Gemali Project

I am proud to be a part of this: Gemali Project.

A bit of description from the website: "Whether you’re a spiritual seeker interested in exploring one of the world’s most well-preserved wisdom traditions, a new convert to Islam or a lifelong Muslim looking to strengthen your practice, Being Muslim offers a religiously authentic, culturally relevant and welcoming environment to connect with The Divine in a community of fellow wayfarers on a path to wholeness."

It is pretty dope, if you are into that sort of thing. ;-)
I miss the old days of the internet.
Back when it was weird. Now, the internet seems so stratified and Balkanized. It's boring.
Man, I don't even know where to begin.
So this happened.

Whelp. I have a job interview coming up. I did the phone "conversation" thing and it went well. I know I can show well in an in-person interview,so I have high hopes for this upcoming interview. If I Can land this job, it will be a huge pay raise, plus a huge increase in quality of life. Like, more vacation, less time working, more time with family. I have some life goals that aren't getting anywhere now simply because I don't make enough and I work too much. God willing, this will change.

Your journal looks a little incomplete.
I will be attending training with a local organization, the Islamic Resource Group of Minnesota, to be a speaker on Islam and Muslims. My special lady and I recently attended a presentation given by the IRG, and we think this kind of work is desperately needed. We also think that, as American converts, we can more effectively communicate with white American audiences. Also, we are told that couples can be very effective in communicating issues of gender.
The Greater Jihad is always the struggle for peace.
Daybreak Press Global Bookshop & Gathering Space
Mission: Daybreak Press Global Bookshop & Gathering Space creates a platform for
education, activism, and positive community experiences in Minnesota.
With a focus on faith, social justice, and women’s empowerment, we provide books from
around the world as well as space for community gatherings, events, and regular programming.

My favorite feminist Muslim book shop. The overall focus is on world feminism, with a special emphasis on the shared experiences of women worldwide. They also have a fantastic selection of books for young women and girls. There is a special emphasis on Muslim feminism and the education of Muslim girls and women.
A wonderful space to be in. And a great place to bring young girls and boys if you want them to be rad.
Welcome back?

I just found out recently that it's back. This has always been home for me.

I've missed you all.
Leaving my bees.
I wrapped my hives today. I give them the barest of coverings: a sheet of tar paper to keep out the chill winter winds and provide a bit of solar heat on cold days.  
Soon, in less than four weeks, we will be moving. I have passed the hives on to my beekeeping apprentice. Goodbye, bees.
Update, prompted by couchdive
I love this picture. It's summer, the flow is on, the bees are happy; this is as good as life gets, subhan allah. I'm covered in bees!  
It was a good summer for beekeeping here. I modestly increased the number of hives I managed this year; a mere four hives.  
After we move this winter, I will be expanding the beekeeping operation. About a dozen next spring, and then double in size the next couple of years. God willing, I would like to get to the point where I can keep bees full time. It will take several years to get to that point.  
I lost my first swarm this year, which is bad. But I watched the whole thing, which was awesome. I learned a lot.  
So, yeah.  
Here it is, then
Note to self
Cigars don't burn too well when riding my bicycle in 5 degree weather.
Soon to be
Soon, this will be my new ride. I will transfer all the parts from my current bike.  
With this bike I shall crush the spirits of strong men.  
Unfortunately, this frame does not have a place to put my gun. I will have to get a thigh holster.  
Checking for Queen Acceptance, 20 July 2006
Went in for an inspection to check for queen acceptance. I spotted the queen in one hive, and noticed larvae in both hives. I did not notice any eggs, but this may have been to poor light conditions. Those teeny little eggs are hard to find.  
Both hives are doing so-so, which is not good. They should be building up much faster. The season up here is short, so they need to work hard to take advantage of the honey flows.  
A complicating factor is that the bees are not accepting the new plastic foundation I gave them this year. They seem reluctant to draw it out, and sometimes they draw it out all funky. I have to take out two frames of honey and extract them, since they have drawn the foundation out waaay too far, without even touching the two adjacent frames.  
I spotted one of the new queens. Here is a picture, see if you can find her (click for bigger):  
Pictures, as promised, from my last inspection, when I released the queens.  
I left the queens in their cages for a week, plenty of time for the bees to dig the new queen. Here she is in her cage, with a lot of happy bees feeding and grooming her through the wire mesh:  
Here is a picture of spotty brood pattern. Ideally, in this picture the frame should be covered in capped brood cells. As you can see, much of the brood has been removed. The bees will remove any brood they think is diseased or unhealthy, which results in the spotty brood pattern.  
In the picture, I am squishing an emergency queen cell.  
In order to fit the queen cages into the hives, I had to remove a frame. In this picture, you can see where the bees are already taking advantage of the extra space to build more comb.  
1 August 2005, Happy Bees and A Wordy Journal Entry
Conducted an inspection this morning at about 10 am. The weather was warm and sunny, but not too warm and sunny.  
My goals during this inspection were twofold: to check the condition of the bees, of course, and to replace the bottom boards on both hives with screened bottom boards. I will explain screened bottom boards later on.  
I was very happy with the state of Hive A, which has the new queen. There was lots of stored honey and lots of capped brood. In fact, while inspecting one frame of capped brood, we witnessed a bee crawling out of her cell. She was fuzzier than the other adult bees, a lighter color, and had a wet-dog sort of look to her. It takes a bee a few hours out of the cell to dry off, and about a day to finish developing completely into an adult bee. Looking around the frame, I noticed several other bees with the same appearance. So, the eggs on the frame were hatched about the same time, and now many of the bees on the frame were being "born" at the same time. This was a wonder to witness, and a joy to behold.  
I was a bit worried about this hive, but now, after seeing so many new bees emerging from their cells, I think that this hive should be on their way to making it through the winter. I hope that the coming late summer/fall nectar flow should be enough for them to build up their stores for the winter.  
I also uncapped a few drone cells to remove the drone pupae and inspect for vorroa mites. Vorroa destructor are the scurge of modern-day beekeeping, and are one of the many challenges faced by would-be beekeepers like myself. Vorroa mites prefer to lay their eggs in drone cells, since drones have the longest development time of the honey bee castes. The female mite crawls into the cells before they are capped and lays her eggs on the pupa after the cell is capped over. The young mites attach themselves to the pupa and suck its blood, like leeches. I found no mites in this very random search.  
A better way to check for mites, and estimate the mite load for a colony (in mites per bee), is to use a screened bottom board. Unlike a traditional bottom board, which has a solid bottom, the screened bottom board has a big hole cut out of the bottom, covered by a mesh wire screen. Since mites occasionally are knocked off or fall off of the honey bees, they will fall through the mesh onto the ground and be unable to crawl back up. Or a removable drawer can be introduced into the bottom board, to allow the installation of a greased sheert of paper. Thus, when the mites fall through the screen, they will be trapped on the greased paper and die. Later, I can remove the drawer, count the mites, and estimate how many mites there are in the hive. If the count is high enough, I can choose a treatment to reduce the mite load.  
Also, the screened bottom board helps manage the mite population in the hive without chemical treatments. I am not using any chemical treatments, preferring rather to take the integrated pest management route, using selected genetic strains of bees which are disease and parasite resistant, and non-chemical methods of pest management.  
B Hive was also very healthy. The honey super on top is not quite ready to harvest. I hope that one more week should be enough for the bees to fill and cap the remaining cells.  
This is a hasty journal entry. I am a bit tired, but I wanted to get this updated as soon as I could. I will probably correct some typos later, and add some pictures.
Step 1: Honey, Step 3: Profit
I inspected my bees this evening with the help of Gustavo, a Brazilian exchange student working at the HRC. He lives in a cabin just a few hundred meters from my hives. He told me that he worked at an apiary in Brazil for several months, and has some experience with bees. He was very relaxed around the bees, which comes as little surprise, since he told me that they work with Africanized honey bees in Brazil.  
We worked the first hive, A hive, first. I worked with no veil, since the hive is still small and very relaxed. I was very happy to see lots of eggs and larvae in the hive, a sure sign that the new queen has been accepted and is doing her job well. Although I did not see her on this inspection, I was more than happy with what I saw, and closed up the hive. I hope that in a week or so they will be ready for the third hive body, which should give them enough time to draw out all of the foundation before winter.  
One of the great pleasures of working without a veil is being able to take a sample of the honey straight from the hive.  
Hive B was much more work, and I made sure my veil was in place for opening up this hive. First, we checked on the progress in the honey supers I recently added. The top honey super is almost ready to harvest, as only the very bottoms of the frames are not capped. They honey in these frames is a wonderful light color, most likely from the clover bloom, which is just now fading. I will wait one week and then harvest my very first full super of comb honey.  
The second super is coming along very well, and I suspect that I will have enough time for the bees to fill up a third before the close of the summer.  
Next, I performed another full reversal of the hive. What a right pain in the ass that was. I was only stung three times, and had to walk away from the hives only twice. I am guessing that the bees were much less happy this time owing to the extra honey they had stored in the hive. Gustavo, of course, was not stung at all.
Inspection 14 July 05
I inspected today to see how the honey supers on hive B were doing, and to check for the new queen in hive A. The good news is, the new queen is alive and well in the hive. The bad news is, she does not seem to be performing her queenly duties very well. There was only a small amount of new brood in the hive, and I did not see any eggs. However, the light was not good for checking for eggs, so there may have been some. I will have to perform my next inspection when the light is more favorable for egg spotting.  
In this next photo, you can clearly see the queen (number 12), on the comb. Also visible is the small patch of larvae from the new queen. Ideally, this frame should be packed solid with eggs and larvae. I don't know what exactly is happening, perhaps she starts slowly as she gets acclimated to the new hive. I only hope she has been accepted by the hive to the degree that my inspection did not disrupt a fragile situation.  
Hive B is doing very well, drawing out the foundation in the second honey super I provided them. No capped honey in the first super yet, but it should be soon, I hope. There are a lot of bees in this hive. They are spilling out the front of the hive, piled all over the entrances. Here is a picture of the hives, showing the difference between a strong, three-deep hive and a weak two-deep hive:  
I don't think they are preparing to swarm. Swarming season is behind us, I hope. And I really don't know what steps I could take at this point to discourage swarming. I performed a reversal recently, although I may go in on Monday or Tuesday and perform a second reversal, just to keep them guessing.  
I removed one frame full of capped brood from B hive and introduced it into A hive. I swapped it with a frame of bare foundation from A hive. B hive should draw out the foundation on the frame in short order, and I hope that the introduction of the brood frame will help the new queen in A hive.  
There were a lot of bees at the main entrance of A hive in defensive posture.  
Also, I can feel the entire hive vibrating when I place my hands on the hive bodies of B hive.
12 July 2005
We went to the hives this morning. I wanted to add a second honey super to the strong hive, to give them some room. The hive is full with bees, and the extra honey super will give them some room to spread out and make more honey. Swarming season is behind us, but there is no need to give the bees an excuse to swarm by crowding them.  
Here is a picture of the inner cover, after removing the outer cover:  
Of course, we had to take a peek and see how the bees were doing with the honey super we had put in last week. They were doing very well, drawing out most of the foundation and already filling the cells with nectar to make into honey. Here is a pic of the honey super:  
I drew several of the frames out to inspect them. In this one, you can see the nectar, which is already starting to take a nice, rich honey color:  
As long as I was there, I performed a brief inspection of the top hive body. I only inspected a couple or three frames to check for brood, which was present in abundance. While removing one of the frames, I damaged a drone cell, exposing the pupa within. You can see clearly the pupa in this photo, at the top of the frame. The pupa's eyes are dark, indicating that he was within a few short days of emerging from the cell as a full grown drone:  
All of these pictures were taken by vinfille.
More summer pictures
We have a guest in the parsley in the front garden. I am not sure what it is, but it is pretty nonetheless:  
The bed of Bergamot in the front is in full bloom, much to my own delight and that of the hummingbirds. Mt favorite flowers are these uncommon double flowers:  
I was digging a hole in the back yard in order to amend the soil and plant some blueberry bushes. For some reason, my dogs decided that it was the perfect spot to get a suntan. It made me laugh, since it looks like I was digging a hole in which to bury the dogs:  
6 July, checking for queen acceptance
Returned the evening of the 6th, to check for acceptance of the new queen in A hive. vinfille and I noticed bees inserting their proboscises into the cage, but no more biting of the cage. So, we decided to let the queen out onto a frame of comb with a few bees to see what would happen. I removed a frame of comb with no bees and placed it next to the hive body and released the queen onto the face of the comb. I reached up and grabbed one or two bees at a time from the hive and introduced them onto the comb with the queen bee. All of them walked over to the queen and started grooming and cleaning her. After a few minutes, we replaced the frame back into the hive. Still, the bees seemed happy with her, and many bees walked over to attend to the queen. Finally, we wished her luck and put the cover back on.  
It would seem, then, that the queen has been accepted by the hive. Of course, we will not know for another week. Next Wednesday, we will check for the presence of eggs, a sure indication that the queen has been accepted.  
We checked B hive and the foundation in the honey super is still in place. The bees have already started drawing it out so they can fill it up with honey for me.
5 July, back to the hive
Went back on the morning of the 5th to put the honey super back on top of the strong hive.
hive inspection 4 July
I returned to the hives on the 4th, as I had forgotten to bring the queen excluder with me on the previous day. The queen excluder is a wire mesh frame that goes between the hive bodies and the honey supers. The mesh is large enough to allow the worker bees to get into the honey supers, but small enough to not allow the queen to pass. Thus, we don't get any eggs in the honey that we are planning to eat.  
Unfortunately, when I opened the top cover, I discovered that the foundation in the frames in the honey super had all fallen out. I had not done a very good job of installing the wax foundation into the frames. A frustrating and unneccesary setback, chalked up to inexperience. I removed the super and all the frames, and re-installed new wax foundation, hopefully the right way this time.
Hive inspection 3 july 05
First, I performed inspection to determine queen acceptance in A hive. We noted two distinct behaviors: some bees were inserting their proboscises into the wire mesh, and others were biting the cage. The biting behavior is bad, and indicates that the bees have not yet accepted the new queen. The bees extending their proboscises is probably a good sign, since it may mean that they are attempting to groom or feed the queen. We decided to play it safe, and leave the queen bee in her cage for a few more days.  
Here is a pic of the queen cage in the hive:  
On the other hive, we performed a full reversal and added a honey super on top. For a full reversal, we re-position the hive bodies so that what was the bottom hive bottom is now on top, and the top hive body is on the bottom. This is a bit of work, since those hive bodies are heavy, and three hive bodies full of bees is a lot of beeeeeees! Here is a picture of me replacing the top hive bottom into its new position on the bottom of the stack:  
The Queen is dead, long live the Queen!
The new queen arrived today, in a cage with seven attendants. The queen is marked with a blue tag, indicating that she was born in 2005. Vinfille took a picture of the cage, sitting on her desk. You can see the blue tag on the queen's thorax:  
So we placed the cage in the hive, wedged between two frames of foundation. Immediately, bees began mobbing the cage, biting the wire and trying to get to the queen. We wished her luck and put the cover back on the hive. In four days, I will visit the hive to see if they have accepted her yet, and release her if they have.  
Of course, I could not resist peeking into the other hive to see how they are doing. Almost all the frames in the top hive body have been drawn out, and the hive is crowded with bees. Very happy-making for the new beekeeper! This weekend, I will perform a full reversal and add an empty honey super on top. Soon I will have yummy, yummy comb honey.  
28 June hive preperation
This morning I went in to prepare the queenless hive for queen introduction. I performed a more detailed and thorough examination, and I suspect that the old queen failed due to old age or sickness. There was brood, some capped pupae and larvae, but the pattern was spotty, and there were zero eggs. So she must have become sick and started laying poorly before she either died or was killed by the bees. There were a few queen cells, which I removed. I put a sugar syrup feeder on top, and they should readily accept the new queen when I introduce her.  
After putting the new queen in the hive for 2-3 days, I will manually introduce her into the hive. This will allow me to watch the reaction of the bees as she is released onto the comb. If they attack her, I can take remedial action to correct the situation. If not, at least I will be assured that she is alive and ready to start laying eggs.  
The queen is coming via UPS, and is being sent to vinfille at work, since she will be there to receive the new queen. I do not want the UPS person to drop off the new queen at our house, where she will be sitting outside for who knows how long before we get home. I figure the caged queen should be a good conversation piece sitting on her desk.
I'd like to thank all the LFers who made it possible...
Darwish> linkfilter does not want me to make lvl 22  
!! Darwish just posted, Your Online Sourcebook for Beekeeping.  
!! beaglebot is around.  
pdxpogo> damn minnesotans  
!! Darwish just posted Bee Culture -- The Magazine of American Beekeeping.  
!! Darwish just posted Alberta Beekeeping, Pollination, Bees & Honey -- by Allen Di.  
!! ansamancom is around.  
deathburger> It got overloaded by users from MN. Too much gefilte fish.  
pdxpogo> too much weight in the middle and both coasts slid in  
!! Timmy is around.  
* * * deathburger wants a smoke. Dammit.  
PAgent> This town....  
cornpone> you don't have much left to level darwish.  
* * * pdxpogo blows smoke up deathburger's ass  
deathburger> Hey, that tickles!  
pdxpogo> it was less than 2K I've been 1 voting his links but it looks like he will finish level 21  
!! vinfille is around.  
!! Mac123 just posted Grafolicious.  
pdxpogo> level 21 is the dark night of the soul on LF  
aktaeon> that's what I think of whatever level I'm on  
!! Blogclot is around.  
pdxpogo> 21 is badddd you can rocket up through levels but 21 lasts forever  
pdxpogo> after that it is downhill to apathy  
ansamancom> yeah, well I don't care about apathy  
!! kpu is around.  
!! madtbone is around.  
darkstar> how much more does Dar need to level up?  
!! potatono is around.  
!! potatono is around.  
pdxpogo> whoa didn't see that one coming  
darkstar> oooh...only 700 xp! c'mon, we can do that!  
pdxpogo> 20 comments or so I haven't looked  
20:21:59> You have received a refund of 10 CP on link #83257. Good post!  
pdxpogo> gimme a link  
cornpone> i'm doin what i can. he should level in a few minutes.  
20:22:48> You have received a refund of 30 CP on link #72844. Good post!  
darkstar> only 340 to go now!  
20:22:57> You have received a refund of 20 CP on link #72842. Good post!  
pdxpogo> when does the new Battle Star Galactia start?  
!! jeromius is around.  
darkstar> 187 to go!  
darkstar> keep voting!  
!! LinusMines just posted Experiments in Galvanism: Frog with Implanted Webserver.  
pdxpogo> push him up push him up wayyyy up  
!! illflux is around.  
darkstar> 62 to go!  
darkstar> 3 more votes!  
madtbone> CRACKHEAD!!!!  
vinfille> I'm trying to give him some comments, but I feel a little evil about it- I am biased, after all.  
Darwish> HUZZAH  
darkstar> YAY!!! Darwish is no longer Immortal --- he's a CRACKHEAD!!!  
pdxpogo> I voted every thing earlier  
* * * Darwish sheds a manly tear  
!! CHIMIANGA is around.  
pdxpogo> yea! darwish  
darkstar> *throws confetti*  
!! couchdive is around.  
cornpone> we took care of it vin  
!! YepYep is around.  
cornpone> WOOOOOOOOOO!!!!!  
madtbone> congrats darwish!!!  
vinfille> Done! Hooray, Darwish  
20:26:50> You have received a refund of 30 CP on link #87553. Good post!  
Darwish> thanks you all for the assist  
pdxpogo> vinfille has a darwish connection?  
20:27:04> You have received a refund of 10 CP on link #87551. Good post!  
20:27:04> You have received a refund of 20 CP on link #87552. Good post!  
* * * cornpone offers darwish a unicorn ride.  
darkstar> *gets out the champagne*  
pdxpogo> heh /me is always the last to know  
!! FuzzyDave just posted Kong Trailer Now Online. Wear Depend Undergarments..  
madtbone> [email protected]  
cornpone> what number is that blue darkie?  
Darwish> vinfille has THE darwish connection
Inspection 26 June 2005
Yesterday afternoon I conducted a hive inspection. One hive is still doing very well, but I suspect that one of the hives is not queenright. That is, the hive is either missing a queen entirely, or the queen is sick or injured, and unable to lay eggs. Clearly, this is very frustrating.  
So today I ordered a new queen from Glenn Apiaries. They are shipping me a Minnesota Hygienic/SMR queen cross. She should be here on Wednesday, and I will introduce her as soon as I am able. She needs to start laying eggs as quickly as possible, since the loss of the old queen means that there will be no new bees emerging until at least 21 days after the new queen is accepted by the hive. Thus, the hive population will be dwindling from at least now until the time that new bees begin emerging from their cells. This can be a problem.  
Insha Allah, introducing the new queen will go well, and the bees will be back on track to get through the winter.
Summer at last, with pics
Today was the sort of day for which I spend over half the year longing. It was hot, about 95 degrees, humid, and there was nary a cloud to be seen. Finally, I feel like my blood has thawed from the cold, savage winter past.  
I spent all day in the yard puttering with the garden. All the flowers I plant are mid- to late-summer blooming, so things are finally starting to open up. The Bee Balm is finally starting to flower, something which brings great joy to my heart. Here is a picture of one of the flowers:  
Here is a picture of a Hairy Woodpecker relaxing on the Finch feeder in the back yard:  
Finally, while I was taking some pictures my dog felt like playing, so I chased her around, camera in hand. I snapped some pictures while I was chasing her, and I like how this one turned out. The picture is fuzzy, crooked, and not at all well taken, but I love it, anyway. And yes, she is going around a Mulberry bush:  
Roses and honeybees
I visited my honeybee hives today. The roses are now blooming, and I managed to get a couple of pictures of honeybees working the roses. Enjoy:  
Behold The Corpse Reviver #2
This is the best mixed drink ever. When I was a younger man, in the days before my wife, vinfille, introduced me to the Corpse Reviver #2, I would drink martinis. Now, I understand that martinis are ontologically unsound, a drink for nouveau rich white suburban asshats with delusions of class. Furthermore, the Corpse Reviver contains lemon juice, an important anti-scorbutic for those of us living in the abysmal depths of winter in the Great White North.  
Borrowed from Vintage Spirits & Forgotten Cocktails by Ted Haigh:  
1 ounce gin  
1 ounce Cointreau  
1 ounce Lillet Blanc  
1 ounce fresh lemon  
1 drop of pastis  
Shake in an iced cocktail shaker, and strain into cocktail glass. Drop a stemless cherry into the bottom of glass.