Text Messaging Humor – Piper Style

Laughter is wine for the soul – laughter soft, or loud and deep, tinged through with seriousness – the hilarious declaration made by man that life is worth living.  ~Seán O’Casey

Since my posts have been pretty heavy lately, I wanted to come back to my preferred reality of fun and humor.  This post is a bit unconventional, but what the hay, life is short!

Yesterday, I was going through my photos on iPhoto, which usually originate from my iPhone, some from my iPad.  Looks like over a year or two, when there was a funny text message, I would take a screen shot.  Usually when I do this, it’s to be accompanied with a blog post, but some may have been forgotten or there wasn’t the space.  So in honor of these silly text messages, here they are for all to share.  Enjoy!

Warning:  These text messaging screen shots are really NOT funny, but they sure do bring a smile to my face.

5-12-12 Kyle Aunt Heather Piper

My little man… Kyle     Screen shot 5/12/12

This isn’t funny, but simply sweet.  I must have taken a screen shot of my phone screen.  Naturally, guess who always seems to take center stage.  This picture was accrued during a Santa Workshop at Kyle’s elementary school.   He always did love me showing up and helping out, believe it or not.







Here is one that cracked us both up.  My friend Kelly and I were texting back and forth and it appears I wanted to make a Barnes and Noble run, but I was already involved in another book serious.  I have a sneaky suspicion the “book” Kelly was referring to was Allegiant by Veronica Roth.  Usually, I order my books online, but sometimes I do swing by the store in a moment of book desperation.  This one I remember I ordered to begin upon completion of the Harry Potter books.  The show, which involved the auto correct is called Mike & Molly.  Auto correct struck again!

10-1-12 Kelly Berger Aunt Heather Piper

Wanting to read Allegiant but busy reading the Harry Potter books. 10/1/12

I remember this day very clearly.  For it was a day of disgust, intrigue and pure victory.  After much distraught and confusion, I finally found what was running rampant in my house.  I thought it was a mouse, a super mouse to be exact, but after I caught the elusive critter, I found out it was a chipmunk!  Gross.  Yes!  But victory was mine and I could now find peace in my own house. Of Mice and Me … Part 4

10-28-12 Chipmunk Aunt Heather Piper

Chipmunk Incident 10/28/12

Every year, Nicole takes Kyle for a week in the summer.  It’s been referred to as the ‘Aunt Nikki and Kyle’s Week of Fun’.  Sometimes they do stuff locally around the D.C. Metro Area or sometimes they go away for the week or a few days.  It’s a nice time for them to spend together.

This particular trip included a bunch of cold showers.  Kyle cracks me up!  We’ve been bribing and fighting with Kyle to take showers for as long as I can remember.  He never wants to!  I still have no idea what his aversion is to being clean, but there it is.

There were times when I wouldn’t get him for a week, and when I did, he was greasy and filthy!  Then, to only be resistant when taking the plunge.  You could tell it wasn’t an act that was reinforced regularly and instilled in him (not from my family, we love to shower and do it regularly, meaning daily).  I had the same problem with Kyle and brushing his teeth.

Recently, Kyle said to me, “I always take a shower, every night.”  What?  News flash buddy, who are you trying to kid?  He made it out like he’s been do this his whole life, but in reality it was this past week.    I’m on to you and I have proof!

11-13-12 Cold Showers Aunt Heather Piper

Kyle’s comment on cold showers during Aunt Nikki and Kyle’s Week of Fun. 11/13/12

This did crack me up.  While outlining Christmas plans for the year, out of nowhere, Nicole started the Soft Kitty song.  She cracks me up.  I showed it to Kyle and he was grinning from ear to ear, being a fan of the song and the show, The Big Bang Theory.

12-21-12 Soft Kitty Aunt Heather Piper

Nicole texting Soft Kitty to me.. for no reason just to be silly. I cracked up! 12/21/12

I read random things online.  Usually they are human interest stories, news articles, breaking news, politics and such, but there is the occasion, when I find something that catches my eye for pure entertainment.

I started writing blog posts about these interesting facts, eventually calling them ‘Random Fun Facts’.  They are simply information and statistics, which I was not aware of or did and forgot, or information I feel others might find interesting.  This particular blog topic was focused on flatulence.  Yes!  Farting!  I found it funny and entertaining, which I clearly replied to Nicole, after she evidently read the blog post.  Facts About Farting  Read it, it’s actually enlightening!

12-27-12 Farts Aunt Heather Piper

Our conversation based off of my blog post, Facts About Farting. 12/27/12

This conversation started out discussing business, Thrill of the Hunt, our start-up company.  Apparently, I needed a check for something.  If my memory serves me correct, it was to pay for our booth at either the Banana Split Festival in Latrobe or the Steelerfest at Saint Vincent College (Random Fun Facts: Saint Vincent College, Bertha Nesser’s Alma Mater May You Both Find Eternal Peace).

I am happy to announce the business has come a long way in a little over a year, yet we still have many more journeys ahead.

What cracks me up, in the middle of our presumably serious conversation, Nicole goes south.  Please refer to the previous screen shot and entry, where she makes fun of me and my flatulence topic.  Can’t tell we’re sisters?  At least mine was in response to an infographic I read, hers was due to an experience.  Notice how I instantly threw my dog, Seven under the bus!

8-7-13 Aunt Heather Piper

Nicole & I discussing our company Thrill of the Hunt & then the conversation quickly goes south! 8/7/13

These screen shots were my proof, I needed to sent to Kyle, showing I’m not a terrible chess player.  We both love to play the game, and as I’ve mentioned before I taught Kyle to play when he was just a little man. Checkmate – Game of Chess  Naturally, at that time I used to crush him, not so much in present days.  This particular instance, I was playing the computer and I won!  Twice!  I was on fire!  Granted, I’m sure if it was on the hardest or easiest setting.  However, come to think of it, it might have been on the hardest, since Kyle is the one who manages the controls.  Regardless, I took screen shots and IMed them to Kyle.  Victory was mine!

On a side note, I always have to be white and Kyle black, as per my little man.

8-11-13 Checkmate against computer Aunt Heather Piper

On the left 8/10/13 & on the right 8/11/13 I beat the computer… finally. I had to send these to Kyle! Victory was mine!

This conversation was between me and Kyle.  To be honest, I don’t really remember why he was asking about my legs or what book he wanted.  I wish I would have kept some of Kyle’s other text messages, even though they usually only consist of “Ya” and “Ok”.  Man of few words.  The funny part of this text is Kyle’s call out of “Bad Girl”, an inside joke (that I guess is not so inside anymore) WannaBe 80’s Scavenger Hunt & a Puppy In a Day.

8-21-13 Aunt Heather Piper

Bad Girl joke in our family… Kyle cracks me up! 8/21/13

Kyle strikes again.  He will only reach out if he needs something, and of course I always comply.  This time he needed a recipe for school.  I guess he was making something in Home Ec or they were reviewing recipes (I remember doing the same thing).  Later, I told Kyle we needed to work on his spelling, I guess his phone doesn’t have auto correct or it’s clearly not turned on.

I love being able to communicate with Kyle through so many different means!  My favorite is in person, but I’ll take what I can get when he’s not with me.

2-13-14 Cooking Aunt Heather Piper

Kyle needed a recipe for school. He needs to turn on his spell check! 2/13/14

This is my favorite of all!  At this point, every time I looked at Facebook through the app on my phone, this is what I saw.  It totally cracked me up!  Look at her face taking up the entire space!

What was really funny, this went on for a few days, every time I opened the app, there was Nicole’s head staring back at me.  It seemed to never update and push me through to other posts.  It was stuck on Nicole’s head!  Taking this as an opportunity to instigate, I screen shot it and shared it with her.

12-14-13 Aunt Nikki Aunt Heather Piper

Good old Aunt Nikki! 12/14/13

posted by auntheather in Books, Movies, Shows,Common Sense,Cooking with Kyle,Education & Learning,Family,Observation & Imagination,Random Fun Facts,Reminiscing,Thrill of the Hunt Scavenger Hunts and have No Comments

Happy Birthday Aunt Nikki! The Big 40!

Life begins at 40 – but so do fallen arches, rheumatism, faulty eyesight, and the tendency to tell a story to the same person, three or four times.  ~Helen Rowland


Nicole’s senior picture. Greater Latrobe Class of 1992

Today marks a truly momentous day, Aunt Nikki is the big 40!  Yes, my sister is officially over the hill, even though she’s resided on that hillside for some time now.  Giggle giggle.  (Unlike me, I’ll always remain on the other side.)  Or as Kyle used to say, “Aunt Nitti is ozer (over) the hill!” as he motioned going over and down a hill with his chubby little figures.

Nicole came from a time before the internet and email, when we still used rotary phones, listened to record players and tapes (heck dad still had his 8-track player in his truck), and before cable and satellite.  Nicole has lived through eight presidents and counting including Nixon, Ford, Carter, Reagan, Bush, Clinton, Bush, and Obama.

Nicole has seen and accomplished a lot over these forty years, graduating from Penn State University in engineering, traveling the world over (sometimes with me), starting a side company (with me) and most importantly becoming Aunt Nikki, a title she does not take lightly.

So what has gone on over these last forty years from that faithful day, March 16, 1974?  A lot!  Let’s focus on 1974.

  • Blazing Saddles was the top movie of the year
  • Bachman-Turner Overdrive’s “Takin’ Care Of Business” was a top, pop music single hit
  • Sadly, the Amityville horror happened in Long Island, New York on November 8th.  Six family members were shot dead
  • Richard Nixon becomes the 1st United States president forced to resign after the Watergate Scandal & President Gerald Ford gives unconditional pardon to Richard Nixon
  • 55 mph Speed Limit is imposed to preserve gas usage, nation wide
  • Sears Tower in Chicago becomes the worlds tallest building
  • President Ford announces an amnesty program for Vietnam War deserters & draft evaders
  • Gasoline shortages and price increases (guess some things never change)
  • On June 5th – Henry Kissenger convinces Syria & Israel to agree to a ceasefire on the Golan Heights
  • Work begins on the 800 mile long Alaska Oil pipeline

Nicole & our little man sipping on his bottle at my cousin Chad’s wedding Our little 1-year old – BYOB. 2002

Nicole shares her birthday with some famous people.  Here are a sampling:

  • James Madison – president
  • Curtis Lovell III – magician
  • Erik Estrada – actor
  • Alexandra Daddario – actress
  • Victor Garber – actor
  • Jim Bridger – explorer
  • Jerry Lewis – actor
  • Rupert Sanders – director (I had to throw that one in, because of the Kristen Stewart scandal)
  • Felisha Terrell – actress
  • Chuck Woolery (we loved watching Love Connect as kids!) – TV host
  • Tim Kang – actor
  • Walter Cunningham – astronaut
  • Sienna Guillory – actress

Please review the years of Aunt Nikki.  Moving clockwise, starting with the upper left corner, Nicole’s 15th birthday (yes that’s me to the right & my cousin Katie to the left), to the right Nicole’s 6th birthday (my cousin Casey to the left of Nicole and cousin Timmy to the right), below that is a her sophomore class picture – 1990, below is Nicole sitting with our cousin Chad for her 2nd birthday -1976 and finally to the left is Nicole’s 7th grade picture -1987. (Apparently she really, really loved those glasses!)

Happy Birthday Nicole!


posted by auntheather in Common Sense,Education & Learning,Family,Milestone,Observation & Imagination,Random Fun Facts,Travels and have No Comments

Random Fun Facts: Saint Vincent College

Nobody ever figures out what life is all about, and it doesn’t matter. Explore the world. Nearly everything is really interesting if you go into it deeply enough.  ~Richard P. Feynman


Statue of Saint Boniface Wimmer in front of Saint Vincent Church at Saint Vincent College. I received the Sacrament of Confirmation in this church… Ryan was the alter boy.

Since I recently wrote about Random Fun Facts:  Latrobe, Pennsylvania, it wouldn’t be complete without addressing Saint Vincent College.

This past June, for Kyle’s birthday gift I got him, Bricks 4 Kidz, Kyle’s Lego Camp Birthday Surprise at Saint Vincent College in Latrobe!  Actually I got him two different Bricks 4 Kidz sessions, Animal Grossology for the morning session and Space Adventure – Star Wars for the afternoon session.  The Lego camp lasted a week, from Monday June 24 through Friday, June 28.  Kyle’s birthday is in July, so he was really surprised.


Saint Boniface Wimmer, Saint Vincent College

The first day of Lego Camp, on Monday, I thought it would be neat to hang out with Kyle for lunch.  So I packed us a picnic and we ate on the college grounds.  It was a warm day but really pleasant under the trees.  Afterwords, I thought he might find a tour of the campus interesting.  In my head, I remembered how cool it was when Father Alred gave our sixth grade class a tour of the college when attending Sacred Heart.  He talked about the history, the architecture, the stain glass windows, and so on and so forth.

Well, as it turns out, I remembered the feeling more than the facts.  I must say, I fell short and needed a refresher.  Kyle wasn’t amused at all!  It was at that moment when I thought, I need to revisit Saint Vincent College, in the books.

Ironically, when I was doing research for the Discovering Greensburg Scavenger Hunt for Seton Hill University Discovering Greensburg in the Rain  (the sister college of Saint Vincent), at the Westmoreland County Historical Society, I came across a lot of intriguing content on  Saint Vincent College.  I hope you find the history of the college as interesting and almost mind blowing as I do!  Please read to the very end!  I promise it will shock you!


Sportman’s Hall, built in 1790 by Father Theodore Brouwers- later become Saint Vincent

Random Fun Facts: Saint Vincent College

  • Founded in 1846 – Saint Vincent Arch-abbey and College
  • In 1766, before the monks John Fraser, an Indian trader, acquired land on part of which Saint Vincent is now situated
  • February 10, 1766 granted a tract of land along the Forbes Road to John- made in the name of the King George II of Great Britain by Captain William Murray, Commander of Port Pitt.
  • December 3, 1768 John Fraser transferred teh entire parcel of land to James Hunter, a farmer for Five Pounds Lawful Money
  • James Hunter owned the land for 21 years
  • March 12, 1790, the Supreme Executive Council of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania granted Joseph Hunter “a certain tract of land called ‘Sportsman’s Hall'” – 1st time the name of Sportman’s Hall was given to individual tract of land (name retained for over half a century)
  • Sportman’s Hall was called “the Cradle of Catholicity in western Pennsylvania”
  • April 16, 1790 Joseph transferred the deed to Rev. Theodore Brouwers, O.F.M.
  • Father Brouwers died on October 29, 1790.  As per his will his body was laid to rest in a plot overlooking Sportsman’s Hall.  Since 1869 his remains have reposed under a a stone cross in Saint Vincent Cemetery
  • Father Brouwers provided his successor by bequeathing all of his real estate “to a Roman Catholic priest that shall succeed me in this same place, to be entailed to him and to his successors, forever.”
  • In 1787, 6 Catholic families moved from Philadelphia and settle near Greensburg
  • A small log church was erected
  • Sportsman’s Hall stood northeast to the present Saint Vincent Archabbey Basilica until 1883 – in 1930s a marker was erected on this site
  • Reverand Michael Galllagher succeeded Father Stillinger as pastor, serving until October 21, 1846 – then Rev. Boniface Wimmer, O.S.B. was pointed as pastor
  • Boniface Wimmer was a monk from the Benedictine Abbey of Metten in Bavaria

Hence the name Wimmerton for the neighboring housing development

  • Boniface Wimmer received the monastic name of Boniface upon his entry into the monastery, a name with deep significance for German Catholics
  • Saint Boniface was an English monk who in the 18th century brought the Gospel and the Benedictine Rule to the Rhineland, where he established  monasteries and served as bishop of Fulda

He wanted to provide education for the sons of German immigrants and train clergy for the German community in the United States.

  • Saint Vincent is the 1st Benedictine college in the United States
  • Saint Vincent sits on roughly 200 acres of land
  • First buildings were built by the monks
  • The Benedictine Rule is known for spirituality and practicality
  • By 1855, Saint Vincent was divided into the Seminary, the Classical Department, and the Commercial Department – basic structure of college for next 50 years
  • In 1870, the college was incorporated by the State Legislature of Pennsylvania and given the power to grant degrees in the arts and sciences
  • February 25, 1931 Benedictine Sisters left Germany to go to America, set up residence in Saint Vincent, to earn money to send back to mother house during World War I
  • By 1987, one sister retired and founded Saint Emma’s Retreat House in Greensburg
  • In 1948, there were 19 majors available in the divisions of Humanities, Social Sciences, Science and Business
  • January of 1963 – a fire destroyed part of the campus – no life was lost

On the campus they have a memorial with a rescued bell saved from the bell tower.  The bent and torn metal of the once perfect bell is so surreal yet intriguing.

  • In 1983, Saint Vincent became co-educational

Until that point it was an all male college, sister college to Seton Hill University, which used to be an all female college

  • The college is sponsored by the Benedictine Monks of Saint Vincent Archabbey and shares the campus with Saint Vincent Seminary (4-year graduate school of theology), and Saint Vincent Parish
  • Saint Vincent College offers undergraduate degrees in business, education, medicine, engineering government service and church.
  • Saint Vincent College offers Masters degree programs in education and business
  • The Fred M. Rogers Center for Early Learning and Children’s Media (yes THE  Mr. Rogers!) is a college center
  • Nationally known, students from 24 U.S. states/territories and 20 foreign countries – half of these students are in the top 20% of their high school graduating classes
  • Accredited by the Middle States Association of Colleges and School

Bell Tower at Saint Vincent, built in 1871 to commemorate the 25th anniversary of the arrival of the Benedictines in the U.S. In 1963, destroyed in a fire

Ok, now for the the really fun and interesting information I stumbled across.  Evidently, the students at Saint Vincent College need or did need to write a senior thesis before graduation.  Using primary resources, they were permitted to write about anything.

One student narrowed his focus to Latrobe and decided to write about the history of Latrobe’s volunteer firer-fighters and the Latrobe fire company.  Nice little topic!

Unbeknownst to him, he was going to stumble upon some really ground breaking news that was overlooked, even by Saint Vincent scholars, even to present day!  When I had lunch with my cousins John and Sherry Business Leader in the Form of a Youngster, in September, I asked John if he ever heard of the news I will reveal to you below.  He didn’t.  Dr. Olczak who also translated books for Saint Vincent College and most certainly was knowledgeable in the history of his Alma Mater, had no idea!

In the 1870’s, the Latrobe Advance, the local paper which is now the Latrobe Bulletin, circulated a story which dealt with a recent incident at Saint Vincent College.  What made the news but never made any other history books regarding the college and was forgotten?

Boniface Wimmer, yes the founder of Saint Vincent monastery and college, made the paper in the form of a small hidden story.  On October 1, 1879, the newspaper reported that the then 70 year old Abbot was nearly assassinated by a “lunatic”.  YEP!  No joke!  Keep in mind at this point in history, Boniface Wimmer was no stranger to the world, especially when concerned with his dedication and progress towards education and as a missionary.  In fact, he was recognized by many as the American Roman Catholic Church leader.  Kind of a big deal!  The paper reported that the mad man tried to assassinate Boniface Wimmer in his monastery room.

The story goes, a stranger was found lurking around, outside the monastery for several days.  On Saturday, September 13, 1879 the stranger gained access to the monastery where Boniface Wimmer resided.  A monk cut him off at the pass and ejected him from the premisses.  A week later the creepy stranger, on Tuesday September 23rd made his way back in the monastery and proceeded towards Brother Nicholas room.  He was the Porter or the gatekeeper of Wimmer.  This crazed stranger struck Brother Nicholas on the head and bolted up the stairs to the Abbot Boniface’s room.  (currently located in Mauer Hall and is used as a guest room) The lunatic took the key and tried to lock himself inside along with Boniface Wimmer.

Quick witted and matching reflexes, even from an aged man, the Abbot noticed this unusual sight and took the would-be assassin off guard before he could lock the door.  There was a tussle between the two men and that’s when Boniface Wimmer received a blow to the head, but not before gaining a hold of the intruders arm and managing to gain the upper hand. The 70 year old Abbot took down his attacker!  Yes!  He wrestled him to the floor!  This just proves, you have nothing to fear with God on your side and when you have complete faith in Him.

The recovering Porter came to Boniface’s assistance, after gaining his wits about him, and eventually a couple of monks arrived at the scene, hearing yells for help.  They removed the determined stranger from the premises.  No charges, no cops, no finger pointing, nothing.  Now-a-days that would have made front line news and opposing sides would be talking about it and pointing fingers at everyone including the Abbot for days, or weeks, heck months.  Everyone would have someone to blame.

The reason for this situation?  Not an Anti-Catholic message nor a hatred against Saint Vincent nor its Abbot.  The intruder was a Latrobe native who had mental issues and recently escaped from an asylum.  He felt if he killed the Abbot Wimmer he would in turn take his place as the Abbot of Saint Vincent.   At least the mentally disturbed man had goals!

Since this was not recorded anywhere else or brought to the spotlight, how can we know this actually happened? Even though back then the reporters needed to check and verify their sources, so I would be pretty confident they did their due-diligence before including the story in the paper.  Well, I came across documentation of a letter Abbot Wimmer wrote to the Vatican giving them an update on the church and the college.  This was a standard letter, with pleasantries and general day-to-day stuff.  At the conclusion of his letter, yes not as a headline, the butt end, as if just mentioning it in passing or as an afterthought, Abbot Wimmer made note of this incident.  Why didn’t he make it out to be the big deal it was?  Simply, because he was a humble man and didn’t want to upset anyone or have the general population turning on the assailant.   At least that’s my guess.  Or perhaps he didn’t like the negative publicity.  Either way, it was real history.

posted by auntheather in Church,Common Sense,Education & Learning,Family,LEGO's,News,Observation & Imagination,Random Fun Facts,Reminiscing,Thrill of the Hunt Scavenger Hunts and have No Comments

Random Fun Facts: Bees

If the bee disappears from the surface of the globe, man would have no more than four years to live.  ~Albert Einstein (attributed)

honeybee Aunt Heather PiperIn this digital age, does anyone really read magazines?  I mean the real deal.  I do!  Now let’s not get silly, anyone who knows me, knows I love my books, the real printed pages of complete escapes into other worlds, yet I mostly read magazines and newspapers online.  That is until I had to use up some frequent flyer miles and chose to order a few magazines.  Among my mix, Money, Inc., Entrepreneur, Entertainment, Fortune and Time.  Do I read them?  You bet I do!  Why not, there is a lot of information in those pages.  Do I actually read the articles?  Yes I do!  Now granted, sometimes they pile up until I have the opportunity to address the piled stacks of printed pages, but I really truly try to give them attention.  Some articles interest me more than others but I do at least skim through those pieces.

Recently, I got Kyle into reading a few found articles.  One was the Auntie Anne’s franchise, since Kyle is such a fan of the soft pretzels.  It told of how one women created herself an empire, starting off at the farmers market with her little idea.  He loved it!

honeybee on flower-Aunt Heather PiperI also had Kyle read a few articles in Fortune about the Apple company.  He loves their products and was very interested to hear about any new technologies, how the company is doing and such.  Pretty cool coming from a twelve year old.

Anyway, why my dissertation on magazine articles?  Simply because I came across one that I found so interesting, I couldn’t just let it go.  It was in the August issue of Time magazine.  It was an article on honeybees and their demise.  This article was pretty thorough and I found it very intriguing, maybe because I am a fan of honey, as is the rest of my family, especially Kyle.  Dad loves to get the honeycomb and eat it.

Years ago I read an article that stated, when consuming honey over long periods of time, it was said to decrease allergies.  Since then, Kyle has held that near and dear to his heart.  So when any one of us gets sick or seems to be filling the effects of seasonal allergens, Kyle becomes the honey pusher.  Literally!  Once he made me a bowl of oatmeal and there was so much honey in it, I swear he invited an entire hive to stop by and regurgitate into my bowl.   Love that kid!

According to Hannah Nordhaus “Honeybees are the glue that holds our agricultural system together.”  I hope you enjoy this information as much as I did.  It was pretty much taken directly from the article.  Enjoy!

Random Fun Facts:  Bees     

Bee History 

  • Bees are not a natural resident to North America
  • 17th century bees were imported to the continent
  • The oldest known honeybee specimen dates from 100 million years ago
  • During the 17th century, Ian Swammerdam discovered that the king bee had ovaries and was in fact a queen
  • In 1923, Rudolf Steiner, a scientist predicted that within 100 years artificial cultivation of honeybees would have a sever consequence on the bee population
  • There’s an Institute of Bee Health at the University of Bern in Switzerland
  • Honeybee, also known as Apis Mellifera
  • There are more than 20,000 species of bees worldwide, only 6 main types are kept commercially (Italian, Russian, Carniolan, Caucasian, German, Buckfast)


Bee Basics

  • There is the worker bee, drone bee and queen bee
  • Worker – construction, storage, keeping the nursery, guarding, care-taking, scouting and foraging, lives 20-30 days
  • Drone – mates with virgin queen in midair, can fly backward, rotate and flip, dies after mating
  • Queen – lays up to 1,500 eggs a day, secretes pheromones to control workers, lives 3-7 years
  • Honeybees can fly as far as 5 miles (8km) in search of forage
  • The queen bee communicates by dance
  • 1/12 teaspoon is the amount a worker bee will produce during its short life

honeycomb-Aunt Heather Piper

The Hive

  • A colony typically has 20,000 to 30,000 bees
  • The colony creates a winter ecosystem during the winters months and lives off honey
  • Bees use their wings to generate warmth
  • Middle-aged worker bees build by attaching each comb to the walls of the hive, requires more than 2lbs. of wax
  • A worker bee can visit 100 flowers and carry more than half its weight in pollen in a single trip
  • To produce 1lb. of honey, hive workers fly a collective of 55,000 miles, while tapping 2,000,000 flowers


Bee Anatomy

  • Bees have 5 eyes (2 large and 3 ocelli used to detect light intensity) The workers have nearly 7,000 lenses
  • Bees have 2 sets of wings.  The rapid flapping generates warmth and evaporates water from nectar to make honey
  • Bees have wing hooks, which enable them to attach 1 of each set of wings together during flight for maximum efficiency
  • A charge on the bees hair attracts pollen, known as electrostatic charge
  • The proboscis is an airtight, strawlike tube that sucks up nectar and also works in reverse to feed offspring from a honey stomach
  • Bees’ jaws help bite and pack pollen as well as shape wax for building honeycombs
  • Bees have a 2nd reservoir where nectar is temporarily stored before being regurgitated
  • Bees have a pollen basket, this is a sac attached to the rear leg.  The legs scrape pollen from front to back and is collected there.
  • Bees have wax plates.  They secrete the wax from beneath plates on their abdomen and use it to build honeycombs
  • A bees venom (a unique mixture of chemicals) has been known to destroy HIV
  • A barb prevents a bee’s stinger from being pulled out.  The bee tears its abdomen while freeing itself before dying

Flying honeybee Aunt Heather Piper.jpg

 The Dance

  • Scout workers locate food and alert fellow foragers location with a series of dance moves
  • Through the number of turns, the duration of the dance and the moves themselves, the scout can communicate the distance to the food, the angle of the food to the sun and whether it is near or far
  • The scout dances in a figure-eight shape to tell other workers to fly toward the sun
  • Number of dance patterns in a given time indicates distance
  • The angle to which the scout dances gives the angle (relative to the hive and the sun)



  • Bees bring in $15 billion in value for farming each year
  • In the winter of 2012, 1/3 of U.S. honeybee colonies died or disappeared (42% increase from the previous year)
  • Normal winters beekeepers experience 10% to 15% losses
  • California’s most valuable agricultural export, the almond ($4 billion) is at risk of decline or collapse
  • Almonds are totally dependent on honeybees
  • Honeybees increase the yield of fruits and vegetables such as cantaloupes, cranberries and cucumbers
  • Bees (unnatural to the continent) are a  man-made, mercantile ecosystem that helps bring big revenue for grocery stores, super centers and such
  • Studies have shown that honeybee pollen was contaminated on average of 9 different pesticides and fungicides
  • European Commission put a 2-year restriction on the use of some neonicotinoids

Suggestions for the disappearance?

  • Agricultural pesticides
  • Bee killing pest like Varroa destructor (a parasitic mite)
  • Bacterial and viral diseases
  • Neonicotinoids
  • American foulbrood, a bacterial disease
  • Hive beetle, a pest that can infiltrate and contaminate colonies
  • Fungal infections like Nosema ceranae
posted by auntheather in Common Sense,Cooking with Kyle,Education & Learning,Family,News,Observation & Imagination,Random Fun Facts,Reminiscing and have No Comments

Random Fun Facts: Tornado

tor·na·do  noun \tr-ˈnā-(ˌ)dō\ 

1.  archaic : a tropical thunderstorm
2.  a : a squall accompanying a thunderstorm in Africa  b : a violent destructive whirling wind accompanied by a funnel-shaped cloud that progresses in a narrow path over the land
3.  : a violent windstorm : whirlwind

Being astounded by fun facts, I decided to share my findings with everyone.  Sometimes I come across this information online, via television, books, word-of-mouth, etc.  You get the point.  This material is basically what I find interesting and it has caught my attention for one reason or another, usually at random.  Enjoy!

tornado form Aunt Heather Piper

Random Fun Facts: Tornadoes

This post may not be very random, after all with the recent events of the Moore, Oklahoma tornado destruction.  On Monday, May 20, 2013 a devastating EF5 tornado struck down Moore, Oklahoma, with winds of more than 210 miles per hour.   This natural disaster caused at least 23 deaths, more than 100 rescued, 237 injured and as many as 20,000 families displaced.  According to Fox News, this tornado is placed in the same class as the deadliest in United States history.  The one who owns this title hit Joplin, Missouri in 2011.  That twister killed more than 158 and injured hundreds.  As per Fox News:

An EF-5 is as bad as it gets,” said Joe D’Aleo, co-chief forecaster for WeatherBell Analytics. “It’s equivalent to a Category 5 hurricane. It means winds were more than 200 miles per hour, and it means you have to be underground, because there will be nothing left above ground.

While reading about recent tornado destruction, I found some really intriguing information.  Now I am no weather expert, so I am hoping all this information is one hundred percent accurate.

  • In the last 63 years, only 59 EF-5 tornadoes have touched down in the U.S.
  • One-tenth of a percent of all tornadoes are ranked an EF-5
  • Most powerful twisters cause 20% of all tornado damage & destruction
  • United States has the most powerful tornadoes
  • On the average, tornadoes only last a few minutes
  • Every tornado is unique – its own color, sound, shape
  • Tornadoes have been reported in every state during every season
  • Most tornadoes occur between 3 pm and 9 pm – although they can strike at any time

Pennsylvania Tornadoes

  • 1985 had the largest EF-4 tornado in Centre County (Moshannon Tornado)  – only 10 reported since 1950
  • Since 1950 only 650 tornadoes reported in PA
  • In Pennsylvania, a tornado bigger than EF-2 is rare
  • There have been a tornado reported in every month of the year in PA
  • The strongest storms happen in May
  • Severe weather primary time in PA is from April 27th to September 5th
  • The peak time of severe weather in PA is between July 1st through July 8th

Take from Weather Wiz Kids:

Weather Wiz Kids Aunt Heather Piper

posted by auntheather in Common Sense,Education & Learning,Family,Milestone,News,Observation & Imagination,Random Fun Facts,Reminiscing,Travels and have No Comments

Parker Dam State Park Story

There are two big forces at work, external and internal.  We have very little control over external forces such as tornadoes, earthquakes, floods, disasters, illness and pain.  What really matters is the internal force.  How do I respond to those disasters?  Over that I have complete control.  ~Leo F. Buscaglia

Parker-Dam-State-Park-Aunt-Heather-PiperDuring a recent visit to Parker Dam State Park, Fishing Toward Independence, Just Had to Take It to Parker Dam, we naturally went down memory lane.  As we fished and shot the breeze by the campfire, dad brought up the time the tornado went through Parker Dam.  I totally forgot all about that!  With the most recent tornado disaster hitting Oklahoma, I guess tornadoes were on our minds.  This tornado, that hit home and presented a miracle and a happy ending for a group of boy scouts, was the subject discussed.  Kyle listened as we shined a light on local past news.

Just to recap, on Monday, May 20, 2013 a devastating EF5 tornado struck down Moore, Oklahoma, with winds of more than 210 miles per hour.   It was such a tragedy of 23 deaths, more than 100 rescued, 237 injured and as many as 20,000 families displaced.  What really hit home was the elementary school that was leveled out by the massive twister.  Sure natural disasters are upsetting and horrible, but when you’re pulling children out of rubble, it strikes another cord with onlookers and tends to pull on the heart strings a little bit more.


(FEMA Photo)  Devastation from the EF5 tornado that hit Moore, Oklahoma on  May 20, 2013.

My thoughts and prayers are still with those who have lost loved ones and had their lives leveled in a single blow.

Moving from that natural disaster and reminiscing on another, the tornado at Parker Dam.

Fortunately, due to no loss in life and because of the remote location, most people don’t know a tornado even hit Parker Dam State Park in Clearfield County.  But it did!  On May 31, 1985 an EF4 tornado leveled about 100 miles of state forest with winds of up to 260 miles per hour.  It even pulled the water right out of the creeks.  Dad said, as far as he could see up and down the hills, trees were flattened.  “It was as if someone clear cut the woods” and left behind splinters in the wake.  “You could see all the way up and down the ridge.  It was something else.”

There were other outbreaks of tornadoes on the same day in Pennsylvania, and the one that hit Parker Dame was the longest lived, staying on the ground for a distance of 69 miles in an hour and a half, reaching Clearfield, Clinton, and Centre counties.  It was one of four EF4 tornadoes to touch down in Pennsylvania on that very same day.  A state who is no stranger to tornadoes, but not really accustomed to the natural disaster either, experienced a major change in the ordinary.


Parker Lake at Parker Dam State Park

Granted, the tornadoes that touched down in Pennsylvania don’t even compare to the Oklahoma tornado, yet the awesomeness of God’s had is still amazing.  Luckily, there weren’t a lot of people in the park when the tornado struck, with the exception of a few campers and a boy scout troop to tell the tale.

The really amazing thing was the zero death toll!  The tornado went right over the camp of boy scouts without touching them!  Granted it ripped off parts of the roof from the octagon shaped building, yet they all returned unscathed.  The boy scouts held onto the doorways and their troop leaders for support, while the massive twister hovered over them and ripped down trees and power lines.  I read an article about the 25th anniversary, commemorating their survival.   To that day, they commented on the locomotive sound that hit them fast and seemingly out of nowhere.  Without shortage of memory, they detailed the events from that day.  That is one of those moments that have stayed with them and always will.  I can only imagine!

Everyone credits the octagon shaped building the boy scouts were hunkered down in, for the reason of their survival.  They feel the way the winds were whipping over them and the unique shape of the building gave them safety.  Perhaps, but if God didn’t want them to live, they wouldn’t have had a chance, even from a sturdy structure.


The Octagon lodge the boy scouts hunkered down in while the EF4 tornado swept over them on May 31, 1985. They all survived!

It took rescuers days before they were able to rescue the survivors, because of their location and all the ground debris.  Frightful as the event was during the tornado and equally as chilling as their tales, I still love hearing those survivor stories!  They are full of hope and faith!  Not to mention, it puts everything in life into perspective.

Today, you can still walk through the recovering tornado ravaged woods.  Naturally, the trees came back, all at different rates, but nature took care of its own.  Parker Dam is another piece of heaven on earth with the green luscious woods, wild animals running free and creeks full of fish.  Yep, pure heaven, maybe with the exception of the mosquitoes.

I guess we’re all going back to camp and fish and just plain chill out.  Seriously, can’t wait!

Parker Dam History

Finding the origins of Parker Dam interesting, I thought I’d share some fun facts I’ve read on the state park.  Some information came from Wikipedia, and some I read on the signs at Parker Dam, and some from online articles.

Construction of the 968-acre state park really started in 1794 with the removal of trees, to eventually leading to the need to reforest the lands by the Civilian Conservation Corps.  During the Great Depression, in the 1930’s the real construction of the buildings and such began, giving us Parker Dam State Park, of Huston Township in Clearfield County, Pennsylvania.

Surrounding the state park is the Moshannon State Forest.  Many critters call the park home including the ovenbird, American redstart, turkey, beaver (which I saw on my last adventure to the park), white-tailed deer, bears (which dad has hunted), coyotes, foxes, bobcats, porcupines (better not tell Scooby Scooby Meets a Porcupine) and elk.  Pretty much a stranger to Pennsylvania, I guess elk have settled in the remote areas of the local counties and are now among the inhabitants sometimes spotted there.

So now to the reason for the name, Parker Dam.  Laurel Run was dammed up to make the man made Parker Lake.   This 20-acre lake is usually the centerpiece of picnicking, fishing and even swimming on the sandy beach.  Yes, they have a small beach on the one side of the lake for families to cool down and splash around.  Sorry Seven and Scooby, no dogs allowed!

During fishing season, the lake can be outlined by many trying to catch their prize largemouth bass, various species of trout and catfish.   Evidently, the lake is open in the winter, once frozen over, for ice fishing and ice skating.

As I’ve mentioned hunting is permitted in designated areas of the Park as per the Pennsylvania Game Commission.

Also something else I found interesting and didn’t know.  As per Wikipedia

Parker Dam State Park is the western trailhead of the Quehanna Trail System.  This trail is about 75 miles (121 km) long and meanders its way through the surrounding state forests. The Quehanna Trail connects with the Susquehannock Trail near Sinnemahoning State Park.  Backpackers are not permitted to camp overnight at the park. The trails are open to cross-country skiing during the winter months.

Everyone should visit a State Park!  You’ll be surprised at the peace nature can bring to the soul.


posted by auntheather in Church,Common Sense,Education & Learning,Family,Hunting & Fishing,Milestone,News,Observation & Imagination,Random Fun Facts,Reminiscing,Travels and have No Comments

Random Fun Facts: St. Patrick’s Day

Anyone acquainted with Ireland knows that the morning of St. Patrick’s Day consists of the night of the seventeenth of March flavored strongly with the morning of the eighteenth.  ~Author Unknown

Being astounded by fun facts, I decided to share my findings with everyone.  Sometimes I come across this information online, via television, books, word-of-mouth, etc.  You get the point.  This material is basically what I find interesting and it’s caught my attention for one reason or another, usually at random.  Enjoy!

Random Fun Facts St. Patrick’ Day!

Aunt-Heather-Piper-at-Guinness-Brewery museum

Me enjoying a glass of Guinness in the Guinness museum at the Guinness Brewery in Ireland. 6/2005

I’m not a huge St. Patrick’s Day fan.  I don’t dislike it, but I don’t plan my days around it.  It’s true, I have taken in plenty of gallons of green beer throughout my twenties, but alas I guess the appeal was short lived.  However, St. Patrick’s Day is great for two reminders.  One, my sister’s birthday was the previous day and two, how much I loved visiting Ireland.  When I see the see of green during this celebration, I can’t help but remember luscious green painted hillsides on the island.  After all It’s Not About the Luck.  Anyway, this year I decided to supply some random fun facts.

  • 56% of Americans will celebrate St. Patrick’s Day today (2013)

I would think this number would be higher.  After all St. Patrick’s Day, is a day to celebrate Irish heritage, shamrock shakes, and green beer!

  • 77.3% of those celebrating St. Patrick’s Day are 18-24-year-olds
  • 38.9% are 65 and older

I guess the elderly do get out and party.

  • The average American will spend $35.27
  • 84.2% will sport the green look
  • 1/3 make a special dinner
  • More than 1/4 will attend a party at a bar or restaurant
  • 1 in 5 will go to a private party
  • Expected spend of $4.7 billion is roughly 1/4 that is predicted to be spent on Valentine’s Day

Is that a surprise?  I hope not.  St. Valentine’s Day is about the whole romantic experience, while St. Patrick’s Day is celebrated with green cheap beer and green shaking shamrock headbands.  Not really much of a comparison.

Marketing Charts Aunt Heather Piper

posted by auntheather in Common Sense,Education & Learning,News,Observation & Imagination,Random Fun Facts and have No Comments

Random Fun Fact: St. Valentine’s Day

Don’t compromise yourself.  You are all you’ve got.  ~Janis Joplin

Happy-Valentines-Day Aunt Heather PiperBeing astounded by Fun Facts, I decided to share my findings with everyone.  Sometimes I come across this information online, via television, books, word-of-mouth, etc.  You get the point.  This material is basically what I find interesting and it’s caught my attention for one reason or another, usually at random.  Enjoy!



Random Fun Fact!

Since today is indeed St. Valentine’s Day, this isn’t really random but still fun nevertheless.

  • Historian’s link today with a celebration occurring ever February 15th.  What was this you may ask?  Basically the men stripped down to reveal the full moon and more.  While going commando, they would spank young maidens with animal-skin whips to promote fertility.

Maybe this was the inspiration for the 50 Shades trilogy.

  • Present day, St. Valentine’s Day is not only observed in the United States but also in Mexico, Canada, France, Australia and the U.K.

That’s a lot of love!

  • St. Valentine was noted for a clergyman in ancient Rome.  At the time marriage was outlawed because of a belief of the emperor.  He felt the union of man and wife during wartime made for a less effective soldier.  Bishop Valentine performed the covert missions of marring couples.
  • 200 years after the death of Bishop Valentine in 496 A.D., then Pope Gelasius I, officially declared Saint Valentine’s Day on February 14th.
  • Handmade Valentine’s Day cards were said to be exchanged, not mailed by the US Postal Service or emailed or Facebooked, they were handed to one another around the 17th century.
  • In the 1840’s, the first mass-produced cards began.

Hence the decline of homemade cards, until scraping booking came to mainstream.

  • There are 1 billion cards sent each year worldwide, according to the Greeting Card Association.  Ya, that’s what I thought, ‘We have a Greeting Card Association?’.  Is it censorship for cards?  Anyway, they also state that more than half Americans purchase at least one card.

 I mailed a Valentine’s Day card to Kyle.  It included a kitty that looked like Storm, flying through the air.  The inside said something about a hug.  Inside the card I send four multicolored Lego erasers.  I thought he’d get a kick out of that and the card would make him smile.

  • Still yet, the Greeting Card Association assures us that Valentine’s Day cards are the biggest greeting card holiday in the United States, after Christmas naturally.
  • As per a survey conducted by American Express, 56% of Americans plan on using digital to get their Valentine’s message across.  Of the group 29% will text love messages, 29% will post to Facebook, 23% will send email, 20% will send an e-card.

Priceless…for everything else there’s American Express (had to say it!  Great commercials!)

  • As per the National Confectioners Association, now that’s one I would like to join, reports Valentine’s Day is spoken in 1 billion dollars of sales each year.
  • Of the 1 billion spend on sweets on Valentine’s Day, 75% are chocolate, which since the 15th century has been considered an aphrodisiac
  • In 2009, 8 billion candy hearts were made.  If they were lined up, they would reach from Italy to Arizona 20 times.

That’s a sweet trip!

  • Valentine’s Day gifts, meals and entertainment costs the average consumer about $130.  Men usually pay about $287 compared to women $164.

Why are women paying for anything?

  • As of 2013, 51% (5 in 10) of women are likely to gift a meal or tickets and 41$ (4 in 10) will give jewelry and flowers.

Where’s the chocolate?

  •  The National Restaurant Association guesses 25% of American adults will eat out on Valentine’s Day.  This is the second busiest dine out day next to Mother’s Day.
  • These diners are estimated to dish out #3.9 billion on grub, with an average $142.11, plus gifts.

 I guess it’s no longer the thought that count.

  •  World Record: On 2/14/11, 14 couples competed for the longest kiss, which was previously set at 32 hours.  This took place in Thailand.  The rules for the event included:  contestants couldn’t sit, sleep or separate.  One person fainted within a half-hour into the challenge.  The winning couple lasted 46 hours, 24 minutes and 9 seconds.  They were awarded $3,200 and a diamond ring.

MSN News Aunt Heather Piper


posted by auntheather in Church,Common Sense,Education & Learning,Family,LEGO's,News,Observation & Imagination,Random Fun Facts,Reminiscing,Travels and have No Comments
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