Folk Thursday: Jana Jae

With her annual American Heritage Music Festival going on this weekend in Grove, I thought this would be a good time to post a Folk Thursday video of my friend Jana. I couldn’t be there because I already had plans to be in Amarillo for a Route 66 event this weekend, but if you’re in northeastern Oklahoma, I can tell you from personal experience that at least three of the musical acts performing in Grove will be well worth the drive out to see them.

Details are online here.

blogging from the hotel where Paul McCartney stayed during his Route 66 trip, for whatever that’s worth

In my neighbor’s defense …

… I can see how a guy might find this a bit intimidating if he didn’t understand what was going on.

I’m still not willing to excuse his conduct altogether, though. Had he simply come to my front door (which is nowhere near my bee yard) and talked to me, I could have explained to him that this is not evidence of a population explosion or a sudden decision by the bees to go all Hitchcock-movie on him or anything like that. What we have here is a phenomenon known as “bearding,” in which large numbers of bees sit near the hive entrance and fan their wings to try to cool it down. The bees aren’t hurting anything; they’re just trying to cope with the Oklahoma heat and humidity like the rest of us.

I think it’s kind of cool to watch, but if I didn’t know what I was looking at, I guess I might think my neighbor had turned into the crazy Apis mellifera lady.

Some of my girls have found even better ways to beat the heat:

If you have a pond and want to do something nice for the environment, consider growing duckweed. It has three advantages: It multiplies rapidly, providing quick shade to prevent algae bloom; it provides good cover and a supplementary food source for tadpoles; and it gives pollinators such as honeybees and wasps a floating runway that allows them to land, get a drink, and take off again without risk of drowning. Pretty cool.


Folk Tuesday: Time to Get a Gun

I’m sure it’s purely coincidence that this song has been running through my head ever since I found a notice hanging on my front door, telling me I was being cited for “illegal beekeeping” because my back fence is too short and my beehives are too close to our property line.

Illegal beekeeping? Really? Colonies are disappearing all over the country, the survival of the human race more or less depends on the survival of our pollinators, and city governments are going to cite people for illegal beekeeping?

Get off my land.


It was the third of June … in 1977

It was the third of June … on that summer’s day … when Neil Diamond was apparently censored by a hypercautious television producer who didn’t approve of cougars. (The original lyric was, “I became a man at the hands of a girl almost twice my age.” Upon hearing that line in concert about 10 years ago, my sister — who is, for the record, a world-class wiseass — leaned over to me and said, “Who was the girl? Jessica Tandy?”)

Last time I heard the song in concert, Mr. Diamond had altered the lyric to say, “a girl almost half my age.” I’m not sure I consider this an improvement — the song is obviously being sung from the point of view of a man reminiscing about the past, so unless it’s supposed to be about Steve Carell’s character from The 40-Year-Old Virgin, that “half my age” thing seems a little disturbing — but I guess at some point, you get tired of hearing snide comments from mean little wenches who actually are almost half your age….

In any case, it’s a pretty great song, and I’m digging the vintage footage of my all-time favorite singer.


Folk Thursday: Michael W. Smith

OK, maybe not exactly folk, but it is acoustic, and I’ve got it going through my head tonight after watching my kids graduate. This was the first group of kids I taught when I came back to the classroom in September 2008. I don’t know if kids still sing this in Baptist youth choirs, but it was one of our favorites when I was in high school.