Just a generic geek, with a tendency for taking things apart

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This blog is in the process of moving to Markw.us, just take note.

Saturday, June 18, 2005
Cherries, Honey, and Ham
I'm not a big fan of traditional breakfasts but thats too strange a combination even for me (tho' you might be able to order it at an IHOP)

Good thing I'm not entirely talking about food.

Today has been a long, eventful and extremely enjoyable day. It started about 9 - 9:30 when the family somehow woke up (in this house if everyone is up by 11am its a fcsking miracle or natural disaster) because we had expected to run to Winston and visit the missing one (tis' a lot quieter without Matt ) but we also wanted to pick some cherries at Levering Orchard. We went last year with the intention of getting a pound or two of cherries, and ended up with closer to 10 - however 10 pounds of sweet cherries fresh from the tree freeze very well and we've been eating them though out the year. So this time we found a better time of the season and managed to get 20 so pounds of both sweet and tart cherries. Its really a neat experiance. Levering Orchard is positioned on the side of a mountain opening up to a grand valley with more of the Blue Ridge in the background. This alone would be worth the trip but its even more beautiful when viewed though the top few branches of a cherry tree - while munching on a few ripe sweet cherries (I offer this as definitive proof that I'm out of touch with my - pimp yer' ride and crank the rap music generation)

One of our neighbors keeps bees as a hobby - and despite being neighbors for close to 2 years now we've never seen the honey being harvested. As we were coming home we noticed him pulling on his bee keeping gear so my Dad and I sort of wandered over there to watch. We ended up getting a decent lesson about making honey as well as a really good taste of it right out of the boxes. I won't even bother trying to explain how good it tastes to just suck the honey right out of the combs. I can understand how kids in the 1800's could do without candy as we know it - pure fresh honey beats it any day (at least the powered sugary stuff) Full of flavor. What really amazed me tho is that despite the fact that you're agitating a few thousand bees they're really passive - they're just confused as hell . I mean they do swarm (you can kinda see it in the photo) and I heard more than a few buzzing around me - but they're not pissed off. Totally unlike what usually happens when you walk your way into a big swarm of bees. Did I mention the honey?

So we watched the bees and snacked on honey for an hour to so - I guess we broke off around 2pm. For about a week I had a standing invitation to come and see some Ham Radio stuff (today was Kids Day or something like that -a sort of youth introduction that doubles as practice for operators since the week after is Field Day where they get into the heavy duty stuff) While I haven't gotten much into Ham radio I know that Ham operators are proto (and modern) hackers. People who take technology and bend it to their own needs (or outright invert it) and the guy who invited me certainly falls into that arena. Andy does a lot of AV work for High School University but he got there though playing with gadgets as best as I can tell. From what I've heard he's got a basement (and garage, and a van, and a trailer, and an office) that would put my meager lab to shame. Actually his van alone puts my lab to shame, as its just as cluttered, has nearly as many radio sets as I do computers, as many if not more tools and unlike my lab he can drive his rig anywhere he wants to.

So I got plunged into ham stuff (drowned in jargon and struggled for a grasp on the subject matter - tho' some knowlege of radio and wifi helped) but I enjoyed it as we were able to have really good conversations about technology and how most people seem to view it (magic). Anyways lots of fun, and I'll probably go out again. I don't know if I'll go for a license - but there are a lot of home-brewers involved with ham (not to mention surplus hardware). I suppose I'll see closer to September (when there's a big hamfest in NC)

Signing off for now...

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