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January 2017

 

 

 

 

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Background Image: Looking down on a frame of new brood at Dan Weaver's home apiary

 

Tuesday January 10th, 2017

 

Today Periods of light snow ending near noon then mainly cloudy with 30 percent chance of flurries. Clearing this afternoon. Wind becoming northwest 30 km/h gusting to 50 this afternoon. High minus 16. Wind chill minus 31.
Tonight Clear. Becoming partly cloudy near midnight. Wind northwest 20 km/h gusting to 40 becoming light this evening. Low minus 24 with temperature rising to minus 18 by morning. Wind chill minus 36.

Environment Canada forecast
Ten day forecast
Sunrise, Sunset, and Moon Times

I was up at 0400, cooked steel-cut oats and finished packing.  I have to be out the door by 0715.

I met Meijers in Airdrie at 0830.  They were a bit later than planned due to slippery roads, but we made it to the airport in plenty of time.

As I drove, I passed cars driving half the posted limit. It made me wonder if the roads were slippery.  According the Mike and Joe, it was. With my new studded winter tires, I could not feel any ice. These tires are amazing.

We arrived in Houston and met Aaron at the car rental.  When we got there, people were standing around. There were no cars.  Customers were late returning them.  We were assured that there would be cars soon, and sure enough we got a car within the hour, took pictures of the dents, and were on the road to Galveston -- Aaron, Joe, Oene, and me.

By then it was rush hour, but traffic was not too bad. Navigation was a bit tricky.

I have to remember to check the route chosen by the GPS beforehand to be sure to avoid detours, tolls, and other surprises. I had assumed one of the others would navigate, but it seems I am the nerd in the bunch and had to anticipate the various exits.  We made a few diversions, but managed well and managed to avoid the tolls.

We found our hotel, had supper at the local BBQ, and called it a day.

I correct, revise and augment entries in the previous several days first thing each day before writing new diary entries.  Read yesterday's post

Please write again soon. Though my own life is filled with activity,
 letters encourage momentary escape into others lives
and I come back to my own with greater contentment.
Elizabeth Forsythe Hailey,

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Wednesday January 11th, 2017

 

Environment Canada forecast
Ten day forecast
Sunrise, Sunset, and Moon Times

We were a bit slow getting to the meetings, but arrived on time for the day's programme. Apparently there are over 1,300 beekeepers here.

The weather is nice, with mostly sun and temperatures running from sixteen at night to  around twenty-four during the days.

For lunch, the four of us drove down the beach and stopped at Joe's Crab Shack.  We ate outdoors overlooking the beach.

I received an email from Carolyn saying she needed four wheel drive to get out of her drive and into mine and all is well. She used my washer, too, since hers is broken down and was impressed at how well it works.  That machine is at least twenty-five years old now, I would think.

 There were snacks at the display area so we did not need supper.  We picked up a case of beer on the way home and sat on the balcony for a while.  When we put the case into the fridge, only four were gone.  It is going to last a long time, I think.

I correct, revise and augment entries in the previous several days first thing each day before writing new diary entries.  Read yesterday's post

Every person takes the limits of their own field of vision for the limits of the world
 Arthur Schopenhauer

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Thursday January 12th, 2017

Today A mix of sun and cloud. 30 percent chance of flurries early this morning. Wind up to 15 km/h. High minus 17. Wind chill minus 36 this morning and minus 27 this afternoon.
Tonight A few clouds. Wind up to 15 km/h. Low minus 22. Wind chill minus 28.

Environment Canada forecast
Ten day forecast
Sunrise, Sunset, and Moon Times

We were up earlier today, but finished breakfast just in time to get to the meetings.  There are parallel sessions running simultaneously, so we have to find subjects that appeal, then find the right room between talks. 

So far, I can't think I've learned anything new.  The scientists are impressed with what they have learned with all the bee emergency money, but as far as I can see, when it comes to managing bees nothing has changed fundamentally in twenty years or more.

We had lunch with Randy and his son at "The Spot".  It was much better than the Crab Shack.

Around four, I was getting really tired and my digestion was acting up, so I went back to the room for a nap.  Aaron texted that he needed his jacket and since the hotel is over a mile away from the meetings, I drove it over after the nap.  Aaron was off to the social, but Meijers and I had supper with Heinrich at the Golden Corral, a nearby buffet.

Here are a few slides.  I confess I am not the keener I used to be, so you'll have to figure them out.


Fungicides

  
Maybe Amitraz is less benign than we thought

    
Varroa never sleeps

The Provincial Apiculturalist's Annual Report arrived the other day by email. Among other interesting facts was this chart.  I added the last column on the right out of interest.

Grouping No. Beekeepers Total Number of Hives % of Bees % of Beekeepers
0 173 0 0 12%
9-1 811 2342 0.74 58%
24-10 125 1860 0.58 9%
25-49 54 1922 0.6 4%
50-74 31 1867 0.59 2%
75-99 17 1445 0.46 12%
100+ 179 306964 97.00 13%
Total 1390 316400 99.97 100

It would be interesting to ask for the numbers for 100-200 and 200-500, 500-1000, 1000-5,000, and 5,000-10,000, 10,000+ etc.

I think one beekeeper accounts for 30,000 hives or so.  If so, he alone would count as 0.7% of the registered Alberta beekeepers and 9% of the hives! 

I correct, revise and augment entries in the previous several days first thing each day before writing new diary entries.  Read yesterday's post

Interestingly, according to modern astronomers, space is finite.
 This is a very comforting thought,
 particularly for people who can never remember where they have left things.
 Woody Allen

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Friday January 13th, 2017

Today Mainly sunny. Wind up to 15 km/h. High minus 9. Wind chill minus 32 this morning.
Tonight A few clouds. Low minus 20.

Environment Canada forecast
Ten day forecast
Sunrise, Sunset, and Moon Times

The programme began at 0800.  We were all on time and I spent most of the day in the ABRC room where a series of research papers are presented.

At noon, we went to a Mexican restaurant.  After, I dropped the other three off at the meetings and went back to Hampton House to soak in the hot tub.

From there, I returned to the meetings and spent the time in the ABRC sessions.  Much was repetitious, but there were a few gems.  Here are a few slides (pending).

We returned to the rooms at six and drank some beer on the balcony, then walked over to the Healthy Chinese Buffet, which turned out to be higher quality than the Golden Corral. From there, we returned to our rooms for the night.

I correct, revise and augment entries in the previous several days first thing each day before writing new diary entries.  Read yesterday's post

Get what you can and keep what you have; that's the way to get rich.
Scottish Proverb

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Saturday January 14th, 2017

Today Mainly sunny. High minus 9.
Tonight A few clouds. Low minus 14.

Environment Canada forecast
Ten day forecast
Sunrise, Sunset, and Moon Times

The main conference is mostly over and things slow down today.  Most of today's programme is aimed at hobbyists and dilettantes.  We decided we'll go over, but not until ten.

We arrived as planned and I spent the morning chatting in the hall. We drove to Murdochs to browse and then the The Spot for lunch, then back to the meetings. we all went into the "The Classroom" session and it was mostly a waste of time.

From there, we returned to our rooms and napped.  Aaron had snagged a banquet ticket and was off to the banquet at six.  Meijers and I went back to the Healthy Chinese Buffet for supper.  I'm sure it is 'healthy' if you make the right choices and don't take too much. 

Tomorrow, we check out. Meijers will ride with Jean-Marc to the Space Center, then the airport.  Aaron and I are here for a few more days. We'll go to the Space Center for ten to meet Medhat, then be on our way to another hotel.

I correct, revise and augment entries in the previous several days first thing each day before writing new diary entries.  Read yesterday's post

Wall Street is the only place people ride to in a Rolls-Royce to get advice from people who take the subway.
Warren Buffett

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Sunday January 15th, 2017

Today Mainly cloudy. High plus 2.
Tonight Clearing this evening. Low minus 13.

Environment Canada forecast
Ten day forecast
Sunrise, Sunset, and Moon Times

Aaron and I were at the Johnson Space Center at ten, but the others were not.  We did meet up with them later, however.

From there, the others were off to the airport.  Aaron and I stayed until about two-thirty and drove back to the beach.  We had enjoyed The Spot previously, so we went there for a beer and sat outside. Since the afternoon was pretty well over, we ordered supper.

There was a football game on and the speakers were blaring the play-by-play. The breeze was cool and with the noise and chill, I was not having fun.  Then a vendor pulled up across the road and turned up his boom box.

I don't care much for football, having played the game in high school, and I consider playing it it a stupid way to hang around with nasty people and get injured. Once you have seen one game, you have seen them all, sorta like professional hockey.

Aaron finished his meal and we left, headed back to the comfort of Hampton House.  Seeing as I was chilled, the hot tub came in very handy.

I correct, revise and augment entries in the previous several days first thing each day before writing new diary entries.  Read yesterday's post

The only problems money can solve are money problems.
 Laurence Peter

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Monday January 16th, 2017

Today Sunny. Becoming a mix of sun and cloud this afternoon. High plus 1.
Tonight Partly cloudy. Wind becoming southwest 20 km/h gusting to 50 late this evening. Low minus 3.

Environment Canada forecast
Ten day forecast
Sunrise, Sunset, and Moon Times

We checked out of Hampton House at eleven and drove to the city.  I had reserved a motel near the zoo with parking, and that was our destination.

I had the presence of mind to connect my phone to the Sonata we were driving and discovered that it interfaced perfectly with the on-dash display, providing excellent navigation.  I should have done that the first day, but was a bit rattled with a new car and three passengers.  We had used my Garmin GPS backed up by my phone.  I had assumed one of the other three would be handy with the maps app and navigate, but none of them had the knack, so we had made a few false turns.  Not this trip.  The system was flawless.

We found our room and settled in.  It was not nearly as luxurious as the Hampton House and cost only twenty-five dollars less, but was clean and comfortable. We then called Uber for a ride to the zoo and spent the afternoon there.  The previous week had been unusually cold and tropical plants showed frost damage.

I correct, revise and augment entries in the previous several days first thing each day before writing new diary entries.  Read yesterday's post

The most important thing in communication is to hear what isn't being said.
Peter Drucker

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Tuesday January 17th, 2017

Today A mix of sun and cloud. Wind southwest 30 km/h gusting to 50. High 9.
Tonight Partly cloudy. Wind southwest 30 km/h gusting to 50 becoming light this evening. Temperature steady near plus 3.

Environment Canada forecast
Ten day forecast
Sunrise, Sunset, and Moon Times

When we woke up it was raining.

Aaron mentioned that the topic of Weavers' bees had come up again on BEE-L.  Navasota, Texas, where Weavers have bred bees for generations was of the US areas that were invaded by the Africanized bees (AHB) early on and, naturally, some AHB genes had mingled with their traditional genetics.  As a result, some jurisdictions, including Canada, had forbidden bringing in their at stock.

Aaron had been in touch with Randy about the BEE-L topic and Randy had suggested that since we were only an hour from Navasota, why not go out and see for ourselves?  Aaron was reluctant, but I said, why not?  The worst Danny could say was , "No".  I called and Danny called back and agreed to meet with us after lunch, so we drove to Navasota. 

We had a good visit, first in the shop and then outside where we opened hives in the rain, unprotected and equipped with a small smoker that worked intermittently.

No one was stung.  If Weaver bees are at all nasty, I'd have thought that Dan would have had an easier time finding a smoker and fuel or suggested suiting up.  At home I use a smoker twice the size he had and have no problem laying hands on a suit or smoker without delay.

The colonies were small, though, being the odds and ends scattered around the home location, and southern bee clusters are small in winter to conserve feed so it was hardly a definitive test. 

Joe and I did the same sort of unprotected inspection with small hives in Lusby's bees in Lusbys' home yard in 2002.  Later, when Lusbys' hives were bigger, they were what you saw in Deanno's video, but I think Dee had given up on breeding for temper by the time Dean was out there.


Beetle traps.  Cloth (left) and corrugated plastic (right)

A frame of larvae (note the bare feet below)

  

Left: Dan is testing the plastic nuc frames that join
together to go into standards.
Right: Aaron examining a frame laid full of larvae.

I see I am not the only fan of dark combs.  In my experience, wise old beekeepers value them over newer combs for many purposes. We see that the bees prefer them, no matter what the young researchers and the crowd that follows them unthinkingly may say.  We take our orders from the bees.

I'd say Danny's bees were pretty comparable yesterday in mood to commercial stock I have and I think my stock would have offered at least a few stings under similar conditions, so maybe these are gentler.  It was apparent that they were flying recently as a bunch we dropped accidentally by jarring a frame flew right back to the hive, totally ignoring us.

I think a lot of the discrimination against AHB is linked to the lingering American cultural anxiety about African heritage generally.

I have always figured North Americans tend to over-emphasize the significance of "African" genes in honey bees.  There are a number of different places in this world where scutellata and scutellata crosses are managed without any more issues and sometimes greater success than bees with pure EHB stock.

Even if the racial origin of genes were significant, I am skeptical about the currently accepted methods of determining bee race and genetics.  Perhaps current research linking traits to genes will unravel the mysteries, but at present, I think a lot of what we "know" is conjecture or reasoning based in false assumptions.

Aaron and I drove back to Houston in the rain and called Uber to take us to the Aquarium for supper.

The Downtown Aquarium is quite the place.  The tanks are impressive and the restaurant is right next to a the largest one.

After supper, Uber took us back to the motel. 

I don't usually like to tip, but I did tip the Uber drivers.  The rides were so cheap, and traffic so slow that I could not see how the drivers could make money -- or even make enough to cover the mileage if they had to pay lease rates.

Heavy rain fell all night, accompanied by lightening and loud thunder.

I correct, revise and augment entries in the previous several days first thing each day before writing new diary entries.  Read yesterday's post

The only sure thing about luck is that it will change.
Bret Harte

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Wednesday January 18th, 2017

Today A mix of sun and cloud. Wind becoming southwest 20 km/h this afternoon. High 8.
Tonight Partly cloudy. Wind southwest 20 km/h becoming light late this evening. Low minus 2.

Environment Canada forecast
Ten day forecast
Sunrise, Sunset, and Moon Times

We had flights to catch in the early afternoon at IAH, some twenty miles away across the city, and the morning news reported flooding on the roads, so we planned an early departure.

From our motel, we could see a fire engine with flashing lights out on the service road near the exit from the parking lot.  We pulled out and drove past and saw they were helping stranded cars floating around on the freeway below.  Apparently the water was deep enough there that cars had driven in at speed, then planed up and gone amuck.  That section was closed.  This was not very auspicious start for a twenty-mile drive across the freeways, but we had to go, so go we did.

We drove down the service road, through a puddle a foot deep at the end of the ramp and onto the freeway, entering just past the disaster section.  Traffic was proceeding normally there and was quite light, given that the previous section was closed. I took care, though, and drove more slowly than usual, since there were a few puddles here and there and a car will go out of control hitting one at speed.  Traffic in the other direction, across the median was at a stop, but we encountered no slowdowns and were at the rental return by ten as planned. We gassed up and caught the shuttle. I was four hours early, but glad to be there. I have things to entertain me.

Then my flight was delayed and I began to worry about my connecting flight in Calgary.  I had two hours between, but I really did not want to trust Air Canada to take care of me if I missed the connection.

We made it to Calgary with little time to spare and my Nexus card came in handy getting through customs to my domestic connection.

The flight to YYJ was uneventful and soon I was in a cab, then walking through the rain to Cassiopeia, where I found a note saying the furnace is not working.  That was no problem for the night since I have electric heaters, but the next few days could be cold if I cannot find an electrical connection in  Vancouver.

I correct, revise and augment entries in the previous several days first thing each day before writing new diary entries.  Read yesterday's post

The 'Net is a waste of time, and that's exactly what's right about it.
William Gibson

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Thursday January 19th, 2017

Today Mainly cloudy. Wind southwest 20 km/h gusting to 40. High 6.
Tonight Clearing late this evening. Wind southwest 20 km/h gusting to 40 becoming light near midnight. Low minus 6.

I woke up early.  My plan was to meet with Callum about the maintenance and then sail for Vancouver, fifty miles away, and to make it to Active Pass before the tide turned and set up strong currents in the narrows.  I hoped to resolve the furnace problem, too.

We met, the furnace failed to start, and after a few failed attempts the ECU is now locked out, so a technician will be required to get it going.  Nobody is available. I left for Vancouver.

I had wind at first, but soon settled down to motoring. I had the enclosure closed up and the windows fogged a bit.  I was using the electronic charts to watch for hazards, and glanced at the terrain for markers.

As I approached the Pass, I wondered where the shoal that marks the entrance was, but I figured I was on a different path from my usual and turned into the Pass.  After a few minutes, and zooming out on the charts, I realised I was headed for Port Browning, not Sturdies Bay, so I turned and retraced the last ten minutes travel and as a consequence, entered the Pass a bit later than planned. The currents were beginning to build and dropped me to three and a half knots headway, but soon I was clear of the pass on on a heading for Point Grey.

Dave texted me, saying to raft to Stray Cat at the Market dock, so I fueled up under the bridge, then found the catamaran and tied up.  Murphy showed up with a cord to connect power, but I found I already had what I needed and patched into shore power in order to have heat for the night.

It was raining gently as it does off and on pretty well all winter in Vancouver, and I decided to stay aboard for the evening, rather than wander the Island.  I had groceries on board, so I made a vegetable stew.
 


Looking back through the cockpit and enclosure windows at the lights of downtown Vancouver

Environment Canada forecast
Ten day forecast
Sunrise, Sunset, and Moon Times

I correct, revise and augment entries in the previous several days first thing each day before writing new diary entries.  Read yesterday's post

The 'Net is a waste of time, and that's exactly what's right about it.
William Gibson

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