Life

Annointing the Threshold

A couple of years ago I fished a large chunk of wood out of the river. It had a very satisfactory heft, oblongularity and poise. A piece of timber solid not only in body, but in character. In short: a perfect doorstep. I spotted it floating in a weir and thought ‘that would make a fine doorstep’. We shan’t dwell on the story of how I hoisted it out of the river and, in exchange, lost my brand new, favourite, and first ever, pair of sunglasses.

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Why I'm giving up on Facebook

One of my new year’s resolutions is to try and be more intentional about the way I lead my life. That includes a close look at habits and deeply wired-in behaviours. Last year I had the epiphany that whilst chocolate, ginger nuts, IRN BRU and sugary comestibles were very enticing and almost unthinkable to give up, I’m far better off without them in my life. I’ve known this for at least 15 years, but last summer I actually did something about it.

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Snowing now, is it?

My wife sent me an email. It conveyed words to the effect:

It is snowing!

I replied:

Is it now

We make a point of sending each other grammatically ambigious emails.

And that made me realise that in the sentence

“Now it is snowing”

has at least two levels of word-order to contend with.

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First Honey

I’m not in it for the honey. A refrain I’ve repeated for a year and a half. Bees are the most incredible creatures. I think humans are hard-wired to find fascinating what bees are hard-wired to do. A social insect, forming colonies from which intelligent behaviour seems to emerge. An insect which, on an individual basis seems to have enough character to be charming, but when viewed in great numbers is inescapably prone to anthropomorphism.

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OneTesla demanding money

tl;dr: oneTesla sent me something expensive by mistake, I told them, got no reply, and 9 months later they want me to pay for it. I think their ethics are screwy and I want to know if it happened to you.

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Christmas Lights Competition 2015

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Standards are high at the annual Christmas lights event. It’s important that every entry is a strong in order to outperform the competition.

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The First Death

Inspecting a beehive is the central mystical ritual of beekeeping. Seeing the bees at work, spotting the queen scuttling around and appraising the hard work they are all doing is, I’ll be honest, one of the major draws for me. It’s something that should be done as infrequently as possible because it disrupts the hive, stresses the bees and interferes with the environmental conditions that they’re trying to maintain. At the height of inspection season no more than once every few days.

Beekeepers go to great lengths not to damage or kill insects. But sometimes it does happen.

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The Timelapse Beehive

Some background to timelapsebeehive.com

I’ve wanted to keep bees for 20 years, and I’m finally getting round to doing it. There’s a lot of nonsense going around about how it’s a new middle-class fad, but I recently dug this book out. It’s called the Golden Throng and it was printed in the 1940s.

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Feeding Bees

To start with something worth saying:

Do not feed bees honey. If you find a tired bee, mix it up some sugar solution. One crystal of caster sugar to one drop of water should do. Honey from the shops, which is usually from a foreign country, and even honey from a more local hive can contain fungal spores which can cause serious diseases, like American Foul Brood.

Now that’s over, let’s move from feeding individual bees to the feeding of tens of thousands.

In my post on the [installation of a nucleus][1] I showed the improvised bottle contact-feeder in action.

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Achieving Bees

There are a number of ways one can acquire bees. To paraphrase Twelfth Night:

but be not afraid of bees: some are born to bees, some achieve bees, and some have bees thrust upon them.

Some people catch swarms. My great uncle Ronald [had a hive thrust upon him][1]. Although I’m the third generation of bee-keepers in my family, I wasn’t born to them (the previous two generations being predecessors but not ancestors). I went with the safer and easier option and obtained a nucleus from a local bee-keeper.

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