Real Life Review – Craftsman 218331 Tablesaw – Part 4: A dangerous guard

While not specific to this particular tablesaw as they seem to be used on all new saws, I have yet another reason why I dislike the “new style” blade guards required for tablesaws for the past several years, and these pictures show one of the many reasons why. I was smoothing the edge of a ripped board when all of a sudden the blade guard assembly just fell off. It nearly hit the blade before I was able to hit the shutoff switch, which probably would have thrown it into me. Talk about a kickback…

The irony of this is that I had just checked that the quick release mechanism was locked into place at the start of the day’s cutting, and I had only made about 5 cuts.




Posted in Real Life Reviews | Tagged , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Random Food of the Day

Grilled squid

Posted in Random Food of the Day | Tagged , , | Leave a comment

Random Food of the Day

Thousand slice pork

Posted in Random Food of the Day | Tagged , , , | Leave a comment

The Art of BEEing: First Swarm

My bees seemed odd when I went out and had a quick look at them this morning, and through the day they seemed to be acting oddly – saw very few on flowers but quite a few flying almost aimlessly around, and by late afternoon there was a tremendous buzzing sound. I looked over and saw the outside of the hive covered in bees, and thinking they were being robbed by other bees(my default assumption when I see lots of them flying around the hive and it’s not overly hot) I suited back up and grabbed a block of wood to further reduce the entrance. As I got closer to it I noticed the buzzing was coming from the cottonwood tree behind the hive itself, and the bees were all coming out of the hive rather than trying to go into it. I put the observations together and realized my colony was swarming…. I looked up in the tree and sure enough saw a swarm.

First response – grab the camera and spend a few mesmerizing moments marveling at the moving blob of bees

Second – catch the swarm!

I found a bucket, brought the closest swarm trap down from it’s position on the hillside, opened it up and pulled the frames, then took the bucket and a broom and got the majority of the bees in the bucket. Then threaded the maze of cacti (of course the bees choose the settle on a tree with a cactus garden around the base) and dumped the bucket of bees into the swarm box. I assume I got the queen in the first pass since the bees in the box made no sign of leaving and flying bees headed to the box instead of the tree, but I did go back a few times and collect more of the dwindling group of bees still hanging on to the branch.

I put the box in a patch of shade while I thought about what to do with it, and then an odd thing happened – several of the bees started to fly from the box back to the original hive. I don’t know if they gave up on the idea of swarming, if they went back for a snack (is it technically robbing if swarming bees which haven’t yet created a new hive return to their original hive?) or if, as could potentially be the case, they were a different colony which just happened to settle near my colony and were indeed robbing.

Now to go build a hive stand in the assumption that they stick around…


Update 10 May 2017 – After building and installing the hive stand and a hive body, I went out the next morning and found that only a fraction of the bees I had put in the box the evening before were still in it.  I went ahead and dumped them into the empty brood box, added some frames, and then left on a multi-week trip.  When I got home yesterday I noticed bees flying in and out of the original hive, but not a hint of activity at the new hive.  Today I opened it up and it’s as if there had never been a bee in it… so whatever occurred, the swarming bees opted to move on.

Posted in Bees | Tagged , , , , | Leave a comment

The Art of BEEing: Hadn’t thought of that

I decided that it had been a while since my last full hive inspection, so this morning I suited up and started to work. I was about halfway through with the bottom brood box and had a fully loaded frame in my hands when I was struck by a sudden urge to sneeze. I tried to sniffle it away, but instead of helping that only made things worse. I took a couple of steps away from the hive, turned my head away from the frame, and commenced what turned out to be several strong sneezes… Of course, concurrent with the sneezing I shook the frame, so I found myself in the rather awkward situation of having lots of upset bees on the ground in front of me, lots in the air around me, many still on the frame apparently unsure if they should be annoyed or not, but certainly not overjoyed by the situation… and me having a bit limited visibility thanks to the veil being as good at keeping things in as it does things out…

Posted in Bees | Tagged , , | Leave a comment

Book Review: Hill


Giono, Jean

2016 English translation by Paul Eprile of 1929 French original

New York Review Books, 2016

Hill begins with a description of an isolated hamlet in the foothills of Mt. Lure in Provence in the early 1900’s.  Once a notable market town, history left it behind and now, hours by foot to the nearest town, it consists of 4 houses and those who inhabit them.  It is, as can be expected, a close knit rural community where the lives and occupations of the inhabitants are tightly knit together.

While tending his olive grove one of the residents sees a lizard.  Grasped by a sudden need to demonstrate his power, the man cuts the lizard in two with his spade. Suddenly he becomes concerned – his thoughts turn to what he has done and if he has in fact injured the very being which keeps him alive.  His thoughts lead him to the view that everything around him is alive – that the earth feels pain when he digs, that the death of a lizard has made him an enemy of the ground on which he walks.  He heads home and then talks to the other men of the village about it, who compare various signs they have individually observed and who decided to guard against the coming of whatever evil may befall them.  They take up watch stations, they look to their weapons, but whatever it is comes creeping in anyway.

A girl gets seriously ill, the well stops running, the village elder raves.  Taken together the village becomes even more tense, and the time honored structure of daily work and amicable relationships begins to fray.  It takes the onset of an immediate and real threat – a wildfire heading toward their homes – to get them back together. After escaping destruction by a narrow margin the men are more convinced than ever that something is up, and convince themselves that the village elder is somehow involved.  Desperate, they determine to kill him, but he dies of natural causes just as the assigned man nears his house.  The well begins running, the sick girl gets better, and all is as it was before – on the surface.



Posted in Book Review | Tagged , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Book Review: Offcomer


Baker, Jo

Vintage, 2002

As best I can tell, Offcomer is a slightly delayed coming of age story for the more complicated matters of transitioning from late adolescence to adulthood on the psychological rather than the physical side.

The book portrays an indefinite period of Claire’s life, starting with her engaged in self-mutilation before heading off to her job as a food runner in a Belfast pub.   Toward the end of the night a fight breaks out and one of the regulars, an old friend of the pubs owner and on good speaking terms with the staff, gets slightly injured. The owner calls a taxi for him and asks Claire to go home with him and make sure he is OK. He asks her to stay, they hook up, and then she heads home.

Through the remainder of the book we follow the outcome of that night, learning a bit about Claire’s past in the process.  A bright student, a degree from Oxford, a promising relationship that sees her accompanying her boyfriend from Oxford to his new job as a professor in Ireland… and then working in a Belfast pub.  She takes a break from the pub to go home for a bit and we discover remnants of a rural upbringing in the north of England, her friendship with the only other girl near her age in the village, and a strained relationship with her parents, heightened by her father having been afflicted with a condition in her childhood (perhaps a stroke, though it is not specifically mentioned) leaving him with significantly impaired mobility and unable to verbally communicate.  Frustrated by not finding what she sought to by going home, she initially lashes out at precisely those things she had expected to heal her.

Then she is back in Belfast, picking up the pieces of her past existence and moving forward.  It is not a fairy tale ending by any stretch, nor can you point to any particular passage as a significant turning point, but the Claire we encounter at the end of the book is very different than the Claire at the beginning.  While rich in other descriptions, the book is surprisingly spare in describing that element – in many ways reflecting the real development of one’s mature self where the direct transformation is invisible.

Posted in Book Review | Tagged , , , , | Leave a comment