Pinnacles National Monument

Sunday we set out to hike 14 miles with a 20 lb pack in Pinnacles National Monument, California, USA.

We ended up in a bit ‘deeper’ than anticipated. Here are the technical logs. Photos and writeup to come.

Download 2012-02-19 Elevation Map (PDF)

Off trail elevation & distance estimate (Above)

Our total route (Below) & Some Numbers:

  • 24.48 Km;
  • Moving Average: 2.9 kph;
  • 8:33 moving, 17:04 total.
  • GPS on: 0852;
  • GPS off: 0150;

2012-02-19 Pinnacles NM KML file or GPS file also available.

SwarmTree-SwarmTallTree

Friday was suppose to be good.. comfortable.. it was sunny, clear, I could see the crisp skyline of Oakland and The City. The Golden Gate Bridge posed perfectly as the framing to the Pacific. I was computing, seriously computing. Sitting on the deck, legs up, shades on, computing furiously getting THIS site back into working order and Nelly Furtado was playing on my stereo – that’s when you know things are going well, “Hey Man” is going full speed and nothing can stop you. It was Friday and I didn’t even know. Until it all stopped.

I suppose I didn’t expect it to occur as it did, which is why I felt so supprised. Like a pre-teen, who didn’t know any better, took the car for a spin and was waving as they rolled by the house. Here I was, three stories away and my ladies just come rolling by. “Heeey-yaaa Jooohnnnn.” … “Heeeey-yaa. Check us ouuuuttt.” And then around the block again. Except, “NO.”

Basically, my ladies swarmed about a week after a very scientific and methodical split took place, so no, they were not allowed their driving privlidges. But they took them anyway.. .. youth.

So after a few phone calls to requisite beekeeping partners, I posted to the Yahoo group, recieved a generous amount of insight and suggestion and help and did as any reasonable ACBA member would do and ‘took care of it.” But rather than articulate that in more broken sentences with “quotations” and vernacular one-offs – I figure I’d try my hand at the 5-minute swarm capture film. – so, enjoy.

Thanks to those who called me and walked me through the process on my frist swarm catch, Victoria, Kevin, Bob, and Much thanks to Patrick Connally and his partner for driving up and helping us out with this negotiaton, really, couldn’t have done it without you two.

Enjoy the video (YouTube) or (johnmizell.com – coming soon)

Sledding in Arnold

YouTubeHD Version Here

As the film says, “don’t worry, we’re awesome.”

On Saturday we woke up in Stockton and drove East in search of snow. We found it some 40 miles later when we came through the Orvis Cattle Co. Ranch Property. Yet, we pushed through because it just wasn’t cold enough. Up through the foothills we sped. Then we got pulled over, given a warning, and the remainder of the day was spent at reasonable speeds until we arrived in the sleepy town of Arnold.

In Arnold we stopped at the Humane Shelter Thrift Store, stocked up on things we didn’t need, like a rock tumbler – sweet! and then over to the local ACE where we acquired a shovel and blue disc. Then up into the neighborhoods looking for the perfect runway (with parking). After dotting about the whole town we finally pulled into a development with large threatening signs for visitors to stay away. It was here that we made our camp for the afternoon.

View Larger Map

It was here, we sledded.Thus, the film.

Cleaning The ACBA Observation Hive

Observations in cleaning a vertical ‘observation’ bee-hive. This particular hive is located in Oakland, California and belongs to the Alameda County Beekeepers’ Association (ACBA).

*note the lack of required protection when interacting with the hive. No smoke was used and only a few veils were necessary to use.

ACBA Observation Hive Cleaning Party

This 10 minute video features ACBA club members cleaning the club’s observation hive on monday morning. The hive is situated inside with an opening through the wall to the outside. Inside the hive there sit 4 vertical frames sandwiched by plexi-glass. It’s quite an interesting set-up. As the video shows, a more regular cleaning is important to keep the bees happy.

*Special Notes on the film: The hive should be carried outside in order to limit bees escaping into the building. Future taping within the building ‘needs to be ‘okayed’ by the city.’

Enjoy the video.

DRAFT VIEWING Version 1.2: Early Viewing of “Cleaning the observation hive,” draft v1.2 (2011-01-25) in HD.

Seeking The Queen-Bee

The sun peeked out this afternoon after a solid week of rain and we decided to open up the hive and see how the bees are adjusting to the move. By external observations I’m seeing the bees return with pollen, previously orange, I found this lady with white pollen. I wonder where she was playing?

She's got white pollen. I'm curious where she got it.

Unfortunately, after smoking ourselves and then dawning the suit we attracted the attention of a couple neighbors walking by. The secret is now out. Hopefully this doesn’t cause any trouble down the line.

Opening the hive, I found the super to be virtually empty of bees, however they had done an excellent job uncapping some of the honey and draining the cells. Though there was still plenty to have. The top brood box was in a similar state. Empty of bees, with a little bit of action on the full honey frames. However, once I got to the bottom brood, where I had left the bees a week ago, my expectations were high.

… though I should pause here to think a bit.  Understanding that when I pulled the burr-comb out 12 days ago I halted ALL bee making business, as I removed all Brood from the hive. So any hive growth would have been, well, unnatural.. cosmic? spontaneous? I’m not sure why I was expecting such an explosion in population when I know that it takes 21 days to develop a bee. So when I found the box stagnant, my heart sank, but only momentarily until my rational, as discussed, kicked in. I then carefully evaluated each frame until I arrived at the bee covered frames. Arriving at the bees I slowed down and carefully examined each frame. Honey-flip-honey, replace. Then Brood-flip-brood, larvae, and…. eggs! she’s been here! (PHOTOS HERE)

Looking closely at this photo you'll see eggs, larvae, and capped larvae to pre-pupae. (Bottom Up)

Let me take a minute to remember the developmental cycle of the bee… Eggs are laid (the tiny grain like objects in the bottom of the photo), and are eggs for three days, then they develop into larvae and smothered in royal jelly (the white coils, mid-photo). They are larvae until 7-8 days. At that point the cells are capped and the bee develops into a pupae (brown cells at the top of the photo). Remembering that the oldest development could have only started 12 days ago, my oldest developed bee is in it’s ‘white-eyed’ stage and still has close to 10 days left in it’s development, which means the first bees to be born here are going to be Christmas Bees!

As you can see from the photo, we found the a good collection of brood, larvae, and eggs, which means the queen had been in the hive within the last three days… and that means she was most likely sitting on the frame of bees I was looking at. I examined closer and then POP! there she was (that was a figurative pop)

Bees on a frame with brood. Can you find the Queen?

I gently replaced the ‘queen-frame’ and then slowly scooted the other frames over. Made some changes to center the brood frame in the hive and wrapped everything back up. I was pleased with the relative ease of the event and returned to sweeping the bricks.