 125 gallon tank for sap collecting. We've since gotten bigger tanks and more trees to tap.

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Sap Collecting
Sap Collecting
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2015 New Evaporator
2015 New Evaporator
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2015 New Evaporator
2015 New Evaporator
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We're Cooking Now!
We're Cooking Now!
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More Cooking
More Cooking
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2013 New Evaporator
2013 New Evaporator

This evaporator was good to start out with, but the more trees we tapped the less we used this cooker.

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Evaporator
Evaporator
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Sugar Shack
Sugar Shack

The cupola you see on top of the building lets steam out. If we didn't have the cupola the steam inside the building would be so thick that we couldn't see anything!

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Sugar Shack
Sugar Shack
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Cooking
Cooking
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Cooking
Cooking
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Cooking
Cooking
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Bottling Syrup
Bottling Syrup

Our second year of syrup production bottling system. We've since upgraded to a water-jacketed bottler and an ove-glove.

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Capping Bottles
Capping Bottles
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Examining the Product
Examining the Product
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Packaging
Packaging
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Late Night in the Sugar Shack
Late Night in the Sugar Shack
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Finished Product
Finished Product
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All Boxed Up
All Boxed Up
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Spring Has Sprung
Spring Has Sprung

This picture shows blue bells flowering in mid-May. Blue bells are one of the first plants to flower in the spring and are good bee forage.

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Helpers
Helpers

My friend Nick decided to write an inspiring message to the bees. I'm sure if they could read they would have made more honey!

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Packaged Bees
Packaged Bees

This shows several three pound packages of bees. Using packaged bees is an easy way of starting a new hive.

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Bee Men!
Bee Men!

From left: Nick, Jesse, and Jeff.

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Checking Frames
Checking Frames
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Early Summer Bee Hive
Early Summer Bee Hive

This hive has two bottom boxes (Brood and Deep), the smaller box on top contains the extra honey that we get to keep.

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Bearded Bees
Bearded Bees

Sometimes on hot days a large group of bees will appear on the outside of a hive, this helps to keep the hive cooler.

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Under the Lid
Under the Lid

It's late July and the hives are full of bees!

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Two Swarms of Bees
Two Swarms of Bees

As a beekeeper you do not want to see a swarm of bees. This means a large number of bees have vacated a hive and eaten lots of honey before they left. Performing a split on a hive can help prevent this from happening in the first place!

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Swarms
Swarms
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Up Close Swarm
Up Close Swarm

When the bees have swarmed they are looking for a new home. Their stomachs are full of honey which makes them unable to sting, they are tightly grouped together and very docile.

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Bearded Bees
Bearded Bees
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2016 Iowa State Fair
2016 Iowa State Fair

Light Amber Honey - 1st Place White Honey - 2nd Place Block of Beeswax - 1st Place (photo courtesy of Mike Hiatt)

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