April 30, 2013

Outdoor Chores and Kids

We have been doing outdoor chores lately, with the weather turning nice and all. Alden seems to appreciate the outdoor more than ever and Elliott is just as happy outside as he is inside. He has a little tent we put him in. Here are some pictures, note Elliott is eating grass. 

April 29, 2013

Bee Check 2

So the start of spring hive check happened over the weekend. I opened the hives and checked the frames and got to see how many bees survived the winter. Part of the inspection is also to flip the hive boxes, and put the top on the bottom and bottom on the top.
Of the three colonies that survived, two looked in good shape, but one (the green hive) looked a little sketchy. Not very many bees.
There were a bunch of bees on the floor of the green hive, which does not bode well. There were also a bunch of dead bees on the beige hive too, but that hive is really active, so I'm not sure what to think.
There were also some beetles on the bottom, we looked them up and it turned out to be not an issue.
So it looks like we will do at least one hive split in the next month... maybe two depending on how the green hive does. 

April 20, 2013

Alden loses another tooth

Alden fell and hit his mouth a few weeks back. His gum started to discolor last week and we had him checked out by the dentist, who noticed the tooth was loose and told us to keep an eye out for any signs of infection. Sure enough, he developed an abscess in his gum on Tuesday and the dentist had to remove the tooth. This brought the swelling down a lot, but it left Alden's mouth full of holes. He probably won't get his adult teeth for a few more years, so I guess we'll need to get used to this new smile. The tooth fairy brought him a little Lego set this time, which he's been enjoying during this vacation week.

April 18, 2013


I served on a couple juries this week, one on Tuesday for assault and one on Thursday for drunk driving. I was selected from a pool at the end of last month for cases that also included (allegedly) a guy repeatedly selling drugs on school buses, domestic violence, hit and run, phone harassment and a civic case that I did not get to hear because I was lucky enough to pull the two trials I was assigned.

The eight hour process of selection was ridiculously long and could have been streamlined to four hours with very minor tweaks and possibly two without losing integrity. I don't mind doing my civic duty, but they are the ones who asked me to serve and a more professional process would have been appreciated. 

The first case was dismissed halfway through because the prosecution's key witness did not show up. It was for assault. Basically the case was about a guy who borrowed a car from his friend, and returned it to her a day late. When they met up at McDonalds she was pissed off and started getting in his face. From the video (and testimony) it looked like she pushed or slapped him and then he punched her and ran away. I was astonished that this made it to court. I think I would have found the defendant not guilty on the evidence I saw, but the case was dismissed and I did not have to make a decision.

The second case was an OUI charge, with the only real information being that a guy was "acting suspicious"  outside a Wilton market. The police arrived and noticed he was drunk, the passenger side of his truck was recently damaged from running into something and the vehicle was parked at the market for about 10 minutes prior to their arrival.

Defendant story: He woke up (in Searsport) and decided to go to the Skowhegan Fair. He was having family trouble and thought the fair would help. He is a recovering alcoholic. He arrived at the fair around noon. While at the fair he visited the beer tent and had one or two beers. He then waited a few hours and decided to drive (say 3pm). While crossing a narrow bridge he scraped the side of his truck and damaged the mirror, he was also lost. The next town he happened upon was Wilton where he stopped at a market (approximately 6:00), bought a 375ml bottle of 100 proof vodka and began to drink. He then called a friend to pick him up and approached some strangers to see if they could direct his friend to where he was (since he was lost). His behavior was strange enough that someone called the police and they arrived around 6:10. At 6:30 back up was called to give an OUI field test. He claims he did not remember/say the incriminating things in the police report because he was drunk. At 7:15 he was taken to the station for a breathalyzer test which read 0.21. The large amount alcohol in his system was from the vodka he drank after he was parked.

Prosecution story:  The first officer on the scene approached the suspect investigating a 'suspicious person' call. The officer identified the suspicious person as the defendant and upon questioning the defendant appeared nervous and illusive with his answers. The officer noticed an alcohol smell on the defendant and called for backup to give a field OUI. A second officer arrived and asked the defendant several times if he had anything to drink after he had parked his truck. The defendant said 'no'. The defendant stated he was in no condition to drive and was trying to get a ride home. The officers noted that the truck was damaged and that it was still cooling off from being driven. The officers found an empty vodka bottle in the backseat of the truck. The defendant failed the field OUI and was brought to the police station for further tests which he also failed and was charged with OUI.

What obviously happened: The guy woke up (in Searsport) and decided to go to the Skowhegan Fair. He was having family trouble and thought the fair would help. He arrived at the fair around noon. While at the fair he visited the beer tent and had a bunch of beers. He is a recovering alcoholic and fell off the wagon. He was so drunk that he could not find his way home back to Searsport when he left at 3pm. There is a good likelihood he bought the vodka at the Hannaford store across from the Skowhegan fair. While driving in his drunken haze he hit something. He realized he could get in trouble for hitting whatever he hit (and hopefully realized he was endangering his life and others) so he stopped at the next town (Wilton) where he parked at a market (approximately 6:00). He may or may not have bought the 375ml bottle of 100 proof vodka at that time, but in saying he did created doubt that he was DRIVING drunk (perhaps in 20 minutes he was able to pull over, assess his damaged vehicle, ask people for help, buy a bottle of vodka, and drink it). The police arrived and questioned him and he gave answers that he thought would keep him out of trouble, but in reality proved his guilt. After talking to a lawyer he changed his story so he would not have to go to jail.

The defendant story did not hold water for me because if he went into the store to buy vodka, why didn't he ask for directions from the clerk? Why was he calling his friend to pick him up before he started drinking? The damage to his truck that day seems like a very unlikely random coincidence. Why did he tell the officer he had nothing to drink after he had parked and then change his story after talking with his lawyer? Why didn't he inform the officer he had just downed a bottle of vodka in the parking lot when asked? Why did he wait four hours between his first drink at the fair and going on a bender in the parking lot as an alcoholic who just fell off the wagon? What sober person (while lost and smashing their truck) decides drinking vodka in a parking lot is a better choice than going home to get drunk?

Surprisingly, I was the only juror who thought he was guilty. After some deliberation I realized that proof could not be achieved because the prosecution did not address the vodka bottle appropriately... It was plausible. I caved.

The case makes me feel that bad that 11 out of 12 people lacked critical thinking skills and will believe a flimsy story by an individual over that of the local police. The kicker was that I was the foreman and had to deliver the verdict.

April 3, 2013

Nature Hike

Here are some pictures from a nature hike we did just before the end of our vacation.


April 2, 2013

Starting the Garden

When we got back from vacation we did an autopsy on the hive that died over winter. 

We found som mold on some dead bees and also some on some patches of wax. There were still some full frames of honey, which leads us to believe that they probably died early in winter. Ilana thinks nosema, I think the there were not enough bees to from a proper bee-ball... Whatever the case it looks like a standard colony loss (no major disease, infestation or animal intrusion) so we can do a hive-split with one of our healthy colonies later this spring and get the beehive back up and running by summer.
I also had the chance to finish pruning the fruit trees, blueberries, and one row of raspberries. I still have two more raspberry rows and the blackberry patch to prune, and then the orchard will be ready for 2013.
I also trimmed some of the trees, including the hemlock next to the garden. The next few days look like cold ones, but next weekend should be good for more outdoor chores.

April 1, 2013

Egg Hunt

After we returned home we had a day of fun outdoor chores (no kidding it was lovely that day) and then Karen's prepared an easter egg hunt at her house. 

Elliott stayed in his carrier for this round, but Alden had a great time seeking out the plastic eggs full of chocolate and real eggs painted like bunnies. 
After Alden found all the prizes he took them inside and carefully examined what he had gained.

Elliott had a great time playing with Zoe the cat and his new stuffed bear.
We all sat down for a lovely family meal in the evening, but had to go home early after because Alden started to come down with a cold of some kind.