Holiday Update, July 4, 2019

Happy Independence Day, my fellow Americans, and similar sentiments to my international friends.

Bee Journal

Our last hive inspection was early last month, and we decided to let some weeks go by before we opened the hive again. We added a second brood super to the hive during the last week of May, and upon our last inspection the colony had only just started to draw comb on the new frames. It has been a long, cold spring with lots of rain. The beehive, the garden have both developed slowly this year for it.

It's been warmer this past couple of weeks, and both the gardens and the hive have certainly perked up. Yesterday the colony started to beard on the front of the apiary. I'd read that this was normal and could mean a healthy hive that needed more room. We decided that bright and early this morning we would open the hive, give a quick inspection and add a honey super. We'd been continuing to feed until this point, and when I opened the top feeding super it was very full of bees, the sugar jars covered and a thick cluster clung to the inside of the cover when I lifted it. After giving a couple puffs of smoke to the entrance and inside, I tapped off the bees and we lifted off the top brood super to see what was going on below.

Confirming what we'd expected, the bottom brood super was full, all ten frames. While we opted not to pull out any frames this time, it was easy to see bulging drone caps and smooth worker caps from above. While we didn't see the queen, her work is evident. When we open the hives we like to work fast, so we quickly reassembled the hive, added the new honey super and closed it up. There were still probably a couple of hundred bees clinging to the removed inner cover and feeding super, so I tapped them off on top of the hive and put the equipment away. Over the next hour the lingering bees found their way back inside, I hope to start filling the honey super.

Speaking of honey, there were plenty of swollen honey cells at the top of the brood frames, and a bit of comb had stuck to the bottom side of the inner cover. We scraped this off and squeezed out our first taste of our backyard honey, and it was good! I'm hopeful we will see our first harvest in August.

Scuttlebutt, Decentralized Content

A couple of years ago I learned about and started using an interesting protocol and application called Scuttlebutt. This is a decentralized, peer to peer social network, more or less, built upon it's own custom protocol and developed by some notable hackers in New Zealand. While I've been using Scuttlebutt for some time, I'd fallen off since I don't really have any friends on there, and I'd become disillusioned with some of the attitudes expressed on the platform. A recent podcast featured Scuttlebutt's (SSB) creator, Dominic Tarr, and after listening to it I've found my interest renewed.

After having fired up my client, Patchwork, I waited for a few hundred content updates to sync and found the community to which I'd connected to be about the same. The focus is certainly on the development of the platform and the social concerns of that community, which seems to be quite influenced by the thinkers at Loomio whom I admire. Much talk of consensus and inclusion. I've begun once again to post here and there, in Esperanto and concerning bees, so far.

I've also decided to try hosting my own pub server, a sort of super-peer used to get around the limitations of IP4 and NAT, and to pull my community focus towards something more local to myself. I've nearly got a working kubernetes deployment assembled, just working through some peculiarities around loading configuration into a hosted volume. More to come there, as I expect I'll have it working by the end of the long holiday weekend.

Mesh Networking, Redux

I'm starting to revive an older project. A couple of Pi-days ago I gathered all the RaspberryPi single-board computers I could borrow and built a small mesh network using the Open Mesh Project's batman-adv. I had a bunch of success, and I even teamed up with a colleague to run his Kubernetes cluster on it. I started writing some code using the alfred distributed data store, and there is a GitHub project with setup instructions and some of the Python I wrote to handle native messages. Like a lot of projects, after the initial push my effort petered out, but this is tech I care about and I finally am starting to push myself to pick it up again.

During my recent Erlang training, I realized that the binary message passing that I'd been using Python for might be better handled using Erlang's excellent binary pattern matching. It should be fairly straight-forward to handle any combination of Alfred or batman-adv messages quickly. I've got a handful of Pi Zero Ws ready for the task, I'm starting to get the basics set up and to experiment running Erlang on each.

Even Tinier House?

So, last thing, we traveled to visit the in-laws and our oldest son last weekend. We met his girlfriend for the first time. She's a bit of a bad-ass, I have to admit, and she lives in a ~200sqft. tiny house she built with her family. We drove out to take a look and I was immediately inspired. No, tiny house living is not in my future, but I have daydreamed in the past about building a Gypsy or Basque style wagon into the back of a 1967 Ford F250 we have parked out back. I'm starting to see what it would take to get the truck moving again (tires, fresh gas, etc.) and maybe start to sketch out some plans.

Serendipitously, my mother sent me this great book for my birthday just a few days after we got back. Derek "Deek" Diedricksen at RelaxShacks wrote this great book, Humble Homes, Simple Shacks, Cozy Cottages, Ramshackle Retreats, Funky Forts and Whatever Else We Could Squeeze in Here!. His web site is a bit of a nightmare, but look him up on that video streaming site I heard of or check out the book. It's a lot of fun and is full of inspiring ideas that just might help lead to a hand crafted camper truck.

Ĝis la revido, kaj feliĉa kodumado!