Month: June 2014

Box of Bugs: Chapter 2

Description Beehive.JPG

It’s been two months since I became a beekeeper, and yesterday I ended my stint as a beekeeper. I still have the bees, make no mistake, but yesterday I decided to quit feeding them. You see, in the beginning when you buy a package of bees they have nothing but the box you give them. To give them a head start, you feed them sugar water. Yesterday I took the feeder off the hive since they have grown significantly. Now they forage for their own food as bees should. It was difficult: becoming a bee-watcher rather than a beekeeper. I worry about them. I know that I shouldn’t because they are bugs that forage for food; that’s what bees do.

But nevertheless, my mind won’t let go. They are “my” bees after all. It seems that I have a relationship with each of the 30,000 or so bees that must live in the two-deep hive that they have made home. Although I know that it is impossible, I still can’t get around the hope that they know me. The have no such thoughts, I know. All of this anthropomorphism is tiring, and yet I know that when I am done writing this I will go out back to visit them.

Yesterday they bearded the front of the box as it was hot, and as bees are apt to do; and yesterday I worried and fretted. This morning I sat in my chair outside the hive with coffee and watched as the hive came to life. Perhaps this is the life of that which I have become. It is true that it is simply a box of bugs as I have written previously, but it is a box of bugs that is full of mystery and muster a fascination that I have not had in a while. I want us to understand each other, but realistically they are barely aware of me. They do what bees do and I, well I watch what bees do.

When I open the hive see the amazing amount of work that they do, both as individuals and as a hive I am dumfounded and they continue to work. Work defines the bee. I cannot help but be a little envious of such a life: doing what needs to be done, when it needs to be done, for no other reason than it needs to be done. What simplicity. What directed significance; and all in six weeks or so during the summer. And now I step back and let them be what they are naturally. It is nothing to them and a major step for me.

In my determined trek to be self-sufficient I am finding that I am the most dependent of all creatures when a simple bug can teach me freedom by doing nothing more than that which it does so flawlessly. Maybe I am worried not about the bees and my feeding them, but about myself as I slowly strip away the false sense of independence replacing it with the very real sense of awareness that it is me that needs to learn to do what needs to be done, when it needs to done, for no other reason than it needs to be done. I continue to learn from a box of bugs, and am humbled to do so.


The Workshop Universe Pt. III (Edited)

Lagoon Nebula (Messier 8)


The Big Bench Bang, then the year after the bench was built it is claimed in the tradition of mythology that most of the tools present were in place, had a place and were all accounted for. Of course, this is just a myth because looking at the place now it really does seem impossible. Five years later, the spread of the universe accumulates in the form of an electric welder and the first and only cleaning on record is applied. Organization and then entropy ensues afterwards. Ten years later an assortment of what is now the stuff of the universe is acquired: wrenches, ratchet sets appear and the space between appears as blackness, cleaning is but a faded memory. Fifteen years after the Big Bang, the gas welder appears from the nothingness and afterwards the black hole appears spitting forth hand tools from one end and sucking up all that comes within its reach, cleaning becomes a myth for some and a wish for others. Shelving falls and it and all its contents lay untouched for two years until by sheer force and will organization fights the chaos of the Universe; the act of cleaning is outlawed by the creator himself. There was a few wars fought in defense of organization and a simple wash but all were quashed in the name of chaotic order. There are some that ask about the time before the Big Bench Bang and the answer is simple: it was a workshop for the wagons and horses. Another little side-use was the slaughtering of pigs. It is in fact where I learned to do such things.

Pigs have lost their lives in the Universe long before its inception. Actually, since about 1934 pigs have been slaughtered here. The war-grounds for pork is marked territory with the blood and grease of man and pig. The times that the author was involved in the wholesale fight for meat a large, round metal bowl was used; a left-over from the second world war, a “horn-mine” that was found by the father of the creator of the universe (yes, the creator has a father) on the nearby beach but before that a wooden cask was used to hold the hot water that cleaned the carcass before the hair was burnt off the skin. It is neither a pretty sight or a quaint smell that ensues when pigs are slaughtered and both are permanent parts of the workshop. The pig is killed, hung and bled. Then parted while cats and dogs claw over the innards and the grandfather tool (the axe) is put to use to half the carcass. The head is fought over while entrails are dragged out into the darkness of space by cats and dogs alike. All of this happens within the workshop leaving the place with a different kind of smell. I wonder if because water is used if this is counted as a cleaning.

Today the shop is off-limits to any hired help because of unknown realities and time-warp related worries. It continues to grow both in sight and smell. The black hole grows, sucking in the shelving at times, and at other times parts and tools but it nevertheless continues to exist; a parody to existence itself, a stubborn trophy waved in the face of the belief in design and order. Both and anachronism and a study in the future of mankind itself, the Universe of the shop defies definition and yet defines itself as the matrix of change and the canvas of the future. Entropy ensues and it is good.

Workshop Universe Pt. II (Edited)

Lagoon Nebula (Messier 8)

On the far wall along the total length of the workshop universe is the divine workbench itself. It is the mighty holder of all that there is. Only the bravest of people dare run their hand across its fanciful but invisible top. It is no longer flat although it is not round; it exists without shape. It bears witness to countless oil-spills, tool-cleaning chemicals, gasoline, diesel, spit, blood, dirt, grease, beer, melted rubber, metal, iron, cloth and other unmentionables; emanating from it is a smell unknown to mankind. From the bowels of its load the smell entices and edifies, it sickens and cleanses the body; it is both a religious experience and a nightmarish vision from the asshole of hell itself; Medusa with the voice of the Sirens; Satan with the voice of angels. It is a small mountain range of blackened history where tools die and are reborn in a cyclical act of evolution by the natural selection of the creator himself. Its herculean strength is the only thing that be accounted for its still standing under the weight of so much for so long. It is made of wood but from some magical forest of strength endowed trees.


”I built it new, when I turned the place into my workshop.” Says the creator. He continues with a gleam in his eye as he tells me about the table drill in the middle of the bench. ”I bought that drill with a case of beer and then helped drink the beer…” The drill is a single piece anchored in place upon the bench by magical forces or sheer stubbornness, bounding out of the wilderness of sprawling parts, tools, pieces with its pulleys and belts opened for air. A chunk of blackened Swiss cheese like wood ornaments its drill plank. Everything hangs in anticipation of joining the cohorts of junk that lies on the imaginary floor. Gravity never gives up; everything eventually falls. The corners of the bench are long since rounded by use and the shelves seem to float above the bench itself, covered in grease and stacked, rounded with no-named pieces and parts. Above the middle of the workbench is a small window, most of the panes miraculously intact although light is frightened away from the prospect of shining though the smutty glass into the black hole of the workshop. It runs, screaming insanely, while all that is rests peacefully.


From the bowels of this place have come amazing feats of mechanical mystery. It is well known that from the chaotic chords of the blackened workbench are home to the answers to inexplicable and innumerous breakdowns, cracks in well-worn machinery, broken parts and a multitude of other problems that the farmer-creator faces. Inventions are not an unknown oddity to such a place as this. ”We bought the Buch 302 (A tractor) in about 1960 and right after I finished building the bench, I needed a backloader for the Buch, so I built one. It had a hydraulic lift and everything. That was the first project that I had after building the bench.” Nothing is off-limits and everything can be fixed if not permanently then at least temporarily; temporary being the permanent state of the workshop universe. Wheel-alignment, parts replacement, parts made, reparation of tools, invention of tools.

The Workshop Universe Part I (edited)

Lagoon Nebula (Messier 8)

Respectfully dedicated to my father-in-law, Jorgen Troldborg.  A man who has taught me much.

In the Universe the 2nd rule of Thermodynamics applies: that entropy will ensue. We live with that knowledge comfortably because it is such a slow-going process. But in some cases, entropy is evident and even happens right before our very eyes. Such is the case with the workshop universe at the Troldborg farm. The universe is not as old as we thought. It is, in fact, forty years old because Jørgen (the owner of the universe) was thirty years old when he created it. The Universe is a part of a totality of Universes known as the Troldborg Gård (Troldborg Farm) and Jørgen acts as the manager and general CEO of the place: his creation by design. The workshop universe holds a special place in the history of time here because within its dark bowels lays the history of Troldborg Farm. This is a short story about that history and the entropy that is inherent in all creations including his.

As was stated, the Workshop Universe is about forty years old but the oldest tool somehow outdates the universe by some one-hundred and twenty years. Such illogical facts are not important to the creator. Now if the word of the creator is not to be questioned that tool is an ax of sorts used to split tree trunks and is still usable and is enjoying life as the metaphysical grandfather of all tools in the universe today. What sort of place does such a special parcel of amazing history take up in the universe? I asked the creator himself.

”Some place or another… I think it may be in the attic over the workshop…”

While he pondered the existential space-time continuum of the question, I pondered the importance and place of lesser tools in the workshop. For example, the Drill press, a no-named drill that was once used in a fishing village called Skagen Denmark. ”Of course,” the creator followed up when I asked him about it, “it was originally powered by a windmill in a workshop on the harbor up there. They had a ´pull-station´ and would throw a belt over one of the pulleys there and the drill would be run that way. When I got it I fixed it so it could be run with a little electric motor.” The drill press sits pretty much in the middle of the black-hole of the workshop; there is a black hole in the center of this universe as well. That is to say, right in the middle, surrounded by the insurmountable stash of tools, toys, scrap iron, wood, empty cans, half-full cans, fuel barrels, plastic buckets, chains, rope, plastic ties, nylon webbing, electric motors, gas motors, reserve parts, axles from cars, tractors, mopeds, bicycles, shovels (with and without handles), the handles of the said shovels without such handles, broken bottles, paint brushes, ratchet sets, open-ended wrenches, collections of assorted rubber parts, pieces of panhandled plows, compressor pistons, hay-press pulls, bolts, nuts, washers, screws and nails that have been pulled, pried, pricked, pummeled, pled, pounded and peened out, in and around most known materials of mankind, chainsaws, pulleys, lifts, hooks, cords, cables, used saws, assortments of hammers, several welders masks, an electric welder, boxes of welding sticks, gloves with and without holes, burnt out plugs, jars of liquids that defy definition and either snuff out life itself or are the cradles of civilizations yet unknown to even the creator himself. To actually come to stand next to the drill press would take a miraculous act or would cost one their sanity and probable their life to boot. It is said it can be done but the author has his doubts. I believe that it is the event horizon.

Another standing question that I had of the Workshop Universe is the large compressor that sits in its corner silently until its long, shaggy tail is followed through the trail of indefinable debris and connected with the hidden contact mounted proudly but covered with the dust, grease and grime of the infinite muck of universe itself. It is then that the monstrosity hums and pops into life spreading an earthquake of bangs that rumble the theoretical floor of the shop itself. Now I say ´theoretical´ only because the floor as really never been seen as far as I know. The fact that one does not float in the shop is no proof because of the thick, dense fog that hangs over and in the workshop at all times; perhaps the ether that Einstein mistakenly referred to? It would be easy enough to enjoy the sights and sounds of the shop simply by walking on the fog itself. Of course, there are theories about this but to go into the physical guesswork of if, when and how is well beyond the scope of this trivial discourse. Suffice it to say that the actual floor is somewhat of a myth. The compressor has no color but is not black nor is it white. It is rather a thick, oily grayish “blue”. Its color changes with the fog and with the sorrowful rays of sun that happen upon it from one of the three openings into the workshop world.