Sunday, October 31, 2010

He Was a Real Douche Bag

I was talking with my brother Saturday afternoon. Though our houses are only about three hundred feet apart I only see him at most once a month. We often talk about how different our lives are now in contrast to our former lives in New Jersey.

We talked about how his kids and one of my sister's boys got together in New Jersey recently. They all went out for lunch with my mother and sister. One topic of conversation was my father's eldest brother. This uncle was best described as a total and unrepentant douche bag.

At an early age I knew he was a douche and I knew to limit my exposure to him. He was a douche to me and a douche to my brother. He was a lazy, vengeful liar. I had forgotten a lot of the incidences, but my brother was able to refresh my memory of things I had long forgotten. I guess I'd put his existence behind me after I moved out here. I put a lot of unpleasant things behind me. Somehow three-thousand miles of distance can do wonders of one's temperament. Though I am more at peace right now, I still have little tolerance for douche bags.

Saturday, October 30, 2010

Thanks For The Memories

My niece-in-law recently visited my mother and emailed me a photo of her daughter in my former bedroom. That really brought on a lot of memories. It made me think of all the other images I'd like to see again so a emailed her an assignment of photos to take the next time she visits the Garden State.

Thank you for the memories, Danielle.

Friday, October 29, 2010

Hacked, Again

It appears my debit card has been hacked again for the second time this year. Last time it was my card and this time it was my wife’s card.

I check my banking stuff on-line at least twice a week and I know when something isn’t right. Earlier this year I got a $39 monthly charge from some company I’ve never heard of. My attempts to contact them on the phone and via email was unsuccessful for five business days, so I got Visa involved and my money was refunded.

This time there was a charge for $4.96 to an online game purchasing site. I contacted the company immediately and they got back to me right away. We came to find it was my wife’s card that was used and they gave the IP address and the email address of the person that purchased the game. I did a search and found the IP is from Florida. I can’t even imagine the shit storm that is going to come down on this kid over a $4.96 fraudulent charge. Maybe nothing will happen, but I can hope he is inconvenienced for at least the amount of time it takes us to get a new card.

Thursday, October 28, 2010


I was recently talking with two people, one of which was dismayed because he wasn’t a cat person and his wife was actively seeking a pet cat for their child. He made a point that he didn’t want to get attached to something that would probably eventually get ill and die.

I mentioned that tragedy plus time equals comedy. I told him the sad story of a cat we once had. Nikki was a mackerel tabby that one day I found a mass on a rear leg. We took him to the vet and he was diagnosed with a strange cancer that grows from the cartilage. It was usually found in dogs, not cats. There was no treatment other than amputation. He was a good cat and we knew other animals survived amputation and still got around for years. Most people changed their names to “Tripod” or something like that. I called Nikki “Skippy.”

The funny thing was that when we brought Nikki home he would only hop backwards. Somehow he couldn’t go forward. I was nearly in tears of laughter as I was telling the story.

Nikki only lived another couple of weeks, but his strange affliction will always remain in my mind even though I now laugh about it.

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Speaking of Music

Check this out.
Two on one.

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Red Fang

I'm always looking for new sounds. There's been a long dry spell. I can't recall the last time I wrote about music. Anyway I found a local Portland group, Red Fang. It's kind of like a cross between Sound Garden, The Offspring and the MC 5.

Check out this video called Prehistoric Dog

Monday, October 25, 2010

Shipping and Handling

I find it hard to believe how much shipping and handling charges are these days. I've been seeing things advertised for low prices, but when you look at the shipping and handling fee the price of a simple things becomes ridiculous. I saw a TV commercial for a divider you use while baking. I doubt it weighs more than two ounces and they were asking $15 for shipping and they would throw in a second unit if you pay additional shipping and handling.

I know people that sell on Ebay and they tell me they make all their profit in shipping charges.

I wait every year to buy honey jars until after I harvest my honey. I weigh the buckets and then estimate how many jars I will need. This year I needed seven cases of plastic jars and I'd be surprised if the total weight came to 10 pounds in total. One outfit that I usually use as my source in Chico California wanted to charge me $58 for shipping and handling. Even my sources in Oregon charged about as much. Fortunately I looked at an outfit in Minnesota which offered free shipping on all orders over $100.

I really like dealing with companies that offer free shipping like Amazon (on orders over $25) which includes all merchandise. J.C. Whitney often has specials with no shipping charges. CompUSA ships free if the purchase is over $100.

I really get angry when I see the shipping rates exceed the price of what I am buying.

Sunday, October 24, 2010

For the Love of Rain

I woke up this morning to the sound of heavy rain. I knew it was going to me by kind of a day. Remember, I moved here for the gloom so a rainy day totally lifts my guilt about the outdoor work that needs to be done.

Today shows promise for a perfect day because I've already taken one nap from 7:30-8:30. I plan to label some honey jars and take another nap around Noon. Then I might clean the house for a bit then watch something on the DVR.

Saturday, October 23, 2010

Break Down

I've been gingerly nursing the truck along; taking only short runs. I knew the truck could remain running if started cold, but the second I turn it of and restart it would discharge.

I took my annual trip to the transfer station. I was two months overdue. It was a good load for 14 months and I feared breaking down on the old Youngs Bay Bridge with a load of trash, but I made it to the dump and left the truck running as I off loaded. Since then I've been driving it for about a week when it finally discharged on a cold start. I watched it happen. I got a digital voltage meter that plugs into the cigarette lighter receptacle and I watched the voltage slide downward from 13.5 volts down to 9.5 when it died. Triple A came swiftly with a flat bed to haul the truck to the shop. I thought that it might be cheaper in the long run if I had the driver take the truck to the dump, but I do need to have some loyalty to my vehicle.

The funny thing of it all is that I for the last two weeks that the truck was headed towards a break-down, and when it finally happened I was actually relieved. I'm just glad I wasn't loaded with trash, hay or horses when it happened.

Friday, October 22, 2010

Cartoon Cats

The other day my wife had the TV controller and she turned on Top Cat for me. She knows how much I love cartoons. I hadn't seen Top Cat for at least 40 years. It was a stroll back to my childhood. Top Cat AKA T.C. was a street wise city cat that lived in a trash can in an ally. He also had a emergency police phone at his disposal. He also had a cat gang.

It got me thinking about other cartoon cat icons:

Sylvester wasn't my favorite. He rarely ever got the upper hand in any situation.

Felix the Cat, like most real cats had a bag of tricks. Though I watched this often, I don't recall any of it.

Then there was R. Crumb's Fritz the Cat, the first (to my knowledge) X-Rated cat. I was fortunately old enough to see the film when it came out.
Though Stimpy is relatively new to show business I have to say he is my favorite cartoon cat.

Though he never made it to the big screen Samurai Cat (aka Miaowara Tomokato) is the main character in a series of books by Mark E. Rogers. Miaowara has a nephew named Shiro that wants to follow in his uncle's footsteps. This is one cat that should have found fame, but the books remained in the Cult realm and never made it to main stream.

Please notice I did not include Tom from Tom and Jerry or Garfield in this list.

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Destroying America

If you are worried about something that is taking American jobs you need to seee this video clipTaking Our Jobs

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Radiology Porn

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

In Case You Are Interested

Here are some updates:

The truck is still acting up. It is fine when I start it cold, but if I turn the truck off when I stop at a store and then restart it the volt meter goes up to 10 volts and then goes down to the base of 8 volts. I put a multi meter on the battery and it shows it isn't discharging but rather maintaining 14 volts. Any ideas anyone?

I keep finding all sorts of spiders in my bathroom. It's the only room in the house that I consistently find them. I can clean and vacuum every inch of the room and the next day they will be back.

The apples I picked were all too bitter for human consumption so the bag now sits in the hay room. We feed a couple to the horses every day. They love them.

We finally had our first frost on Saturday, followed by a heavier one on Sunday and another on Monday. This was a poor year for corn. The ears had spotty development, very nonuniform in grain development. Did anyone have a problem with bland tasting tomatoes this year?

Several chicken are now molting so we are getting nine or fewer eggs every day. Production is just keeping up with sales.

Only 72 jars of honey left and I'm ready to get into production with the creams and lip balms.

OK, you're pretty much up to date.

Monday, October 18, 2010

United Way Continues to Suck

Everyone expects my annual United Way rant and I was going to let it slide this year until Moose, our friend in the Great White North sent me the article below. I have no idea where this article came from. It could even be an internet hoax, however my research is comparable. Remember these groups also pay their local managers high salaries as stated in a previous post on the United Way.

By the way, the local organizers get brainwashed and have attempted to tell me that 100% of the funds collected locally are spent locally with no funds going to the national United Way organization. Bull shit!

The Article:
Keep these facts in mind when "donating". As you open your pockets
For yet another natural disaster, keep the following facts in mind; we
have listed them from the highest (worse paid offender) to the lowest
(least paid offender).

The worst offender was yet again for the 11th year in a row is, UNICEF - CEO, receives $1,200,000 per year, (plus use of a Royal Royce for his exclusive use where ever he goes, and an expense account that is rumoured to be well over $150,000.) Only pennies from the actual donations goes to the UNICEF cause (less than $0.14 per dollar of income).

The second worst offender this year is Marsha J. Evans, President and CEO of the American Red Cross...for her salary for the year ending in 2009 was $651,957 plus expenses. Enjoys 6 weeks - fully paid holidays including all related expenses during the holiday trip for her and her husband and kids. including 100% fully paid health & dental plan for her and her family, for life. This means out of every dollar they bring in, about $0.39 goes to related charity causes.

The third worst offender was again for the 7th time was, Brian Gallagher, President of the United Way receives a $375,000 base salary (U.S. funds), plus so many numerous expense benefits it's hard to keep track as to what it is all worth, including a fully paid lifetime membership for 2 golf courses (1 in Canada, and 1 in the U.S.A.), 2 luxury vehicles, a yacht club membership,3 major company gold credit cards for his personal expenses...and so on. This equates to about $0.51 per dollar of income goes to charity causes.

Fourth worst offender who was also again in the fourth spot, for every year since this information has been made available from the start 1998 is amazingly yet again, World Vision President (Canada) receives $300,000 base salary, (plus supplied - a home valued in the $700,000 - $800,000 dollar value range, completely furnished,
completely paid all housing expenses, including taxes, water/sewer, telephone/fax, HD/high speed cable, weekly maid service and pool/yard maintenance, fully paid private schooling for his children, upscale automobile and an $55,000 personal
expense account for clothing/food, with a $125,000 business expense account). Get this, because it is a "religious based" charity, it pays, little to no taxes, can receive government assistance and does not have to declare were the money goes. Only about $0.52 of earned income per dollar is available for charity causes.

Of the sixty some odd "charities" we looked at, the lowest paid (President/C.E.O/Commissioner) was heading up a charity group right here in Canada. We found, believe it or not, it was......Ready for this...I think you might be surprised...It is, none other than...

The Salvation Army's Commissioner Todd Bassett receives a salary of only $13,000 per year (plus housing) for managing this $2 Billion dollar organization. Which means about $0.93 per dollar earned, is readily available and goes back out to local charity causes...truly amazing...and well done "Sally Anne"

No further comment is necessary..."Think Twice" before you give to your charity of choice as to which one really does the best for the most - or the least for the most, for that matter.

Sunday, October 17, 2010

Elk Viewing Area

I have to laugh every time I drive on Airport Hill and I see people pulled to the side of the road with binoculars looking at the elk herd. I wonder if they are just admiring nature or just feeding their fantasy of lining one of them up in the cross hairs of their hunting rifles.

I don’t find elk all that fascinating. I see them more as a destructive force in agriculture. I’m not a hunter so they don’t fascinate me as game.

I find beef much more fascinating. I’ve been known to pull over and look at a herd of beef. I admire how they often stand facing one direction. I look at their confirmation. There are good ones and lesser ones.

I can’t imagine killing an elk, field dressing them and then home curing and butchering them. I’d it be beef and I'd rather have all that done by a professional in a USDA approved facility.

Saturday, October 16, 2010

Quotable Quotes

I don't often write about other blogs, but here is one that interests me. This is produced by a freequent commenter here, Quandlequeen and she collects cool quotes from bloggers' posts, of which I've had the honor to be quoted three times over the last year.

The address is

Blogger say some very funny, literate things and this site reminds me why I love checking in on several blogs every day.

Friday, October 15, 2010

Living In Town

Astoria is such a charming town, but I doubt I’d enjoy living there because of all the noise. I written before about the how the town is laid out like a giant amphitheater and how the sounds of the sirens of emergency vehicles can be heard all along the hillsides they travel from Smith Point all the way to nearly Tongue Point. The there are the sounds of the sea lions. Their barking can be heard echoing from every structure. Then there is the noise of the ships which is a quiet drone however their fog horns really blast away. I can hear them where I live, which is several miles away.

Living in town you can hear all the loud cars and trucks straining their engines ascending 8th and 16th streets. Let’s not forget about the scraping of their under-carriages on the road as their vehicles land after catching air at each intersection.

I was delivering honey on the hillside the other day when I became aware of the new sound of the dredge. It isn’t just sand but giant rocks and boulders being dumped into steel barges. All day and all night to poor people on the north- slope have to endure this racket.

Yes, dredging is important work for river navigation, but I feel badly for the people that have to endure the racket.

Another reason I wouldn’t want to live in town is because I have yet to speak to anyone living here that doesn’t have complaints about a crazy neighbor. There are some that are either too kind to complain about a crazy neighbor or they are the crazy neighbors.

The complaints I hear range from neighbors that feed raccoons, or have crazy dogs that never shut up, or obnoxious kids. It seems every one has a drug dealer as a neighbor where cars come and go all night long. There are neighbors that don’t keep up their yards.

Though the people that have now moved out by me would be better suited for city life, it’s still better than living in town. Soon I will be planting more trees which will make it even better.

Thursday, October 14, 2010

The Truck

One sound I'm getting used to is the Ding-Ding sound I hear when there is an issue with my truck. It makes that noise when my fuel gauge drops below 1/4 tank. It makes that noise when my check engine light comes on. Fortunately I have a code reader and I can check and reset the check engine light at will. It's always the same code now, the power steering sensor. I'm not concerned.

Last week I heard the sound again and my break light came on this time. It appears I was low on break fluid. That was a first and easily remedied.

I was driving through town the other day and the familiar Ding-Ding alarm sounded, but this time a new light was lit up. It said "Check Gauges." The oil pressure was good. The speed, temp and tach were fine. My volt meter was dead flat. I thought the alternator or the battery was shot, but I drove on to a convenient spot to park where I could easily picked up by a tow truck. I turned off the engine and turned it back on and everything was fine and has been ever since, but now I'm driving with one eye on the voltage. I find that things that happen once usually happen again. It's just a matter of when.

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Step Right Up, If You Dare

I love reading the voters guide. Not so much for finding the facts of issues, but rather to root out the crazy people that think they are qualified to manage a political office. I am rarely ever disappointed. Every voters guide has nuts inside. This year is no exception. Even if you can see the folly of some of the candidates you can at least marvel at the size of Betsy's glasses. I bet she uses Rain-X with those babies.

Funnier yet, it all makes me wonder why anyone in their right mind would submit themselves to go into a public arena for ridicule. Sure losing an election sucks, but getting elected can be even worse. Their ridicule continues for at least four years after the election.

Those who are elected have years of pushing rocks up hill. Little ever gets done because so many people are opposed to things as tiny as dust motes. It might just be that the best campaign promise one can make is to change nothing. Most politicians have lofty goals, but what I say is who could ever beat a candidate that has a platform that says "I plan on making no decisions or changing anything while I am in office."

Tuesday, October 12, 2010


We've all seen it. Somewhere, something goes a-rye and you stop and wonder if it was your fault or if you had anything to do with the fiasco.

Not being at all specific a failed event took place on Saturday. After fielding several phone calls I remedied the situation but I still wanted to see if I had any faults that caused the problem, but thoroughly checking my records I found that it wasn't me who screwed up. All m y ducks were in a row and had been for months. There was a systemic failure that was generated from others. I was totally in the clear and became a partial hero for fixing the situation. That's a great feeling.

Monday, October 11, 2010

Apple Picking Time

Finally the storm was over enabling us to go for a walk. We are usually to busy to stroll the neighborhood, but today was perfect.

On our walk we pass by a field that hasn't even been cut as long as I've lived here. There are trees growing in it and I can see that it will no longer be a field with in my lifetime. The remarkable thing about this field is that there is an apple tree smack-dab in the middle of it. I've written about this tree before. The apples are pretty bitter so I usually feed them to the horses.

While I was picking I noticed two other apple trees at the edge of the field at the wood line. I fought my way through the wild berry vines, through spider webs, but it was worth it. These were choice apples, fit for humans. I ended up picking two cloth shopping bags full of apples.

I suppose I should paint the entire picture for the visual enjoyment of your mind's eye. Though I do try to clean up and look presentable when ever I leave home, I often look like a bum when I'm around here. For this walk I was wearing dirty jeans, farm boots (Wellingtions)and my denim shirt had rips on the shoulders from slinging the chain saw over my shoulder when I walk to a cutting project.

Trying to exit the field I had a bag of apples hanging from each hand and I tripped with every other step. My final steps to get onto the road also threw me off balance. I can just see the people in those three cars that drove by me thinking I was a drunken bum stumbling around in the ditch.

Sunday, October 10, 2010


A few years ago most of the logging roads in the western portion of the county were blocked by the newly installed gates. Folks were pissed off, but I really don’t blame the timber companies because people were reckless and they found it a convenient place to drink beer while they drove. It was also a convent for the trespassers to litter and dump their garbage and worse yet animal carcasses in remote places. Having ridden horses back there for years I saw a lot of abuse and the gated do actually help.

I am surprised to see how many gates there are through out the county. Other than logging roads there are gates at the entrance of some businesses, parks, homes and of course gated communities. This makes me think back the three most memorable gates I remember as a kid.

There was the main gate at the foundry where my father worked. For years they had a gate keeper, but later they could no longer afford the luxury and people had to open and close the gate behind themselves as they exited or entered the plant.

Another set of gates was on the 20 mile long dirt road that went to the lake in Canada. This dirt road went through several farms. As I recall there were five gates where someone had to get out of the car and let the car pass through and re-close the gate behind them.

I also recall the gates on the road to Bear Swamp Lake where my sister lived. I recall two or three of them on this bumpy one-lane road. Years later I recall it being reduced to one gate at the entrance of the road. I guess it was either important to keep people out and keep the beauty in.

In most cases gates are only meant to slow people down. There is always a way to get around them. There is always another entrance or someone willing to share access. I think of this because I have a honey customer that lives in Surf Pines. All the years I’ve been going in to deliver honey to him one would think I’d remember the combination, but no. I’ll have to call him to gain my annual access.

Saturday, October 09, 2010

Before the Modern Times

I often reminisce about things I’ve seen long ago during my childhood. Many of these things were charming or at least held some sort of charm for me and still do.

I remember the junk man driving up the street with his horse drawn cart. There was a hanging string of tin cans that jangled as his cart went down the road. I remember the saw dust on the floor at our local butcher shop and there was always a window to the refrigerated room where you could see animals on the hook waiting to be cut to order. I remember when people wore hats that were specific to their occupation and uniforms. I remember homes were built with single pane windows that would collect steam and frost over on cold nights.

These days the junk man drives a truck with hydraulic hoists and lifts. The butcher shops are sterile and you never see a full carcass on the hook. If anyone wears a hat it is either a baseball cap or a hard hat.

One that has changed over the years is windows. We now have double pane insulated windows. Before that everyone had aluminum framed storm windows. Even earlier than that, we had wooden storm windows. These windows were stored in a shed and when the nights started getting cold folks would take out the windows and clean and hang them. They were hung on special hardware that you don’t see these days. Its closest hardware relative would be like hardware to hang paintings. The bottoms of the frames were held in place with a hook and an eye.

The house I grew up in was built in 1861. My father had the house fitted with aluminum storm windows after a few years of hanging the wooden storm windows. Hanging wooden storm windows on the second floor was not a chore for someone that rarely climbed ladders. I remember seeing the wooden storm windows leaning in the shed for years. I wondered why he kept them. Maybe he figured he’d have a replacement if the aluminum windows failed for some reason.

Some houses even had large wooden screens that were hung over the windows and replaced by their glass counterparts in the winter. I can’t recall exactly, but I think we had several wooden screens for our house as well.

Before our house had the removable screens or windows it’s only winter protection was the wooden shutters. We see shutters as a decorative add-on to many houses these days, but they do absolutely nothing. I recall on some windy nights one of the shutters would unlatch itself and would bang back and forth until you got up, opened the window and reattached it. It was really cool having shutters and single pane windows. It wasn’t energy efficient, but it did give one the feeling of living in a different century.

Friday, October 08, 2010

Honey House, Part 2

As mentioned yesterday, I let the honey settle in pales and I've taken all the boxes of frames outdoors for the bees to clean up. There is always residual honey left in the combs and the bees go crazy for it. After about two days the frames are all cleaned and the bees move else where to extract nectar from autumn flowers.

Though relatively clean, I can't just store the frames because of an imported insect from Africa known as a wax moth. This moth lays eggs in hives and the larva will eat through the comb and defecate in it rendering it useless.

Comb is an asset to the beekeeper. It bees have to eat eight pounds of honey to produce one pound of wax. If I can preserve the comb the bees can use it again in subsequent years and they won't have to waste energy building new comb from scratch.

Commercial beekeepers use a very nasty chemical to preserve their comb, but I don't use any chemicals in my hives. Instead I place all my frames into a freezer and leave them there over night. This kills any adult, larva or egg that may be living in a frame already. Wax moths are real tricky about laying eggs, so I have to take a torch to flame the insides of the boxes and lids. Once the freeze is over I can then store the boxes of frames in a shed for the winter.

This is also the time when the honey has settled in the pails so I can begin bottling. At this point the boxes of honey frames have been replaced by cases of honey jars in the house. Jarring the honey is also a messy proposition. The gate valves on the settling tank and pails often drip and leak. Sometimes drops of honey miss the mouth of the jar so cleaning is a constant activity.

Progress can be measured by filled cases and how many pails have been emptied and cleaned. At the end of the day all of the honey has been jarred. I save the bottom of the barrel honey for my self. This honey has some microscopic particles of wax in it and it looks almost opaque. This is really textured to the tongue. I like this honey more than clear honey.

After all this work I am starting to see light at the end of the tunnel though another big part of the process is still ahead. Each jar needs to be cleaned and labeled and then I have to attach a hang tag. This is the task I have waiting for me while it rains this weekend. Come Monday I should have some to sell.

Thursday, October 07, 2010

Honey House

Finally order is restored to my house. All my equipment is back in storage for another season

Every year I take over a small section of our home and use the space by the back door for my honey production. Over the span of about a month I pull finished frames of honey from the hives. I put them in boxes and there they sit until I’ve collect all the surplus honey from every hive. By the time I am finished there are ten to fifteen boxes with nine to ten frames per box ready to be processed.

There are two reasons I store them in the house. First is so the bees can’t get at them. If they could they would rob all the honey and take it back to their hives. The other reason I keep it in the house is to keep it warm. If the temperature of honey goes below 55 degrees F for a short period of time it will crystallize.

Each week the pile of boxes grows. Each time I enter the room I can smell the delightful smell of the the frames of honey, wax and residual smoke from smoking the bees. It's a beautiful smell.

These boxes wait for the next rainy day. Honey extracting is a good chore for a rainy day when I bring in my centrifuge. I lay a tarp down on the floor and set up my equipment. I use a tarp because processing honey is a messy business. I have a bin that I scrape the wax cappings into and then I place the frames into the extractor. It's an old four-frame hand-crank model that spins fast like a washing machine. The frames are spun so fast that the honey flies out of the cells and drips down the wall of the extractor. Eventually enough honey is collected in the bottom of the extractor that the basket that holds the frames can no longer spin. So at that time I have to place a bucket under the gate valve and pour the honey through a screen filter to filter out the wax and bee parts.

By the end of the day I have several five gallon pales full of honey and I take the boxes of frames outdoors to let the bees clean the comb. The pales of honey get to sit for several days to allow any wax that could fit through the screens to rise to the top for skimming.

The smell of the boxes is replaced by the smell of honey. Even though I cover the pales with lids to prevent the honey from absorbing any of the moisture from the air, the smell of honey still circulates through the house.

Wednesday, October 06, 2010

Stop Beating Your Horses, You Rat Bastards!

OK horse people, listen up. I’m starting to get really pissed off at a lot of you. Why are you beating your horses? Before I go on, let’s take a step back.

It is generally thought that horses are tough animals considering the burdens we place on them and they rarely show signs they are overworked until they are injured. Horses are prey animals and are stoic because revealing any weakness in the wild would put them on another animals’ dinner plate. In fact horses are very sensitive. So much so they can feel a mosquito land on them.

Now back to the beatings… I’ve been watching the World Equestrian Games. This is the best of the best in horse competition. There is reining, jumping, dressage and eventing. Every time a rider finishes a round they customarily reward (or so they think) their horses by slapping them on the neck. Sometimes they get so excited about a good round that they really beat away on the poor creatures. If they slapped someone’s face like they slapped their horses it could easily render a person unconscious.

In nature a direct assault such as slapping will turn a horse away. When a horse reprimands another horse they will bump, bite or kick in a direct manner. When a human slap at a horse on the ground the horse will usually yield to the pressure and move away.

The way to reward a horse is to gently rub the horse’s neck near its shoulder just as a mare nuzzles her young to bond with them. To horses this is a reward. To adult horses this is a demonstration of bonding and respect. Beating the neck of your horse is as much a reward as slapping someone’s face.

If you don’t believe me try this the next time you have your horse unrestrained in a stall. Slap its neck and see how long it takes it to move away from you. Later go back and rub their neck and watch them lean into you. This will teach you that it is time to stop beating your horses.

Tuesday, October 05, 2010

The Price of Quallity

Critter commented about giving away half of her honey harvest the other day. Though it is a sweet thing to do I don't think it is all that wise for hobbyists or side-liners. Beekeeping is not an easy task, nor is it an inexpensive one. To get into this field properly it will cost you about a thousand dollars and more depending on how many colonies you purchase.

When people give their honey crop away it devalues all the work of your bees and all the effort you put into it. Add to that the jars and labeling. I sell my honey for $7 a pound and I probably come close to breaking even every year. Most people think the bees do all the work, but in reality I spend at least an hour every ten to twelve days thoroughly inspecting every frame, checking progress, looking for maladies and evaluating mid-stream changes of equipment and population.

When it is time to harvest the honey it usually takes about six hours to extract it from the frames. Bottling takes another four hours and labeling takes another four to five hours.

I don't feel guilty charging $7 a pound considering most of the processed honey on sale at the grocery store is going for close to the same amount. The product I sell is raw (unpasteurized)and the stuff in the store is processed to the point it is no longer honey.

Raw local honey is a premium product. The stuff that is sold at the Sunday Market isn't local. It comes from at least a hundred miles away where they have different flora, climate and soil minerals. The stuff you buy in stores is either from China or it comes from large-scale beekeeprs all over the country who sell their honey to distributors for around a dollar a pound and it is mixed together and processed into a dead product.

So even if you have a hard time selling your own product because you don't like exchanging money, you can always barter.

I don't mean to say that I don't give away some honey. I donate some to worthy causes for auctions and prizes. I give some to some neighbors so they can value what I am doing near them. I give some to people who can't afford to buy it, but most of the people I know can afford it and they know the difference between what is available at the market and the superior quality of what my bees have produced.

Monday, October 04, 2010


I am sick of women with long fingernails. What the hell is up with that? It's disgusting. How do you wipe?

Sunday, October 03, 2010


The honey has been extracted and it weighs in at 234 pounds this year. Much better than last year.

Saturday, October 02, 2010

Bloglines RIP

For those of you that use Bloglines to subscribe to this or other blogs may want to know that Bloglines is shutting down on November 1st. I use it over Google Follower because there seems to be no way to keep your subscriptions private in Google.

Is anyone out there using a blog subscription service with a reader. I don’t want to resort to bookmarking blogs. I'd rather use one that tells me when there is a new post to view.

Friday, October 01, 2010

Where is the Magic?

I wonder if there are any things that are magical to kids of the present generation. I was born in the boomer generation and I grew up on the cutting edge of a lot of technology. In my life time planes became jets. Rockets were developed that could deliver payloads into space. As for computers I recall getting paychecks that were printed on IBM punch cards. Most kids today weren’t around until after the 486 processor was invented, and that was smoking speed back in those days.

Televisions went from black and white sets attached to rabbit ears or roof top antennas with a couple of channels to digital high definition color LCD cable ready sets with hundreds of potential channels.

We went from tape recorders that were the size of small suit cases with vacuum tubes to tiny devices the size of a credit card that can hold every song you’ve ever heard along with photos and video.

I feel so fortunate to have experienced all the changes I’ve seen over the last 55 years. I am fortunate to have personally embraced all the advancements, yet not take them for granted because in the back of my mind I remember the way things were.

My reverence comes from memories of how big of a deal it was when we drove my eldest brother to Newark Airport so he could fly to Hawaii once and again when he flew off to college in the Missouri. I recall standing on the outdoor observation deck and watching the four propellers of the plane starting to spin. I remember the optical illusion of the props going faster and faster and looking like they were spinning backwards for a time. I recall standing there watching his plane fly out of eye sight. It was really special. It was even special for my parents to get station to station long distance call the next day confirming his arrival. There is a term I bet you haven’t heard for years, “Station to Station” as opposed to a “Person to Person” call.

I ask again, is there any magic left for the new generation or did my generation consume it all?