August  2015   

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A nice example of brood in a newly-drawn Acorn one-piece frame
Click to view.

Monday August 10th 2015

 

Today Sunny. Becoming a mix of sun and cloud this afternoon. Wind becoming southeast 20 km/h this afternoon. High 31. UV index 7 or high.
Tonight A few clouds. Wind southeast 20 km/h becoming light late this evening. Low 13.

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Ten day forecast

 Read yesterday's post
Often posts are edited the next day for improved clarity

Orams will be gone by ten, headed for mountain camping.  I drop Jon and family off at YYC by 1630.  In the meantime, I have to get the flat fixed somehow, vacuum the pool and maybe look at the bees.

Emma and family are still here and I have not heard a departure date.  Of course, they are welcome to stay as long and come as often as they like.

Jean and Chris left early and headed for Kananaskis Country. 

Before they left, we had a family meeting.  K, M & E will stay until Thursday AM, then head east. I'll likely meet them down there after I drop off Jon and kids at the airport since YYC is on the way.

Then Jon and I looked at the flat.  The tire would fill and seem okay, but go flat after a few hours. 

We jacked up the wheel and found a cut on the face that was the source of a slow leak.  Jon figured I could make it to town without pulling off the wheel, so I phoned for a quote and a promise of quick service, made a reservation, blew the tire up to 60 PSI and drove to Linden.

I dropped off the van and Zippy and I went for a hike in the town's park while I waited.  Little towns in Alberta generally have pleasant, un-crowded, trails through scenic little downtown parks, usually with a stream or lake as a focus and Linden is no exception.

I had been told forty-five minutes, but the job was done in thirty.  I bought some fruit and drove home.

We had a swim, Jon and kids packed, we did laundry, and waited for departure time, then, at 1630, we drove to YYC.  Jon and family said farewells, got out, and I drove on to Kananaskis Country, arriving at around 2010 and found Orams at Site B49 in the Lower Lake Campground.

I had my sleeping bag and pillow along, and along the way I had bought an air mattress at Canadian Tire.  The van is Stow & Go, so I lowered the seats, blew up the mattress and made a bed for the night.  The process is not quite a quick and simple as shown in the video, but it is pretty slick.

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

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Tuesday August 11th 2015

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Ten day forecast

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Often posts are edited the next day for improved clarity

I slept very well in the van, logging eight or nine hours of shuteye.

The new air mattress stretched, however, as they always do the first time they are used, and I had to further inflate it in the middle of the night as after a while I could feel the van floor under me. 

I often sleep right through, but last night it seems I had to go out to the bushes twice.

My van is a top-of-the-line Limited edition with every imaginable bell and whistle.  One of the premium features is that when a side door opens, the four-way flashers and interior lights go on automatically.  My excursions were therefore hardly inconspicuous in a dark, quiet campsite in the woods.

I have a similar tale from my trip to EAS in 2009, but that was another van, I was sleeping in downtown Ellicottville, and I set off the burglar alarm that time.

It was chilly in the mountains in the morning. I was glad I had my parka along.  We had breakfast, then I set up the seats in the van and we all, five of us and two dogs, drove to the visitor centre for information, making a stop for Ice cream along the way.

We found the Upper Lake trailhead and trekked along the south shore for several kilometres and back, stopping at the waterfall for lunch and on the rock beaches to play and rest.  Nathan is pretty active at four and was with us or ahead the whole time.

We returned to the van around 1330 and drove back to the site.  I packed up and headed for Calgary around 1500, intending to go to a Calgary Beekeepers meeting in the evening.  I arrived in Calgary and checked the date, then found it was tomorrow and drove home, stopping at Costco along the way.

I bought a Samsung Galaxy-S tablet on May 13 and have been planning on returning it because after a while the apps could not update due to lack of memory.  There are currently twenty-eight apps wanting to update.  The tablet has 16GB and that is apparently not enough.  I bought an SD card, but most apps cannot use it.

I figured I have three months to make the return, but then realized on the way home that it is actually ninety days and the ninetieth day is today, so I stopped at Crossiron Costco and explained the problem.  I was there, but the tablet was sixty miles away and closing time was two hours away.

Nancy, at "Returns", could not help me and told me to call concierge service, and I did as I drove home.  After twenty minutes on the phone, Nicholas and I were close to a solution and the cell dropped out. I called back and after running the inevitable touch tone "If this, Press that" maze Pam told me to call the store where I had just been and talk to admin.   I did so, talked to admin, and in thirty seconds, Jared authorized me to take a few extra days returning it.  Done deal.

Why could I not have had that favour granted in the first place at the store?

I got home and had a good visit with Myra and Kenny.  They had gone to Crossiron, too, but to the RV repair for a battery problem and arrived back a half-hour after me.

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When you're throwin' your weight around, be ready to have it thrown around by somebody else.
Will Rogers

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Wednesday August 12th 2015

 

Today Sunny. High 32. UV index 7 or high.
Tonight Clear. Low 13.

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Often posts are edited the next day for improved clarity

What did I do today?  Not much it seems.  K, M & E are still here, but planning to leave tomorrow.  I wrote a long letter to my brother.  I'm a slow writer and edit constantly.

In late afternoon, we all had a swim, then a late supper of spaghetti and sat around chatting until bedtime.

 For me, Synergy is an indispensible utility, but has been pretty bad lately.  Is Synergy finally stable?  We'll see. 

I spent an hour trying to get 1.74 going and finally gave up on SSL, then Synergy worked.  I don't know if cutting and pasting in the PW is the problem, but I never have had an easy time with a new version.

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Architecture is the art of how to waste space.
Philip Johnson

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Thursday August 13th 2015

 

Today Sunny. Becoming a mix of sun and cloud this afternoon. Wind becoming south 20 km/h gusting to 40 near noon. High 36. UV index 7 or high.
Tonight Clearing. Wind south 20 km/h gusting to 40 becoming light this evening. Low 13.

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Ten day forecast

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Often posts are edited the next day for improved clarity

M, K, & E left this morning.  I gave Em some of Ellen's glass supplies seeing as I have no use for them. 

Ken was still dumping and filling the motorhome downtown, so I drove M & E down to meet up with him so they were not sitting waiting and I see a crew is demolishing what is left of the old post office.  The residence had caught fire a month back and I guess that  the damage was so extensive that no repairs were possible. 

How to make lithium-ion batteries last for years

To: CalgaryBeekeepers@yahoogroups.com
Date: Thu, 13 Aug 2015 12:16:04 -0700
Subject: [CalgaryBeekeepers] August Bee Day

Quite a few people showed interest in a Bee Day here in Swalwell when I mentioned it here recently.

What I was thinking was this:

The event does not have to be formal or planned far in advance, and should be on a day when the weather is predicted to be nice.

On a nice Sunday afternoon, after lunch, people would park in my north field near about twenty hives and we'd just just go through a few and chat. Some might come earlier and picnic or hike the trails in nearby little towns.

At one or so in the afternoon, we'd open hives in succession and discuss the bees, do disease inspections, and do an alcohol wash and a sugar shake.

We could also do a show-and-tell on various beekeeping items I have around and that people bring.

Maybe an Alberta Agriculture rep might even show up?

We could also have inspection of used equipment and a swap meet.

I have a four-frame hand crank extractor that people could use to spin out a few frames right out in the open near the hives. Extracting can be done outdoors at this time of year as there is no robbing. I do it with the grandkids now and then, or at parties for fun. If the frames are hand-scratched instead of uncapped, there is almost no mess and no cappings to worry about. People are amazed at how much honey comes out of a few frames.

We could have some refreshments and seating for visiting for an hour or two, then it would be over.

My main concern is washrooms since the hives are not near washrooms and I really don't want people running through my house anyhow. I also don't want any liability issues. Does the club have insurance?

My idea is to do very little in the way of planning and setup and just have a 'happening', but ideas and volunteers would be appreciated and this could snowball. There are many possibilities.

If people just park, look at bees and leave, I can do this anytime. If we get fancy, then more prep time is indicated.

I have set up a poll to survey interest. Please respond and write me direct with ideas and comments.

Swalwell is a one-hour drive northeast from the Calgary Airport.

I reserved flights to the West Coast for later this month and for Thanksgiving.  Westjet's website added travel insurance to the bill and I found I had been charged $80 for basically nothing.

I spent almost an hour trying to get it reversed.  Westjet denied responsibility and the insurance company did not have the transaction on their computers yet. 

Call tomorrow,.  Bother!!!

Today is our supper night and only a few of us were available.  I phoned Fen and we decided I would take the stew I made over there.

I drove over at 1800 and Bert was there , too.  We had supper in the kitchen.  It was hot, so, after supper, we sat out on the north deck.

At one point, Maddy and I walked over to the swarm she had caught and lifted the lid.  Five frames of bees I'd say.  That is enough earlier in the season, but of doubtful strength for making it up to size for winter. Maybe she can catch another swarm to add to it.

It was hot inside the house, but just about as hot outside.  Bert reported 36 degrees.  I had had two glasses of wine with supper and the heat and wine made me sleepy.  I can't drink much at all any more.

When the sun came around to the north, we moved to the south deck.  A breeze sprung up and the sun dropped in the sky, and I came back to life.

Zip and I drove home around 2100.

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Architecture is the art of how to waste space.
Philip Johnson

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Friday August 14th 2015

 

Today Increasing cloudiness. Wind becoming northeast 20 km/h gusting to 40 near noon. High 26. UV index 5 or moderate.
Tonight Cloudy. Showers beginning this evening. Risk of a thunderstorm late this evening and overnight. Amount 10 to 15 mm. Wind northeast 20 km/h gusting to 40 becoming light near midnight. Low 13.

Click here for current conditions in my back yard
Ten day forecast

 Read yesterday's post
Often posts are edited the next day for improved clarity

I'm home alone today for the first time in a while.  We are expecting a weather change, with rain and cooler temperatures in coming days.

I have not done more than look at my bees.  I need to look them over again and perhaps pull honey. They were hanging out on a flow a few days ago, but the neighbour next door cut the alfalfa in bloom and I see the bees are less active the past two days.

Now is the time to rearrange the brood chambers if I need to and to do mite sampling.  Later, such disturbances will affect wintering.

I have been off my diet for the duration of the visits, but my weight has held steady at 225.  It is hard to remember that, and when Fatsecret nagged me to weigh in I did not want to take off clothes and get onto the scale, so, without thinking, I put down' 235'. 

That was a reasonable number, I thought, a number stuck in my mind from my daily morning readings.  I knew it ended in 'five' and must be in the 230s.

The resulting hockey stick on the graph confused me and I had to remind myself that I am now twenty pounds lighter than last winter.  I corrected the number and the chart now looks more probable.

Obviously, I have not convinced myself that I am shrinking and my subconscious has not caught up with the reality.

We all have an idea of our shape and size in our subconscious.  That image allows us to choose and fit into clothes, walk through openings, decide if a surface will hold us, and if a jump or fall will be safe -- all without much thought.

That image does not change easily and we tend to maintain that physical shape and size, unconsciously eating enough to stay in range.  If we shrink, we feel distress unless we can convince ourselves that it is OK to be smaller.  Getting bigger is less distressing.  Nature favours carrying a bit of reserve energy on our bones.

For one thing, I am used to being a big guy and when I walk down the street, people see and treat me as a big guy.  In the back of my animal mind is the thought: what is people saw me differently?  Would I like that?

If I want to lose weight and keep it off, I have to become happy with being a smaller person and frankly, the thought of being 165 pounds -- my supposed ideal weight --scares me.

If I can imagine myself being comfortable at 185, for example, I will eventually wind up weighing 185.  As it is , I found that I imagine myself at 235, not 225, it seems, so I need to begin thinking about 215.  How hard could that be? 

We'll see.

I doubt I will enter every bite into Fatsecret as I did earlier.  That experience trained me to recognize how I gain weight and how to reduce without effort  The progress will be slower, but at 225, I am comfortable. 

Reducing, it seems, for me at least, appears to be as simple as keeping active, remembering to stop eating, and resisting the temptation to eat calorie bombs -- calorie dense items like date squares or Nanaimo bars -- that contain as much energy in one cubic inch as a whole meal. 

If I can continue to reduce that will be fine by me.  I have to get used to my current size, though, it seems.

Do I fit the wetsuit now?  I have not tried. Getting in and out is hazardous if there is no one around to help pull it off. Peeling the back down to start removing it can be difficult, especially if I am sweating from the effort of fighting with it.

I was up early, caught up at the desk a bit, did dishes and tidied the kitchen then found I was very sleepy and went back to bed.  I slept like the dead and when I awoke, it was after eleven.

I remembered to call RBC insurance again within the 24-hour cancellation window and got it done.  What a hassle!

I have been planning to go to Costco to return the tablet.  It was too early when I got up, as Costco opens at ten.  Now it is 1230 and I am still here.

*   *   *   *   *

I went down to  the shop and pulled the wheel off the boat trailer and removed the flat spring in order to have a sample when I go shopping at Princess Auto.  PA is 65 miles away and I don't want to have to make several  trips.

Shirley came over at one point for a burro tail plant I have and which is not available wholesale for her daughter's flower business. A customer was asking and Shirley knew I have several seeing as she watered my plants for a year or two when I was away.  I have too many plants and am happy to share.

*   *   *   *   *

It was 1530 before I pulled out of the drive.  A summer Friday afternoon is escape time for many and traffic was unusually heavy on the country roads. 

I arrived at Costco and returned the tablet, then drove to Canadian Tire to scout out trailer springs then went on to PA. 

*   *   *   *   *

While at CT, I bought two new bathroom scales and a few other items

My experience with Fatsecret highlighted the fact that my bathroom scale is not very accurate, due to its actual measurement which changes with even slight shifting of my weight, and due to my inability to read the fine gradations on the dial.

Accurate and consistent readings provide feedback that is essential for maintaining interest in a weight loss regime.  In consistent or approximate results do not maintain  the same level of interest or degree of understanding that finer, more accurate measurements can.

Of course, extreme accuracy begins to be affected by the contents of the bladder and bowels and can provide 'noise' that, while entertaining, may not be useful.

Digital scales were dirt-cheap and on sale to boot, so I also bought a fat/water/muscle mass scale for a bit more money.  I had seen reference to them on Fatsecret and I figure they are more of a gimmick than a useful tool, but what do I know?  I'll try it and see.

*   *   *   *   *

I could not find the exact leaf spring either place, but found a pair of springs on half-price sale at PA that can be disassembled and I can use the second leaves from them to rehabilitate the old springs.

I then returned home. Along the way, I decided to listen to my CBC radio app through the car audio system, connected by 3.5mm jacks and cord.  It works well.

When I bought the van, SiriusXM Satellite Radio was enabled and I used SiriusXM  a bit until the former owner cancelled and I have not subscribed. 

Years back, I used to have a subscription, but let it lapse a long time ago.  It was getting expensive, and the programming is not as good as it was at one time.  There are too many ads on non-music channels, and you know what I think about ads. 

The main advantage of SiriusXM is that it works in the mountains and remote places where broadcast radio and cellular may not, but cellular is getting better every day.   Cellular apps like CBC Radio and TuneIn radio, Spotify, etc. provide better programming for just the cost of cellular data.

I finished the day with an episode of Miss Fisher's Murder Mysteries on Netflix. I have seen the pilot and one episode now and find it quite pleasant and entertaining, with excellent cinematography, amazing wardrobe, and convincing period settings.  The plots are not at all grim, and the acting is good -- unlike the cute posing that passes for acting on many sitcoms.

Phryne looks a little gaunt me, though, but we must realise that was the fashion of the time, as was ridiculous amounts of lipstick.  I see that extreme lipstick coming back into fashion now.  How (and why) do women stand it?  Even lip balm bothers me.

What women put up with and do to themselves in the name of 'beauty' amazes me constantly.

Phryne is an uncommon name and somewhat appropriate for this character, I suppose?

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When another person makes you suffer, it is because he suffers deeply within himself, and his suffering is spilling over. He does not need punishment; he needs help. That’s the message he is sending.
Thich Nhat Hanh

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Saturday August 15th 2015

 

 Today Showers ending near noon then cloudy with 30 percent chance of showers. Risk of a thunderstorm early this morning. Amount 10 to 15 mm. Wind north 20 km/h gusting to 40. High 14. UV index 3 or moderate.
Tonight Cloudy. 30 percent chance of showers this evening. Wind north 20 km/h gusting to 40 becoming light this evening. Low 8.

Click here for current conditions in my back yard
Ten day forecast

 Read yesterday's post
Often posts are edited the next day for improved clarity

I awoke just before 0400 and got up.  I was feeling a bit groggy and when  I am groggy, I don't sleep well.  If I get up for an hour, have coffee and maybe two eggs, I usually sleep well afterwards.  If I am wide a wake after that time, I stay up for the day.

My philosophy is sleep when tired regardless of time of day and get up when I find I am not.  That runs counter to all the advice, but it works for me and that is what counts. 

In fact, I find a lot of general 'wisdom' does not work for me and I don 't feel compelled to eat what people say, do what people say to do -- or sleep when people say to sleep.

I was roused earlier several times by the dog bumping around under and beside my bed.  She usually sleeps on her own bed near mine, but she was disturbed. I got up, looked out and saw distant lightening and went back to to bed.

Zippy hates lightning, and I avoid try to avoid making a fuss and reinforcing her fear. Acknowledging the fear reinforces it. 

Many pet owners make a fuss in hopes of reassuring their pal, but anything more than a pat and a word or two tends to indicate there is something to fear and can make future events more  worrisome.  The best way to reduce or extinguish fear is to ignore it and act natural and confident.

Now, at 0400, I wandered into the kitchen and stepped onto one of the the new scales.  It read 228.1. 

OK.  That is the new calibration  I weigh 228.1, not 225 as I guessed the other analog scale was saying on its small, hard-to-read dial. 

I had a glass or two of water and it now read 229.  It is very sensitive -- and really easy to read.

*   *   *   *   *

Within minutes, the gentle rain I heard on the skylights when I got up became a roar.  The predicted rain is here and likely to be around all day, I'm thinking.

We are now halfway through August.  Although we can still expect weeks and even months of good bee weather here in Central Alberta, we can also have a random killer frost at any time.  August 20 can be the end of the season some years.  No frosts are predicted, but they sometimes come without warning. 

One day the fields and ditches are full of bloom and the next everything is wilted.  After that, even if the bloom, comes back there is usually not much nectar.

It is time to winterize vehicles and make sure that water is not standing in items that might burst if frozen solid.

Quite a bit of rain is forecast for the coming week.  I think my rain gauge is a bit wonky.  At 0541, it says we have received 2.6 inches of rain since midnight.  Is that hail I hear? 

My farmer neighbours can go to bed rich and wake up hundreds of thousands of dollars poorer in the morning.  Hail is only a setback for a beekeeper.  Crops that are pounded to a pulp soon re-grow and bloom again.

At 0706, the scale now reads 231.6, a gain of 3.5 pounds.  This goes to show how difficult it is to monitor weight except by weighing at the same time each day, expecting variations, and using averages and trends.

It's a rainy day and a chance to get things done indoors.  I have been putting off finishi9ng a customer website update and got that out of the way by 1030.   At 1030, my scale reads 232.4 after drinking water and eating a snack.

Next I'll work on the trailer.  Too much sitting is not good.

I never did get to that.  I had a nap and did more books, went out and raked the driveway again while the gravel was soft, had supper, found two boxes of foundation for a neighbour who had bought hives from me earlier, watched video and went to bed early.

I am down to dregs of foundation.  I have quite a bit of old brood and super comb around, but it is in need of going over and not really suitable to sell to a newbee.  I had expected my friends would have a bit to spare, but they are out of boxes and frames. I may have to take a trip north, but first I have to see f I need anything.

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'Thank you' is the best prayer that anyone could say. I say that one a lot.
Thank you expresses extreme gratitude, humility, understanding.
Alice Walker

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Sunday August 16th 2015

 

Today Mainly cloudy. High 16. UV index 5 or moderate.
Tonight Mainly cloudy. Clearing after midnight. Low plus 5.

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Ten day forecast

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My pantry is empty.  I am out of canned beans and tomatoes and corn, the staples of my diet. I suppose I shall have to go to town.

Gas prices are up to $1.20+ per litre even though the price of WTI is at the lowest in years at $42.50.  Apparently some refinery is shut down for maintenance. From here:

West Texas Intermediate ended the week at $42.18 a barrel. But in Canada, the benchmark blend Western Canada Select hit a catastrophic C$29.79 a barrel.

WCS always trades at a discount to WTI. But as some refineries were shut down for scheduled maintenance, a BP refinery in Whiting, Indiana, that can process Canadian heavy crude, was also shut down for “unscheduled repair work.” Getting the refinery up and running at full capacity again could take several weeks. Meanwhile, the crude, with no other place to go, goes into storage.

At 0905, after getting up and stumbling into the kitchen, I weigh in at  227.6.  I am still having fun with this scale.  It is ridiculously accurate for a $19.95 item.  It can see that I drank a cup of coffee or picked up my cellphone.  Of course that accuracy is useless, but entertaining.  Maybe I'll find a beekeeping application for it.

My Swalwell August Bee Day is on for sure, barring rain.  I may be deluged with beekeepers it seems.

> Sorry, I tried to answer the survey and ended up sending an empty email.

I've given up on the survey. Nobody can figure it out, and I think 
Yahoo has work to do before it becomes useful.

There are other surveys possibilities on the web, like SurveyMonkey, 
but, for now, I see there is enough interest to go ahead and that is all 
I need to know.

Swalwell Bee Day is a definite 'go' for August 23 afternoon unless the 
weather looks bad, in which case it will be cancelled, so check this 
list before you set out on that day.

In fact there is enough interest that we might have to limit numbers or 
figure out how to run two or more sessions, either one after the other 
or concurrently.

Only so many people can look over my shoulder at once. Twelve per group 
seems reasonable and maybe twenty max. Maybe I can find or make a clone 
by then? Actually, the Meijer brothers plan to be here, so they will be 
another resource.

When we are a few days away from that date (Aug 23rd), I'll post more 
info, ask a few questions and require a response.

The main point will be to look through my hives and discuss what we see 
and what we should do in the coming month. I have hives that vary from 
five high and packed with honey to some small ones with no queen and no 
hope of one. By then, I may have pulled honey, combined and equalized, 
but we'll just take what we find on that day. We might find some 
chalkbrood and some sacbrood and maybe some other less prominent 
diseases and I am quite sure we will see some varroa in the shakes and 
drop boards. I very much doubt we will see AFB, but we can always hope.

I'm thinking a smoker lighting contest would be fun. I think the record 
is somewhere in the order of twenty seconds. The rules: paper matches 
must be used to start the fire, any combination of non-explosive, 
non-chemical fuel can be used, the contestant must light the smoker and 
close it, then step back. The smoker must still be smoking five minutes 
later, giving off cool smoke suitable for smoking bees, and not belch 
flame or drop fuel out when inverted.

People can bring frames they want inspected for AFB if they like, in 
plastic bags, and I am sure someone qualified will look at them..

You can write me direct with questions or ideas.

I am 30 miles from Drumheller, so some may want to spend the morning at 
the Royal Tyrell, and there are plenty of other interesting places out 
this way. Every small town around here has scenic hiking trails and a 
few have nice little golf courses.
 

Here is a new resource:

To beekeepers, we developed at Alberta agriculture an app for bee health focused on bee diseases symptoms, diagnosis and treatment options. It is free to download to iPhone. It is developed for iOS and Android platforms

Please help yourself and download the app. To find the app, search App Store or google play store for "bee health".

We are working in the second phase that will be interactive with Beekeepers to facilitate bee diagnostics and communication on line with Alberta Apiculture Bee Team. If you have any comments please contact me.

Please share with beekeepers community. Hey it is free for all.

Best regards
Medhat
---

My replies:

Very nice app! Covers everything and very well, and the price is right. It is going to be a huge hit.

There is not much to criticize, and any criticisms are minor, but I would not be me if I did not have something to be picky about.

I realise these opinions are mine alone and I am spitting into the wind, so please excuse me if I point out that the AFB pictures -- as is so often the case in bee literature -- appear to illustrate an extreme breakdown in a non-HYG hive.

If you see anything like that in your hive, it is probably far too late for that hive and your bee stock is not at all HYG. You have more problems than AFB. You need better bee stock and should probably be changing queens in your other hives and considering a prophylactic dusting or two -- if it is not against your religion.

I see too many hobbyists who were watching for that extreme case and did not see AFB starting to develop in a hive when they could easily intervene and save the hive.

People need to be able to spot one isolated cell on an otherwise nice looking frame of brood, and AFB scale in a brood comb and know how to respond.

AFB begins with a cell or two, then avalanches (unless it clears up) and this is the stage at which AFB is easily managed.

Even after a few cells show up, minor interventions can stop it dead, but when whole frames are black, it is all over, even if the bees are still alive.

Such a hive will never winter and might as well be killed.

As for the recommendations for disinfecting gloves, hive tools, scorching boxes and floors, etc., I don't know of any commercial beekeepers who go to those lengths and AFAIK, most commercial beekeepers have very few AFB problems.

As with anything, there are exceptions, but not like back in the seventies when we used to see whole yards broken down with AFB and only occasional dead cells opened by the house bees.

The washing and scorching recommendations make beekeeping seem more daunting than it is and confuse them with rituals that accomplish little, if anything.

Radiation, though, is wonderful as long as you mark the scaled frames and remember that they are sterile when you see scale in that frame later if the bees have not yet cleaned it. (Scale residue is very hard for bees to completely remove without a trace).

Please pardon my criticism of one minor point in an otherwise wonderful app, and please disagree with me, but that is how I see it.

> Please help yourself and download the app. To find the app, search App Store or google play store for "bee health".

Here is are direct links:

Bee Health - Android Apps on Google Play
https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=ca.ab.gov.beehealth 

Bee Health on the App Store on iTunes
https://itunes.apple.com/us/app/bee-health/id1005231410?mt=8

I should add that you can install the app onto your devices from your desktop computer or tablet from the links I provided just now.

After lunch, I drove to Drumheller for groceries.  I also bought gas, at $1.129/litre, minus seven cents worth of points, or $1.059 net.  That is still very high since oil is at a multi-year low.

I went to Wal-Mart and bought a cheap printer and a $138 tablet with 32 GB and returned home. 

With all the ingredients at hand once again, I made a stew, had supper and read a while, then watched What Women Want before bed.  I've seen the movie before, but it is one I can watch more than once.  I enjoy both Mel Gibson (in spite of his off-screen persona) and Helen Hunt.

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We think in generalities, but we live in detail.
Alfred North Whitehead

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Monday August 17th 2015

 

Today Mainly sunny. Increasing cloudiness late this afternoon. Fog patches dissipating this morning. High 23. UV index 6 or high.
Tonight Cloudy with 40 percent chance of showers. Low 11.

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Ten day forecast

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Often posts are edited the next day for improved clarity

I slept until 0805, then got up, stumbled, half-awake, to the kitchen and weighed myself.  

It read 228.6.  I was not expecting a change since I have not been dieting other than avoiding big calorie items and not been very active over the past week.

I have yet to take the new scale to its permanent home in the bathroom.  It is still a novelty and is in the kitchen.

The kitchen was still a mess from yesterday.   I had put away groceries, made a stew, had supper and left everything.  The fridge was pulled out since there was a nasty smell and I was hunting for it, never found it, and was planning on continuing the hunt today. 

The smell seems to be totally gone today.  Maybe it was a dead mouse in the heat ducts and dried out from the furnace running?  Whatever it was, it was really foul and seemed to emanate from that corner.

So, I began on dishes and had breakfast and sat down to write, and think.

I have been concerned about potential liability issues surrounding Swalwell Bee Day and wrote Gertie to see what insurance I have.  I'm impressed (right).

Your homeowners insurance likely does not cover your beekeeping activities. Here is another reason to be sure to be registered with the Alberta Bee Commission (As distinct from Alberta Agriculture) and pay the small annual insurance fee. 

What to do today?  The bees seem like an obvious choice, as does the boat and boat trailer.  Vacuuming looks to be in the queue, too.  Then I really should catch the books up to date.  I had cleared most of the paper on my desk, but not finished the job.  The lawns need mowing, too, and I need to consider parking for the coming meet here next Sunday.

I also need to find when the dump is open.  I have a load almost ready and need to get the truck and trailer ready to go.  Lights and brakes are always a concern.  I wonder if the emergency brake battery is charged (probably not) and still good (questionable).

Linden is the closest at 10 miles away.  The main site accepts more categories of material, but is thirty miles distant.  Tomorrow looks to be a possibility for Linden.

Why I STILL Restrict Meat, Eggs and Milk - August 16, 2015 by Gabe Mirkin, MD

I mowed some grass, washed off the mower, did some desk work, read a bit and generally got nothing much done today.

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My attitude is that if you push me towards something that you think is a weakness, then I will turn that perceived weakness into a strength.
Michael Jordan

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Tuesday August 18th 2015

 

Today A mix of sun and cloud. Wind west 20 km/h gusting to 40 becoming light this afternoon. High 22. UV index 6 or high.
Tonight Clearing this evening. Low 8.

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Ten day forecast

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The day is sunny and a bit fall-like. I may run to Three Hills today to pick up things from the accountant and to get a brake battery for the trailer.   I'd like to make a dump run, if not today, then soon.  Once I get the truck and trailer set up, there is little to keep me from making regular runs. 

The big issue is to get the trailer lights working properly.  That is always the problem, since trailers have been wired differently in the past and there are several different plug and receptacle combinations.  Add to that the inevitable lamp burnout or bad connections that happen over time and getting all the lights working can be a puzzle.

The forecast looks good for bee work and I know I have honey to pull  and supers to adjust.  Will I have the ambition today?  Yesterday I did not.

When I got up, the scale read 228.4, and that represents no real change since the 15th.  The 0.3 lbs difference from my 228.1 initial reading represents around 2/3 of a cup of water.

Overnight, I breathe and sweat a pound or two of water, even if I do not get up to empty my bladder, so I weigh myself in the morning on rising, before eating or drinking since that yields the most consistent  and meaningful measurements.

The precision of the scale is greater than the precision of water regulation in my body, and the scale even detects small differences in my stomach and bladder contents.

I have been inactive for the most part and not dieting especially, so was not expecting much, if any, change.

I went downstairs to the shop and started on the boat again.  I also bought some GFCI boxes for heavy-duty extension cords and got to work on that job.  So far, I got one plug installed.

The day turned warm and breezy, and the mower started up first try, so I cut some lawn.  The grass has grown a lot in the past weeks and is almost past the point where it can't be cut without leaving big clump.

Now I think I'll lift some lids. 

Looking at the forecast, Sunday looks idea for the event I'm planning.  I think it is a going to be a huge hit.  At least twenty people are showing intent to come.

I went out and started the bee truck, then got distracted and raked the driveway again.  At one time, I had larger gravel pads for bee work, but in the last decade, the weeds have moved in.  I used some RoundUp, and the rake, and I am making headway.

I went over to the South of the Hedge group and looked through the hives.  They look good.  There is one that is just hatching a queen and another that was just some weak, queenless hives stacked up.  That last one was given a frame of eggs and larvae and the bees are just emerging now.  I see no sign of a queen having been raised, so it is just  an equipment stack occupied by some bees.

I could pull at least one super of honey per hive.

These are the hives left after I made splits and sold everything that met my specifications for a strong single or double, so, in spite of the fact that they have good genetics and are now queenright, they are still building up. They always make honey, but not the four or five boxes per hive that can be expected from the ones I sold. My goal is to have them ready for winter, winter them and sell hives in spring. 

Of course, I'll sell hives anytime I have suitable hives and a customer. Fall is actually a good time to buy a hive if having bees is the goal.  If they overwinter well, and the odds are 80% in favour, they can usually make two hives in spring.

At right is one frame of brood that is typical of many in newly drawn Acorn frames.  I have reserved judgment, but wholeheartedly endorse these frames now.  In the same hive, I saw similar frames of Pierco, but they were warped.  So far, I have yet to see a warped Acorn frame.

I have not bee a huge fan of comb replacement, but these frames may make me a believer.  Bees draw them readily and perfectly almost every time.

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Everybody’s got a plan until they get punched in the mouth.
Mike Tyson

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Wednesday August 19th 2015

 

Today Clearing this morning. Wind becoming south 20 km/h this afternoon. High 28. UV index 6 or high.
Tonight A few clouds. Increasing cloudiness after midnight. Wind south 20 km/h becoming light this evening. Low 11.

Click here for current conditions in my back yard
Ten day forecast

 Read yesterday's post
Often posts are edited the next day for improved clarity

With one exception, I slept through and woke up feeling energetic. Lately I've been feeling unmotivated during the day and losing sleep at night, waking up, then staying awake worrying about family matters.  I must have resolved things somehow because that seems to have passed. 

Was it physical; was it mental; was it part of grieving for my sister, my wife and my cat?  Was it existential angst?  Was I channeling someone else's anxieties?  Beats me.  Whatever it was, it seems to have turned itself off.

Sometime after midnight, I woke up and realized that I had left a soup bone simmering on the stove.  The house smelled of ham.

All the water had evaporated and only  sediment remained at the bottom of the pot.  The stove was on low so there was no fire hazard, but that is a reminder not to put something on the stove and then forget about it. The contents were condensed, but not burnt, and I'll see if they are good for anything.

The forecast promises a nice day for outdoor work, so I'll do some more yard work and start planning for Sunday.  I may run to town.  The accountant was away yesterday.

I may also work in the basement.  I want to finish the boat and need to do some cleanup to prepare for work on the heating system before winter. 

I can't keep relying on this coal stoker and need to get a gas heater set up. Even if other factors did not press me in that direction, it seems my helper is not going to be around this fall and winter from the look of things, so I have no one to shovel ashes.

Although I have gas right to the building, installing a new system is not a trivial or cheap matter.  This is a big old school building and anything that would be simple in a house, from painting a wall, to fixing the roof, is a big, expensive job.

Today my scale says 227.6.   As said before, this does not mean much, but is a move in the right direction.  I was a bit more active yesterday, but did not diet in any real way.  I was just careful not to eat anything or any meal with a high calorie load.

I felt so inspired after writing all this that I went back to bed and slept another hour, beginning with lucid dreams and falling into deep slumber.

> I could use some advice for using the device, as this is my first year extracting. I am going to research it today.

A while ago, I bought the ancient hand-crank four-frame reversible that was advertised on this list with demonstrations and sharing in mind. Thus far, I have had fun with the grandkids and friends at parties using this device, spinning frames outdoors on the patio.

While I have not figured out how to lend this machine off-premises without risk of damage or potential for not getting it back, I do plan to do a demo here outdoors at mid-day on Sunday and let people use it to spin a few frames if they bring them along, as well as a bucket for honey and a bucket of clean water to wash hands, etc. I'll supply the extractor and nothing else except a cappings scratcher. The entire process is dead-simple.

So far, I see no signs of robbing in my yard and as long as this is the case, we can have open honey and there will be no fear of bees coming and bothering us.

If robbing starts to be evident, though, plans will change and that will not happen.

Any signs of robbing will also change plans in other ways.

I'll be posting a last-minute message here around ten on Sunday morning saying what to expect, or if the weather changes, announcing a cancellation.

Everything will be happening in the field where I have the twenty hives we will be examining and there will be bees around. I should caution people planning to come to be sure they bring bee veils for sure, and suits if they are particularly worried about stings.

The cars can be parked nearby for those wishing to ensure safe haven.

I expect I will be dressed in shorts and tee shirt and wear no veil, but I will have my full battle dress close at hand and will be demonstrating the use of smoke to calm bees to prevent stings and general chaos.

Allen

I spent hours in the afternoon getting my GoPro 3+ Black working with my phone and tablet.  There is a steep learning curve with these things, the GoPro website is a bit flaky, with poor instructions, and took me to the wrong page several times.  Vital instruction details are missing and one needs good eyes and good light to see the cryptic displays on the device itself.  At any rater, I managed to update it and to reset the password, which I had forgotten and lost in the year since I last used it.

While looking around for GoPro and other camera items, since I figure to take some video Sunday, I came across this (right).

Yup, it is an eBay-purchased Chinese lithium ion battery for my AR.Drone that decided to bulge and open up.  It was not on charge at the time, fortunately.

I had noticed a bit of a bulge previously, but since I last saw it, the bulge blew open the case.   Of case it is marked , etc., but I wonder.

The battery on the GoPro looks a little bulgy.  Should I worry?

I went out and did some yard tidying, then came in and ordered wetsuits and drone parts on Amazon.  Will I shrink enough to fit my older suit?  Don't know, but but the summer is passing quickly and I am not shrinking very quickly.  If I shrink out of these suits, I can always sell them or give them away.

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There's no point in being grown up if you can't be childish sometimes.
Doctor Who

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