Halloween, 2011. Bring Out Your Dead.

It started at the Hatteras shore where many Horseshoe crab lay dead last week from some unknown cause. Not just empty shells as is normal from their molting.

We stopped on the way home for BBQ chicken in a little North Carolina restaurant with 3 bullet holes in the windows in what should have been peaceful cotton country where the crop grows in sandy soil right up to the side of the road.

Driving through the night we saw one Orion meteor streak through the darkness ahead in a blaze of dying glory.

Now in Ohio it is cold and the worker bees (females) are starting to pitch out the apparently useless male drones to die. (They would otherwise eat the hive’s winter honey)

The tiny Varroa mite can carry a wing deforming virus which does this to one of my drone’s wings:

Good housekeeping bees will bite the mite and hopefully keep them in check as I don’t want to put any pesticides in the with the honey.

 I didn’t see any bite marks on this upside down one. These mites are only 1 or 2 mm wide.

These bee photos were taken with a $4 macro camera “App” for my Android phone – which already has a camera. I don’t understand it but the resulting close-ups are amazing.  Check your camera-phone. It may have a built-in macro option.

Dead drone.

Happy Halloween






Cape Hatteras, North Carolina

The island is slowly recovering from hurricane Irene at end of August. Bridge to Salvo is only open again this week. Much debris – including large propane tanks – and many mosquitoes in the bushes. Fortunately they are not out on the beautiful water.
The twisted dock (just visible in the bushes on the left) was 4 ft lower when we used it 2 years ago.

On the ocean side shore waders eat the sand fleas, but the little crabs are too swift for all except Nat.

The crab was happy to be returned home


Meanwhile back on the Sound, thanks to Jim’s magic waterproof cameras:


The barometer crashed down bringing rain and big wind. Then it shot up:

bringing sun with the same big wind: Glen took this great shot of my 3.2.sq.m. ‘Pin-Head’ storm sail (with Ron close astern) that I’d bought from Karen M about 26 years ago.

If every picture is worth a thousand somethings then this one cost me even more when I dashed off to Andy’s Sail NC to convert my rigs to the current era. The improvement in sail stability & control is startlingly significant. Notice the 3 very short battens in my old green sail vs. Ron’s 5 full length ones and you can imagine how the green sail wobbled when the wind was 30 + mph.

Fall in the Adirondacks

When the sun shines in October driving through the Adirondacks can be gorgeous:


 Friday evening we arrived in Baltimore to deliver honey and hockey sticks and eat fish and chips with Kepler and friends by a tributary creek of Chesapeake Bay.

Then on Sat. drove North for 5 hours to Rhinebeck for tennis with S&J, Alen & Hazel, Prosciutto+figs drizzled with raw comb honey. Alen’s famous Irish oatmeal and Burket croissants were eaten for breakfast Sunday before more tennis and then the 11 hour drive home while finishing a good 11 CD book of Isabel Allende: “Daughter of Fortune” about Valparaiso and the California gold rush of 1849.

The bees were glad to see me again. I’ve squished 150 hive beetles in 2 days.  Only about 1 in 10 of them fall into these little plastic traps with salad oil in the bottom.

The remaining 9 out of 10 hide in little cracks or in empty comb cells. If I turn one over a bee eagerly grabs it by the legs (as in the picture above) and flies off with it, but if they are right way up the beetles have too hard a shell for the bees to be able to do anything.

Now that the temperature is getting too cool for them to want to fly much I have to lay a stick bridge so they can get back into the hive after I’ve knocked off a big bunch from the lid when I go into the hive to chase the beetles. Once one crosses the bridge she’s quickly followed by the hundred or more stumbling around in the weeds.

I don’t know if they are practicing clustering to keep warm for winter but they are up to something. I put my ear to each level of the hive and hear quite a different buzz from each one but don’t know what they’re trying to tell me yet. The cluster on the left below was hanging from a honey comb frame I’d removed while looking for beetles. It was from the top box so the queen should not have been there.