August 2011

Beekeeper Dirk Kiehne

When it comes to beekeeping, just follow the buzz. That’s in essence how Dirk Kiehne, a relative newcomer to the profession, gets his customers.

Take the Atherton home where we recently met up with Dirk on his rounds of hives in local backyards. “A swarm landed on the porch, and the woman who lives here put them in a box herself,” he says. “But they only stayed for a few months. By then she was hooked, and a friend of hers whose hives I was tending told her about me.”

Dirk, a former software engineer, is a man clearly delighted with his new vocation. He’s also a walking encyclopedia of bee knowledge.

“In a mature hive at the height of summer, there are probably about 50,000 bees,” he says. “They are actually very peaceful — you can walk right up to them. They only become aggressive when you swat at them or if you bump into the hive.”

According to Dirk, bees live only about six weeks in the summer they have so much work to do.  “They like it between 90 and 97 degrees inside the hive,” he says.

As Dirk prepares to check the honey production in the hive, he burns a combination of eucalyptus barn and pine twigs. “Smoke calms bees down,” he explains. “It elicits an age old response when they still lived mainly in forests. You can herd them with smoke — they go into battle station mentality.”

Bees held by beekeeper Dirk Kiehne

The fact that Dirk is a beekeeper today is the result of a chance encounter at the Menlo Park Farmers Market with honey seller Jim Talboy. “I was talking with him and he invited me to go out with him to gather honey. I was instantly captivated.”

Dirk took pains to examine the brood chamber while we watched. “This is just for the bees, not for harvesting,” he explains, continuing to talk about all the different jobs there are to do within a hive.

“The maids clean the hive. The undertakers drag dead bees out of the hives. The harvester bees gather nectar. The guard bees watch the entrances. Drones fertilize virgin queens.”

Like the bees’ jobs, a beekeeper’s garb is predictable — gloves, hat and veil, and white coveralls. Why white? “Bees don’t like big hairy, dark things like bears, so beekeepers wear white.”

Photos by Scott R. Kline

{ 1 comment }

Should girls play boys’ basketball in city league?

The Menlo Park Parks and Recreation Commission is conducting a survey to ask residents their views about allowing a limited number of girls to play on boys’ basketball team. Currently, the youth basketball program, which serves kids in third through seventh grade, fields girls-only and boys-only teams. A new policy that would allow boys’ teams […]

Click to read more →

New St. Raymond School prinicipal is Atherton born/raised Dr. Tara Rolle

Thumbnail image for New St. Raymond School prinicipal is Atherton born/raised Dr. Tara Rolle

Dr. Tara Rolle is the new Principal of St. Raymond School. She comes to St. Raymond from Moreau Catholic High School where she was Assistant Principal and Director of Admissions. Born and raised locally in Atherton, she received her Doctorate in Educational Leadership, Administration & Policy from Pepperdine University, a Masters in Educational Leadership from […]

Click to read more →

Cindy Zedeck: Using colors to help kids and teens control their weight

Thumbnail image for Cindy Zedeck: Using colors to help kids and teens control their weight

What started as a small research study at Stanford Medical School has blossomed into one of the most successful weight control programs in the country, all aimed at kids age 8-15 and their families. Earlier this year the Packard Pediatric Weight Control Program moved to spacious offices and classrooms in Menlo Park near 101. According […]

Click to read more →

Sept. 3 lecture about Picasso art works currently on display at DeYoung Museum

Thumbnail image for Sept. 3 lecture about Picasso art works currently on display at DeYoung Museum

The Atherton Library is hosting a lecture on the exhibition of Pablo Picasso (1881-1973) masterpieces currently on display at the DeYoung Museum in San Francisco through October 10. The lecture will take place on Saturday, Sept. 3 at 2:00 pm. The DeYoung exhibition includes paintings, sculptures, drawings, and prints representing Picasso’s entire career. The art works […]

Click to read more →

Rep. Anna Eshoo announces plans to seek reelection

Thumbnail image for Rep. Anna Eshoo announces plans to seek reelection

Rep. Anna Eshoo, who lives in Menlo Park and has served in the U.S. House of Representatives since 1993, announced today that she will run for reelection in the newly-drawn 18th Congressional District, which includes Menlo Park and Atherton, among other cities and towns in three counties (San Mateo, Santa Cruz and San Clara). “While […]

Click to read more →

Badgeville CEO Kris Duggan on social gaming and loyalty programs

Thumbnail image for Badgeville CEO Kris Duggan on social gaming and loyalty programs

Like a dozen or so other startups, Badgeville is hiding in plain sight in a nondescript downtown Menlo Park office building. But that doesn’t mean it’s going unnoticed. According to CEO Kris Duggan, the 18-month-old company, which recently received an additional $12 million in funding, is expected to do between $5 and $10 million in sales […]

Click to read more →

Spotted: Lights, shadows and wheels at Allied Arts

Thumbnail image for Spotted: Lights, shadows and wheels at Allied Arts

Recently, while visiting Allied Arts Guild in Menlo Park, I stumbled across this wonderful wheeled cart pushed up against a distant fence. The light was just right, providing a wonderful spotlight of light on the cart and some great shadows through the wheels. I couldn’t resist taking the shot, finding, as often the case with […]

Click to read more →

Stanford grad Chris Mocko wins 2nd Kids 4 Sports run

Thumbnail image for Stanford grad Chris Mocko wins 2nd Kids 4 Sports run

Showing a distance runner can master shorter races, Stanford grad Chris Mocko (number 64)  went wire to wire to win the Kids 4 Sports run this morning in a time of 15.07. Categorizing his participation as a “kick off,” Chris said he hasn’t been doing much competitive running lately. “I’d thought seriously about competing in […]

Click to read more →

MPAEF kicks off the school year and fundraising efforts with Gatsby party

Thumbnail image for MPAEF kicks off the school year and fundraising efforts with Gatsby party

The Menlo Park Atherton Education Foundation kicked off its fundraising efforts for the 2011-12 school year with a Gatsby themed party in Menlo Park on Saturday night. The Foundation supports professional development for teachers, educational instruction in music, art, and hands-on science, librarians, and educational innovation. Emails MPAEF volunteer Valerie Ambwani: “Auction parties like Gatsby […]

Click to read more →

Claudio Pellegrini: Patriarch of SLAC’s LCLS

Thumbnail image for Claudio Pellegrini: Patriarch of SLAC’s LCLS

“It takes a village,” as Hillary Clinton famously wrote, “to raise a child.” Similarly, says physicist Claudio Pellegrini, it takes an entire scientific community to create a ground-breaking new piece of technology — one that not only adds to the store of human knowledge through its use, but requires its designers to push back scientific […]

Click to read more →