SINful Bee Keeping

I’ve always found insects fascinating but beyond satisfying my curiosity, I enjoy being hands-on about things.  As a city girl living in Virginia, I’ve been working on learning how to grow and maintain a backyard garden.  Sounds easy enough right?  Believe me, there have been challenges!  Aside dealing with animals that eat your veggies before they have a chance to grow, there are of course insects to contend with.   While the investigation continues to determine the affects of pesticides on the bee population,  I’ve been experimenting with quite a few natural remedies for insects.    Some work, while others do not.  It’s hit or miss when you take advice from people that have been growing on this land for generations.    Many advocate the modern conveniences of buying chemicals, while others (much like myself) would rather find other options.  It’s not just the bee population that is concerning but contaminating the water table as well.

Along this journey, I’ve been drawn to try my hand at bee-keeping.  Not only is it beneficial to my garden but also provides a scientific education.   Sounds so very simple doesn’t it?  Just attract some bees, allow the hive to be present and a colony moves in.  Nope.   In all the years I’ve lived in Salem Village, it was just happenstance that a colony started in a small wooden bird house in a Wild Privet on my property (otherwise known as the Accidental Apiary).   Imagine trying to attract a few bees deliberately!

Bee-Keeping can become pretty costly, especially if you don’t have the tools and/or carpentry skills to build it yourself.  Your average tiered-hive can run about $500 for all the supplies needed, and even more so if you intend to raise bees for honey.  I’m opting for the DIY approach.  With a few minor modifications, I intend to turn a small 2-door cabinet into a large Super.  It’s a little late in the season to get started so I’ll have to winterize the hive at the end of the Summer if I manage to attract bees to it using pheromones.

I’ve ordered (2) mason jar lids for my super, and plan on modifying an old aquarium for an observation tank.   Unusual Bee Works offers a tutorial HERE.  I plan on keeping it outside vs. inside a building so I’ll have to take extra steps to shade it so the bees don’t get overheated.

mason jar super

Many new Bee-Keepers don’t have much luck the first year but I’m hoping to take advantage of the already existing colony living in the bird house.  At the very least, it’s the start of yet another interesting hobby to entertain myself and male guests! Heh


Resources:

VA Dept of Agriculture

Bee Keepers Guild of Southeast Virginia  

(see BMP )

Don, The Fat Bee Man

Bees! on Paganspace.net

World of Bee Keeping

Virginia’s Grant Program ended in 2014 but there is a Federal Grant program (up to $200 per individual).

Honey Bee Festival 2016

Mite Control – Using Mineral Oil

Bee Keeper’s Glossary

Bee Vocabulary List:

  • Abdomen – rear section of bee that contains the stinger and other organs.
  • Antennae – sensors on the bees head that are used to smell with.
  • Barb – pointy thorns that stick out of the stinger making it hard to remove.
  • Bee Dance – used to show other bees where nectar/flowers are.
  • Beekeeper – someone who cares for and raises bees.
  • Colony – a group of bees living together.
  • Compound Eye – large eye with many sections which enable a bee to see all around.
  • Drone – Male bee whose only job is to mate with the queen.
  • Hive – a bees home, where it lives with other bees and produces honey.
  • Honey – food produced by bees.
  • Honeycomb – area where honey is stored, also called cells.
  • Insect – an animal with an exoskeleton, 3 body parts and 6 legs.
  • Larvae -second stage of bee, grub like stage, eats beebread.
  • Mandibles – plier-like jaws that are part of the bees mouth.
  • Nectar – the sweet juice produced by flowers, gathered by bees and turned into honey.
  • Nurse Bee – the bees that take care of the eggs, larvae and pupas.
  • Pollen – small spores from a plant that appear as a dust and are necessary for plant reproduction.
  • Pollen basket – area where bees carry the pollen on their bodies (hind legs).
  • Pollination – the act of transferring pollen from one flower to the other.
  • Proboscis – combined area of tongue and mandibles.
  • Queen Bee – the only bee that produces eggs.
  • Scout Bee – the bee that goes out and looks for flowers/nectar.
  • Spiracles – holes in the sides of bees which they breathe through.
  • Swarm – when a new queen leaves the hive with other bees to start a new hive.
  • Thorax – the middle section of the bees body, where the legs are connected.
  • Wax – produced by bees to make the hive cells.
  • Worker Bee – guards hive, gathers nectar, makes honey, repairs hive and cleans it. All workers are female bees

 

I will post periodic updates as I embark on this project.  It’s bound to get interesting!

 

Update:

Charlie, Billy and dolls that go bump in the night

Billy is one of many hand-crafted dolls by Mary Shaw, a fiction film from 2007 called “Dead Silence“.  Mary had no children of her own so her dolls became her children.

Beware the stare of Mary Shaw. She had no children, only dolls. If you see her in your dreams, be sure you never, ever scream or she’ll rip your tongue out at the seam.

BILLY DEAD SILENCEBilly was designed during the mid 1930’s and was favored by Mary Shaw at that time.  During one of her last performances in Ravens Fair, a boy heckled her during her show.  That boy was Michael Ashden, that she later kidnapped, and kept confined as punishment for causing her embarrassment in the rather prestigious theater.

When the boy turned up missing, Mary Shaw was immediately suspected.  She was a loner that kept to herself and only seemed to be comfortable with the public with her dolls.  The Ashden family and a few friends busted into her dressing room, assaulted her and ripped out her tongue.  Having ended her life, Ravens Fair would be rid of that old Mary Shaw for good, or so they thought.  Upon her death, she had very specific arrangements.  She would have her likeness be altered to look like a doll and she was to be buried with all of her dolls.  Her request was fulfilled and she and her dolls were buried in a corner of Ravens Fair Cemetery.

She had the ability to haunt and kill many people of Ravens Fair for decades.  The nursery rhyme was a way to pass along the fear, her lore wouldn’t never die.  At least, not before all of the families involved in her death were killed off.

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Charlie McCarthy was also made in the late 30’s, modeled after Edger Bergen‘s doll used in his act.    Much like the original tradition of the ventriloquist doll, the original replica was made of wood.  Several carnations of the same doll were made over the decades, the final version was the Vinyl (the version I own) produced in the 70’s.   Even if I have the box and all his accessories, he isn’t worth all that much as a collector’s item.  If one happens upon the antique from 37′ that may be worth a bit.   Charlie is less the ‘haunted doll’ than Billy is but Billy is based on the original Charlie McCarthy.

As for Mary Shaw seeking to be buried with her dolls, I believe it’s a version of the Madam Alexander story.  One of my dolls (Victoria) just happens to be one of the original molds she chose to be buried with.  The rights to the rest were sold off a number of times since her death.  Some of her most precious doll molds were buried with her when she died.  So, even an infant doll with a doll maker’s past can be creepy to some people.  It then becomes iconic.

BillyThey’re just dolls right?

Charlie is often confused for Billy.    Clearly different dolls but to the person with a phobia of dolls, they’re all just like Billy.  Haunted dolls that could kill you.   People often ask me why I keep such a doll around, as if I’m taking an unnecessary risk.  I find that funny.  The doll is merely a bit of nostalgia from my childhood.  Practicing ventriloquism was a challenge and I like challenges.

The 70’s knock off doesn’t have the same functionality as the 30’s version, it then makes Charlie a prop.  People are so often spooked by inanimate objects.  I keep him around for the effect.

Sin Jones

Mother

I was born in 1974, post Roe vs. WadeMy (then) 16 year old mother had choices but with limitations.  Limited by her lack of foresight.  Roman Catholic families are more inclined to advocate adoption than they are abortion.  Homes for un-wed mothers were common and that’s where my own would be sent for the duration of her pregnancy.  I was going to be adopted until a nurse at the facility advised her that she couldn’t be forced to give up her baby.  That a baby, is leverage.  Especially to a teen seeking liberation from her parents.

Adoption was then off the table but a teenager wouldn’t just be allowed to do as she pleases.  At least, not without convincing a judge she was capable.  After I was born I was placed with my God-Mother for a period of about a year.  During that time the judge expected both parents to have jobs, a place to live and demonstrate adult responsibility.  Marriage was thought to be a bargaining chip, so that’s what they did:   Instant nuclear family.  It was far from ideal.  In fact, it was a decision that ruined their lives and nearly ruined mine.

For all the shit I had to endure as a child, for as many times as I was told I should have been an abortion; I agreed.  I would have been much better off dead.  Adoption doesn’t come with guarantees either.  I’d go on to attain my own liberation but without bargaining with my egg-basket.   If the sins of my parents taught me anything it was not to do as they did.  Even if I was often told to do as they said.  It doesn’t mean I wouldn’t make some of my own mistakes.

Cake-of-Baby-Coming-out-of-mother-Private-Part

When I was 20 I was ignorant to the effects of antibiotics on my birth control.  Having been on it so long, conception was the furthest thing on my mind.  When I became pregnant, I knew immediately, the pregnancy test just confirmed it.  The body tells you things, shows you signs, and instincts that lay dormant become visceral.  I never wanted children up to that point.  I had contemplated abortion for a time but I wouldn’t exactly call it a crisis. I ultimately decided to have my son.  I had choices.  I also knew that I wouldn’t want any more children.  I made damn sure of it too.  In 22 years there were no accidents, a lack of perspective, or insight.   It’s actually not that difficult to not become pregnant.  It also doesn’t require medical insurance.  Over the years I’ve been both insured and uninsured.  Paying out of pocket for contraception isn’t even that expensive.  It’s just being responsible (at any age).   Post the Affordable Care Act, women don’t even have to complain about the cost-factor playing a role in their decision   in most cases.   Women today still have choices.

After 30 you start to think about the long-term health effects of contraception and informed decisions need to be made for the long term.   At 35 you know you need to do something, especially if you enjoy smoking as much as I do.  Hormonal treatments carry risks and with age that risk increases.    At 42, I opted for sterilization which does come with a set of its own.   While Erin Brochovich has taken up the torch to ensure women are informed, I conducted my own research for about a year before ultimately deciding on trans-cervical sterilization.   As for doctors NOT informing patients of risk, can’t say that has been my experience.  When I met with my gynecologist to discuss options months ago, we discussed the studies available to date in depth.  There’s also a series of forms to sign to acknowledge them.  Statistically speaking, there’s bound to be patients that suffer particular side-effects.  This was also the case with my rather lengthy history with various types of contraception (pill, depo-provera, Nuva-Ring, etc.) Everything from weight-gain to acne.  A friend of mine dropped unconscious at work, was rushed to the hospital by ambulance, to find the cause (and the culprit) was blood-clots; a side effect of her birth-control.  There’s always risks associated when one intervenes with Nature.

The uproar over recent updates to Abortion Law presents itself as limiting if not removing a woman’s choice all together.   Many of these claims are over-exaggerated and reactionary.  When HR7 hit the floor, women went ballistic.  Me?  I think it’s ridiculous to expect tax payers to foot the bill to terminate a pregnancy that wasn’t resultant from incest or rape.  Putting aside tax theft, why do people feel so entitled to be excused from personal responsibility?

As a woman I’m told I should be fighting for Abortion Rights.   That since 2013 there’s been over 70 abortion restrictions put into practice with even more in the future.  Some states are even trying to make it a form of murder (North Dakota) and as a woman I should take this up as my cause.    What the hell for?  I’m not a potential customer.  Abortion has never been an issue for me in the past so why should it be now?

I had choices.  I chose to be a Mother.  I don’t want any more kids so I chose to sterilize.

What’s all the to do about god?

If you’re one of those types that  will defer judgment in favor of dictionaries, I’m speaking of this definition:

a person or thing of supreme value

Supreme as the highest rank of authority.  Some examples: Money, Family, Friends, Material Goods, Knowledge, Approval, Celebrity, Station, Accomplishments,  etc.

Ideas can be god.  Especially when they are placed on an altar of worship.  What get’s your attention?  What would you hold in such high regard? What would make you immovable? What drives you and towards what?

Apathy expressed towards the mundane is because it’s dull and lacks luster.   All things banal and uninteresting, where  the extraordinary is sought to be experienced.  Where none can be found, people tend to seek out some higher purpose, or some semblance of vision.  The imagination tends to play a role in this, a place where ideas are replaced with ideals.

It may account for why so many people are in the thralls of sociopolitical topics like Human Rights and Freedom.  It adds a sheen to daily routine as if talking ideals has altered the reality of what one is actually doing.  The ‘to-do’ has some rather interesting synonyms (among others):

noun commotion, excitement

this-is-your-god-marry-and-reproduce

Agitation is an efficient communicator, at the very least it can tell you when something has your attention.  Otherwise, apathy takes care when a topic is raised.  There’s only a small number of topics I find interesting enough to intrigue my thoughts. Topics that demonstrates human absurdity.  In writing for various publications over the years, at the Editor’s request the phrase “human condition” had been used when I’d breach a topic.  Condition is a funny sort of word, it can be both an adjective and noun, especially when describing the state of being human.

I’ve often been described as being a confrontational or insulting writer. The focus on condescension has always been intriguing to me.  I get the same descriptor when I talk and I always write in the same manner in which I speak.  Maybe these people just need to spend a year in New England, to pick up the essence of it, the form is merely consequential.  Born and raised there, I can distinguish what is cultural from my pathology but the two are intertwined.  The Latin caduceus would be a suitable symbol to carry this message not so unlike the kAru in Sanskrit. Both an art and a science.

I’ve been told that I should adjust if I want to gain a fan base.  I’ve been removed from writer’s lists, banned from message boards and told (in the politest way possible) that I’m just too agitating.    As if gaining a fan base was my end goal.  It never has been.  If readers become the anti-fan, then my efforts weren’t for naught.  If my presence doesn’t invoke a deep-sigh, then I’m just as mundane as doing the dishes.    The truth is, I’m well aware that I’m over-analytical, seem to talk in circles and tend to exhaust the audience.  That’s sort of the point.  As Marcus Aurelius put it:

“For Myself”.

It’s a rather interesting experiment to conduct, just to see how strongly a person holds ideas (or things) Supreme (including my own).  Will they falter?  Hold ground?  Does the topic stand on its own merit or will it come crashing down like a house of cards?

That old saying that if you stand for nothing, you’ll fall for anything doesn’t ring true, at least not in my head.  Anything can be approached from many angles, chipped away at, and until only dust remains.

“This thing, what is it in itself, in its own constitution? What is its substance and material?” {Marcus Aurelius}

Perhaps this is where the leap is taken to Nihilism, if one misunderstands the form and its contents, then it accounts for this reductionist approach.  Ideas can be annihilated but it doesn’t mean the person holding the idea goes down in flames with it.    If the activity gives rise to depression and existential crisis, then god is dead.

I can’t help but applaud to that.

Sin Jones

Here we go… The Holy Days

Holiday weirdness here we go!

I make bank deposits daily and around the same time of day.  It’s the same bank teller every single day without interruption; every day its “Have a Happy Thanksgiving!”  My gawd woman, every day?  Either it’s Bank Policy or the humdrum of routine but I still find it annoying.  That, and assuming every person celebrates Thanksgiving.  I don’t.  I did when I was younger mostly to get my dysfunctional family together (which we rarely do, if ever) only to regret the decision which is why I stopped doing it!

Occasionally I’ll get a dinner invitation from friends I may or may not accept.  I don’t always accept.  This year, it’s like any other day.  My grandmother calls me to tell me she’s going to the casino to gamble in Tampa. No traditional family dinner, she’s tired of it and I say, good for her!  Gambling sounds way more fun than dropping $200 on a dinner and dirty dishes.

I can’t stand Christmas and the only reason I put up all the holiday crapola was for my kid.  My kid is grown.  When he left for the Army you bet your ass all that shit went into the dumpster.  I saved the ornaments because I figured he may come home for Christmas at least this year and he is.  We had the ‘tree’ discussion and to my surprise, he agreed that he didn’t need it.  Maybe that will change when he arrives home and I’m prepared.  I get it, it helps him feel the excitement of getting stuff and he likes the old wassailing traditions.  I guess he doesn’t know any other way because I sure haven’t taught him.  In fact, I’ve probably taught him that any day is as good as any to get stuff and wish your loved ones ‘good health’.  He’s pretty spoiled but not so much to turn him into an insufferable brat.

Me? I’m the brat.  I call it Christmas Crap, I’m the Grinch, and I’m cynical about all the reasons people choose to celebrate the Holy Days.  Pretty sure my son will call me Queen Grinch at least a dozen times while on leave and maybe even grab me and shake me “Mom, why do you hate Christmas!”

Most, if not all, people are just excited to get stuff and maybe some snow. The turning of the wheel kind of thing.  All those religious weirdos that take this holy stuff seriously are on T.V..  They certainly ain’t in my social strata.

Then there’s that New Year’s Resolution shit, you know these people making promises to turn over a new leaf or start with a clean slate are deluding themselves.  If they really wanted to stop or start doing something, they’d already be doing  (not doing) it.

And finally, my birthday which lands on January 3rd.  I get all that “No wonder, you’re a Capricorn!” shit so often I want to throat punch every last person that makes mention of it. Instead, I just stay away from people in general.  Lone Wolves ain’t got shit on me.  It’s been days since I’ve seen a living breathing person, and it can go on for weeks and sometimes months.   So if I come off insane at times it’s because I live in my own head that I have to force myself to step out of it.  I can appreciate the value of Artificial Companions and disposable people. It seems sociopathic if not cruel the way I use people like paper bags and I make no apologies for that because it is.  At least in contrast to what other people (unlike me) would have to say about it.

Holidays don’t make me depressed or upset, I just sort of shake my head and roll my eyes at the pretentiousness of it all.  It will be over later rather than sooner because it’s only November.   A whole fiscal quarter of this stuff.

There’s perks around this time of year too, don’t get me wrong.  People are all “Good Will to All!” so they’re awarding you with cash prizes, shorter days to labor and longer days to stay in all cozy by the fire.  Then snow days!   It may cost you a day of business on one hand but on the other, it all comes out in the wash in the end.   I’d rather stay in and make stuff than go chase carrots and pies in the sky anyway.

I tell myself to just tune it out, breathe, look away and don’t kick over plastic snowmen.  At some point, you can bet your ass poly-resin Santa and his merry band of idiots are getting a  cunt punt!  Just not today.

Reminds me of that Reiki Affirmation (SIN-ified):

Just for Today:

I will not worry,

I will do my work earnestly,

I will honor my teachings

I will not destroy shit 

I will give living things a pass,

Just for Today.

SIN JONES

 

 

 

 

 

Art as process

I often talk about Art, I’m not an Artist even if other people arbitrarily assign that identifier.  I prefer to say that “I make stuff”.  Stuff, that isn’t important to me.  It’s not the thing I make, it’s the process of making it that I enjoy.  I’m capable of all the mediums and whether I’m ‘good’ at any of them enters the debate: Is ‘Art’ mastering a craft?  I don’t think it is but there’s plenty of disagreement to be had.   I often use ‘Artist’ very tongue-in-cheek, a way to mock the way Art is treated and defined.   Maybe I just never outgrew that child-like quality about it.  You grab your crayons and start scribbling away, when you’re finished maybe you say “Look what I made Ma!” and then completely forget about it and move on to the next thing.   Art is serious business!

When I was in high school I took some art classes as electives for the easy credits.  Man, talk about taking all the fun out of making stuff.  Art History, and Art Technique, that’s all it was.  One of my drawings ended up awarded and hung in the Library.  It wasn’t for me, or the student body for that matter, it was really for the teacher to say “My Pride, Look What I have Taught!”  It was pretty much a stolen piece.  When I asked for it back, I was told that the piece would remain in the Library.  It was pretty lame and it attributes to my attitude about Art in general as well as discerning learning from education.  I did end up stealing the thing back and burning it in a bonfire.  Fuck all that noise.    It’s not the first time I’ve destroyed what I make, and it certainly won’t be the last.

The concept of process gives other creative people reason to buck.  They’re ‘Artists’ and that’s pretty important to them.  Never has been for me.  Running tandem is the idea that in order to qualify as ‘Artist’ it’s your life’s work.  Work?  Isn’t that a process?   Other artsty types would hate to think of what they do as a procedure. It’s too mechanical or it’s just not special enough.  It doesn’t stand out. It doesn’t increase the value of their craft.

Some think of it in terms of a ritual object, or a carrier of a person’s essence.  It’s their very own unique fingerprint on the thing.  Painting, drawing, sculpting, et. al is a craft and what makes it ‘Art’ is the shift in perception it causes, in other words the effect it has on the viewer.  It would seem that the object requires a viewer and measured results in terms of impact to make it ‘Art’.

The need to create is like an itch to scratch.  Other people describe it as a vehicle for an overfill of emotion.  It accounts for the outcome of what is made.  It’s the opposite for me.  I don’t need to feel anything particular to create, only the impulse to make something drives it.  It’s during the process that my mind wanders, it can often be quieted, which can be a relief. It’s a busy little thing that never shuts up.  Maybe it even invokes an emotional response.  I never really know until I’m engulfed in it.  Can’t say I’ve ever cried or have been consumed by joy.  It’s just play time.

Recently I was trying to decide what to do with all my left-over bead stock from other projects.  Acrylic Beads are cheap and light and I had quite a bit on hand.  I thought about melting them down to make sculptures, I wasn’t really sure so I started researching for Do-it Yourself projects using beads.  I came across a kid’s project that reminded me of when I was a child and would melt crayons on my light-bright bulb to make wax drip paintings and melt the pegs to make abstract 2-D designs.  Just melt them in a pan and make sun-catchers,  easy!  Why didn’t I think of that?  Is it because I have no genius of my own?

Even if thousands of other people have melted down beads and made sun-catchers from them,  every person’s go if it will be different and somewhat unique.  Uniformity tends to occur over time when anything becomes trendy.  Even as a painter, the subject of the painting can be found across styles and eras.  A flower. A piece of Fruit.  A portrait.  Not exactly unique.  It’s the way the flower is painted that may make it stand out from the thousands of other painted flowers.  I guess that’s the idea when people talk about painting as a carrier of expression and unique marks.

Embarking on the project was fairly simple. Collect all your supplies, throw shit against a wall and see what sticks.  In my case, I figured out pretty quick that some beads don’t melt as well as others, and some require different temperatures to liquefy.  I had all these really big ideas about what to embed into the plastic but what came out of the oven wasn’t what I expected.  I sorted beads by type and narrowed down which were ideal for the thing I wanted to make.  Process. 

Aside from using up bead-stock, I also wanted to hang something different on my kitchen wall.  A dozen different things (including some of my paintings) had been there and I was never really happy with the aesthetic of it.  As a result there’s a dozen or so small nail holes in the wall and I didn’t feel like filling them or painting the wall to smooth it out.  I really hate to house paint.

Acrylic will melt at 400 degrees but it also smokes and stinks up the whole house.  This procedure occupied my mind and my space.  Once I got the hang of the mechanics, I was just aiming for a decent flow of light and dark pigments that would blend in with my color scheme. Maybe that’s the ‘Art’ part, who knows.  People can argue about that if they desire, I just like to experiment and make stuff.

I used up all the stock I had and even went out and bought a few bags to fill in gaps of space.  I was using some old pie pans I was going to get rid of anyway but it required a lot of beads to fill in and complete the round shape I was after.   The idea was to get rid of beads but I was enjoying myself so I bought some more.  Just to melt and hang on the wall.  Ooo la la, I must be an Artist! 

Each set (I baked 2 at a time) took about 20 mins so after about 4 or 5, I was about done with the whole operation.  I aired out the house, boiled some cinnamon essential oil for the smell and picked it back up the following weekend.  I kept about a dozen for myself and gave (3) away to a friend as a gift.   I took a few photos, I also like to look at things I make through photography.  The mind plays tricks on you and you can think something is so friggin’ great when you have it before you then look at a picture and think it sucks.  I don’t know that it’s the photo that alters my perception but rather just gives me another angle to view it from.

 

 

I often feel that way about the way I apply make-up, or how some clothing isn’t all that flattering to my figure.  What was I thinking?  Or, more accurately, What was I seeing?  Hamhocks for days… That’s what but fuck it, I still like leggings and finger paint.

 

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November 29,2015:

 

Last couple of days I’ve been messing around with charcoal.  Talk about process.  Shit just keeps getting weirder and weirder.  It’s not finished, it’s a work in progress… Not sure where I’m going with this but it’s been interesting.

 

SIN JONES