Sunday, February 27, 2011
"The abandoned backstreets of [---] ...have turned into dark-green tunnels buzzing with bees, filled with an orchestral score of birdsong, the lanes so narrow that [a car] pushes aside weeds on both sides as it creeps down them, passing house after house enshrined in forest. Red admirals, peacock butterflies, and some velvety brown lepidoptera are fluttering all over the vegetation. It looks like something out of an old Russian fairy tale."
Sounds lovely, right? Looks healthy, right? Chernobyl, 2010. Good story from Outside Magazine.
I learned about the story from Longreads.com, which is a nice place to find meaty articles on a lot of subjects.
Saturday, February 26, 2011
I thought the first book in this series was bad. Although I read it to the very last page. Then I read the second book in the series. Also violent and full of rage (and I read it to the very last page). At that point I thought I had gotten them out of my system. But I guess not. These novels just fly by when I'm reading them. And I like to be swept up and taken away by books, so I guess that's why I'm giving in and reading the third, and last, novel. The publishing fallout over the author's sudden death is just as interesting as the novels themselves. Which presumably means more of the damn things in the future.
Thursday, February 24, 2011
This crayon has been rattling around in my house for years, and before that it rattled around in my parents' house for decades. It's a kind of crayon that was (is?) used to make metal zippers work more easily. I've never used it, and in fact it looks like no one has ever used it. It's so old that the addresses don't have zip codes and the phone numbers still use words (DUpont 7-1111). But I can't throw it out. It connects me to the past I guess.
Does this cover bother anyone else? It makes me dizzy. I'm guessing that the designer deliberately oriented the photo this way, or the arts center wouldn't have mailed out the brochures -- although I've worked in enough bureaucracies to know that the mailing COULD have been a mistake. Or they decided they couldn't afford to reprint it. The cover design did cause me to look through the catalog with more attention than usual, trying to see if any other pictures are so oddly placed. Answer: no.
So that's my little rant for the day.
Wednesday, February 23, 2011
Tuesday, February 22, 2011
I built the little pond in the lower left (middle picture) on a whim about 3 years ago. During the summers I tried to keep it free of leaves and other debris but I see now that I may want to consider letting it age naturally because the bees love to use the leaves as landing strips while they slurp up water. And I'm told by more experienced beekeepers that the bees prefer aged water to so-called fresh water from the tap.
I don't want to say it too loud but I think the girls may have survived the worst of the winter. I peeked under the top the other day and it sounded like there were plenty of them in the hive, and I just ordered a food source called pollen patties, which I'll slide under the top soon just in case they are running out of honey.
I continue to feel like I'm wandering alone in the desert on this bee business, and every decision I make is sort of a guess. No one warns you, in the beekeeping classes, about the anxiety factor in all of this.
Wednesday, February 16, 2011
These healthy plants are growing in a friend's family room. They get southern exposure but no other special treatment. They grew outdoors in those pots all summer, but before the first frost my friend just picked up the pots and plopped them down near a sunny window. Now she has fresh basil all winter. Note: she doesn't have kitties or doggies, which might be a key to such success. I know my kitties would make a nice meal of that entire crop. And I'm not giving up kitties for basil.
From a London exhibit.
I heard about it first from my daughter's friend who works for an artist. Next, I heard about it from my beekeeping listserv group. Today NPR did a story on it. Oh those Brits and their humor.
Tuesday, February 15, 2011
Monday, February 14, 2011
Sunday, February 13, 2011
My Clever Friend Margo H. makes these sweet bookmarks and sends some to me occasionally. She cuts up old greeting cards, prints out a nice quotation about reading for the back of each bookmark, and laminates the whole thing. I may have to buy myself a little laminator (I think I can get one for under $30) and a little paper cutter and go into the bookmark-making business myself. Thanks Margo!
This hat has been everywhere, coast to coast, and it's gotten a little banged up, but I told My Lovely Daughter that I could fix it. Maybe clear matt-finish fingernail polish to hold down the frayed straw, then some black stitching over that to reinforce it and blend in with the existing two rows of black stitching?
Temperatures got high enough today -- high 40s -- and the sun peeked through enough for some bees to get out briefly. "Bring out your dead!"
Top shot taken at about noon. Bottom shot taken at about 3. This tells me that the colony is still alive. If they are still cleaning house by dragging out bodies that's got to be a good sign (right?). But I think the big question is the size of the colony by April.
I think the hive had 30,000, maybe 40,000 bees in the fall. If babies are being born to replace the bees that die of natural causes over the winter, and if the total population is high (over 20,000?) in April, I think that would be called a success. But it's a long time until April, and I don't know if baby bees are being born. Or if the Queen is laying eggs, or is even still alive. If she did die in the winter, I don't think the bees would necessarily swarm (or abandon the hive) in search of a new Queen, but I guess it could happen. And I don't know how much honey is remaining. It's so much about the food, I gather. Winter losses are often about starvation.
I've got to find that mental place in beekeeping where you do what you can but then you stop speculating on what may or may not be going on inside that hive.
Sunny tomorrow with a high of 55! They'll be out for sure, "cleansing" and undertaking.
Wednesday, February 9, 2011
In each case the number at the bottom is missing a zero and a decimal point. I can fix that. I'm such a rebel.
Check out the coat of arms for Fergie's family---the Fergie who is still the Duchess of York, not the Black Eyed Peas' Fergie (of SuperBowl "fame").
I would never have learned about this coat of arms if Ms. Complaint Department, in the course of musing on the term "time sink," hadn't led me to this very useful website.
Tuesday, February 1, 2011
Isn't that an awful sight?
Today I finally took down all that shabby fencing, and most of the posts. There's nothing there for the deer anyway. I'll put back some fencing in March. I'm sure my neighbor is relieved that I finally got around to taking down that mess. If I were she I would be cursing me for having a trashy side yard.
This either means life is a puzzle and the pieces don't fit, or it's a puzzle and if you just put the pieces together dummy you'll see how it all hangs together, or it means nothing. The missing left hand is my favorite part.
Power out from ice-snow storms: 13 hours. We were among the luckier in the DC area.
Internet out from ice-snow storms: 3.5 days. We were among the most unlucky in the DC area.
As I keep telling friends & family: it was odd being offline so long. A little unsettling, but also a little pleasant. I've concluded that I have a mild Internet addiction but not a full-blown one. Yet.
While I was offline I kept imagining posts -- both mine and others. Not so sure that's healthy. Would have been much better to just dig down and read. But when you don't know when, if ever, the juice will be turned back on, you can't really settle down. I can't. And what about Egypt! I had radio so I knew basically everything going on, but I didn't know as much as I wanted to.
Possibility of more ice pellets tonight. I love the winter, I love the winter, I love the winter.