Son of a Beekeeper

I write the sweet stuff.

Sep 20

A Hard Day Harvesting Honey

Just got back into the city last night from a hard day harvesting honey with my Dad and my older brother Pete. Its tricky taking pictures around Peter, you have to be quick, quiet and surreptitious. He always notices of course, and issues threats on-par with his mood at that particular time.

On Friday Peter was not in a very good mood. We had all kinds of problems not the least of which was the cold morning start and the crawly bees that find their way into your clothes.

Next the bee blower broke, right in the middle of a job, out in one of the southern beeyards, farthest away from the honey house. And Peter didn’t have the right wrench.

So we came all the way back and unloaded the honey and fixed the bee blower and went out again. That when we had some real excitement. In one particular beeyard we call ‘the highway yard’, we were working away, each in our own worlds, separated by the roar of the bee-blower. I looked up at one point when I noticed a small fire had started in the bushes under a pine tree. The fire was no doubt caused by some errant sparks from a bee smoker that had set some tinder ablaze at the edge of the yard. And suddenly the fire was huge! I must confess I panicked and really didn’t know what to do. I was thinking we needed a wet blanket and so I was looking around for one! Haha yeah, then i furiously attacked the burning branches and was of absolutely no use. Dad stood back and said ‘Oh its no use, there’s no stopping it now.’ But I’m forgetting the moment where I called for Peter who was on the truck, just setting down a full honey super into the stack. He turned around quick because he could hear the urgency in my voice (I probably screamed like a girl), and the look on his face was absolutely priceless. His eyes went as wide as saucers as he took in the scene and then he ran over faster than I’ve ever seen him move before!

The fire quickly moved through the dead grass and was consuming the dead branches at the bottom of the tree, before it climbed to a low hanging branch and the went right up the tree! It was burning the dead pine needles in a most terrifying, snapping, smoky spectacle. As you can see in the picture below the blaze went right to the top of the tree! And its truly a miracle nobody driving on the highway below the yard called the fire dept, such was the tower of flame and smoke we had created. But Peter did the absolute smartest thing by wading right into the center of the blaze and pulling away the dead material at the bottom of the tree and then using his big boots to dredge up the sand and kick the fire out. He kicked and kicked and sanded the fire into submission.

Once the blaze at the bottom was subdued, the branches went out too, except for a dead branch here and there that continued to burn as you can see in this picture. Oh it was an exciting chapter in the 2014 honey harvest. I ran to the truck and snapped this picture at the tail end of the excitement. After the fifteen minute distraction we returned to harvesting honey, keeping an eye on the extinguished fire pit and the still smoldering branches. Once we finished collecting all the supers in the yard we returned to survey the scene. Convinced the fire was permanently extinguished, we left the area but Peter admitted that he wouldn’t have minded if the tree had burnt to the ground as it shades the beeyard in the morning. Just a little story of life on the farm…

Aug 11

Jul 4
Shanny at Retro Future Art Show at Hashtag Gallery, 3July2014 - Imgur

Shanny is a well connected Toronto matchmaker and author who brought her sparkle and shine to the July 3rd Retro Future Art Show event at Hashtag Gallery in which there were 55 theme paintings on the wall and fifteen artists in attendance over the course of the night. One of these creative people won the people’s choice award and sold a painting to the Toronto advertising agency that sponsored the whole affair for three times the sticker price as was the contest arrangement that helped market this unusual show.

Shanny at Retro Future Art Show at Hashtag Gallery, 3July2014 - Imgur

Shanny is a well connected Toronto matchmaker and author who brought her sparkle and shine to the July 3rd Retro Future Art Show event at Hashtag Gallery in which there were 55 theme paintings on the wall and fifteen artists in attendance over the course of the night. One of these creative people won the people’s choice award and sold a painting to the Toronto advertising agency that sponsored the whole affair for three times the sticker price as was the contest arrangement that helped market this unusual show.

Jun 3

Spring Season Beekeeping Unwrapping Beehives Ontario Canada

Veteran beekeeper Peter Campbell of Campbell’s Honey apiary in Warkworth Ontario quickly sorts out the good, the bad and the ugly in a springtime visit to a beeyard.  He mothers the bees back to full strength.

Just before the leaves are on the trees, Peter and crew unwrap the wooden hives and begin treatments to revive, or recover equipment and start anew with what remains of the assembly after a long hard Canadian winter complete with three polar vortexes. We found about thirteen living colonies in this patch, but when Peter and his father Hugh Campbell are done there will be twenty or more hives and they will be strong and healthy and ready to get harvesting the dandelions and apple blossoms to come…  

Master Beekeeper Hugh Campbell ties a string around the garbage bags that were used alongside some carpeting and some other trade secrets to keep the bees warm through the winter. It worked well this year as Peter enjoyed a substantially lower die off than previous years, although the numbers are still too high for his liking.  The temperature often isnt the problem as much as the mite load, viruses, queen failure, mice and other rodents and even lack of food. Some strong hives starve to death because they needed more honey to keep warm. .. read more about the day beekeeping on Arob 12 Canada Blog wherein I describe in some detail the rusty lock on the gate.

May 27

Mankind in Alien Religion is Odd Retro Future

Imagine a not-so-distant future where men help visiting extraterrestrials by acting as their priests…


Hashtag Gallery (at 801 Dundas St W) in Toronto is hosting a Retro Future Art Show which will start at 7pm on Thursday July 3rd 2014, and like other Hashtag Open Call shows there’s prizes and fame to be won. The fee is $25 per artist (non-refundable) and $20 for students with ID.
• Artists can submit up to 3 pieces of Retro Future work
• Maximum selling price $300 whereby #Hashtag Gallery earns 30%
• All skill levels - Hashtag Gallery staff reserve the right to be discriminating and cut pieces that don’t conform to the mandate. Read more about the upcoming Retro Future show on Found Myself.

Artists are invited to submit work that they wish to sell.  No painting in the show will be sold for more than $300 with the single exception being the Best in Show winner, which is the name of the game, and which will be sold to sponsor for $500.  The show is curated by Graeme Luey who’s specifically looking for a piece for the boardroom of the boutique advertising agency sponsor.


This piece above is from Toronto artist Ruth Wilgress and celebrates her vision of the future. She calls it Jumbo Head -
I call it brilliant.

Apr 27

GrowthHackTO on SEO for eCommerce Software, Office Coffee in Toronto

SMOJoe SEO Show is a live action web diagnostic workshop and storytelling seminar stuffed full of useful information in real life stories. The image below taken from GrowthHackTO on 23rd April 2014.


Rob Campbell from SMOJoe beside Jane Wang who runs health apps in Toronto near the end of the Growth Hacking Meet Up session held at Eventmobi on 23 April 2014. The whole story about White Hat SEO at GrowthHackTO is on Newsvine, and you can see all the media relating to the April 23rd #GrowthHackTO listed in BigMediaBlastFurnace on Blogger. Moments after the above pic was taken, Jane helped me give away an office coffee maker courtesy of Vigorate ecommerce software which makes a variety of growth hacking solutions. The evening was made possible by Personal Service Coffee, Office Coffee Solutions in Toronto, which delivers packaged coffee blends anywhere in the GTA.

Mar 23

Dirt Teen Landscaping Co, 2014 TV Show Idea

This is a proposal for a TV series for young kids, age seven to ten years old.  Its called Dirt Teen Landscaping Co, and its about a family of young kids operating small scale heavy equipment and doing real landscaping jobs to support their parents. It shows kids at work, doing safe and efficient things, which would otherwise be adult jobs -  they’re playing with big toys that are small miniaturized pieces of heavy equipment.

Premise - five kids, age 10 - 12 have a landscaping company and this videos shows them using miniature equipment to do real landscaping jobs.. ie they make a fish pond, waterproof a house, dig a drainage ditch, make a retaining wall, excavate a coal shed, etc jobs that add to property value of house. The mother truck is just that, a mothering Mac Truck character than sets up each assignment.


The show is about solving landscaping problems; the same characters on the same pieces of equipment have different arcs and encounter different plot points each episode. 

The boss is the oldest brother character who is 17 yrs old starts the operation with a soil drop.


In most cases the show features a big bag of black garden soil being delivered by the Mother Truck - then the oldest character describes the job the Mother Truck has brought them too.

He communicates the overarching ideology of making the city a better place to live and he references the concept of Toronto as a Garden City, which is to say a sustainable urban environment that is net positive in its ecological performance and agricultural returns.imageThen the audience and everyone else shuts up watches in amazement as young people, boys and girls operate heavy equipment on real job sites.

A big driver of the show is a quiet kid on a small bulldozer who seldom speaks but runs the machine like it’s an extension of his body. 


Some of the new equipment coming out of China and Japan is smaller than ever before and its a dream to maneuver on site, and surprisingly efficient to use even in big jobs. 

More information on an offer to trade a green DIY improvement ideas for big bag of soil is on Toronto Forums, while the big bag of soil delivery is explained on Free Ads Planet .

Mar 9

On the compelling idea of mist being haunted by the ghost of a maiden

One of the most popular Niagara Falls attractions on the Canadian side of the river is the Maid of the Mist tour, Niagara Cruises.  As of January 2014, there is a new Maid of the Mist in Niagara Falls, and a great many folks watched as the prefabricated vessel was delivered by trucks and assembled by skilled tradesmen on shore…


This river craft was delivered in many pieces by wheeled transports, and put together on shore by trained professionals sent by the boat factory to oversee a local work force.  You can tell by the by the flange at the top of this pontoon piece that this is just one of several independent hulls in what i believe will resemble a catamaran design when its finished - or at least a dual hull. You can also judge by the width of the roadway that anything bigger would have had to have been floated up river,image

The news of Hornblower Canada winning the Niagara Parks contract and taking over from Maid of the Mist is the subject of this article on Newsvine. They replace a company which serviced Niagara Falls tourists, offering well reviewed nautical tours of Canada’s foremost natural attraction for approx 160 years.image

The Newsvine article borrows from an earlier work on the Legends of three different Maids of the Mist on Wondercafe. A semi-religious blog site, the Wondercafe post explores three different versions of the same legend, as told by three different native American Indian bands. All three versions are built around the central theme of a fifteen year old girl being sacrificed to the falls; the girl is placed in a white canoe and, paralyzed with fear, she is sent forth over the falls as a gift to the river Thunder.  The myth article is closely followed by a speculative piece on Dumpdiggers blog which examines the collectibles market surrounding the Maid of the Mist legend, and it too celebrates sacrifice and also the idea of a marine vessel being engineering specifically to bring folks to and from the base of the most famous, powerful and deadly waterfalls in the world.


In this artist’s rending above, this chasm looks like its on another planet!

Jan 19

NEW Sonar Fishfinder for iPhone, Android

Behold the FishHunter portable sonar fishfinder for Apple or Android on sale today for $229, sure to be the coolest thing at the cottage in 2014. 


Fishermen don’t use fish finders to find fish, but rather they use the sonar to study the lake bottom or riverbed looking for structure preferred by species they hope to catch.


Ever wondered what lies below the calm waters of your favourite fishing hole? Now you can find out as you survey the landscape below the lake.


FishHunter’s free fishing app has an onboard Fish Species Database that details the preferred habitats of over 150 different game fish alongside bait suggestions and crafty tips for catching all these different creatures.

Got Maps? FishHunter is an interactive Fishing Atlas. Users can harness GPS systems to pinpoint their catches on marine maps loaded with memory and social sharing features, as they log details for their own continuous improvement.

Moon Cycles app charts nine different phases of the moon, dates and proper times for Solunar Fishing.

Photo Contests - be sure and check out the FishHunter photo contests for exclusive access to great prizes and community events.

imageFishHunter Sonar is made by Military Contractors in Korea, and the Fishing App was made in Toronto Canada

Read about the science behind the sonar in Fish Hunter and get an inside look at the workings of the parent company on Fuel Ghoul.

Add your two cents to this discussion about portable fish finders on Ontario Outdoor Magazine.

Nov 27

Dr Archer voted Best Dentist in Toronto in 2013

Dr. Natalie Archer is the foremost Toronto dentist at Archer Dental which is located at 600 Sherbourne St. (at Bloor). The clinic is on the 8th floor of the Rosedale Medical Centre directly opposite the Sherbourne Subway station.  Best Dentist in Toronto Plaque One of the most respected dentists in the city for many years, Dr. Natalie Archer is now officially The Best Dentist in Toronto in 2013 according to 2013 NOW magazine Reader’s Poll.

Dr Archer is the best dentist in Toronto for 2013 and will be next year too

Staff Meeting at Archer Dental

Archer Dental staff meeting Here’s Dr Natalie Archer hosting a morning staff meeting at the front desk of her office. At the start of the day, the gang gathers around their charts and reads aloud what patients they have visiting and for what procedures they are preparing for with that individual. Dr Archer holds a staff meeting in the morning at Archer dental clinic in Toronto Look at the new office in the background! This is a fun place to work and is the best place to get a check-up, dental cleaning, cavities remedied and have dental surgery.  Some of us knew Dr Archer was the best long before the folks at NOW magazine published the story.

Page 1 of 22