Friday, May 6, 2011

Redneck Trustee

I was elected as a trustee for the New Salem Public library this week.   Thanks to my neighbors and residents of New Salem.

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Bees in Mass

A neighbor and fellow beekeeper stopped by this afternoon to see how my bees had over wintered.  Unfortunately, my bees did not fair well.  I had three hives going into the winter and all three died.  One was a dink going into the fall and I didn't expect it would make it.  Another, was a package that I struggled to get established last summer and the third was an overwintered hive that was very strong.  The strongest of the three died sometime in January when we had a long stretch of cold weather.  I'm not sure why they died as there was plenty of stores in the hive, lots of bees and no signs of disease I could see.  The best guess I had was that the humidity in the hive got too high and there was some condensation.  Cold doesn't kill bees but bad ventilation in a hive body will cause condensation which drips back down on the bees and kills them.

Dead bees on a frame in mid January.  More than half the frame was filled with honey which you can see on the left hand side of the frame near where my thumb is.

I was out of town over the weekend and missed the Massachusetts Beekeepers Association spring meeting.    My neighbor went and heard some grim news. A lot of bee keepers in MA are having problems this winter.  There may be a significant number of losses in the state this year.  We had a tough winter with extended periods of cold that kept the bees in the hive.  This can cause problems as the bees need to leave the hive occasionally to eliminate waste.  If they don't get these cleansing flights, it can cause problems.  He talked to one of the best bee keepers in the state and who happens to live nearby.  That guy lost all 25 of his hives.  That's a big hit.

I ordered three nucleus colonies from Merrimack Valley Apiaries.  The breeder queens these bees come from are instrumentally inseminated queens from Ohio beekeeper and all around nice guy Joe Latshaw.  His queens come highly recommended so I have high hopes for these nucs.  We have a lot of moisture in the form of rain and snow run off.  I'm hoping that translates into a good nectar flow and good bees this spring.  We'll see.

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

What the hell...

You might be saying to yourself, "Self, what the hell is a redneck with a library card?"  Rednecks don't read. Everybody knows that.  "Redneck" and "library card" don't go together.  That's an oxymoron. "Redneck" and "library card" that's like "corporate" and "ethics."  In redneck vernacular you might say,"That don't make no sense."

My definition of redneck might be different from your definition of redneck.  Most people think a redneck is an ignorant, unwashed, NASCAR watching, gun toting, snake handling, pick up truck driving, churlish inbred cracker.  I will admit, these characteristics often come with the territory.  There are redneck PhD's, writers, poets, doctors, lawyers, computer programmers and all manner of so-called professional knowledge worker. To me, a redneck is someone who comes from that stock of people known in Europe as "peasants," grew up in "fly over country" and had/have very little money to spare.  Low income and low born from the hinterlands in possession of a library card.  That's me.

My recent ancestors came from the hills of West Virginia, the mountains of North Carolina and the rolling hills of central and southern Ohio.  They were small farmers, worked in hard labor jobs of one sort or another and didn't make much money.  My folks weren't poor but we weren't well off either.   They did start doing better in the 90's than in the 70's and 80's.  They've had to work in some crummy jobs to manage it.  They made the best of what they had and gave me and my sister everything they could. Thanks Mom and Dad.   For that other characteristic of a redneck; I grew up in rural north west Ohio.  That is about as redneck as it gets.

I was lucky enough to have parents and wanted me to have a chance to avoid the sort of work they've had to make do with over the years.  They encouraged me to get some education.   That means reading.  My mom took us to the library a lot as kids.  Our teeny tiny local library was my favorite place in the world as a child.  It was half the size of most branch libraries in any city you'd care to name but it was ours and I was in it every chance I got.  My mom read to us daily before I could read  and I was desperate to learn as soon as I could.  There hasn't been a time in my life since I learned to read that I didn't have a book close at hand.

This blog is mainly an indulgence for an appetite I possess.  Like most men, I desire to express my opinions about stuff.  Most of the time, people couldn't give a fuck about anyone's opinion but their own.  I'm the same way.  So, rather than going around inflicting my opinion on anyone who happens to be in earshot (cause that would be rude and I was raised right) I'm going to write it down on this blog.  Yes, it is self indulgent.  Yes it might be a big fuckin' waste of time.  If nothing else, it will be a good writing exercise.  I hope to get something out of it.  What that might be, I don't know.  If you get something out of it too then that'll be just fine with me.