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Saturday September 9th, 2000

A mix of sun and cloud. Wind increasing to westerly 30 gusting to 50 this morning. High 16

Looking into the warehouse, I see 28-1/2 pallets of 30 supers awaiting extraction. That is 855 supers or about 40 drums of honey, I'd wager.  We have 73 full drums in the basement and another 14 or so in tanks.  We have a truck coming Tuesday for the drums in the shop downstairs.

We have 74 active yards right now and we have done a final round or a semi-final round on 22 of them.  We are doing four a day.  With fifty-two to go, that means 13 more days at this rate and that projects out to our finishing pulling on October 3rd. That cuts things close, since the production bonus is calculated on the honey extracted and shipped before October 10th.  If we have any hold-ups we may not make that deadline.  We can either pull honey or extract it, but not both at the same time unless we get more help or unless we speed up.

Here are some recent posts I've made to BEE-L since the last listing here:

032819 00/09/01 09:13 42 Re: worker bee & sizecell size
032834 00/09/01 23:42 111 Re: worker bee & sizecell size
032858 00/09/03 22:38 21 Free Bee Classifieds
032864 00/09/05 13:20 45 Re: cell size debate
032877 00/09/06 13:46 33 Re: worker bee & sizecell size
032888 00/09/06 14:06 35 FW: No of varroa mites in hive
032899 00/09/07 11:26 29 Re: Set-down method
032909 00/09/08 07:31 62 Re: American Bee Journal collector help
032916 00/09/08 10:43 47 Re: Fume pads

Sam came by this afternoon to discuss mead making.  We had a pretty good visit (we had to compare several meads) and I printed some pictures from the spring using the new printer. Meijers came by a while later for supper. 

After supper I ran a load through the extracting line just for fun.  Joe joined in and scratched any that came along the loading conveyor that had been missed in spots (We leave our combs fairly thick, and thus the flails cannot get into the lowest spots or uncap very thin combs very well), and in a matter of fifteen minutes or so, we had a load running with only one frame broken on the way through the uncapper.  When this thing works, it works well.

I noticed the extractor was rocking quite a bit once it got going.  I guess we let some granulation though.  Normally we catch it in the conveyor and save it for a special load.  We have not seen much hard honey yet, but at about this time of year we start to see more as the weather gets cooler.

BTW, if anyone is wondering who does the conversions to flails (chains) on Cowan uncappers, it is our neighbour, Ralph Belt at 1-403-443-5176.  I've heard people have a hard time locating him, since he does not advertise.

Tonight: Partly cloudy. Wind diminishing to westerly 20 overnight. Low 6.

Normals for the period: Low 5. High 18.

Sunday September 10th, 2000

A mix of sun and cloud. 40 percent chance of showers. Wind north 30 km/h. High 15.

We went to the TL bar for the afternoon, trail riding with the Purves-Smiths.  Zeke is back from Montreal with two friends, so we made up a sizable group. we had a barbeque at our place for lunch on the way over, then had supper at their place, the mill.

Tonight: Mainly clear. Wind diminishing to light northwest. Low 3. Risk of frost.

Normals for the period
Low 4. High 18.
Sunrise: 7:04 AM   Sunset: 8:01 PM
The Moon is Waxing Gibbous (90% of Full)

Monday September 11th, 2000

Sunny. Wind west 20 km/h. High 19.

It's a day off for the crew, but a day of work for me.  Ellen worked in her flower garden for the better part of the day.  I did some desk work and started getting the load of honey ready to go out tomorrow.

We have close to 1,000 boxes in the warehouse and I notice the bees are building up again.

Bees on warehouse windowsBees on the warehouse windowsIn any warehouse, bees accumulate on the windows.  No matter how careful we are, there are always a few in the boxes.  Over thousands of boxes, this adds up to lots of bees.  These bees are older, since they are likely foragers, but occasionally, even though we use excluders, young bees, brood and even queens come in.

In the picture here, the super standing on end is set that way because it has an abnormally high number and we are tipping it to get the bees out. Sometimes we have use a leaf blower to get them all out.  Normally we do not put things on top of stacks of supers, but we are posing for a picture here.  In real life, we would set it, and the cardboard boxes, on the floor.

If we discover brood and a queen (maybe once in a thousand boxes), we take them outside and set them up as a hive. The cardboard boxes (notice the way the little one Bees From The windows are placed into hivesis cut) are used to scoop the bees off the window and carry them out to hives.  When that is happening, bystanders beware.  Window bees are cranky.

The bees we take off our warehouse windows are dumped into empty hives with queens in cages outside.  After they are settled, the queens are manually released.  We fill the hives to overflowing, since the bees are older and not expected to last long.  We don't have as good success wintering these hives if they are made up late (after mid-August), but they do fairly well.

The new hire phoned to say she would not be back. We had expected as much.

Tonight: Increasing cloud. Wind west 20. Low 6.

Normals for the period: Low 4. High 18.

Tuesday September 12th, 2000

A mix of sun and cloud. Wind northwest 20. High 21.

Hi-Way 9 phoned at seven last night to say the truck will be late today, coming at noon instead of 8 AM.  That's okay.  I'll have time to take some of the drum outside.  I don't like to take them out too early because when I have in the past, it has invariably rained and the occasional drum can leak water under the lid.  Even with a seal -- or maybe especially with a seal -- the water can sometimes wick around by capillary action and flow into the drum.  If there is liquid honey in the drum, that can be a problem, since the top layer of honey may dilute and ferment. That is a worse problem if the drum is tipped and agitated while liquid as it is in shipping.  Usually the drums are solid by the time we take them out, but I don't like to take a chance.

The weather looks ideal for pulling honey this week. We are 20 drums into bonus now, but the time is running out.  The bonus is based on honey extracted before October tenth.  The first load of honey does not count, but the second load gives each key employee $500 and each load thereafter gives each key employee $1000 -- adjusted for the number of hives going into winter and his hours  from April 1st through August 31st.  Of course performance at this time counts too, since if honey is not pulled or extracted or hives are not cared for and prepared for winter, bonus is not earned.

Loading drumsWe loaded the truck with 70 drums of honey (630 pounds net each) .  The job took about an hour.  Loading the truck is generally a bit festive, since it is a landmark in production.  Each load after this carries a bonus for the crew.

The guys extracted in the afternoon and got the trucks ready to roll first thing tomorrow.

Click to enlargeWasps and hornets get a bad rap from beekeepers.  Sure, some are mean, but these ones allowed us to open our door, exposing their brood many times without any fuss.  They came out and hovered near the nest, then went back in.

Tonight: Mainly cloudy. 60 percent chance of showers. Low 5.

Normals for the period: Low 4. High 18.

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