Sunday, December 4, 2011

Powershell, pretty cool afterall

I am really enjoying Powershell.  The ISE is much more useful than I thought and flipping from the shell to notepad is really slick (although I still had to install gVim).  The cmdlets are slicker than I originally gave them credit for.  The default is to list all of the parameters/attributes of the cmdlet I've been experimenting and you can almost always leave them off when there's just one or two parameters.  e.g.

PS > Get-History | Foreach-Object { $_.CommandLine } > c:\temp\
For the exact same results - try the much easier to remember...

PS > get-history > history.txt 
The above works just like you would expect.

I found quite a few other examples that were obviously simplified.  It's a pretty interesting scripting language.  By adding the .Net accessibility, it is as if you have blended Bash and Ruby and some special Windows references thrown in to boot.  I like it.  It looks to be very powerful and handy.  One of the main reasons I didn't like administering Windows is the lack of good sysadmin scripting tools and a poor command line shell.  Powershell fixes that.  Much is familiar too since it uses many Bash commands.

So, I've spent the day patching and armoring my Windows 7 running under OpenBox.  I really like Windows 7 (which is probably why they are coming out with a Windows 8 so soon.)  

With the vastly improved Windows 7, Windows 2008 R2 and Powershell - all in 64 bit - looks like it's going to be a less painful transition that I had thought.  I'm actually really looking forward to it now.

Saturday, August 27, 2011

Honey Harvest

Finally had time to harvest honey.  A bit disappointing.  Milano never did completely fill all 8 medium frames.  I took only 4 fully capped (front and back) frames from that colony.  The 5th was only fully capped on one side.  I decided not to spin it.  I thought once that Milano's activity had drastically dropped off.  I wonder if I lost some productivity to a swarm?

I had added a 2nd hive body to Venice - a deep.  I took one beautiful full frame of capped honey from Venice.  I was going to take a second but they have a begun putting brood in the two next closest full frames.  I was surprised how heavy a deep frame full of honey was.  I was also pleasantly surprised that my little extractor DID accommodate a deep frame - although two would've been nice for the balance.

No more mason jars!  They are too messy.  I bought these 3lbs jugs.  This years harvest - 16 lbs.  It tastes EXACTLY like previous years (unique and completely different from store bought).  We have Persimmon trees, scores of acres of Tulip Populars, a nearby peach orchard, tons of blackberries and, thanks to the dairy down the road,  40 acres of alfalfa (which they tell me they cut 5 times right after it blooms).  It seems thicker than previous years too.  Good stuff!  Should last a while and I'm pretty sure I left them plenty.

I didn't take any from my new split: Sicily.  That colony has completely packed a medium 10 frame.  I have been meaning to add another hive body - now I wonder if that would be a good idea.  I really hope they'll winter.  I am considering adding a lower medium and feeding them all really well before winter.  I'd be bummed if my first split didn't over-winter.  It's come a long way and overcome my mistakes.

Sunday, July 24, 2011

More bee blogging

As there seems to be a dearth of nectar at the moment, I decided to feed the colonies.  The 1st year colony I call Venice looks like it slowed down a bit. right after I added the 2nd super.  I admit, I am a bit worried Milano will get into that capped honey in the super I am taking.  Conflict: If they take it -  it means they need it and I probably shouldn't take it....  I figure I'll take it and feed the rest of the season.

My pride and joy - the colony I call Sicily - is doing well despite my many mistakes.  I moved two frames of brood with queen cells into a new hive.  It was VERY, VERY slow going.  With only nurse bees and no foragers as well as un-emerged queens, it took a long time for this to get going - but it's going fine now.  I fed them pollen patties and sugar water.  Being weak as long as it was created my first ever look at hive beetles.  Yuck!  I dispatched a few and cleaned out my top feeder and fed them  They are now 5 full frames plus two other half frames - and, finally, show a defense when I inspect (I used to be able to inspect them without any gear).  If they winter, I am going to try to get them in place to harvest the peach orchard nectar and fill a Ross Rounds super.  Specialty comb honey!  Can't wait.

Monday, July 4, 2011

I need a bee blog

This was a catch-all blog but lately it seems like it's jut s a bee blog.  I'm excited to report my first ever split finally seems to be showing progress.  They are too weak to defend  against Milano or Venice so I haven't been feeding (I don't want Milano storing sugar with the honey since I will harvest from there soon - they are filling out the last 3 top super frames.  The first five are already full and capped).  Good thing I checked on [what did I name this hive?] - they are out of food.  They are drawing comb and the population is way up!  It looks like a new package install after about a week now.  They have brood and at least four full frames of packed workers (I only moved over two!).  Lots of pollen bearing workers are entering and there's good traffic flow.  Wow!  I really didn't expect this to make it.  I will feed them the rest to the summer to see if I can get them to a density to winter.

My new vented, gabled copper roof came for Venice.  So now I have a bottom board and a top.  All I need is a hive body and a top cover and I have a hive ready for the next split.  I think I'll order that, some more medium supers (standardizing on mediums now), two or three hive stands and another slated bottom for [what did I name that new hive?] - they will need all the help they can get.

Thursday, June 2, 2011

New Equipment!

Milano is looking so good.  I did an inspection and swapped the brood frames this past weekend.  Milano may be a bit honey bound.  I gave them a Illinois honey super and they are working it pretty good.  I moved the two brood frames out that had queen cells and put them in Sicily.

Venice is doing as well or better than Milano did last year and Milano was a (naturally) spliced hive!  Venice is in my old, original Dadant starter hive with the solid bottom board.  It's in the 90's now and supposed to be 95 this weekend so I have a new screen bottom board and slatted bottom to add to them (I also ordered a copper gable roof that has a vented attic from BetterBee but it didn't come in).  I'm impressed with these guys.  I will add a shallow super to them before July, I'm sure!
I also bought some top feeders for Venice and Sicily as well as some Honey-B-Healthy (for the first time).  It smells like lemon pledge.  I added to the feeders on Sicily and Venice.  I hope Milano doesn't get to it (Sicily's pretty weak) since I've already added the supers there.  I've also been feeding Venice and Sicily pollen patties.  It really seems to be going well in Venice.  I'm not expecting any honey from Sicily - I just want to see them get large enough to winter.

Here's is the medium brood frame I gave Sicily.  I only moved 2 frames.  Next time I will move 4 frames and also swap places with the old hive.  I hope to make 3 top bar hive for next year.

Friday, May 20, 2011

Simple Things Made Hard

I am using CentOS 5.6 as my desktop so it serves me right.  I really like CentOS though - even though it may not have all the fluff of Fedora or Ubuntu.  I have Xen running with Windows 7 and Fedora 14.  I loaded Fedora to try out Red Hat's 389 Directory.  I wanted to keep CentOS as vanilla as possible.  Here it is day 2 and I'm adding a non-standard repository to get my external 1TB hard drive to work. 

It took me a while to figure this out so I thought I'd better record it.  The issue was the ext. drive was ntfs-3g and CentOS didn't support it.  So I set up /etc/fstab to do this "mount -t ntfs -o defaults /dev/sdb1 /usbdrive" and then ...

# cd /etc/yum.repos.d/
# wget
# wget
# rpm -ivh rpmforge-release-0.5.2-2.el6.rf.i386.rpm
# rpm -ivh rpmforge-release-0.5.2-2.el5.rf.i386.rpm 

# yum install -y --enablerepo=rpmforge ntfs-3g
# mount /usbdrive


Thursday, May 19, 2011

Success with Splitting?

I finally caught some bees carrying pollen entering the hive I put the two frames (containing queen cells) in.  It's a pretty weak hive but it looks like it may be a success.  I will give them pollen patties and check for brood on the next good inspection day.

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

More Fun With Xen

My colleague presented me with a poser: Lost password on Xen guest - What do you do?  What I normally do is, of course, mount the file system, edit the /etc/passwd (shadow file) and restart without a root password - quickly resetting it once back in.  Of course, with all the virtualization - what do you do?  I tried just mounting the /var/lib/xen/vutil.img file - no luck.  Then someone said try 

# losetup -f /var/lib/xen/images/vutil.img

I did but still couldn't get /dev/loop0 to mount.  So I tried another tip - this got me closer:

# kpartx -av /dev/loop0

This created /dev/mapper/loop0p1 and /dev/mapper/loop0p2. I really wanted to immediately mount the root partition so I tried the loop0p2 which was obviously larger.  p1 was probably /boot, I thought - it was.  Eventually, I realized p1 would be useful after all.  Since I couldn't get p2 to mount, I mounted p1, edited the grub.conf to include a single user mode boot option and then ran:

# xm create -c vutil

The -c makes it go directly to the console where the grub menu was displayed.  I picked my new single user mode boot option and "Ta-Dah!"  Whew!  

Thanks a bunch to the Xen Users mailing list.  They gave me a lot of great info (especially that last one).  I'm still not sure why I couldn't mount the file. It may be because I did not create a separate LVM filesystem for my guest.  I'm new to Xen - still have a lot of experimenting to do.

Friday, April 22, 2011

Splitting Hive Experiment

It was supposed to be 78 and partly cloudy.  Instead, it was 67 and was drizzling off and on.  Now it was supposed to get up to 74 but the next few days would be colder SO I just went ahead and went for it!  I removed the top cover, nice calm bees - I removed the inside lid - still calm.

So, I removed the sugar water feeder and the  medium honey super I had added a few weeks ago.  I wasn't real impressed with the progress they had made.  The next hive body was pretty tough.  It felt like it would bend my hive tools.  I used two and kept working all the way around.  Then it cracked (at the seam like it was supposed to) and the girls came boiling out.  These girls were not calm and now neither was I.  Quite an onslaught!  I had a few hundred covering me and 30 or so ping my veil.  I would've NEVER stood my ground with either of my old veils.  I just about threw in the towel and then changed my mind and went for it - back into the breach.  No smoke!  Terrible weather - the worst possible combination.  I pull a middle brood frame - saw mostly honey.  Am I honey bound?  I pulled the next frame - YES!  Four queen cells!

I moved these two frames into a medium 10 frame Langstrom (Sicily) and covered it up.  There was some drawn comb in there from when I had a package in there earlier this month.  I hope this will establish a new colony and keep Milano from swarming.

I checked on Venice - it was doing great and I really should've added another hive body while I was there.  They hadn't touched the bee patty I placed in the top cover.  I will move that when I feed and add another hove body tomorrow.

I broke a personal record for stings - 8, I think.  Very minor.  They got me through the denim and so were not able to embed the stingers or inject much venom.  These almost all happened when I crouched down and drew then denim tight against my thighs.  It felt like I bumped into blackberries - pretty minor stings.  I almost wasn't sure I had even gotten stung until I looked and counted the red whelps.  It is the bare skin stings when they are able to embed the stinger and inject a lot of venom that really get to you.  These were nothing - really.  LOVE the new bee jacket with zip on hood.  I had about a half dozen of them desperately crawling around the junction of the three zippers looking for a way in.  How do they know this stuff!!

Can't wait to see if Sicily II takes off.

Monday, February 28, 2011

"Fix my PC"

I have the t-shirt, I have the sweatshirt, I have the mug - I even have the bumper sticker.  Still, I got the dreaded "Can you fix my PC - it's an emergency?!" call on Saturday morning.  Ug!  It sounded like an easy one.  A Virus was preventing the PC from booting but the kid needed to get the data.

I had them meet me at an undisclosed PC lab that I knew had good (and current) virus scanning and good VLAN isolation.  My plan was to just get the emergency data off and let them have fix the other later.  The easy solution - Knoppix!  I grabbed a copy of Knoppix 6.4.4 from St. Edward's University, Austin, TX  (Thanks SEU!) and booted up her Dell.  (It's actually getting hard to find mirror sites that have the current Knoppix - I guess because there are so many live version distros out there (but none with the utility of Knoppix)).  It auto-mounted her Windows XP partition.  Then we found the data, inserted a flash drive and copied the data.  Ta-dah!  Crisis solved.  Well, yeah, I left the real work of extracting the virus to someone else - that would've taken hours.  Besides - read the shirt/mug/bumper sticker!!!!!

Saturday, January 29, 2011

Beautiful Weather Works It's Magic

What a beautiful sunny day.  After nearly a month of below freezing (half the time below 20 and even a 3 degree morning) - nearly 50 felt like Spring.  I did some cleaning in the chicken coop and breeding loft and moved nest boxes around.  I used very warm water for the birds bath - they loved it!  Then they all laid down in the fresh straw to sun themselves dry (after they picked through it looking for wheat).  The new nest boxes in the breeding loft were immediately staked out by a blue bar and blue check cocks from the 2010 Young Bird Team.  It'll be interesting to see which hens end up in there with them.  Great!  The two new black pairs FINALLY started showing some interest in the captive loft's new nest boxes.  I could be looking at quite the population boom in a month and by March have my young bird loft nearly full!

I also noticed the bees were out so I finally added more sugar water to the top feeder.  There was a lot of activity in the hive.  I hope it was residents.  They looked to be Italians (three stripes on the abdomen) but I had an Italian hive swarm on me a few years ago so who knows - could be robbers.  At any rate - it's a good sign (as there must yet still be something to rob, no?)

The rollers were free lofting.  I lost one Friday.  Actually, I lost three Friday but found one Friday night and another came in Saturday morning. They must've gotten chased off by a hawk.  Bad time of year to fly rollers!

The chickens free ranged the last two days.  They really seemed to be enjoying themselves.  They were stretched out on the fresh straw, fanning their wings out to catch more sun.  They looked really happy.  One of the new pullets lays light brown eggs.  We think she may be Mammoth's offspring.  Mammoth was the only full size Ameracauna we had left.  This new pullet looks EXACTLY like her only bantam sized.  And, like Mammoth, she also lays brown eggs.  These two are the only ones we've ever had lay anything besides the light green to blue-green eggs.

We washed the cars and went to the library.  All in all, everyone enjoyed the weather change and sun.  Nice day!