> Don't buy it, make it. June 10 2011

Jeff's mother calls him "The Irate Consumer."

He expects products to do what they're supposed to do, and he's willing to pay more for something that will not only work, but last.

When the claims of a product or service go unrealized, they meet The Irate Consumer. Think David Banner and The Hulk.

Here's an example:  We've been plagued by moles this spring. We recently bought two "guaranteed" products, an organic spray for the patio area we're protecting and a device that pokes into the ground and emits a beeping sound every 90 seconds. Well, it seems like the moles are worse. They've even dug tunnels all the way around the beeper — probably throwing their beady-eyed heads back in laughter at our silly ideas.

So, the stuff's going back. Jeff will demand his money back, and — if he's feeling playful — demand that the store replace the batteries wasted in the device. (This is a little like sport to him, second only to hockey.)

While I'm not usually irate about anything, I can be particular. Most recently, my protective beekeeping veil is bothering me. Bees sneak in sometimes, and the hat part wiggles around on my head.

So, I've made my own.

I used a favorite Scala hat I've had for years, then designed a removable veil system to go with it. The veil attaches to the hat with a band of fabric salvaged from one of Jeff's old button-down shirts. I plan to try it today when I open our hives, and our hive-share customers make get a peek too. I also made a kid-size one; I'll press children into being trial subjects.

As I tweak my hat-veil idea, I can't help but think of the Rev. Langstroth, beekeeper and inventor of the Langstroth bee hive. His movable-frame hive system, made in 1851, is now the standard for beekeeping all over the world, making inspection of the hive easier.

So, I guess necessity is the mother of invention. If I don't want to turn into The Irate Consumer — calling beekeeping supply companies, demanding they make a better veil — I'll just have to make my own.

I'll let you know how it goes.