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Anchored on Cassiopeia at Montague Harbour. 

Tuesday May 20th 2014

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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.

In the picture above the area is littered with logs and debris, but it is hard to see. Click to enlarge.
In the picture above the area is littered with logs and debris, but it is hard to see. Click to enlarge.

Yesterday, I listened on channel 16 and as I came through Porlier Pass, Coast Guard was dealing with reports of a fairly large runabout dead in the water up by Texada Island.  The boat had hit a log at speed and lost its outdrive leg, could not go anywhere and was taking on water.  The captain seemed quite inexperienced and was not able to contact the Coast Guard directly.  I'm guessing they just had a handheld radio.

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.

Testing the dinghy for leaksI fuelled up at Van Isle, then returned to Port Sidney Marina, pulling up to the dock right at noon as planned.

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.

I used to find McDonalds burgers acceptable, and found McDonalds to be a good place to find an economical meal on the road.  Lately, however, their burgers seem vastly overpriced, small, and of low quality.  Their salads and wraps are okay, though, but still overpriced for fast food.  I seldom go there anymore, and seek out A&W instead.

Experience is that marvelous thing that enables you to
recognize a mistake when you make it again.
Franklin P. Jones

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Wednesday May 21st 2014

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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.

The four hours right around solar mid-day are the worst for UV, Earlier and later in the day, the sun is lower in the sky and the atmosphere filters the UV somewhat.

Solar noon here is around 1330., so basically, here in Central Alberta near Calgary, from 1130 to 1530 is the worst time for UV and a good time for siesta.  More.  (Image courtesy this site.)

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.

Basic Wooden Lids and Floors for use with EPS Bee Boxes

These lids and floors are designed for use with the EPS bee boxes on the market and work with Swienty, BeeMax and Meijers' boxes, which are all pretty close to exactly the same in all dimensions.

EPS lids and floors are available, but are expensive, awkward and fragile.  The lids and floors below work well, are durable, and can also fit standard wood boxes (except Jones*) as well.

These lids are designed with an inch and a half space underneath to permit use of pillows, sacks or blankets and to allow placing patties, sugar or baggie feeders above the frames.

The floors are a basic floor that can slide around easily on pallets or hive stands.  For use directly on the ground, rot strips on the bottom can be added.

* Jones wooden boxes have a thicker wall and may not quite fit inside with these dimensions and may require adding a quarter inch or so to length and width of the lids. 

At right are pictures showing how the lids are constructed. 

The materials are 1/2" construction grade plywood and 1" nominal (3/4") spruce 1X4.

I use drywall screws to assemble them, but staples work fine, too.  The design is such that the same lid fits snugly on standard wooden boxes and also on the various EPS boxes on the market.

The inner rim lifts the lid enough that there is room for patties under the lid or a baggy feeder.  I normally use a plastic pillow under each lid for insulation and to keep the bees from building burr comb under the lid in that space when it is not used for patties.  In winter, I use several pillows for added insulation.

From top:

  • Top view from one side.
  • Inside bottom view
  • Angle inside (bottom) view
  • Side view
  • End view

These simple floors are also made from one piece of 1/2" construction plywood, plus strips about 1" thick, ripped from 2 x 4 material to hold the hive off the plywood on three sides.

The bottoms are left as flat plywood to slide easily on pallets or hive stands.  Rot strips can be added easily if desired.

Above: Bottom view. Just the flat surface of plywood.  No feet.

Below: Top view from side.  Flat piece of plywood with three side pieces.

Fit between the side and back pieces should not be too tight or sealed to permit drainage of water.

Construction tolerances are +/- 1/16". Some small imperfections are acceptable as long as they do not affect the strength or utility.  Gluing and painting is optional.

The direction of the plywood does not matter.  Plywood off-cuts could even be spliced with a spline and waterproof glue and used with the joint running crosswise on floors to use up scrap, but most people do not have the skills and the extra work might not be worth it.

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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.

The 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 fades..
 

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 mistakes.
 If people can't accept your imperfections, that's their fault.
Dr. David M. Burns

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Thursday May 22nd 2014

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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.

My sleep consultant thinks I need a CPAP machine and that Blue Cross should buy it for me if I call them and pay their exorbitant price.  I'm not quite as sure.  I have problems with consultants who also sell the products they recommend.  To me there seems to be an obvious conflict of interest.

I did like the thing.  It was fun playing with it, and the air pressure was pleasant, like SCUBA diving all night, but I seem to be sleeping pretty well without one.  I went all last week and the last several nights without.

The main concern was that my blood oxygen dropped below a threshold for a short period on the one-night test.  That seems to be a concern and such episodes can apparently lead to heart problems.  Maybe what I need is an oximeter to verify and quantify this better.

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.

With the nights around 10 degrees, we can expect even the smallest colonies to begin to catch up.  I'll need to get out early if I am to get much done, and this is the perfect time to work bees as they have great conditions to recover from disruptions.

At this point, I am rearranging frames and boxes, something I do not recommend for beginning beekeepers.  After many years, I know what I can get away with and what will help the bees build up, and when to do it, but beginners tend to get carried away and do things that over-challenge the bees' ability to adjust, setting back the colonies they are trying to assist.

For beginners, the natural build up of undisturbed brood nest is just fine and meddling can result in slow build-up and colony failure later or bad wintering.

 After winter, some hives have too much feed left and it can be in the way of brood expansion.  Basically, my goals are to get excess feed and damaged combs in these overwintered hives to the outside or out of the hive and ensure there is empty brood comb in the brood nest at a time when the weather is warm enough, both night and day, that the bees are not required to hunker down and cluster to ride out a cold spell soon after the manipulations.

Timing is critical and allowance must be made for the fact that the five-day forecast we count on for assuring recovery time has been known to change suddenly and go from promising hot weather to warning of freezing, even as late as June.

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.

The hives could be split now if I had queens, and I can get some, but I prefer to wait a bit longer for the hives to build up more.  At this point, the average hive is not quite occupying two boxes completely.  Of course if they do come close to  frames of bees, I add a box because
  • I want them to condition the combs by cleaning, working the wax, and by adding their own smell.
  • Judging by the brood I see, some could double in population by the time I get back in a week or so.

If an average queen lays 1,200 eggs a day, that means that three weeks later, 8,400 adult bees or four frames of bees will emerge.  Some queens lay double that!  One solid frame of sealed brood will hatch three frames of adult bees, and I have four or five frames fairly full of brood in these hives.

After I came in, I rescheduled my SLT eye operation and confirmed I will go to The Broughtons. I have yet to reschedule my annual with my GP, but that should be minor.

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 uses.
 George Santayana

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Friday May 23rd 2014

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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.

The obsolescence cycle is accelerating.  After 45 years, I cancelled my landline, so I have perfectly good phones to get rid of.  Would anyone want them? 

I hauled a perfectly good 26" TV to the recyclers the other day and I have one more to carry to the truck and deliver.  It weighs a ton. 

Electronics like PDAs and old computers pile up.  I'm afraid to take them to the recyclers due to horror stories of data recovery from hard drives. Many of these devices are as good as the day I bought them. 

I took some old, defunct printers to the recyclers and was amazed at how much they weighed.  The new ones are feather-light.

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? 

There are my University notes.  Mechanics of Materials lab notes?  Physics lab notes? What are they good for?

I was certified as a ski instructor in 1993.  Interesting, and a snowboard instructor in 1992, but who cares?  Ancient history.  Water over the dam.  Maybe I'll keep the ID cards, though.

And, my old passports.  Who knew I had so many?  I'll keep them though.  I have a Nexus screening appointment Tuesday and they might come in handy.

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.
C. Northcote Parkinson

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Saturday May 24th 2014

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Good morning.

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. 

I watch nighttime temperatures with particular interest.  A cold night with wind can make the bees cluster and reconsider their expansion plans.  A cold night can also chill brood around the edges and stress smaller colonies and any that have had their brood rearranged recently.

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 really should do some mite counts.  The job does not need to take long, but I hate doing it. 

Nonetheless, sample mite counts, whether done with natural drop or alcohol wash, are really the only way to know if my treatments worked this spring.

I only need to do a small sample: three to five hives to start. If I find anything over zero or much variability, a wider survey would be indicated.

Who is checking for varroa? What are you finding this year?

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 was looking back to May 2010, hoping to get some tips from the guru I used to be ;)  Here here is a picture from May 29 2010.  Sobering.

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 main results we obtained mean that Varroa populations that stood out, in field and laboratory tests, as being highly tolerant to amitraz, quickly revert to a status of high susceptibility to a properly applied Apivar treatment (overall mean efficacy of 78 %) if removed, for a few months, from contexts where amitraz applications are excessively recurrent...

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.
Socrates

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Sunday May 25th 2014

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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.

The trees are leafing out, but the morning light is still bright.  Soon, the poplars will shade the windows until 100. Dandelions are in full bloom these days, but few have gone to seed.  The flow is spotty, and the bees are robbing lightly around the yard.

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. 

This morning, I suddenly realised that I can just present the directory listings rather than using the clumsy access I offered previously.

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:

Quonset West
8 hives,

 

Quonset Yard
19 hives

Strong

4

 

Strong

12

Medium

3

 

Weaker

7

Weaker

1

 

In 2 Boxes

4

In 3 boxes

8

 

In 3 Boxes

10

 

 

 

In 4 Boxes

2

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.
 Paul Erdos

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Monday May 26th 2014

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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.

My Bile Route

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.
 Soren Aabye Kierkegaard

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Tuesday May 27th 2014

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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. 

Doctors are now reluctant to prescribe antibiotics.  Maybe I should be like a beekeeper I knew who just took a teaspoonful of OTC (oxytetracycline for bees)  in a glass of water when he felt down. 

I saw him do that one time when a group of us were visiting in his hotel room at a convention.  I don't know if it did anything good for him, but it sure surprised me!

Dandelions are in bloom and the apple trees are in bud.

I have to go to the City today.  Not all the way in, but to an Nexus interview at YYC, which is on the NE edge of Calgary. 

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. 

On a boat checking in with pre-clearance is usually just a matter of phoning in, not reporting for inspection, but if there are any non-Nexus or CanPass people on board or any duties due, the advantage is lost.

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. 

Beginners are told to get bees early and maybe have big dreams of huge amounts of honey, but the best plan IMO for a first hive is to buy a hive that has been managed through spring and is ready to produce.  That way, swarming and other problems are reduced and success is more certain.  It is the difference between buying bedding plants and raising plants from seed.  Bedding plants may cost a bit more, but they are ready to go and what you see is what you get.

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. 

Everything I read beforehand made the Nexus Interview sound daunting, but the crew in the office were jolly and the process was painless.  Now I have my fingerprints and iris scan on record.  I'm not sure what I think about that.

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 your life.
 One is as though nothing is a miracle. The other is as though everything is a miracle.
 Albert Einstein

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Wednesday May 28th 2014

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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.

It is amazing how stuff accumulates. I found earbuds and headsets that I have long forgotten along with other gadgets.  I also came across my old PDA and plugged it in.  It should be interesting to see what is in it.  I found an old camera with some good pictures. These distractions slow the

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.
 Thomas Henry Huxley

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Thursday May 29th 2014

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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.
 Wilson Mizner

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Friday May 30th 2014

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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.

We have dog food, and cat food, why not people food? Check this out

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.

3:30 PM Friday May 30,2014

I looked over all the orders, and my schedule, and considered the possibilities, and I am -- very regretfully -- coming to the realization that I can't do this all myself.

This idea began with a friend in B.C. writing me to say that he had 500+ really good nucs too many and was looking to place them, and soon -- before they outgrow the nuc boxes.

He said that he was making arrangements to ship several hundred  to Manitoba on Monday June 2nd and the truck could drop some off at my place along the way.  Could I use them, or find buyers?  I figured I could.

I know that there are more people wanting to buy singles from me than I will be able to supply and I hate to disappoint anyone, so this looked like a perfect chance to help a friend and keep the people wanting bees happy.

I put out the word and hoped to sell about a hundred nucs, with minimum of fifty to make the delivery practical.

As time passed, the shipment to Manitoba began to look less likely and if I wanted to proceed I'd have to pick them up myself or find another way to get delivery to Alberta.

I seriously considered going out myself with either a truck or van and trailer, however, I have come down with a throat infection and don't think twenty hours on the road would do it any good, plus I do not have time in my schedule since I have company coming Wednesday.

Counting the responses up just now, I have orders for, it seems, about thirty-five nucs , scattered from Calgary to Edmonton and all around.  There might be as many as ten more, but one never knows until the money is collected.

Anyhow, I have fifty nucs lined up near Abbotsford and if anyone wants to drive out and get them, it could be possible, but that person (or persons) would have to be experienced in transporting bees and have a suitable truck or trailer capable of hauling the whole shipment -- about fifty nucs. 

Hauling a pallet of bees in nucs is not like hauling a pallet of peat moss. Nucs generate heat and need air circulation without much wind and sun.  The trip should be made with minimal stopping during daylight hours.  If the bees are confined in strong nucs (locked in) they may cover the vents, overheat and suffocate, so experienced beekeepers usually leave the entrances open and net the load.  Suffice it to say, hauling more than a hive or two of bees requires careful planning and execution.

I built enough into the price that whoever did it would not be out of pocket -- assuming nothing goes wrong and could make a bit of money.

This is all on short notice and it is possible that I might be able to arrange to put pickup off a week if someone wants to take on the driving and distribution.

If someone feels up to the job, please contact me (direct) to discuss it. In the meantime, I think we all need to assume that this plan has not worked out.  I have left the information at http://www.honeybeeworld.com/hives/default.htm on the off-chance that we can put a team together to make it work.

My apologies for getting everyone's hopes up.  This is, so far, a disappointment for all.

Now, I need to work on my own bees so that the singles will still be available as promised during June.

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.

When I go out there and exert myself, I am tired.  Penicillin does that I hear.  The infection does not help either.  I hope it clears up soon. 

The doctor prescribed 40 tablets to take twice a day and I was thinking that means a twenty-day treatment.  That seemed longer than usual, so I looked at the bottle again, this time with my glasses on, and see I am supposed to take two twice day.  That makes more sense!

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.
Take the reason of the thing into your mind and then look forward.
Mistakes are lessons of wisdom. The past cannot be changed.
The future is yet in your power.
Hugh White

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Saturday May 31st 2014

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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.

I recall shaking bees into packages with a customer of a neighbour.  We used a scale, but he was shaking more than the two pounds into a two-pound package.  He was helping himself to three. 

He thought he was cheating the supplier of the bees and being generous to himself, but I had to tell him he was cheating himself, too.  The crowded bees would never withstand the trip back to his place.

Any news about nucs and singles available this spring are posted as they happen at Nucs and Hives for Sale

Warning: If you are using Gmail, as I have been for years now -- mainly for its accurate Spam filters -- be aware that suddenly the Spam filtering is not working nearly as well as in the past. 

I am getting Spam in my inbox, and, worse yet, I am seeing valuable email in the Spam folder!  I always check the Spam folder multiple times a day and clear it out so I can easily spot anything valuable.

I seldom use Gmail with a web browser.  I mainly use Gmail from my desktop with Thunderbird software, using IMAP.  I also have Gmail on my phone and tablets for getting prompt notifications when I am walking around and will sometimes make short replies with the app, but find it limiting.  The Gmail mobile app is synced with the desktop, and I find monitoring and emptying the Spam box far easier when using Thunderbird.

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.

I notice now, after coming in, that my throat is feeling less raw. I was starting to wonder as the doctor had remarked that the ulcer did not look cancerous

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.

My brother asked me the other day about aging.  He just turned sixty-six this year and is noticing that knowing his age suddenly affects how people respond to him.  Turning sixty-six is just like throwing a switch in some people's minds.   Somehow sixty-five is 'retirement age' and 'still alive', and sixty-six is 'old', and 'almost dead'.

Doctors know my age because they have that data right in front of them, and I have noticed a distinct difference in the level of interest some of them show and what they expect after my sixty-sixth birthday.  Some doctors seem to figure it is a waste of time to deal with old folks because they are just going to die soon anyhow, and it shows. Other doctors specialize in old folks.  Some just don't care and are interested in everyone equally.  I appreciate that.

People think in stereotypes.  I notice that in any news report, if anyone is over sixty, age tends to be mentioned prominently, and age is implied to have some significance.

My mother was on the board of a university well into her eighties, and at one meeting, one of the other members around the table was talking about old people and how they are somehow different, and that they should get an old person on the board.  Mom said, "I'm eighty-two, you know".  That was the end of that idea.

Adrian sent me this and I appreciate it. 

> Allen there was a letter in the ABJ this month from a Yuri Gan, a
> Russian Beekeeper from the middle Urals he says "The most grave error in
> my beekeeping lasted until the early 2000's: I underfed my bees. It
> was partly due to Allen Dick and his diary on the internet, that I
> realized my mistake to the full extent. I remember that it was very
> difficult to get a stable connection on the internet in the early 2000's
> and I had to get up late in the night to download his diary and read it
> the next day."

Thanks, Adrian! I'm glad that people get value from what I write. 

I've only recently started using bigger pictures due to concerns that not everyone has had had high speed and cheap connections until recently.  I remember the days when Internet was over the phone and at 200 baud.  The web did not yet exist and we had bulletin boards, gopher, and FTP.  Looking at my editor, I see this page alone takes two minutes and forty-six seconds to download at 56 Kbs.  There are still people out there using dialup and I feel for them, but I also know that people love pictures.

> Get better soon.

Thanks again.

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.

*   *    *   *   *

This afternoon, after the lawn, I looked at all the things I need to do and did not like any of them, so I went off on a tangent.

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;
 an adventure is an inconvenience rightly considered.
 Gilbert Keith Chesterton

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