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.