Hausen et al.  reported that propolis has been used as an ingredient in violin varnish for centuries. Stradivari is said to have used it in the varnish of his instruments. Propolis, also known as bee glue, is produced by bees during hive construction to fill structural gaps. It has approximately 50 constituents, primarily resins and vegetable balsams 50%, waxes 30%, essential and aromatic oils 10%, and pollen 5%. Since ancient times, this agent has also been incorporated into numerous medical and cosmetic products since it is believed to be a potent antiseptic and anti-inflammatory substance, local anaesthetic, adstringent, and antioxidant. Moreover propolis may be found in toothpaste, mouthwash preparations, facial creams, chewing gum, polishes, and varnishes.
Archive for March, 2010
Wandered outside to take some pictures this afternoon. Had to try out the new memory card for my old Sony.
This is a great concept. Fighting pests with sex.
Some female insects might be getting lucky. As an alternative to toxic pesticides, scientists at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem have created “super-sexed” sterilized male leafhoppers to knock bug boots with females in the wild. Yes, that means that the female bugs will miss out on the joys of motherhood, but if the research proves successful, we may be able to eliminate a lot of the harmful and very ungreen chemicals that we currently use to keep food crops pest free.
My fridge died yesterday. Just over six months out of warranty. Figures, huh?
Amy called a repair guy to come out, but he only has a voicemail that he checks once a day. I’m not a patient man when my food is spoiling.
A few trips to the stinky basement fridge with the perishables later I considered waiting it out. I had plans for the night (needed to make some beehives). But my friend Jason convinced me to at least take a look. I’m glad I took his advice.
It was pretty easy to figure out what was wrong. There are two fuses on the circuit board that runs the fridge. The main one had blown from an electrical surge. My house seems to get these regularly. I’ve already lost a couple computers.
The thing is, they put the damn fuses on the board by soldering them in. I can hear the repair tech now, “Sorry sir, it’s a bad computer board. I can have one ordered in three days. They cost about $200.”
It’s not that I know how to solder really. I’ve done it on a totally different scale doing stained glass, but never on a circuit board that I can remember. But I figured it was worth trying (carefully). If I couldn’t do it I’d bow out to the repair guy’s expertise and cringe while writing the check.
It was rather easy. I just heated up the pins while gently pulling on the fuse (with J’s assistance). It slid right out. Today I took it in to an electronics shop (Ken’s Electronics on Lake Street in Kalamazoo) and he fixed me right up with a replacement fuse. Grand total was $4.24 or so. He was a beekeeper too! He started back in the 40′s and at his height he maintained a few hundred hives. He said he has three now.
I didn’t need to add any more solder. Heated up the pins and they slid back in and held strong. I’m currently freezing the 5 gallons of chicken stock that Amy made out of our rooster in it. More to come on Amy’s first butchering job in another post.
We only got one long weekend to make maple syrup this year. The weather didn’t really cooperate. I’ll take the spring weather though!
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Dr. Suzanne Simard is a professor with the UBC Faculty of Forestry, where she lectures on and researches the role of mycorrhizae and mycorrhizal networks in tree species migrations with climate change disturbance. Networks of mycorrhizal fungal mycelium have recently been discovered by Professor Suzanne Simard and her graduate students to connect the roots of trees and facilitate the sharing of resources in Douglas-fir forests of interior British Columbia, thereby bolstering their resilience against disturbance or stress and facilitating the establishment of new regeneration.
Ants and bees share many characteristics and have similar life cycles. Here’s a fascinating insight into the lives of ants:
Queen Ant Will Sacrifice Colony to Retain Throne | LiveScience
A mighty struggle for ultimate power, with calls of “death to the queen” answered by armies of workers, is routine in some ant colonies. Queen ants are therefore sometimes forced to take care of themselves rather than look out for the good of their colonies, a new study suggests.Queen ants will do whatever it takes to be the last one standing, even if it means producing fewer young workers to the detriment of the collective.
Got’s me a sugar bush tapped.
Sounds dirty. Let’s rephrase that. I put taps in a bunch of sugar maple trees today.
The sap was flowing nicely. Seems like winter still, but the trees always know what’s going on. And they were acting like it’s spring.
The snow is still pretty deep out at my folk’s house. It’s wet and tough going when you are slogging through it. It’s melting though and evaporating away. Hopefully the cement pad that we set up with a tarp will be cleared off by next weekend. As long as I can get the van to at least the edge of the woods we’ll be good. We keep fantasizing about getting a four-wheel-drive quad or something. One of these years I hope we break down and get one.
I still have to cut, haul and split a bunch of wood; clear out the ole evaporator and get the jugs on the trees. I’m also going to have to come up with a food grade barrel to hold the sap in. Two would probably be better.
We tried to keep the taps closer to the main path that winds through the woods and on the fence row on the south edge of the treeline. A tree that grows on the north side of a field will have a bigger crown and produce a lot more sap.
You’ll often see long lines of big old maple trees growing on the north side of the east-west roads around here. People planted them to harvest the sap back in the old days. They get big crowns that way.
Aside from my muffler falling off, it was a very good day. Getting out in the woods always does that for me.
Well, I got an incubator made today too. At least I can say that I got some things accomplished. I even posted an entry in the ole blog. Woot.