Saturday, December 25, 2010


Today I read that walnut sawdust may keep mites out of the hives. It will be interesting to pursue this topic as a natural solution such as that would be very welcome.  I wonder who would have some walnut trees that wlould let me saw of a couple of branches....?
Also in this mornings post was an item about a hive starving to death. I think I check my hives often enough that that won't happen. I will have to check the west hive more closely.
Oddly enough, it is only December 25 but it is already time to start thinking of next spring. I hd hoped to have my building assembled so I could store all my wooden wear there but it hasn't happened so far. I think i shall take off a month from everything and see if there enough nice days where I can do some ratcheting and screwing and assembling.
If I can get my wooden wear all organized I will have a better idea where I stand so I can look for swarms to capture. I want 2 or 3 more hives, as long as Jill can help, and see what the ranch can produce. With all the black berry bushes over there it should be able to produce a nice amount of honey from the old hive and get a new hive off to a great start.  I have even seriously considered contacting Kincade again to see about the clover.
I could leave a hive down there until the nectar stops flowing and then take it to the ranch. It "may" be pretty full then if he does plant the red clover and already has white clover.
We'll see.
First I need more colonies.

Monday, December 20, 2010

Bees and books

I thought I was finished with getting books for everybody for Christmas but after checking, I ain't. Now I have to go back and start a search for some ore books and the dept is in such disarray that it will be difficult. S A has received so many books lately that I haven't had time to organize all of them. We are over loaded at this time and, now we have more fiction that isn't romance.
Give that three big cheers.
So, high ho, it's off to books I go.
First I need to make a list of what I have...............

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

More stuff

It has been more than a month since the last entry. I have not been idle I just haven't used what few opportunities I had to blog.  It has been colder than a Republican's heart at the sight of a homeless person caused by Repubs economic policies. I have been worried about the bees as i didn't think I had a complete understanding of all I should do.
Last night at the NEOBA meeting I got to talk to two experts and got the advice I needed.
Today I put an entrance reducer on both hives because of the guard bees. They will die as they stand guard in the cold. By reducing the opening it reduces the area they have to guard thus- fewer guard bees and fewer dying.
Makes sense to me so I did it.
I talked to Carl who told me to take off the supers I still had on the hives. I also did that today and only got stung once by the mean hive. Those little girls are always mean. I lifted the back of the hive to see the weight so I could guess as to how much honey they had for them. I could not lift it from where I was standing so I have to assume they have plenty.
The other hive is in the shade too long so I really should move them except I don't know about moving them in the winter. I'll ask Greg 1st chance I get.
I put sugar/bee candy in the west hive and they were all over it before I could reassemble the hive. I did not try to lift their hive as one sting a day is enough.
Next spring I am either going to split a hive or buy another
or both.

Tomorrow--- all the excitement about books.
Oh, the bee meeting was so boring and I had learned a lot so i left early. Carl and I went out to his truck to get the candy and fructose and were almost trampled by people leaving.

Monday, November 15, 2010

More food, feeding & school

I did three bee programs at two elementary schools. The poorest school's students paid closer attention than the Yuppie class school kids. Wonder what can be made from that... Anyway, I took a jar of live bees as I had no demonstration hive. It was a big hit as every kid could hold it, if he/she wanted, and get a very close look at bees.
The odd thing was that I had several when I went to the far away school and I left them in the jar in the garage overnight. The next day i remembered them and they were not happy with me. I took them out and placed them on a stand close to their hive. The angry buzzing they made as I took off the lid let me know that I shouldn't tarry and spend much time explaining.
So i did a few bees when I went to the very close elementary school. I caught the bees just before i left and took them back immediately after returning home. All but one bee had died. I don't even have a theory as to why unless some third grader put a hex on them.
I enjoyed showing and talking to the kids and may do it some more.
Today I had enough sugar to mix up 2.5 gallons of sugar-water feed. It should be cooled off by now so I better had go feed before they all die.

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Feeding & feeding and feeding

Dang bees are hungry. I have to give one hive a quart of sugar-water a day and the other hive gets a gallon or more a week. I need another gallon feeder so I wouldn't have to keep running out everyday fixing the west hive's jar.
I got two gallons and a couple of quarts this harvest. It was a heckuva lot of work for that amount but every recipient has appreciated it. Hopefully, next year will be better. I want to add at least one hive and if I do it early enough, they may be able to produce.
Next thing is hive beetle control. I must do something about that by next week as the next few weeks may be awfully busy.
The Jones hive is doing well I think.  Jilleroo is taking care of them. We are in a partnership that we both enjoy. OK, I know I enjoy it and she seems to. Now if she just could get super educated about bees it would help. Being way younger she still has a brain (and a very good one) so she can remember the important stuff.
Friday I am to do two programs at an elementary school in Tulsa about bees. I'll take a complete hive equipment without bees and carry a jar full of bees. I had a demonstration hive borrowed but that fell through. The hive parts were falling apart and it wasn't safe to take into an elementary school. So-- I'll wing it.
I'll get it all together and then plan on time. 2nd grade and a fifth grade.  Probably 30 min at most.
I'll let you know.

Friday, October 22, 2010

How sweet it is!

Finally the big day arrived. I had given up on helping someone so I could learn how to extract and decided to do it myself. I reckoned that it was not rocket science but whatever it was, I would make several mistakes anyway. So I looked on the Internet and watched a video or three and started getting everything ready.
Naturally, whenever I either get ready or start to do things, there are untold interruptions. I dealt with those and got my jars ready to boil. That only took about three times longer than it would a normal person. I boiled jars until they all screamed in surrender. I boiled jars until they all screamed in surrender.
I had taken the supers off the two hives and had checked them earlier. I sat them on flat boards with plywood covering the top so whatever bees were buzzing around couldn't get in. I had covered and placed newspapers on & under before placing the wood on/under them.
After boiling the jars I went back out and discovered one of the super boxes was not flat and bees were coming and going just like normal. Now having bees in your extracting area fighting you for the honey is not my idea of a grand ol' time so i fixed that and went back in the house.  I tried to get everything in the garage setup so I would be ready when the bees were cleared from the frames in the supers.

I took my leaf blower and blew out bees from the pink hive super frames. It worked fairly well altho the bees could hold on even in a 200 MPH wind. But... I did get most of them gone.
Lo! and BEHOLD! lightning started flashing and it was getting one towards dark. The two supers from the ..old hive were still full of bees. I was less successful on getting rid of them than the pink hive. So- I decided to wait.
I arranged a place to put the frames until I could start the extraction. Then it started raining and I knew that if I chased the bees out in the rain they would probably die. I had to wait until the next morning so I made a space between the hives so the bees could escape and go home.
That must have worked as the next morning there were almost no bees in any of the supers. I brushed them away with the bee brush very early the next morning while they were still yawning.
Then I made an unnecessary trip for jar lids, as it turned out, and had everything ready. There are some people, or maybe at least one person, in the world who is more messy than me. That is possible but not entirely true.
I cut the tops off and honey ran all over everything - or so it seemed. I had to scrape the knife constantly to get off the wax & honey. I kept the knife in hot water while not using it so it would cut through the wax better.
The pink hive frames were not as full as the old (west) hive's frames so cutting them was a major pain. I worked until quite late and gave up for the evening. I started again early the next morning getting the hives outside checked to make sure they were in the proper configuration and everything was fine. Then I started again.
I cut the "caps" off both sides of the frames of honey, doing two frames and then placed them in the extractor. It is a large, galvanized cylinder that has a wire basket inside. A handle is placed on the top cross bar on the gears. You spin the basket with the frames in it so as to force out the honey. After about the tenth frame it becomes a little harder as it is hard to get started. After about two minutes of spinning it starts to become easier as the honey is thrown out. Then you turn the frames around with the other side out and start spinning again. This takes time.     Lots of it. Next year I will have a much better idea of what to do and possibly what not to do.
Wednesday morning I started to fill containers. I had much more honey than I thought I would which is a YAHOOO thing. I won't have enough to sell this year but it looks promising for next year. If all three hives produce we should have a little left over for selling.
No, I think I will split one hive and buy another. That would be two hives producing honey and three hives to grow. Then the next year there would be five hives to produce honey.
Unless I decide to split another hive.
How sweet it is!

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

A tragic Aussie bee story

I just returned from Australia and had two encounters with Aussie bees.
My brother has a nectarine tree in his back yard (garden as the Brits & Aussie call them) that was in full bloom. I noticed a bee one morning and began to look much closer. The tree was covered with small bees, similar to what I am used to but seemed to be a little different. Even tho I pleaded they would not hold still long enough for me to get a really good picture for I D purposes.
Later I found out that someone on the next street over was selling honey so I suspect that is where the bees were coming from. We were leaving the next day so i did not get to go ask and look and all those things I was dying to do. Oh well.....
Then- we went up to Coonabarabran which is in north central New South Wales  -- Oh, we were originally in Broken Hill which is the furthest west you can go in NSW, almost in the center of the country and it is semi-arid except for this year. (More on that later)
Whilst driving one day well out of the town we came across a row of bee hives that stretched on the raised shoulder  for  ?? 50 + yards or metres. They had obviously been off loaded on the shoulder in a hurried manner as the stacks were not arranged and some hives were cracked and the whole scene spoke of disorder. There was a fork lift still sitting there and a semi-truck under a tree facing well away from the highway.
I went across to them to get close pictures and see what I could see as this looked tragic to me.
The bees were quite angry and didn't want to be bothered. You could hear their buzzing from across the road but I went anyway.
I didn't get a picture of an individual as very few landed on the boxes but I did get the "swam" in the air. The bees took exception to having their picture made and chased me back across the road. That distance would have been over 100' which surprised me that they would go that far. Then they attacked the car and tried to get at the people they could see through the windows. It was an Alfred Hitchcock moment.  My sis-in-law left as quickly as she could get the car in gear after I slammed the door.
The next day we went back to see what happened. The truck and all the hive bodies were there but the fork lift was gone. The ground outside the hive bodies was covered in dead bees. Then I remembered seeing a police car going in that direction the day before as we were going back into town.
My guess is that someone declared the bees a hazard and sprayed them. The worst part of that is that my brother/sis-in-law own 70+ acres outside of town well away from everything and would have welcomed keeping the hives there. There was just no way to communicate that.
There is a weekly newspaper in that town and they took my story. It was supposed to have been in last week's edition and emailed to me.
I haven't received it yet.
Thought you might find this interesting as Aussie bees were being imported here not too long ago. I am going to write the paper to see if I can get any information, but they were not overwhelmed with curiosity. Sometimes Aussies are like that; very British and very set in "we've never done it that way before."
Oh well........................

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Aussie bees - Srept 8 2010 Broken Hill (NSW) Australia

Yesterday started out as a lovely day. with the sky blue as an Oklahoma spring and the sun trying its best to keep its promise. We sat on the veranda and had a cuppa whilst reading, talking and enjoying the beautiful garden. Then, as I was looking at the various colours of the flowers, etc., I saw a honeybee. No mistaking it for any other insect, it was a honeybee.
There was a small, pink-flowering tree just a few steps away and she was attracted to that. I went to the tree to check it out and found there were multitudes of bees but they were of an unfamiliar type. I got my camera and tried to get a shot or two so I could either post a picture or show someone and have them identify what kind of bee it is.
Trying to take a good shot of a bee in action is harder even than trying to get grandkids to stand still and quit acting silly.I probably shot ten times and don't think any of the shots are good enough. However, Herself got at least one with her teeny camera so the whole exercise may not have been in vain.
Next weekend we are going to my brother&sis-in-law's country place where they are building a home. They have several acres out of the town of Coonabarabran and most of it is cleared. There is also water available.
Right! Sounds just perfect place to start several bee colonies. I hope to be able to talk seriously w/ sis-in-law about this after we get there. She has a lot on her plate so I'll have to wait my turn. I think it is doable even at Aussie prices. Bee keeping here seems to be a very high dollar operation and the honey sells for about the same as in the U S.
I think I need to check that a little further also.
This was live from Broken Hill, New South Wales, Australia

Aussie bees - Srept 8 2010 Broken Hill (NSW) Australia

Yesterday started out as a lovely day. with the sky blue as an Oklahoma spring and the sun trying its best to keep its promise. We sat on the veranda and had a cuppa whilst reading, talking and enjoying the beautiful garden. Then, as I was looking at the various colours of the flowers, etc., I saw a honeybee. No mistaking it for any other insect, it was a honeybee.
There was a small, pink-flowering tree just a few steps away and she was attracted to that. I went to the tree to check it out and found there were multitudes of bees but they were of an unfamiliar type. I got my camera and tried to get a shot or two so I could either post a picture or show someone and have them identify what kind of bee it is.
Trying to take a good shot of a bee in action is harder even than trying to get grandkids to stand still and quit acting silly.I probably shot ten times and don't think any of the shots are good enough. However, Herself got at least one with her teeny camera so the whole exercise may not have been in vain.
Next weekend we are going to my brother&sis-in-law's country place where they are building a home. They have several acres out of the town of Coonabarabran and most of it is cleared. There is also water available.
Right! Sounds just perfect place to start several bee colonies. I hope to be able to talk seriously w/ sis-in-law about this after we get there. She has a lot on her plate so I'll have to wait my turn. I think it is doable even at Aussie prices. Bee keeping here seems to be a very high dollar operation and the honey sells for about the same as in the U S.
I think I need to check that a little further also.
This was live from Broken Hill, New South Wales, Australia

Thursday, August 19, 2010


Wellsir, sometimes things work out. I was in salvation Army doing my book job and ready to leave. Dadgumned people kept buying books and making big holes I had to keep refilling the places where those books had been. Hmmp, it would sure be a lot easier if people left everything in order and.... nevermind.  I don't do the children's books as a lady does them plus the religious stuff. So-- as I was getting ready to finish and I looked over and saw "Miss Suzy."
Now for you uninitiated, Miss Suzy is the story of a squirrel who is very neat and sings as she does housework and cooks acorn cakes. I have been reading this story to various small audiences for more than 40 years. This book not only caught my attention but it grabbed me by the mental throat. A few years ago I did an all out search for it and a friend found it at a garage sale.
I now have a new small audience that needs to hear this story. In fact, I may have more audiences later on and I really believe that their childhood cannot get started without knowing about Suzy Squirrel and how she and some toy soldiers chased out the bad squirrels.
I was wrong on the cost of the book. When I was looking for it before I thought the price was about $50.00, but something has changed. I believe that people who owned the book decided to sell it so the price has come down.
It is now available for $12.89 up to $40.00. Being a used book at Salvation Army and yesterday being a half price day, I didn't have to pay that.
This book is new(looking), clean and unmarked. That makes me wonder what kind of child had the book if they didn't even fold a page or mark it with a crayon.
Yesterday was a hugely successful day.

Tuesday, August 17, 2010


Tuesday, August 17, 2010
Wow! We got a heavy rain today and it has cooled off until one would think this is a nice place to live. Now that it is too late I wonder why I didn't move to some other place years ago. OK, so I am trying to live on an Oklahoma retired teacher's pension and this red neck, dirt pore state fits. But-- other than that, I mean.
It is only 17 days until Carol and I board the plane for Sydney and I have made almost no plans. I do plan on being on the plane and enjoying the ride, along with 400 of my closest friends. Unfortunately, the flight is only 14 hours long and that is hardly time to get to know the strangers who sneaked aboard while the cabin attendants were not looking. 14 glorious hours of wondering how a machine that weighs close to a half million pounds can stay up at 35,000 feet and keep you supplied with air and water. Hey, nothing to worry about, right?
Then, how do I know the pilot didn't skip class the day they studied "landings 101' or "The Art and Care of Landing Gear."  Somehow I think those classes would be important.
It seems to be early in August for us to get cooled off. I can remember having to go to football games with the band in September when it was too hot to breathe. But that was OK. It was football and nothing in the world is as important as football in Oklahoma. Actually, that seems to be true of too many other places now.  I have my theory of that but most people do not want to hear it, they just want to quit thinking and start cheering as cheering is much easier than thinking.
OK, that is too serious.
Let's think about kangaroos and running over them. Kangaroos should be issued a license and not allowed out after dark. I think that would work.
OK, so I don't have anything to say. I think I shall go read a book.

Saturday, August 14, 2010

Finally back

Wellsir, yes you are correct. I haven't written in a long time. I sit down here at this typer and nothing comes out. Then I get busy doing nothing or time wasting and the day skips past.
Finally I did something. You may remember I am sorting and shelving books at the big Salvation Army store up the street. My sis-in-law called and told me of the Morris library redoing their holdings. They have moved into a new building so they are getting rid of 10,000 books. You are right! I didn't believe it either but it turned out to be true.
My 12 year old (and mom & two siblings) were coming over on Thursday. I made arrangements to go down and pick up a load of books that afternoon. I completely overloaded my pickup but we made it fine. I unloaded the books at the Salvation Army Friday morn and returned for another load. I did not overload this time and left ten boxes to get later.
It has been extremely hot here ever since June, in fact, June may have been the hottest on record. So, I parked the truck in the drive way and was going to wait until this morning to unload as that is when there are helpers at the Salvation Army store.  It was 107F here today and i had about enough working in the extreme heat.
So I woke up about 3:30 A M and wondered why. I lay there for a long time and way off I heard thunder. "Right," I said, "I remembered to water the two trees in the front yard and then it rains."  Then it rained -- hard-- then H A R D!  A good ol' fashioned toad floater rain.
By the time the third or fourth drop had hit I remembered the books. I rushed out to the garage and got a tarp but I couldn't get it to do properly as the wind was also blowing and I couldn't see because of the dark, the rain and the rain on my glasses. I got soaked.
Then I moved the little car out of the garage and backed the pickup into the garage. There is barely, and I mean "barely" enough room for the pickup in the garage.  I checked the books later and there is some damage but not as bad as I first thought. Grandson and I loaded two different days when it was over 100 F in the big building where the books were and then to have one of those loads ruined by the extremes of Oklahoma weather was a blow.
There is a large dumpster at Salvation Army so I shall dispose of the ruined books there.
One interesting book I saw was "Look Out, Hitler. Here Comes the Gremlins." It was published in 1943 and, I know you won't believe this, but it may have been a book aimed at brain washing children. Hard to believe the U S would do that, I know, but it may have been.  I shall read it with interest after it dries out.
Then the other "good" news is that one bee hive  got completely wiped out. Somehow wax moths got in there and the robber bees stole all the honey. Not being able to see through wood and look inside, I didn't know this was going on so by the time I discovered it, it was too late. I will replace that hive next spring. With any luck I may be able to catch a swarm from somewhere and will have a hive that way. Then MAYBE it won't be hard to keep that hive going. I am hoping that within the next 50 years I can learn to do this bee stuff.

Thursday, June 24, 2010

Wellsir, today was certainly a good day. We went to the country chalet to spend the night so we could retrieve our registered half dachshund and half skinny dog and half shelter faithful companion. Nothing to do with bees or books.
But-- we were reminded of the summer band concert at Oakdale elementary school. The band director there is doing an excellent job and proved it once again today. He had several beginners who had only three weeks of instruction, some of them not even that much. They played 4 (?) little songs which were, of course, on their level. He did a thing which showed each section and let each section be featured. My almost third grader started band this summer as he was able to play and really wanted top. His sister was in the 6/7/8 grade band anyway so it was not an imposition to take him. Anyone who likes kids should have seen his face after their concert was over. It was almost worth the trip over just to see that beam coming from his small countenance.
The 6/7/8 grade band sounded worlds apart - as it should have. It is amazing in this day of kids staying home inside and playing video games for hours that kids would come out during the summer and actually learn things.
The band director has a special star in heaven.
Then, when I got home I started fixing my smoker as the fuel I invented was finally dry. It has been over a month, as I remember, since I started this experiment. It worked! I now have enough smoker fuel to last me for a long time. It is cool, as is recommended, and blows lots and lots of smoke.
UHOH--- my little treasure just came in so I gotta go.

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

It has been almost three weeks since I did any blogging.  There has been too much happening to catch up all-the-way so I shall hit the highlights. Maybe
I now have three hives, I lost two swarms because they got mad and left and I may buy another whole starter hive and take it to a friend near Seminole.
I spent four days in Phoenix and was glad to leave before the heat really settled in. It was a most pleasant visit and, as I mentioned, the weather cooperated. More than once I sat on the patio and read or drank coffee -- or both. My niece and I sat out there and had the nicest visit. I have not seen her enough and all that made me realize how good it would have been to have seen her much more often. Her grandchildren are almost as cute and intelligent as mine.
Speaking of heat, I must go buy a sun screen for our patio as the wind from our gentle summer breeze has completly ripped, shredded and torn away our east screen. It makes morning newspaper/coffee a little hard so I think I am headed out.
I think tomorrow we will go get the dog.
I better run as the afternoon has been -0- nada.

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Almost a Beelionaire

There has been so much going on I haven't been able to get to this unless it was late at night when I was too tired. I do have some bee stories that may be of interest. They were certainly hard to come by and I never want to go through the actions again.
I was waiting until June 3 to take my main hive apart to see if the new queen was laying egs. It takes two weeks or so before a queen develops enough to do that. Then she is good for life unless she, and her groupies, decide to leave and start their own country.
Remember that has already happened twice.
So on Thursday it rained and onewho has made the misake of 'doing' bees on a rainy day will seldom make that mistake again. I didn't.
So, the next day looked as thought it would be good. That is, until a hive started to swarm. Now I have about had it with this swarminbg crap and I told them so.  I also sprayed a great deal of sugar water on the little maple tree where another swarm landed. I don't know if it was pure luck, sugar spray aor a combination but they settled on the tree.
I did not have all the things ready that are necessary to start a new hive so i got as much done as possible and started trying to finish the rest.
Then another hive started swarming. A recently swarmed swarm started swarming. I sprayed the beejeebers out of the red bud tree next to their hive, but NO, they went to the honeysuckle bush.
 I got another box about half ready and by this time i was out of breath, strength and almost out of patience. I did not give them permission to do this.
After a very long time of coaxing and cutting limbs and honey suckle vines and rushing around the garage trying to get foundation ready, I relaxed somewhat and went to check to see how things were going. Hmm, I said intelligently, there doesn't seem to be much activity from the Maple Tree Gang. I lifted the lid and there was nothing to see but empty frames. EMPTY. After all I had been through to make them a new home they just left again.
OK, that wasn't good but at least I had the other swarm. That would make a total of four and I could take two, instead of one, to my friend who wants his clover pollinated. I waited about an hour and then sneaked over to that hive, slowly I lifted the lid so as not to disturb them excessively.
They were gone. I had spent the afternoon, gave up my stopping at Sand Bur Ranch later on my way to a meeting and the bloody fools were gone.
Yes, they took a bunch of their cohorts with them. Now I have three small hives instead of three large functioning hives.
dadgummit. But, here is a picture of the Maple Tree gang who left home and is now somewhere with someone who does not appreciate them as I would have.  I hope they know they missed a large field of clover.,

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

flowers and more flowers

I do not know whether or not bees like sunflowers, but I am about to find out. The results of the sunflower crop from last year is now popping up all over place. I keep digging up plants and giving them away but more keep appearing. This morning I even mowed some before I ran out of gasoline and was forced to come inside and get at my computer as God intended man to do.
My friends (workers) at the Salvation Army store liked receiving the sunflowers so I hope somebody over there wants some more. I have about 20 I could not bear to mow.
You may remove your head gear, bow your head and read this next sentence slower as if mourning: my tulip tree died. It was sickly from the start and did not take well to the (so called) soil of my back yard and it perished quietly over the weekend. I had so looked forward to see what the hell a tulip tree was after it got bigger. Now I will never know. Maybe I can visit a tulip tree farm if I am ever in Holland.
I found out this morning that bees do not like electric weed whackers any more than they do gasoline powered weed whackers. The little darlings were not even started on their day's activities when I rushed out to trim the grass for them. The grass had grown almost tall enough to cover their entrance.
To show their appreciation, they sent out several warrior Amazon girls and drove me off in a buzz attack. Being extremely brilliant, I thought I could rush in, zap the grass and be gone before they had their meeting and made a decision as to how to approach this new noise maker.
Little did I know they had already had that meeting and sent out some representatives to negotiate my immediate withdrawal. They were very persuasive so I went back to doing something else somewhere else.
Maybe we need some of these to go to Iraq or Afghan and negotiate something.
I am thinking of taking one hive to a new home where they will have fields of clover to pollinate. I bet they do not appreciate that either and will probably let me know unless I do it extremely well and cautiously. The last time I moved bees turned out O K but there were two or three near disasters and I do not want to repeat that.
Did you know that skunks like to eat honey bees?  ......... Now if you are ever on a quiz show you can be smarter than a fifth grader.
I am outa town for the rest of the afternoon. In case you have something to say, leave it under comments and I'll read it about 5 or 6 PM.

Saturday, May 29, 2010


It has been a long time since I added a post but it doesn't seem to matter; no one but me reads this anyway.
You should know that I have three hives of bees now and they seem to be doing OK. I will not be able to tell for sure until Thursday, June 3rd. That is two weeks from the last swarm and that is how long you are supposed to wait until you see if there are any eggs or new larvae. I just hope I know what to look for.
But off that subject, yesterday and most of last week were very special. My little Treasure came to spend the day with us twice and extended visits at different times. My darlin' from the ranch was here for a week and they got to spend some time together. Actually, they got to spend a lot of time together.
When I think back to the memories I don't have I just hope they get memories to tresure when they finally get grown. By bonding this early I think, put that in italicized caps, they will be friends all their lives even at the age difference.
Little guy is very curious, as most intelligent babies are, and also very helpful. He even tried to get involved with my experimental project of molding dried grass with wetted cow manure to make fuel for the bee smoker. Manure does fairly well by itself but burns out very quickly. I am hoping to make this new product the shape of the smoker and make it burn slower, steady and longer.
Now I am looking for volunteers to help me mix, squish and pack the wet cow manure into drink cups which are the approximate size of a bee smoker. Just think, if it works I could become the Cow Manure King of the bee keeping world. People have often said I was full of Bull"Manure" but now I am elbow deep into reconstituted cow manure.
Fitting that.
Little Treasure was just not quite tall enough to help other than hold things I didn't need and hand me things I also didn't need. But he thought he was helping Pop.
Like many grandparents, our life is sort of put on hold while he is here. It is amazing how our own kids could pretty well take care of themselves and did not need minute scrutiny but our grands and great-grands cannot be out of sight or the world will end. I think they could manage just fine but I am out voted on that.
Headed out to decorate parents & sisters graves and then to a celebration at Sand Bur Acres for the week end. If anyone is reading this I hope you have a safe & happy Memorial Day weekend and don't forget why we have this holiday.

Sunday, May 23, 2010

All's well,that ends

Wellsir, while getting ready, last Thursday, to go to the "Country Chalet" on my way to my UCO board meet, a strange thing happened. The bees started swarming again. I immediately contacted my 50 year beekeeper friend and again the Florida apiary guy for advice.
This swarm settled in a honeysuckle bush and it was pretty dicey when cutting those stems away so the swarm would fall into a box.
About 2/3 did hit the box but a great many did not. I had placed the box in a wheel barrow for this contingency and it would be a heckuva lot easier to roll into the bus under the swarm.
After I put the box up on its new home I tipped the wheelbarrow up with the lip of it on the front of the new hive box. IT WORKED! The bees went marching in just as the song says the Saints will. Except those bees are certainly not saints.
So by the time all this transpired I barely had time to shower and drive 70+ MPH to Edmond for my meeting. I did make it on time but nothing to spare.
Friday I worked around the cabin all day doing weeds, etc and received two phone calls from Herself. One: The bees swarmed again and are in the Red Bud tree.
Two: The swarm is gone, don't hurry home.
IF those silly buggers insist on swarming the least they could do is to wait for me to drive home to get them and give them a great new home. I bet they didn't find nearly as good a home as I could have given them.
Saturday morning I got way deep into the original hive and found four queen cells (that is what causes swarming) and cut them out. I hope I did not cut out the new queen that is supposed to be in the original hive. I was told to wait two weeks and recheck. This will be a nervous two weeks.
Going to start my new book on the patio while we have some decent morning left. ... and then fix my mower as the blade broke off and then do the lawn as it is ankle deep.
............lotsa fun....................

Thursday, May 20, 2010

If anyone from beyond Oklahoma is reading this, it rained here last night in the Tulsa area. OK, a little more than that, it poured for hours last evening and there were tornadoes, possible tornadoes and "not quite" tornadoes over the eastern half of Oklahoma. Our back yard looked like a drowned lake before 10:PM last evening. We got some hail but, fortunately, not much.
Just south of us about 2 miles, a tornado was spotted but it didn't do anything destructive.
I continued watching one of my the few programs I watch whilst others here waited in the closet.
I looked out at my bees during some of the lightning strikes but couldn't tell how they were doing. This morning, before they got up and stirring, I sneaked over and quickly took off the jar of sugar water from the new hive. I had it refilled and back on their front door before very many of the bees knew I had been there. This afternoon I am going to the cabin, uhh "country chalet," as I have a meeting in Edmond tonight. If that area didn't get swamped, as we did, I have some outside work to do there.
Then again, I may just laze about and let my dust settle.
Of course, I could take my laptop and sit on the porch and pretend I am writing something worthwhile. It's not like I don't have some things started that I need to either finish or pretend to keep writing on.
Oh, the worst part of last night: Last week I had mixed up some natural materials for the bee smoker. We haven't had enough sun for it to dry out so I have tried several things - several things except patience. Yesterday the sun came out so I left quite a bit of smoker material on a metal sheet in the yard.
I did not remember in time to get it out of the yard and put it in a container somewhere. yep-dumb. Now it is wetter than when I mixed it, that is, if it wasn't all washed away.
Oh well, I have about half a smoker full so I can get by for awhile. Then, I suppose I could buy a cigar somewhere.
I am headed out so,
enjoy your weekend.

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Readying to leave

We went to our country chalet for the end of last week and Sat. Then on to church to see the world's first most intelligent grandson go thru a confirmation ceremony. I was very impressed with the Stillwater UMC proceedings as the kids (19 of the little buggers) were involved in several aspects. By the time church was over they would have had that they really did belong  to that church. It was so much more than the preacher calling some kids down front and doing a dull reading and then sending them back to their seats. That is basically what our church does and to me, the guy who likes ceremonies that make sense, is dull.
I just spent way too much time buying travel insurance for our Sept trip to Australia. I had finally gotten to the final part, after double checking and 'chatting' with someone from the insurance provider and getting details straight, when ZAP!! all the electricity went out. My computer screen went black and I lost everything.
Fortunately for me, this Apple had it saved under History and all I had to do was to click the proper item and I was back to -almost- where I got booted. Broken Arrow seems to have more power surges than any normal place.
Today was to be the day I got several things done that were being piled up. It is raining hard and is dark and is raining hard. So-- no out side work as I left my swim fins someplace safe. Our back yard is like a swamp after a rain as the construction company fixed it with a "V" down the middle to drain the water. I am sure they did that so the whole of everything would not wash away but it seems like it maybe could have been put back further.
Maybe not.
Now, I am off to buy tires for our sedan. I gulp and breath hard as I have priced tires for that car in the past and think I may be solving our national finance problem with one single purchase.
Maybe not.
More later
Did I mention it was raining hard?

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Didn't get anything done today, by one definition, that is. My Treasure showed up and helped me do one project. We transplanted some sunflowers in the back yard so I could mow. Then I rode him around the yard in the wheel barrow but he wasn't too thrilled with that.
Nothing much was dome, except follow him around to see he didn't hurt himself or something else (usually both at once) and then we had lunch. After lunch I got him on my lap and we did patt-a-cake and I got him lying down properly so I could sing a "go to sleep" song. He did not really want that and fussed for awhile. Since I am as stubborn as he is, he went to sleep and I held him for the next 2 hours.
That was good on so many levels.  He hasn't been very amendable toward singing and rocking so this was good. He is old enough to remember this so it won;'t be this easy next time.
I have gotten nothing done on any project I wanted to do or to start. Yesterday my bee hive paining was interrupted by rain. Couldn't finish as the unpainted wood was wet.
It has been a week and I haven't finished yet so I am wondering if this is to be a lifetime job. I don't think I shall advertise as a hive painter.
He is awake and harassing G'gramma now so maybe I can slip out and get the blade off the mower. Also need to change the oil in the mower.
Tonight is Cirque Dreams at the P A C. It should be good in their strange way.
Maybe more later.

Tuesday, May 11, 2010


I just returned from the Salvation Army store where I shelf books. I should have been home long ago but people kept talking to me. It seems that people who read many books also like to talk about them. There i am, "forced" to stand there exchanging stories with another man who also has traveled much of the world.
He told me about all the places he had lived and visited and I let him run. Then I casually mentioned some incidents in some of the places I had been and he wasn't so (almost) condescending. He is not the only person who has been to some strange places and needed to know it.
I hope I do not come across as he did so I try hard not to be 'overbearing' and let the other person tell their boring stories so I can enlighten them.
No, not really but it makes a good tag line.
I really do like shelving the books for the store a it is something that I can understand, I have to think hard doing all of it and I know that the Salvation Army actually helps people who desperately need help. And furthermore, they also help people who just need some help.
Gotta go eat .


Wellsir, I hope this is not an omen but I just this minute saw a little, black ant disappear into my keyboard. Maybe he is one of those "apps" I read/hear about.
In addition to books and bees, I like to travel. Somehow I have to find a way to get to South America and Africa. If I ever get to Antarctica I suspect it will be a trip I take alone. Some people are not thrilled with the idea of taking a ship down at a place where ice bergs are the size of Montana and they all have little ship icons on their sides the way WWII pilots put enemy plane icons on their planes after they had shot them down.
It has been a long while since I have been anywhere and my whole psyche is calling for a road trip -- or an airplane trip may suffice. Well... IF it was a long plane trip. One of these littlebitty 3 or 4 hour trips is like going nowhere. Did you know it takes about as long for most domestic trips out of Tulsa as it does to fly to London? A person I know wanted to go to Maine. Most of those trips had 11teen plane changes and took 8 - 10 hours to get to Portland, ME.
One can fly from Tulsa to Dallas to London in the same amount of time. ...and furthermore, one would not have to spend hours in waiting at various airports along the way.
I have been to Australia a few times and have enjoyed every trip. Trying to see all of Australia would be like trying to see all of the U S. Australia is almost the physical size of the U S so a week there wouldn't get you far. Australia also has so much to see that not even Aussies can see it all. I have not been up north where the tropical part is. I would like to do that.
I also have not seen the Tuscany part of Italy and I am convinced that could be a home for me. Maybe if I ever saw it in person and experienced it I would change my mind.
Maybe not.
This day is running away from me and I need to do something constructive. If I stay in my room here I will begin to notice the clutter so i better find another task to solve. Something like a cuppa tea.
(I took this in Nov-'09 as I was having a picnic lunch watching the harbor action.)

Saturday, May 8, 2010


I just finished reading two books. Each book was good but they could not have been more different if the authors had set out to do so, BUT - they were very similar and I am sure neither author had seen the others work.
The first was a sci/fi set several thousand years in the future but with a very different twist. The second was set in Australia in the early 1800s. More specifically, it started in Jolly Old England and the entire middle part was about the sea voyage over to Van Diemen's Land, or as we now know it, Tasmania.
The amazing similarity between the two books was the inhumanity man showed to man. The cruelty shown in the Australia book is what one would think Hell would be like. The absolute potentiality of the ruling class toward the lower class and the jailers toward prisoners may leave some people unable to sleep. Other books, both fiction and non-fiction, confirm the horrible treatment of the transported prisoners and most sources say that the written word doesn't go far enough.
We are a cruel species and even after these thousands upon thousands of years, we still have more ways of being evil than we should.
The scifi book was, as I said, set way in the future but because of a special condition the people were living in what compared to 1400s on Earth. Too long of a story to tell.
But what was so very similar to the first book was man's inhumanity to man. The reach for power and wealth was so pervasive it was destroying this world which was mankind's last hope in the whole universe.
A fascinating book. One I didn't think I would even like after I bought it but I didn't want to put it down and now am almost saddened as their is no sequel yet.
Hmm, maybe I should have started this first book blog in a lighter vein but I haven't been able to get those books off my mind.
Now I have started Elmo Leonard's book, Pagan Babies, and it tells of the Hutus massacre of the Tutsi people. Instead of the U S stopping the slaughter of probably a million people, we invaded Iraq to free them from a dictator who would have been considered a boyscout in comparison to the Africans killing the other people. The people in Iraq would have been considered, by the people in Africa, to be living in a near paradise. Our leaders said we were going to war to free the Iraqi people from a horrible dictator when in Rwanda the actions of the dominant people were beyond comprehension.
Again, power and greed.
But, enough of that. I have started reading again after a layoff and am enjoying it. It does cut into my bee bizzness, however, so am looking for a middle ground compromise. If only I could stay up as late as I did many years ago and if only I could get by on the lesser amount of sleep as I did years ago.
That would be great.
More later

Friday, May 7, 2010

More excitement than I really wanted

A story for another day is that I AM MEANT to keep bees, or, if you are any type fatalist or mystic, bees are meant to keep me. As I said, that is a story for another day.
Tuesday, April 4, 2010 was a very significant day in my life. I'll tell you about the getting of bees and some etcs later, but I had a hive all set up, in the right place, which is a very different story, and all was going well. Yes, I had checked my little angels and thought things were fine. But on Tuesday, wellsir, things were way strange.
I got the newspaper and my coffee cup and started out the back door to the patio. When what to my wondering ears should appear but a sound that was frightening and certainly not dear. The sound of thousands of bees buzzing louder than any bee sound I could imagine.. I stopped in amazement and thought, "That sounds like my bees buzzing."
I peeked around the corner-- actually I stepped fully around the corner-- and saw a sight that would have frightened Stephen King. A bee hive will contain 40K to 60K bees and at least half of my hive were flying in a mad circle. The circle covered about the west 1/3 of my back yard and the sound could cover a much greater distance. Being very quick and witty, I stood in petrified amazement with my bottom jaw dropping somewhere around my knees.
As blood once again began to flow in the region where most people have a brain, I decided, "Hey, they are swarming." So I stepped back inside and did the right thing once in a row.
I called for help.
First let me tell you that when bees swarm it means that those thousands of bees have taken your queen and are looking for a new home. You are losing at least half of your hive and you absolutely must have a queen to constantly replenish the hive or you lose it all.
My bee friend told me some things to do which I immediately did and then I came back inside and emailed an emergency message to a young friend in Florida. Her boss is an apiary man with the Dept. of Agriculture.
He emailed some instructions and then called. His instructions were almost the same, but more detailed, as the local friend so I knew I was on the right track. You need to know the swarm had settled on the trunk of a small maple tree. They were from the ground up to about four feet high. Not the usual "hanging from a branch" type thing where one can scoop them into a box.
I spent the next few hours scooping from ground level, with my hand, some into a new bee box and waiting for others to join them. Imagine going up to a very small tree and scooping up handfuls of buzzing bees and carefully putting them in a box. Wellsir, I did and it worked. OK, it worked well on everything but my nerves.
Then, after a very long time, I moved the box (called a hive body) to a new, permanent location where they now reside. I had on my long, white coat, gloves, veil and helmet but had rushed out wearing my cargo shorts so my legs were bare. I only got stung on the legs twice and twice through my gloves.
The good news is that I now have two hives of bees as I was very fortunate the bees stopped so close. It would be OK if they swarmed each spring if they stay this close to home to do it.
Next post I really should talk about books. That is a favorite topic of mine.

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Welcome to my new world

G'day! Being a person who has visited Australia several times, I wanted to get your attention by opening up with an "Aussie-ism," so, g'day mate.
This blog title was suggested by someone who told me all I was interested in was books and bees. That title was taken so I chose "bees and books" for my title. It all fits.
This blog will not be only about bees and books but, as herself said, that is my main interest right now. It will NOT be involved in politics as I think our present political climate is poisoning our country. I have another blog for politics so this one will remain a hate free zone.
The latest JOY OF MY LIFE will be here soon so this will be a short introduction. More will follow and you are invited to post your thoughts.
My present hive of bees did their swarm yesterday which led to an afternoon and early evening of excitement. If you have ever had 20 to 30 THOUSAND bees zooming around in your smallish back yard, then you can guess at some of the emotions that were expressed.
But -- more of that later, right now I must prepare to give 100% attention to my 30" tall visitor as he takes over the world when he is here. He is just starting to get things sorted out and is beginning to call me, as the other grands do, Pop. Actually, he pronounces it "Bop."
I was deep into the bebop scene when it happened and I am wondering if he is channeling that in some mystical way.
Oh well.
Gotta go for now.