Tuesday May 20th 2014
Today, I return to Sidney and fly home.
I awoke with the dawn and dozed a while, thinking I should be underway, but not feeling like doing anything. When I did get up, the sun was already up, but it was only 0630. The day length at this time of year, over fifteen hours, is amazing compared to earlier in the year, when we had only about eight. This makes longer trips easier and we see two high tides during daylight.
I see things are heating up at home. I expect the bees will be needing work right away. These longer, warmer days will be stressing my house plants for water, even if Shirley waters them. This is a problem I'll have to solve for future trips away this summer. Elijah texted me that he and his mother were over gardening, so I'll be interested in seeing the results.
In the calm conditions, I am seeing a great deal of debris in the water here at Montague and have to be on constant watch for logs. Some are large enough to do damage.
I pulled up the anchor at 0750 and motored out of the harbour, dodging logs along the way.
It is 0949 and I am steaming over flat seas, headed for Van Isle Marina to fuel up.
This has been an interesting weekend with a lot more travel than I had initially planned. I enjoyed the trip, but had expected to just go a few miles here and there, not make the fifty sea mile trek to Vancouver and back.
I spent the afternoon, resting, washing off the boat, tidying and checking for the leak in the dinghy.
I placed the dinghy on the dock and filled it with water The leak turned out to be the drain plug and is easily fixed. Passersby joked about my redneck hot tub -- marine style.
At 1945, I caught a taxi to YYJ, and and hour and a half later, flew to Calgary. We arrived at 2330. A cab took me to my van in Airdrie. I had a chicken burger at McDonalds and drove home, arriving at 0130 and went straight to bed.
Experience is that marvelous
thing that enables you to
Wednesday May 21st 2014
I'm home. I slept until almost 0750 and got up and looked out. Everything is green and the garden is growing. Elijah is doing a good job.
I have lots to do today. My first order of business is to check the bees and see if they are ready to split.
Disregarding my own oft-repeated advice, I went out at 1300 hours in the full noonday sun and cut the grass in the North Yard, then checked the hives.
I had expected that some hives would be beginning swarm cells, but did not see any in the North Nine so that event is a few days off. I did find two hives which were getting close and one that is superseding. It is building two beautiful cells (right), so I'll leave it alone and not expect much from it for a while. I reduced it to a single.
I advertised today on the Calgary list to see if anyone wants to build floors and lids for me, and have had a few responses.
I could split any time now, but have to decide what my plans are for queens. I was not intending to, but can buy queens now and have plenty of orders, so maybe I should change my plans and use purchased queens or even sell nucs. I hate playing with purchased queens, though.
hives have enough pollen and a good variety to last for at least a
few days now since the dandelion and crocuses are in bloom. I
see the brood cells filled with pollen, so I am not adding patties
until I see this used up. It takes a cell of pollen to raise a
bee, so it will go fast if the bees are confined or the bloom
I see two examples of how the EPS boxes can get damaged. At left is a Meijer box. How it got cracked is a mystery. I doubt it just cracked from sitting on the wonky floor. I must have dropped it. At any rate, a permanent and almost invisible repair is as simple as brushing glue into the crack and closing it with two long drywall screws. The BeeMax box at right has come apart again and also has a crack at the other end where the tabs split completely off. Same solution. I also show where a skunk was scratching at some previous time in the picture at right. (Upper box).
Assert your right to make a few
Thursday May 22nd 2014
I woke up at 0420 and realised I was not going to get back to sleep soon, so I got up. I slept well last night, but only for about five and a half hours. I'll probably go back to bed once I wake up more to make up my usual seven to eight hours.
Today promises to be hot at 27 degrees Celsius or about 81 degrees Fahrenheit, and overcast -- perfect bee weather. I also have company coming for supper. It is also perfect barbeque weather, but I have yet to decide.
I'm busy juggling my schedule in my mind. I have the bee work, bee sales, the grass, and the garden to consider, a memorial for Ellen coming up on August 9, and several doctor's appointments -- and last night I was offered a free opportunity to go on an expedition to The Broughtons on an excellent sailboat. My mother also expects me in June. Jon and the kids will be here for a weekend beginning June 4.
Somehow, I can't see how all the things I scheduled can happen. Something's got to give.
While waiting for the day to warm a bit and the dew to dry, I did wash and vacuumed. It seems as if I did a complete vacuuming of the whole upstairs not too long ago, but between the dog, the cat, and the plants, there is a lot of dust, hair and leaves. The carpet vacuum works well on the hair and dust, but gets clogged with leaves. I got out the industrial-grade Shop Vac to do a quick once over before using the carpet vacuum. It sucks up even large leaves without a hiccup and has huge capacity without the need for expensive bags.
It is 1020 now and I did not go back to bed. I seem to be more energetic than usual and have already done more wash and housecleaning than I usually do all day. I even damp-mopped the entry. I'll go out now and bother some bees, then come in and go to town during the heat of the day, then maybe do some more bee work and make supper.
* * * * * *
It is now 1331 and I am back in.
I broke my own rule and worked out in the heat of the day until just now. I worked through the South of the Hedge yard and added a box to several, and found one with queen cells.
At first I figured they had swarmed as there was no open brood, but closer examination led me to believe that I must have caused queen loss when I last worked through the hives, judging by the age and location of the cells and the apparent sudden cessation of egg laying about the time the cells appeared to have been started.
Now, I have to go to town for groceries and to take in some recycling. I only have a few people for supper this time, but need to restock my pantry since I have been away and came back after the grocery stores closed when I flew in Tuesday night.
I went to town and dropped off some old electronics for recycling, then bought groceries and drove home. Elijah was already there, working on the garden when I arrived back at 1645.
I sliced onions, tomatoes and strawberries, and set out the supplies and condiments for a barbeque supper on trays. Everyone arrived around 1830. We grilled hamburgers and lit a bonfire. At 2100, everyone left.
Zippy arrived with Ruth and is home again.
Sanity is a madness put to good
Friday May 23rd 2014
I slept almost exactly eight hours and awoke refreshed. Today is going to be another warm one. I'll work on more hives and maybe start on the forklift. The grass needs cutting and I'll start on that too.
* * * * *
Nope. I'm taking the day off. That may sound strange for a retired guy, but I tend to drive myself pretty hard and expect to do a lot, and I do. I decided "No Agenda" today.
So. I confirmed my place on the Broughtons trip, and did some cleanup of a pile of "stuff" that I have kept around. It consists of old papers and mementos, plus obsolete electronics.
I received an email from a friend who has some nucs he wants to sell, and that may take the pressure off me to get hives ready. I'll have to work on my mailing list tonight and see how many still want bees.
I've decided it is time to re-invent myself. Usually it takes me seven years to throw out all the remnants of a previous life phase, but I need to focus. I have too much piled up and too much going on.
Also, time is compressing.
As for the personal mementos, they mean nothing to anyone except me and I am always making more memories, so out they go. But, I have to look at them first. It seems odd that I have gone years or decades without glancing at them, but now I must?
I also have gone back to bagging and donating Ellen's clothing since nobody her size has shown up to take any more of it. It's a shame since she had really nice clothes, but she was quite tiny and slim. There are not many women like that these days.
While I'm at it, I am throwing out any of my clothes that I have not worn for two years. Good thing I have a truck.
After lunch, I went out and cut some grass. It is getting quite long in places. Later, at 1630, I went over and worked through the Quonset West yard. I reversed some, fed them all syrup and rearranged some feed frames. One thing that is always interesting is that predicting which colonies will pull ahead is not as easy as one would think. They are all in three boxes now.
It's the 24th of May and no hives are preparing to swarm. Hmmm.
I came in a 1800 and had a bowl of soup. I may go out again, but have lots to do here inside.
I didn't, and I did not get anything done either. As I said, I'm taking the day off.
It is better to be a has-been
than a never-was.
Saturday May 24th 2014
Active discussion continues in the forum. The topic is Thursday May 22, but has not stopped there.
Many beekeepers diss excluders and have no luck with them. The main reason is discussed in Dome of Empty Cells and Excluders.
Fen puts on a breakfast at The Mill today. Will I go? I'm undecided. I enjoy the event, but if I go, there goes the morning.
The weather continues warm.
This is the time of year to do the beekeeping for the year in Alberta. At this time, splits can be made, queens raised, and combs rearranged. As the season progresses, honey gets in the way and the remaining days before fall grow shorter. Early frosts and cold falls happen, so prudent beekeepers give the colonies several months to recover from the spring manipulations before the stresses of fall and winter.
I went out several times and worked through ten hives. It's a mystery. Hives that were very strong are less strong. Some hives that were relatively weak are now strong. I had to put a fourth box on one hive, but most are a week away from any real strength.
I came in at 1700. The sky was black to the south and the wind was picking up. Soon the rain started and the wind gusted.
Later everything turned sunny again, but by then, I was done for the day.
People wonder about Apivar resistance developing. Here is and excerpt from some articles I posted on Sunday May 16, 2010.
The upshot of this is that worries about Amitraz resistance becoming a big problem are likely far overblown. As I say, US beekeepers have been using it almost forever.
One thing only I know, and that
is that I know nothing.
Sunday May 25th 2014
I woke up at 0333 and got up. I worked on plotting the Broughtons Flotilla route on charts for a while, had breakfast and went back to bed just as the sun was brightening the eastern sky.
So far, the response to my emails offering to sell nucs has been slow. One fellow replied that he had just managed to purchase four-frame nucs from ABC for $160. On further enquiry, it seems he also paid $30 for delivery and $22 deposit on the box, for a total of $212, $22 of which is refundable on return of the box.
I offered five frame nucs for $225, including the Jester EZ nuc plastic box and the delivery, so which is the better deal? The boxes are something that can come in very handy to have around. I could use some myself!
Actually, if the nuc project works out, I should be able to drop my price a bit. The costs may not be what I estimated at first.
Looking up older diary pages is much easier now.
The file names are in a MMDDYY format, MM=Month, DD=Day, YY=Year.
A sample clip is shown at left.
Today, I'm planning to get out earlier to finish the bees and get going on other projects.
The weather looks ideal for the coming week: some sun, some rain, and warm nights.
I went out and finished the hives this morning. Well, there are two left. I got hungry.
I came in and had lunch, then updated the Hives for Sale page. I had been very worried about letting people down. Now I have an opportunity to fill all orders.
It will be interesting to find out how many are serious when I ask for money. That always separates the dreamers from the doers. Talk is cheap.
Two more hives to go...
I did those two hives and counted up what I saw in the south:
I'll tally the north later. It's raining out
I spent a fair bit of time on the Hives for Sale page as I have been promising, and then had supper.
It pays to spell everything out clearly and point people to that page. The agony of selling ones and twos is that everyone asks the same questions.
Sitting here at 1954 hrs, I notice I have a sore throat. Oh oh! I've been feeling lethargic the past day or two, and was blaming it on old age. Gosh! maybe I'm just sick.
I watched some Netfix and went to bed around 2300 but could not sleep, so got up again and did some research. Just after midnight, I went to bed and again could not sleep. I took two Benadyrl and a melatonin and fell asleep shortly. I gather whatever is causing the sore throat was keeping me from sleeping.
Problems worthy of attack prove their worth by fighting back.
Monday May 26th 2014
I slept until 0730 and awoke refreshed. I slept well, but my throat is still sore today. No better, no worse. I'll coddle myself today.
The replies to my emails are rolling in. I have to sort them out and have other deskwork to do today.
I did a lot of time at the desk, but did not get into the paperwork much. I did a lot of research on GMRS radios as an alternative to using marine band VHF on the Broughtons trip. There are restrictions on marine band that do not apply to GMRS, like the requirement for licensing (in Canada) and fewer channels.
After supper, I decided to go for a bike ride. years ago, my daily routine included a spin out to Lorna's driveway and back. The trip is 1.8 miles.
Winter tends to break such habits and I have not gotten back to it in recent years. I am thinking that I need to improve my aerobic capacity for better sleep and work out more to maintain muscle mass.
Biking is better than jogging for me in that it is low impact and better than walking as it requires more exertion, is more aerobic, and more exciting.
I have not taken the dog along before as she is fairly stupid about cars and this is a local highway, but I figure I have her well enough trained by now that I can count on her staying with me when I say to, and the traffic is occasional and light -- mostly locals.
Zippy and I did the trip in short order. I got a decent workout, but Zippy got an even better workout. At first she was running here and there to both sides, but by the end of the run, she was happy just to keep up just behind me.
This route begins with a grade as I leave home, making me work hard, then levels out and is fairly flat for most of the distance out and back. When returning, the last bit is downhill and I usually glide the last few hundred yards going fairly fast, but by that point the dog was getting tired. I took pity on her and slowed down. She took a shortcut when home was in sight anyhow.
People demand freedom of speech
to make up for the freedom of thought which they avoid.
Tuesday May 27th 2014
This is my third day with a sore throat. I'm wondering if it is strep again. I seem to be susceptible to strep. One more day and I'll see a doctor. I'm not sure how much good that will do.
After all this time, I decided to get Nexus. I got CanPass for border crossings in my boat recently. Now Nexus for airports and roads. These certifications make border crossing much simpler.
I'll do some shopping on the city trip since Airdrie is along the way. I don't care to drive more than I must and so I try to accumulate a lot of little tasks and do them on one run. I think I overdo this efficiency, though, and having too much to do on one trip makes me even more reluctant to go.
I have about thirty nucs ordered and fewer singles than it seemed earlier. People seem eager early on and either find bees or lose interest later.
I'm still accumulating nuc orders. Details are here: Nucs and Hives for Sale.
This morning, I did the bike run again. Zippy refused to come along this time, though. I guess I wore her out yesterday. She is getting old.
I then drove to YYC and did the interview.
I then drove to Crossiron and wandered through Costco. I did not have my card with me (I took it out of my wallet when I went to the coast), and besides, I realised I need a truck for the items I found. I was also feeling poorly. This strep throat is part of something that has me feeling weak periodically, so I drove home.
There are only two ways to live
Wednesday May 28th 2014
I still have a sore throat. I woke up and had breakfast at 0550 and went back to bed for an hour.
At 0755, I see rain and grey skies. It looks as if this will be an all-day rain.
Not much got done for most of the day. I was not very energetic and did a lot of research on various topics and a bit of tidying. Late in the day, I decided to take a Benadryl and an ibuprofen. That seemed to help.
After supper, I decided that I had enough of that and decided to watch something. I turned on the TV and watched a bit of something but the commercials kept interrupting, so went over to Netflix and watched several episodes of The Guardian.
Usually, I sit to watch, but tonight decided to do some cleanup while watching. I have had a bunch of old electronics, papers and items I've saved and needed to to sort, with hopes of throwing some of it out. I'm not good at throwing things out. I can always see some good in everything and some potential use. The other problem is what to do with all this stuff. It seems ridiculous to throw metals and plastics into the landfill since we strip forests and mine tons of rock just to get a few pounds of these metals. Recycling is a daunting out here in the country, but I am figuring it out.
Optimism and positive bias about everything can be a good characteristic, but can be carried too far. At some point, the potential utility is overshadowed by the sheer amount of "stuff" and difficulty of indexing it, and at some point, things become obsolete or not worth fixing. Also a person's focus and needs change. Formerly essential tools like my PDA and the old Motorola bag phones become mere curiosities.
I worked through totes full of wires, cables and small electronics and was surprised how many duplicate cables I have accumulated. At one time, VGA, USB and audio cables were expensive and rare, so I kept any that came along. Now I have tons of them. What to do? Just throw them out? I see why people have garage sales, but what a waste of time. Although some items do go to a good use, most things go for next to nothing and other people just take them home and store them until they are totally worthless.
Anyhow, I have a lot more to go through. Not only do I have my own stuff to sort and reevaluate in view of present circumstances, but I still have Ellen's stuff and studio to deal with. I have made a start, but there is along way to go.
Then I have to decide whether to keep this place.
I went to bed at 2300 hours after taking more Benadryl and ibuprofen.
Try to learn something about
everything and everything about something.
Thursday May 29th 2014
Again, I awoke with the sore throat, but at 0545, I'm feeling more energetic and quite encouraged by my progress last evening. Maybe I'll accomplish more today.
I decided yesterday that I should see a doctor about my throat if it continued one more day. I have given up on Three Hills because it is difficult to see a doctor without waiting days or taking a chance on the ER, so I drove to Airdrie and went to the walk-in clinic on Main Street. After a wait of maybe twenty minutes, I was seen by a personable, efficient doctor who prescribed penicillin and a mouthwash. She noted an ulcer on the roof of my mouth, at the back. Maybe that was what was giving me the pain. At any rate, I dealt with that problem.
I took the truck because I planned to also go to Costco and Home Depot, so I went both places and got my errands done. When I was leaving Costco, and was loading my truck in the parking lot, I got a call from Joe. I had been expecting to hear from him as he was in Calgary picking up queens and I had indicated interest in getting a few for the people who are always asking.
It turned out that I had just walked by Joe and Jake on my way out of Costco. They were having a bite to eat at the snack bar. I went back in for a short visit and returned home.
As I turned into my driveway, I saw Elijah drive out. He was finished garden work for the day.
At this point, I do not know whether the nucs will arrive as expected or not. The shipper was busy shipping bees north today and not responding. I post any news at Nucs and Hives for Sale whenever I learn anything.
So, now I am taking penicillin and gargling with a medicated mouthwash twice a day. I'm feeling better, but my throat still hurts -- but maybe not quite as much. We'll see how this goes.
I normally have Thursday night supper when I am home, but seeing as I was not feeling tip top and that Fen cancelled, I postponed the event.
I did buy two picnic tables on this trip, so I'll be better prepared for barbeques this summer.
I did not hear from my nuc supplier all day, but when I queried him in the evening, he finally admitted that he was not sending nucs to Manitoba and had sold most of what he has. We were counting on the Manitoba truck to bring them close to Swalwell, so although he promises to supply me if I go and get them, otherwise we are SOL.
It would have been nice to know that several days ago when the weather was wet and cool.
Copy from one, it's plagiarism;
copy from two, it's research.
Friday May 30th 2014
I still have the sore throat, but it's (maybe) not quite as bad. My mind is clear and I am energetic, unlike two days ago when everything seemed difficult and my mind was muddled.
I have decisions to make. On the 4th, I pick up Jon and the kids at YYC at 1816 hours. They will be here and keeping me busy until June 9 at 1120. On or after the 12th of June, I plan to go sailing until the 29th.
In the meantime, I have to deal with my bees and my lawns and garden and house and the bees. I have five days until I pick up Jon and two after they leave.
That makes things tight, and the curve my supplier threw me does not help.
I need to do some creative thinking.
I think best when I am not thinking, so I went out and cut a little grass and assembled a picnic table I bought at Costco. I'm thinking I may be able to do this, but now I have to figure out all the orders I have on hand. That actually is then hardest part. Some people just email me once and others bombard me or phone.
Emails give me a hard copy record, but phone calls don't so phone callers may fall through the cracks if they do not also email. Anyhow, now I have to comb through all that correspondence and tabulate it. Uggh! I'd much rather be doing something else and am starting to regret this adventure.
It's a hot day. After I spent the afternoon counting and tabulating orders, and writing the above, I went out and assembled the second picnic table. Then I went out and lifted lids in the North Yard.
On a day like this, there are bees on all frames in most hives. Activity looks good and I can see bees in the apple trees, which are now in bloom.
I went to the Quonset yards and some hives are coming on well, but some are slow. I am assuming that the problem is queens. Maybe I'll have to switch queens. Meijers have some and I can get a few, but I have not had great experience with acceptance of purchased queens.
Anyhow, I don't have much ambition, but it is a huge relief to have decided not to do the impossible and drive to B.C. and back, then handle the nuc distribution. Odds are 80% it would have gone without a hitch, but I'd be exhausted and be ignoring things that need doing here, like resting up and recovering. Maybe someone else will take up the task.
I've decided, I think, not to cut all the grass around the place this year. We cut about four acres in recent years, but our lawn mowing girl is not interested any more and Elijah is now my gardener. I'll just mow near the house and that will provide a fire guard and recreational space.
I'm not a ball of fire today. I did not get much done and this evening, I am not doing anything much but watching a movie. I chose Flight. It is a curious movie, and not an especially well-made one, with mixed and conflicting messages, but I made it through the improbable script to the improbable climax, and to the improbable ending. It was not as bad as, say, The Hunger Games and did not involve any real nastiness or ersatz angst.
Right now, it is only 2130 and light outside and I am already tired. I'm waiting for it to be late enough to go to bed.
Another night, I did cleanup while watching video, but tonight I am very tired. The stress of trying to make the nuc delivery work out wore on me, but I think the penicillin is having an effect. Besides the tiredness, I notice my throat is a little less sore. I hope the soreness is gone tomorrow.
I also hope that I feel more inspired and energetic.
I went to bed at 2200 hours.
When you make a mistake, don't
look back at it long.
It's midnight and I woke up twice, so I got up. The cat wanted out, too.
Well, maybe this bad luck is good luck. Maybe we dodged a bullet. I just heard from my supplier, and he reports that the nucs he sent north did not travel well. The entrances got blocked with dead bees and the nucs suffered. They did not die, but they were damaged.
Apparently there was a problem with the net and how it covered them. Sounds as if they may have been placed on deck over the wheels, too, so it may not have been the fault of the nuc boxes. Package hauling old-timers always said the packages over the wheels "burn up" first if the load overheats.
We're still learning about these nuc boxes. Other than this report, I have heard nothing but good about them. Of course, with both packages and nucs, overfilling them may seem generous, but they are designed to hold only so many bees. Otherwise they heat up, and when a certain point is reached, they panic and the temperature avalanches.
Any news about nucs and singles available this spring are posted as they happen at Nucs and Hives for Sale
I went back to bed and slept seven hours. When I awoke, my throat was not appreciably better. Usually a sore throat clears up more quickly than this.
* * * * *
I'm at loose ends. Too may things to do and too little focus or energy. Around noon, I went out and mowed for two hours and got most of what I want to mow finished. My mower has a 52" deck and covers a lot of ground. Our lawns are all cut up with gardens, though, so a lot of time is wasted going around them and cleaning up little pie-shaped pieces of grass that are missed due to the 7-foot turning radius.
That got my attention. The fact that she thought to mention cancer made me wonder. I really doubted it is, since it came on so fast, but I am growing increasingly aware that I am past my 'best before' date.
I'm hoping this clears up soon. So far, not much change, but I am not as muddled as the day I went for the Nexus interview. That morning, I knew I was not at my best, but went anyhow. On the way, I drove through a red light on Airport Trail. It is out in the country, and there was nobody anywhere around -- ahead, behind, or on either cross street I'm a country boy. I look both ways and if it is clear I'm not always thinking about lights overhead. I simply did not see the light until I was in the intersection. The last time I did that was leaving Palm Springs two years ago at a similar out of town intersection at the freeway. Anyhow, I expect a ticket in the mail. There are red light cameras all over the place and that intersection is no exception. Oh, well.
* * * * *
At Costco the other day, I bought some shade blinds for my south windows to protect my plants while I am away and watering is less regular. To put them up, I need to move all the plants along the window, so I did that.
Working on the plants was overdue, so I did some repotting and trimming and cleaning, and almost got down to the sills. The burros tails are left. I have to move them, but I know that all those little pieces will fall off. They always do. I see they are flowering.
While I worked, I lisstened to The Other Side of History: Daily Life in the Ancient World, a lecture series by professor Robert Garland, on Audible. As interesting and enlightening as it is, I find it a bit depressing to hear how miserable (in his view) typical human existence has been throughout history. Of course it is and was, but life does have its good moments and I find it important to keep focused on that. Fortunately I have, so far, in spite of a considerable tendency to cynicism, an optimistic nature.
An inconvenience is only an
adventure wrongly considered;