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Monday June 1st 2015

Click here for current conditions in my back yard

I was very tired and went to bed early last night and slept over nine hours. I woke up for a half-hour, then went back and slept soundly.  Apparently, this is quite normal.

As of this moment, I have been away from home for one week exactly.  I see the weather at home is promising to be clear and warm.

Mom and I took some items back to the handicapped supply place.  It took her longer to do that than it took me to drive down to the minute lube walk up, walk back, and then retrieve the car. 

We had lunch at Eddies Sports Bar and by then she was tired enough we went back to 1207.

*    *    *    *    *

My boat is sitting tied at the dock out my window and I am contemplating going for a sail.  I have a few other things to do as well, and figure an hour or two on the boat should be enough for me today. 

I had hoped to get out to the North Channel this trip, but time is running out and I can see I have some work to do before I go. It is two years since I splashed this boat.  Moreover, this is a pretty light boat for big water so I need to choose my time and plan carefully.  Friends have reported  some really bad days on Lake Huron.  Where I plan to go, there are plenty of hidey holes but just the same...

*    *    *    *    *

I now am spoiled by a heavier, far better equipped boat (left) and find it interesting that I was so happy for so long with this little boat.  Of course, before this boat, I was happy with a chunk of plastic and little sail (right).  Of course, this boat was part of a package -- being here and Muskoka -- and very different times.

I can tell I got a little too much sun yesterday and would be wise to wait until the sun is a bit lower today.   I forgot to wear a hat.

“Only mad dogs and Englishmen go out in the midday sun.”

Mom and I went out again to look at deck furniture, but she had a stomach cramp, maybe from lunch, and we turned back to 1207.

I decided to return the kayak and do some other errands.  On the way back, I stopped at Wal-Mart, got groceries, and a barbecue chicken for supper.

After supper, I went for a sail and when I returned to tie up, I saw a beaver swim right in front of me, unconcerned by my presence.  Later, I looked out the sunroom window and saw ducks on the lawn.  They did not seem bothered by me either.

I did not watch video this evening.  Among other series, I have been watching Grey's Anatomy and have discovered that it is basically just a soap opera.  I don't mind soap operas, in fact, I quite enjoy them since they are a lot more benign that a lot of what passes for entertainment, but I wonder about myself.  I like chick flicks and soap operas.  What kind of manly man am I? 

I recall in Groundhog Day, Andie MacDowell is listing what she wants in a man and Bill Murray goes along with her, then finally says, "You're talking about a man? ...Right???"

Years ago, back in the 70s, I was working as a free-lance TV repairman at a used furniture store.  That was when an average TV could cost a week's wages and was worth fixing.  As part of the testing process, I had to change through all the channels to make sure they all worked properly.  After lunch, the soap operas came on and they made that part of the job very difficult because soap operas are designed to be riveting and hold attention so nobody will change channels between commercials.  It sure worked on me.

At any rate, I have found Grey's Anatomy entertaining and pleasant.  I've been watching a bit of Longmire and White Collar, too, but last night decided to do other things.  I take that as a good sign, because I figure that the amount of time I spend watching video is an inverse indicator of my mental state.  Less time watching video is better.

Getting back here and launching my boat is something that has been on the list of things that was silently and unconsciously bothering me and getting it done turns out to be very calming.  I don't know what next, since I need to haul her back out shortly and head home, but I did get it done.  Plus I spent a week with Mom and that was something else that I needed.  I'm glad I didn't go to Alaska.

So, last night, instead of wasting time watching pretend people do pretend things, I found myself going through my inbox, and came on the message from my meditating friend, mentioned here earlier.  I had not gotten around to looking up the link to the mediation centre, but had been  planning to and finally did.  I think this might be something appropriate to me.

I've often thought of going this route and this just dropped into my lap.  The question is, where would I find ten consecutive days to be completely out of touch?  Obviously not right now when I have hives to sell, and another is, would I want to be in Youngstown in summer? 

I think I am very busy and have lots that needs doing, but is that a symptom?  I know I was driving myself crazy worrying about my buildings and other jobs needing doing  to the point that I simply had to go away for a while.  That is the problem with the schoolhouse and my prairie life; the school is too big and too old and there are far too many things demanding attention.

Have you ever observed that we pay much more attention to a wise passage when
 it is quoted than when we read it in the original author?
Philip G. Hamerton

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Tuesday June 2nd 2015

Click here for current conditions in my back yard

I woke up with a dry mouth, and wondering why I publish this diary online.  Writing a diary is one thing, and good for the soul, but publishing it is a little crazy.  I was also wondering when I will go home.  I suppose I will find out soon enough.

Right about now, I am thinking Thursday.  Thursday is my supper day and I hate to not hold a dinner, but the barbecue on the weekend last time worked well and this is the time of year for such things.

In the meantime, the longer I stay here, the longer my bees have to build up unmolested.  I imagine (hope) I'll have had a swarm or two by now.  With one hundred or more hives, that is inevitable.  Swarms are sign of prosperity and successful build-up.

I keep lots of boxes on the hives and that is the best and easiest swarm prevention measure, other than splitting, and I have done that, too.  Besides, AFAIK, my swarms just go into a nearby equipment stack, so they are not lost.  I never get swarm calls.

In the morning, Mom and I drove out to Lowes and bought a table and chairs for her new deck and had lunch at Subway.  She was driving one of those electric scooters the box stores have for people who don't walk well and it was tight inside the Subway concession, but we managed.  Those things beep loudly when backing up, and there was quite a bit of maneuvering to do, so we did make a bit of a scene for the other diners.

When I got home and got around to assembling the table, I found there were no screws in the box, and called the store three or four times before it was agreed that I would take the table back and exchange it for the floor model.  The first several calls resulted in no call back and on the third I was told I would have to call an 800 number.  I said that this is not warranty; this is a return if I don't have an assembled table by tonight.  I had to ask for a manager, but that got results.  I was already composing my Yelp review in my head.  I was polite and firm. 

It is easy to get distracted and be drawn off point when calling customer service.  It pays to know exactly what you want and just keep calmly and politely repeating your (hopefully reasonable) demands.  If one person does not solve the problem, say thank you, hang up and call back until you find someone who can.  Often it is that simple.  Failing that, the next step is to ask for a manager.  Managers can say yes.  If not his/her supervisor can.

Organizations are made up of layers of people.  Every other layer typically  says "no" to everything or deflects complaints elsewhere, and the alternate layers say "yes".  It is usually just a matter of working your way up to find the right person.

We had supper and I went sailing.  Initially, the winds were light, but they grew stronger and gusty, but I tacked up to the Yacht Club and ran back, then anchored off Mich's dock and pulled myself in.

Again, no video for me tonight. 

If people never did silly things, nothing intelligent would ever get done.
 Ludwig Wittgenstein

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Wednesday June 3rd 2015

Click here for current conditions in my back yard

I'm up early again. 

Yesterday, I got two comments. Here is the first:

You wrote: "I woke up with a dry mouth, and wondering why I publish this diary online."

Rainy day today so I got to read your dairy and that sentence made me laugh. So I guess I can say it is good entertainment for those of us with not much to laugh about. I laughed because I was thinking what on earth does a dry mouth have to do with publishing your diary. How can he relate those to things, well I guess the mind and mouth are all in the same body so they must relate. It just struck me as funny.

Was that a cat and dog sentence that I wrote?  Maybe, but not in my mind, because those were two of the three things that were at the top of mind when I surfaced from sleep.  I forget the third, but it was along the same, "something is not right" vein.

The dry mouth was significant to me as a dry mouth indicates mouth breathing and suggests nasal blockage, which I did not seem to have, and snoring.  Too much information?  Seemed important to me.

As for the diary, I realise it is somewhat indiscreet and that I am breaching my own privacy, but hopefully not that of others with whom I associate.  I have been increasingly careful to avoid pictures of friends and family, but obviously cannot avoid all exposure. 

The second:

Mr. Dick,

I am curious that you don't mention a few women/girls. You are social, good health, love travel? . I would have expected many would try and match you, in theory with a travel partner etc.?

In my mind (I'm twice divorced single for 15 years, 60 years, male, (not interested in males) and have issues making me less desirable)....seems like you would be in very high demand.

I understand if you don't answer.

That's a good one. 

I have lots of women friends.  In fact, at my weekly supper, there are more single women than men, and, come to think of it, on occasion just me and the women.  They don't seem to be looking.  As for partnering up, that seems like a hassle.  I was married for 45 years and that was good, but it's over now, and I don't see anyone chasing me.  Maybe it is in my genes.  My mother has been widowed longer than she was married and she was married over 35 years.

I like my own company and don't really want to have to negotiate everything I do.  I have a dog for a companion, and I miss my cat, even if he was a nuisance.

I am always amazed at my dog.  She is an easy companion for the most part.  One hint that I am thinking of going somewhere, and she is ready to go.  No packing, no fussing, no debate, just out the door.

I went back to bed and slept another two hours, waking just before the workmen finally arrived to tear out Mom's old deck and put in a new one.  (Frankly, her deck is in far better shape than mine and I would scrounge the the wood if it were nearer my home.

I made soup out of fridge leftovers and the remains of the chicken from the other night, froze it in individual meal packs, ate lunch, then drove to Canadian Tire to recover my refund and then to the boat ramp where I left the van and boat trailer.

I tried unsuccessfully to hitch a ride on a boat going to CPR Bay with no luck and caught the bus back to 1207.  Mom would have driven me, but I figured it would be fun to ride the bus. 

I had not ridden a bus in Sudbury for over 50 years.  Back then, sometimes the passengers had to get out to push the Local Lines bus up the hospital hill.  Rumour had it that the buses had been purchased in Mexico and brought to Sudbury after they had become too dilapidated for even the Mexicans to fix.  Local Lines belonged to Paul Demarais, who became the magnate at Power Corp.

Local Lines are no more and the buses are much improved today.  The signage at bus stops is appalling, though.  There is no indication which buses stop there or when or where they go.  The online info I found on my phone is very helpful -- if you already know where the buses run and when and where the correct stops are.  I stood at one stop for ten minutes before I realised the correct stop was around the corner I got there just before the half-hourly  bus and when I mentioned it to the driver he agreed and said I would have waited a very long time at the other stop.

I decided to get a flight in the morning and looked online to see that the flights were over $600.  I almost booked one an thought I should check Aeroplan.

Aeroplan is the most useless frequent flier program.  At one time, I carried their card and used it for everything, but it came to be that  almost never has flights when I want them and when they do, chances are they would want to route me through three out-of-the -direct-line  stops and take twice the time the trip should. 

Today I was lucky and they had a flight that cost me just $88 and 15,000 points and the flights are as short and direct as any available.

I sailed back to the boat ramp and loaded the boat.  The route was upwind against twenty-knot gusts and I sailed on the jib alone, making as much as 6 knots.  Loading onto the trailer well and I had the boat broken down and strapped for travel in an hour and a quarter.

I was home at 1830, had supper, a nap, and then closed up the boat.  I'll leave it uncovered for the three weeks or so until get back.

I'm going to watch the pretend people again tonight.  I'm too tired to do much else, and I have to be on the shuttle tomorrow at 0745. 

The shuttle costs $38, almost half my $88 fare for the 2,000 miles to Calgary, just to catch a van a few miles to the airport.  It'll cost me $45 to Airdrie by cab.  Go figure.

Reflect upon your present blessings of which every man has many,
not on your past misfortunes, of which all men have some.
Charles Dickens,

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Thursday June 4th 2015

Click here for current conditions in my back yard

I lift off at 0930, spend an hour at YYZ, then touch down at YYC at 1411.  Two hours later, I should be home.

*    *    *    *    *

I landed in Calgary right on time and caught a cab to my van in Airdrie, then drove to Mike's to look at his bees and his equipment.  He got five colonies from me several weeks ago and I wanted to see how they are doing and check his equipment before he puts another box on them. 

All look great and they all need another box, but he had some AFB previously and there is no sense putting AFB brood frames into good hives.  It is a bit of a quandary to even put on white comb from AFB colonies without medication, and it is getting close to honeyflow.

 

I know for sure that what we dwell on is who we become.
Oprah Winfrey

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Friday June 5th 2015

Today Sunny this morning then a mix of sun and cloud with 30 percent chance of showers this afternoon. Risk of a thunderstorm this afternoon. Fog patches dissipating this morning. High 25. UV index 7 or high.
Tonight Partly cloudy with 30 percent chance of showers early this evening and risk of a thunderstorm. Clearing this evening. Low 11.

Click here for current conditions in my back yard

I'm home and have lots to do.  The lawn is in need of cutting and the bees will need a check and more patties.

We have some hot weather coming.  Our days are getting to be more like the weather that beekeepers in the deep south take for granted as normal, but note that our nights are still not hot like southern nights.  The coldest temperature encountered in any period of time is a limiting factor for colony growth.  In the north, though, we do get long, long days and that is a big boost.

I wasted quite a bit of time this morning trying to get my computer to run the program installer.  I had uninstalled Synergy since it was acting up and unnecessary when I had only one machine at hand.  Today, Synergy would be very handy, so I clicked the installer, but it would not install.  Neither would my GoPro program after an update.

Synergy is wonderful when it works, but every time I have to make a change it drives me nuts. Finally, I ran sfc /scannow at a command prompt and then Malwarebytes

SFC found some corrupt files and Malwarebytes found two undesirable (PUP - Potentially Undesirable Program) entries in the registry, so I cleaned them, even though they were benign.  Although SFC did not give a perfect report on first run, I ran it again and was again able to run the installer.

*   *   *   *   *

I was out mowing grass at 0930.  It was still a bit early to work the bees and I'd have been out earlier, but I had to wait for the dew to dry a bit before mowing so that the grass clippings would not clump.

I am amazed at how dry the lawn is.  We had two inches of rain just before I left for the East, but I guess the winds and warm weather dried it right up. Much of the lawn is brown.

I cut about half the lawn and then went down to Ray's to go over the dimensions for the lids and floors he is making for me again.  I'll be losing quite a few with the hives I sell.

Then I looked at the bees.  Quite a few hives are hanging out.

I worked through about five hives and found they are full of brood -- and honey.  I need empty brood frames to loosen them up.   I have some, but will have to use foundation, too.

I am seeing fresh wax, so we are getting to the time of year when I can judiciously insert a sheet of foundation into a brood chamber and expect to see it drawn overnight.

Mike was ordering supplies from Spruce Grove, so I asked him to order me some suits and veils.  I hate to make a small order since the shipping is high, but when there is enough ordered, the cost is more reasonable.

 I tried out the XL "Quality Beesuit" (left).  It is a bit tight on the belly, and the arm and leg elastics are tight, but it is an excellent value.  It does not approach the Sherriff suit for finesse, but is about one fifth the cost.

Many people buy just veils or bee jackets, but IMO, nothing beats a full beesuit for comfort.  If the day is warm, I wear only shorts under the suit and am protected from sun, wax and honey, and bees (in that order of importance).

Looking over these hives gave me a good sampling and I can see that I can sell hives soon, but I can't recall how I did things last year, so I came in and read through the diary from last year.  I learned lots about last spring, and my trip to The Broughtons, but not exactly how I did things last year.  By then, the day had warmed to plus 28 degrees C.

What was apparent from my notes and pictures was that I did lots of side-by side splits last year and used cells.

I had also been delayed by an infection that laid me low for two weeks at splitting time, and by my two-week trip to the Broughton Archipelago.

This year, I am far ahead, but my splits are on top, not beside the parent hives.  The advantage of using four-packs rather than rows, space management-wise, is quite apparent when I look at the North Yard and see no room beside parent hives to set down splits.

What I want to do is make up singles with brood, honey, and a queen, then place them on top of parent hives over excluders so they are ready to lift onto floors and send away. How to do that most efficiently is the question.  For one thing, maybe if I go out early in the day, I may find queens in the middle of the top box. Later in the day, they can be anywhere.

My tentative plan is to lift down all the boxes on a hives and stand them on end so the queen will not run between the boxes, then work through them quickly frame by frame, inspecting the brood and making up the singles with queens.

I'll have to contemplate how best to do the job with least effort and optimal results.

I cut more grass and am about done the worst of it.  Unless we get rain, I won't have to do it again for a while.

Never look down on anybody unless you're helping them up.
Jesse Jackson

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Saturday June 6th 2015

Today A mix of sun and cloud. Clearing near noon. High 27. UV index 7 or high.
Tonight Partly cloudy. Low 11.

Click here for current conditions in my back yard

Up here in the north,  at this time of year, dawn is already breaking at 0400 although actual sunrise is not until 0524.  I was up at four. My plan is to get out early today, before the heat of the day. 

I had breakfast and went back to bed for an hour, still contemplating how best to proceed with making up the singles and doubles for sale.  When I awoke, I had an answer.  I can just put excluders between all boxes in the larger hives and that will isolate the queens so they will be obvious four days hence.

I'll send the tested laying queens away in the hives I sell and let the remaining brood and bees raise new queens or add cells from my friends if they have extras.

I spent time this morning organizing the emails I have received and planning deliveries.  Some want their hives in wood boxes and some in EPS.  I have to go through frame by frame anyhow, so making up the right mix can save me time.  At 0940, the thermometer is up to plus nineteen, but the day is overcast so far, with a ten MPH breeze from the NNE.

I went out and worked in the North Yard.  Of course as soon as I got there, I changed my mind and decided to start getting hives ready to sell.

Hi Allen,

I read your diary entry this morning and my back shuddered with the thought of lifting down, and setting back up 3 high honey bound styro hives.

I hope I don't come off as offensive, I don't claim to know it all, or much for that matter. I have, however, refined a splitting method that seems to work excellent for me.

I run double deep broods, and simply tip up every hive (easier than it sounds,10 min per yard of 40. )Any thing with a good box of bees underneath gets an excluder in between. An egg check 4 days later (pulling no more than 2 frames to figure out).  Surplus bees hanging on the lid get put on the parent hive when it's cool, the split if it's mid day and the field force is out.

I know this is probably as old a method as beekeeping itself, but I spent tears trying to lift brood, divvy up hives, etc, and have found this is the quickest and most effective method. When that bottom box is full of bees, it has a good proportion of all stages of brood, and all ages of bees.

Empty brood box goes on the queenright hive, split gets a new Kona, check back and empty brood on top 5 days later.

300+splits made by a one man operation (1000hives), and I am camping this weekend.

Enjoy reading you diary as always.
Cheers,
Dean

Good comments.  The lifting, though is not as bad as it sounds since I usually lift across to the top of a stack of boxes, not down.  However, when I got out there, I re-thought the whole idea.  I always do.

I always start with a plan, but when faced with the actuality of the situation, I adapt.  What I really need to do is have about sixty-nine hives ready to sell soon, forty-one doubles and twenty-eight singles.

I estimate that I have about 80 queen-right colonies and thirty in various stages of raising and mating queens. Glancing at the equipment stacks, I see I have had at least one swarm, .

I am discovering that they are all heavy, crowded and plugging up, so I am simply making everything that looks worthwhile into singles or doubles on the ground. 

I'm not worrying about drifting at this point, but I am doing a quick check for queens and marking the hives with queens for sale. I'll go through them one more time before they leave here to check for problems and to make sure they are up to size.

I'm also slipping a frame of foundation into the middle of each to give the bees room to cluster and put wax since they are hanging out and waxing down the pillows.  This solves several problems: space for bees, a use for the honey coming in, and room for the queen.

Actually, I should just blast through without checking, then go back and work through them after when they cool down and look smaller. 

Metamorphosis of the queen bee
Egg hatches on Day 3
Larva (several moltings) Day 3 to Day 8˝
Queen cell capped ~ Day 7˝
Pupa ~ Day 8 until emergence
Emergence ~Day 15˝ - Day 17
Nuptial Flight(s) ~Day 20 - 24
Egg Laying ~Day 23 and up

This table is excerpted from a Wikipedia article

A huge-looking three storey hive that hangs out becomes three decent singles that stay indoors since they have better cooling due to more entrance area and surface are. 

Splitting ASAP also lets them start making cells right now, not later. 

I'll call Joe, though, and see if he has any extras since ripe cells speed the process up by about two weeks (yellow highlights in table above) compared to just allowing them to make their own. 

At this time of year, two weeks head start means a lot.  Mated queens released four days after introduction, and laying six days after introduction, have a only few days advantage over ripe cells which should be mated and laying beginning a week after introduction.

By noon, it was hot again, but we have a nice breeze.  Just the same, I am taking a break.  Now, at 1354 it is solar noon, so I am having a siesta.

I looked at the pool this morning and the water is warm enough to enjoy a plunge, but there is a small tear in the side I need to fix, then I need to vacuum and filter before it is really ready.

Am I having fun?  I wonder.  I think so, but I could be on a beach or sailing somewhere, or...  Am I making money?  I doubt it.

My siesta was spent at the desk, and then in a long nap, ending at 1600. 

The hours between 1600 and 2000 are ideal for bee work at this time of year.  The day is still warm, but the sun is lower, the bees are happy, assuming that there is a flow, and the field bees are out working.  The mosquitoes have not yet come out.  Four hours is a good length of time to get lots done without overdoing it.

I lasted an hour and a half, then came in.  I work hard and I work steadily and by that time, I was overheating.  Too bad the poll is not fixed.  It is the right temperature and as I have said before, five minutes in eighteen degree (C.) water and I can work for an hour without overheating.

I'm half done the North Yard and finishing it is my goal for the day.  I am fast running out of the new floors and lids.  I called Ray earlier to tell him that I am in a bigger hurry for the fifty lids and floors than I expected. 

I'm going to have 150+ hives on the ground shortly, but will later be combining some of them back up after queen checks.  I'm planning to be smarter this year, though and use excluders on singles for the hives I keep.

We're having a warm, dry spring and the season is running early.  I expect the flows will taper soon.  I hope so.  There is often a dearth at the end of June after the spring bloom and before the summer flow.  I've had to feed doubles in the first week of July, believe it or not.

Right now, my hives are plugged with honey and there seems to be a recent fast flow.  A slower flow is better for build-up.  

The reason my bees are hanging out is there is no room  for them inside. 

It's not that there are too many bees, but that the combs are full.  I'm having to pull honey and insert foundation.  I don't know how that will work out since I promised drawn comb.  I am hoping most hives will draw one sheet quickly.  We'll see.

I am seeing swarm cells in some hives. 

Well, it is 1842 and I am cooled down and going back out.

I went out and worked until 2000, but did not quite finish.  I ran out of floors and lids, so I guess that means I have 150 splits (or is it 140?).

The wind dropped as evening came and that made the work even hotter than in the afternoon.  Although strong winds are uncomfortable, light winds help make the job pleasant.

I'll check them for queens and populations in a few days.  Right now, I have to identify the queenright hives and reduce the hive populations to where they no longer plug themselves further, as well as get cells started.

On my next check, I'll be combining again. 

I don't really like this work.  When hives are so full of bees and honey, it is hard to work without crushing bees, and I don't like doing them harm.  After all the idea is to improve things.

Change is the law of life. And those who look only to the past or present are certain to miss the future.
John F. Kennedy

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Sunday June 7th 2015

Today Mainly sunny. High 27. UV index 8 or very high.
Tonight Partly cloudy. Clearing near midnight. Low 13.

Click here for current conditions in my back yard

I was up at 0400 again today.  I had breakfast, then cleaned out my email inbox.  There were 900+ messages there a few days ago, but I now have it down to to three.

Maybe I should have gone out to work on the bees at sunrise. It seems there was no dew last night, and at 0800, it is already getting hot outside.  The wind is light so far.

I expect there will be swarms today.

So far, I really like this XL "Quality Beesuit".  It is an amazing value at $45, including veil and I'm finding it is 100% bee-proof when fully fastened up -- although it feels unnatural to me not to have a bee or two walking on my face or up my back while I work.

I'm glad I ordered XL. 'XL' is barely big enough, and I am not a huge guy.  The arms and legs are fine, but the body is a bit short for me and the middle is a bit tight.  Bee suits should fit loosely so that they are cool and also so the bees cannot sting through.  I washed this suit last night and I think it may have shrunk a little bit.  Maybe not.

Since there is no wind, I decided to work on the pool. I'm going to need it to cool down and the water is at twenty degrees!  Eighteen is OK and twenty is great. The pool, however, has accumulated quite a bit of debris since last time I cleaned it and also has leaked again, so I repaired the leak and topped it up, then vacuumed while repeatedly washing out the filter each time it plugged.

It's noon and all I did was walk through a yard.  The bees are still hanging out of the splits.

I am completely uninspired today. I worked on organizing email, did some analysis of my charter income and expense.  The pool is almost clear now.

I may get to the bees, but we will see.  This has been so far, a day off.

This just in from a reader...

I have one of those mesh bee suits, Ultra Breeze, to keep the ticks off me. It was warm the other day and I was in a yard that has a lot of ticks. I took off my clothes and wore my underwear under the suit. I drove home in my suit and someone drove in the yard just when I did and wanted to talk for a bit. I got hot and forgot I was in my underwear and unzipped my suit. I remembered quickly that I was only wearing underwear and zipped back up fast. I said whoops I forgot I took off some clothes to cool off. He says yeah I noticed. I was a bit embarrassed to say the least. I don't think you can see much through the suit but when the zipper is down....

I saw you like your bee suit and it reminded me of what happened the other day. It is the first time I ever wore it with just underwear. I guess I need to wear it with a bathing suit or underwear that looks like a bathing suit. I told my friends this at breakfast the other day and my face got so red I could feel the heat. I guess I was still embarrassed. I am over it now and laughing about it. My friends got a good laugh though, they could hardly eat their breakfast.

Finally, the pool was clean enough for a swim, so I jumped in.  The water temperature is twenty-one. Twenty-one is colder than I remember, but most refreshing. 

If I had had the pool ready earlier, I might have had the ambition to work on the bees, but I did not.  I'm not going to beat myself up over it, though.

I did have an afternoon nap again, for the usual one hour.  That was very pleasant. When I was a kid, my goal was to sleep as little as possible, but now sleep is one of my great pleasures in life, even if I only get six or seven hours a day.

I was feeling a bit lonely today and that is highly unusual for me. Hmmm.

By the time I got the pool cleaned, it was 1830 and I had a hankering for a glass of wine, so I drove to town.  On the way into town, I noticed the E & W Restaurant was  advertising a Chinese buffet.  I haven't been there for a long time, so on the way home I went in for supper. 

That was a mistake.  It was the worst Chinese buffet I have ever eaten: steam table food reheated, judging by the taste of it.  Fred and Barney's (now closed) in Drum has spoiled me. 

Here, the spring rolls were good, but everything else was flavourless.  What flavour there was seemed off.  At any rate, it filled me up and I drove home, enjoying the smooth ride in the Chrysler van and the amazing June Alberta scenery.

This was one of those walkabout days.

Checking list for a VSH test | Elgon Blog

Life is really simple, but we insist on making it complicated.
Aristotle

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Monday June 8th 2015

Today Sunny. Becoming a mix of sun and cloud this afternoon. Risk of a thunderstorm this afternoon. Wind becoming northwest 30 km/h gusting to 50 this afternoon. High 31. UV index 7 or high.
Tonight Partly cloudy. Becoming clear this evening. Increasing cloudiness before morning. Wind northwest 30 km/h gusting to 50 becoming light this evening. Low 11.

Click here for current conditions in my back yard

Today promises to be hot.  If I want to get much done, I'm going to have to start early, and I should plan on a few dips into the pool to cool down.

I'm still on holidays, and the bees are on their own.  This heavy flow has spoiled my fun and made work for me. It has made an easy job more difficult.

This happens sometimes.  I recall that the first year we went on pollination, I had to pull honey off hives to get them light enough to move.  It seems that any time I don't want honey we get a heavy flow.  These hives are going to be a job to move.

Around 1000 I heard sirens and after while I smelled smoke, so I drove downtown, if you can call five blocks of residences "downtown".  The upper story of the old post office/residence was billowing smoke, but things were under control and I continued on home.

It is beautiful hot day, with enough breeze to make things comfortable. I walked through the South of the Hedge Yard and noticed a textbook case of washboarding (left)..  After, that, I mowed grass for a while, but did not yet feel quite like working with the bees.  I have decided that since I am retired, I don't have to do everything my bees demand.  So there!

After mowing, I had lunch -- a grilled cheese sandwich, and a glass of wine -- then went for a swim. 

I then called Beaver Plastics and ordered seventy EPS boxes and am planning to drive up to get them sometime in the next few days, probably tomorrow.  I need them.  I could have used them last week, in fact..

I hear that Beaver Plastics have altered the moulds to improve the boxes, but have seventy of the existing design still on hand, and will then be out of stock, so I am going to get them while I can.

I did some deskwork and followed that with an afternoon nap.  Around 1600, I had another dip in the pool, then went to the West Quonset Yard and lifted down splits and checked for queens. 

The water was up to twenty-two degrees and was still quite bracing.  After soaking in the cool water for five minutes, I find I do not get hot in the bee yard for about an hour.  Then another dip is in order.  When we had extracting staff years ago, I set up a plunge tank off the dock and the kids would jump in between extractor loads to cool down.

All the hives are hanging out again today, and I had better sell them while they are still relatively easy to transport.  They are massively heavy and crowded. but I only came across one or two that were planning to swarm.

I came in for supper and cooked a thick steak, potatoes and broccoli.  This is my day for things I probably should not eat: grilled cheese, steak, potatoes and wine.  Apparently broccoli is okay.

I went back out and worked some more hives.  This is going well.

At least it was going well until the last hive of the day.  When I pulled brood frames to inspect and check for eggs, I spotted two cells of chocolate milk.  I touched the goo with my hive tool and it roped out like elastic -- AFB. 

I checked the rest of the frame and other frames and it is not far advanced, with just two cells that I saw, so I shall set this hive aside in quarantine and treat it with Tylan.  I'll be careful not to sell it.  I'll get rid of that queen, too -- bad genes.  Her daughters are not hygienic.

Any trait, like HYG, is bound to be expressed to greater and lesser extents in a a given number of queens, even queens raised from the same mother.  This is due to various factors, including mating.  Some daughters will be very hygienic while others may be quite susceptible.  That is why changing queens is a good idea when problems arise.  Odds are good that any new queen will be better if the old one was very deficient.

I should mention that the AFB was not in one of my older frames, but a relatively new Pierco frame.

I have not seen any AFB in my hives for years, but, of course, it is around.  I assume the bees I have are quite AFB resistant, but apparently this colony is not.  The queen is from last season.

I closed the hive up as the light was failing and will look more closely tomorrow.

I should write something about how advanced the bees are, but maybe later...

Seeing AFB makes one doubt oneself, and the tendency is to think in a binary fashion -- healthy or sick, no in-between -- but the facts are that the disease is everywhere and just because we don't see it, does not mean we do not have it.

If we assume we always have AFB, AFB is not likely to get away on us, but if we assume we don't have AFB, as many beginners do because they start on foundation, then chances are it will creep up and bite them.

Denial is not a solution.  We must deal with it.

Life is really simple, but we insist on making it complicated.
Aristotle

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Tuesday June 9th 2015

Today A mix of sun and cloud. Wind becoming southeast 20 km/h near noon. High 27. UV index 7 or high.
Tonight Becoming cloudy this evening with 30 percent chance of showers overnight. Wind southeast 20 km/h becoming light this evening. Low 12.

Click here for current conditions in my back yard

From the forecast, this looks like another good bee day, hot and sunny with a breeze.  It also looks like another day of drying winds.  My lawn is brown and most of it has stopped growing. 

That is not necessarily a bad thing.  It means less mowing, but we are getting so dry that it will affect the crops if we don't get rain soon.  I see showers predicted for tomorrow, and rain for Saturday.  We need several inches over a day or two to make much difference.

My lawns are not fancy.  They are just large areas of grass that I mow for appearance, to reduce fire hazard and to discourage mice.  They amount to an acre or two and take about eight hours to mow completely with my fifty-two inch mower.  Since Ellen died, I have left some of the more distant areas un-mowed.

The first two decades after I first moved here were very dry and often we did not need to cut grass much, if at all, after June.  Then, the next two decades were much wetter, and sometimes the grass needed mowing almost weekly almost all summer.

I woke up this morning at 0515 with a pain in my left shoulder and chest, and feeling like a need to burp.   No nausea, no light-headedness, no panic, just discomfort.  I got up and wondered if I was having a heart attack.

I had slept right through the night, almost six hours.  From time to time I get sore shoulders if I have slept in one position all night, and that seems to be the case.

I got up and had a diet Coke, which is my solution when I have gas in my stomach and can't burp, and moved my arms around to see if the problem would go away, but was thinking quite seriously of going to the hospital.

I've done that before, and they certainly take anyone with chest pains very seriously.  There is no triage, waiting while they fool around, or other annoying BS.  Anyone with chest pains goes right in, lies down and is hooked up to a monitor.

I figured I should get ready to go in case this did not improve, so I shaved and dressed and considered my options.  I could call an ambulance, drive to town, or wait it out. 

Going to the hospital means a twenty-minute drive and an hour or two there, then a trip back.  If it is a false alarm, it is a big bother, but if there is a chance that a heart attack is underway, we are advised to waste no time getting to medical help.  If the symptoms are transient or minor, the decision is a difficult one.

I decided to wait it out, and checked my blood pressure and it seems to be normal, so I took an aspirin and had breakfast.

At 0645, the pains are gone and the day is dawning dull and still. I'm sleepy, as I often am after breakfast, and am tempted to go back to bed as I often do, and sleep another hour or so.

It seems this was a false alarm.  We'll see.

My plan, assuming that I am well, is to continue lifting down splits, checking them, adding patties, then driving to Gull Lake for supper and on to Acheson to pick up the boxes.

Once I decided that I am probably not dying today, I spotted the weed sprayer I had cleaned out yesterday and filled it with Roundup and went out for a stroll. 

Roundup, no matter what anyone says is the easiest and best way to control weeds at the edge of gardens and on the driveway.  Some say we should never use it and that it is carcinogenic, etc.m, etc., but around here, in the fall, farmers spray it over the surrounding fields as a desiccant, so even if Glyphosate is as evil as the some claim, I doubt the tiny amount I use will have any impact whatsoever.

I decided I need more EPS boxes right away, so I hooked the trailer up to the van and called Beaver to make sure my order for seventy boxes is ready.  When I finally got through, I was told there are now only forty.  Apparently some we not good enough to sell.  I said to let me decide.  So, I am driving to Acheson.  It is a three-hour trip.

I seem to be just fine, so I don't know what that pain was this morning.

I was there in time to pick up the boxes, but they were not properly palletized and the dock crew was not ready for me and seemed somewhat unmotivated and clueless.

I had expected to simply load a pallet, strap it down and go, but since the boxes were loose and impossible to tie on the trailer without a lot of ropes, I ended up loading most of them into the van.  Stow-and-Go really is wonderful.

I was already running a bit late, but that extra chore made me late enough to miss supper at Jean's and I drove straight home, stopping to shop for groceries in Red Deer.

Some people believe holding on and hanging in there are signs of great strength.
 However, there are times when it takes much more strength to know when to let go and then do it.
Ann Landers

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