Thursday, June 06, 2019

Too many bees! 🐝 🐝 🐝 Or adventures in feral bee removal

Most likely this little bee is a Buckfast, referred to
as “the mutt of the beekeeping world,” 

Beepods explains that, “Buckfast Bee stock is named for the location of its hybridization and origin, Buckfast Abbey, in Devon in the United Kingdom.” It is a gentle bee that has been warmly welcomed into the United States for domestic beekeeping, Buckfast bees are a good bee species for “newbee” beekeepers.

Domesticated bees are social creatures. They gather pollen to make their home, honeycombs, and honey to house, feed, and care for their queen, her worker bees, the her one-act male drones. All the while, they prepare for their new queen. As a colony, they appreciate a calm quiet place near moving water.

A drowsy remaindered bee. The next morning, she was 

gone. She must have recovered, washed herself up, 

and flew off to find a new hive.
I’ll be the first to say our yard needs work. And while the control box for the sprinkler system functions, it ended up attracting a colony of sweet tempered feral honey bees. We were unaware we had bees due to where the box is located in the yard. I think they picked our yard because it’s relatively quiet, next to the arroyo, and near what they need and like: fresh water.

Over the course of several years (I don’t think before October 2016 as that’s when the injured owl stood on the green box trying to be invisible) I believe the bees did their bee thing inside the green rectangular box that sits beneath a pine tree that needs trimming.

With the help of friends, I hunted for someone who could use a few new bees. That’s when I discovered the Paso del Norte Beekeepers Association

By submitting a form on their website, I was contacted a few hours later by a beekeeper named Josh Meier. He meet up at the house, and successfully relocated the queen and her colony. It took a while because that box was packed with combs, bees, and honey.

Generally, bees have a range of between three to five miles. So from our backyard they roamed. They could get as far as the greens of the Coronado Country Club, all the fountains and swimming pools in between, to vegetation, whether native or planted flowering trees and plants. They could roam a bit up the mountainside and gather pollen from the wildflowers blooming since March, and bring back bags of pollen on their legs. Back they'd fly to their green sprinkler control box hive.
Possible range of our backyard bees.
Map courtesy, Beepod, Honey Bee Forage Map

In time, the colony grew until our neighbor noticed the bees and how much they appreciated his new fountain. This being after the house stood empty for at least five years. Before then, the pool the new owner replaced with his fountain was covered with a slipshod and highly problematic cover. There was no pool water there or routine sprinklers running.

Male Great Horned Owl, El Paso Texas Timestamp sidebar: In October 2016, a male great horned owl (one of a mated pair) suffered a broken wing and stood on the sprinkler control box trying to be invisible. Didn’t work. Caught beneath a sheet and stowed in a large box for transport, he was relocated to Stick House Sanctuary for rehab and was later released

smoking the bees

Josh Meier moves bees for you.

Up above us on La Posta, someone lounged by a pool and played random pop songs on their tinny iPod speakers (millennial boombox.) Two doors down, a neighbor’s dog barked continuously. The late afternoon light filtered by the smoke of pine needles render the bees drunk and drowsy.

Josh cleaned out the sprinkler control box and collected about five frames worth of combs. In the end he had to vacuum the remaining stray bees who stumbled upon the bee relocation program as they were returning home from a long day gathering pollen in the neighborhood and mountainside flora. He noted any remaining bees will either move on to find another hive, or wait for the queen to return. Sadly, they will live for but a month in all, and may not have long to wait to meet the many earlier queens and other bees who went before them.

As he worked, I asked how he knew he had captured the queen. Josh said he knew so because how quickly the worker bees began clinging to the sides of a box where she now was being held. About the size of a hard-sided carryon bag or big typewriter case (O, alright, like a portable Compaq luggable, circa 1983 ) the box contained the combs that held their queen.

He used pine needles to create smoke that make bees drowsy (drunk). Immediately, the backyard smelled like we were smoking a brisket.
Raw combs straight from the hive.

Bees are clever and prolific. Josh said this bee season (spring into summer) he’s had to relocate 40 hives.

Tomorrow, he will cut into a wall to remove another feral hive somewhere else in this county. In addition, he noted our hive was about three weeks away from swarming.

Swarms occur when bees can no longer sustain itself due to its population and must therefore divide in two. One group heads out with the reigning queen, and the remainder stays in place with a new queen in waiting. Chances are they wouldn’t have re-established themselves very far away. Perhaps, just over the fence inside the next green sprinkler control box they found. Good luck bees. May you multiply and divide and make as good of honey as you left here today.

Thanks to Josh for his quick, careful work. And thanks to Ray for alerting us to their existence. And most of all, thanks to the rehomed bees for not colonizing in my courtyard wall, and behaving as sweet as their honey tastes.

For help relocating and not killing bees, contact the Paso del Norte Beekeepers Association.

Two jars of Backyard Honey™️ 🍯 as @prepgirl77 calls it. In all, we collected about one pint from the combs Josh gave us! 

Thursday, April 25, 2019

Take your child to work day, was Take your daughter to work day

Twitterscope: You may begin a project with an assertive surge, but conditions are quick to temper your approach...Work with the cosmic momentum, not against it. You can reach your destination if you’re willing to take the scenic route. 

More for Capricorn

#ADHD that’s been happening my whole life... #cosmicmomentum (wtf?) #ego most assuredly that... #caution? Never. #ScenicRoute? Forever and a day. 

BTW, everyday when i went by #scat (sun city area transit aka shuffling chicanos around town) aka the bus, to go to downtown El Chuco, to the old school retail department store where both my parents worked, was #bringyourchildtoworkday. That actually was the cheapest form of after school childcare ever. 

Either Bassett Center or to downtown #ElPaso, and itoccurred  at least 3–4 times a week. If i went to town by myself, I didn’t have to make supper for us.

Wednesday, February 06, 2019

Lost Guitars: Google book searches, Twitter, and Milagros

On Tuesday, Corgan’s fortunes changed. A friend of his contacted him with a picture of a guitar that looked like the stolen instrument. But he was still incredulous because he’d been tricked before. “Somebody sent me a picture a couple of weeks ago of another one of my guitars, and I wrote the guy back and said, ‘How did you get my guitar?'” he says. “And he wrote back,
‘Oh, it’s a recreation.’ He’d literally gotten the same stickers, worn them down in the same way and scraped the paint so it looked worn. You could have fooled me.” So he decided to check it out in person. Sure enough, it was the early Seventies Fender Stratocaster that he had been looking for for more than 25 years.
Corgan knows it’s his guitar because it had certain distinguishing marks beyond the psychedelic paint job he’d given it. He recognized the place where a previous owner had carved the initials “KM” into it, and he remembered the placement of certain cigarette burns on the headstock “that I always thought were unsightly.” These were things he’d never talked about in the press, so it would have been impossible for someone to copy them.  
Perhaps the most incredible part of it all is that the guitar was ostensibly stolen in the first place; it’s an instrument worthy of a story by Homer. Corgan recalls that about 10 years after Chamberlain sold him the instrument a person he didn’t know asked him if he still owned his guitar. He then described the one that Corgan just got back. “He said, ‘I lent it to Jimmy, it was actually my guitar,'” the singer says. “And I said, ‘Oh, I feel so bad.’ And he wasn’t mad. He was like, ‘Oh, that’s OK. Jimmy’s my friend. If Jimmy sold it to you and you used it, that makes me happy.’ 
“But that’s the guitar’s circuitous history,” he continues. “Jimmy procured it and somebody procured it from me, and now it’s back. This guitar has a certain magical mystery to it. It changed the fortune of my life. So that’s why I felt it would come back to me. It was like the talisman or something, like in Lord of the Rings. It was meant to come back to me.”   

Tuesday, February 05, 2019

To the Students: What Is and Why the Need for Superb Owl Sunday?

A snowy owl rests on Jones Beach on Long Island in New York. #  Vicki Jauron, Babylon and Beyond Photography / Getty

What Is and Why the Need for Superb Owl Sunday?

Hearkening to  information that covers copyright infringement and fair use in general and specifically for commercial use, many announcers for companies not sponsoring the "big" event went out of their way not to refer to Sunday's championship game by its official name directly. As a results, they carefully, even haltingly and irony removed the words "Super Bowl" or "Super Bowl Sunday" from their scripts. This is because of the exorbitant amounts "official" sponsorship companies pay for advertising during the game and pregame shows. 
Read the word official as costing millions of dollars per minute during the game to run a single commercial. According to the CBC: 
That's roughly $175,000 per second (Huddleston, 2019).
This year's host network, CBS, is charging a record $5.25 million for just a 30-second spot during the championship match-up between the Los Angeles Rams and New England Patriots, reports CNBC's Julia Boorstin.
But things being ironic and fun, suddenly, misreading or re-emphasizing an alternative spacing of letters produced Suberb Owl instead of the other two words. Of course, this let loose with all sorts of Hedwig cousins flying around the internet as so many puppy bowl howlers.
Owl with large orange eyes looks directly at audience.

Here is a collection of backgrounder articles and cautions at the CommLawBlog:

No. 9: A barn owl in Galyat, Pakistan #  Zahoor Salmi / Getty
Not to be outdone by all the owl related memes, The Atlantic promoted their gallery of Superb Owl images:

Superb Owl Sunday III - 28 photos of these magnificent nocturnal hunters. If you have some time today before the big game (or are skipping the event entirely) I invite you to have a look, it was a real hoot putting this together.
The Atlantic Photo (@TheAtlPhoto) February 3, 2019

Check them out!


Huddleston, T., Jr. (2019, January 30). This is how much it costs to air a commercial during the 2019 Super Bowl.
      Retrieved February 5, 2019, from CNBC Make It website: how-much-it-costs-to-air-a-commercial-during-super-bowl-liii.html 

Jauron, V. (2019, February 3). A snowy owl rests on Jones Beach on Long Island in New York [Photograph].
      Retrieved from

Salmi, Z. (2019, February 3). A barn owl in Galyat, Pakistan [Photograph]. Retrieved from

Tag archives: Super Bowl trademark [Blog post]. (n.d.). Retrieved from CommLawBlog website: 

Taylor, A. (2019, February 3). Superb Owl Sunday III. The Atantic. Retrieved from 

TheAtlPhoto. (2019, February 3). Superb Owl Sunday III - 28 photos of these magnificent nocturnal hunters.
     If you have some time today before the big game (or are skipping the event entirely)...  [Tweet]. Retrieved from 

Thursday, November 22, 2018

Turkey by Taxi

In many families, conversations revolve around lore and tradition origins during the holidays. A couple of years ago at a family reunion meeting, I learned the whole, or at least more of the a story about a Thanksgiving turkey first told to me by my mother. When she told me the story early on, she just said a headless fowl chased her around the yard in Smeltertown.
For years, I only knew that some headless fowl had chased my mom around the yard after being beheaded. All these years later, and I still didn't know if it was a turkey or chicken, or for what event it had been slaughtered. Now she and my father were dead, and the story remained incomplete until one Sunday when I met with my two remaining uncles and many cousins at my cousin Gloria's house near El Paso High School. Towards the end of our meeting for our first ever Gonzalez family reunion, tio Roberto started explaining that one year there was a major labor strike against The American Smelting and Refining Company (ASARCO). Supposedly, it would last well into or even past November.
His brother Ricardo next explained that whenever abuelo came home with 50 pound bags each of beans and rice, there was sure to be a strike, a long one. During those times, they had meat only once a week. 
At end of summer, the strike began. As it continued past Halloween, everyone feared there would be no Thanksgiving dinner that year. No guajolote, no mole de guajolote, no big turkey drumsticks. Solomente frijoles y arroz y Kool-aid.
But just before the holiday, abuela took the bus and went "to town," by herself. She was emboldened to solve the problem of the Thanksgiving dinner for her 12 children. Usually, she never left Esmelda. Instead, everyone came to Esmelda to see her. This left my mother the eldest, and her siblings wondering what the woman was doing. 

Later that afternoon, abuela pulled up in a taxi with ...a live turkey! Apparently, she crossed the bridge into Cd. JuΓ‘rez for the fowl and rode back across the bridge to El Paso, and then La Esmelda in the taxi. We don’t know how she did it, but she came back home with the a taxi.
All that remained was to do the deed — chop the head off the fowl, which abuelo did. But, my mom had to hold the large bird down as abuelo swung the axe. His aim was true, but the turkey was not yet willing to call it a day. He ran around the yard chasing my screaming mother. There began the germ of her story to me — that some headless bird had chased my mother around their dusty yard.
In the end, abuela and her three daughters made tortillas, frijoles, and rice, stuffing, mole, ice tea with limes. Everyone enjoyed el cocono (guajolote) that year. Soon afterwards and before Christmas, the strike ended.

Tuesday, November 06, 2018

Lucille and the Royal

Royal manual typewriter
Sunday, November 4, was my mother-in-law Lucille’s birthday. She would have been 101. I say this because one of her proudest moments was how she lent a Royal like this to her neighbor. 

Mrs. V was in a bad marriage. Her husband ran around with other women and drank. Once, I was told, one of the women showed up in the middle of the night and threw rocks through all the windows in Mrs. V's house--evidently, her husband had called it off with the rock thrower. Fortunately, his abuse was never physical to her or her sons, and he held a job. Mrs. V felt she couldn’t leave him because of the mores of the day, and that she would receive no support for her sons and her. In short, she needed a job, but had no skills for a decent paying position. 

Having hauled the big black Royal typewriter halfway around the world and back, Lucille lent her friend the machine so that she could practice and get her typing speed up for a civil service position at Fort Bliss. I still hear Lucille telling us that there was some reason she held onto her father's typewriter. She concluded that this must have been the reason why.

So Lucille and Mrs. V worked together while the kids were in school. She taught her friend to know the ins and outs of typewritten communication. How to insert the paper, use carbon sheets, change ribbons, correct errors, and the like. She practiced, got her speed up, and took the civil service exam. She was hired. In fact, Mrs. V went on to have a great career, eventually becoming an administrator on post. And Lucille was left with knowing she helped a woman make a positive change for her and her family. To her dying day Mrs. V praised Lucille for the help and encouragement she gave.

Non nobis solum nati sumus.
   Not for ourselves alone are we born.
― Marcus Tullius Cicero

Image sources: 

Saturday, October 20, 2018

Perfect Brandy Manhattan Recipe

Previously known only to those from Stevens Point, Wisconsin, this cocktail  was brought to El Paso, Texas in the late 1950s by the late, Stanley E. Drapes, Major Ret USA  especially for his wife Lucille (Jurgella) and her sister Isabel. The recipe is said to habe originated at either the old Sky Club or Antlers supper clubs in Stevens Point, and could have been adopted by the two Jurgella sisters.  

Happily, the tradition to serve this cocktail on festive occasions has been exported to Hawaii by Stanley and Lucille's son, Vincent, and continues to be served in El Paso by his son Michael, and in Wisconsin and Minnesota to this day. 
Na zdrowie!

For one serving:
1/2 oz dry vermouth
1/2 oz sweet vermouth
1 oz brandy

For a cocktail party, consider making the liter and half recipe (1.5 L). Mix a week in advance so that the ingredients can "marry" and age together. 
Store in the refrigerator, and the mix will taste smoother when allowed to age longer.

500 milliliters of dry vermouth 
500 milliliter of sweet vermouth 
1 liter brandy 
Serve in old fashioned glasses over ice with marichino cherries on swizzlesticks. 

Tuesday, October 16, 2018

Favorite political ads: Richard Linklater

Sunday, October 07, 2018

Snacks for a little deer 🦌

This afternoon a juvenile deer walked through our backyard from the arroyo and went next door for a snack. Usually, we have about six adults and this summer saw two babies in the arroyo with their mothers. He’s evidently been by this particular yard before as he had no trouble munching there for at least five minutes.

Thanks to MJ for alerting me to the little deer. He spied him walking theough out backyard. Then he saw him munching in the front yard.

Video shot with an #iphone8plus edited with #imovie and later squared for Instagram using #nocropapp.

Tuesday, September 25, 2018

Threads Box WIP

#TBTuesday #bravocotton by Rainbow Gallery #wildflowers by The Caron Gallery #needleart #linencanvas #plasticcanvas #metallicthreads #needlepoint #dimentionalstitches

UTEP Student Veterans Writing Program

This program serves as a supplement for veterans returning to school after their service. It aims to assist those in First Year Composition, but may help veterans in all their writing life stages. 

Veteran students are encouraged to participate as their schedule allows.

This program seeks to reach to veterans specifically now, but hope to allow all military affiliated students in the future.

Availability limited to the first 30 students. 

Fall Semester Schedule
1:30 PM to 2:30 PM.


University Writing Center

Military Student Success Center

Too many bees! 🐝 🐝 🐝 Or adventures in feral bee removal

Most likely this little bee is a Buckfast, referred to as “the mutt of the beekeeping world,”  Beepods Beepods explains that, “Bu...