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November 2016





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Background Image: A Varroa Drop Board One Day After an Oxalic Vapourization


Tuesday November 1st 2016

Today Mainly cloudy. 30 percent chance of flurries this morning. Fog patches dissipating this morning. Wind northwest 20 km/h becoming light near noon. High 7.
Tonight Clearing this evening. Low minus 1.

Environment Canada
Ten day forecast

It's November already. Halloween's over and no one came to the door.  I did not turn on the outside light or put out a pumpkin and I am a long walk from the hamlet, so I was not expecting anyone, anyhow. Back when we had young kids, people came, but now I have not seen anyone for years.

Today I plan to finish the bookmark sorting and resume the heating research. and do at least an hour of cleanup.  I might apply oxalic vapour to some hives as well. I also have a meeting tonight.

I weigh 218.6 this morning and my blood sugar is 5.4.  Blood pressure is 113/66 and pulse is 54.  Not bad, but I see that if I want to lose more weight, I am going to have to work at it. I have been just eating as much as I want, but being careful what I do eat. I eat lots of beans, vegetables and fruit, cutting down on red meat and I am switching to porridge for breakfast from eggs.  I like porridge, but it kicks my blood glucose up to the 9.0 limit whereas eggs hardly move the reading.  I don't know what is more important, avoiding saturated fats or keeping the BG down.

Adrian wrote and pointed out this compromise: Why You Should Cook An Egg Into Your OatmealI'll try it, but it somewhat runs counter to my intention to reduce egg consumption. The reason I am thinking I should cut back on eggs is that even after the dietary cholesterol myth has been for the most part debunked, smart people I regard with respect still seem to think that eating three eggs a day is not a good idea for someone with CVD

Back to the heating matter.  I am actually just about finished my procrastination.  At least the procrastination I do before getting down to serious procrastination. Sometimes I am like a government and research a topic to death, without doing anything at all concrete. I have certainly done an analysis of the historical heat requirements and costs, plus pro forma estimates of switching fuels. (Right).

Any bets?  Will I actually get the gas hooked up and working this time?  Before Christmas?

*    *     *     *     *

Time is a strange idea. Yesterday, At 10 AM, it felt like noon.  Today, at a bit past noon, it somehow feels as if the time should be around ten.  I've been up since 0730 and all I have done is the dishes, water plants, do a little writing and some bookkeeping.  Yesterday I had done far more by ten, or at least it felt like it.

Remember to look back over the previous day or two each day since I correct, revise and augment the entries there first thing each day before writing new diary entries.
 Read yesterday's post

Discovery consists not in seeking new lands, but in seeing with new eyes.
Marcel Proust

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Wednesday November 2nd 2016

Today Mainly cloudy. 30 percent chance of flurries early this morning. Fog patches dissipating this morning. Wind becoming southwest 20 km/h gusting to 40 this afternoon. High 13.
Tonight A few clouds. Wind southwest 20 km/h gusting to 40 becoming light this evening. Low plus 4.

Environment Canada
Ten day forecast

I woke up early today and have a lot to get done. I have the data sorting to finish, a phone meeting regarding my boats, and, of course indoor and outdoor tidying to do.

We have a few warm days coming up, so I should take this opportunity to do outdoor things.  I can make a dump run Saturday if I want to haul the items recently rejected by the Linden transfer station.

Sunshine Village opens Thursday.  Only a few runs will be open, but it is tempting.

"Sunshine Village Ski and Snowboard Resort will be the first resort in Canada to open its doors to ski and snowboard enthusiasts on Thursday, November 3, 2016. This is Sunshine’s earliest opening in over 30 years.

"The resort will open with four Chairlifts including Wawa, Strawberry, Jackrabbit and Wolverine, one magic carpet and one 8-passenger gondola. With a current base of over 69 cm (27 in) of all-natural snow, Sunshine Village is poised for a solid start to the 2016-2017 season.

I was complaining that Chrome has been slowing down.  Today, all of a sudden, Chrome is fast again.  What happened?  The software updates in the background, so maybe that is it?  Also, though, I installed Maxthon 5 and they both use the WebKit engine. Maybe they share DLLs and Maxthon gave Chrome a kick in the butt?


> As far as I know, any gas boiler or gas furnace still needs electricity to run at least some of the functions/components, no?

Yes.  And no.

Lower efficiency 'conventional' gravity heaters, gas stoves, and gas fireplaces that don't need electricity are available but they are fairly low output (50K BTU and less) and lower efficiency than the high-efficiency (HE) units.

Conventional units can achieve about 80% heat recovery from the fuel vs. 98% for the high efficiency units. That is due to the fact that the high efficiency (condensing) units recover the heat that is normally lost up the stack as steam. 

Conventional units also need to be located in or below the room where the heat is required, meaning more gas piping and an exhaust stack for each unit. The gas connections and flues can cost more than the furnace.

Water is a byproduct of combustion, and that water byproduct contains about 20% of the heat released by burning fossil fuels. Steam contains a great deal of heat compared to liquid water.  That heat is released when condensing furnaces cool that steam below 212°F and turn the steam into water. It's a lot of heat.

The heat released in cooling steam from 212°F to 211°F to turn it to water is 540 times the heat that is involved in heating or cooling water one-degree.

In a conventional burner, the exhaust contains steam and is hot enough to rise up the stack itself by convection.  In a HE furnace, not only does the condensed water have to be drained, but the exhaust must be blown out the stack with a fan and the fan needs electricity. 

Just as with high-efficiency units, conventional furnaces over 50,000 BTU all require electricity to run fans that distribute the heat through the room or building. Lower output units also benefit from fans, even if they are not required.

The difference is that the fans used in both conventional and the high-efficiency units are simple and reliable as long as there is power, but the electronics and control devices in the high-efficiency units are less reliable and add a measure of complexity to what is otherwise a very simple device.

Back to my problem:

It makes sense to use small conventional gas heaters as background heat in important rooms to prevent freeze-up, but for the bulk of heating central furnaces make sense and higher efficiency furnaces can make sense if the fuel is costly. (see the chart below). With low-cost fuel, the savings are minimal, but concerns about fossil fuel use and local regulations increasingly prohibit low efficiency installations.

> IF electricity is needed even in a gas system, and any electrical outage is going to stop things in their tracks even in a gas system, you may as well just go with an all electric system rather than gas. You may pay more for day to day use but you will certainly save a bundle on a very expensive gas installation, which might work out to be no more expensive in the long run (i.e your lifetime or however long you may live there).

> Perhaps something like plug in, infrared heaters in each room you want to heat. No gas installation. No risk of fire (beyond the normal risk of fire for anything that is plugged in). Ability to raise or lower temperature. Having several heaters throughout the house might even work as a bit of a back up (via heat flow from room to room if you leave critical doors open) if one heater breaks down.

Interesting idea, and one we considered.

1 kW

3,412 BTU/hr

10 kW

34,121 BTU/hr

100 kW

341,214 BTU/hr

I have a 10 KW power transformer and 100 Amp service. 10 KW equals 83 Amps at 120 volts and gives me only 34,000 BTU. To meet my 300K BTU peak demand, I'd need a lot bigger transformer and service.  Besides, two cheap propane heaters can put out more heat than that, and so can the kitchen stove for that matter.

We also considered an electric heat pump or pumps which can get three times as much heat out of each dollar of electricity compared to a simple heater. Also, a smaller electrical service is required.  Even with a heat pump, though, with my current service, I'd only get 100K BTU and that would load my wiring to the max, leaving no capacity for other electrical devices.

Heat pumps are basically air conditioners running in reverse and dumping heat into the house instead of out. A bonus is that in simmer they can run the other direction and provide cooling.

Besides the problem with supply, the other big problem with electrical heat is that power out here nets out at between twenty-five and thirty cents a kilowatt hour and even if I could get enough power into the building, my $2,750 heating cost would rise to $27,000 with simple heaters or $9,000 with heat pumps. Heat pumps also lose efficiency as the outdoor temperatures drop to minus twenty and below.

> Just an idea.

Interesting, and this is something to consider as part of the design. As I have said, there are simple solutions, there are solutions that actually work, and then there are fool-proof systems. Perhaps I am over thinking this, but I am looking for a solution that satisfies all the above.

Power failures are a concern, since we have been known to lose power for twenty-four hours. Usually this happens during ice storms, so the weather is relatively mild and there is low risk of home freeze-up.

(And if there IS a gas system that requires zero electricity, and you've still chosen to read this far, please tell me about it!)

I am adding this the diary and will add to it as my thinking evolves.

This problem is recursive in that any decision changes conditions that influence the previous decisions. Recursive problems are the most difficult to solve since the solutions do not always converge and there are multiple solutions that can satisfy the criteria. Previously disqualified solutions may re-emerge as viable as part of the system.

Thanks for reminding me of solutions I had discarded, temporarily at least

I can see I need to restate my criteria


> Hi Allen,

>Perhaps the simplest way of providing heat without electricity is a ventless gas heater, but these are usually about 30,000 BTU's max. I don't know what regulations are like in Canada, but you could get a 100 pound propane tank and drag it into the room with the ventless gas heater and set it up. Ugly, cheap, but effective. The ventless heaters often have automatic thermostats.

I do have a ventless heater and that is my emergency backup.  It does, however, require that I haul 100-lb tanks inside -- an unwieldy and unsafe practice, and someone to be there to light it and supervise from time to time. 

One pound of propane yields 21,500 BTU, so 100 pounds gives 21,500 BTU for 100 hours or 86,000 BTU for about a day.  86,000 BTU is plenty of heat in most weather and even in cold weather, the solar gain is sufficient to keep the place warm without any heater action. The nights, though require heat and if it is windy...

However, propane tanks frost up after a while under heavy usage causing the output to slow, and the problem with having to have someone come by is that people sometimes cannot get out due to snow or ice or get sick, get lazy, get distracted, or forget. Depending on people is a potential failure point, and my goal is to eliminate or compensate for failure points. In other words, apply HASSP

An automatic system is ideal in that people have only to monitor it periodically or respond to alarms. The downside there is that if the system is reliable, people then stop thinking about it.

> I don't know the size of the rooms you're dealing with, but a few isolated propane systems could keep the critical areas warm enough.

True.  If I am here. The issue is that I want to be away and be certain that I do not come home to a disaster.

> If I just wanted a cheap and simple backup system, I would install drains on my water lines so I could quickly and easily turn off the water before leaving on a trip, and then set up a few ventless heaters with their own propane tank in critical areas. No worries of water line freeze-up, and backup heat to protect plants.

Yes. We did talk about draining lines, bailing toilets and traps, etc. and that is good idea, but it is a big a job when leaving and returning. There are also concerns about cracking plaster, popping nails, and lifting tiles, and even heaving floors if the place gets too cold.

> This is not a long-term solution, as the next owners of your house may want something easier...but it is simple and effective for a bachelor. 100 pound tanks are pretty cheap to get refilled, and are easy to move around with a dolly. But, this is a very redneck solution.

Propane is a quick and dirty solution, but I intend to install the gas and alarms and be done with it.  Turn a dial. Pay a bill.  Stop worrying. 

Besides, someday, and maybe without warning I may be called away. Also someday I may not be able to haul heavy bottles around -- and I surely cannot if I am away for months as I was last winter. Thank heavens nothing went wrong. I'd have had to be on a flight home, pronto.

If electric to run a furnace is an absolute must, have you considered getting a Generac generator which runs on natural gas and automatically fires up if the electricity goes out? You will have a few thousand in a Generac generator, but it may be a lot simpler than trying to find ways of heating the place without electricity. http://www.generac.com/

I've been waiting for these units to become more practical for co-generation -- making power and heat both.  It can be done now, but the cost is still high and the systems imperfect.

Whatever I choose must be fully automatic and function seamlessly.  I presently pay about $1,200 a year for power delivery in addition to the cost of the power, so that could contribute to the mix if I cut the cord to the power company.

> I have seen people use kerosene torpedo heaters as backup when their furnace died during winter. They ran them until the furnace could get fixed.

They will fog the windows, plus have all the other issues.

> I think the main questions you need to decide are how much you are willing to spend, and what level of convenience you have to have. Personally, if I were in your shoes I would look at getting a Generac generator to eliminate issues of power outages, and then go from there.

I've been waiting for the day they are a practical solution.

> I don't know how well your place is insulated. The better it is insulated, the easier it will be to heat.

What is insulation?  Seriously, this place was built in the thirties and the fifties. Insulation was a joke by today's standards. Newspaper, Rock Wool, Tentest, R5 Fibregas on the ceiling...


I mentioned the heating system in the diary on Friday 12 December 2003, Monday December 3rd 2012, Wednesday August 19th 2015 & Monday January 11th 2016.

*    *    *    *    *

I went out after lunch and put screened floors under the remaining two hives in the South of the Hedge yard.  On one, a double, I had to move the frames in the top box to an EPS box. It was newly drawn and full of honey, so I put it on the bottom.  The hive looks good (yellow bees).

I also I reversed the other, a  triple. I'm not sure that is a good idea, but I did. I may reverse it again. That second hive did not look too good. It has a medium population (dark bees), some emerging brood, but seems disorganized.

I'm not seeing a lot of varroa on the floors and that is a good sign. There are some, however (right), as can be expected if the floor is a covered with litter as these.

The floors were interesting, though, and one has what looks like a young queen with damaged wings. It is probably not a queen, but who knows?  I had dumped the floor before I looked at the pictures.  I don't see many varroa on the floors. Varroa normally do not enter queen cells, but do sometimes. The one hive looked disorganized so maybe it is queenless and was raising a new queen?  Who knows?

Several shots of the floors under the hives

I picked up the deadouts, too while there and was surprised to see evidence of wax moth.  Wax moth is unusual around here.  Our cold winters usually kill them off.

Wax moths and their handiwork

Brood seen in one hive.
Pupae are being removed and pieces can be seen on the floor (above).

Seeing as I am planning to evaporate oxalic in these hives, I scraped the bottom bars. (left).  Burr comb between and descending from the bottom bars can block the fumigation and also descending comb can impede the entry of the evaporator or scorch if it gets close to the hot pan.

Note in the picture at right, looking down through an empty super on a screened floor, that the screened bottoms have areas where mites can sit and not fall onto the sticky board below.  Top bars in the bottom box of doubles may also intercept some falling mites and affect the count.

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

Democracy must be something more than two wolves and a sheep voting on what to have for dinner.
James Bovard,

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Thursday November 3rd 2016

Today Mainly cloudy. Clearing near noon. Wind becoming southwest 20 km/h this morning. High 16.
Tonight Clear. Becoming partly cloudy this evening. Wind southwest 20 km/h becoming light this evening. Low plus 1.

Environment Canada
Ten day forecast

First thing today, I made up drop boards to go under the two hives. First, I ruled pencil lines across the boards to form squares.  Accuracy is not important the lines are simply there to make counting easier. Without reference lines, it is easy to get lost when counting.


Then I rolled a mixture of Vaseline and mineral oil onto the surfaces to make them sticky.  Varroa that drop are not always dead and they can run and jump if they are not retained by something sticky, so the layer of grease has to be thick enough to hold them.

I waited until today to put in the boards since I did not have any ready, but also because I had disturbed the hives and after moving things around a lot of debris falls and makes counting difficult.

I put the boards in at 0935 today. I'll glance at them in 24 hours, but keep them in for longer and count after three days. Any one day's drop does not give a representative sample since the drops can vary greatly from day to day due to weather and other factors.

I may get curious and take a peek this afternoon.  If there are lots of mites, I'll see some by then.  Hope not.

Hive One                                       Hive Two
Click each image to enlarge, then increase size with your browser
 (usually Ctrl+ scroll mouse wheel)

I was going by three hours later. Here are two high-res images.  Count the varroa and report your count in the forum

Those squares drawn on the board help a lot, don't they?  The job would be almost impossible without them

I am expecting company for supper tonight and decided to take a trip to town to get a few things. Seeing as I was going that way, I took along the flat tire from the trailer and had another tire installed while I was grocery shopping.  That eliminates an obstacle to making dump runs.

I made a soup and stir fry for supper.  The Mill gang were otherwise occupied, so there were five of us.

After supper, I cleaned up and watched video until 0130.  That is much later than my usual bedtime. I finished off Line of Duty.

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

Few rich men own their own property. The property owns them.
 Robert G. Ingersoll

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Friday November 4th 2016

Today Clearing this morning. High 20.
Tonight Clear. Low plus 2.

Environment Canada
Ten day forecast

At 0935, I'll check the drop boards.

Regarding yesterday's varroa counting contest, here are my results:

If you counted zero on both boards, we are in agreement.


Seeing as the photos were taken after three hours (1/8 day), anything more than one mite would suggest we will be seeing a lot of mites over a full day. I was expecting to see at least one mite, but am pleased I did not.

These hives received one treatment with one strip of Apistan and one drizzle with oxalic this spring and no further management.

I see that I could get a better shot if a tilt the boards enough that the light hits more directly, rather that raking from one side as in these shots.

Nonetheless, these shots taken with my cellphone seem to be an excellent way to count the mites on drop boards. If there is any doubt, the shots of the floors from two days ago do have varroa that is quite visible. (Example at right)

Looking at my recent weigh-in records (right), I'm not losing weight and I am not gaining.

Over the past few weeks, I've taken a break from trying to lose weight due to travels and other distractions and have been watching to see what happens.

Although I am up five pounds from my lowest weight in recent months, I am staying in a fairly tight band between 214 and 220, and staying reasonably stable is a victory. Moreover, my blood pressure is under 120/80 most of the time and I am seeing blood sugar under six and as low as 5.6 some mornings whereas 6.2 used to be the rule.

I have not been counting calories the past while, and it is becoming obvious that if I really want to lose more weight, I am going to have to be more disciplined. My activity level does not seem to have a large effect.

If I can stay stable at under 220, then I think I can be stable around 210. I'm comfortable at my current weight, but think that carrying less mass would yield health benefits in the long run.

When I visualize carrying 40 extra pounds with me everywhere, which is what I am doing by some reckoning, I can see that walking, skiing, and even getting out of an easy chair should be much easier if I reduce my mass.

A significant impediment to losing weight is the fact that as I lose weight, my calorie requirements drop, so I have to reduce how much I eat -- and that is easy to forget.

When I lose 10% of my weight and wish to stay there instead of creeping back up, then I need to permanently reduce my daily intake from my previous intake if I wish to stay stable there.

If I lose 20%, then I need to cut back further.

Habits are hard to break, and if I get to say, 180 from my all time high of 260, then I'll have to eat significantly less -- forever. According to this calorie counter, we can see the trend.

The Mayo Clinic calculator is broken, BTW.  I tried various weights in it and got unreasonable results.

At 220 pounds

At 200 pounds

At 180 pounds

At 160 pounds

*    *    *    *     *     *

I made up new boards and exchanged them around noon.  By then, the temperatures was in the high teens and the bees were flying freely. I took the previous boards inside and looked them under the magnifier lamp.  I got counts of 15 & 74. 

See the August 30, 2012 post for interpretation of drops.  Keep in mid that we are now past the brood rearing stage and there is little or no brood in hives. Higher drops are to be expected since now the varroa are almost all phoretic  while at other times of year, two thirds may be protected in the brood.

At the same time, I took the Heilyser evaporators out with me and treated these two hives. We'll see what the drop count is tomorrow.  I gave the triple five grams seeing as the drop screen floors are leaky and do not seal well. The double got four grams +/-.   The pot filled level and packed a little as shown holds 5.4 grams.

I wonder if the treatments  both worked. One unit boiled dry but the other one is full of burnt slum, wax and honey. I assume that it was under one of those pieces of comb on the bottom of a frame and the comb melted and dripped.  That is one problem with this evaporator design when used with these floors.  These screened floors have very little clearance between the screen on the floor and the bottom of the fames. My regular floors have much more clearance, having been designed with this job in mind. I should add spacers to lift the boxes a bit. Not hard to do.

This little job may be easy, but everything in beekeeping takes time and by the time we do a two-minute job on ten hives, we have spent twenty minutes, and of course a two-minute job always takes at least five, and first I have to find the materials and tools.  Just the same, it would pay off.

*    *    *    *     *     *

Next, I went to the North Yard and worked through the four hives there.

 The first proved to be very small with a decent looking queen that could be a virgin or a shrunk-down laying queen. She looked okay, but there was no brood. I reduced it to a single and went on down the line.

The third hive was strong, but had become a drone layer, and that was obvious scattered occupied drone cells.  I placed the small hive with the queen under and stacked the drone layer on top.

And, no, I did not look for queens or do anything special.  The bees will know what to do.  There was no fighting in the yard, so there was no likelihood of the two hives killing one another.

Both hives had little chance of making it as they were.  Combined, if that queen is any good, they now have a (slim) chance.

When working hives that I do not wish to reverse, I lay them down on their back, then remove the bottom box, scrape it and place it on a fresh floor in front of the original spot. I then scrape each box, top and bottom, and restore it  to its place in the stack.  If any are empty and unneeded, I take them away.  If some are full of honey but without bees, they can be taken if not needed.

If I do plan to reverse, I do not lay the hive down .  I simply take the boxes one by one from the top and place them in reversed order on the new floor in front of the old position, scraping burr comb as I go.

During summer, the floors tend to sink into the ground.  Putting them on fresh ground moves them away from ants, mice, and the debris they have cast out and reduces the tendency to rot.

Scraping is easier when the boxes are on end since the bees tend less to pile out and get in the way.  I scrape now because it is easy and I don't want the boxes stuck together too well when I need to work in spring.

With the hives open, I had a chance to drizzle oxalic acid syrup and since I had some handy, I treated the hives as I went.


Separating badly gummed boxes is easier when they are standing on end on the ground after the hive is tipped back.  Lying down, the weight of the upper box is not pressing down and resisting the prying. Also, it is easier to see where the problem spots that resist splitting the boxes apart are than when working on a standing hive.

Notice how long the shadows are in the pictures. The sun is a long way south at this time of year and the maximum elevation is only 23 degrees off the southern horizon. Our weather has been unseasonably warm, running up to twenty degrees yesterday and today. Seasonal normals are more like six degrees.

By the time I finished the yard it was after four and I was tiring.  I don't seem to have the energy I once did. I went in and did a few things, then had supper and watched some video. I'm going to bed early tonight.  I slept only five hours last night.

I've gone back to counting calories again today and at bedtime, I have consumed 82% of my 2200 calorie allowance and burned 3937 calories for a deficit of 2074. That is, of course, an estimate because I really do not know the calorie content of my stews and soups.

We'll see.

It's 9:46. Good 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

Americans are benevolently ignorant about Canada,
while Canadians are malevolently well informed about the United States.
J. BartlettBrebner

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Saturday November 5th 2016

Today Sunny. Becoming a mix of sun and cloud this afternoon. Wind southwest 20 km/h gusting to 40. High 19.
Tonight Partly cloudy. Wind southwest 20 km/h gusting to 40 becoming light this evening. Low plus 3.

Environment Canada
Ten day forecast

I woke up at 0700, after nine hours sleep.  That catches me up for the five hours the night before.

This morning, I weigh 218.2. That's down a half pound from yesterday. Of course, day to day changes are not reliable indicators, but the trend is supportive.

This unseasonably warm weather is giving me a chance to do outdoor work I had ignored, so the heating design is on the back burner for now. Also, I was previously considering going to the dump today, but that can wait. Besides, the diesel 4X4 acted up again when I went to move it. That intermittent problem is still ongoing, I guess, and it is most challenging. If I can't cure it, I doubt a mechanic could.  It might be in the connector or the wring harness.  In any case it would be expensive to have anyone fix. A new harness is worth more than the truck, and then there is the labour...

I bought a carton of egg whites the other day to try. so I had egg whites for breakfast.   The yolks are the reason eggs are suspect -- calories, cholesterol and animal fat.  I have porridge as another potential alternative, but it makes me hungry again before long.

Around 1030, I went out and adjusted the choke in the bee truck. That's a job I've put off for years, and should make it run a bit better. Then I switched the drop boards and brought them in to count.  This time, there are a lot of mites, so many that I gave up counting. It seems I got a good kill and the hive I wondered about seemed to have had a good treatment judging by the number that dropped.


I played around for an hour or so with methods of photographing and counting the drop boards.  My conclusions? 

  • Direct sun shining straight down on the boards is best. 

  • Artificial light can work but must be very bright.

  • Shining the light from any side angle at all introduces shadows from mites and debris that can be confused with mites in photos.

  • With the sun at a low angle as it is these days, if the boards are not well greased, the mites slide off when tilting the boards. 

  • Shooting with the sun shining straight on, the camera casts a shadow.

  • A good layer of grease and Vaseline is important anyhow, to catch the mites and to keep them on the boards when they are being carried around.

  • The oil also immobilizes the dropping varroa so they don't run away. Some are still moving even hours after dropping.

  • Magnification of five to ten times is desirable to distinguish the various stages of mites and to see all of them since some can be very hard to see if they stand on edge (they are very thin) and/or there is much debris.

Below are pix of the same boards as above with direct light shining straight down. I had to shoot from a bit off-centre to avoid casting a shadow.


Although there are a lot of varroa, this drop is not as heavy as I might have expected. We'll see what the drop is tomorrow, but so far, so good. Here, again, are the observations from 2011/12. Although I did not actually count, today's counts look in line with the drops from back then and those hives survived and did well.


Here are graphics from March, at the end of the  tests:


*    *    *     *    *

In spite of the fact that my Nexus 6P has the best camera of any phone I've owned so far, the image quality is not as good as an eyeball aided by appropriate lenses.  Looking through a magnifier, the confusion with shadows is less and the board can be moved around to improve the view.  A photo is fixed and unchangeable.

Counting on a computer screen is easier than manipulating a board and peering through lenses, but for me counting from pictures has been less accurate -- sometimes very much so --  than counting the actual drop board.  Possibly a top quality camera in a jig with a strong light might do a better job.

I have tried various ways to count mites on the boards and for best results a magnifier like the one at left works well. The delivered cost is C$13 on eBay.

A handheld magnifying glass works well, too, but it has to be a strong one. They come in different strengths. 

I have not tried a fresnel magnifier (left), but I imagine they would work, too if they do not cast a shadow.

I've used a magnifying lamp (right) quite successfully.  Although these lamps provide a clear image and good lighting, these lamps can be a bit unwieldy due to the fixed base and limited reach.

Warning: When using magnifiers, be sure not to leave them where the sun might shine through them at any time during the day.  If the position and distance to flammable material happens to be right, a fire can result. 

The same applies to clear bottles of water.  I once accidentally burned a neat hole in a car seat by leaving a glass gallon jug of drinking water on it.  It took me a few moments to figure out what had happened. Fortunately as it turned out, the seat was flameproofed

*    *    *     *    *

At any rate, I really do not need to count these boards.  I just have to take a glance and I know all I need to know: the treatment is working. Drops are many multiples of the twenty-four hour drops taken before the treatment.

*    *    *     *    *

I went out and cut grass around the Quonset Yard, then worked through three hives and stacked up some empty equipment and tidied the truck deck. There are some really good hives there. 

I have not done anything to my hives this year except apply a strip of Apistan and drizzle oxalic once.  I did add a few boxes on top before I left for the coast in June, but did not pull honey.  Honey is just too much bother. I also did not sell any hives this year beyond the one I sold to Sera. Too much bother.

*    *    *     *    *

I worked until almost five, then quit.  I was beat.  I'm out of shape. The wind did not make things easier either.  Working bees in the wind was tiring, and when cutting the dry grass, chaff blew up and over me.  I have a mild allergy to the dry grass, so we'll see how I sleep tonight.

*    *    *     *    *

When I came in, I made a pot of chili con carne to freeze for next time I have company.  My supper night often takes me the better part of a day.  The job of preparation and cleaning up after gives me new appreciation for the work of the housewives of years past.  These days, I doubt many people cook the people used to.

My supper was stew and soup.  At this point, today, I see I have consumed 1,200 calories and after figuring in my day's exercise, Fatsecret says I have a 3,600 calorie deficit.  Hard to believe. That equals to a pound of fat according to theory.  I'll probably have a snack later, but at this point, if the theory holds, I should see some decrease tomorrow morning.  Almost a pound by theory, but I don't actually expect that kind of change. Not in one day.

Something surprising I learned today is that a handful of mixed nuts (40g or 1/4 cup) has 258 calories versus 134 for an entire cup of stew.  That is if we can believe Fatsecret's numbers for the stew.  After all, they cannot know exactly what goes into mine.

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

Whenever you are about to find fault with someone, ask yourself the following question:
What fault of mine most nearly resembles the one I am about to criticize?
Marcus Aurelius

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Sunday November 6th 2016

Today Cloudy. 30 percent chance of showers this afternoon. Wind southwest 20 km/h gusting to 40. High 13.
Tonight Clearing this evening. Low zero.

Environment Canada
Ten day forecast

I woke up at three or was it four?  My clocks did not agree.  Some automatically make the change to standard time.  Some don't.

I soon realised I would not get back to sleep, so I got up and washed dishes then went back to bed and slept soundly until seven MST for a total of eight and a half hours.

Cutting dry grass tends to make me sleep badly afterwards, I am assuming it is due to  allergies or sensitivities.  I was not congested, but something was going on.

Today I weigh 217.6, down a half-pound from yesterday (Yay!) and blood glucose is 5.3.  BP is 123/71.  Although short term day to day changes are hardly a robust measure of progress, calorie counting and activity does appear to have had an effect. 

I'm back on track to drop some weight.  Taking a break for weight loss for a while was not a bad idea IMO, especially since I was travelling and eating with others -- and I didn't backslide too badly.  However, I'd like to get to 210 in the coming weeks. After a while, I'll try for 200.

I found I was hungry when I was up in the early morning so I ate some Red River cereal I had made in bulk earlier, with half and half cream.  Later, when I got up for the day, I cooked oat bran cereal for breakfast.

Half and half is only 10% cream, but it improves the cereal considerably. I have almond milk, too, but the cream is better. The problem is that half and half adds a lot of calories, and from animal fat, so I'll have to reconsider.  I just happen to have a lot on hand because I buy it for when I expect company.

I had not tried oat bran before. It does not sound appetizing, but I saw it in the Cop-op store in Carstairs last Sunday and noted it has fewer calories and higher fibre than even whole grain cereals like rolled oats, steel cut oats and Red River cereal. 

I found it surprisingly palatable, but as I have said before, cereals for breakfast tend to raise my blood glucose and I find I am hungry sooner after compared to eating eggs, so we'll see.  I'm still working on what makes an ideal breakfast for me.

I tried packaged egg whites again yesterday, but the jury is still out.  While they make a low-calorie meal, the flavour leaves something to be desired. If I continue with egg whites, I'll have to find a way to make them more palatable. Perhaps, as Adrian suggested, I should mix them into a cereal.  That would raise the protein of the cereal and maybe make me less hungry an hour later.

Rain and wind are predicted today.  I'll still try to get outdoors. Although I have been uninspired to get out, when I actually do get out I find the work very satisfying.

I'll pull the drop boards again today, regardless, and I'll treat the hives I worked on yesterday.  I won't put them on screened bottoms and drop boards, though.  Two hives is enough and I have previously documented the process in detail over months, beginning in September 2011 and running to April 2012. 

Maybe I'll cut more grass, but not if it is windy and not if it rains.

*    *    *     *    *

After having it for three months, I still love my Nexus 6P phone.  It works flawlessly and has replaced both my previous phone and my tablet.  It is a bit large, but not too large for my hands or pockets.

I find I can use the 6P as a portable radio, streaming the local CBC station with the CBC app, or music with the Tunein app.  I can also listen to Audible books. 

The front-mounted speakers are loud enough for quiet locations. In noisy situations, I use Bluetooth earphones.  I bought these (right) on eBay and am quite happy with them.  They have excellent sound  quality and I can wear them under a veil or moving around -- and they don't fall off.

*     *     *     *     *

Here are the boards I removed around noon today. They were scraped and re-coated yesterday at noon.  The grease is still soaking in and the boards were dry. I had to cover them to carry them in.  The wind would have blown them clean if I had not.


Do we need to count?  Maybe, to compare to the 2011 results at right, but , we can see without counting that the treatments are working. One board, from the looks of it, must have at least four hundred, I'm guessing, much like hive two at right.

Actually, there are 42 squares and a quick glance shows an average of far more than ten mites per square, so the total could be three times that four hundred SWAG. 

The one centre square shown at left has a little over hundred by itself. Other squares have as few as six mites.

If someone wants to count, go to it and please post the results in the forum.

Each fumigation only kills mites for a few days -- maybe up to a week -- so I'll fumigate again when the drops taper off in a few more days. Treatments can be repeated indefinitely, according to everything I have read, but there must be a limit, one would think. 

The treatment does not kill bees according to what I see and what is reported, but the acid must have some adverse effect on the bees.  I don't see how it could not.

Seeing as it is miserable outside, I worked in the basement shop this afternoon.  That is a job that needs doing in prep for the gas project.  I have to organize tools and move things from the path of the project, and there is lots to move -- and sort.

I worked until four-thirty, then had a rest and supper.  I watched video for a while, then returned downstairs to resume the cleanup.

I quit at nine-thirty, had a shower to wash off the dust, took a Benadryl, then went to bed. 

I've found I often sleep badly after working in the shop and raising dust, but that Benadryl works to overcome the problem.

I don't like to take antihistamines more than necessary, but I also need my sleep.

I correct, revise and augment entries in the previous severalNov6th2016 days first thing each day before writing new diary entries.  Read yesterday's post

Whenever you are about to find fault with someone, ask yourself the following question:
What fault of mine most nearly resembles the one I am about to criticize?
Marcus Aurelius

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Monday November 7th 2016

Today Sunny. Becoming a mix of sun and cloud this morning. Wind becoming south 20 km/h near noon. High 14.
Tonight Partly cloudy. Wind south 20 km/h becoming light this evening. Low plus 1.

Environment Canada
Ten day forecast

I slept nine hours and awoke to the dawn. Now that we are on standard time, we have morning sun again.

The scale says I weight 216.2 today, down 1.4 pounds from yesterday. 

That's a big loss and somewhat suspect since I only had a calculated calorie deficit of 2,200 calories yesterday, but many factors affect one's weight and activity can affect water retention as well as fat burn.

My glucose is 5.7 and BP is 109/77. Reducing meat and simple starches consumption and substituting fish and fowl and complex starches seems to have made a big difference, as does dropping calorie intake below my equilibrium ration of 2,200/day.

Although calories are only part of the story, watching calories identifies the items that can add pounds quickly.  For example, I love nuts and they are a recommended food, but in small quantities. I was innocently eating far too many. The same with fruit. 

We assume that ice cream is a big no-no, but a kiddie cone hardly amounts to 100 calories. Of course these calories are the wrong sort of calories, being simple sugars and fat, but in limited amounts they are mostly harmless.  A cone the size sold everywhere these days is definitely bad news.

Counting calories works, but only in conjunction with other changes in diet. 

Dr. Mirkin says...

"Most people will not have their high blood pressure lowered just by restricting salt. These studies show that a diet to lower high blood pressure should be rich in fruits, vegetables, whole grains, contain beans, seeds, nuts and low-fat dairy products, and limit everything else. Here's a day on the DASH diet: up to 8 servings of grains, 5 or more servings of vegetables, 5 or more servings of fruit, up to 2-3 servings of dairy products, a serving of nuts, seeds or beans, 1-2 servings of meat, poultry or fish. Sweets and added fats are restricted or avoided.

"You should immediately notice that this is basically the diet that I have recommended for more than 30 years. Here's MY MODIFIED DASH DIET for total heart health -- to lower cholesterol and blood pressure, control weight, and prevent or control diabetes.

Up to 8 servings (1/2 cup) of WHOLE grains (not products made from flour)
At least 5 vegetables
At least 5 fruits
Up to 3 servings of live-culture yogurt or cheese (optional)
2 servings of seafood per week (I recommend that you avoid meat from mammals)
Beans or legumes (no limit)
A few handfuls of nuts or snack seeds
A few tablespoons of olive oil (optional)
Avoid: added sugars and other refined carbohydrates

"Note: Serving sizes are typically 1/2 cup of cooked foods, 1 cup of raw fruits or vegetables.

"To see if you are among the eighty percent of people who can control blood pressure and cholesterol with this diet, try my SHOW ME! diet for just two weeks. You (and your doctor) will be amazed.

"If you need to lose weight or control your weight, adapt these same foods to a program of intermittent fasting.

For years, I read about the DASH diet and Mirkin's modified DASH diet and was a doubter, but no more.

I could never figure how to follow such a diet. The recipes offered don't appeal to me and are a lot of work. I've developed my own methods, though. I make soups and stews in bulk using beans, whole grains and vegetables.   I use the slow cooking versions of breakfast since the "quick" versions are usually higher glycemic and one of the secrets of weight loss and avoiding diabetes is to eat mostly foods with low glycemic loads.  I cook cereals in bulk and reheat them when needed.

*    *    *    *   *

Today I go to the Red Deer cardiac unit for a stress test.

Since I have to leave before noon, I'll pull and photograph the drop boards before then.

For comparison, here are yesterday's

And here are today's
Click the images to enlarge.

If you are using Chrome as a browser, install the Hover Zoom extension for easy viewing without clicking.

The boards are not in the same orientation, but we can see at a glance that the density of dead mites is half what it was yesterday, so we can conclude that the treatment is wearing off.

The big kill was in the first day and now we are returning to background drops.

*    *    *    *   *

I left home around noon and arrived at the cardiac unit right on time for my stress test at 1430. That took an hour and was uneventful. I was told I am in good shape.

From there, I drove to Ponoka to watch Mckenzie play volleyball.  It took me a while to find the venue.  I first went to Ponoka Composite High, then the elementary school, and finally did a web search on my phone and found that the event was taking place at Saint Augustine's.

Back in 1979/80, I installed the first computer lab at Ponoka Composite High, about twenty Commodore 8032 and SuperPet computers, as I recall, as labs well as in schools across Southern Alberta and into British Columbia..  The school has changed a lot since then. So have I.

The first games were at four, but I only made it in time for the third.  The next matches were at seven, so Jean, Nathan and I went to Boston Pizza for a bite and returned for the final games. Mckenzie's team won handily, so they move on in the finals, I gather.

I was not expecting much, but the games are actually quite interesting and an example of good sportsmanship.  I have attended junior hockey and found it unpleasant, but girls' volleyball is apparently different.

I had not kept up with the rules of voleyball since I played back in high school.  Apparently the rules have morphed over time and there are different rules for different leagues. Some are technical and I did not follow some calls in spite of Googling the rules as I sat on the sidelines. 

We split up after the games and I headed home.  Tomorrow is a warm day and I want to get things done outdoors. I also have a dog groomer appointment in the afternoon.  I immediately came across the No Frills and since I intended to buy groceries along the way, I stopped and bought a few things.

I was amazed at the low prices.  Things I buy often like canned beans and and plain yogurt have dropped significantly from already reasonable prices.  Canned beans have dropped to 75ȼ and yogurt to $2.  Cauliflower, a vegetable that people were complaining about were around $3.

I then turned south on the two-hour trip home.  As I was passed Red Deer, I realised it was nine, not ten as I had thought (damn time change) so, I stopped at Walmart to return some goods I had been carrying with me a while.

I had bought shoes and slippers.  Both were marked the same size, but the shoes were too small, and the slippers, too big.

Returns at Walmart are painless and that gives me confidence to buy there. Canadian stores historically made returns a slow and elaborate process with an element of shaming.  As a result, customers learned not to buy anything they were not entirely convinced they would keep and were reluctant to return things. That meant that people were inclined to buy less and/or stay out of these stores and go instead to stores with easy returns.

Since products typically cost stores maybe fifty cents on the retail dollar (average) and often as little as twenty cents, they lose very little taking things back. When they do take things back, they can resell the item at full price or a discount or return it to the supplier.

Also, and this is the most important point, it costs retailers as much as $35 in advertising and incentives to get people into the store -- once -- so anything they can do to retain that person is valuable.  `

When people leave unhappy, the retailer has lost the value of future business.  In my case, I probably spend several thousand dollars a year at Wal-Mart.  Their gross margin on what I buy is likely around 35% overall (I buy groceries that are lower margin than other goods) so hassling me about a fifty-dollar return could cost them thousands in future gross profits if I blacklisted them.  That is neglecting the fact that I speak well of Walmart to friends and would then join the Walmart detractors, potentially discouraging friends from buying there.

As I approached Elnora, an hour from home, I noticed a man walking down the shoulder of this isolated country highway in the dark, carrying a jerry can.  He was just walking and not attempting to hitch a ride. I found that curious.

I had seen a car with flashers on quite a ways back, so, putting two and two together, I figured there was probably a connection. I also knew that there was no gas station within twenty miles.

Pondering that, I remembered that I happened to have a gallon of gas in the back. A week back  I had somehow run the gauge down to empty, and since home is thirteen miles from any gas station I had loaded up a gallon jug of the gas I keep around for the mower as insurance and had not gotten around to taking it out.

I stopped, turned around and picked him up and we drove back to his truck, which he had parked off the road and was not the car I had seen earlier.  He poured the gas into the tank and tried starting.  The battery was almost dead. I looked in the back of my van, and by some chance I had booster cables with me.  Why, I don't know. 

Anyhow we boosted the truck and he was on his way. He was behind me as far as Trochu, where he said he lives, so he made it home.  Lucky guy.

I felt lucky, too, to have happened to be in the right place at the right time with exactly what he needed.   Decades ago, I never thought twice about stopping to help others, but these days we hear scary stories and people fear strangers, but we seldom hear how scary it can be when nobody will stop or help.  These days everyone is afraid of everyone and everything. Our narrative has changed.  Sad.

I was home in bed an hour before midnight.

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

A fellow who is always declaring he's no fool usually has his suspicions.
Wilson Mizner

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Tuesday November 8th 2016

Today A mix of sun and cloud. Wind becoming south 20 km/h gusting to 40 this morning. High 21.
Tonight Partly cloudy. Wind south 20 km/h gusting to 40 becoming light early this evening. Low plus 5.

Environment Canada
Ten day forecast

I Weigh 216.8 today, up a bit. That is not unexpected.

I relaxed my vigilance a little bit yesterday. I had a light beer and two slices of pizza. Also had a small burger.

Eating well when away from home is hard these days. I avoided the usual fast food places and went to the mall food court, but in a food court even the 'healthy' choices tend to be loaded with things I'd prefer not to eat, so I had a small burger. (Yes, I know. It's red meat).

My only real exercise was a cardiac stress test on a treadmill.

In spite of a calculated calorie deficit of 1,700 calories yesterday, I have a slight gain today. After the big drop yesterday, what can I expect? Daily fluctuations are fun to record, but meaningless in the scheme of things. It's longer term trends that matter.

I want to work outside today, but have an appointment with the dog groomer this afternoon. I also have a quick appointment with the doctor at noon.

My choice of times for the groomer could have been better since today is predicted to be warm and I will be there at the best time of day for working on my bees.  I did not know that when I agreed to this date. Maybe I should reschedule.

At 0830, the day is dull, but warm, at ten degrees Celsius. I'll go out shortly to exchange the drop boards.  I'm expecting the drops will have tapered off quite a bit.

I fumigated these two hives on November 4th, so this is Day Four, if we consider Nov 4th to be Day Zero (not Day One as some would).

I'll do another treatment soon, maybe even today since I have yet to treat the six untreated hives and the sooner the better.


And here are today's
Click the images to enlarge.

If you are using Chrome as a browser, install the Hover Zoom extension for easy viewing without clicking.

The background twenty-four hour drops before treating were 15 & 74.  These pictures are poor due to bad light and carelessness, but I get about 100 on the one that was 15 and I counted over fifty on just one square alone on the one that had 74.

So the treatment is still killing varroa four days after the evaporation, but the effect is wearing off.  I have no illusions that there are not lots of mites left. 

Should I wait another day before treating?  Probably not, since I have the other hives to do ASAP and the weather is okay for the job. If I start and do those hives, I should do these too.  Getting started is the hardest part.

So far, at 1100, the day is decent, but not really pleasant.  We are promised a mostly warm, sunny day, but currently it is cool, overcast, and windy.

*    *    *    *     *

A bit before noon, I went out and treated the two hives. By then, the sun had come out and the wind died. Then I noticed that I was feeling a bit faint, so went in to have a bite.

I checked my blood sugar and it was 4.8, which is low for me. I'm not diabetic and do not use insulin.  I have no idea what was the cause, but I had some soup and a small cone.

I sometimes suspect there may be chemicals in the burlap I use for the smoker.  I use pieces from a barrel of chunks that I cut up on the bandsaw in advance.

I cut up a lot of sacks at a time, so if there is one poisoned sack in the bunch, pieces could be anywhere in the barrel of scraps. I was smoking bees the day I had the heart attack last year, so I wonder.  It's a long shot and I have no proof, but I am careful not to breathe the smoke if I can help it, but avoiding the smoke is not easy when the wind shifts and eddies.

 I totally forgot about the doctor.

It was just about a toe with a black nail.  I think I might have dropped something on it a month or two ago, or maybe stubbed it.  Maybe not.  I can't recall.

Nonetheless, it does not seem to be improving and on closer examination, I see more than the black spot on the moon.

Going online and consulting Doctor Google, I see that black under nails can indicate melanoma.  My feet get as much or more sun than my head since I wear sandals all the time, and my feet have been sunburned a time or two, so I figure an expert opinion is in order.  There is also the possibility of a fungus.

I was worried when I first noticed this, but later decided I am being silly.

I do need someone like a doctor to read the prescription I received yesterday, though. It is totally illegible and I need to know what it says to apply for travel insurance.

I texted the groomer and she said she could take the dog earlier and seeing as I had felt faint, I figured a drive might be a better plan than tossing boxes around in the middle of the day.  The drive each way is twenty-five minutes and the appointment took over an hour.  I sat in the van, read the news on my phone and had a nap.

When I got home, I went out and fumigated the North Yard, then went to the Quonset Yard and did the three that I had cleaned off previously.  In the North Yard, bees were robbing freely on equipment I had stacked up for storage. These stacks are on floors with an excluder under the boxes to stop mice.  The lowest auger holes are plugged.

I then worked through two more and fumigated them.  At one point, I got confused and fumigated one of the first group a second time.  I then fumigated the two I had worked through.

Looking at the bottom bars at left, we can see why I have to scrape them if I wish to poke an evaporator in there. I also like to clean the floors and move onto fresh grass to reduce rot and to raise the floors back up as they have sunk into the ground over summer. Ideally, I'll move them up onto pallets to get them off the ground, but we will see.

Having used both the Varrox evaporator (left) and the Heilyser units (right), I have to say the Varrox, although much more costly, are far more robust and stable when pushed into an entrance due to the stabilizers on each side. They do not bend at all, but the Heilyser units do. The heat is more even as well.  The Heilyser units heat one side much more quickly than the other.

I now have checked ten live hives. Eight of them look promising.

We are now experiencing very unusual weather with temperatures more like August than November.  We broke a record today at +22 degrees Celsius and five more warm days are predicted.

Normals: Max 3°C. Min -8°C.
Sunrise 7:40 MST Sunset 16:54 MST

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

Bureaucrats write memoranda both because they appear to be busy when they are writing
and because the memos, once written, immediately become proof that they were busy.
Charles Peters

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Wednesday November 9th 2016

Today Mainly cloudy. Clearing this afternoon. Wind becoming southwest 20 km/h this afternoon. High 18.
Tonight A few clouds. Wind southwest 20 km/h becoming north 20 this evening. Low zero.

Environment Canada
Ten day forecast

Hillary, you're Fired!

This will be interesting. Obviously, the American public is fed up with the same old, same old.

Whether this is 'out of the frying pan, into the fire', or a demonstration of collective wisdom or the wisdom of the crowd, we will soon find out.  What Trump says and what he does have not tended to coincide.

Why are people surprised?  The signs were there all along, but the media were so busy cheerleading that they totally missed it. 

The world has changed in recent years and Hillary didn't notice, the elites did not notice, the media did not notice, and they got too distant from the populace.

The 'common man' is deeply suspicious of the motives behind the Climate Change meme and globalization generally.  They see that special interest groups and vocal, irrational minorities have seized control of agendas, and blocked sensible projects. They see the current leadership as having given away the shop and see The Donald as a no-nonsense, outspoken, get 'er done sort and are hoping he will cut through the BS.

We'll see.

The sun still rises.

At nine-thirty this morning, I arrived at the ophthalmologist's for an eye exam. The doctor did a complete  examination, explained everything in detail and showed me pictures of the various issues she looks for.  With aging, there is always concern about macular degeneration and she saw none of that.  Other than the slight issue with the nerve in the left eye, a condition that has been stable for over a decade, and some cataracts that are not yet bad enough to require attention, all is well. 

I bought some groceries for tomorrow's supper and drove home.  It was time to pull the boards and see if the second treatment had an impact.  It did.

I see that the drops are up again, but are not nearly as heavy as a day after the initial treatment five days ago, so I have to assume that the total varroa populations are decreasing significantly. just by glancing and assuming we killed the same fraction of the total, I am guessing we have cut the mite loads in half. maybe not.


Here are today's drops, one day after the treatment yesterday (Nov 8th)
Click the images to enlarge.

Compare to yesterday's (below)


Here are yesterday's drops before the treatment yesterday afternoon
Click the images to enlarge.

And, for comparison, below (again) are the boards from
one day after the Nov 4th first fumigation


Click the images to enlarge.
If you are using Chrome as a browser, install the Hover Zoom extension for easy viewing without clicking.

What do you think?  Let me know in the forum.

Note: I do not necessarily use the same board twice in the same hive. I have extras and exchange each board for a fresh one when taking out a board for examination. After scraping and re-greasing I use them at random.

Around two, I went out and boosted the bee truck.  I had apparently run the battery flat evaporating oxalic last evening. 

I had not thought that possible since glow plugs should only draw about ten amps each and I was running three for ten minutes a treatment for a total of 3 x 10A  x 10min / 60min/hr x 2 treatments  = 10AH. A decent fully-charged car battery should hold about 45AH.

Reserve capacity of car batteries is typically 120+ minutes at 25 Amps, so 30 Amps for 20 minutes should not have nearly depleted the charge.

So, either the battery is weaker than I thought or it was already partially discharged.  Nonetheless, running the engine while treating is advisable and would have saved me a walk back to the house

I then dealt with another six hives, getting them ready to treat.  I decided not to scrape them all, other than the bottoms of the bottom box where needed. I stacked up the dead hives as I went.

As it turns out, I have 11 decent hives so far in the Quonset yard. 

I worked until the sun got low and we reached that moment when the bees say, "Get out of here". There was still light, so I got the mower and cut grass until I stalled the mower.  Its battery is too weak to start the mower when the engine is hot.  Time to replace the battery.

I came in and had supper, then made soup for tomorrow and any leftover will be for my supply in following days.


Chicken Soup with Vegetables, Beans, Lentils, Barley and Rice .

  • Two litres of chicken broth

  • Two medium onions diced and fried

  • A can of diced tomatoes

  • A litre of water

  • Several tbsp of black pepper

  • Several tbsp of crushed chilies

  • A tbsp or two of crushed roasted garlic

  • Two cups of dry soup mix -- dried peas, lentils, barley, & rice sold as such. (right)

  • A can of mushrooms,

  • A cup of diced carrots

  • A cup of diced rutabaga

  • A cup of diced potatoes

  • A pound of chicken breast diced and fried

  • A can of six beans

  • A can of black beans

  • A can of kidney beans

  • A cup of chopped celery

Heat the broth, water, and tomatoes to a boil. Add pepper, chilies and garlic, then soup mix, and simmer and stir occasionally to prevent sticking until the barley is almost at the right degree of doneness.  Meanwhile, microwave the vegetables separately until just about tender and fry the diced chicken.  Drain and rinse beans in colander.  Add everything to the pot and stir.  Heat again to boiling point while stirring as needed to prevent sticking. Turn off heat and allow to cool on stove an hour +/-. Cooking and blending of flavours continues while cooling. Refrigerate.

I prefer my vegetables and celery still a bit crisp and the beans as the come from the can, but others may prefer to cook further. Taste as you go.

These ingredients and approximate proportions are what I used today, and what works for me, but the list of ingredients is flexible. Use what you have. I sometimes use broccoli and/or cauliflower (including stalks, diced), kernel corn, peppers, turnip, beets, or anything else I think might work. I find salt is not needed as the beans and tomatoes contain enough.

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 very first step to building wealth is to spend less than you make.
Brian Koslow

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