Homestead Junction

Workshop report - it's honey extraction season! August 26, 2012 18:23

Photos are in from last week's honey extraction workshop. Lianne Shyry of Two Bees Apiary showed us how to uncap frames full of honey and run them through a centrifugal extractor (similar to the one we have for rent at the store). Check it out!


 Lianne tips the extractor to help the honey pour out.
Lianne tips the extractor to help the honey pour out.


 Lianne inspects a frame that we just extracted. Looks good!
Lianne inspects a frame that we just extracted. Looks good!


 Loading the extractor  
Loading the extractor


 Turning the crank to spin the extractor cage. A bit of a workout, but easy compared to crush and strain (or so I hear)  
Turning the crank to spin the extractor cage. A bit of a workout, but easy compared to crush and strain (or so I hear)


 Rick shaves the cappings off a full honey frame
Rick shaves the cappings off a full honey frame


 Lianne uses an uncapping scratcher to open any honey cells the knife missed.
Lianne uses an uncapping scratcher to open any honey cells the knife missed.


 We found these dark coloured pollen cells among the honey. We figured they’d add some extra nutrients to the mix!
We found these dark coloured pollen cells among the honey. We figured they’d add some extra nutrients to the mix!


 Using a self-heating knife to peel the caps from the honey cells. This was when the honey aroma became awesome.
Using a self-heating knife to peel the caps from the honey cells. This was when the honey aroma became awesome.


Inventory arriving daily! July 04, 2012 00:55 1 Comment

Now that the launch date (July 13!) and grand opening (July 27-29!) are set, I thought I'd put up some teaser photos of the inventory deliveries we've been receiving.  More is on the way and arriving daily!
Rainwater harvesting equipment.  These are mainly designed to interface with a gutter downspout.
The beekeeping stuff!  You've seen this before in the background, but it warrants its own image.  We've got hive bodies, frames, and various other equipment.  All wood hive components are made in Canada.
The latest arrival from Weck Canada came on a pallet just barely too wide for the door.
Green coffee and roasters!  These semi- automated units take some of the uncertainty out of home roasting, but we're also awaiting some manual models that work well (with practice!)
Various glass and metal packaging supplies waiting to be filled with bulk oils, waxes, and powders.  We'll be instituting a deposit system to encourage re-use.  Of course, you're always welcome to bring your own container when purchasing bulk goods!
That's it for today.  Can't wait to see what comes tomorrow!

Reno complete, business license in hand! June 22, 2012 14:57

It's official - the renovation is complete!  With the shelving finished, products flowing in, and only a few paint touchups remaining, we're shifting gears to registering inventory, merchandizing, and finishing touches.
The service counter and work desk 95% complete.  Since taking this photo we've nailed up the rest of the siding.
Duncan cutting grooves for the shelves with a plunge router.
The first shelf complete!
Getting closer: a few more shelves up, a few less boards in the stack.
Nate and Duncan assemble one of the free-standing floor pieces. 
Check out these sweet signs Duncan made.  I think he's going to carve a snazzy little cheese graphic on the right there; hence the empty space on the right of the Cheese & Dairy sign.
The first of the beekeeping supplies are in, courtesy of Two Bees Apiary!
A wider angle showing the finished shelves and service counter.  A little corner of the coop even made it in.
Nate ceremonially removes the paper from the window, with great pomp and circumstance.
Our booth at Car Free Day!  Lianne and Trevor were able to make it down from Two Bees Apiary.  In a classic blunder, I neglected to bring the sign.  This coral coloured apron was pressed into service as a marginal stand-in.
New shop computer and POS equipment.
Mushroom growing kits from Vancouver's very own Scott Henderson (The Mushroom Man). Foreground: oyster mushroom kits. Background: shiitake mushroom kits.
That's it for today!  We've got more product coming in nearly every day now so I'll do my best to put up pictures whenever I get a chance!

I love T-Shirts almost as much as I love making them! June 12, 2012 00:18

With Car Free Main Street approaching, we're scrambling to get everything ready for the booth.  Among other things, we've got a variety of Canadian-made bamboo / organic cotton t-shirts which, when duly silk screened, will allow you to turn your useless, slovenly torso into a functional, sharply-dressed mobile billboard for the store!
To paint the screen accurately, it's important to close one eye to prevent your perspective from shifting as you peer through the screen at the pattern below.
Crafts are so fun.
The finished design.  Coming soon from my living room to your shirt!
My screen printing jungle guide Lisa has advised me that this is a multi-step, highly involved process, so I predict many more shirt-related photo-ops in the imminent future. Shirts will be available in a variety of sizes, in Natural, Olive, Brown, and Charcoal grey. UPDATE: shirts now in!
The screen pressing setup.  Completed shirts can be seen drying in the background amid tools and other paraphernalia.
Ta da!  Colors are brown, olive, natural, lavender, and charcoal.  Available in men's S-XL and ladies' S-L.  Shirts are Canadian made from 70% bamboo, 30% organic cotton. Only $15 until launch, what a deal!

We're still here! June 11, 2012 23:57

With all the excitement going on at the shop, I fear I've been remiss in keeping this blog up to date.  Take a look at what we've been doing!
First of all, we finished the floor.  Finally! The few brain cells I have left after four days of breathing polyurethane think it looks... not too bad
Mom and Dad came up for a weekend to help paint.  We will miss the dingy pink, but this "moonight" colored recycled paint seems pretty good.  And it sure is cheap!
Good work.  Thanks ma and pa!
We run a real family operation around here.
With the floor finished, we were free to start building in the shelving. Asia (future staff) is pictured with a load of custom- milled, sustainably harvested Douglas Fir from Saturna Island.
You can get an idea of how the wood looks from this shot. 16-20" wide boards with almost no knots and the natural curvature of the tree exposed.  It's going to yield some beautiful pieces.
Nate Reister sorts boards while Duncan Martin sweeps dust around.
The future desk and service counter.  Of note are the triple drawer units salvaged from the presents MECCA left us (see if they don't look familiar) and the planks at bottom right which are soon to become the outer surface of the desk.
This was meant to show the framed-in service counter, but I think what it really illustrates is the general pandemonium presently reigning at the unit.  However, I have the distinct sense that we are nearing the point of peak chaos, and all will rapidly fall into place once those stacks of boards turn into beautiful, beautiful shelves.
That's it for today, stay tuned for the launch date announcement!  Also, be sure to look for us at Car Free Main Street this Sunday, June 17!

Two and a half weeks in May 24, 2012 11:38

Two (and a half) weeks into the reno and the electrical is finally done!  We finished sanding the floor this morning and as I type this the boys are laying the first coat of polyurethane.
Duncan mans the trusty vacuum.  With lights this time!  I promise this is not the only thing he does.
Sanding in preparation for the polyurethane top coat.  Despite paying through the nose for a fancy pad sander, we had to sand all the board junctions by hand with a belt sander. Not pictured: fancy pad sander (but it looked like this)
With the floor about to be unwalkable, it was time to clear out the last of the junk.  Scrap metal, fluorescent ballasts, old electrical conduit, two a/c units... good riddance!
Took this rat's nest of wire up to M&B metal recycling and figured I'd clean up - if criminals do it, it must be good economics! Disappointingly, the take was barely enough for a case of beer for the lads.
That's it for now - back to work!


We got the first coat of poly down, and it's looking great!  Some action shots of Nate doing the honours:
Glug glug glug  
he's on a roll!

Renovation update! May 18, 2012 14:04 1 Comment

With 10 days elapsed since the last update, we're rolling right along with the renovation.  Take a look below to see how the place is progressing!
Duncan Martin mans the vacuum in the running battle we wage against dust.
All the derelict furniture at the space moved us to build roller carts to help shuffle them around.
The temptation to misuse them is astounding.
Look we took down the drop ceiling!  These snazzy beams were hiding up there all along.  Note also the piles of flooring on stage left.
We had to use a grinder wheel to cut down the last vestiges of drop ceiling (seen in the upper left of previous photo). Luckily, this validated my recent grinder purchase (should have gone to the Tool Library?).
Laying the new floor: the first step is squirting this goopy glue all over the place.
The first piece is down!  Good job Nate.
"Oh hey guys!" Rick (me) filling the gaps between boards with Elmer's wood filler.
Behold the new floor!  It consists of 4'x8' sheets of oriented strand board.  Though typically used as an underlayment rather than finished surface, we think this material will look pretty decent once we sand and slather it with clear polyurethane sealer.
The electrician's in there now wiring up those lights.  Next up: sealing the floor, painting the walls, and getting the sinks plumbed in!  Stay tuned!

Building permit approved! May 07, 2012 15:24 1 Comment

Today we got the call from City Hall: our building permit has been approved!  With this mandate in hand, we're finally free to begin work sprucing up the storefront and preparing it for You!  Our valued customer. First things first: that dusty, decaying carpet has to go.
The first bit is the hardest! 
Rolling it back a little further.  Note the beautiful marble pattern made by 20 years of fine, swirling dust.
Goodbye carpet!  The place is already feeling livelier.  New flooring materials set to arrive later this week!
You may note that in addition to the rolls of old carpet, there are stacks of white and brown particle board shelving components.  A keen eye will notice the resemblance to the tall (9'?) freestanding shelves pictured in my first post.  We can't use 'em, so if you need some large, tall shelves, drop me a line using the contact page: Same goes for the old carpet and ceiling tiles.

New arrival from Happy Valley Ranch! April 27, 2012 17:42 1 Comment

Today brought four large boxes from Happy Valley Ranch of Paola, Kansas.
They were heavy, too!
Looks like an apple grinder...
...and some kind of pressing cylinder...
...why, it's a cider press!  I present the Homesteader from Happy Valley Ranch.  As you can see, some assembly is required.  Next week I'll seal it and put it together; stay tuned for photos!
If you've ever craved home-pressed cider, but felt hesitant to drop $800 on a fancy press, you're not alone.  We're working on a way to make this press available for customers to use.  Ask us for details when you come see us at the store!

New arrival from Dadant! April 22, 2012 20:30 1 Comment

News for beekeepers: a large package arrived today from Dadant & Sons of Illinois!
I love getting mail!
The first peek...
It's a Dadant Little Wonder honey extractor!
Some assembly was required...
bolting it all together...
What a beauty!
We'll have this at the store for customers to cheaply and conveniently extract honey.  No need to spend hundreds of dollars on your own- just bring your honey frames down to Homesteader's Emporium!

A first look at the storefront: before the reno April 20, 2012 23:22 2 Comments

Hi folks! As the inaugural post, I thought I'd share some photos we took of the unit in its pre-renovated state.  You can think of this as a kind of virtual tour if you like. We're now waiting on city permits to do a few renovations.  The carpet and false ceiling will go, but besides that it'll be mostly paint and elbow grease!  We have a plan to re-mount and re-use most of the existing light fixtures to keep them out of the landfill.
The first impression from Hastings St.  We're moving into the MECCA unit.  Truck shown for scale.
The grand entrance!  The former tenants thoughtfully left us well stocked with high-backed chairs and miscellaneous office furniture at the future site of the service counter. Thanks guys!
We also inherited sundry shelving units and cabinets in varied states of repair.  We haven't figured out what to do with them yet, but for now they make the place seem less lonely.
We especially appreciated the gift of four tiny stools that were evidently stolen from an elementary school many years ago.
This ladder seemed like a great bonus until I saw it was held together with zip ties.  I am afraid to use it, but it certainly adds to the ambiance.
The washroom makes me feel like a real gentleman.
The view facing south onto Hastings Street. This area is getting new floors, paint, and a bulletin board.
We found a beautiful wood ceiling above the false ceiling throughout the unit.  We're going to re-mount the existing fixtures for an exposed-beam look.
That's all for now.  More photos will follow when the renovation commences.  Meanwhile, stay tuned for updates on the products that have started arriving!