Wednesday, March 28, 2007

Bee pictures displaying in Internet Exploder

Well, I did a pretty awful job of testing before I launched the new Bee Buzz website. The picture page wasn't properly displaying in the Internet Explorer web browser. I really don't like Internet Explorer for exactly that reason. The webpage showed up fine in Netscape, Mozilla, Firefox, etc. but NOOOOOO..... not in Internet Exploder.

At any rate, the pages are fixed now. You can now properly view the pictures of when we first got the bees (originally posted on the Back to Basic Living website) and you can now properly view the latest pictures of the bees - even if you're using Internet Exploder.

I also started a blog about the bees you may want to look into.

I've given you a ton of links to check out, so I'll sign off you can get busy checking them out!

Bee Free,

Friday, March 23, 2007

Bernie's Backhoe Has New Gums!

Well today was simply beautiful - it got to the high 60's here. After the last few weeks of cold and snow, it was a welcomed day indeed.

We had the Donald B. Rice Tire Company come out and put new tires all around on the backhoe. Take a look at the before and after pictures on the website. Jonathon came out and did the work for us. Jonathon was all work. I'm sure he thought I was insane for running around snapping pictures every few minutes, but he tolerated us well and did a great job.

I also got a couple of pictures of our bees up close and personal as they were sniffing around for something to pollinate. You can check them out on our new website. I just put it up tonight, so be sure to check back often as I update it. Also be sure to check out the great food recipes and skincare recipes - amazing what wonderful things you can make with honey!

All in all, it was a good day. The weather was great. We're here at the homestead. We got new tires on the backhoe. We covered the whole yard in lime to prepare it for the grass seed we're fixing to overload it with in the hopes of actually having a lawn so we can stop walking around with 5 pounds of mud on our shoes. And the bees are all happy and buzzing about! Now that I think about it, I guess it really was a great day! Man, I love this place!

Bee Free,

Saturday, March 17, 2007

Welome Back to the Homestead - Now Get Busy!

After a few days of near 80 degree weather, we were socked by a Nor' Easter. High temperatures in the 30's and a few inches of snow. Ugh. It started snowing Friday morning and didn't stop until after dark Friday night. The roads were treacherous, so after fighting our way home from work in the city on Friday afternoon, we decided to hold off until Saturday morning before heading to the homestead to check things out.

We managed to get to the homestead just fine, but about halfway up our 1/4 mile driveway, we were greeted with a tree that had fallen across the road. It was a small pine, but it was large enough to block our way. We got out, walked up to the house, procured the Trail Blazer and a chainsaw and headed back down to clear the road. Here's a couple of pictures of the tree and Bernie attacking it with his chainsaw:

After we got the tree cleared, we rode on up to the house, only to see that another tree had fallen on the backhoe. So much for a nice relaxing weekend on the homestead. Fortunately, it landed on the boom and not the cab. There didn't appear to be any damage to the backhoe:

Bernie checked out the backhoe and realized the battery was dead. We put a charge on it, and he cut up as much of the tree as he could. Once the battery is charged, he'll move the boom and hopefully bring the remaining piece of the tree down to a height he can reach.

UPDATE: Bernie got the battery charged and he managed to get the backhoe from under the tree. Then he took the bucket and beat the tree down to the ground so he can cut it up later. I put some pictures up on the website. Check them out.

I mixed up 4 pounds of deer jerky earlier this week, and today I put it on the dehydrator. It's smelling pretty darn good, and should be finished in a short while.

Next weekend we'll be here Thursday night so we can hook up with the company coming out to replace all the tires on the backhoe. It will be a nice 3 day weekend out here, and we're really looking forward to it.

The bees are doing great. I am so proud of them for making it through this most bizarre winter. Today they were really busy cleaning out the hive and dragging the dead bodies out. I'm sure they are looking forward to spring. I hope it's right around the corner.

Bee Free,

Sunday, March 11, 2007

I'm Sorry - Do I Know You????

You may recall from a previous post that I had an appointment to meet with Delegate Matt Lohr concerning the anti-NAIS bill to which he wanted to add an amendment. The HB1990, simply stated "The Commissioner of Agriculture and Consumer Services shall ensure that the Department does not participate in or provide any assistance to the establishment of the National Animal Identification System or any substantially similar program." Delegate Lohr wanted to add an amendment that essentially destroyed the purpose of the bill - he wanted to state that it would be "voluntary". I met with Delegate Lohr and he stated that he intended to move to kill the bill this year, do some studies and then address it next year. It was tabled in Committee.

We actually first met Matt Lohr, before he was elected, at Senator Obenshain's home. Matt was not a delegate at the time - in fact he had just announced his candidacy for the seat. Matt gave us the distinct impression he would support our bikers' rights legislation. Well, he is now a delegate and he has not supported one piece of legislation for bikers' rights.

This weekend Bernie and I went to Harrisonburg in search of a tractor place that could replace the tires on our back hoe. We found one, and we're pretty excited to get that taken care of. On the way home I was in desperate need of caffeine, so when we saw a 7-ll just on the edge of Rockingham county, we pulled into the parking lot, and headed inside. We were walking toward the refrigerated section when I hear "Hey! How are y'all?" I looked up to see a man in a sweat shirt, jeans, baseball cap, and with beard stubble on his face. He was holding a very small child that had a jester hat looking thing on it's head. I gave them a blank stare. The child blinked at me. I had no clue who this man was, and even though his kid was cute, they were standing between me and the Diet Pepsi that was screaming my name from the frig. I looked at Bernie for help. He shrugged and headed over to the Big Gulp machine. I was just about to say "Look I don't know who you are, but I don't have any money to give you." when he said "It's me! Matt Lohr! How have y'all been?" I almost laughed out loud with embarrassment. I am not besmirching the man for being in "weekend" attire - heaven knows I looked no better with my hair pulled back, no makeup, and wearing jeans and a sweatshirt - but I really didn't recognize him without his suit and tie and well groomed appearance. It did surprise me that he recognized me in jeans, sweatshirt, no makeup, and hair pulled back. Maybe I should spend more time on grooming before I head to the capitol next time.

Matt Lohr did turn on us to a New Holland dealer outside of Harrisonburg that may have some parts we need for the back hoe. That was pretty cool.

Bernie drove me crazy this weekend because he decided that since we were scheduled to switch to Daylight Savings Time Sunday morning at 2AM, he would set his watch forward FRIDAY night so he could be prepared. Well, I am of the firm belief that we are being robbed of an hour by the government, so I refused to give it up voluntarily. As a result, we were in two different time zones all weekend. Everytime we discussed anything related to time, I was forced to ask "Is this real time, or Bernie time?" How annoying. Unfortunately, it is now Sunday and my hour has been officially stolen from me. We are now back in sync with our time zones.

We did manage to chop, split, and stack some wood this weekend. The bees were doing a happy dance as the temperatures hit the high 60's yesterday. They were a buzzing blur of joy around the hives.

Bee free,

Sunday, March 04, 2007

Please Don't Hug the Bee Hives

Well, we knew it was only a matter of time. Late yesterday, our bees claimed their first casualty.

We went down to the area of the apiary in the hopes of seeing the lunar eclipse. We quickly realized that wasn't going to happen as the exact area that the moon would be rising was covered in thick clouds. We decided to tuck the girls in for the night.

The sun was setting, so it had gotten pretty chilly and the bees were all inside their hives. As we got to each hive, Bernie put his ear to the side of them to be certain he could hear them buzzing about. With the latest scare of bees abandoning their hives, it is always a comfort to hear them when we can't see them so that we know they are at least still around. At any rate, he got to the next to the last hive and put his ear close to it, but couldn't hear anything. He decided to get his ear as close as possible, so he put his arm around the hive to draw his ear closer. As he did, he apparently alerted a few of the girls and they came flying out of the top hive entrance - which is exactly where his arm wrapped around the hive. He announced "I hear them" and as he straighted back up, a couple of the bees flew from his arm and started checking him out. One of the girls managed to get stuck between his eye glasses and his eye! He removed his glasses, but not before she firmly planted her stinger in his eyebrow.

I asked "Are you stung" and he answered "I think so. Check for the stinger." Sure enough, there was a stinger just underneath his eyebrow. I scraped it out (you should never squeeze it as that releases more of the venom) and looked at his eye area. There was a small red lump where he was stung, but it didn't look too bad and he claimed it didn't hurt very much.

When we went to bed, there was very little swelling, and although there is more swelling this morning, it's really not too terrible. I'm actually quite relieved - not only because he is not having a lot of pain, but also because it gives us comfort that he didn't have an allergic reaction. He will get stung many more times, and now we have a reasonable level of comfort that he won't have an allergic reaction. Even so, it's something to watch when stung.

Bees - 1
Bernie - 0

I put a couple of pictures of his swollen eye up on the website.

Bee Free,

Saturday, March 03, 2007

Important - Read Directions First

Even though we are not here full time, when we got our home ready on the homestead, one of the first things we did was get telephone service - nothing fancy, just basic phone service. That seems prudent to us for a couple of reasons: 1) We are a fair distance from the local hospital and 2) we are both somewhat accident prone. I could launch into a myriad of examples here, but I'll just state that our history with power tools lends credence to the fact that we should be concerned about the ability to summons help quickly.

I should tell you here that even though we ordered phone service, we ran and installed the phone line in our home ourselves. We did exactly what the phone company said to do and when all was said and done, we wired the whole thing and left the end of the wire by the pole - where the phone company could just come out and install the NID, grab the wire we ran out there, and turn the whole thing on. It went off without a hitch.

At the same time that we ordered phone service, we ordered DSL for our computers. The reason we decided upon DSL is the fact that, other than regular dial-up, DSL is the only high speed internet access option available to us. We can live without a lot of things, but in addition to Diet Pepsi and beer, DSL is not one of them.

When we ordered DSL, we were offered the option of having the telephone company install it for us for $50. Being the bright, resourceful, and cheap people that we are, we declined that offer and decided we would do this installation ourselves. This isn't rocket science, afterall - and we're both computer geeks - so how difficult could this be? Right? Well, the answer is that this is not difficult at all. We had that puppy up and running in a matter of minutes.

We were literally giddy with joy when we picked up the phone receiver and heard a dial tone for the first time. We were beyond exhuberant when we plugged in our laptops and connected to the internet. We were totally annoyed when we were using the computers and the phone rang for the first time. I answered the phone and was greeted by PSHWIIIIIIIIIIIIIIISSSSHHHHHH. Static. Nothing but static. We learned that we could only place and receive calls when the DSL was not in use. If we were using the DSL, all we got on the phone line was really loud, obnoxiously obnoxious static.

We checked all connections and wiring in the house. We (by "we", I mean Bernie) crawled under the house to make sure everything looked ok. We stood and stared at the NID for a while. There did not seem to be a problem - but we still could not use the telephone while using the DSL.

This morning I decided to post this issue to the Homestead Shop Talk Forum and the SoLR Biker List to see if anyone could help us trouble shoot this issue. Well, we immediately learned from the Homestead forum that we should have read the directions in the DSL kit we received before we wrecklessly installed the whole thing. There is an RJ11 filter that is supplied that must be used to seperate the voice and data signals. We were a little embarrassed. To make matters worse, every biker on the SoLR list immediately responded to let us know that we are the only two bikers on the planet that don't know a blasted thing about DSL connections. I reaffirmed two things I already knew: 1) bikers are smart people and 2) you really should read the directions.

I put a couple of pictures up on the website from last weekend. Bernie had taken 2 really neat pictures out of a window that did a great job of showing what our backyard looked like when we went to bed Saturday night, and what it looked like when we woke up Sunday morning. Unfortunately, I posted last week before uploading his pictures, so I didn't include them last week. But they are there now! Check them out.

The weather is great today for the first week of March. It's close to 60 degrees and our little bees are extremely happy. They are dancing around the hives and appear to be in a pretty good mood. Those little girls are as cute as they possibly can be. It makes my heart smile to see them so happy. I hope they celebrate by making some honey.

Bee Free,