Category Archives: Campbell

Two Big Cats present…

Bee My Honey

Coupla things about this video:

* Raw footage, absolutely zero production qualities to it.
* The excessive smoking of the hive is not entirely what it appears to be: The excessive working of the smoker in the early segments are because I hadn’t used enough materials, so they burned out quickly… I had to replenish, then light new materials. Having said that, in reviewing the footage, it looks like I used enough smoke to make a pound of two of lox, doesn’t it?

Live and learn.

Dam Hot!

Yesterday the temperature in Los Gatos was recorded @ 104. (The car’s outside thermometer registered 104 @ home, too.) Today it’s supposed to be 106. (It’s pretty much a given that our temps will be the same.) Gonna be hot again tomorrow, too.

The good news? My new tomatoes are ripening nicely 🙂

Enjoy the cool picture of Vasona Lake (taken from Wikipedia, btw) and chill a bit.

btw, In case you’re wondering, I do have a couple of bright’n’shiny / fun posts I’m working on, but wordsmithing takes some time.

About the local Canada Geese…

Just one month ago, we saw the little guys crossing the street @ Hacienda and the perc ponds. Then I put up with “their” crossing sign.

Well, since that time the ponds have been emptied and the geese have disappeared. All, except, for that one juvenile wobbling around Hacienda the other day, looking dazed and confused, on its way back to the now-dry ponds. (Actually, it reminded me of Hillary looking for donors to retire her campaign debt after the butt-kickin’ she took from Barack. Oh, sorry, that’s political and I digress.)

Today the ponds are empty and there’s not a Canada Goose to be found by the percolation ponds. Cruising by on my bicycle yesterday, I spotted what appeared to be a small announcement / poster tacked to the fence. And it had a picture and, like Pepper-Do-You-Want-Her with just about anything, I thought Hey, I LIKE PICTURES! so I stopped to check it out.

Turns out it was an update from Santa Clara Valley Water saying the geese were cute but they each ate ~1 lb of grass per day, then fouled the water, sidewalks, roads to the point of ruination. (hmmm, can I use << that word here?) So SCVW had hired geese-herding dogs to assist the geese in their migration efforts.

Apparently they’ve all moved on… and since this informational post is now complete, so should you 🙂

Thanks for stopping by and don’t forget to write when you get work.


Plum crazy…

Well, apparently Mother Nature has decided that we’ve had two weekends of rest and that’s more than we deserve, so beginning last Thursday one of the plum trees began dropping its fruit. Come to think of it, though, dropping doesn’t really convey the sense of urgency… but what word does, really?

Shed? nah, not good enough. Let go? um, I’m sorry… I’m sure that’s not grammatically correct. Ok, how ’bout Roget’s (I’m sure they’ve misspelled “Roger” but by now correcting it would cost too much money to reprint letterhead, book covers, etc.) Thesaurus, what would they say instead of “shed”?

Ah, here we go: cast, emit, irradiate, project, radiate, throw, exuviate, molt, slough, throw off.

Anyway, by yesterday afternoon, there was a (can I say this outloud on the radio?) buttload of plums on the ground under the plum tree. Being the good City Farmer she is, The Missus loaded them into the harvesting bag (yup, we’ve got those – and a couple of harvest ladders, too – so feel free to stop by any time and try your hand at being a fruit picker ) and made sure she let me know she’d picked all of them up. As she did, I swallowed the last of my beer, turned the page on my magazine and (turning the ipod down) said, “Hey, that’s great – did you get them all?”

‘Cause I want to acknowledge her work and be supportive like a good House Dude.

She wasn’t amused, but said nothing and we had another uneventful – I’m sorry, did you say boring – Saturday night.

And then, sure enough – dare I say it?- (dare, dare) just like clockwork, morning rolled around (again) and (after taking the NSX for its Sunday morning lap around the Bay) I was faced with the chores list for the morning: pull weeds in the back yard or do something with those damn plums. (they’re not going to prep themselves, are they?) In other words, (as my mom used to say) make yourself useful as well as ornamental. (Today is her birthday – Happy Birthday, mom.)

Pull weeds. (Now, weeds and I have a long history together, going back to when I was 8 and living with my paternal grandparents in Porterville, CA. I would drag out weeding a 5′ x 1′ strip of tomatoes longer than most folks could imagine possible. My grandfather used to say I was the laziest boy he’d ever met… I know he’d be amazed with me as an adult.)

Prep the plums. (Ah, kitchen work – lemme at it! Unless we’re talking doing dishes, then I’m the laziest adult you’ve ever seen.)

Ok, I’m all over the plums.

So I bring the harvest bag in and as I begin sorting to wash, dry, then pit, I notice some of them have scratch / teeth marks on them.

Ah, the squirrels have gotten to some of these… we can’t use those in making goodies, they’ll have to be thrown out. Sure, we could cut out the nibble areas, but we’d still run the risk of squirrel cooties getting being in the fruit meat, then making their way to your jar of spiced plum butter (new for this year). I’m not exactly sure what would happen if you got some squirrel cooties on your toast… maybe you’d want to climb a tree, run down a fence line – stand up and flip-off the local hawks, heck, I can’t really say… but why take a chance?

So I carefully checked, handwashed, dried and pitted the good ones and threw the cootie-fruit in the garbage. A few hours later, The Missus spent 3 hours reducing 1/2 of what I’d prepped into 1 1/2 cases of spiced plum butter that’ll probably show up in a few holiday baskets later this year. As I write this, I can hear the jar lids popping, so that means everything’s sealing nicely… man, with everything else we’ve made (that’s the royal we because I seem to clog up the jamming process these days) it’s gonna be a good goodie basket year.

As I said, in an effort to not contaminate production, I did my best to get rid of the squirrel cootie fruit, but to tell you the truth, if you begin eating some of our spiced plum butter and suddenly have the urge to run out in front of a car, causing it to swerve and hit a tree… well, maybe I didn’t get all of the squirrel cooties and you’ve gone Plum Crazy 🙂

(man, that took forever to get out, didn’t it? 😉

Thanks for stopping by and until next time, be well and write when you get work.

Bee My Honey?

Yesterday I added our first honey super and took a pic of a frame from the 2nd brood super. As you can see, they’ve created a great deal of comb, have filled quite a bit of it with nectar and in the upper white area, have capped some of the cells.

I don’t know about you, but to me it’s pretty ugly looking and not at all what I think of when I think Honeycomb and Honey.

Anyway, there you have it – honey is on the way 🙂

I see what the problem is, lady…

You’ve got a rash of Parrots.

We came back from an evening ride around the back ponds, Joanne headed off to Ellen’s and I came in to do some work on the book. As I walked through the house, I could have sworn I heard some strange voice mumbling something from the back yard… maybe a neighbor’s yard. Ignoring it, I sat down in my office and just as I was opening the file up, I heard more mumbling. I got up and went to the French doors and heard it even more clearly than before… and then recognized it for what it was: The Parrots are back!

Fire in the mountains…

As you may know, several weeks ago there was a serious fire in the Santa Cruz mountains, not very far from our house. While the fire was on the other side of the mountains, the smoke was immediately visible to us down in the valley.

Naturally, there was a great deal of local tv coverage provided by their helicopters and on-scene folks… given our location, we also had a fair amount of fire aircraft traffic overhead as they transited to the fire area.

For the first few days of the fire, the wind was blowing the smoke away from the valley, then switched direction and began blowing on-shore (on the other side of the mountains is the Pacific Ocean)… which meant our area soon received a heavy cover of smoke combined with a light dusting of ash.

I’m sure there were more than a few clenched cheeks in our neighborhood as we wondered if the fire would find its way down the mountains to us. I know with the dryness / drought conditions, recent increase in firetruck / emergency response vehicles, we’re checking our emergency supplies and procedures to do our best to be prepared if something bad comes our way.

These are a couple of photos I shot of the sky from our backyard and a shot of the Prius hood covered with ash.

Beekeeping ain’t for sissies!

Jusssst kidding… it’s actually a very low key activity 🙂 Without confirming by looking at my records (they’re not at hand at the moment), I think I’ve been involved / preparing for the bees for ~2 months now. Here are a few photos taken last Saturday while I was checking on the herd, uh, colony.

This 1st pic was taken just after I’d removed the lid from the top Brood Super (box) and was beginning to loosen the frames. Since they build comb fairly quickly, you’ll soon have frames connected to one another – making removal for inspection a royal pain in the knickers – if you don’t and if you don’t loosen it at least once a week.

The 2nd pic shows a frame that’s been removed from the super. The whitish area / material is comb that’s been freshly created. (I always assumed honeycomb was honey-colored, because that’s how I’d always seen it… not true, as it gets darker over time and re-use by the bees. So, whitish honeycomb = relatively newly created; darker comb = older. This brings up an interesting question that I’m not qualified to answer: which is better tasting / more healthy for humans? Can’t say, don’t know, but my guess is the aged because some of the honey properties may have saturated it over time.)

The 3rd picture is, well, me doing the mock macho-guy beekeeper dance 🙂

Looking back on my experience with the colony / hive @ this point in time, I think I would have waited another month to add the 2nd super… as the colony has begun “building up” to the 2nd story already and, in the process, not fully populating the lower frames with brood. I don’t think this is an actual issue to the bees – they’ll build comb / queen will lay eggs wherever they find room – but waiting until they’d fully filled the lower frames would have made it more esthetically pleasing to me, the beekeeper 😉

That’s it for now, thanks for stopping by and write when you get work!


Ah, the gardens are alive with blossoms!!

Hello again,

My apologies for the delay in posting, but it’s been a very busy few weeks.

Joanne’s been putting in an awful lot of hours on work & carving projects and I’ve been head-down on producing and releasing new material for Sales Is Not Rocket Science. According to the numbers I’m seeing on the backside of the book’s website, it looks like there have been nearly 7,000 downloads of various materials, with a big push over the past 6 weeks as I’ve released new materials. (If you’re inclined, you can view what I’ve released at; I’m not offended if you don’t 🙂

I’m happy to report that all of the household critters are well and healthy and, as noted above, the gardens and trees are alive with blossoms. The plum(s), almond and apricot blossoms have all come and gone, replaced by leaves. The pear and cherry are now starting to blossom; the fig tree is showing the first of its ’08 leaves and the Pink Jasmine outside my office window has blossoms, too, so as soon as the yucky weather passes, I’ll open the window and let the fragrance in.

Sorry to say my brain’s been overloaded for the past 2 months or so, so I haven’t done any work on the Legend… that’ll have to wait until I release the remainder of SINRS.

I hope this finds you well and, until next time, be well.