Vexed about what to eat? Here you go.
Meetings would be great if presenters brought someone along to play the standing bass and treated the info like beat poetry. Everyone just snaps their fingers after listening to the boss discuss sampling quotas.” -A. King
2013 Knickerbocker Film Festival -
I forgot to mention I’ve been writing film reviews for a local website. Here’s my latest.
Actually I wasn’t. I just wanted to use that Eddie Izzard quote.
[Note: I started to write this post last fall on my inaugural trip out to my friend’s hives. I never finished it, but since winter came and went and I accompanied my friend out to his hives for the spring visit, I decided to turn this into a “then and now” piece.]
Brian, opening the first hive
I went to accompany my friend Brian to visit his hives and learn a little more about his beekeeping hobby. I’ve got two friends who are apiarists but the other lives in North Carolina, so it’s not as convenient to visit his.
The first thing you should know if you’ve never visited a beehive is to LISTEN TO THE APIARIST. They’ve studied, they know what they’re doing, they know what not to do. For the record, I did not get stung. That’s because I feared and respected the beekeeper, as well as the bees.
The second thing you should know is never walk directly in front of the hive’s “flight path”. Usually that’s the hole in front of the hive where the bees enter and exit the hive. I spent a good deal of our morning giving them a wide berth. Walking in front of a bee hive’s flight path will send the bees into “protect” mode, regardless of your intentions.
Flight path of one of the hives
If you follow at least these two rules, you’re golden. Don’t freak out.
Another rule of thumb is to not shower the morning of the outing (night before is fine). Don’t use soaps or perfumes because you don’t want the bees to be overly interested in your scent. They’re not interested in you, they’re completely focused on maintaining the hive and doing their job (unless….see “second thing you should know”).
Boo bee. (because it landed on my…it’s a pun. Work with me, people)
After donning his suit and helping me with my face guard and getting the smoke for the hives started we set out to check out the first hive. Brian prefers burlap as a means for smoking the bees.
Bee smoker with lit burlap
Beekeeping involves a lot of patience. You have to be slow and gentle, you have to be respectful of the bees personal space and it helps to have good tools. Bees seal the corners and insulate the hives with propolis, which is made from tree sap and other sources. It’s not edible, tastes a little of glue, and is malleable like a hard taffy. Propolis is used to seal the unused portions of the hives and small cracks. This is different from the beeswax that comprises the hive. Brian used a pry bar to separate the hive frames and scrape away the propolis to make the removal of the frames easier.
I learned that depending on the size and shape of the cell that will determine what that cell is used for. Cells can range from nectar storage to honey storage and from larva to bee growth. Worker bee, the female bee, growth cells are flat. Drone, the male bee, cells are more bullet shaped. The queen cells are even larger and look more like the outside of a peanut.
Queen cell at the top center of the frame
The queen is the larger, amber colored bee in the center
Bees use different phermones to communicate with one another. The larva will set off a “feed me” phermone which teaches the worker bees to feed them until it’s time for them to be capped to complete the remainder of their growth. They can’t cap their own cells like butterflies can create their own chrysalis.
Workers capping off more worker larva cells
The worker bees create the cells which will become either a brood cell (for workers or drones) or a storage cell for food. They recycle the cells they use, cleaning out the old ones before they’re used again for whatever purpose was intended.
Capping off honey stores
The queen knows, by the size of the cell, whether or not to lay a fertilized egg (for a female worker bee) or an unfertilized egg (for a male drone). Drones do nothing in the hive except lay around and copulate with the queen. The female worker bees clean the nests, tend the brood and go out for honey. NEVER EVER say that you guys never have it easy.
Drone cells (you can tell they’re more curved on top)
Bees are fascinating and industrious creatures. Every day we’re finding new benefits for what they can give us. It was recently discovered that nanoparticles of the component of bee toxin called melittin can break down the outer protein coat of HIV, thereby destroying it. Scientists have found that a component of propolis can inhibit prostate cancer, among other benefits. And this is above and beyond the benefits they provide us by pollinating our plants and making honey.
When we went out to the hives during the fall, it was mainly to check the hives to make sure they were producing, check on the queen, and make sure they had enough food for the winter. On a subsequent trip, Brian went out and removed a couple of frames to add a frame board feeder, which fits into the hive boxes and contains a sugar mix for the bees to feed on in case they run out of honey. There’s no flora for them to pollinate during the winter in the northeast, so this helps them to carry over through the winter. He also wrapped the hives with a protective insulating cover to further protect from the freezing cold.
This spring we went out to the hives and upon arriving, Brian noticed that one of the hives wasn’t looking very active. We opened it up and discovered that all the bees in the hive had died. We’re not sure why. Maybe the cold, maybe the queen died.
We opened the other two hives and discovered scores of live bees but they were most likely bees from another neighboring hive who were stealing all the honey stores from the dead hives. There were no queens, no brood chambers. My friend will have to get new bees and a new queen and start all over again. It was quite sad and I felt bad for him. We went through the hives and cleaned them out as best we could and replaced the frames.
However, when he gets his new bees, he’s said that he’ll take me out and I’ll be able to learn firsthand how to introduce bees to a new hive. If the robber bees haven’t exhausted all the stores, it’ll be a good basis for the new bees to take over the existing hives. It’s been an interesting experience, getting to know about hive maintenance. I’m not fully confident to start my own hive, but I’m hoping maybe some time soon I will.
…and I’ll tell you why.
Ever since I can remember as a child toddling around with my stuffed toy dog that had the radio in its belly, my life has revolved around music. Whether listening or singing or playing I’ve not gone a day without it.
I used to envy the sense of rapture and involvement that people get from church. Then I realized that I get that same feeling from listening to my favorite songs. That feeling where you’re so moved by the music that your soul lifts from your body nearly taking your corporal mass with it. The way the notes are put together, the words and meanings behind the lyrics, all take part in that overpowering feeling that I can only compare to when folks describe themselves as being “touched by the holy spirit.”
Being a music lover of many genres when someone asks me what my favorite song is I laugh and ask them, “How much time have you got? Because I don’t have just one.” However there are some that move me in such a way that my heart bursts with joy and love like the Immaculate Heart of Mary because they’re so good.
Some of these songs even sound like a stereotypical hymn. Here’s a playlist I made that you can listen to while you read my list:
• “Let It Ring”-Indigo Girls: This is a song about the acrimony of those who preach condemnation in God’s name and standing up to those folks saying, “Bring it, friend. Say what you will, I know my god loves me.”
• “Sailing”-Christopher Cross: Simply put, this is a song about finding peace and tranquility out on the ocean water. I’m a big fan of the ocean (and of sailing in general) so the song speaks to me. Plus, Cross’s voice is just so soothing.
• “Here Comes the Sun”-The Beatles: After months of bitter wind and cold and snow I have this song on my lips come spring time, or when I hope for springtime. It’s also a metaphor for hope and remaining a positive outlook when times are bad. Things will be better, and it’s all right.
• “Calling the Moon”-Dar Williams: A beautifully written song with lyrics like “I’ve poured this bottle of light from the sun” and “to tug at the seas and illumine the earth” that really make you visualize the loveliness of our nightly and important satellite.
• “Transit”-Richard Shindell: Shindell has said in interviews that this was just two songs he’d written and mashed together but I can’t express, without a long blog post of its own, how wonderful the imagery works and how well they married together. It’s an almost allegorical sermon on entitlement and humility, grace and forgiveness.
• “Tether”-Indigo Girls: I get choked up every time I hear this song. Especially when the music builds the crescendo and then stops for a split second and Amy and Emily harmonize the lyric “enduring love”. Something about that bit gets me every time. But this is about letting go of the fighting and working towards a common goal of making the world a better place. We’re all brothers here, the song seems to say. It’s incredibly written and says so much. “Find the hope that feeds you”
There are more songs out there that move me just as equally but this is a handful I wanted to share. And when my heart is empty and I feel that longing that people akin to being touched by the holy spirit, I listen to them and my heart is full again. And while I might not believe in your specific God, I feel the presence of some higher power through music.
Real talk: I actually poured syrup on my mother’s turntable when I was two. She never let me forget it either. ::eyeroll::
(Source: gnarville, via autumnsnuggles)
(via Bachelor Pad Decorating Ideas)
I think I just jizzed in my pants. Also, my great-grandmother had one of those trunk tables. Glad they’re “retro” again.