Thursday, July 21, 2011

Counting the years

I learned about an increment borer at science camp. This T-shaped tool drills into a tree and takes out a pencil-width cylinder. The kids can count the rings on that sample to find the tree's age.
This girl had great expressions. Above she works hard to drill into a dense Tamarck tree. Below, I like the look of intense concentration as this girl carefully counts the rings on the sample. The wooden piece was also delicate, and often fell apart as soon as she took it out of the device.

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

An eye for the forest

Here two boys at the camp measured the slope a patch of ground using a kilometer. One boy held it up to his eye, while pointing it at the other boy, who was about the same height. The instrument told him the difference in slope between the two of them was 10 percent.

Then the boys drew the landscape around them in their camp journals.
I really like this photo, as both of them look so intense on what they're doing

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Off to camp

I had fun at a science camp with Milton-Freewater kids last week. Other than getting eaten alive by mosquitoes, it was a great day in the mountains.
I was only able to use one photo for my story over the weekend. But I took many more. Deciding on which photo to submit wasn't easy (I actually submitted four, but the editor only used one). Fortunately I have lots of room here to post many more science camp photos.
This was my best group shot. It has all the kids following their intrepid leader, Bob Chicken, with the Walla Walla Basin Watershed Council. In addition to running the camp, he also runs a science club during the school year.

Monday, July 18, 2011

Get 'em sheep

Another competitor at Caledonian Days — this one had four legs and not kilt.
I always enjoy watching dogs do what they love. This was no exception. Though some of the sheep dogs had trouble getting the sheep to comply, a few handled them masterfully.
We stood at the bottom of the bleachers, where dogs took the sheep through one gate and around another. It was a good spot to get them on the run, if my shutter is fast enough.

Wednesday, July 13, 2011


Another event at the Caledonian Days is the sheaf toss. It's a bit like the high jump, but with a bale of hay.
The competitors have to chuck the bale over a horizontal bar which is progressively moved higher and higher.
To the left, one of the finalists narrowly makes it over one of the highest settings.
Above, I found the Jolly Roger flags atop the bars humorous.

Tuesday, July 12, 2011


Over the weekend my husband and I visited Athena's Caledonain Games. It was the first year I went for fun, not for work.
The games were very busy with officials from Scottish-American Athletic Association running the competitions.

But it made for good fun, watching this guy, and others, throw stones.
This man seemed to have an advantage, as he was taller than his competitors. And he really gave the stone the old heave-ho when he threw!
I'll post a few more photos from the celebration, including a few of the animal competitors (sheep dogs).

Friday, July 8, 2011

New Sweet Home

Here is my last post about the bees' moving day.
After the beekeepers took the old stump apart (see the background of this photo) they put the bees into new colony boxes. These boxes, which the beekeeper is grabbing in the photo above, hold square plates where bees can build their new honeycomb. Then the beekeepers take the colony home where they can use it to harvest honey.

Here is the results of the beekeeper using the beevac - a vacuum modified to pull bees into this container. I really liked this photo, with all the bees inside as a mottled mess. But that mottled mess would not show up on newsprint.

To calm them down, one beekeeper sprayed honey on the bees.

The honey made them all stick together, like a thick bee ball. The other beekeeper rotated the container around a few times, turning it over and over. Once the bees were well stuck together, they opened the container and plopped the bee ball into the colony box. Then they quickly covered the colony box with a screen and duct tape.
Unfortunately I missed the moment when they dropped the bees into the box. That was right about when I got stung. And the photos I took of the new colony box are not worth showing here. So I'll leave it up to your imagination.

Thursday, July 7, 2011

Shining in the sun

One of the beekeepers I tagged along with holds up a piece of honeycomb. The closed-off spots are the brood -- the baby bees.
I am amazed at the intricacy of what bees build, whether it's sweet honey or the architecture of their combs.

Tuesday, July 5, 2011


Though it wasn't the huge cartoon-like swarm I was expecting, when the beekeepers cut into the stump home of this bee colony, they flew out to defend.
These bees were relatively gentle. I only got stung once and the beekeepers didn't get stung at all.

Still, I was happy with how the camera was able to capture the tiny buzzing bees, even as they zipped from one place to another. A few hovered or sat on the stump, as shown below.