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Tuesday April 17th, 2000

I left Sudbury before noon and drove to Pearson.  Caught the 7:30 flight to Calgary and arrived home at ten.  The car was fine -- no re-emergence of the oil light problems I had on the way in.

Tuesday
A mix of sun and cloud. Wind southwest 30. High 16.

Wednesday April 18th, 2000
I see the ice melted in the pond while I was away.  It's a little later than last year.

The weekend was just what I needed, since I am much more relaxed.  This has been a stressful winter.

Wednesday
Mainly sunny. Low 0. High 13.

Thursday April 19th, 2001, 2000

It's cool and breezy again this morning..  Temperatures been running well below normal for over a month now and the bees show it.  Reports are coming in from all over Alberta that bees do not have as much sealed brood as usual, although hives seem strong.  

All this can change if we get a warm week and they can get a good patch of brood established.  The are some years when the hottest day of the year occurs in May.  We are now only two months from the summer solstice, the time of year when days are longest we get the most sunshine.

I went for my annual check-up this morning and got a requisition for several test and some x-rays.  Seems my blood sugar has been creeping up.  I bought a home BP monitor some time back after I nearly flunked the BP test when giving blood.  I find that it is normally in the proper range, but sometimes the BP and the pulse are high.  I suspect food sensitivities.

Click to EnlargeBill and family came by in the afternoon to pick up their truck and began moving bees out.  This is the first trip and so he took only a truckload of 32 wrapped hives and a forklift to use at the other end.  That leaves 468 hives to go. 

The job will require about six trips using one of our truck and trailer combinations.  I expect that the move will take a little over two weeks, since there is work to do on the hives during that time as well as the move itself.  A trip takes about 3 hours each way and loading or unloading takes an hour or so on each end, so the minimum time would be 8 hours, but with fueling and with other things to do, a trip every two days will be as much as we can expect, and perhaps less.

Too many beekeepers work until they are exhausted.  That results in mistakes being made and increases accident risk.  Time for relaxation is important.  The best insights and decisions often occur during moments when we step back from the pressure and relax doing something non job-related.

Today: A mix of sun and cloud. Wind becoming northwest 30 km/h. High 12.
Tonight: Partly cloudy. Wind north 20 km/h. Low minus 3.
Normals for the period: Low minus 1. High 12.

Friday April 20th, 2001, 2000
I went to the lab this morning for more routine blood tests and an EEG (or was it an ECG?).  The rest of the day just went by.  Weather was too lousy to get out and do any bee work.  The wind has been unrelenting and the bees are best left alone.

Talked to Bill and he got back okay.  He'll be down here tomorrow for another load.

Today: Mainly cloudy. 40 percent chance of flurries. Wind north 20 km/h. High 6.
Tonight: Partly cloudy. 30 percent chance of evening flurries. Wind north 20. Low minus 5.

Saturday April 21st, 2001, 2000

Warmer weather is now in sight.  Let's hope that the forecast holds. We've had warm weather predicted before this spring only to have the prediction changed at the last minute to snow and wind.

Pic 006.jpg (56143 bytes)William returned for another load around 5 PM and we went out and unwrapped and loaded.  The bees are smoked down and it is cool and windy out in the picture above, but the bees were active when we got there and can be seen spilling out of the tops of hives. 

The green Swinger has a new coat of paint that makes it look like the great machine it is.  We installed the Kubota conversion kit into it last spring, but it looked quite awful until we got around to giving it new paint.  We only loaded 80 hives and they are in doubles, but will likely take more next trip.  The picture (above left) shows the rims inside the lids to allow for patties and pillows underneath.  

I think we sold the Swingers to cheap and too fast. I'm not really ready to part with more than one or two until I am sure how many hives will be sold.  I realise that some people get by without any and we have four, but three is just about right, since it allows for a spare.  The day they hit the US magazines, two were spoken for. 
Today: A mix of sun and cloud. High 7.
Tonight: Mainly clear. Low minus 2.
Normals for the period: Low minus 1. High 12

Sunday April 22nd, 2001, 2000

220401 009.jpg (186476 bytes)Click to enlargeEl & I went to visit a prospective buyer of hives and then dropped into a yard where we had applied the blue shop towel treatment to see how the bees had reacted.  The picture shows one hive that is typical. It seems that the towel did not bother them.  It was applied over a week ago and still smells faintly of menthol.  As for the effect on tracheal mites, I'll never know, since we did no measurement.  Ideally, we should be applying another towel now, since I assume the idea is to apply twice to hit any mites that were eggs during the first application.  The bees were bringing in pollen.

Click to enlargeWe visited Bert then went over to P-Ss' for coffee with the girls.  Fen & Bill were in Linden at Robinson's' and we dropped in on Maurice and Flo on the way home.  We were expecting Meijers for supper and wanted to prepare.  Maurice needed to borrow a Swinger to move dirt and followed us home.  We decided to invite everyone for burgers and wound up with about 15 for our first barbeque of the year.

Before supper Meijers and I went out to look at a few hives and went to The Carraganas.  I was surprised to see that the hives seem to have declined a bit in the past week or so since I was there.  Maybe it is just the weather -- it was a little cool when we got there.

Today
A mix of sun and cloud. Wind west 20 km/h. High 12.
Tonight
Partly cloudy. Low zero.
Normals for the period: Low minus 1. High 13.

Monday April 23rd, 2001, 2000

Nothing much special happened today.  Matt worked on the transmission for the White Gas.  I worked at my desk . Ellen worked at advertising.

It is looking more and more as if we will be running some bees again this year.  Even if it is not right here or by our own hand, we will be owners and managers, so I looked into crop insurance -the deadline for application is April 30th.  We have not been eligible for the last few years since we were pollinating not purely producing honey , but it might be wise to get coverage this year to ensure cash flow.

Today: A mix of sun and cloud. 30 percent chance of showers. Wind west 20 km/h in the afternoon. High 15.
Tonight: Partly cloudy. Wind increasing to westerly 30 gusting 50. Low plus 3.
Normals for the period: Low minus 1. High 13.

Tuesday April 24th, 2001, 2000

Ellen started the day calling a few beekeepers we have talked to about buying bees or equipment and things are picking up.  We have a meeting with a buyer at noon.  

We find we are getting most of our interest from young beekeepers who want to run around 600 hives, but lack the facilities, experience and financing.  We are masters at all that, so it is a good fit if we advise and help them get better established.  I am starting to think of the possibility of setting up a honey production co-op where facilities and experience are shared.

Today: Mainly sunny. Wind increasing to westerly 30 gusting 50 km/h. High 19.
Tonight: Partly cloudy. Wind westerly 30 gusting at times to 60 in the evening. Low 5.

Normals for the period
Low zero. High 13.
Sunrise: 6:21 am / Sunset: 8:46 pm
The Moon is New

Wednesday April 25th, 2001, 2000

I got the books off to the accountant and had a chance to do some cash flows.

Bill came for another load of bees at 7:20 and was loaded and gone by 9 PM.  The hives are looking very good.  He reports that many now have brood down into the bottom box.  He also says that this is more apparent in the ones with brood boxes on the bottom compared to those that are singles placed on a super for winter.  That is impressive, since only a week or two ago many hives did not seem to have any brood at all.

We ran out of brood boxes last fall and used supers under some of our singles so that they would be in doubles over winter.  Our experience with wintering bees in one box has been poor compared to our success with the same hives when we put a box -- any box -- under them for the winter and wrap them as doubles.  We will now remove the supers and replace them with proper brood boxes from dead-outs.  We fed the hives in the fall with the supers under, so we will have to make sure that any supers with feed in them are robbed out before using them for supers again.

Wednesday: A mix of sun and cloud. Wind westerly 20. High 19.

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