Monthly Archives: January 2008

How sweet it will be :)

As you may recall, back in November I posted an entry about Mr. Carrier’s bees and how good his honey is. A few weeks ago as my thoughts began turning to Spring fruit tree blossoms (prematurely, as it turns out – have you seen the weather lately?! Woof – snow on most of the mountain tops around the valley.), it occurred to me that if we had bees maybe they’d help our (and neighbors w/in a 3 mile radius) flowers and fruit trees live an even better and more productive life.

So I called up Mike to talk through some of the details about bee keeping, like:

  • How often do you slop them?
  • How big does their water trough have to be?
  • Do i have to change their “cage” like I do the cats um, errr, powder rooms?
  • Do I need to use a special bee whistle to call them home every night?
    (Remind me to tell you about using a scallop whistle down in Florida back in ’77… what a hoot.)
  • Do I need to walk them and if so, how does the harness stay on?

You know, the basics.

As we’re talking, a tiny light bulb went off in my head (if you know me, you may already have a pre-conceived notion about how small the wattage on that bulb may be – if so, keep that thought to yourself because you’re going to want to be on my good side pretty soon if this bee-thing works out 😉 and it suddenly dawned on me that if we have bees, we might actually get honey from the little buggers.

So I mentioned my epiphany to Mike and he said (after he quit laughing at me), “uh yeah, Hal, with that one hive stack you should get somewhere between 10-12 gallons of honey.”

“gallons of honey”… doesn’t that just kinda drip off your tongue?

Sounds great, right? Last year, 45 cases of jams & jellies (+ gallons of liqueurs) and next year 10+ gallons of honey – man, it’s gonna be great, right?

Well, that’s easy for you to say… see, I’m the guy that’s gotta wear the distorted fencing mask, gloves and body image-enhancing suit designed to keep me safe from the sting of death.

30 years ago I was doing the dance of death with sea urchins to get abalone.

25 years ago I began diving for halibut.

22 years ago I added lobster diving to the list.

10 years ago we did our first harvest and began working our way into pretty serious jelly making hobbyist’s.

And now, bees will give us gallons of honey from our own property.

Getting older sure is sweet, isn’t it?

Thanks for visiting, write when you get work.

The end of January already!

Woof – where the heck did the month go, anyway?

Rain. More rain. Lots more rain. Albert Hammond was wrong: It does rain (like hell) in Southern California” It’s been raining a lot in Northern California, too. Not a bad thing, we all need the water.

Trying to catch up on posting neighborhood news:

  • Lots of good time goings-on in the neighborhood over the holidays.
  • Wii be having lots of fun – I vote Janet / Paul’s as the best host-house for Wii bowling and golf. Wood floors, big’n’bright projection + surround sound makes it seem like you’re in the bowling alley and that repeatedly throwing a 16 lb ball is easy-peasy, regardless of your age / condition.
  • We (Joanne and I) were very happy to see our neighborhood college girl on her visit home. Time sure flies, doesn’t it?
  • We were also very happy to see Owen and Olivia for four days… what a nice visit.
  • Body World 2 @ the Tech was amazing – simply amazing… we all loved it.
  • We’ve been catching our share of movies:
    • There Will Be Blood – good story, great cinematography and acting, disturbingly violent at times.)
    • Juno – very good indie film, we recommend it.
    • The Bucket List – very predictable but enjoyable if you’re a Morgan Freeman or Jack Nicholson fan.
    • Michael Clayton – good story, very good acting and worth the price of matinee tickets.

More pomegranate jelly being made soon (4 gals of juice in-house) and I start on the tangerine-cello / liqueur tonight.

Thanks for visiting and write when you get work.
be well,
hal

Do you own a dog? If so, read this(!)

SHORT VERSION:
No Corn in your dog’s dog food!

HAL VERSION:
Our family members have had dogs for most of our lives. Joanne used to breed, train and show them and me, well… I just put goodies on their noses, then had them flip the goodies off their noses and catch them in mid-air. (I know, I know – what a cheesy guy. Hey, what can I say.)

Anyway, if you’ve read http://twobigcats.blogspot.com/2007_08_01_archive.html and http://twobigcats.blogspot.com/2007_09_01_archive.html our two dogs are Penny and Pepper Do You Want Her. Penny’s been with us for 9 years (next month) and Pep’s been here for ~6 and over the past 4 or 5 years we’ve experimented with a variety of brands trying to find a quality dry dog food they would both eat. A few years ago we settled on two brands and have rotated their different kibble with pretty good results.

Somewhere along the line, both dogs began chewing and licking their feet… not the pads, but the top / knuckle area. Pepper got so bad that it looked like she was wearing boxing gloves (I’m joking, but not too far off base, actually.)

So last summer I took her to the vet to get her a shot to calm down what appeared to be allergies to something we couldn’t identify. (I’ll write about that (hysterically funny) visit when I get time) Pep eventually got her shot and the itching seemed to calm down.

But then she began scratching furiously at her right eye. Whoa – what’s this? Off to the vet we went, only to receive some ointment, drops and pills to give her “for the rest of her life.”

uh oh, that’s coming out of Liv’s piggy bank 😉

Eventually we got through the drops – her eye was back to normal by then – and soon thereafter she started itching herself again.

We kept coming back to the kibble issue so started experimenting with different brands. No luck, still scratching.

Then last weekend we were at PetSmart and looking at a BIG bag of Beneful that was on sale and as we were discussing whether to buy it or not, a young guy from the in-house vet service walks by and says, “buying dog food for your first dog?”

Uh, not likely punkin’.

We gave him the short version of our ongoing issue and he said, “oh, you want a kibble with oats in it and not corn. Most dogs are allergic to corn / meal and most kibble has corn / meal in it. That one you have right there has lots of corn in it.”

YOWZA! I dropped it like a hot potato.

We asked him which brand / name and he said, “Nutro’s very good, you might try that.”

So we bought two different Nutro’s with no corn in them, began blending them into the remaining small amount of and started them on it right away.

It’s been four days now and as of today, no itching, scratching, chewing, nibbling – nada.

So, if your dog’s kibble has corn in it, you might consider transitioning over to non-corn kibble… doing so may save your dog (and you) a great deal of unnecessary stress and grief.

I promise I’ll write more, but right now I’m deep into a new section of my book.

Write when you get work and until you visit again, be well.
hal

Behind the 8 Ball, trying to catch up…

Sorry for the unintended absence… been busy with other, higher priority, things to get done. Couple of quick items:

* We’re down to only a few cases of pomegranate and much of everything else is gone. Thanks for the kind notes, we’re glad everyone is enjoying the fruit of our labor.

* Not sure if you’re aware of it, but Joanne’s just been elected President of the California Carver’s Guild! (woo-hoo, congrats, Joanne!)

* “Fresh” / live guitar sounds are happening here again now that the medical thing seems to be resolved.

* Looks like we’ll be hosting a neighborhood family & friends concert here over Memorial Day Weekend. If you fit into neighbor / family / friend and want to play or attend, groovy – let us know what you play and you’re in the band! (We’re beginning to work on our basic set list now.) So far we have 5 guitarists, 2 bass, 2 keyboardists, 1 flautist, 1 sax-dude… anybody know a drummer we can throw to the wolves, errr, invite?

That’s it for now. I’ll rinse and post the next installment of the Legend any day now.

Thanks for visiting and write when you get work. 🙂

hal

Need a Positive Pause?

I received an email from a good friend today that caused me to slow down just a bit and take a break. Then it occurred to me that person might benefit from a visit to http://www.positivepause.com , a site that I’ve known about (and used) for the past 4 or 5 years.

If you’d like to slow down a bit and take a break, this just might be the place for you to do it:

www.positivepause.com

(additional posts to follow over the next few days; heck, I think I even have the next bit of the Legend ready to post.)