Make a Bee Happy, Dead Head your Flowers and Make Great Smoker Material!

Flowers

One of the many things us beekeepers do is grow a lot of flowers.  I know every beekeeper or person just getting started into beekeeping has at least thought about what types of flowers they might need in their area.  I live down in San Diego and I have my go to flower favorites.  My favorites are targeted around a few features.

  1. Perennial.  Will I have to replant every year?
  2. Frequency of flowering.
  3. Do the bees like it?

A pretty simple list.  But moving ahead here, I’m going to talk about dead heading your flowers.  Dead heading your flowers is simply just trimming off any dead bits off of the plant.  As a beekeeper, I’m pretty much talking about how we can induce more flowers to grow so our friendly bees have more food on the plant.  Once a flower has passed it’s bloom cycle, it will begin to die.  At that stage, your best bet is to “dead head” the dying flower head.  By doing so, you enable the plant to focus its energy elsewhere and perhaps inspire further blooming of the plant.

Dead Head

Lavender flowers with some needing some dead heading.How do I dead head?  Simply just cut off the flower head about 1/2″-1″ above the nearest leaf grown found beneath the spent flower.  Many people then simply discard the flower, but here is a grand idea.  Save those cuttings!

 

Smoker Fuel

Dead headed flowers stored in my bee smoker fuel bucket

Dead headed flowers ready to be used in my bee smoker

Take the cuttings and leave them out somewhere where they will continue to dry out.  The reason you want these clippings to dry out is you can then use them in your beehive smoker!  Think about it this way, you could pay good money for fuel to burn in the smoker, or you could use some delightful smelling dried flowers for fuel in your smoker.  I’ve even seen this stuff for sale as a boutique delightful fuel.  From the picture on the left you can see my lavender fuel supply now.  I use this stuff every month as I perform my hive inspections.

Well that is it for this quick minute on making your bees happy while make smoker fuel!

Happy Beekeeping.

Make your 2016 a Gardening Success by using Micro-Logs

I can’t tell you the number of times I’ve forgotten about when I did something last in my gardening exploits.  Using the LogVine free Micro-Log service, you can avoid forgetting when you applied fertilizer, water, or nutrients.   I used to write little notes on my iPhone using the notes application for when I did things last.  This worked reasonably well, but I just didn’t feel comfortable with the flow of things.

What is a micro-log?  It is a short-handed approach to storing something of importance.  Micro-logs are significant because they can save you a lot of time in recalling when you performed an action last.  My rose garden nearly died 1 month ago due to black rot and rust.  I was faced with having to do something about the problem.  I applied a late evening foliar spray of neem oil.  I needed to apply the spray every 7-10 days.  In order to remember the timing I wrote a quick  micro-log stating “home” “roses” “neem oil”.  Think of this like a quick tweet that  helps me remembers something.  Here it is on the phone:

"Home" "roses" "neem oil"

This particular entry is super simple to fill out and will keep a record in the cloud and locally on my iPhone device that acts as a nice memory trail.

Moving ahead, I also can drill into some of my other logs at a high-level here.

High level view of a few "home" "roses" logs.

 

Well that is wrap for this brief gardening entry.

Announcing the LogVine Version 1.4 iOS Application Update

Application Version 1.4 Apple Store Update

Announcing the LogVine application version 1.4 Apple Store update!  We’ve been busy chasing bugs among other things this release.  Anyway, the application version 1.4 Apple store update is live now!  Let’s break it down for you here.

Bug Fixes …

Chris - Bummed About LogVine Bug

Chris – Bummed about LogVine Bugs

The default main view started to no longer render things in the correct order with the latest iOS 8.2 update.  We were as baffled as you might have been, but targeting some wholesome energy brought this puppy back home.  The latest version should no longer have this issue.   I was trying to log data about my fish when all of sudden it stopped appearing!  The data was rest-assured stored in our cloud and on the iOS device, but it wasn’t rendering in the correct spot.  *sigh*  We fixed it.

There are numerous other bug fixes, but I won’t dig into them here as the biggest issue was the wall view not sorting properly.

One other thing we did do this round was patch the web servers.  We’re using some pretty powerful software called “Django” and Python.  There was a security patch released from the Django team and we reacted within about 6 hours of their announcement.  We value the security of your data!

Yeah yeah, but iWatch …

Yes, yoiWatch from Appleu read that right,  there is a lot of excitement drumming around iWatch.   We coded out a light-weight iWatch implementation in this release.  Sadly, we didn’t read the fine print on the Apple Web Site until right after we attempted to upload the iWatch software embedded into the LogVine app.  Apple has some pretty darn good filters and immediately denied the LogVine binary.  We’ve since conditionally turned off the iWatch application from being included into the binary release.  I can personally vouch that we’ll be releasing it when Apple gives its blessing that we can start pushing applications into the store.

Happy micro-logging folks!

LogVine iOS Application Version 1.4 has been released!

Chris is Happy! Things are stable again.

Are You My Garden Micro-Log Entry?

Your Garden is a Historical Journey of Learning

With Spring quickly upon us you’re probably beginning the process of garden and yard preparation. You might be faced with issues around irrigation which happens to rhyme with irritation for some odd reason. Among other things you might be more focused on the happier side of the gardening business. For instance, deciding what you’re going to plant in your garden space this year.

The point of this post is not to try and identify what you are planting in your garden.  The point is to offer you a helping hand in starting your journey into maintaining a historical record of your garden this year.  Using LogVine the micro-log service of course!

Track Your Surroundings

So how do you identify if something is worthy of tracking or observing in LogVine? The This time of the year, weeds are prevalent, logging that.straight and narrow is this. Do you want to know when you did something historically the following year? If so, then you’ll want to track it. In its simplest form, would you like to know the first time you started spotting those Spring weeds that popped up in the yard?  This year, I took a note that they came in around February 1, 2015. Here is the log entry.  I even uploaded a photo of a particular location on my grounds.  I can’t tell you in 2014 when they first appeared because I didn’t have a logging system like LogVine at the time and I didn’t think to log this particular event.

Log When Things Are Planted

Mt. Hood Hops Bulb Planted and Logged using LogVine Micro-Log service.

Mt. Hood Hops Bulb Planted and Logged using LogVine Micro-Log service.

If you’ve read any of my previous posts, you’ll know that I’ve used LogVine for beer making.  Well, when it comes down to making beer, a key ingredient is a plant that we call hops or Humulus lupus.  My garden this year was just upgraded by adding a perennial Mt. Hood hops (link to Burpee, if you want to get one!).  I wanted to track the inaugural planting event in LogVine so I could dig back in coming years to see when I started this plant.  I now have the date and time tracked of the little bulb beginning to sprout some green leaves.  The only thing I am missing is a trellis.  I’ll give this little plant some time before I move to that step.

Fertilizing?  Applying Compost?  Log It!

Adding fertilizer and documenting citrus blooms

iOS Example of a flowering citrus and fertilizer LogVine entries

How amazing would it be in 2016 or 2017 for you to look back and see that in 2015 you applied fertilizer 1 month earlier than usual due to an earlier Spring?  I didn’t log last year, but I know that I didn’t apply natural organic fertilizer to my citrus trees until mid March.  This year, the flowers were blooming and the trees were ready for fertilizer in early February.  I also documented that the citrus blooms came in around February 20th on nearly all of my citrus trees.  I can safely say the local Honey Bees were happy and so was I because I now have a record of this behavior.

Log Anything and Everything You Grow

Peach Tree Logged Showing Flowers From Blooms (Home Garden)Today I just noticed something joyous.  My peach tree finally showed some signs of life by beginning to open its blooms.  Please ignore the weed that is growing next to it.  Rest-assured I pulled the weed and tossed it into the compost bin.  This tree is the last one to bloom in my yard this year and as small as it is, seeing blooms is a beautiful experience that I not only wanted to share with you here, but track in LogVine.  The reason is that next year, I’ll have a pretty good idea on how the tree has been performing year in and out.

Use LogVine micro-logs to log your life and gain insight into your gardening journey!  Happy growing folks and get ready, Spring is only a few days away!

-Chris

P.S. Yes, I did a little play in the title on the famous “Are You My Mother?” Book by P.D. Eastman.

Current iOS Bug Fixes

110-bug@2xBUGS!!! Yes, we found some bugs. When attempting to select an image from your photo library on the iOS platform bad things happen. Due to embarrassment, my face looks like a red delicious apple right now. LogVine Image Upload Failed1, you can’t even select anything from your photo library without the application locking up. 2, you have to shutdown the application and remove it from memory (double click the iOS home button) and start again! If this happened to you, we have a fix! Oh and most importantly, we owe you an apology. So here it is. Sorry about that! The fix is now in the application review queue at Apple.

Also, we had another big issue with GoDaddy SSL certificates not working out for us. I documented this in the permies forum as well. The solution was simply for us to purchase a “real” GeoTrust wild-carded SSL certificate. The GoDaddy SSL certificate we purchased turned out to be untrusted in the iOS Safari browser. When a user signs up for a LogVine account they are asked to verify their email address. This process was breaking down for everyone, including me on my iOS 8.1.3 devices! The fix was simply to setup a new server and route people to www2.logvine.com for handling authentication. I dislike going to www2, but I have no choice until I can get all the 1.1 versions of the LogVine application upgraded to 1.3.

LogVine_1.3_Submitted_App_Review
We just submitted yesterday (March 3rd, 2015) the iOS version 1.3 update to Apple for their routine review process. Version 1.3 will fix the following issues.
1. Image screen was locking up if you selected to load an image from the current library.
2. The original SSL certificate used was inferior and we’ve since selectively mapped our DNS to our new GeoTrust SSL certificate hosts.

Gardening Time is Almost Upon Us! New Dimension Added to the Micro-Log

Whether you’re planning on planting a garden this year, maintaining a pond, or just simply tracking something you find interesting. Our latest iOS version 1.1 update is a huge update to the application. We’ve integrated the ability to upload an image with each micro-log that you create. This effectively creates a new dimension on your micro-log. Colorful images tell such a richer story and have been a much needed addition we’ve been planning. The images aren’t just stored on the device, they are also uploaded and managed in the cloud. So if you ever lose or change devices, your logs and images will still be safely stored in the LogVine cloud!

Beer7 aka. "Crazy Squirrel" has been bottled!

Beer7 aka. “Crazy Squirrel” has been bottled! (Web View)

You can now upload images along with your micro-log using your iOS Apple devices. The web will render your image results as well! I just bottled my latest batch of home brew batch of “Crazy Squirrel” beer.

The very same picture renders in a nice image view on your iOS device.

(iOS View)

Logging beer is great and I clearly like to log my brews, but the time of year is beginning to start soil preparation for your home gardens. I’ve begun getting our compost pit churned and ready to integrate into our garden soil for the future seeds! The seed company Burpee has a nice reference to this material here. Using LogVine for this tracking enables you to set the precedent or historical context for how things work when you begin your regular gardening cycles.

Another much needed enhancement is the ability to enter subjects and categories now with spaces in them.

E.g. Backyard Pond
Compost Churned

There are countless more bug fixes we coded to create a more stable application for you. If you find anything wrong at all with the product please don’t hesitate to contact us on Twitter or on our contact page.

How To Use the Web Site

How do I use the web site to store what you a call a “micro-log”? Watch this video!

LogVine.com Web Tutorial

Happy Logging Folks!
-Chris

Introducing LogVine the “Micro-Log” Service

Welcome all!  My name is Chris Me_Circle and over a year ago I was unable to find adequate software for tracking my fruit trees and garden.  I was primarily interested in something that would do the following:

  1. Allow me to enter data quickly and easily through a simple interface.
  2. Backup the data into the cloud space.
  3. Work from my iPhone and synchronize with my iPad and even an Android device.  Also a web view would be nice.
  4. Automatically graph the data.

Since I couldn’t find anything, I decided to begin the process of writing a full back-end service tier and an iOS application to boot.  Over the course of this journey I coined the term the “micro-log”.  A “micro-log” is a simple way to quickly and easily enter a few words or some data in a short and compressed format.  Originally, I designed a twitter-like interface using the following nomenclature.

* – Subject or Parent Category
– Predicate or Sub-Category
And what follows afterwards is the optional object or data.  
The date of the entry would automatically be applied for the current date time.  It could also be manually entered to specify an exact time stamp.
It ended up looking something like:
Screen Shot 2014-12-12 at 4.44.37 PM
Screen Shot 2014-12-12 at 4.44.50 PM 

The format and nomenclature worked, but as I used it more and more on my iOS platform I found it to be cumbersome.  I focused on removing extra button clicks and came up with a simple iOS widget based interface that you’ll find available now in the iOS App Store. Oh and lest I forget it, LogVine the iOS application is free!

The Goal @ LogVine

To enable users to easily track their data and gain insight into their historical behavior.

I’ve built the platform and I plan on continuing to improve and enhance the features.  Please go out and get it! LogVine

-Chris

Welcome to the logVine Blog

This is our first blog entry and we promise to create more announcements soon.