Apple Story…

 

I’ve been an apple-a-day guy for most of my life. I grew up with an apple tree in our New Jersey backyard. Never learned what kind of apple they were except they were plentiful and with the taste of a Macintosh, my father’s favorite. Of course, most of the year this backyard fruit was inedible.

DSC_0228 - Copy - Copy - CopyI switched to organic types about ten years ago after reading about the type of pesticides applied to apple trees. Interestingly enough, my parents were supermarket shoppers, save for apples which they bought at a local farmer’s market. I have this first bite of the apple taste in my memory that always surpasses anything I eat these days. In fact, I find these specialty apples such as the Pink Lady to be artificially sweet—they don’t match up with fresh apples from decades ago. But this is taste factor is more of a matter of memory than fact. My favorite in current times is the Cameo.

I dislike apples that look as if they’ve been to shoe-shine factory which isn’t an issue when buying organic where the challenge is to select the least beat-up ones. This week I noticed I’d forgotten to eat an apple which had really started to show its age. I took a photo of it because of the shadow it cast in the morning light and the memories it evoked.

Haunting Memory, Take Two

I am reposting this poem because I left out the most important part aside from the fact that there was a typo. In 1968 I was a newspaper reporter assigned to interview a mother who had been told by the Marines that her son had been killed in Vietnam. I wrote this poem last week–obviously a haunting memory.  If you click on this link, http://www.virtualwall.org/iStates.htm, you will be taken to a site where you can look up by hometown, the names of those killed as a result of the Vietnam War. I have two friends on the list.  The poem is about the mental state of someone suffering insurmountable emotional pain. This war, like most, was a horrible mistake. I was drafted into the Army a few months after I interviewed the mother.

 

 

The Cats

 

Waiting

For her son

To come home

She said

Have the cats been fed.

Have the cats been fed?

No, they’re dead,

Have the cats been fed

Was in her head,

Have the cats

Been fed

Is all she said

Now that

Her son was

Dead.

 

Haunting Memory

 

The Cats

 

Waiting

For her son

To come home

She said

Have the cats been fed.

Have the cats been fed?

No, they’re dead,

Have the cats been fed

Was in her head,

Have the cats

Been fed

Is all she said

Now that

Her son was

Dead.

(I was a newspaper reporter in 1968 assigned to interview a woman after her son was killed in Vietnam. I wrote this last week in memory of an event I’ll never forget.)

What have you done in the last week?

DSC_0244 I’ll let the spider in my backyard answer this. The photo on the left is its web today while the photo below is the same web on April 30. Obviously some improvements have been made in a week.

I can hear Don Rickles say, ” Hey, this is as much fun as watching a fly crawl up a wall.”

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EDM In Trafffic Jams

DSC_0256 - CopyTraffic jams unnerve me. They reinforce that I will be late, that some yahoo texting will swerve into my lane, that I am alone with myself in thought in an environment that does not include a beautiful vista, only the rear end of an SUV or semi. Ah, but I have a way out. I listen to the Chill on Sirius XM where I am surrounded by EDM (Electronic Dance Music).

Okay, I am not in the Chill’s marketing demographics, let alone Kaskade’s circle. Kaskade is apparently a leader in EDM and, frankly, his beat works great when sandwiched on 85 in Saratoga, Cupertino, whatever—they all look the same. So, while my Prius—54 mpg baby!—is going nowhere in Electric Mode—the “cab” is rocking with hypnotic sameness that is gone as soon as I turn off the radio. Translated, if I hear Neil Young’s “Old Man Look At My Life,” I sing along–we sound good together–and I go back in time when that song, decades ago, was out and about, but, hey, I’m stuck in traffic and the memories are cheapened, spit on.  But Kaskade is a light switch—bright when on,  gone instantly when off and that’s what helps me in traffic jams—mindlessness with a heavy beat.

Italian or Russian?

DSC_0287 - CopyTalking bees, not salad dressing.

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Bees in California tend to be Italian or Russian, so say other beekeepers. It is not unusual for me to ask the same bee question of two beekeepers and to be given wildly different responses, each believable.

Now, what kind of bees do I have? The photo on the left is a bee walking on my wooden hive while the other photo is a bee in a backyard rose at a location where I don’t have any man-made hives. The bees are 192 miles apart! I’m going with Italian on the hive and Russian in the rose–détente, baby! Let me know if you disagree.

Weekly Photo Challenge: Spring

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The roses are busting out all over this week. This hand-held shot of a rose in my “side” yard looks like a studio deal, but no, it’s the real deal. Shadows help the drama of the petals. The black background is simply the result of a macro setting in low light. I had no idea the photo would look like this when I pushed the shutter. As a photography instructor once told me: “take a lot of photos—one of them might surprise you.” Lesson learned.

Bee Swarm #2 in My Fence

I’m a one beehive kind of guy. About two weeks ago I saw evidence my hive was splitting–a second queen was on the scene (only one queen per hive).  The breakaway hive was inside a  double-walled fence about five feet from the original hive. Before I pried the boards to see what was up, I took a photo of two zombie-like bees emerging from the fence.DSC_0235 - Copy (see below). When I took off the boards, I was “shocked” by the size of the swarm and the large number of honeycombs.  I called for reinforcements and last night after two hours we were able to put the fence bees into a safe hive. We used a smoker to calm the bees, then gently brushed them off the combs into shoe boxes and from there, into a “brood” with waxed frames. Lots of bees that didn’t make it into the brood congregated outside, signaling to us that we had the queen in one of those swipes. We taped the entrance shut and left the hive overnight to allow the bees to calm down and gather around the queen for protection purposes.This is the second swarm in the fence in the past 18 months, so I will put up loose boards in anticipation of a repeat. DSC_0245 - Copy

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