Monday, April 30, 2012

New Bees

I took the five-hour round trip drive to pick up my bees for the season.  Five of my seven colonies I attempted to keep alive over the winter died.  The two that did make it through the winter are strong and are off to a good start.

I got only four additional colonies this year.  I often start the year with ten colonies but after being called to pick up swarms I have ended up with up to sixteen colonies.  That is way more colonies than I care to deal with.  Hopefully I'll top out with ten hives this year, but I will probably only take honey from six of them.

Last year was the first year I cut the honey production, and it was kind of nice.  I was sold out easily by November.  Most of the years of large production I still am scrambling to sell the rest of the harvest in December.  Though selling honey and hive products makes it so I can at least break even on my endeavors; a person can get used to the less is better module.  It may not be really better, but it is easier.

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

A Delay

One of the only two fears I have is being late.  I would rather not show up for something than be late.  I've known people who are chronically late and it doesn't seem to mater to them in the least no matter how much it inconveniences others.

The worse consequence for me would arriving late and being turned away.  Most people think I'm crazy for this, but when I have an appointment in Portland I try to leave three hours ahead of time.  If you stop for gas or for coffee along the way that can easily chew up a half hour and then if you encounter traffic some where along the trip you can easily lose any time you have remaining.

I had an appointment in Portland on Thursday and yes I left three hours early.  We got a mile down the road and we encountered a stampede of cattle running in the same direction we were going.  I didn't want to push the cows further and as I started turning around to tell the neighbors their cows were running down the road I saw our neighbor driving the tractor with hay towards the scene.

It was obvious we had to try to head them off and keep them in one lane with out spooking them and about a half mile later were able to stop the herd.  A neighbor from the other direction was drove up with her son and now there were four of us and a tractor pushing the cows back in the right direction.  We were shouting, waving jackets and sticks.  The cows kept trying to leave the road  and we had to push them back and forward to their pasture.  It took a while but within 45 minutes we all had them back in their field with their very grateful owner.

I still made it to my appointment in Portland on time and had an adventure along the way.

Friday, April 20, 2012

Sequestered Like Veal

I finally had laser surgery on my eye.  I wrote months ago about being somewhat blind in my left eye because of a condition called Central Serous Retinopathy.  I had it once before in 2008 and it pretty much got better on it's own and then it came back last August and hasn't gotten better. 

The surgery was pretty simple. They infused me with a medication called Visudine and then they focused a cold laser in my eye for 60 seconds.  It is the ultra violet that interacts with the medication and seals off the problems in my retina. Hopefully my vision will be much better within two weeks.

In the mean time I have to stay out of the light for the next three days because any exposure to sunlight will cause a severe sun burn that will require a skin graft.  So just to go out side I have to wear a hat with a full brim with a hoody over that, sunglasses, gloves and sleeves.  No skin can be exposed even though it is cloudy and raining.  So I'm just staying inside until Sunday when all the medication should be out of my system.

Monday, April 16, 2012

The Nattering of the Birds

Place yourself in the evening of a warm summer day.  You spent the afternoon working outdoors, mowing the grass, trimming hedges, or painting.  It's getting late and your chores are done for the day and you sit outside and have a drink.  The air is full of the smells and the sounds of a summer evening.  You notice that the robins and other birds are no longer searching you lawn for food, but rather they are all perched in trees, singing and sounding.  They are talking amongst one another and I envision them telling one another about their personal successes of the day.

Oddly, this seems to happen with other birds as well.  We got some baby chicks a couple weeks ago and they were living in a large cage I built for them.  It's easier to keep chicks in the house for the first couple of weeks where you can monitor their food, water and temperature.  They were monitoring the length of the day for us and every evening just before dusk they would start talking like the birds in the trees talk to one another.  They shared their days with one another, quite vocally for about fifteen minutes before it got dark.

We have since moved the chicks into the chicken yard and I have to admit I do miss their nattering every evening.  I'll look forward to the next batch of chicks that will be delivered to us in June.

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Adam Cohen

Throughout the history of the music industry it is rare that a child of a star will ever be better than their parent. Look at Frank Sinatra; his son Frank JR and daughter Nancy never amounted to much in the industry other than a wisp of fame in the 60’s. Nearly all of Frank Zappa’s children have had musical ventures and careers of riding the coattails of Frank, but none have ever risen to his level. Hank Williams Junior is just a nasty drunk with none of the heart his father had, though Hank III has potential. None of the kids of the Beatles have made much of an impact.

BUT… Finally there is potential; a kid is doing his father proud. Leonard Cohen’s son Adam has turned out probably the best son of a star album I’ve ever heard. It is as though Adam sat at the foot of the master and actually absorbed and was able to comprehend the genius of his father.

Adam picks up where the interesting Leonard Cohen left off, before his voice turned to gravel and his songs turned into lullabies. Adam is as musically interesting as his father. His poetry/lyrics are every bit as clever as his father. The production is very similar to his father’s but perhaps more interesting. He employs a bevy of the same style back-ground singers, or as Leonard calls them, the angels. Adam’s voice is totally recognizable as a Cohen.

If you are a Leonard Cohen fan, you must pick up this collect, Adam Cohen, Like a Man. You won’t be disappointed.

Monday, April 02, 2012


I have some cookie issues. First they are mis-named. They should be called bakies since you bake them, not cook them. This aside, I've always loved cookies. What's not to love? Even a bad cookie is better than no cookie at all, but I see a major change slowly changing the face of my cookie world that is disturbing.

When I was a kid the markets had a cookie aisle. There were different types of cookies four shelves high for the entire length of the aisle. Now if you go to the cookie aisle at Fred Meyer there are about five feet of cookies, then ten feet of every sort of chocolate chip concoction possible then it goes into a couple feet of Nilla Wafers and bang you are into crackers for the rest of the aisle.

I can understand why people are off commercial cookies. They have changed past the point of being good, tasty or interesting. Have you had a Fig Newton lately. It's not the succulent treat it used to be. The fig paste is chewy and the cookie shell is akin to shredded cardboard. Have you tried dunking a chocolate cover graham cracker in milk lately? You can bite off the ends, put it in a glass of milk, come back an hour later and and find it still floating and the inside is still crisp. A proper graham cracker cookie should get totally mushy inside while the chocolate shell becomes cold and crisp.

Sometimes I just was a little cookie. That's why I usually have a bag of Mother's in the cupboard. I don't want the burden of trying to cut myself off from eating an entire bakery cookie. Mother's cookies are the perfect bite size for me.

Now let's talk about bakery cookies for a moment. Aside from chocolate chip and maybe oatmeal cookies, I am willing to bet that sinckerdoodles are among the top three most popular bakery cookies. So why can't you get a commercial snickerdoodle? There are so many nauseating varieties of chocolate chips on the shelves, why not pull one of the big chip with sprinkles and corn nuts that everyone overlooks and throw in sinckerdoodles. A new cookie could breath some new life into the dwindling cookie aisle. Trust me, I'm an expert.