Sunday August 10th 2014
The memorial is now just a memory and the Easterners leave today.
In the morning, Bill, Jon and I went up onto the roof to try to locate the leak. Matt and I had looked before but found nothing obvious. This time, we decided it had to be at a vent and Jon went back up and re-sealed around it.
We cleaned up, had lunch, then the Easterners departed. The motorhome headed straight to Medicine Hat. The van is headed there for the night as well, but they are going via YYC, as they have to drop Sue there for an afternoon flight home to work Monday.
Now there are just the six of us left. Jon and Jean and kids are here until Wednesday. Chris left yesterday with Sophie.
As I was working on the pump around 1300, Matt came by. He had marked down the wrong date and thought that the memorial was today, but came here when he found no one at the cemetery. Matt was my long-time beekeeping assistant/mechanic and is seen in some early diary pictures.
Matt was the guy who re-roofed the south end back in 2005, so the timing was eerie, seeing as we had just worked on the roof earlier and I haven't seen Matt for months. Anyhow, Matt went up to look and agreed as to the source of the leak, then stayed the afternoon. Sean came up from downtown and Jon visited with his pals from yesteryear until suppertime.
I have only one
superstition. I touch all the bases when I hit a home run.
Monday August 11th 2014
Everyone is gone, now except Jon and Jean and their kids. Most of the cleanup is done and it is time to get back to "normal".
Elijah came over after lunch and started loading up the duckweed from the piles on the grass.
After trying various things, I finally discovered that just laying the sump pump on its side in the mud at the edge of the water and letting the outflow run down the lawn worked as well as anything for capturing and draining the duckweed.
I place several bricks just under the water surface in front of the pump so that water there is shallow and the pump draws mostly surface water.
Duckweed floats on the water surface and is carried into the pump by the current, then up the tube to the lawn where the duckweed is caught by the grass and the pile of duckweed, and drains nicely..
We have hauled
You know I really doubt the IPCC reports. I have no doubt that
we are affecting the climate in some ways, but not nearly the way they
say. I think the bigger issues are pollution and overexploitation
of land and sea.
Later, the kids and I went out and got a frame of honey out of one of the hives and they took it into the kitchen and flattened the cells with a spoon to get honey, then we took the frame back to see if it gets refilled. We did not wear veils or suits and nobody was stung.
Jean came out with Nathan and showed him the bees, too. These bees are the same parentage as the so-called "grumpy" hive, (which I checked earlier in the day, stripped to the waist, wearing shorts and sandals, and with only a puff of smoke).
We also put up a tire swing in the back yard and had another bonfire.
politicians and its wars, society has the teenagers it deserves.
Tuesday August 12th 2014
I'm weary, but happy. Everything went well and now it is time to focus on the coming months. My biggest and only issue, really, at this point is my home. I don't think I am ready to give it up, but it is a burden.
As I often say, "Anything you own owns you".
I like to travel and as things are I cannot just mothball the place and leave. I have the plants and animals to care for and ensuring reliable heating in winter is a problem.
Then, there is a matter of the bees. The bees take care of themselves over winter, but need to be managed in the next three months.
I actually did nothing much of consequence today, except did more duckweed. Jon and I also flashed and set up a WRT54G v.3 and a v.8 router with dd-wrt.com firmware. The existing firmware worked, but the new firmware has more features and perhaps more security.
The kids continued to enjoy the tire swing and modified it into a rope swing with bungees and then a trapeze swing using Jon's old windsurfing seat harness.
I cooked a chicken from frozen for super. I buy a frozen utility chicken, cut off the wrap and wash it, place it in the crock-pot around noon and nuke it for ten to twenty minutes, then leave it in the crock-pot on high. A half-hour before supper, I add enough rice to soak up the juice, and often add broth. The chicken falls apart and is half-soup, half stew.
beings are perhaps never more frightening than when they are convinced
beyond doubt that they are right.
Wednesday August 13th 2014
Today, Jean and the kids return home, and Jon and Kalle will go with them, since they have not been to Jean's new home. I have to drive to Calgary for an eye check-up at 1500 and will then drive up there as well.
I arrived at the appointment on time and the eye check showed the IOPs to both be down to 13, which is ideal. I had my third SLT this summer and this was my one-month check-up. The doctor says he has seldom done three on one patient since the procedure is fairly new. I gather he has not always has such good results, so I am fortunate.
I left his office and drove to Gull Lake, making the trip in two hours, including a stop at Wal-Mart in Sylvan to get a car charger for my phone which was running out of battery. I already have several, but unless I keep one in every vehicle, I find I have none with me when needed.
I arrived in time for supper. After, Jean, Mckenzie, Kalle and I went swimming at the nearby beach.
If we have learned
one thing from the history of invention and discovery, it is that,
Thursday August 14th 2014
We're at Gull Lake this morning. Orams are going camping and my plan is to drive Jon and Kalle to YYC via Sylvan Lake, where Kalle can spend some time at Wild Rapids.
Orams left at 1045 and we left an hour later, stopping at the beach and then again at Sylvan Lake. Jon and Kalle spent less than an hour at the slide and had enough. From there, I drove Jon and Kalle to YYC and drove home, stopping in Airdrie for groceries and The Mill for supper.
It was hot and stuffy in the Mill kitchen, so we went out on the porch to enjoy the thunderstorm that was passing over. I was tired and I left earlier than usual and returned home, arriving just before the storm got to Swalwell.
I see the duckweed re-grew in the day I was away and almost covers the entire pond again.
Now it is just me, my animals, and the plants, here in The Old Schoolhouse.
produced a vast population able to read
Friday August 15th 2014
Ellen died one year ago today. A lot has happened in that year.
At the time, I said I would not make any decisions for one year. Time's up and I am not feeling any more inclined to make big changes.
All in all, it has been a good year.
I really should be working on my bees today, but I have a few deadlines to meet. One is for an ad in Currents, the Bluewater Cruising Association's magazine promoting the Thanksgiving Rendezvous.
I spent most of the day working on the Thanksgiving Rendezvous. It seemed like a small job, but maybe I am slower than I thought.
I was finished in mid-afternoon and drove to Three Hills to deposit a cheque and mail a package. Emma had bought some art supplies and left them in the red van, then written to ask me to send them to her in Nova Scotia. There were only a few items and I hope they were worth the $18 I spent mailing them.
I returned home, baked a salmon for super and had a nap right after. I'm beat.
None are so
hopelessly enslaved as those who falsely believe they are free
Saturday August 16th 2014
I awoke around 0745. Rain was pounding on the roof and skylights and the dog was beside the bed, worried about rolling thunder overhead. We were experiencing a downpour. Not a great start for a day of bee work.
It is obvious that some hives are doing better than others. That is to be expected since all are splits and some requeened sooner than others. In a few weeks I'll be combining down the poorer ones to get ready for winter.
I can't understand
why people are frightened of new ideas.
Sunday August 17th 2014
I awoke today realizing that when I wrote the Green Certificate Beekeeping program a decade ago, I wrote the full course, including management, simply because it is easier to write the whole story rather than try to decide what goes in and what stays out. To my knowledge, only the first section, about one third of the material, was published. That section covers for the 'production technician' only. (That's officialspeak for what most if us call bee labourer).
There are two more levels, for management and ownership as I recall. I still have the manuscript on hand and decided to mention the fact to the appropriate person. I wonder if anything will come of it.
Today is a big day getting ready to go east and I am sure I cannot possibly do everything I tell myself I have to do.
My first job is to screw a ceiling tile back up in the kitchen. We had a leak there for a while and the tile dropped a bit. Now that the leak is fixed, I have to re-attach the tile.
Next, I must unplug the kitchen drain. It is totally blocked, but the job should be simple. The choke point is known (I think) to be at a joint downstairs and is accessible. That joint is easy to disassemble and clean. First, though, I have to get the water out of the line. It seeps down slowly, and I have not run water for eight hours or more, so the pipe should be dry by now.
* * * * *
The tile is done and now the pipe.
I've decided to cancel my upcoming trip and rebook for early September, so I'm working on a new plan.
I had intended to fly out tomorrow to go to see Mom and spend ten days in the Sudbury area. I reserved flights a few weeks ago because I had assumed I'd be ready to go about now, but I have had a houseful of people and neglected my bees and worn myself out.
I need time to recuperate and catch up, so I'm thinking I'll fly east in early Sept, stay longer, and do the loop -- Sudbury, Gananoque, Round Lake, Port Severn, Sudbury.
If I stay here until the September long weekend, I'll be able to get things done and be here when Jon comes to hang the show in Drumheller. Also, there is a family reunion scheduled in Gananoque on September 6th. I had assumed I'd miss it, but I'll attend if I fly east around then. I see there are lots of empty seats on Air Canada on the long weekend Saturday and Sunday of the long weekend.
There are always good deals if one is willing to fly in the middle of a holiday weekend since everyone wants to fly the day before and the day after or on the nearby days. The middle day or days are not heavily booked, but schedules must be kept.
From Gananoque, I'd drive down to Round Lake and then back to Sudbury.
I've been planning to go to WAS conference from September 17th through 20th this fall as it is nearby (if you call 684 km [425 miles] 'nearby') in Montana, but it may not fit into my new plans.
I will be attending the BCHPA conference from September 25th through 27th, though, since I am a scheduled speaker.
* * * * *
I called Mom and told her I am putting off the visit and got to work. The drain is not the slam-dunk I expected. It seems the clog is a long way along the usual pipe and my snake just reaches it. I managed to punch out the worst of it and get some flow restored, but need to do further reaming to ensure that debris do not hang up in the restricted area. I'm guessing it is a grease build-up.
I'll also have to re-seal the sink drains. I had used the plunger to try to dislodge the jam and these are from ~$100 Wal-Mart double sink/faucet kits. They look and work okay, but the steel is thin enough that plunging seems to have flexed them enough to loosen the seals.
I had to go to get the long step ladder from the quonset and notice that bees are robbing in the yard, but the robbing is not too bad -- yet.
There is no way I could have done all I have on my plate by tonight, so I am feeling relieved that I have decided not to go, but a bit chagrined to let Mom down. She said the change is okay, but I know she was looking forward to seeing me and may be a bit worried about me.
I'm now finished an informal year of mourning and need to get on with things.
Seeing as I will be home, I made a bean stew and then, mid-afternoon, the weather cleared and I went out to work on the bees.
I had some honey I pulled previously sitting on the truck deck. I need boxes to put on the hives and I checked these boxes to see if they had any empty comb.
Guess what? The bees had taken the honey back while I was working on other things and visiting the past week or so.
Looking into the hives, I see that they have drawn all their foundation, except the PF-100s, and they are working on them.
Note the Pierco are perfectly drawn and the PF-100s are just starting to be drawn out and have drone sections.
The robbing is no problem. I'm trying to draw foundation and raise bees and one of the best ways to draw foundation is to feed bees. If there is fear of sugar contamination from feeding, the best feed is honey in supers.
Honey in the comb is worth less than honey in the drum since extracting is a part of the cost of honey in the drum. Honey costs more than sugar, for sure, but it is handy, and its pure.
On the left is Pierco, the outside frame On the right is Acorn, the second from outside.
There is no difference that I can see.
After working on four hives in the North Yard, I heard the dog barking and came in. She was barking at nothing as usual. Ever since Sophie was here, she has decided that barking is fun and is becoming a nuisance.
I had a snack and a swim and went back out to the Quonset, seeing as I needed more boxes, and worked on nine hives there, pulling four boxes of honey that were in the way.
went through my honey boxes and a few frames had been robbed, but I
still had twelve full boxes. I closed up the stacks and the
robbers went wild at the cracks. Regardless, I worked all day
without a veil, with a little smoke, and did not get stung, except for a
few accidental nicks.
Such cells would drive some beekeepers crazy, but to me they are no worry. There is a chance the hive was considering swarming, but cooler weather is coming and it is getting late, so I doubt they would go. It is not impossible as I have seen more than a few August swarms before, but I doubt it.
I removed honey and spread brood. We'll see.
I came in at 1900 and called it a day. I washed dishes and see the drain is still very slow. I intended to ream it this afternoon, but was distracted by the bees.
I then cancelled my itinerary, with some regret, but it had to be done.
Now I am free for the next two weeks, to rest up and deal with the hives and several other odd jobs. I might even calm down enough get around to the forklift. I know it is going to be a frustrating job.
Ambition is a poor
excuse for not having sense enough to be lazy.
Monday August 18th 2014
I slept well. The cooler and longer nights in mid-August encourage more time in bed and better rest.
Right about now I should be boarding my flight to Ontario, but I cancelled the trip. I have mixed feelings about that, but mostly feel relief that the memorial is over and that I have some time to be alone with nothing scheduled time and get things done.
As much as I love having company and seek out occasions to socialize, I do enjoy being alone once in a while, at home, at the cottage, and on my boats.
We are now on borrowed time. The flow could run into October or it could cut off tomorrow. How do you plan for that?
This is one of the reasons I stayed home. I have to start preparing for winter. Fall is only a month away.
I left some boxes tipped last night since the bees abandon best right about dusk and sometimes the stragglers wander down the hives and into auger holes during the night. The boxes are usually free of bees by morning.
An overnight rain will not have much effect on the honey in the combs as they are sheltered by the box. Open cells, however, could pick up a little extra moisture, but that should not matter unless the honey is already close to the borderline for ripeness.
Given the light robbing in the yard, though, I should get out there before it warms up too much to claim the honey before the bees do.
Robbing: I don't look on robbing as necessarily being a bad thing. Light robbing will identify and eliminate sub-par colonies and save a beekeeper quite a bit of work. Spring robbing of dead colonies can save strong overwintered colonies from starvation.
Disease is always a concern, but in an area where the bees are healthy and the bee stock has some AFB resistance, limited robbing may offer more benefits than challenges.
The vicious sort of robbing that can happen in fall when a beekeeper is drum feeding is not something to be sought. Crazy and widespread fighting can be avoided when feeding syrup in the open by supplying sufficient surface area in the feeders and open access so that the bees do not get excessively defensive. The bees will be calm as long as there is plenty for all. The problems arise when supplies run out and bees begin fighting over what is left.
In feeding stations with restricted access and a small area in relation to the number of bees arriving, some bees will try to defend the syrup and initiate fighting.
A real uproar can result from running out of feed in drums in the middle of a hot day while the hives nearby are still light. On the other hand, if the drums are kept well supplied until the robbing hives are full, syrup will attract less and less interest. Plugged hives do not rob.
A caveat: Robbing is not something for a beginner or urban beekeeper to encourage. It can create situations dangerous to people and animals nearby.
How to stop robbing in a yard: In a yard where the hives begin to rob one another, such as when the beekeeper has worked half the hives and the others begin to rob, the robbing can be stopped immediately by simply removing all the lids in the yard. This may not work where the robbing bees are coming from another nearby yard.
Disclaimer: These comments are based on my experience in my yards in my region. YMMV. Although experienced beekeepers can manage robbing without panic, robbing behaviour can be very unpredictable, scary, and dangerous situations can arise rapidly. Do not encourage or tolerate robbing.
Before and after shots are to left and right.
Sure enough, it was hopelessly queenless. I had been told it had queen cells and I advised leaving them alone, but who knows what happened?
In going through the hive, I found what had been the top super near the bottom of the stack, and I saw something I've never seen before: plastic foundation in a new wired frame and with the wire embedded.
I worked bare-handed without a veil and with only a little smoke. They did not sting.
I got to the Quonset Yard around 1100 and by then the robbers had cleared up the drips and I lifted the boxes down and sealed them up. I worked through some more hives and at noon went for a swim and a snack.
Having this small (9' x 18') pool is a lifesaver and makes the hot summer weather bearable. I come from the bees overheated and within a minute, I am cooled down to where I actually feel cold for the next while. The effect can last up to an hour.
The man who insists
on seeing with perfect clearness before he decides, never decides.
Tuesday August 19th 2014
Wow! that is the best night's sleep in a while, and I did not use the CPAP machine.
We are now into a cooling trend. Friday night could bring frost. We'll see.
I began my day by sizing up my drain problem. I have to run to town for flexible couplers. I could do the job with glued or threaded fittings fittings. I have a drawer full of every imaginable fitting, but flexible couplers are the best way to go as they make taking things apart later much easier. I have to plan carefully since the trip to town and back takes an hour and a gallon of gas. I'd like to get the right things the first time.
It seems that the problem is really a lack of slope on a ten-foot run of 1-1/2" pipe running from the sinks. It should drop a minimum of 2.5 inches but is essentially horizontal at present. It's been that way for 50 years and has clogged a few times in that time. I'll change that, but there goes my morning.
Here's another time-waster: I cracked the back glass on my Nexus 4 phone a year ago, and I put up with that minor flaw for all this time. When Jon was here he reminded me that parts are available, so I spent a lot of time online deciding whether to replace the whole back or just the glass. Either way, it seemed that I need tools. the sellers who sell the parts for reasonable prices don't have the tools. The ones who do have are too expensive and the shipping almost doubles the cost if I buy from two sellers. Decisions, decisions. I finally just ordered the cheapest part and I'll see how things go.
It's 1606 and I still have blocked kitchen sinks. I had assumed the blockage was in the horizontal run, and maybe it was, but it is now located further down.
I was surprised to discover a major restriction near the sink and cleared that, but on testing, I find the water gets down the entire length I had under suspicion. I checked the joiner section and it was clear. That only left the main four-inch drain.
I pulled the inspection cover and poked it and found the main seemed blocked. I poked the obstruction, closed the port and put 25 gallons of water down the toilet at the end of the line and listened further down. It's clear.
Now I have to wait for the sink water to go down enough that I can start over at the top. The drain down through the floor is a new section, and I cleaned the sink drains. The horizontal part let the snake though, so where is the block? I checked the end of that whole run again and clan, hot water gushed out.
That left the joiner section which had proven clear a while before. I drained the rest of the hot water I had standing in the sinks and then probed the joiner section.
It had plugged, and on inspection, I discovered what looked like fine beeswax flakes congealed into a solid plug. I cleared the blockage, hooked up the pipes again and its all good!.
Tomorrow, I'll cut out and bypass the joiner section, but I've had enough for today.
Men never do evil
so completely and cheerfully