Volunteers with Bee stings and Power Tools that bite

Volunteers with Bee stings and Power Tools that bite

Helpful Hank

Hello All Helpful Hank Here, I would like to talk about a few things today. Tool use safety, The Well in the Desert and, Bee Stings.

Well this past weekend my partner and I framed in Mishaps that led to one trip to the Emergency room and thankfully not two trips. Friday night I was making a hat rack. I had finished cutting my pieces turned off the saw and as it slowed down, I moved a piece of scrap off the platform of the table saw. The blade met my thumb as it was slowing down and took a chunk. No stitches but a lot of pain. Then on Monday My partner who is allergic to bees was stung not once but 3 times all at once. Luckily he is not as allergic as he once was (three strikes and you are out heck one strike and you are out.) he ended up with a bad case of hives and feeling like shite.

So here we go. Rule number one: When using power tools such as saws and other cutters. Use the guard. That is what it is there for. Rule number two: Don’t move items away from saw when it is still moving. Rule number three: Don’t rush or be impatient.

Rushing and being impatient is what nearly cost my thumb and got me a trip to the emergency room. It also put my Kitchen Cabinet project back a week or two, as without use of my left opposable thumb I’m stuck in neutral. (That’ll learn me.) It is Ironic as I tend to be the person who always follows these rules whether it is out of fear of accidents happening (case in point) or out of respect for the power of the tool. (A bit off both) T he one time I let my guard down or up as the case was. Bam. So be careful folks and learn from my mistake.

It seems at least at my hose we are having a bit of a problem with aggressive bees. They like to hang around the grape arbor and citrus trees. I often will see to bee’s rolling around on the ground one on top of the other looking like they are fighting. I thought maybe that there is a queen near by and they are fighting to be her mate. As it turns out it is the female workers who sting and leave there stinger behind in the skin after which; they die. Now while my husband didn’t need an epi pen this time (which he should have and we will get) it is a must have Item for those with sever allergic reactions to things like bee stings and nut allergies or any other sever allergies. Sever allergic reactions can send you into anaphylactic shock. This can quickly become game over.

Here is what to do if you are allergic to bee’s and, get stung. If stung, try to look for the barbed stinger in the case of a bee sting and carefully remove it by flicking it or scratching it out of the skin from the stinger sack. Using a business card or credit card works well. You don’t want to pull it out with tweezers if at all possible as it squeezes more bee venom into the blood stream and can make things worse.


I know I harp on getting involved. Especially when it comes to the marriage Equality issue. There are other volunteer opportunities as well. My Husband I participated in one such volunteer opportunity for the first time this last Monday. (and we plan to continue to volunteer) at Well in the Desert here in Palm Springs. It is called “Sandwich Monday’s”. What is “Sandwich Mondays”? well it is making Sandwiches for those who have less than. It is a piece of cake to do and a lot of fun. Bloom In The Desert Ministries (An all-inclusive Ministries.) organizes this. They need volunteers. It is every Monday from about 9:00 A.M. to 10:30 A.M. You will walk away wanting to do it again and feeling good about things. I will provide all the information you need to participate at the bottom of this column.

I am always looking for people to share volunteer opportunities with me as it is a great way for anyone to give a bit back. If you have a roof over your head, food in the refrigerator, a mode of transportation, (We took our bikes.) clothes on your back, you should get involved. There are people with much less, getting involved in volunteering opportunities. Isn’t time you got involved? You’ll be amazed at how good you end up feeling.

The vegetable Garden experiment.

Ever since we moved to the desert, I have been attempting to grow a vegetable garden. My big problem is that the area I am using is a crab grass field. So I built raised planters put down my weed cloth and planted my seed. The problem is this the crab grass grows up through the same hole as the vegetables as they sprout, leaving me to wonder what good is weed cloth. So while some of my plants do o.k. others don’t. I decided to experiment a bit and planted some of those plants that were not doing so hot in the raised planter directly in the ground.

Making sure to pull as much of the crab grass as possible (as best I could roots and all) up and removing from my planting area. I then plant my seeds, in this case sunflowers, corn, beans and, some flowers. So far, they seem to be doing O.K. My corn stocks are getting larger then the ones planted in the raised planter, and my sunflowers and bean plants are looking healthy. We shall see. I will keep everyone posted. I also made sure to put down small bark as mulch after planting my seeds. This not only helps hold the water in but it also helps keep the crab grass as at bay as you can.

My vegetable garden is for the most part full sun. I have some plants in there that like partial sun and some plants that are in wire baskets ( notorious for drying out) What I have done to provide some shade and to keep the baskets from too much direct sun light (which will dry them out quicker) is to use umbrellas to shade them. I have some of the colorful umbrellas that hook on to chairs via clamps and then I picked a few up at thrift shops. Not only does it give a bit of whimsy to your vegetable garden. It shades the plants that need it. They are easily moved around as well.
There are vegetables and fruits that can do well in hanging baskets as long as you keep them watered properly. Vegetables such as peas, beans and, Strawberries. Two key factors to keep in mind are making sure you have a large enough hanging basket and making sure that you’re not losing dirt. It is important that you use a good base for your baskets that will line the basket solidly while allowing enough dirt to plant in. I like to use a good Spanish Moss. Other Mosses work as well. Avoid plastic encased by moss as I find that it doesn’t allow the soil to breathe as it needs and in turn can cause root rot. It is always best to plant hanging baskets in part shade or create part shade like I did with umbrellas. Depending on where you hang them at and the climate they can be watered as little as every two days. Planting them in good soil is key. I start with a good gardening soil, and if I am recycling soil from last year, I always use Miracle Grow. I mix it in with the dirt in a large bucket. I water the soil for two days before I transfer it to my hanging baskets. I feel it helps to work the fertilizer into the soil. (another good all-purpose fertilizer is VF-11.) I then take my conditioned soil add in some vermiculite to it and I’m ready to go.

After my soil is prepped and ready I line my baskets with the moss. I then fill with the dirt and water letting stand for a day. By doing this I get an indication of how long the dirt in the basket stays damp. If it dries out real fast, you might want to find a different place to hang it.

Trees are a great place to hang a hanging basket. They provide filtered sunlight in spring summer and early fall which helps to keep the water in the soil. I also like to fertilize lightly a few weeks after I have planted my seeds as a little boost. Keep your baskets watered properly and soon it could be flowing over with peas, beans and Strawberries.

Other edibles that work well in a basket are herbs of all kind. From Sage to Parsley, Oregano, Basil and, Thyme.

Another option for lining your baskets is to use live moss. You can pick up a flat for under twenty dollars at places like Lowes or Home Depot. Face the plants outward so that the dirt faces in fill with soil and plant seeds. Using live moss makes it easier to plant some seeds in the sides of your basket so that you have them sprout outward from the basket. There are many ways to plant your baskets even incorporating edible flowers such as Nasturtiums. All it takes is just a little imagination.

Dogs and Palm Seeds

This is the time of year that the Palm Seeds tend to drop from the palms. I don’t know if any other pet owners have this problem but my dogs love to eat them. They chew and chew on them like they would a bone then swallow them. (it is not for lack of raw hide and dog bones as they get plenty of them.) I am unable to find anything that says Queen palm tree seeds are poison to dogs but, in my research I did find out that Sego palms are highly toxic not only to dogs but to little children as well. There toxicity is fatal in most cases from what I could ascertain. Good to know as we tried to grow some segos when we first moved down here. They are pretty but to finicky for my taste. They were always turning yellow.

I would like to take a minute to mention my Friend Jonathan Taylor’s newest web site TheDesert411. Get the skinny on all you need to know. You can join today here and ask about his advertising promotions for your business

Well that about sundown on this column



Hints and helpful tips; don’t over water plants there is a tendency to feel that because we are in a hotter climate that we have to water more. This isn’t always the case. If your soil seems damp then leave it in most cases. Conversely, as well don’t over water. This can cause root rot.

You can contact Helpful Hank with Questions, Comments, Tips and, Deals Here

Bloom In The Desert Ministries:

Hey all This weekend Joshua Tree is having it’s Gay pride celebration at Studio Godot in the Art Queen Complex 61855 29 Palms Highway 3233565922
Saturday, June 27, 2009 6:00 P.M. to 11:00 P.M. Phone # 323-356-5922 e-mail: jsmsyd@yahoo.com/
Also, if you get a chance see the movie Outrage it is well worth it.
Don’t forget to check out nh8wear Express your need for Equality they now have the signature shirt that says I support Marriage Equality. Check it out at nh8wear

Helpful Hank is written by Russell E. Bertlow © 2009 All rights reserved. No portion of this blog may be reprinted in part or whole without the express written permission from Russell E. Bertlow


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One Response to Volunteers with Bee stings and Power Tools that bite

  1. Thats good, your blog is cool, i like it. Thanks for the efforts my friend.
    My blog is about Wedding ideas.

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