2223 GKLH, 12-19-15

December 19, 2015…The Grand Kids Log Hive is going strong, I’m happy to say. I know the anchors are probably not necessary, but I can hear the heavy gusts of wind hitting at night and I got tired of imagining the tall hive tipping over. Now I can sleep better.:)

2284 GKLH Temp at 46F, 12-30-15

December 30, 2015…The temperature inside the hive is a chilly 46˙F (7˙C), and yet the bees were flying this cold day.

2279 GKLH, bees flying in, close, 12-30-15.JPG++

12-30-15…The bees broke ranks for a short time in the afternoon. I was relieved to see them after viewing the cold temp on the probe thermometer in back. When they’re in a cluster, you can’t see them in the viewing window.

12 Bee Beard, 12-18-15

December 18, 2015…Bee Beard Log Hive might be feeling his age, but the bees still like it as can be seen in the video.

2239 Warre plastic film protected, 12-25-15 copy

12-19-15…my only Warré, having lost the other two during the summer. After seeing too much moisture on the bottom board, I removed it and tacked some black plastic film on three sides. We’ve been having record rainfall in December and it’s possible rain was entering on the observation window sides. I hope this helps.

2138 Birdhouse bees, frost, 11-26-15

November 26…All is quiet. The birdhouse bees didn’t make it. I was hopeful this year because they came through the three month winter shadow last winter, but I must have lost them between October and late November.

10 Birdhouse bees, no bees, 12-18-15

December 18…I shot another photo when the weather warmed back up. Doesn’t look like anything is moving in there.

8 Birdhouse bees, empty comb, no bees, 12-18-15

Empty comb at the front. I guess I can hope they are clustered somewhere back in there, but that’s just a sliver of hope.

2228 Green tree hive, insulation, 12-19-15

The green tree hive is entering it’s third winter. If numbers mean anything, this hive is a survivor. With the sun so low these days the light can reach through the branches to get the bees flying relatively early. Often its the only hive flying. I’m always happy to see the bees flying especially after a ‘rocking’ big storm. This hive is totally intervention free. No mite strips, pollen paddies, or sugar water, it just keeps on going. It’s slightly above my height when I’m looking at it, so occasionally an incoming bee will alight on my ear. “Ooops, sorry I’m in your flight pattern.”

2 Pussy willow tree, 1-1-16

January 1, 2016…The pussy willow tree is getting ready to bloom.

5 Pussy willow buds swelling, 1-1-16

1-1-16…Willow buds are swelling

1 Buds swelling on willow, 1-1-16

More willow buds. “Hang on, little critters, It won’t be long before pollen is available.”

So I’m back to four hives.  I’m a little worried about the Warré hive, because of all the moisture inside.  I’m hoping the sheet of black plastic I tacked on three sides will cut the wind and moisture back.  In the video you can see bees tossing out dead bees.  I always think of that Doors song with Jim Morrison chanting, “Bring out your dead,” over and over again.

I’m a treatment-free beekeeper for better or worse.  I can’t bring myself to believe that killing the varroa mites will solve any problems.  I’m of the opinion that we will NEVER rid the bees of varroa mites.  The bees MUST adapt, because eventually the mites will develop a resistance to the poison and then what do you do?  I say let the bees adapt.  Let the weak hives go.

I’m not feeding the bees anything either.  I saw bees bringing in pollen into my Warré hive in December.  It could be ivy or even gorse.  If they can hang on just a bit longer, they will get pollen from the pussy willow blossoms.    Jonathan Powell of the Natural Beekeeping Trust, also explains the risks of sugar very well at about 3 minutes into this you-tube video.  “Studies have shown that sugar destroys the bees internal intestines and also it destroys a very particular enzyme call the P450 enzyme which the bees use to counteract some of the pesticides and toxins they find in the environment.  So by feeding sugar, we may be averting a starvation if you’ve taken too much honey, but we are also damaging the bees.”  And here’s another article about  feeding anything can be detrimental to the hive. (including honey)

The video.. 

That’s right, I bought a raffle ticket for a Tesla Model S or Model X.

tesla-model-x_100381829_m

The Tesla Model X as seen with the falcon wing doors open. This very safe SUV can go from zero to 60 in 3.2 seconds. I don’t think I would be tempted to try it, but I bet my son would. :) Photo credit: The Car Connection

Anyone who has read my posts knows that I’m passionate about sustainable living and solar energy.

Pumping water, bicycle, Sue in 1973, 74, or 75

Probably about 40 years ago, my sweetheart is showing how my bicycle can pump water.

Let's Have Enchiladas2

Let’s have enchiladas for lunch. This solar oven was purchased in June 2006 and is still in use 9 years later.

When I read the notice on Clean Technica, that a Tesla would be raffled off to raise money for ClimateXChange, I just knew I had to buy a ticket.

Through the daily headlines at Clean Technica, I’ve been able to follow Tesla a couple of years.  They are building electric cars in Fremont, CA.  The company bought an abandoned car factory for very little, painted the interior white and where possible constructed skylights to let in more light with the idea being that happy workers will build quality cars.  There are about 160 robots painted bright red that do the repetitive work including picking up and painting car bodies.

 

Visionary Tesla CEO Elon Musk knows we must reduce our carbon footprint or face a world that will be much hotter for our grand children.  Transportation contributes a huge percentage of carbon emissions.  He can imagine his future grand children asking…”Didn’t you have any warning that you should reduce carbon emissions before it was too late?”  What did you do about it?”  I can imagine that conversation too.  That’s why I’m happy to learn Tesla’s mission is “to accelerate the world’s transition to sustainable transport.”  Tesla is even giving away many of its patents to other car manufacturers to help facilitate the electric car revolution.  Indeed if you look at the other big manufacturers, you can see they have at least one line of electric cars in production.

Since there will be a huge demand for batteries, Musk is building a giant battery factory in Nevada.  Coined the gigafactory, it will boast ZERO EMISSIONS.  Tesla made the decision to NOT run a natural gas pipeline to the plant.  The gigafactory will be powered totally by renewable energy.

tesla-gigafactory

The building is covered with solar panels. Wind generation to be built also. Photo credit to benzworld.org

I respect what Musk is doing.  I love the fact that he is building the factory in the US…not China.  Tesla is already employing 13,000 workers and is building a supercharger network.   They realize electric cars will have to be charged over long distances.  The charging stations are going in at the rate of one every 24 hours, in the US, Europe, and Asia.

tesla-supercharger-map_locations-for-2015_2015-01

The supercharger network for 2015

The raffle ticket will give me a 1/2000 chance of winning my choice of a Model S or Model X and whatever options I choose.  (I’d like the Model X with a 5000 pound tow package, autopilot, dual motors, and a range of 257 miles.)

One in 2000 are not bad odds, but there are 6 other prizes too.  Most importantly,  I’ll have bragging rights to say I contributed to the first bill in the nation to impose a fee on the use of fossil fuels… Climate XChange is sponsoring a bill in the Massachusetts Senate proposed by Senator Mike Barrett (S1747) which would impose a fee on the use of fossil fuels so they reflect their true cost to society, including any environmental damage and health costs. When enacted, it will help Massachusetts meet its goal of reducing greenhouse gasses 90% by the year 2050.  After all we can’t all sit in a Model X until the air gets less polluted.  Yes, the Tesla Model X has a bio-weapons defense mode button (at around 8 min.)   that will make the air in the cabin as clean as a hospital operating room.  If Massachusetts can get this bill passed, it’s possible my state of Oregon will follow the lead as well as Washington and California.  GO CLIMATE XCHANGE!!!

Think about buying a raffle ticket or donating money to Climate XChange so we can tell our grand children that “we were warned about climate change and chose to DO SOMETHING ABOUT IT.”

Did Tesla start an electric transport revolution?  You decide…

Electric cars

Electric Truck that Freightliner taps Tesla to build,

More Electric trucks

Electric garbage trucks

Electric buses

Tesla Model X features

 

 

 

 

 

The Grand Kids are Back

Grand Kids Log Hive

October 8.....Grand Kids Log hive might be showing signs of a comeback.

October 8…..Grand Kids Log hive might be showing signs of a comeback.

About a month ago, I was in despair about this hive.  The temperature had dropped, I saw drones flying out of the hive, and the number of bees around the entrance had declined.

Sept. 3...The temperature has dropped to 87˙F. I've seen this happen before. The temperature drops indicating there is no brood up here. It could just be that the eggs are being laid in a different section or that no eggs are being laid at all.

Sept. 3…The temperature has dropped to 87˙F. I’ve seen this happen before. The temperature drops indicating there is no brood up here. It could either be that the eggs are being laid in a different section or that no eggs are being laid at all.

Sept. 3.....I've been seeing more comb now. I'm not happy about it because it means there are fewer bees. What is happening?

Sept. 3…..I’ve been seeing more comb now. I’m not happy about it because it means there are fewer bees. What is happening?

Sept. 17...Then I saw a drone exiting. I took it to mean I had a laying worker. Not good. This hive is 'going down.'

Sept. 17…Then I saw a drone exiting. I took it to mean I had a laying worker. Not good. This hive is ‘going down.’

Sept. 21...The bee population is dwindling. What more evidence do I need that this hive is history.

Sept. 21…The bee population is dwindling. What more evidence do I need that this hive is history?

Oct. 4...Temp has risen 2˙F. What is happening?

Oct. 4…Temp has risen 2˙F.   That’s interesting.

Oct. 6...Are there more bees here?

Oct. 6…Are there more bees up there?

Oct. 17.....I had just visited a big hive that had gotten robbed out. I was worried these might be robber bees because when I looked inside the hive, the bees were running around on the inside of the hive.

Oct. 17…..It looks like there’s a lot more traffic here.  I hope they aren’t robber bees.

Oct. 23.....WOW! Look at all these bees inside!!! The hive must have superceded, but why had I seen a few drones last month?

Oct. 23…..WOW! Look at all these bees inside!!! The hive must have superceded, but why had I seen drones last month?

Note:  I asked this question on beesource web site.  Harley Craig answered  “…those drones could have been from anywhere in my limited experience when you see a lot of drone interest in a particular hive they typically have a queen getting ready to mate or just had one return.”  Maybe drones were already sniffing out a new prospect. :)

November 4...New comb has been built.  This new queen is ambitious, but is November a good month to be building new comb?

November 4…New comb has been built. This new queen is ambitious, but is November a good month to be building new comb?

The press is on the truck.  Shaun said he could do it in half a day...he was right.

The press is on the truck. Shaun said he could do it in half a day…he was right.

I said goodbye to my German printing press today.  My wife has been after me about it for years.  “You only run it once or twice a year.  You don’t want our kids to have to move it after we’re gone…we better do it while we still can.”  I knew she was right but I still hated to see it go.  We had gotten that press in 1989, because we wanted to run larger printing jobs.  It was slow, but oh, so accurate.  We ran yearbooks for 20 years, full color brochures, greeting cards, books, posters, postcards.  This was before digital photography.  I always liked taking photos.  Back then you used transparency film, waited a week to have it processed, then assessed the results to see if they would work for a brochure or a postcard.   I sold over 80,000 postcards.  That was back when I worked 16 hour days.  Owning a mom and pop print shop meant you work all your own hours…(all of them).  My wife was the front part of the shop.  Since we didn’t work in town, she went out to talk with clients, did all the artwork, home schooled the kids, cooked the meals (usually from our garden), cleaned the house and delivered the print jobs.  In the evening she would read to the kids.  I’d take a nap after dinner, then I could work until 2 am.

When I was running yearbooks, I’d work all day, all night, take a 3 hour nap and do the same thing again.  My stay awake drug of choice was a half pound chocolate bar.  I’d have 4 squares at 10 pm and be good until 2 am.  Then a few more and I’d be watching the sun come up through my east window.  But there came a time when eating chocolate bars gave me intense headaches the following day.  I had to quit the all nighters.

Both kids learned how to run the ‘baby press.’  This was a 1250 Multi.  My son started at five years old.  Through the years he became a good pressman and I could let him work by himself, but when he went to college, I thought I might have to hire a pressman.  My daughter says, “Dad, I can learn the press.”  “Really? Do you want to learn the press?  That would be great.”  She did that very thing.  She ran the press until she too went off to college.  Now she’s an editor so you could say she’s still in ‘the trade.’  That 1250 Multi and an 1850 Multi are the presses I still run today.  They are faster and easier that the big German press, but they can’t do the fine quality work for sure.

The moving crew of Joe, John, and Shaun pictured after they successfully loaded the 3.5 ton Heidelberg KORD 64 onto the truck.

The moving crew of Joe, John, and Shaun pictured after they successfully loaded the 3.5 ton Heidelberg KORD 64 onto the truck.

Shaun Earle is the new owner of the press.  He is my friendly competitor in the bigger city to the north.  Sometimes I ask him to do things that I can’t do in my shop.  I was impressed with the work he did.  When he moved into a bigger shop, we joked that he might have enough room in it for the Heidelberg press.  The last time I ran that press, I got into trouble with it and scrunched some parts.  I called him up.  “Shaun, you’re not going to want this press, I think I just killed it.”  He says, “Pat, maybe it’s not as bad as you think.  I’ll come down on Saturday and let’s see if we can sort it out.”  On Saturday, we work on it 4 or 5 hours and get it working again.  I finish my print job and that’s the last time I run it.  My thinking is I have gotten my money out of it.  This press, being 40+ years old has some issues, but there’s a lot of life left in it and it looks like Shaun is the person who can deal with it.  I tell him, if he can move it, he can have it.

The Heidelberg KORD 64 press waiting to be moved.  It has been a real workhorse for me for most of 26 years.

The Heidelberg KORD 64 press waiting to be moved. It has been a real workhorse for me for most of 26 years.

It took "a little persuasion" with pry bars and muscle just to get it to budge.

It took “a little persuasion” with pry bars and muscle just to get it to budge.  The 1250 Multi can be seen on the left. 

This truck is used to dealing with cars, I hope it can pull something without wheels.

This truck is used to dealing with cars, I hope it can pull something without wheels.

This press ran some really nice print jobs.  While I was cleaning up around the press, I came across some samples.

I ran most of these art gallery invitations about 20 years ago.  I wondered if I should get permission to post them, so I emailed Lee Youngman.  Her reply came back right away..."No problem, Pat... we did a lot of good business together!  Hope all continues well with you. Lee Youngman

I ran most of these art gallery invitations about 20 years ago. I wondered if I should get permission to post them, so I emailed Lee Youngman. Her reply came back right away.  “No problem, Pat… we did a lot of good business together! Hope all continues well with you.
Lee Youngman

This brochure for Lee Youngman Gallery features "The Lure" by Frank Magsino, winner of the 1997 People's Choice Award.  What you see on the front is the cavalry hot on the heels of this small band of Indians.  What you don't see, until you unfold it, is the ambush.

This brochure for Lee Youngman Gallery features “The Lure” by Frank Magsino, winner of the 1997 People’s Choice Award. What you see on the front is the cavalry hot on the heels of this small band of Indians. What you don’t see, until you unfold it, is the ambush.

When you open the brochure you see the rest of the painting showing the ambush awaiting the cavalry! Click to enlarge.

When you open the brochure you see the rest of the painting showing the ambush awaiting the cavalry!
Click to enlarge.

My photos of the Bandon Lighthouse make their way into brochures that I print on my own press.  What a heady feeling.

My photos of the Bandon Lighthouse make their way into brochures that I print on my own press. What a heady feeling.

My wife had her own line of watercolor greeting cards.  "After the Storm," is one of my favorites, depicting the Bandon Lighthouse.

My wife had her own line of watercolor greeting cards. “After the Storm,” is one of my favorites, depicting the Bandon Lighthouse.

I had my own line of postcards.

I had my own line of postcards.

The press room has more space in it now, the kids have moved out long ago,  and the Mom and Pop print shop has slowed down a bit.  We don’t work 16 hour days anymore and ARE GLAD OF IT!!!

Oct. 6...A slight yellowing of the leaves can be seen.

Oct. 6…A slight yellowing of the leaves can be seen.

Closer up, you can see more yellowing of the leaves.  As I understand it, as the nights become longer, the tree senses that winter is coming and stops making chlorophyll.  chlorophyll gives the leaf the green color.  When chlorophyll decreases, the other colors come through.  In this case, yellow.

Closer up, you can see more yellowing of the leaves. As I understand it, as the nights become longer, the tree senses that winter is coming and stops making chlorophyll.  Chlorophyll gives the leaf the green color. When chlorophyll decreases, the other colors come through. In this case, yellow.

You can see how the chlorophyll is disappearing.  At this stage it is only located along the veins.

You can see how the chlorophyll is disappearing. At this stage it is only located along the veins.

Cones are ready to fall off.  I reached up to grab one and it fell apart in my hand.

Cones are ready to fall off. I reached up to grab one and it fell apart in my hand.

I reached a second cone, this time being careful not to crush it, and laid it on the side walk before cutting it open.

I reached a second cone, this time being careful not to crush it, and laid it on the side walk before cutting it open.

What's inside the River Birch cone?  Seeds, lots of them.

What’s inside the River Birch cone? Seeds, lots of them.

Harvesting Hypericum (Seeds)

When I first started pulling the old flower heads off, I noticed seeds were popping out before I even detached them from the stems. Then I tried putting this sea shell underneath and 'pouring the seeds into it.' The short video shows how delighted I was with the results.

When I first started pulling the old flower heads off, I noticed seeds were popping out before I even detached them from the stems. Then I tried holding this sea shell underneath and ‘pouring the seeds into it.’ The short video shows how delighted I was with the results.

A small pile of seeds using my pocket knife as a reference.

A small pile of seeds using my pocket knife as a reference.

These seeds are TINY.

These seeds are TINY.

A few seeds on the knife blade show how small they are.

A few seeds on the knife blade show how small they are.

The four squares on the left are Hidcote Hypericum, pollinated by our bees last year and planted from that very fine seed. On right is a store-bought seed mixture.

To plant, just throw some seeds into one of these planting kits.  We start planting under “Grow-Lux” fluorescent lights in February or March.  The four squares on the left are  Hypericum, pollinated by our bees the previous year and planted from that very fine seed.  If your winters aren’t too cold, you can scatter some seeds in some bare ground and see if they come up.  If they grow, you’ll enjoy watching all the bees go crazy on the flowers.  Note: I’ve been calling this plant a Hidcote Hypericum, but I just read that Hidcote is considered a hybrid, so I could be wrong.

Here is some more information on it…

Standing tall, Bee Beard Log hive is doing well since it was revived in August 2014. It swarmed at least once on May 11, but that swarmed moved on without us capturing it.

Standing tall, Bee Beard Log hive is doing well since it was revived in August 2014. It swarmed at least once on May 11 of this year, but that swarm moved on without us getting it.

Sept. 23...Lots of good orange pollen being carried into this hive. This hive will go into winter without me intervening in any way.

Sept. 23…Lots of good orange pollen being carried into this hive. This hive will go into winter without me intervening in any way.

Sept. 17...These birdhouse bees are doing so well, I'm starting to think that small bee hives are the way to go. This hive has no other openings other than the entrance. I don't understand how they can survive without much ventilation, but they are doing well, which is a good way to head into the winter shadow.

Sept. 17…These birdhouse bees are doing so well, I’m starting to think that small bee hives are the way to go. This hive has no other openings other than the entrance. I don’t understand how they can survive without much ventilation, but they are doing well, which is a good way to head into their second winter shadow.

Here's a closer look at the entrance showing how crowded they are.

Here’s a closer look at the entrance showing how crowded they are.

The video shows the amount of pollen flying in. This is at 125x (digital zoom) and not as sharp.

The video shows the amount of pollen flying in.

May 14...The day after the big swarm moved into the Grandkids Log hive, Bee-atrice went into swarm mode.

May 14…The day after the big swarm moved into the Grandkids Log hive, Bee-atrice log hive went into swarm mode.

May 14...Ron got this one. He lives just up the road. I'm happy to report that Ron says they are doing well. They are active and bringing lots of pollen. They can be seen flying well here... https://drive.google.com/file/d/0Byp0gCTqCQ6rZjBJVmZOa0FJZzQ/view?usp=sharing

May 14…Ron got this one. He lives just up the road. I’m happy to report that Ron says they are doing well. They are active and bringing in lots of pollen.
They can be seen flying well here…

Sept. 23...I'm down to only one Warre hive now. It's doing well with lots of pollen coming in. You can see Bee-atrice Log hive 'shuttered' in the background. When the wasps were running rampant inside, I had to wrap it up. I'll clean it out (scorch it) come spring and try to attract another swarm.

Sept. 23…I’m down to only one Warre hive now. It’s doing well with lots of pollen coming in. You can see Bee-atrice Log hive ‘shuttered’ in the background. When the wasps were running rampant inside, I had to wrap it up. I’ll clean it out (scorch it) come spring and try to attract another swarm.

Bees head into the Warre loads of pollen. This hive is heavy. I haven't taken any honey from it. I think they will make it through the winter without me feeding.

Bees head into the Warre loaded with pollen. This hive is heavy. I haven’t taken any honey from it. I think they will make it through the winter without me feeding.

Sept. 23, 2015...Sad to say, this hive is not going to make it. The temperature started falling in mid July, and now I see wasps nosing around and drones flying out.

Sept. 23, 2015…Sad to say, the Grand Kids Log hive is not going to make it. The temperature started falling in mid July, and now I see wasps nosing around and drones flying out.  The Grand Kids are back.

Sept. 3...Temperature is down to 87F (30C)

Sept. 3…Temperature is down to 87F (30C)

Sept. 21...Looking up into the empty combs, this hive is clearly NOT going to make it. When the wasps start attacking, I'll plug up the entrances and wait until spring. Maybe I'll get lucky with another swarm...

Sept. 21…Looking up into the empty combs, I see a lack of bees.  Clearly the queen isn’t laying and I’ve seen a few drones exiting.   Footnote:  This hive must have superceded a queen, because there are not only new bees, but also new comb.  This is the only hive I can see from the house…from where I eat actually, and I gotta say, I’m so happy to see the bees flying to and from this hive when I sit down to eat!!!

Steve says his swarm 'is hanging in there,' but he's starting to feed again because they haven't built up enough comb to get them through the winter.

Steve says his swarm ‘is hanging in there,’ but he’s starting to feed again because they haven’t built up enough comb to get them through the winter.

We are headed into autumn with four hives, which is all I ever really wanted, but I had really hoped that Grand Kids Log hive would be among the survivors.  It begs the question…are smaller hives better?  I’m beginning to think so.  I’ve thought about partitioning off the big log hive, but then there might be air flow issues.  The birdhouse bees seem to deal with lack of air flow, so maybe it won’t be an issue.  Right now I’ll let nature take it’s course and hope I can attract another swarm in spring.

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