Where have all the bees gone?

Honey bee collecting nectar

Honey bee collecting nectar

In the 80’s rapid growth of certain orchards in China saw them using more pesticides killing entire colonies of bees that would have naturally pollinated those same orchards. Now, China employs thousands of their village people as human bees. Brushes made from chicken feathers to cigarette filters are dipped into bottles of pollen and then “touched” to millions and millions of blossoms. Manually.

Colony Collapse Disorder. Whole colonies of bees have been known to just die. It’s happening everywhere. “In Britain, the British Beekeepers Association has warned that honeybees could disappear entirely from the island by 2018, along with £165 million worth of apples, pears, canola and other crops they pollinate. “Source: Newsweek

Bees are disappearing slowly. We need to focus on how to reverse the process. What would the world be without them?

Pollination and how important it is to our survival

I am not a scientist – in fact I hated science in school. What I remember about pollination from those few classes I didn’t manage to fandangle my way out of was that bees pollinate our flowers. No big deal right? Wrong! Here are some pretty amazing facts that you just don’t think about when you think of bees.

  • 250,000 species of flowering plants depend on bees for pollination. Many medicines, old and new, pharmaseudacle and alternative are derived from flowering plants
  • most of our major crops – across the world – depend on bees for pollination
  • without pollination, fruits and vegetable would become very scarce
  • clothes made from cotton would be rare and expensive

What can we do to help?

Man is responsible for the dissaperance of our bees, so what can we do to alter this?

  • Support those who support the bees. Buy one of natures most beneficial natural products, and enjoy the sweetness of honey.
  • Think carefully before destroying their habitats.
  • Don’t pour concrete over beautful gardens – plant a flower – plant a tree. Let some of your gardens grow wild, let the bees live a little!
  • Use plants instead of bricks to line your walkways
  • Don’t use pesticides or herbicides
  • Rent a beehive
  • Make meadows not lawns
  • Build bee houses – yes just like bird houses – only for bees

And my personal all time favorite

  • Avoid getting stung as this kills most species – not to mention how much it hurts!
Posted in writing

We Have Stupid Bees

Bee on Flowers

It seems that the error of my ways in my youth have followed me because even still if there is a bee around, I am the one that gets stung. No kidding, it’s an observation made by many. But lately, no bee stings.

And, our bees are a little strange. They don’t act the way I remember bees are supposed to act, or I’d have more stings to add to my story.

Moths, now they are known to fly into the flame, I believe because they are attracted to the bright lights.

That is not typical behaviour for bees. So, our bees are not typical. Keeping the porch light on at night in the early fall means we have dead bees littered all over the porch come morning. Now I ask you – is that normal? No.

So being the inquisitive type, I stay up to watch what happens. Not surprisingly there are bugs flying at the light, and when one drops I glance down expecting to see a moth. Not so – it’s a bee. Frowning, I watch as the stunned bee tries to get up. He looks a little drunk and staggers around on the ground for awhile but after a few minutes he manages to spread his teeny tiny little wings and flies – right back into the light. This time he doesn’t get up. I guess he doesn’t know he’s not a moth. Talk about your identity crisis. Or is this part of the same problem?

We turn our porch light off as soon as everyone is in the house. Not only to conserve energy, but to help save our bees.

Posted in writing

Got a bee in your bonnet?

Mommy, A Bee Stung Me!

Bee Hive

When I was young, my brother and I would often spend hours outside “investigating”. That could be anything. We didn’t have a computer, no video games or even a TV, so our imagination was our best friend. Well, we did have each other, but imagination came with us just about everywhere.

Visiting grama and grampa when you are young means spending time with wrinkly older people who smelled funny, loved to pinch your cheeks or pat you on the head and tell you tales you had no patience to listen to.

We would do what we had to and wait until no one was looking and hightail it out of there at the very first opportunity. Sometimes we got away with it and sometimes they managed to catch a small piece of our shirt or pants and haul us right back in. At that point, the finger usually came out. No point in agitating them after that, the finger was our warning that the grown ups had no more patience with us.

The Wisdom of Your Elders

There was one day that lives in my memory, where I look back and think “Gees… I wish they had grabbed my shirt THAT day!”

As usual, the two of us clamored off on our own and went exploring in the woods back in behind gramps place. It was a great place to explore, with bugs and holes, and sticks for swords. We found great hiding places, old bike parts and even an old chair. It didn’t take us too long to find a fallen tree that had this “thing” attached. We made short work of stalking around it, looking at it from every angle as we tried to imagine what it was. Soon, the swords in our hands became bats so that we could knock it down and take a closer look.


AYIAAAAAAAA! We were both screaming and running as fast as our little legs would carry us right back to the same people we tried so hard to sneak away from. It seemed that each step we took brought with it another painful sting.

By the time we reached our parents we were a mess. And I mean that quite literally. It’s a darn good job we were not allergic! We were crying, and hopping around and waving our arms, crying, “It hurts! It hurts!” I’m not sure how they managed to calm us down enough to spread our bodies with baking soda and mud (they ran out of baking soda), but soon the shouts quieted into sobs and we were allowed a cool bath, which soothed the sobs into sleep.

Sometimes it pays to listen to the wisdom of our elders.

Posted in writing

Life after 50

New Path

Building a new stone walkway

The midlife crisis has come and gone, the empty nest syndrome too, leaving behind a trace of guilt as you decide it’s time to carry on without the kids in tow. This is life after 50.

At 20 we thought we had it all. Young, in some cases dumber than stumps with some of our decisions, but very much in love and thinking we had the world by the tail. I suppose at that time in our lives, we did. We had what everyone was working for. We had each other, a roof over our heads, food in our bellies and jobs to go to that enabled us to plan for a bright future.

And what a future we created. We were blessed with two wonderful children and all the joy, pride and troubles that entails. And every part of it – the good and the not so good – forged a family. None of us perfect – far from it. We all have our idiosyncrasies that can make us difficult to live with at times and can make life very uncomfortable for those who love us. Working through those times together is what makes us a family.

After 50, we have reached that point in our lives where we need to think of a future that no longer involves providing the necessities of life for our children. Providing them with the opportunities to learn how to do that for themselves is no longer our major concern. We cannot spend the rest of our lives waiting for the times when they might need us. Absolutely we will be there if they do, but the chances are they will be able to do for themselves, and will want to. These are some of the things you try to teach them as parents. And as parents, there comes a time when you have to let them. Believe it or not, that is a hard thing to recognize and even harder to do.

After 30 years of planning for, providing for and raising your family, there is quite a transition to creating a life outside of that nucleus without feeling guilty that you are not planning your every waking moment around them.

Many folks morph into snowbirds and spend the colder months of the year in warmer southern climates. Some of us on the other hand move further north and into the beautiful county of Ontario’s Highlands East. But almost all of us have to take some time to learn who we are when we are not taking care of family.

Tell yourself you don’t have to feel guilty about taking the time to do what you want. You might not embrace the truth of it right away, but remind yourself often. It’s ok to take up those hobbies you never had time for before. It’s a great idea to learn something new! It’s the perfect opportunity to take life one day at a time as you learn to be you.

Life doesn’t end after 50 but it does change. Embrace the change and take the opportunities!

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Posted in Country Living, journey, Living, Wildlife

3 Steps To Take When Calling Bell Canada

Old Style Phone

Old Style Phone

Whenever you deal with Bell Canada, the very first thing you must realize is that while Bell Canada records all of your calls, there is NEVER anyone willing to send you a copy of that recording. So, for your own sanity, to be able to fill in a journal of events, and to have all your ducks in a row when you want to escalate your complaint, do these three very important things:

  1. Take notes – or better yet – get a recording device that will record the entire conversation.
  2. Your first question on this call should be: “Can I have your name please?” They usually tell you, but if you are anything like me, by the time you give in and call them – even though you KNOW it is going to be a painful experience and probably take you the entire morning – you are already upset and not in the mood to take notes.
  3. Your second question on this call should be: “Can I have your employee number please?” You will need this because every time you talk to someone at Bell, if you cannot provide this number – they claim there is nothing they can do about it – you don’t have proof that you even called. So get their number!

If you ever wish to escalate your complaint, and chances are you will have to, you will need this information. Very little ever gets accomplished without that process.

Depending on what your issue is, it is entirely possible that even escalating your complaint will not get you a satisfactory resolution. You might want to get your mind wrapped around that possibility before you make your very frustrating phone calls. Yes, I did say phone calls. Even if it is only one phone call, you may end up explaining yourself over and over again, as they bounce you from department to department.

Good luck if/when you ever have to deal with Bell Canada customer service.

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Posted in Canada

Working From Home – in Rural Ontario

An Uncharted Journey

So, here I am at 55, one month into a new job.  It’s an ideal situation for me because I get to work from home.  A dream job it would seem, but not without its own issues.

I did not start out on this journey expecting that I would need to change so much over the years just to keep up with technology.  But there you have it – over 5 decades has seen a great deal of change.

Mostly I love the new techy toys and programs that have become available.  But in recent years I have been spending a great deal of my time with my head “In the clouds” so to speak.  Virtual everything, everywhere.

When you live in the city or the suburbs, it’s not that difficult to keep up.  Living in the country though?  Not such an easy thing to do.  I can no longer turn a blind eye to what I took for granted just a couple years ago.  While city living is the cat’s meow for many folk, and while it served its purpose while I was working and brining up a family, it was not my ultimate desired location.

No, I wanted to go back to my roots.  Back to the country where things seemed simpler.  Maybe it was just that my recollections of country living were simpler because I was a child and saw things from a totally different perspective than I do now.

Don’t get me wrong – I love it up here in the country.  But there are a great many things to consider when living in a rural community.

Fall Splendor

Fall Splendor

In addition to those things, comes the extra headache for things I did not need to think about in an urban environment.

Did you know that UPS, Purolator and FedEx do not have to travel out to my location to deliver packages that I have paid a premium for?  No, instead they decide where they want to drop them off.  For example.  I got a visit from a neighbour one day to deliver a FedEx package that had been delivered to the liquor store in town (about 15 kilometers from my place).   Their reason?  The courier driver knew one of the employees that worked there lived on my road, which meant they saved themselves a few minutes.

Am I happy that my neighbour was being neighbourly?  You bet!  The problem is, this is not an isolated incident.  After 2 years of living in the country, and out of approximately 12 packages we have paid extra to have delivered to our door,  only one has ever reached our doorstep.  And that was after an argument with the courier service.  One of my personal beefs.

Did you know that because there are not enough people in a rural area, that we all have to pay extra for every service known to man?   For example:  The world has gone global and the government has decided that access to the internet is considered as important as the telephone.  So all Canadians must have access.  The problem with that?  The internet service provides still get to gouge the rural community for those services.   I guess the regulators don’t consider that important.

Did you know that many rural areas have only 2 options for internet access?  Satellite and cell phone towers.  One is unreliable and one is over the moon expensive.  Great choices.

So, living in the country and working virtually from home has provided me with some major challenges.  I am taking on the big guys, and trying to cause enough of a stink that something gets done.  One little voice in an isolated area.  What do you think the changes are that anyone will hear me?

Maybe I should “friend” the local newspapers and challenge the government officials.  You never know, I just might do that yet.



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Posted in Country Living, Ontario

Bell Canada – A Communications Company?

Old Style Phone

Old Style Phone

For such a large company who specializes in communications Bell Canada really does not know how to communicate.

Why don’t they get it right, think of the paying customer, and make the experience a little less painful?

On a monthly basis I receive an invoice for all of the services that I get through Bell on one bill.  That would make you think that one phone number for customer service, and they would be able to answer any of your questions on any of those services that you are being billed for on their “One Bill”.

Don’t be fooled by logic.  No indeed.  You must call 5 different people to get answers about 5 different questions regarding the 5 different services that you are being billed for on that one bill.

Logic would dictate that when you speak to someone about your cell phone, and they have all of your personal information sitting right there in their data base, that all of your services with Bell would also be listed in said data base.  Not so.  Each service has it’s own little data silo and they don’t talk to each other.  “Cell” silo cannot speak to “phone” silo, cannot speak to “TV” silo and so on. . . You, the paying customer, have the privilege of doing all the work for them.

Don’t go to the Bell Store and expect answers either.  I spent 20 minutes standing in line when I wanted to purchases a Turbo Hub.  There were 4 customers in front of me even though it looked like 10.

The first lady had 4 teenage children with her.  She was served by one of the two customer service representatives in the store that morning.  She was still being served by the time the 3 other people were “served” by the other representative.  Her standard response was something like this.

“I’m sorry, I can’t help you with that question.  You will have to go on line to find the answer.”

I was hoping the lady with the 4 teenagers would hurry up – I didn’t want the the young lady who had no answers trying to answer my questions.  Luck was not on my side.  I got the young lady who didn’t know anything, and I got her standard response. . . “I’m sorry, I can’t help you with that question” . . .

I had done some research on line, had called Bell customer service, and was advised that I needed go to the nearest Bell Store for what I was looking for.  It took an 1 1/2 hours just to get to the store to be greeted by a service rep who didn’t give two hoots about anything.  I was livid.

I went out to my car, took my Bell cell phone and called *611.  I had to “Choose one of the following options” 5 times before I got someone on the other end of the line, and I was breathing a prayer that I had chosen the correct options and the person on the other end of the line was going to be able to  help me.

She did help me in a manner of speaking.  She advised me that if I wanted answers, NOT to go to the Bell store.  How’s that for confidence in your people?  Rather, she suggested that I go to The Source.  They apparently are owned by Bell, and actually staff their stores with folks who know what they are talking about.  Novel idea!

The Source happened to have a store across the street.  Yipee!  Another good piece of fortune.  And the young man who served me was the epitome of a knowledgable customer service representative.   He knew the products, was able to advise which of the options available were the best and why, and was able to answer my questions.  He even took the time to look things up on the internet and show me “how to”.  Bell could learn a thing or two from their very own outsourced company.  Too bad they don’t seem to care.

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Posted in Canada, Country Living, digital, Miscellaneous Musings, Ontario

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Duchess O'Blunt

Duchess O'Blunt

Living, Loving, Laughing, Learning

Mother | Wife| Sister| Friend | Daughter | Grandmother

Working from home as an Administrative Assistant providing ongoing professional virtual support, brings it's own challenges, but also it's own rewards. Not having the travel (often) to work, frees up some time for hobbies that I hope to perfect.

Enthusiastic photographer | Writer | History & Genealogy Buff | Gardener.

If you've looked hard enough you would find something of all of these interests scattered around the internet.

My challenge will be to organize it all into something that makes sense.

I have a love for God, country and family.

This is my journey of learning.

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