Back at it

It has been a while since I regularly darkened the doorway of a gym. When I started working at the plastics factory I had been going to the gym almost daily. I was pretty strong, starting my preacher curl drop sets at 100 kilos.

12 hour shifts and life getting weird and moving away from the gym I really liked and and and I quit working out regularly.

Almost 6 years later and a new job with lots of travel all over the place. I am not a drinker and am not particularly social. Working out is, for me, a solitary recreation that is good for me.

So, while I am away from home visiting my mom, I went ahead and rejoined Planet Fitness. I’ve been in several of them, they’re clean, the equipment is in good condition, and they’re all over the place.

So now I am going to try and shift some weight around, maybe put on 20 (or more) lbs of muscle, and stay out of trouble while away.

A new bee year

I finally had the weather and a day off to check in on the ladies. Went into the winter with 6 hives, came out with 5. Not quite as good numerically as last year’s 7 to 6 but I’ll take it.

The NUC that I really didn’t think would make it was so full I moved them into a bigger home! They got a mansion (2 – 10 frame full size) compared to 2 – 5 frame. This was a daughter colony from the queen I got from my friend Tucka Bee, who is from the town I grew up in. I figured the genetics from up by the Canadian border would come through this winter and they sure did!

The parent colony to the NUC is still booming along. I have yet to be able to isolate the queen. This colony is very fecund, and a great honey producer. Too bad the queen is all over the place. I need to put queen excluders between all the boxes to isolate what box she’s in.

One colony I thought made it didn’t, they starved with 2 medium supers of honey over their heads. There was fighting going on at the entrance, but surprisingly, the honey supers above were not robbed. I rescued the honey supers and will extract that honey sometime soon.

One colony has become aggressive, I will address that when the queen production starts up for the season. Basically you kill the old queen, wait a few days for her pheromones to dissipate, then introduce a new queen. I did flipflop the boxes on this colony to get the queen out of the honey supers and into the supers I want her to lay brood in. Once the regicide has been committed it will take around 3 weeks for the aggression to end.

I hope to keep the number of colonies down to no more than 6, I plan on selling bees to help keep the number of colonies down to a manageable number.

Only 1 sting through the suit, again that’s a win.

False economy

I went grocery shopping today. I look around at various cuts of meat and try to decide what I could do with them and then I will plan other meals around them. As I was looking at the various items I decided that I was going to buy a prime rib.

At first you would think that’s a lot of money. But I submit the following. I will get seven meals out of a five pound prime rib. Since the prime rib was less than $50 , seven meals for $50 is much cheaper than McDonald’s, 7 Big Mac meals large with extras.

Consider the health benefits of cooking at home.  I use coconut oil when I fry.  Veggies instead of fries. 

  I don’t drink much soda, and when I do it’s made with cane sugar not high fructose corn syrup.

I can show you studies showing the correlation between the stabilization of HFCS and the beginning of the obesity of America.

So a week’s worth of lunch or supper, more since I will space the rib out amongst other things, for less than $50 really isn’t a bad deal.

Lately

Every morning before I leave for work, I take the dogs out to take care of doggy related things. While they are busy with the dog stuff I have the opportunity to enjoy the morning stillness before the chaos of the day.

Since it is now still dark out, I tend to look up. Really, more people should do this. I spent some time in the U.S. Coast Guard and besides the obvious learning the navigational stars, I had years of opportunity to look up without the light pollution prevalent in the populated areas of the modern world. Few people have seen the sky as I have, and it truly is a shame. Staring into the bowl of stars, seeing cascades of “falling stars”, and the Milky Way shining brighter than most people will ever see. Gave me a sense of perspective – I’m a minuscule mote in the cosmos.

Despite the fact that I live in a populated area, this small town isn’t too bad for stargazing. I see familiar stars and constellations. Planets come and go, right now Mars, Jupiter, and Saturn are visible to the naked eye. Sirius, the Dog Star follows Orion in his annual journey through the sky. Rising above the horizon in the morning in October, Sirius portends the arrival of fall, and the cold of winter to come. I always feel ambivalent about the arrival of cold weather – it’s a break from the swelter of SW Virginia summers, but increased energy consumption because we have to use lights, and I do turn the heat on because I’m not a fan of being uncomfortably cold.

The trees lose their leaves, the bees put up the last of their groceries for the winter, and the other bees try to steal the groceries. The walnut trees drop the nuts, squirrels stash them away for their winter. The circle of life in scale both grand and tiny.

It’s not cold enough yet to get all bundled up in winter coat, thus far a hoodie is enough to ward of the chill. I see the folks who grew up in this part of the country wrapped up in so many layers they can barely move, and it’s 50 degrees out. I just smile, and wonder how they would react to a nice crisp 50 below morning.

When I was a young’un I had a Ford Pinto. I had gone up to Saranac Lake to visit my little sister. As was my routine, before starting the Pinto, I checked the oil. It was down a quart so I grabbed one out of the back seat, shoved the metal spout in the can, and tipped it up to replenish the engine oil supply. The familiar glug glug glug didn’t happen. After a few minutes, I lifted the can and the oil was still in it. I pulled the spout out, brought the can inside and opened it with a can opener. Took a spoon and used the spoon to dig the oil out of the can and into the top end of the engine. The trusty Pinto did turn over tho slower than usual. The fuel air mixture fired and she started. I let her run a while to warm up before I left. Thing is, I was in my boots, jeans and a t-shirt while all this was going on. It felt crispy cold but there was no wind at all. Went inside, put on my jacket, grabbed my bag, said goodbye and left. On the way out of town, the radio said that Saranac Lake had just set a new record for low temperature, -52 Farenheight. Yes, 52 below. No wonder the oil didn’t flow. I was out in it in a t-shirt.

In 3 more months, Orion will be setting when the dogs and I go out to take care of the dog related things. I will look up and smile, knowing that soon it will be warm enough to check on the bees, and the winter coat will return to its hanger for the next 8 months or so. The power and gas bills will diminish, and the people will soon start complaining about how hot it is.