Archive for bees

taming a swarm of honey girls

Dan the man called me @ work in just the right moment with long anticipated news. We had been waiting weeks for this opportunity – tens of thousands of beautiful girls with wings landed high-up in a tree in front of Dan’s house on S M Street. Three urban farm boys (Dan, his friend, and me) eventually managed to charm these feisty ladies into a wooden box, called nucleus or nuc. This felt like being alive … especially each of the 4 stings. After living like the “Na’vi” for two hours we had some well-deserved beers on Dan’s porch.  The next day at night I moved the nuc into my backyard.

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a love potion as organic pest control

Driving up North Vasco Road to Brentwood is a wonderful way to spend a sunny Sunday springtime morning: white wind mills, green soft hills, family farms, cattle, goats, and orchards in bloom. For the annual blossom festival farmer Al of Frog Hollow Farm was giving us a tour of his organic fruit orchards. For pest control he uses a special “love potion” that prevents the moths from mating: from every tree hangs a little plastic envelope that is filled with female pheromones. When the male moths arrive there is an intense smells of female everywhere but they cannot find a single one. Poor male moths … I know exactly how you feel.

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the biggest bee in town

Everyone surely knowns by now that we at downtownfarm find that honey bees are cute and – if careful – a lot of fun. Imagine how hard I had to laugh when I saw the farm house “dressed up” as a honey bee by the termite company. (-:

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chickens + lasers = the avatar feeling

downtownfarm combines three passions of mine into one operation and uses cutting edge military-grade light-scanning technology (popularized by Radiohead‘s innovative “House of Cards” video—see below) to broadcast our activities to ipods, ipads, iphones, and facebooks around the globe:

  • enable children to make informed decisions by teaching them about factory food production and by exposing them to the joys of urban farming
  • develop & implement cutting-edge remote sensing laser technology (e.g. LIDAR, multi-camera systems, infrared, RADAR, …)
  • familiarize children with today’s multimedia, networking & GIS technologies

Urban farming puts that little “Na-vi” in our live that we are all yearning for since we saw Avatar. downtownfarm shows how a trip to your local farm store and your neighborhood nursery can create a slice of Pandora in your frontyard.

The resulting “happy feed” will motivate brilliant and creative minds across the globe to drive cutting-edge laser technology forward and showcase it at downtownfarm. Geeks (like me @ livermorelasso) will work incredibly hard to enable 3 – 16 year old children to pick up their favorite “Pumpkin” or “Omelet”, hold it towards the LIDAR “laser camera”, and present it to the world in streaming real-time 3D. Constantly pushing for higher-resolution, fuller color, higher frame-rate, we will put in all-nighters to make kids hearts glow (and not just for meeting a deadline or fulfilling some contract). This will drive the technology forward and every field (e.g. intelligence, land planning, surveying, security, education …) will benefit as a nice “side-effect”.

And farmville will look so last century. But hey … I don’t want to alienate the farmville and iphone app developpers. Help me create the downtownfarm app. I need your brilliance and foresight. You & Cafe Fanny & James Cameron & Ocracoke Coffee & Michelle Obama & Weaver Street Market & Michael Pollan & McDonalds & Sundari Kraft & Caffee Driade & Upton Sinclair & Great Harvest Bread & Eric Schlosser & Berkeley Bowl & Michael Moore & Gather & Michael Krasny & Hossana Homes & Greg Mortenson & First Pres & MLK & Bulworth & Alicia Vagts & Cafe Gratitude & Barbara Ehrenreich & Mama Dip’s & the people that I have met and continue to meet … you are my heroes. You paved the way for downtownfarm. These are all your ideas … all I did was to combine them in the most obvious way and to find a good location for them: The only old farm house in the very core of downtown Livermore. And now I really need your help.

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high-tech bees (part one)

Bees are a fun way to teach yourself or your kids about the latest technologies: digital photographie, video editing, image processing, technical writing, blogging, etc. An outdoor IT education with bees is very memorable. Your kids will never forget the lesson they learn from cute little honey bees. Look at Tim, Jessica (aka “Queenie”), and Karleen: They are filming the “frames” with digital high-definition video. Later they look for the queen bee by inspecting some still images. Did they find her? You can find out here. And bees are good in geometry: look how perfectly regular they build the comb. To be continued …

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fruit salad trees in bloom

Spring is here. The newly planted fruit salad trees are coming to live. Every day downtownfarm looks prettier with all the new flowers blooming everywhere. The bees are working hard to collect pollen and nectar to feed their babies. HEY! How did the chicken get into my car?

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in my car with 30000 girls

Scott & Nicole & I drive from Santa Cruz to Aptos to pick up a bee hive containing a 6 lb swarm that beekeeper Tom caught last week. Driving back up the highway with 30,000 girls in my pontiac vibe is a unique experience. I have never been so alert for pot-holes and speed-bumps before. Tim and Jessica help me place the hive. Next morning at 9 am nobody is out—still too cold. At 11 am a gentle hum fills the air – the bees are orienting themselves at the new location. I let a few bees land on my hand. They are so docile. They do have an unusual color range: some are golden yellow, others are dark brown.

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