Sunday May 10th 2015
I slept well again. I generally do when on the boat. I was very confident in this sheltered anchorage in spite of only fair holding in weeds and mud. I set the anchor alarm, just the same, and see from the GPS that I swung, but did not move much. Most of the movement shown at right was from moving from my initial position and dragging while setting the anchor.
I had breakfast at 0445, then went back to bed and slept about two more hours. I have no plans for the day except to read, putter, and sleep.
I'll also take the dinghy ashore for a while and prowl around town. Friday Harbor is an interesting place.
I have to go to town tomorrow as well. My excuse for coming here is to pick up a $20 package at Post San Juan and with any luck a second package as well. A cushion repair kit and dinghy cleaner and protector should have arrived for pickup here by now. I could have had them sent to Canada, but UPS delivery costs are unpredictable. Random and arbitrary UPS border charges could be more than the cost of the items themselves.
Besides, I needed an excuse to come down this way. The San Juan Islands are every bit as enchanting as the Gulf Islands.
A 180 degree panorama view of my anchorage. Cassiopeia's stern at left, bow at right, Brown Island in the centre. San Juan Island shore and the town are behind me.
I walked uptown to look around and buy a few small items. It is five years since I was here, but my memories of the town seem to have blurred and the place is not as I remember it.
I had a headache all afternoon, with visual disturbances, so rather than going exploring, I returned to the boat and rested.
My Internet is quite limited and expensive, so I watched a video I happened to have on disk: Born Yesterday. It's an oldie, but a goodie.
When I let go of what I am, I become
what I might be.
Monday May 11th 2015
My anchor alarm woke me for the first time last night. That is not surprising since I had it set for a 150 feet radius and had put out 200 feet of rode in about fifty feet of water. Reversing current could move me as much as 300 feet or more, but usually there is no strain on the anchor and the chain on the sea floor restrains movement to much less. I set the alarm conservatively to tip me if conditions got rough and I might need to let out more rode. It was calm, but maybe the current was stronger than usual.
Today, I plan to pick up my packages at Post San Juan and perhaps head back to Canada.
AT 0900, the day is dull and cool
I don't see any wind predicted so far.
I walked uptown, got the supplies and returned to the boat. I had decided against the tubing and settled for just the packages I had ordered and a few small items form the hardware store and West Marine.
I hoisted anchor at 1500 and motored out of the harbor. There wasn't much wind at all, but once I got out in to the channel, I was able to run downwind at four knots or so.
I had no definite plan and found myself anchored again in Reid Harbor for the night. I like to set anchor at least an hour before sundown and this was the only good anchorage nearby other than Roche Harbor and I did not feel like being in a high traffic location.
I consulted several sources about wind and they do not agree. Currently, the wind is swinging me around the anchor. Predictions are for moderate winds backing from SW to N overnight. There is little wave action here in the bay, so the motion is gentle. At any rate, the anchor held well when I backed off and I have set the GPS alarm.
Gratitude is not only the greatest
of virtues, but the parent of all others.
Tuesday May 12th 2015
The night was calm and I slept well. Today, I'll motor back to Canada. Not much hope of wind.
I left the anchorage at around 0900 and motored across Boundary Passage. When I hit the border, I dropped The Stars and Stripes from the starboard spreader and replaced it with the solid yellow quarantine flag and phoned the Canadian border authorities. They gave me a clearance number and a time to be at Van Isle Marina. I reached the marina at the appointed time, fuelled up and returned to Port Sidney Marina where I tied up at 1100, had lunch, and met with Callum.
I had a slight headache this morning and had a visual disturbance around noon. The visual effects cleared up fairly quickly and when they ended, so did the headache. I think it may be tension.
This afternoon, Cassiopeia is tied up at Port Sidney Marina and I find myself with little to do. I'll have a nap enjoy the sun, wander around, shower ...and pack. I'm hoping I can pack in less than three hours this time.
I strolled up town to get a few small items and came back, had supper, filled the water tank, cleaned the toilets and began sorting. The job does not seem as bad this time for some reason. Other times, it has been a race against time.
I have to catch a cab at 0800 tomorrow and will do the last little bit of tidying and packing in the two hours after I get up tomorrow.
There went Tuesday.
There is a certain majesty in
simplicity which is far above all the quaintness of wit.
Wednesday May 13th 2015
In spite of the fact that I had set the alarms for 0600 and planned to sleep until then, I woke up, got up, checked the time, and discovered that it was 0259. My autopilot had taken over again.
I got up, showered on board and had breakfast. Then I finished the cushion repairs. I hope they look better after this treatment than before, not worse. They looked fine before and just had a few little punctures. This paint, so far, looks glossy.
At 0440, I have only to pack and wipe down the boat boat now, then leave. I have a little over three hours to do it in.
At 0800, I catch a cab. At 0920, we lift off and at 1315, I have a field of vision test and a dilated eye exam.
After I can see to drive, I'll drive to Airdrie, trying to miss the rush hour if possible, buy groceries, then drive on to The Mill to pick up Zippy. From there, I go home.
Everything went according to plan and I passed my field of vision test with a 98 and a 97, which is about as good as it gets.
The field of vision test is not an indication of visual acuity, but rather is a test to detect damage from glaucoma or any other cause for that matter. The eye exam did not turn up anything worthy of comment either.
I have had vision disturbances lately, and am finding my near vision is poor, but whatever the reason, glaucoma is not the issue.
I drove to Bass Pro to replace a handy little marine VHF I must have left on the Sceptre last June, and then to Costco to buy food for supper tomorrow. I was looking at tablets when Joe Meijer walked up behind me. This is the second or maybe third time -- almost in a row --that I have bumped into him there lately, and I go there seldom.
I bought the tablet to try. I have my reservations about them. I don't want Apple and I am suspicious of branded Android products after experiencing pure Google Android on my Nexus 5, the best phone I have ever owned.
From there, I drove to The Mill to get Zippy and stayed for supper. Zippy had had a good time there while I was gone, with all the people coming and going and other dogs, but was overjoyed to see me and happy to come home.
When I drove up, a neighbour was at the door, having come for a visit. We visited about two hours. He carried on a fairly good conversation, but turned out to be too drunk to drive home. He could barely walk to the door. I drove him home. In the morning, he will be wondering where his truck is, I imagine.
While he was there, I also looked at some lids and floors a local fellow had made on spec. He did a good job, but he had not really figured his costs and price. The rough numbers he recalled put him 25% above my last year's cost, so I asked him to sharpen his pencil and check his layout and final price.
Last years contractor said he might make some this year, but he is a bit balky and was wanting to raise his price. I sell the set at my cost and figure the buyers are price-sensitive, so am looking for a less cantankerous supplier and competitive cost.
Success is not the key to happiness.
Happiness is the key to success.
Thursday May 14th 2015
I woke up groggy this morning.
I intended to get out to the bees, but the day dawned dull and cool. I had a few things to do and set about doing them. As I did them, I also set up the new Galaxy Tab.
Sometime during the morning, I wrote the morning diary post, but then the computer froze and would not do anything at all. I had neglected to save often, so lost the work.
Around noon, I the wife of my visitor last evening showed up to retrieve his truck, so we had coffee and caught up on news. Then she drove home.
I have been busy all day, but have not accomplished much. A new device is a great distraction.
I was going to go out to the bees, but it has continued windy and dull all day, so I am doing in door jobs. I have company coming at six and a roast to do, so that will keep me busy in late afternoon and evening...
Supper went off well. There were only seven of us this time. My friends brought me more queens so i can do more queenright splits. I've sold enough hives that I am reluctant to wait for queens to be raised and mated. I'll do some walk-away splits, but for now, I need a head start.
Some lingered and after everyone left, I cleaned up , then watched an episode of White Collar on the new tablet.
If you want to make peace, you don't
talk to your friends. You talk to your enemies.
Friday May 15th 2015
Today is rainy and cool. We need the rain, but I have ten queens on the counter and should get out to do some splits. That probably won't happen today.
I have some bookwork to do and this is a long weekend, so I may see what Orams are up to.
I did some bookwork and laundry and played with the new tablet. It is a lot of work to set these things up, even when the software is installed from backup. After that, passwords need to be entered, and then there are software updates happening in the background, replacing the original versions installed from backup, possibly because those versions came from a phone backup and they may need changing to tablet versions. All in all, I used about 10 GB over the past two days, including the video last night and the movie tonight.
Tonight, I watched the 2012 remake of Total Recall, a movie based on "We Can Remember It For You Wholesale", a short story by Philip K. Dick. The original, starring the Governator has been a favourite of mine for years.
The remake was okay, but made to the darker, less loving tastes of today. Which version is better? Hard to say, but the original was funnier and less dark.
A man travels the world over in
search of what he needs, and returns home to find it.
Saturday May 16th 2015
It is raining again this morning. We are having a much needed soaker. My weather station reports 0.88 inches of rain today.
Our historical average annual precipitation here is 350-400 mm (14-18"), so this current rainfall is significant. I notice that the fairly up-to-date map indicates higher rainfall than the historical twelve annual inches on record forty-eight years ago when I moved here. At that time, the area was very dry. We have been having wetter years lately.
This seems to be a wasted sort of day. I am not going out since it is raining and windy as well. I'm at my desk doing basically nothing, and doing a little tidying from time to time.
At 1610, the rainfall accumulation stands at 1.3 inches according to my weather station.
By late afternoon, we were approaching two inches of rain on my readout and then my weather station software froze. When I rebooted, the rain measurement reset to zero, so I lost track. Two inches is my best guess.
Change the way you look at things
and the things you look at change.
Sunday May 17th 2015
Today is expected to be sunny and I'll have a chance to work outdoors.
I slept until 0930 and when I got up, the world outside is sunny and bright again. I'll get outdoors ASAP and see if I can find a home for these new queens.
I began by cleaning the pool filter and cleaning the pool a bit and soon the bees were active, so bee work is next. So far the day looks perfect for this work.
I went out and worked an hour, going through eight hives, some with splits on top, so the count is more like sixteen. So far the new mated queens i introduced are looking good, unlike previous batches in past years.
As I went, I made two more splits by shaking bees off brood combs and placing them in a box above an excluder on top of the parent hive. I leave them sitting without a lid for a while and this really brings the bees up from below. In an hour, I'll replace the excluder with plastic and intro a new queen into the split.
Leaving the splits on top of the parent (or any nearby colony) reduces the lifting, carrying and other work, and the need for more locations. Since I have auger holes in every box, entrances are not a problem.
I went out again and checked the rest of the introduced queens and found two hives with cells and no queen activity in the bunch. Disappointing, but not untypical. I think that I may have put too big a hole in the black tunnel thing they supplied, so I did not punch the candy at all in the cages I installed today. One hive had advanced cells that i must have missed when checking for queens.
I noticed one have had bad chalkbrood (seen on the plastic divider at right).
I had planned on going up to Orams' for tomorrow, but they are at a barbeque in Lacombe and the hour is getting late, so I decided to skip it.
If you don't know where you are
going, you will probably end up somewhere else.
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Monday May 18th 2015
Last night, I had about the worst sleep I've had in a long time. I went to bed before midnight and woke up at a little after three. I drowsed for a while, then got up for a while, then went back to bed. At 0530, I got up, had coffee and had breakfast and went back to bed. That usually works and I sleep soundly for an hour or two, but not today. Could be allergies. I should have taken Benadryl, I guess, but, as it happens when I am not sleeping well, I did not think of it.
I have to decide what to do today and what to do in the coming several months. I have committed to some bee work and I have two buildings in need of maintenance, grass to cut...
Added to this, I should visit family and then, yesterday, Dawn called hoping I would go on an Alaska boat trip. They had not sold out the spaces and a 65-foot cruiser is going to Juneau with only the skipper. They want someone in the Cooper "family" to go along from Prince Rupert to Juneau, and that could be me.
What should I do today? Go to Gull lake and see the Orams and the kiteboarders or stay home and cut grass and molest my bees?
That was easy. It was still early and went back to bed. This time I managed to sleep almost until 1000.
After that, I did research and some writing and the day went by.
Shortly after I got up, the wind picked up and has been blowing hard all day, taking away the moisture we just received.
Wind or no wind, I am going outside for while.
I went out around 1700 and came back in at 1900. In the meantime, I checked splits and was relieved to find all the new queens at work this time. The several misses at the Quonset seem like a fluke. I lifted them down and will see if they lose bees or not.
I also made several splits by shaking and left them above excluders. I have no queens right now, but have decided that these queens are good, are being accepted well, and are my best hope of keeping my promises to customers, so hope to have more on Friday.
In my work, I came across one hive that had dwindled down from being in three boxes at the time I rearranged the yard a few weeks back and fairly strong on my last round, to less than one box (left). Although there were full frames of honey nearby, the brood combs were completely dry and the brood was shotgun (right).
Maybe drifting was part of the problem, but I saw red ants on the floor board and there have been ants here before. I had put down poison, but then it rained heavily, and rain washes away the bait.
For now, I blame the ants and took remedial measures. First, I placed the single box with bees and brood above an excluder on a strong hive to accumulate more bees from below and then put down some ant poison under the floor.
Looking closely at the floor (right) we can see some red ants, but even more interestingly, we see lots of varroa. I assume the Apivar worked, but wonder how many mites survived. I should do some shakes or washes. Maybe I should put down some sticky boards.
I am pulling out Apivar as I come across it now.
After two hours, I quit part way through the yard and left everything where I can find it tomorrow (below).
At 2050, I went back out and put entrance reducers on the splits. It was still light enough that I could have worked another two hours, until now -- 2100 -- had I wished to.
Tonight, I asked Medhat how much Amitraz is left in Apistan if it is properly installed where the bees contact it.
How many splits have I made now? I'm not sure. I used 18 queens in the first batch and 10 in this, plus made several walk-aways... so about 30, and I need another 30 or so.
I hope to sleep better tonight. Thank heavens for the sack time I managed to put in after breakfast. I'm glad I don't have a job.
A signature always reveals a man's
character - and sometimes even his name.
Tuesday May 19th 2015
That was a good night's sleep! Seven and a half hours.
We got down to near freezing again last night, but we are moving towards warmer nights if we can believe the forecasts.
The flow continues into August and sometimes September, so timing the colony peak is a bit of a guessing game. Peaking too early can result in swarms and/or lazy bees. Ideally, the colony is just finishing build up as the main flow begins and continues at full strength until the flow tapers off.
* * * *
With everything, there are limits and in spring beekeeping, day length, rain and snow, winds and low temperatures are constraining factors.
I am reading back to last spring's entries. Looking back helps me see what my concerns were in previous years. There is lots to read and the new tablet allows me to sit back and read anywhere.
It is now coming up on 0800. The sun is shining and the temperature rising. It is breezy, though, and we will have wind again today.
I am full of ambition this morning and it looks as if I may actually get outside by 0830!
I was out by 0900 and finished the South of the Hedge group.
I encountered some starvation which might not have been as obvious later in the day after foragers return with nectar. In the pictures, we see a frame with granulated honey and new brood, but no nectar around the brood. Honey in the hive is not the same thing as honey in the bee.
Those who claim that beekeepers should never feed sugar and that honey is the best and only food miss the fact that many honeys granulate rock hard and that bees sometimes can starve in a hive with plenty of feed.
This colony is not dying, but it is starving in the midst of plenty, at least by morning when the previous day's nectar collection has been consumed.
* * * * *
At half-past noon, I went out and worked another hour and a half in the North Yard. The result was four more splits and patties on six more hives. why some hives have six boxes full of bees and some barely a half-box is a mystery. The day is growing hot and the 15 MPH wind is welcome. The wind is from the SSW today and only a little filters through the hedge: just enough for comfortable work.
I went back out and finished the North yard and when I was done, I had 18 splits waiting above excluders for queens, including several from yesterday. Some of the hives can be split again later, but I figured one good split per hive was a good start.
The apple trees are in full bloom now and the dandelions are out, but the bees were robbing quite vigorously as I worked.
* * * * *
At left, is the North yard, the way I left it at the end of the day. The boxes on top are brood chambers that have more honey than I like or combs I want to take out of service. (Yes, I do cull combs occasionally if they are distorted or otherwise unserviceable, but never for age alone).
This is my way of getting the feed out of them and also of preventing the weaker hives from being robbed while I am working. When the flow begins again, the bees will forget about these boxes instantly, and as long as they have open honey to rob, they will ignore the occupied hives.
The lid blocking one hive is to divert bees away to neighbouring hives as it was overpopulated and likely to begin building cells.
Disease? I never see any AFB, and as for other diseases, if the bees are susceptible to disease, I don't want them. People worry far too much. Bees, like children need to be exposed to the environment to adapt. besides, we shuffle combs and bees around between hives all the time anyhow.
* * * * *
I came in at 1845, still feeling energetic, but needing to find some honey for Flo and not wanting to overdo the effort of the day. Flo had been wanting honey, so tonight was the night to find some for her.
I found a few pails from 2008, or maybe1998. The lot number was 8-8 so probably 1998. I called her up and she came over to get it. I gave her a good deal. She wanted it for canning, so honey is honey, and actually this honey was just fine. She stayed to visit a while and I took the opportunity to give away a few plants. My house is a jungle.
I see my cactus is blooming. It is as old as Jonathan. I bought that cactus back in 1970 when it was one inch high, before he was born.
I'm about out of patties again. The ten boxes I got recently are gone. I have decided I like the 25% patties best, but they have not proven as popular as the 15%, at least amongst the commercials beekeepers.
All in all today was a great day. My flu bug, depression or whatever has been keeping me down this past month seems to have passed. I had ambition and energy, but I did have one brief episode of a visual distortion that went away after I laid down for a fifteen-minute nap. I am starting to think this could be a painless stress headache.
The enemy is anybody who's going to
get you killed, no matter which side he's on.
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