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I woke up at 0600, but managed to doze until 0745. The antibiotic seems to be working, but makes me a bit tired.
Airdrie is 80 km away, compared to the 22 km to Three Hills. That is an additional 60 km, and another hour of driving and ten litres of fuel, but doctors and other services are available in Airdrie that are not in Three Hills. Prices for groceries are also much less in Airdrie, and selection much better.
I drove to town, saw the doctor, did a few errands, and returned home. As I came up the walk, I saw the tail of a large skunk disappear under my front doorstep.
A neighbour has been wanting to talk over some business and so we had a chat. That took me to suppertime.
I had supper, then went to work on the bees. I was not too enthused, but found that, unlike the last few tries to get started, I was getting into it.
I took along some Apistan I have had around for a long time and mixed up some oxalic acid syrup drizzle and went through the North Yards. There were four hives left of the twenty-two. The dead-puts are heavy and I think some hives plugged out in September.
From there I went to the quonset yard and found that five of the first ten were alive and two were occupying three boxes top to bottom (left) and showing at the entrances. I split one and reversed the other.
By then it was 2100 and the sun was going down, so I called it a day and went in.
* * * * *
I have avoided working on the bees so far this spring. I just have not felt like it, but tonight I was in the mood and it went well.
I wonder if I have been feeling un-ambitious and low on account of the urinary infection. Even though I had the energy to do the voyage, sailing does not require the kind of physical exertion that beekeeping does.
This doctor yesterday had results in five minutes and I had pills an hour later.
* * * * *
I also wonder if my bee reluctance is partially due to the concern that my heart episode happened the day after the "Bee Day" and while I was working my bees. I have wondered if the smoker was partly to blame.
I got an email the other day from a customer from last year saying her two hives had died from AFB. She sent one very poor picture (right) that seems to show some roping on a toothpick testing one cell. The rest of the cappings looked okay considering that the frame is from a dead hive and molding. Hard to tell. Could be AFB in the early stages.
Anyhow, she said, "According to everyone in the bee community that we have talked to, said since we are first time bee keepers it could only have come from your place and we should let you know as soon as possible." However that is the only such report I have received and I am not seeing AFB here.
There are some local areas that seem to be especially bad. Airdrie is one, for some reason. Regardless, good bees will resist AFB and maybe show the odd cell, but there are bees that can be given AFB scale and clean it up and thrive. I've seen them.
Sadly, she had ordered packages, then cancelled because she was worried about the equipment. Someone had told her she should burn everything. I have to wonder. Two hives? Both broken down badly enough to burn? I have not heard back.
There are some well-meaning but uneducated people out there. Do you burn your child if he gets sick, or treat him?
Don't answer that.
The trouble with jogging is that, by the time you
realize you're not in shape for it, it's too far to walk back.
I have lab tests to have done today, so am fasting and will be off to Three Hills as soon as the lab opens.
My weight is getting back on track. Eating at home and working on bees definitely help, as does not drinking wine.
I drove to town early and was at the lab ten minutes before it opened, expecting an early morning lineup of fasting clients. I was surprised to find I was the only customer, so with very little waiting I had blood drawn and an EKG, then drove home.
* * * * *
I have a lot to do today. I have the bees to attend and some cleanup of things that have blown around the yard, then I must pack for BC. It will be a full day. Good thing I am feeling better.
Tomorrow evening, I will be on board with companions I have just met once. They seem like a fun bunch, but I worry that I will be influenced to eat and drink more than I should and be served foods that are outside my ideal range.
I am now listening to Salt, Sugar, Fat. Previously, I listened to The End of Overeating and Always Hungry, and the inescapable conclusion from listening to all three books is that processed foods and snack foods are behind the obesity epidemic.
As a result of the industrial battle for shelf space and 'stomach share' and the consumer preference for taste and 'mouth feel' over healthy nutrition -- and ignorance -- sugar, salt, fat, and refined starches far in excess of what is healthy are found in almost all packaged foods today. That means many, if not most of the foods served in restaurants and, to a lesser extent, homes, are not going to help me lose weight or maintain optimal health.
* * * * *
I waited until after lunch to get out to the bees. Usually afternoons and evenings are the best time for that work and I had things to do around the house. I got out around one and worked through the rest of the Quonset Yard.
* * * * *
I now have twelve live hives and of that twelve, four are huge and four are small. I have told people I have no hives for sale this year, but have promised a few and will meet those orders. When I am done, I figure I may have about twenty and they will almost all be splittable when I return.
I expected a cool day, but it is getting hot out there, so I worked and hour and a half, then took a break. I have another thirty or so hives to check and figure that maybe eight or ten will be alive. I'm just letting the deadouts sit for now. They will be useful when I split.
My best hope is for a year with no honey. It happens, and now would be a good time for me, but I would not wish it on my friends.
I'm realizing there is really nothing too pressing to do with the bees themselves. They are doing fine and maybe I save a colony or two, and maybe by reversing the strong ones I assist build-up, but basically the bees can take care of themselves, other than coping with varroa.
* * * * *
Once in the house, I ate a package of Mr. Noodles soup and some taco shells. Big mistake. The carbs made me sleepy, so I had a nap and after was not too ambitious, but went back out. I did work through the remaining hives, finding only two more alive and did some tidy-up and decided to quit.
It seems I never learn.
I quit at six and came in, made several phone calls and am now about to pack. I have to anticipate all the things I will need on this boat, without the supplies I keep on Cassiopeia since they are in Sidney and this boat is in Vancouver.
People everywhere confuse what they read in newspapers
I got up early, packed and drove to Airdrie. Mike dropped me at YYC and not long after, I was walking to the SkyTrain in Vancouver.
I got off at the Village Station, and caught the Number 50 bus to Granville Island. When I arrived, my boat, Just Do It!, was still being cleaned, so I killed some time, then got on board and began checking out the boat.
My crew were driving from Calgary, and had said they would arrive by car around supper. They wanted to barbeque, so I checked out the barbeque and found it was bent up -- and out of propane. I spent the next several hours repairing it with the aid of Sam who was on his last day at work with the firm, but very helpful. As a result, I did not have time to finish checking out the boat, beyond the obvious.
At six, the guys showed up with four wheelbarrows of food and drink and a huge cooler and jugs of ice. We found space for the food in storage and the fridge, but the cooler could not go. Big square-sided things just do not fit on a sailboat. Besides, we did not need it.
We barbequed supper in the newly-repaired barbeque and called it a day. I like these guys
* * * * *
Friday 13: We were up fairly early and cast off for Nanaimo, where we were to meet the others at the Dinghy Dock Pub at 1700.
The trip across Georgia Strait was uneventful and along the way, we got to know one another better. I discovered that I had some teaching to do; Bruce has a smaller boat on freshwater and Gunther has little experience beyond sailing with Bruce occasionally. Sailing in coastal tidal waters is quite a bit different from lake sailing but fortunately, I enjoy teaching and the guys are very positive types and glad to learn.
We anchored a few hundred yards off the Dinghy Dock Pub, mounted the outboard, figured out how to get it running -- It is brand new and the fuel supply valve was shut off -- and went in to meet the gang.
* * * * *
We had fair winds and sailed most of the way, arriving at Smuggler Cove in mid-afternoon. We anchored beside Rick, who was already there and stern-tied, sharing a shore ring with Revelry, his boat.
Gunther went swimming. The ten-degree water did not daunt him at all in his full wet suit. Bruce went in, too, but with just a bathing suit. I watched.
* * * * *
Sunday 15: We were the second last out of the anchorage and alternately sailed and motored along the way to Garden Bay. The folks on the other boats wanted to do some sailing for the sake of sailing, but personally, I sail from here to there. I don't just go sailing for something to do. I've spent too many days and nights at the helm, I guess.
The weather was mild, but misty, not wet enough to require a full raincoat but we got damp just the same in this open boat with no bimini.
The fog and drizzle let up by noon and we threw over the anchor and stopped for lunch on the way into Pender Harbour. By the time we got to the harbour, half the fleet was there. We anchored and the guys went exploring. I stayed on board and did odd chores.
The group planned to meet in the marina pub at 1900 for beers, but my crew and I decided we did not enjoy the noise and high cost of bars and stayed home to eat and have our obligatory cocktail hour on board since we had lots of supplies and did not want leftovers at the end of the voyage -- and we are all frugal.
We got along well.
* * * * *
We stopped for lunch at Hardy Bay and anchored beside Harturo. We had to fend them off the entire time since the space was so limited and we had anchored too close.
Early on, I had set a routine whereby one or the other of the crew were "captain of the day" and just watched over them and instructed where a lesson arose. They did most of the sailing and steering when not on autopilot and kept watch for hazards. Of course, I was usually alert and handled any navigation near shore or where any hazard could be expected.
After lunch I went below for a while to nap. Gunther was captain for the day today, but went swimming, leaving Bruce on the foredeck and, I assumed, in charge. When I happened to come back on deck after my rest I discovered that the anchor was no longer on the bottom and that we were drifting perilously close to the rocky shore. Bruce was still on deck, but talking on his phone and not paying attention to where we were. Gunther was off swimming hundreds of yards away.
We had taken in the anchor chain a bit earlier to reduce the swing towards Harturo, and we were getting alarmingly close to where we would touch bottom. I immediately took over and motored deeper.
When Gunther came back, we left for Thunder Bay and arrived there mid-afternoon after a good sail with Gunther at the helm. We anchored for the night with the other boats.
Tuesday 17: From Thunder Bay, we sailed and motored up to Powell River. The others booked into the public south marina, but we tied up at my spot on the dock at the private north marina. As we entered our marina, the autopilot acted up, dragging on the steering, but we were able to steer as we got to the dock. I'm glad that did not happen earlier.
We borrowed the company car to run uptown for a few items. The guys went grocery shopping, and we picked up a 3mm allen wrench for the autopilot, which I adjusted, fixing the problem.
Once on our way to Comox under sail in light winds, and confident that the guys were capable and well briefed with standing instructions to stay a half-mile off shore unless I was on deck, and no hazards around, I went below for some reading.
After only what seemed like moment later, I happed to glance at my GPS chart app on my tablet to see we were quite close to Texada Island. I went up and was told that the wind had shifted and they were trying to pinch the tack.
I took over, but we soon ran out of wind and motored the rest of the way.
We arrived at the Comox bar right at low tide, and the crossing requires careful attention. There is no real risk of hitting anything as the water is at least a metre deeper than our draft in the marked channel if there is no swell, but once again, currents can be tricky, even at slack and there are shallow spots to either side. We draw six feet nominal and need at least a metre more depth to be sure. The bar at low tide is not a good place to have an inexperienced helm, especially one who, for whatever reasons, has proven to not follow orders faithfully, so I took the helm. Overconfidence in a crew is worrisome. A little knowledge can be a dangerous thing.
We arrived at the Comox Municipal Marina breakwater dock and tied up. We were the first in. The others came along later.
Tonight was the FACS potluck supper, but I was invited out for supper by Turners, so the guys represented our boat at the FACS supper.
Thursday 19: The guys wanted to get more sailing experience, so we left the dock mid-morning, crossed the bar, and and went sailing for the day. At first we had good wind, but it died and we ended up motoring back over the bar to Henry Bay on Denman Island to join the others.
It's not whether you're right or
wrong that's important,
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