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Saturday November 25th, 2000
* One more month until Christmas *

Steve came in at 8 to move some yards.  Gene is making wraps. I wound up working a bit as a result. El still has the virus and is not too energetic.

We're close to done wrapping now (82% done)  and should be finished by the end of the week.  We're now waiting on the last of the new wraps.  They should be finished by Wednesday -- with any luck.

Today: Mainly cloudy. Wind increasing to southwest 30 gusting 50 km/h. High 8.
Tonight: Partly cloudy. Wind westerly 20 with gusts to 50. Low minus 2.

Normals for the period: Low minus 12. High zero.

Sunday November 26th, 2000

I'm off to Calgary to get a few things.

Our pond is frozen over.  I keep the aerator running, but I can see that is going to spoil our skating unless I move it to the other end.  I don't know if there are any fish left since we had another bloom of algae in August.

PB240391.jpg (49712 bytes)I figured out what caused our pond problem and massive fish kill this summer.   My neighbours spread manure last fall and did not work it in.  When spring came, and the annual runoff occurred, guess what happened?  I suppose I'll have to pump all the water out of the pond and hope the runoff is better in the future. At least when they spread manure this fall, they worked it in.  I look at the field though, and if I get my plane back together, I doubt the wheels could stand the lumps.

Today: Mainly sunny. Wind west 20 km/h. High 6.

Tonight: Mainly clear. Low minus 5.

Monday November 27th, 2000

WrapMaking.jpg (64615 bytes)Monday is our day off, but we have decided we're short about 600 wraps at this point, so Sharon and Rita are working today to try to get enough ready for the week. 

We expect good weather tomorrow, then poorer weather for a day or so.  We want to finish by the end of the first week of December, so every good day counts.

It took a while to get things set up, but by afternoon, all the jigs were made and working and the manufacturing was well underway.  The job is paid on a piecework basis.  We pay $1 CAD per wrap completed.

In the picture, black poly tube has been cut up into 7 foot lengths and stuffed with Kodel® .  Rita is taping the ends of the wrap together.  A new roll of Kodel®  can be seen behind Sharon.

Today: Mainly cloudy. 30 percent chance of afternoon flurries. Wind increasing to west 30 gusting 50 km/h in the afternoon. High plus 4.

Tonight: Mainly cloudy. 40 percent chance of evening flurries. Wind shifting to northwest 20. Low minus 8.

Normals for the period: Low minus 12. High zero.

Tuesday November 28th, 2000

Ellen and I drove to Lethbridge this morning to pick up the paintings from her show at the Yates public gallery.  We had lunch with Bob Webb, a painter friend of ours and headed back home, stopping on the way to visit Kirk.

We carry cell phones and continue to get progress reports from the crews as we travel.  Steve had phoned in with the flu, so Matt took Keith and Brett out to wrap some nearby hives.  During the day, it sounded as if things were going well, but at 5 PM we found they had done only 120 hives, so we knew something was wrong, and told them to head home.  No sense wasting more wages until we found out what was going on.

Today: Mainly sunny. High zero.

Tonight: Increasing cloud overnight. Low minus 13.

Normals for the period: Low minus 12. High zero.

Wednesday November 29th, 2000  

Today: Mainly cloudy. Periods of snow developing late this afternoon. Wind becoming east 30 km/h. High minus 3.
Tonight: Periods of snow. Wind east 20. Low minus 8.

Today began with a trip to the dentist for me.  I need a crown and had a tooth prepared for the new cap.

First thing in the morning, Ellen spent an hour with the crew giving them a tune-up -- including a hands-on demo of wrapping and a time study.  She proved that 2 man-minutes per hive was more than enough time to put the wraps on, even allowing for all the little things that always need doing. (The actual wrapping time to install one wrap was under one minute).  The crew then went out and wrapped 250 hives or so -- and got back in good time. 

In a ten hour working day -- even allowing for chores, loading and driving time -- we estimate that there should be about six hours of actual work in the yards.  For three men, that is 6 x 60 x 3 = 1080 man minutes.  At 100% duty cycle, that implies 540 hives per day.  Of course, 100% is unrealistic.  60% is about typical of a good crew over the long haul.  From these numbers we can see that 324 hives is a very realistic quota for three men.  ...And, we can see quite clearly that someone is still not pulling his weight.

We knew snow was predicted for Thursday, so we planned to work around the home yard.  There is a lot of tidying up to do before we are done for the year.  Ellen told Keith not to come in since he has little experience, and the work planned requires knowledge of what things are, and where they go.  He also proved in the morning session that he has learned nothing about wrapping after several days on the job.  We have doubts about his future here.

New wrapsJoe and Oene came over for supper.  Their building project is progressing nicely.  They had some hives left to wrap still and had been out in the afternoon.  Apparently the two of them had driven 30 km, visited a yard with 120 hives, wrapped it and returned in about two hours.  They use square wraps that fit a four pack, similar to many of ours except with split pieces of pipe for upper entrances.  This makes an interesting comparison to our crew of three young guys which left at 11:15, drove about 40 km, wrapped 129 hives and returned at 6 PM yesterday. 

Meijers left around nine and took eight of our new wraps along to try out.

Thursday November 30th, 2000

Today: Light snow ending this morning then mainly cloudy with a 30 percent chance of flurries. Wind increasing to south 20 km/h. High minus 4.

Tonight: Clearing. Wind south 20. Low minus 8.

Normals for the period: Low minus 13. High minus 1.

Sunrise is now 8:17 am  and sunset: is at 4:32 pm.  Days are short.  We got a skiff of snow overnight and the weather is cool.

The wrap making is going well.  We're nearly done.  Steve is still sick, but Matt and Brett are working around the yard.  Ellen called Keith and thanked him for working here, saying that we are about done and won't be needing him for the last little bit.

I did the payroll this afternoon.  In consideration of some of the performance lately, I was not as generous as I usually am with bonuses. 

Steve got a good bonus though.

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