tel jetson

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since May 17, 2007

zone 7? 8?: woodland, washington and portland, oregon. grower, builder, beekeeper, engineer.
woodland, washington
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Recent posts by tel jetson

thanks, Glenn. that's good to know.

thinner steel is generally cheaper and easier to bend but obviously not as strong. so if 20ga is fine for heat/buckling purposes, is it enough structurally to hold some weight on top? I suppose I could use some angle internally to stiffen things up if necessary, but I have no idea whether that would be cost effective.
2 days ago
I'm rebuilding my sauna heater. I'll use refractory parts for the combustion components, but I want to build a good-sized bell out of steel. the sauna doesn't need to stay hot when it isn't in use, so extra mass would be a liability. steel should heat up much faster than more traditional bell materials.

my question is what gauge steel should I use? lighter would heat up faster, but I don't want it to be flimsy. it'll have maybe 75-100 lbs of rocks on the top. my first thought was 16ga, but I don't know much about these things. I attached a draft line drawing I'm working on.

also, if there's any reason this is just an entirely rotten idea, I would like to know now before I get too far along. so don't be shy about trying to talk me out of this.
4 days ago
I wouldn't worry too much about it. brush out as many as is easy to do. wax moth takes over when there aren't enough bees to defend the existing comb. they don't cause the problem. in a healthy colony, they serve to cycle wax so it doesn't get too old and full of environmental toxins and cocoons.
3 weeks ago
my family makes chestnut flour on a very small scale. we've got a lot of trees, but share most of the nuts with friends and wildlife. we make flour with raw, boiled, roasted (in the oven or in a skillet), and smoked chestnuts. they're all good in their own way.

my experience is that the most difficult part of the process by far is peeling the nuts. I've burned my fingers and gotten peel under my nails every fall for years. it's tolerable with friends, but I wouldn't want to do it by myself. I suppose there's a good chance that there's an easier and less painful method that I just haven't stumbled across yet. I have tried a couple models of "chestnut knife" without much luck. could just be user error...

there's an old water powered grist mill near us that I'll take a load of chestnuts to one of these years. just haven't been able to peel enough at one go to make it worthwhile. for now, we use either a home-scale grain mill or a food processor. both work fine. for the mill, we have to either cut the chestnuts into smaller pieces before they dry or break them up with a hammer after they dry. again, both options seem to work fine, though one is a bit more exciting and messy than the other.
4 weeks ago
a couple more:

I seem to draw more defense when I've had alcohol. don't eat bananas around bees: they smell a lot like alarm pheromone.
1 month ago

John C Daley wrote:
Mildly allergic? Thats like mildly pregnant I am sure?

that's a good point. there are certainly degrees of severity, but a person's allergic reaction can vary wildly between stings. so what was mild last time might not be next time.
1 month ago
placement and orientation of hives can make a big difference. if the entrance is low, close to and facing an area you'll spend a lot of time in, your odds of being stung will be higher than if the entrance is high, far from and facing away from areas you'll spend time in.

placing some sort of barrier between the entrance and areas of human activity can also be effective. a hedge, reed screen, pallet, stack of bales, &c. you don't want the barrier to be close enough to the entrance that it will interfere significantly with the bees' flight path, though. give them a few feet at least.
1 month ago

Ben Marko wrote:I thought something that would allow air movement but block moisture would be good

that's kind of a tall order. of the molecules that make up the air around us, water is among the smaller. nitrogen, oxygen, and carbon dioxide are all quite a bit larger. water does have some chemical properties that make it behave differently from those others and might allow a barrier that prevents the movement of water while allowing the others. I don't know of any that are readily available, and I'm not sure what good that would do you if you did find something. allowing oxygen in, for example, would degrade your herbs. and any water impermeable barrier will keep any moisture in just as well as it keeps moisture out.
3 months ago

G Brett wrote:I've told buying a nuc is probably the best way to go for a new guy, with a brand new hive.

opinions will obviously vary on this, but I would say the best way to go would be to get yourself on any local swarm lists you can find. my introduction to beekeeping was with swarms, and I think it really set the relationship on a positive course from the get go.

buying a nuc may seem like more of a sure thing, and it might be. but plenty of nucs fail for a variety of reasons. that can be especially discouraging if you've dropped a lot of cash for one.

I will offer this disclaimer: I have never purchased bees, so I won't claim to have any kind of authority on that subject.
4 months ago