Technical Difficulties

It is sad but true that one cannot use a computer for over eight years now without encountering major problems. I have always had a soft spot for old things. The only thing that works on my computer is iPhoto- which is ironic, because yesterday, I began the process of trying to fix it because iPhoto simply disappeared. (How does an application disappear?) In some last ditch effort, BAH is going to install Linux on my iBook G4 from 2004, and see if I can use it still. I'm typing on his computer. Linux is this operating system mainly for people who are really good at fooling around with computers. It's like the Do-It-Yourself operating system. Oh, my.

Regarding the Origins of Jacob Sheep

According to Storey's Guide to Raising Sheep, by Paula Simmons & Carol Ekarius, "The First Recognized Breeding Program- Jacob sheep get their name from the book of Genesis, where it is recorded that Jacob's father-in-law paid Jacob for his labors with all the spotted and speckled sheep in his flock. Then, in a dream, God told Jacob to use only spotted rams, creating a spotted flock that all became Jacob's. Although the origin of modern Jacob sheep is unknown, this small sheep with random spots all over its body is known to have been bred in England for at least 350 years. One of its most unusual characteristics is that it often sports up to six horns, but four is more common. It is thought that parks and zoos were the first to import these sheep into North America in the early 1900's."
These two guys were butting heads when we went visiting today. The sound was a hearty, "clunk". I like how they look almost medieval.

Quote of the Day

"Whiskey has contempt for you as a human being." -BAH
"Tequila should be used with caution." -Cellar Door


We're going to see a man about some sheep tomorrow.
They're Jacob sheep. Once upon a time, we considered getting sheep. And then we didn't. And then we did. And then we didn't. And now we do! This one's name is Smiley:
I like that they are a heritage breed. Heritage animals are animals who have not been selectively bred by humans and changed much. The heritage animals today are the same as a few hundred years ago, supposedly. We already have heritage turkeys and heritage chickens. It seems like a good idea to go heritage with the sheep, as well (or as wool). Like Noah, we collect the old animals to save them for future generations. We're all noble and stuff like that.

Sweet Kitty

You see a clean pillow case you just folded. The cat
sees a nice little bed you just made for her.

The Mark of the Four Year Old

This was on the computer yesterday. I can only assume it was Little Z. If you look at the box, it seems to be in the part of the computer I daren't visit, the programmer's realm. How did she even do that?
Maybe we should show her an old Zorro movie. That would really blow her mind.

Tom Turkey: Belligerent, or Misunderstood?

Whenever you walk up to Tom Turkey, he greets you like this, "GOBBLE GOBBLE GOBBLE GOBBLE GOBBLE!!!!"
He also is always really puffed up. Huffy, like. And when I say, "Huffy," I mean he really huffs. You can hear him half a mile off. Is he being belligerent? Or is that just how turkeys are?
The ladies seem to avoid him a lot. You know the type.

Spring Chickens

They called, as usual, at 7 AM. The post office, "You have baby chicks here!" I got Little Z up and we went and rang the back doorbell of the post office. We had a cozy box all ready for them in the barn back home. Here are the little cuties:
After we got the chicks settled, I took Little Z to preschool. Just as we pulled into the driveway, she started vomiting all over herself. Now she's asleep on the couch, and I'm thinking about how the vomit is drying up in my car. I'm wondering, should I go clean it up while she is asleep? What if she wakes up and I'm not here? But what if the puke dries out and it's really hard to clean up later?

Quote of the Day

"An old philosophical friend of mine was grown, from experience, very cautious in this particular, and carefully avoided any intimacy with [captious, overcritical] people. He had, like other philosophers, a thermometer to show him the heat of the weather, and a barometer to mark when it was likely to prove good or bad; but there being no instrument invented to discover, at first sight, this unpleasing disposition in a person, he, for that purpose, made use of his legs; one of which was remarkably handsome, the other, by some accident, crooked and deformed. If a stranger, at first interview, regarded his ugly leg more than his handsome one, he doubted him — if he spoke of it, and took no notice of the handsome leg, that was sufficient to determine my philosopher to have no farther acquaintance with him. Every body has not this two-legged instrument; but every one, with a little attention, may observe signs of that carping, fault-finding disposition, and take the same resolution of avoiding the acquaintance of those infected with it. I therefore advise those critical, querulous, discontented, unhappy people — if they wish to be respected and beloved by others, and happy in themselves, they should leave off looking at the ugly leg."
– Benjamin Franklin, 1780

Bee Named!

We have been mixing up the bee hives. We never know which one we are talking about! So, we decided it would be prudent to name them. BAH thought it would be best, if we were to give them person names, to give them female names, because each hive is led by a female queen. He also felt that the first hive should be called, “Aquarius”. So, these are the names we came up with for each of the hives:
1. Aquarius
2. Ophelia
3. Titania
4. Daenerys Targaryen
5. Hippolyta, Queen of the Amazons (but actually, we’re considering, “The Crazy Freaks” instead. These are the ones who swarmed, and they still seem angry with us. Very angry at the world, in general. Unreasonable bees, those.)
6. Dawn of the Pteranodons (Little Z’s contribution, naturally.)

The Bee Chronicles: Part 6

My intention was to leave the bee subject alone for a while, but today there were some exciting developments. ---------Bad Assed Husband (BAH) went on his rounds to check and see how the new bees, installed last week, were doing. He was not gone long before he returned, agitated, saying something like, ---------"Panic panic panic! Work together! We need to work together and fast! The bees are swarming! The bees are swarming! We need a box! Panic panic panic! Do we have a cardboard box? We need a cardboard box! We need a roof for the bees! We have enough pieces to build a hive, but we need a roof for the hive! I go collect the bees and you go build the roof for the hive!" It was, you know, panic! ---------I was to go build the roof while he went and caught the bees who were swarming and put them in a cardboard box. Easy, right? ---------I did as he said. I built a roof for the hive. I never built anything for a hive before. I did the best I could. The basics were that it had to be waterproof, it had to be removable, it had to be of a particular size, and it had to have insulation. --------I worked it out in the garage while Little Z rode around in circles in there on her tricycle. --------This is what I came up with:
--------The rock was BAH's addition (to keep it on, of course). --------The real problem lay in getting the bees into the hive and wanting to live there. --------All over the place is this method of laying a sheet out, putting the bees in the box in front of the entry to the hive, and then the bees are supposed to march right in, easy as you please. --------This is what BAH went to great lengths to do. He thought everything had gone fine, until I went out to take a picture of the hive, and this is where the bees were living:
--------They were living in the darn cardboard box! I opened up the hive, and there were no bees inside. I stood and contemplated what to do next for several minutes. I was wearing a head net, but no other bee garb. --------I finally picked up the box of bees, dumped as many into the hive as I could, cast the box aside, put the lid back on and ran like hell! --------Once the bees stopped following me, I went back and took this picture:
--------Angry bees! --------I walked home and showed BAH the pictures, and he was not amused. He was convinced that we needed to remove the box completely, or they would never move into the hive. He was very mad at the bees for not moving into the hive. We had a brief discussion over who would evict the rest of the bees from the cardboard box, and I volunteered. I put on some actual bee garb and drove the truck out this time. It's maybe a quarter mile. --------You know, angry bees are really frightening! But I did it. I got rid of their box. I had to bang it against the side of the truck to get many of them unstuck from that box. They really didn't like that! --------In the end, it worked. It worked. And I felt like queen of the world! --------We walked out there one last time this evening, and this is what it looked like:
--------Most of the bees are somewhere. Are they inside the bee hive? Who could say? --------Bee keeping is fraught with fear and ambiguity. --------By the way, the queen I bought is dead. The old queen came back and killed her.

Quote of the Day

"Dead bees don't tell no tales." -B.A.H.

The Bee Chronicles: 5

Where to find a queen bee?

(Picture via the Frog Blog.)

It's not the kind of thing you pick up at Walmart, or even the local health food store, or even (because it's commie town) the local coöp. Although, as it turned out, it was not especially difficult to locate a queen, after all.

Just across the road and a quarter mile walk or so is a stand of bee hives. The guys come by now and then. We can see them out our window. We watch them. I'm not proud.

So, those guys, they sell the honey at the store, and if you google the name of their honey, you can find their phone number and call them up. Which is how I got to talk with Eugene!

Eugene: "So, you have these bees where?"

And I proceded to explain the location at the other end of our field.

Eugene: "That's a very good spot. I used to keep my bees there when W--- owned that land."

Me: "Oh, yeah. We bought it from W---."

Eugene: "In my experience, when the queen flies away, you just leave the top off and they come back."

Me: "Leave the roof off, you mean?"

Eugene: "Yeah."

Me: "But it's raining."

Eugene: "Oh, yeah, there's that."

He did have queens, as it turned out. He was willing to sell us one for $21.50.

Eugene: "But if you put her in there and the other one has come back, I fear they will not get along."

Eugene has such a mild way of putting things. Of course, if you have two queens in one hive, one will generally kill the other.

I could recount the whole adventure of finding the place, of wandering through fields of bees and round and round identical doors in pairs, when he said it would be left for me in a package in front of the middle door, and how the hand reached out, finally, and a gruff female voice said, "you lookin' for the queen?" and how we did the usual required niceties of recounting whose cousin was whose, and how I finally came home with a queen and we waited for a day and a half to put her out there in the hive, because it was too cold, and how we left her in her little cage once we put her in the hive, in hopes that no one will kill her, but we have no plan for what to do if the other queen really did already come back. All of that would be boring to recount.

Anyhow, I'll keep you updated. So far, the bees are doing just fine.

I give us an A+. (I grade on a curve.)

Goose, Goose, Goose

Gina inspired me to post these pictures. These three geese have been living at our farm recently. They like to sit on our rooftops and honk, especially early in the morning. They seem to be calling for friends. They were here last year, too, doing the same thing. What da?

The Bee Chronicles: 4

This is not a picture of us:

Losing the queen was, to say the least, very demotivational. But, we carried on, if only for the sake of Mr. Kitty and the turkeys.

The last bee hive, it started raining. Right in the middle of us doing what we needed to do. It was also very windy. As you probably know, if bees get wet, they die. (You didn't know that? Really? It's true. When their wings get wet, they can't fly. Theoretically, that would be okay, but then if they get too wet, they catch a chill and die. You can really use them to predict the weather. They never go out if it is going to rain. They also get really crabby if it rains for a whole bunch of days in a row, because they want to be busy, you see. They are bees and bees have to stay busy! But they can't go out because it is raining! This upsets them greatly.)

So, because it was raining, and we had the bee hive open, putting the bees into it, I had to hold an umbrella over the whole operation while BAH did the queen thing himself, and put the bees in himself. The queen did not fly away this time.

In the truck again, we reflected:

1. At least we didn't get stung.
2. Maybe the queen would come back.
3. Maybe we could find a new queen somewhere?
4. We got three out of four hives going, so that was at least a 75% success rate, which is like a grade of a C in school.
5. In some ways, our grading system in school is way too lenient. In "the real world," if you mess up 25% of something, it's a really big deal.
6. On second thought, we gave ourselves a B-, because we were planning on finding a new queen. Really, if we did find a new queen, that would be like Extra Credit work, and we could actually bump ourselves up to an A, or even and A+ for awesome problem solving.
7. And, after all, nobody got stung!

But was it really possible to locate a new queen, right away before all of the bees flew away?

To bee continued...

The Bee Chronicles: 3

We left me spinning in circles with a bee ready to sting my eye, as I was pulling my sweatshirt off and moaning like a zombie. Little Z was asking about something. BAH was methodically continuing with putting the bees in hive number two.

I finally got the sweatshirt off of my head, without getting stung. I threw it into the grass. Phew! I went back to the hive in my shirt sleeves.

BAH for some reason didn't want my help for the last bit of that hive. He finished up on his own.

For the next box of bees to transfer, we were perhaps getting overconfident. At least, I blame what happened nexxt on being overconfident. I got Little Z to give me a bee hat to prevent being stung in the eye, and she decided to sit in the truck.

A bee hive, as you know, cannot survive without the queen. We quickly tried to open up the hive, take the cork out of the queen's cage, put the marshmallow in the hole to trap the queen again and stick her in the box. Well, so much for that! BAH pulled the cork out and I went to put the marshmallow in, "Quickly quickly quickly!" He yelled. But it was too late.

She flew away! The queen was free!

How did that happen? To be honest, we don't really know what we're doing. We are what you might kindly call, "learning."

"Catch her! Catch her!" he yelled. How do you catch a queen bee? She buzzed around us a bit. We waved our arms at her desperately.

Then she was gone.

To bee continued...

The Bee Chronicles: 2

Remember, we bought four, three pound boxes of bees on Sunday?

After we got home, we refreshed ourselves. Then we went about putting the bees into their new homes.

We had two bee hats and three bee keepers, so BAH took one bee hat, Little Z took another, but I had none. I put my hoody sweatshirt on over my head and pulled the string taught.

First bee house, we did swimmingly. Entrapped the queen with a marshmallow that she would then eat through and escape from from the cage with later. We dumped all of the bees in the box. Little Z passed tools to us. One down, two to go!

The second bee house was across the field. We went out there and tried to do it all again, but a bee got onto my hoodie, right by my eye. The bee got really angry. You could tell it was angry, because usually, bees hum a little bit. Bzzz. Bzz. Bzz. This one was like,


The fact that this bee was sitting next to my eye was disturbing. I have excellent eyesight. It was very clearly trying to do something about that. He seemed to be stuck to the edge of my hood. I started shuffling around, moaning like a zombie and trying desperately to take off my sweatshirt without being stung by a bee. There were other bees around, too, and they suddenly seemed very very pissed off as well. So, as the bee's stinger was right next to my eye and I was twirling around in circles with the terrible, involuntary moaning sound coming out of me, and Little Z was asking me some incoherent thing, and BAH was shutting up the bee's house--

To be continued...

I Fired All of the Interns Today

I fired all of the interns today in a statement against slavery. The whole shabang, kit and caboodle will now be run with the high tech computer with blinking lights, shown here:

I keep meaning to learn some shortcuts. My industrial engineer is always busy with his "day job".

Already, I'm having regrets about the interns...

Quote of the Day

"I’m not blind, I just can’t see." -Ben Underwood

Ben Underwood used echolocation to locate objects in his environment.

The Bee Chronicles: 1

Our happy bees:
(Yes, we belong to the Church of the Holy Duct Tape.)
We have bees. BAH started one hive last year and he was going to go deeper into it, if that went well. The first one went well. The hive survived the winter. Around here, that's the main thing.

The bees are really Bad Ass Husband's thing. I go along for the ride.

He spent all winter building bee hives, every weekend, experimenting with interesting designs. He ended up with four really beautiful bee hives that he created. He ordered four swarms from Watertown.

BAH, Little Z and I went and got them today. Just like last year, we drove for over an hour home with bees in the car. They come alive and buzzing in a cage box with the queen in her own little cage. I'm not sure how they get the bees into the boxes. When you go to pick them up, there are always bees outside of the boxes as well, who seem to feel some allegiance to the queen and the rest of the bees trapped inside. So, they tag along, too. Last year, with four or five bees hanging out in the back window of the station wagon, I thought it was a bit goofy and strange to drive an hour and a half home, toddler in the car seat. (Last year my last minute thought was, Holy cow! I hope Little Z is not allergic to bees! Since then, she has been stung, and she is not allergic. She actually did not make a big deal out of it at all when she was stung. When I get stung by a bee, I immediately think I will die. Not my child. My child is of tougher stuff.) Anyway, this time around, we had four boxes of bees in the back of the station wagon, all with their hitchhikers, and there were more than a few bees in the back window of the car. There were, like, thirty in the back window. It was bizarre. The buzz inside was splendid.

Little Z made her first pun that actually made sense. Want to hear it?

"These bees are bugging me!" (Said with a sly grin.)

To be continued...

Quote of the Day (100 years later)

"Part of the Titanic parable is of arrogance, of hubris, of the sense that we’re too big to fail. Well, where have we heard that one before?
There was this big machine, this human system, that was pushing forward with so much momentum that it couldn’t turn, it couldn’t stop in time to avert a disaster. And that’s what we have right now.
Within that human system on board that ship, if you want to make it a microcosm of the world, you have different classes, you’ve got first class, second class, third class. In our world right now you’ve got developed nations, undeveloped nations.
You’ve got the starving millions who are going to be the ones most affected by the next iceberg that we hit, which is going to be climate change. We can see that iceberg ahead of us right now, but we can’t turn.
We can’t turn because of the momentum of the system, the political momentum, the business momentum. There too many people making money out of the system, the way the system works right now and those people frankly have their hands on the levers of power and aren’t ready to let ‘em go.
Until they do we will not be able to turn to miss that iceberg and we’re going to hit it, and when we hit it, the rich are still going to be able to get their access to food, to arable land, to water and so on. It’s going to be poor, it’s going to be the steerage that are going to be impacted. It’s the same with Titanic.
I think that’s why this story will always fascinate people. Because it’s a perfect little encapsulation of the world, and all social spectra, but until our lives are really put at risk, the moment of truth, we don’t know what we would do. And that’s my final word."

-James Cameron

I love you!

Somebody I had never met before helped me with a computer problem today, and I was so grateful, I yelled, "I love you!"

He was a man who spoke with a foreign accent. He looked at me a little bit strangely, but it only lasted for a moment.

I wondered if I was going overboard? Had I said the wrong thing? I am, after all, an American. We randomly scream "I love you," right?

About two hours later, I did something very mildly positive, and someone I hardly knew screamed at me,

"I love you!"

Suddenly, I no longer felt weird about the whole "I love you computer repair man" thing.

Quote of the Day

Today's quote was first found at The Futility Closet. It is pretty typical of the fare there:

"It is a hard and lengthy task to become acquainted with the vagaries of the language, not to mention the forgotten or altered meanings of many words. Some of these vagaries are aptly illustrated by the story of the Frenchman who said to an American:

"I am going to leave my hotel. I paid my bill yesterday, and I said to the landlord, ‘Do I owe anything else?’ He said, ‘You are square.’ ‘What am I?’ He said again, ‘You are square.’ ‘That’s strange,’ said I. ‘I lived so long that I never knew I was square before.’ Then, as I was going away, he shook me by the hand, saying, ‘I hope you’ll be round soon.’ I said, ‘I thought you said I was square; now you hope I’ll be round.’ He laughed and said, ‘When I tell you you’ll be round, I mean you won’t be long.’ Then, seeing me count my change twice over, he said, ‘Are you short?’ I did not know how many forms he wished me to assume: however, I was glad he did not call me flat."

-– William S. Bridge, “The English Language,” in The Typographical Journal, March 15, 1902

{The picture is of Aunt Lou's front door.}

Easter Gourds

Little Z and I painted gourds for Easter this year. Because she's four, we painted them in washable kid's paint, so I guess it will just all wash off outside. I'm sure it will leave a nice patina. We're really hoping for some birds to move into them.

This one is for the ladies

I look at this blog of pictures, If Charlie Parker Was a Gunslinger There'd be a Whole Lot of Dead Copycats. Or, something like that.

It's a blog of famous people pictures.

I love it, except that for all of the pictures labeled, "Sex Education," they have sexy pictures of women. Except for one. For one picture, they have David Duchovny naked. I won't link to that one. Not that he looked so awful, but, you know. David.

I'm on this feminist kick. Darn it, why only sexy women? (The women are, mostly, not naked, but simply wearing clingy attire or (rarely) topless.)

Enough of that!

Here's Ewan McGregor. Happy Easter!

Quote of the Day

"Great ideas, it is said, come into the world as gently as doves. Perhaps then, if we listen attentively, we can hear, amid the uproar of empires and nations, a faint flutter of wings, the gentle stirring of life and hope. Some will say that this hope lies in a nation; others, in a person. I believe, rather, that it is awakening and nourished by millions of solitary individuals whose deeds and works every day negate frontiers and the crudest implications of history." -Albert Camus

One of the best novels of all time is The Plague by Albert Camus.

The Upside and Downside of Being too Beautiful

The photo is of Samantha Brick, who recently came under fire for her article here about the downside to being beautiful. She mostly explains that she has been treated very well by men and very poorly by women for much of her life, due to her tremendously awesome good looks. She says she has had trouble at work with a female boss, she says men randomly give her free train tickets and bottles of champagne, and she says that the ultimate snub was when none of her girlfriends ever made her a bridesmaid.

I, too, have had men give me handouts occasionally, but I just questioned my wardrobe selections. I assumed I looked destitute, in need of a handout.

I've had trouble with female bosses, too, and I always thought it was either just because I hadn't done a good job or because the bosses were jerks.

I haven't been a bridesmaid to any of my friends- only to relatives, and the last time was when I was eleven years old. I never really thought about this before.

I am too beautiful!

I'm so glad it wasn't my personality.

* I guess it's a fairly well known fact that the average Mindless Minion reader is almost unbearably good looking, and so I know that you, too, will feel my pain.

** Although, honestly, I do feel her pain in some strange way. I think she doesn't understand, herself, what she is complaining about. She's complaining about the sexist double standard and how she doesn't really want to be valued solely for her good looks. She doesn't want to be complicit in making other women feel badly about themselves, nor does she wish to take abuse from jealous women. (At least, I think that's what she's complaining about.)