writing and blogging

Eight candles and a Merry Christmas, too!

I am sitting at my desk eating “project food.” The red spatters on my computer look like blood, although they’re merely the crimson juice of a pomegranate. I can’t figure out how to peel a pomegranate without painting a crime scene. But no matter, I only do it at Christmas.

Did you know that bees are used to enhance pomegranate pollination? Pomegranate plants are self-pollinating, meaning that bees are not essential to get fruit. But the cross pollination carried out by bees enhances production, increasing both the size and number of fruits. Honey bees and a variety of wild species participate in pomegranate pollination.

Honey Bee Suite’s eighth birthday

As my regular readers know, Christmas Day also marks the anniversary of Honey Bee Suite. I celebrate this birthday because I can’t believe I’m still writing posts after all these years. When I began, it seemed like a fun thing to do for a while. But this is crazy. I exhausted everything I know years ago.

This year, instead of just recounting the past and adding another candle to my website, I asked a few readers what I should write about today. The overwhelming answer was, “something personal.” Huh? I don’t do personal very well.

Reviewing the past

This past year has been good for both me and the website. Honey Bee Suite continues to grow and received over 2.6 million hits since January. That is all due to you, of course. I can write it but I need you to read it. I continue to get most of my ideas from you, from questions and comments and tidbits you send my way. Most days I have no idea what to write until an idea just lands in my inbox like magic. Very cool and much appreciated!

On the downside, I continue to be frustrated about my lack of time to write about wild and native bees—my true passion. I sometimes think I’m going to segue out of honey bees and write about native bees exclusively. But each time I think like that, fate intervenes and steers me back to honey bees. Oh well, they’re cute too.

However, I did have one shining native bee moment this year. Kirsten Traynor, the former editor of Bee World magazine, published an essay I wrote about native bees along with 14 of my photographs. The publication of “Bestowing a Name on the Beautiful Unknown” was a highlight of my year, and I am grateful for the opportunity to share my love of the also-rans.

What’s next is up to you

I’m not sure where this is all going in the coming year. My notebook of post ideas is ever-expanding, containing hundreds. I try to keep the posts timely, but with large readerships in New Zealand, Australia, and South Africa, it’s impossible to get it right for everyone. But I do my best.

I also have plans for changing the entire layout of the site, but they are the same plans I had last year. The day-to-day stuff is so time consuming that I don’t have time for the infrastructure. But I keep thinking about it anyway.

What I would like to hear, however, are thoughts you may have. What do you like? What do you dislike? How can the site be improved? What would you like to read about? Ideas are synergistic, so yours inspire me to come up with my own.

As I’ve said before, I love the group we have here. I like the exchange of ideas, and the give and take. I love that I recognize so many names. I love that readers compliment and thank each other for tips and ideas. It seems like we are all working together to become better beekeepers.

Okay, now some personal stuff…

So, to wrap up, here’s some (marginally) personal news.

The car

Our new car is a 1926 Model T Ford. This car has been in my husband’s family for 67 years and, as of this summer, Rich became the new caretaker. I haven’t learned to drive it yet, but I have learned how to tow it out of a ditch using a rope and a pickup. This, it seems, is a valuable skill.

Yesterday Rich gave me my own key! But honestly, folks, the brake is where the accelerator pedal belongs, the reverse pedal is where the brake should be, and the so-called clutch is in the right place but does the wrong things.

A fully depressed clutch pedal is low gear, half-depressed (which also describes me thinking of it) is neutral, and fully released is high gear. Oh, did I mention the accelerator is on the steering column? And in case you get bored, you can adjust the carburetor and spark advance as you drive? As if.

The front of a 1026 Modet T showing headlights and starting crank.

The car has been living in Vermont all these years. It is now registered in Washington with “Horseless Carriage” plates. © Rusty Burlew.

The sign

A brown and white sign with the words "Warning: Tick Habitat" below a tick silhouette.

The tick sign shares a post with a pollinator block. © Rusty Burlew.

Many beekeepers have signs on their property. Usually they say things like “Bee Crossing,” “Beekeeper Parking”, or “Pollinators Only.” But how many beekeepers have signs that announce tick habitat? This strange addition to our property was recently given to us by a friend. After living in the same house for 23 years and never once seeing a tick, Rich got bitten twice in November, two weeks apart. An invasion of ticks is not good news, but I do love the sign.

The town

Other readers have asked about where I live, so I decided to include a photo of our town center where you will find a post office in a ramshackle trailer, a tiny Methodist church with one stained-glass window, a Chevron mini-mart, and a saloon. On a trip to the post office last month, Rich stopped to take a photo of the sign in front of the church. It tells you everything you need to know about life in my little community.

A sign reading, "The Pastor is in at the Littlerock Saloon 11:30 to 12:30" with an arrow pointing to saloon.

A sign in front of the church. What else do you need to know? © Rich Davis.

A bee is a small thing

So that’s about it for another year. Once again, I thank Rich for putting up with my many messy projects. I thank my readers for their thoughtful comments and suggestions. I thank my financial supporters for their generous donations of materials and money.

I extend Christmas and other holiday wishes to all. But most important, remember these two things: Find the time to laugh and always take comfort in the small things.

Peace on Earth,

Honey Bee Suite

Discover more from Honey Bee Suite

Subscribe to get the latest posts to your email.


  • My selfish wish for you is that the management and writing of HoneyBeeSuite will always flow smoothly and bring you great happiness and no frustration.

  • Merry Christmas to you Rusty and my one wish is you find the wherewithal to continue this site for another eight years. And because of your interest in native bees I have begun to actually see them and photograph them. Now I just need a good book on native bee identification.

  • Wow, how did a beautiful car like that ever last that long in Vermont ??? I live in Vt. And usually the road salt wins. Obviously the car did not see much winter use. Where in Vt. was the car located ? Merry Christmas to all. Peter.

    • Peter,

      My uncle bought the car during his senior year at the University of Vermont in Burlington. He had to sell his first Model T because a scholarship did not allow him to own a car. He bought the car pictured after paying his final tuition bill. It was his primary car, and he drove it to work in his early days at General Electric, but it was stored for most of the fifties in Lyndonville, at his parent’s property. He restored it in 1960, and kept it at his homes in Burlington, Shelburne and Williston until October of this year. He no longer drives cars, but is proud to say that the T was the last car he drove. The trucker could not load it into his van, so my uncle did it for him.

      You are correct; it was not driven in the winter when the roads were salty, at least in the last 67 years. There are pictures of the car at the time of the 1960 restoration. There was rust, and the car was a shambles, with broken glass, terrible interior, peeling paint, etc. In one photograph, a six-year old boy is watching my uncle work on the car. That boy was I. My love of the car began early.

  • Rusty/Rich,

    Merry Christmas to you all! Old cars are a fun $ pit. I’ve also a 1927 “t”. But modified. Not stock. Happy new year! Seattle Mike.

    • Mike,

      Please send a picture of your T to Rusty’s site. I’d love to see it. The picture Rusty published makes our T look absolutely great, but it does need body work and paint. The car is otherwise in great shape, so I will keep it original. The beauty of the Model T is there are choices for owners on what to do with their cars based on the condition of the car and their needs.

      I will stay with the 6 volt system, the single tail light, and the generator cut-out, but will probably change to safety glass. I certainly use modern fluids, such as modern antifreeze, and multi-viscosity oil with detergent in it. I will likely install a halogen tail lamp instead of the low candle power lamp that was original. Obviously, no one uses tires as built in 1926, and wouldn’t even if they were available. “Original” for a 1926 car is a matter of degree.

  • Thank you for your wit and wisdom Rusty – I’ve learned plenty from you and your readers, have been led away to new sources, tried a few new things – actually learned I was using Imirie shims before I knew what they were called – they just made sense (and I wanted my quilt box a little shallower).

    Wishing you a Merry Christmas and Happy New Year from Ontario – “see” you in 2018!

  • Ha Rusty, Merry Christmas to u and your family. Do u really live in that place or was u joking? The car we had 1 as well when I was growing up I could not get the hang of it either we could drive it in a big field it did not go fast at all and, I really did not like driving it at all. Rusty I always enjoy your post sometimes I will write and ask a question but u don t see it but I like your post any way I think they are great. U can write about any thing u wise just don t stop writing you do a wonderful job with it. I wish u would do videos as u are inspecting your hives that would really be supper u have a lot to share about the honey bees that would so help a lot of people. Several folks on u tube do this and it is great any way u take care and thanks for what u do have a Merry Christmas.

    • Frances,

      You are so funny! Yes, that is my town. I live more than 2 miles from the town center, but about 15 miles from a “real” town.

      To the best of my knowledge I’ve always answered your questions. After you leave a question in the comment section, check the box that says you want to receive notice of follow-up comments. If you leave a comment on an old post, you might not notice the answer unless you check the box. It’s easy to lose track of things.

      I don’t do videos and don’t intend to. Sorry! If I can write a half decent post and take a half decent photo, I’m happy. As you say, there are beekeepers that excel at video, and you can always find what you need on YouTube.

      Thank you so much for you kind words and generous donation. And have a great Christmas!

      • “… I live more than 2 miles from the town center …”, which means in one of the suburbs?

        1. how many souls in your community?
        2. how much is a cup of coffee @ the Chevron Café?

        • Dieter,

          Right, the suburbs being the woods along with deer, elk, porcupines, cougars, bears, salmon, and coyotes (and apparently ticks). Don’t know the answer to the other two, though. I might ask around.

        • Dieter,

          Right, the suburbs being the woods along with deer, elk, porcupines, cougars, bears, salmon, and coyotes (and apparently ticks). Don’t know the answer to the other two, though. I might ask around.

    • Frances,

      You were fortunate to learn to drive a T in an open field. I drove my present car once when I was a young man, which helped me with my present learning. I practice a lot on short trips for several reasons. When I do not pay attention, my big feet depress two pedals at once. When fast action is needed, having my left foot get stuck on the emergency brake lever while trying to depress the clutch simply adds to my anxiety. Driving the car needs to be done with skill commensurate with my operation of other vehicles, something I have not yet achieved. Yesterday, a young neighbor operating a quad in front of Rusty and me turned off the road. We thought he heard the car and my horn. He did not. He was merely turning around, and drove in front of the T, at which time he had the first view of it. I had to steer away from him on our narrow road, press the brake, and the clutch despite having slowed the car as much as I could when we first saw him to prevent a problem. He simply smiled once seeing us and the T, having no idea that I was doing an “all hands on deck” exercise to safeguard him.

  • Rusty,

    Not sure if you’re aware of this technique, but the simplest method I’ve found for getting the pellets (for lack of a better word) out of a pomegranate is to cut it in half and then give the outside several good whacks with the back of a heavy spoon – you’ll soon find they come spilling out as they dislodge.

    Merry Christmas, and thanks for such a great site.

    From a frequent lurker and rare commenter.

    • Stephen,

      No, I hadn’t heard that, but I have several pomegranates left. I will give it a try. Thanks!

    • After cutting in half, score the outside along the lines of the membranes dividing the seeds. (We stripped three trees and got 2.5 gallons of juice this year. A mess, but worth it.) Then start whacking.

      Suggestions: Do it outside or over a sink, use a large bowl to whack them into, DO NOT WEAR WHITE or any light shirt you would like to wear again.

      Thank you for all you do.

      Happy New Year.

  • Merry Anniversary and Happy Christmas! Thank you for this wonderful resource. It has provided me with a wealth of information in our three years as beekeepers. Have a blessed 2018!

    • Thanks, Elizabeth. Rich does all the work on the car, of course. I’m just the photographer.

      But once spring comes and my bees begin to leave little yellow dots all over it, I will probably be chief car washer as well.

      Merry Christmas!

  • Rusty, what a great post on a terrific web site. With all the information on the web I have to be selective. Your posts are one the few that I always read and enjoy.

    Did you know that Christmas day is also Langstroth’s birthday? So with that given, I wish you a productive and happy Langstroth day.


  • Merry Christmas Rusty! Thank you for continuing your blog. Your writing has this lovely mix of scientific knowledge, common sense and poetry. I feel relaxed when I read your site.

  • I am one of the many Australian readers and can cope with the opposite weather events. I found out about your blog via rootsimple I think and I like both your and their style of writing. Practical advice and no bull s..t. feel free to keep in doing what you do well.
    cheers on a relatively sunny but for this time of year a cool 22C Christmas Eve
    Claire in Melbourne, Australia

  • Merry Christmas Rusty, you are a gift to the beekeeping community worldwide, Thank you for your passion, insight and humor, I enjoy and benefit from every post. With regards to that messy pomegranate, I had the same challenge until I was shown a neat trick from a friend. Take the pomeganate and make a small (1/2 inch deep) continuous incision around the whole fruit. You should be able to then twist the top and bottom apart. Now, get a bowl and a good wooden spoon and while holding the fruit with the cut side down (where all the seeds are) and start whacking! Do it again for the other half and in no time you will have a bowl full of seeds and the intact but emtpy halves ready for the compost. Add some water to the bowl and all the pithy white bits float up to be skimmed off. Drain off the water. Tada ! Enjoy.

  • You peel pomegranates submerged in large bowl with water. ?? ? ✨
    All the best. Enjoy your blogs. I am new beek and this is first winter. Live in Ontario. I love all the bees are teaching me so far ! ?

  • Rusty,

    Happy 8th Blog Birthday, Merry Christmas and thank you for the entertainment and sharing your advice.

    Your latest article in ABJ on SHB hit home for me. I lost a nuc in late summer to those devils. The cause was bad beekeeping by not paying attention. I was wondering if you know if there is anyone trying to trap them with old banana peels fermented in some way.

    Please don’t give up the blog. Your index is a treasure.


    • Bill,

      I don’t know much about controlling SHB and nothing about banana peels. When I was researching the article, I concentrated on biology and ecology only. But maybe I should write one on the different control philosophies.

      Thanks on the index. I only wish I could get people to use it.

      Merry Christmas to you and your family.

  • Thank you, Rusty, and happy anniversary to your site. I’m not much of a writer, but I never miss your blog. I’ve learned a lot from you and your readers over the years. A happy Christmas to you and yours.

  • God Love you and Rich on this Christmas time. My first car was a 30 Ford Cabriolet. A little odd for high school in the 50’s but then…

    Model T’s aren’t so hard after you figure out the neutral, low, high, brake and reverse thing. Factor in the throttle and a little spark advance when you are up and running. Just set the hand brake and it should be in neutral. Then you can command the beast. A little throttle, ease into low, get going, switch to high and you are off. Pleased to hear about your spouse and his history. What a proud thing he has!

    We thank you for what you do. Hope you keep your focus on honey bees as I would think that is the primary focus of most of your following. While the other is interesting, it does not directly bear on most readers’ concerns. Also, like it when you say it’s your opinion, or you don’t know everything, and you think people are wrong or mistaken. I tossed around a lot looking for PRACTICAL, helpful information until I stumbled onto your site. Thank God for Honey Bee Suite and your supportive spouse.

    • Renaldo,

      My ’26 does not go into neutral before the brake is applied with a pull of the emergency brake lever. The cam must rotate much too far to engage the adjustable bolt attached to the neutral lever. By the time the cam engages, the brakes are set tight. The cam is pinned to the shaft and welded on one side. The other side of the cam’s journal appears to have been broken free, with no sign of welding, so some work was done before. I drilled the pin out, and am grinding the weld. The emergency brake shaft is a part that is no longer easily purchased, so if I damage it, I will make a trip to the local machine shop to repair it. The cam is available at the mail order supply houses. I have adjusted the brake rods already, and suspect more work on them will be needed once the cam is in the correct position.

      Regarding a different topic, are you familiar with shifting Ruckstell axles? My uncle’s notes state: “Shift into low when engine is pulling the car, never going down hill.” Then, “Shift into hi when unloaded, never when car is pushing the engine downhill.” Can I assume he is describing shifting the Ruckstell? Should I place the car in pedal neutral only when shifting the Ruckstell into high, and not low?

      Because of lots of hills nearby, and because I own one of the heaviest Model T Fords ever powered with a 20 horsepower engine, I usually keep the Ruckstell in low. Also, I have developed a little trepidation about changing ranges when underway. Advice is appreciated.



  • Hi Rusty, and a Merry Christmas to you and yours from England.

    I think it would be a great shame if you were to cease writing about honey bees and concentrated your efforts on wild bees instead. From reading the comments and replies over the time I’ve been a subscriber, it’s clear that your main constituency is beekeepers, and we value and treasure the wisdom we find in your posts. Wild bees are fascinating, but for most of us that’s an observational fascination rather than something we actually _do_.

    The same goes for the layout/infrastructure – if it ain’t broke don’t fix it! Your site works perfectly for us just as it is. It may be that you could tweak the coding a bit to make it easier for you to manage, I don’t know; but please don’t change the appearance and functionality. They’re perfect just as they are. Thank you for that!

  • Merry Christmas and happy New Year, Rusty. Your posts are one of the highlights of my busy days and take me to my hives no matter where I am!

  • I really enjoy your writing, humor and website. As a fairly new beekeeper, 3 years, I continually refer back to your previous posts. Thank you so much! Merry Christmas! And I can’t wait for 2018 bee season in CO…. hives will have a new apiary flower yard!

  • I’m a newbie from Colorado. Love reading all you have to share. We received snow last night and this is my first winter with bees. Wish me the best of luck and knowledge. Blessings to you and your family and of course all the bees. Thank you for sharing.

  • As a firefighter I started on a department that restored the town’s first fire engine and that baby was a 23 Model T. It didn’t pump anymore because someone put cement into the pump sometime in the 50s. There was a small group of maybe 8 guys that restored it back to what she looked like in her glory days and they did a great job. As a new young guy I took the time to clean her brass and wax her paint before heading out to be in a parade. After a year or so of doing that I was one of 4 guys that learned how to drive her so I laughed at Rusty’s description of the pedals and the spark advance because it took me back about 40 years to when I learned to drive her. Enjoy your T, I hope you join a club and show her off so many can enjoy looking at her.

    • Tom,

      Before the car even got here, Rich started hinting about period costumes. Still thinking on that one…

    • Your story about the Model T fire engine paints a great picture. I often drive the Model T locally, and have been told of the thrill to see an antique car this time of year. I greatly enjoy the smiles, questions and comments. Last week I spent time with a high school couple, teenagers seeing a Model T for their first time.

      Maybe the guys that had to fill the pump with concrete used a weak mix. It would be great to chip it out and get the pump running again. Or, maybe a new pump could be installed. I do not know how much of the old equipment should be preserved, but I greatly treasure the wisdom of those who kept some of the old cars and trucks out of harms way, and who make the effort to restore and maintain these beauties.

  • Merry Christmas and wishing you a healthy and happy New Year. Please don’t stress over the site, the layout is fine and whatever you write about is great! Take comfort in the fact that whatever you choose to write about teaches us something, so thank you for your time and effort. Lets all enjoy the holidays (even though I am worried about my bees with this upcoming cold streak).

  • Merry Christmas Rusty,

    I vote for not changing the site for the sake of change. Unless it is to make things easier for you. This site feels like friends, a safe harbor, a place to find wisdom, common sense and more than a few laughs!

    Your posts give me confidence to go out there and face them, even when I’m not sure, especially when I’m not sure! Beekeeping wouldn’t be as fun without you!

    Peace to all…

    • Lisa,

      Thank you for the compliment. My ideas for change have more to do with helping readers find stuff. Someone will frequently ask me to write about subject X, when there’s already 16 posts on X. And there’s the native bees…I’d like to have a division somehow, so the beekeepers can take one turn and native bee people take another turn. It’s a difficult project, especially since my coding skills are marginal.

      Anyway, I might not do anything, especially since I’ve taken on so many other writing projects. ABJ is taking a lot of time and I’m talking with another publication as well. Rich says I shouldn’t do anything until I read a book on anxiety!

  • Merry Christmas, Rusty, and thank you for not giving up on your blog! I wish you and your husband good health and many bees!

    Yes, it’s the little things that make every day worth living — bees, the garden, precious time with my husband, birds, flowers, insects …

    P.S. The church sign is priceless …

  • Happy Anniversary #8, Rusty! I don’t pop in much anymore, too many irons in the fire, but I am glad I saw this post today. A fitting time to stop to tell you how much I still love your writings. Always in a way that anyone can understand. That was so important to me when I started beekeeping in 2010. You were a breath of fresh air amidst the fire hydrant flow of information I was trying to comprehend. Any time I speak to a new beekeeper searching for where to glean extra info, I refer to your site. Hats off to you for your easy style, your desire to teach, willingness to share, and your honest transparency. Here’s to the next eight years! 🙂

    – Cindi (ScoobyDoBee)

    • Cindi,

      Thank you for sending people my way. I was thinking about you the other day when I was reading some old posts and your name kept popping up in the comments.

      I hope all is going well for you!

  • Merry Christmas to you and your family. I look forward to reading your blog, whatever you write about, as I am interested in a large variety of subjects, both natural and not. I enjoyed reading about the model T, and got a laugh out of the picture of the sign that Rich took. Keep up the good work….

  • Rusty…

    Happy Holidays to you and Rich.

    I always find your articles informative, funny and just a delight to read. If I remember correctly, a blogger should write about things they like…I would love to see a occasional article on native bees along with all your wonderful articles on honey bees.

    Thanks for sharing all of your knowledge with all of us fellow beekeepers.

  • Dear Rusty: My feedback to you on your blog is to put the date under each blog title. When looking on your website at your past posts that cover or include the same subject, the date would help with understanding your lessons learned, recommendations and the evolution of your various practices. Also, don’t bother changing the layout. It is user-friendly and works and looks great

    On a personal note, I cannot imagine the full extent of the time you spend on Honey Bee Suite but I know it must be at least 20 hours per week on average over time. I always love your posts on native bees and learn a lot from you, and wish you could do more posts about them. I recommend that you give yourself permission to set limits for yourself so your enjoyment of sharing what you know, learn and experience about bees far exceeds your sense of obligation (and burden) to frequently write posts about honey beekeeping in response to readers’ questions. Indeed, you have posted on so many subjects and aspects of honey beekeeping over the years, it is hard to conceive that you get questions that are truly “new”.

    Perhaps try (for a few months to see how it feels) to strictly limit your posts to every-other-week, alternating between honey bees and native bees. It may result in less time on your computer and give you more time with your honey bees, to track and learn more about your nearby native bees, and to give yourself dedicated posting opportunities to share your photos and fascinating information on various native bees. You have to find ways to keep your experience of writing Honey Bee Suite fresh, personally enjoyable and fulfilling and also less burdensome so you can continue to do it for a long time. Your readers will understand. We’d rather have less of your contributions to our collective education than eventually none at all.

    And, importantly, regularly ask for $ donations (like PBS and NPR do) at least 2x per year (as a separate 3rd post, say in March and Sept): “If you find Honey Bee Suite helpful to your beekeeping and honey bee knowledge and experience, please make a contribution of whatever amount you feel is fair and affordable for you. Your financial contributions help make Honey Bee Suite possible and continuing.”

    • Karen,

      Thank you for your thoughtful suggestions. I’ve been thinking about what you’ve written and it makes a lot of sense to me. I’m considering taking your suggestions and giving them a test drive.

      By the way, the date is found at the end of each post on the left side, just under the social shares. You are not the only one to miss it, so putting it up top is probably a good idea. I’m afraid, however, that it would require a change of theme which is a major undertaking with a blog this big. In any case, I will look into it.

      The donations request is also worth a try. I prefer that over more advertising because I don’t like to be beholden to anyone’s product. But donations are hit or miss, sometimes they come in and sometimes not. I suppose I should get over my reticence about asking.

      At any rate, I very much appreciate your comments. You, like Cindi (above) have been reading the blog long enough to see the evolution, strengths, and weakness. Thanks for the encouragement.

      By the way, we are having a white Christmas up here in western Washington…very unusual.

  • I enjoy your posts about the native bees, and hope to see more. Congratulations on your blog anniversary!

  • In response to Rich.

    More than 50 years ago, in a fit of insanity, I traded a nice 30 “A” pick up for a 27 “T” Touring. Last year of the T and even had wire wheels, a water pump and an electric starter. It was a Touring Car and a T so I wanted it. Bad. Been a long time but, as I recall, when you set the parking brake, it dropped the left pedal and went to neutral. Use the crank to make sure it is in neutral. Retard the spark, turn on the magneto, hit the starter and pray. Assuming the battery had any juice. Work the throttle to get it running, settle down. I you crank it to start, keep your thumb out of the way, ONLY use an upward pull or, if it kicks back, you can break your thumb.

    OK. Running now.

    Mount the Beast. (that’s what we called it)

    Engine running smooth, (sorta) right foot on the brake, left foot holding neutral, advance the throttle while pressing the left foot down to engage low gear, easing up on the brake. Off you go, slowly. Get out of the garage, turn left, in our case, keep her in low to the bottom of the hill, cheat the stop sign, turn right, add a little throttle, ease up on the throttle while lifting your foot to shift to high, add a little gas and you are on your way. As you know, slowing, stopping and backing up are another form of adventure.

    Only know about Ruckstell axles from reputation. I understand that with a Ruckstell, IF your wheels were tight and aligned and your king pins were tight, you could do over 40 MPH without crashing. Personally, I doubt it. A nightmare to stop the damn thing and a true challenge to drive. Lois was very happy to see it go down the road to a new owner. Me too but I didn’t admit it for 30 years. She can be so stubborn. Still, I envy you your T and the family connections to it.

    Since then I have taken up self torture as I find it much less painful.

  • Hi Rusty,

    Happy Anniversary on your wonderful informative website! I always enjoy reading whatever you choose to write about and of course your photography is awesome too. Hey, you just need to encourage opossums to live on your property. They eat lots and lots of ticks. Did you know that Philomath has an Old Time Antique Car Show around the 4th of July every year. Wishing you health and happiness in the New Year.

    Linda Zielinski

    • Hi Linda,

      I didn’t know you were still reading my site. That’s good news for me! I also didn’t know about the antique car show or the opossum/tick connection. However, we used to have a lot of opossums here. I would see them hanging in the fruit trees and sometimes I’d see babies in the yard. But during the last three or four years I haven’t seen any. Zero. So maybe that’s why the ticks have come. It makes sense.

  • Rusty,

    Thank you for consistently giving of yourself and time with each worthwhile post. To maintain your continued freshness in writing, please include your passion—native bees. Honey bees do not live in a vacuum, nor does the native bee population. Our bee-steward skills just might become greatly enhanced by understanding how both groups of bees work with and around each other. A healthy environment has a diversity of bees. I vote for inclusion rather than exclusion in your posts.

    • Thank you so much, Naomi. That is exactly the way I see it. In fact, I’ve learned much about honey bees by studying the native ones, and realizing the pollinator environment is one complex but cohesive and interrelated structure. Just watching the various species mingling on a flower and seeing the struggles, the little wins and the little losses, makes you realize that studying honey bees apart from their environment and separate from their competitors is short-sighted indeed.

  • Happy Birthday Honey Bee Suite!

    As a beekeeper I have enjoyed reading through your posts over the years and can always find something when I am looking for info on something specific.

    2017 was a great year for ticks here in upstate NY. I got lyme disease in the summer and in my research about ticks, found the same information Linda shared above. Researchers estimate that a single opossum eats 5000 ticks a year in the process of grooming themselves! I think they should be a protected species.

    Rusty, my two cents – Go Native, Go Wild! Those are the posts I love most:)

    • Li,

      Thanks for the extra info on opossums. I had no idea they were so important to tick control. You never know who your friends are!

      Also, I appreciate your vote for the wild things. I can’t wait for spring so I can see them again.

  • Could you talk about at what age honeybees begin to product royal jelly and when it ceases and if they can start again once it stops.

    • Kelsey,

      Nurse bees between 3 and 11 days old produce royal jelly. Sometimes, when a colony is under stress, older bees may secrete some royal jelly although it is of a lower quality and quantity.