Says Me

Phred, the content cat.

(via Instagram)

Falling behind

I don’t think I’d want to be the kid if Dad just had his laxative. Just sayin’.

Hold It In, Dad!

10 years later, the Wall Street Journal covers my story

Today’s Wall Street Journal has an article about bacteriophages being used in lieu of antibiotics. Interesting — so interesting, in fact, that I wrote about it in 2006:


A little digging out video….

Digging out, day 2

2016-01-23 Andrew Shovels

Snow day for Phred

(via Instagram)

Second shoveling. A little at a time…

(via Instagram)

The storm to end all storms

As “Snowmageddon” and “Snowpocalypse” were already used in previous major snowstorms, we need to come up with new ones. I have several suggestions, starting with Snowagnarok and Snowvalation. There’s also Snowshokereti, Snow-Qiyama, Snowkalki, or perhaps Stormaitreya.


Survival skills

Discussing the rush for bread and milk in the face of a storm, my boss said, “I once posed the question on an online forum could you slowly cannibalize yourself if necessary. Consensus is yes.”

I replied, “We have two dogs and four cats. And an exchange student.”

Preparing for the snow: Cars near the ends of driveways, wipers up.

(via Instagram)

Why yes, I think we might be getting a little snow today now that you mention it. #rva #henrico

(via Instagram)

The local news can’t seem to decide how much snow we’re getting. Or maybe the female meteorologists are saying 6 to 10 inches, and the male ones are saying 8 to 14.

(via Instagram)

Split tongues

There must be a word for the phenomenon where you’re having an e-mail (or text, or whatever) conversation with someone and one of you asks two questions in succession, leading to the conversation splitting in two, with some replies referring to one thread and some referring to the other(s).

Anyone remember sniglets?

My first beehive has arrived

Today Mike the Bee Guy dropped off my beehive! It’s unfinished wood that I have to, well, finish before the actual bees arrive in a couple of months. I decided to dip my toes into beekeeping because A) it’s kinda cool, B) we need more bees, and C) I am hoping to train them to do my bidding.

Not to bore you with too many details, but here are the basics…

I had considered having a hive for a while, and then one of my neighbors posted to a local message board that he was starting a club. He’s been a beekeeper for a while, so he knows his stuff and will teach the rest of us — about 20 so far, all within a few miles.

The entire setup — hive, bees, and protective gear — cost about $500. I’ll spend a bit more on starter food, but not much.

It will take at least a year before I get any honey out of it, and probably two before I can harvest any beeswax. Mike and the club will help with the entire process.

Apparently the hobby will pay for itself. I’ll not only be able to sell the honey (which I won’t — I’m gonna give it away), but every year my colony will split and I’ll be able to sell the second colony. (Actually, I’ll probably expand to two colonies, but after that I’ll have two to sell each year.)

The hive will be in my backyard, which abuts the woods. Bees will fly up to four miles for nectar, so if I get stung chances are it won’t be by one of my bees.

Essentially I’ll dump the bees into the hive, then feed them sugar water until they’re established enough to begin foraging on their own. I’ll probably plant a buttload of clover in the yard (seeds come in 50-lb. bags), which will make the bees happy and the yard pretty… and mowing-free.

So next step: Staining and waterproofing the hive with polyurethane. Then I wait for my bee delivery and the club meeting where we’ll get instructions. Whee!

The unfinished hive. Bees will enter and exit from the bottom. Above that are two large "supers" where they will make THEIR honey, and a smaller one where they will make MY honey.

The unfinished hive. Bees will enter and exit from the bottom. Above that are two large “supers” where they will make THEIR honey, and a smaller one where they will make MY honey.



The inside of one of the “supers,” where the bees will actually make the honey. The plastic forms have the honeycomb shape already in place to guide the bees.

Why I won’t buy organic carrots

So I asked Karen to pick me up some carrots — probably my favorite healthy snack. (I can go through a five-pound back in just a few days.) Being the thoughtful person she is, she bought me these fancy organic carrots — better than the inorganic ones I had been eating, I guess.

I have to say, the organic carrots were not only not as fresh looking as the inorganic regular ones, they didn’t have nearly as much flavor! I expected that modern fruits and veggies were sacrificing flavor for longevity (or in the case of watermelons, for seedlessness). But in this case the organic ones were far inferior. Plus, of course, organic farming has a host of issues such as increased risk of E. coli (can you say “Chipotle”?), and more water use. Nothing against manure, but I’d still rather take an aspirin than suck on a piece of willow bark.

So now I’ve learned: At least when it comes to carrots, organic is not the way to go.