Monday January 1st, 2001
I (left), Jean, Johnny and Chris were up at 5 AM and off to Sunshine Village for a day of skiing. I had some doubts, having heard that the conditions were less than excellent, but they all wanted to go, so went there. Having been going to Nakiska lately, I found it interesting to compare the hills as far as travel time and conditions.
Whereas I had been taking about two hours and less than 1/2 tank of gas to get to Nakiska, I had an extra hour (almost) of driving, more fuel consumed and a $10 park pass to buy to get to Sunshine. Once there -- we are pictured in the parking lot -- we had a 20 minute gondola ride to get to the Village and the lifts. The ride home was equally elaborate and we got home after 8:30 whereas we would have made it by 6 from Nakiska.
I think that the main reason for going to Sunshine was auld lang syne. Jean had been a level two ski instructor there. I had taken my level one there, and it seemed like a nice trip. I usually plan to take two days if I go there, though.
The problem today was that there was very little snow. Some of the terrain was fine, and we had a generally good time, but some of it simply would have been closed at any properly managed resort. I was shocked. Goat's Eye was a destroyer of skis. There was no escaping it once up at the top -- and no warning at the bottom
The traverses were horribly maintained and the Angel traverse was very dangerous by late day. The track had worn narrow and fast and there were serious rocks on the hill side. Traffic had developed undulations that made any speed unmanageable, but there was no room to manoever to slow down. Basically it was a perfectly designed death trap. Lighter people could make it down, but heavier people accelerate and require much more breaking to maintain reasonable speed.
As it happened, I had a wreck about half way down and sprained my ankle a bit. There was simply no escaping it. I am very disgusted and will leave it at that.
My advice: Don't go to Sunshine until they get some snow and maintain their hill. Go to Nakiska. I will be.
Tuesday January 2nd, 2001
Jean and Chris are still here from yesterday. Today is one of those days. I'm getting nothing done and just don't care. The sore ankle has me running a bit slow too.
J&C decided to leave around supper time, but their Volkswagon Gulf would not start. We checked the glow plugs and they seemed to be working. We then pushed it a mile or so, but no joy. They finally had it towed 50 miles to a shop. The owner checked it right away, even though it was getting late, and after changing a fuse had it going. They retrieved it and went home.
Wednesday January 3rd, 2001
I'm getting caught up today. I finalised my plans for San Diego yesterday and today, opting for the full meal deal. I'm not going to Hawaii though. I leave on the 9th and come back on the 20th. Hope to learn lots and also relax a bit too, so I will be busy, and also hope to make a trip or two more to the mountains before I go. My ankle is getting better fast.
Thursday January 4th, 2001
I leave in five days. Aaron says there are wild fires in the area east of San Diego where we are going on the bus trip Thursday.
My ankle is almost okay now and I walk almost normally. I have to go out this afternoon to move a yard of bees. Seems the cattle are still harassing that one yard.
It also seems that I'm spending too much time on the bee discussion groups again. It can be a tar baby. If I just leave inaccuracies and false claims alone, then more people wind up believing them and things get worse. If I jump in and try to set the record straight, then the same people make the same unfounded claims and more people believe them.
I was sceptical about what was predicted about the quality of science would wind up being on the net, but can see that "a man sees what he wants to see and disregards the rest. La la la..etc..." (The Boxer).
I hate to believe this, but evidence shows that any hope of reasoning with certain types of people is futile.
Ralph & I went out and moved the 56 hives that keep getting disturbed and set them in a better yard. They were unwrapped again and will need straightening and re-wrapping tomorrow or sometime soon.
I arranged to get Dave to paint the truck when it is sanded and ready to go. We went to look at it this evening and found it is not ready. Ralph will bring it back here to finish it. I need to supervise, it seems.
The weather is very mild lately and should be for the foreseeable future.
Friday January 5th, 2001
I'm tired of desk work, but have a bit more to do. It was most refreshing to get out and move bees yesterday. I keep forgetting the fun parts of this business. I have to line up work for Ralph while I'm away and do some book work still before I go.
It's beautiful out and I can already see an increase in the angle of the sun above the horizon at mid-day (up from 16 degrees). The days getting noticeably longer and colours are warmer. We're losing snow fast.
Normals for the period: Low minus 16. High minus 4.
Saturday January 6th, 2001
Sunday January 7th, 2001
Sunrise: 8:37 am / Sunset:
It's a beautiful sunny day. On days like this, I can't remember why I think January is so depressing. El & I are running up to Red Deer this afternoon to see Jean & Chris. We'll probably look at some bees along the way.
Adony came last night about nine and stayed over. He'd been X-country skiing in the mountains and reported horrible snow conditions. We of course chatted until midnight and then for an hour or two in the morning before he headed home to Beaverlodge. We always have a lot of fun arguing and comparing notes.
El & I drove to Red Deer and stopped at two yards along the way to see how they are doing. One yard, (Vanovers) was wrapped in the old four pack belt wraps and some of the newer ones. They still seem like a really nice, solid wrap. All in all the pallets looked great even though some of those wraps are 20 years old. We did not open any hives, since easy access is not possible with those wraps, but I noticed that, being east of a hedge, some pallets were too close to the trees. Thus they were in partial shade in mid-afternoon, the time when the air is warmest, and they could be benefiting from the warmth from the sun.
We next stopped at Winthers to take a look. There was little snow there and we were again able to drive right in with the car. These hives are all in the new wraps, which also look really good. We opened 8 hives, since they are easy to open and examined the bees. In all cases, the bees were at the top of the hive and in a nice cluster, although we did see some individuals out at the walls of the hives. we assumed they were gathering water, since there were a few drops of condensation out there.
The bees look good, but are quite sluggish right now. We thought they looked slightly damp, but the area around the cluster was dry. In the corners we saw some dampness and a little water on the pillow. One hive of the eight was dead and had a small cluster. There was no weight to it either. We figure it had been a goner when wrapped - probably a bad queen and old bees.
We continued to town and did a little shopping, then had soup and a sandwich with Jean & Chris at their place, then drove home.
Monday January 8th, 2001
This is my last day at home before my San Diego trip, and I have a lot to do before I go. We still have to wrap the hives that we moved, and I have deskwork and packing. I also have to get my laptop set up better so I can keep in touch while on the road. Moreover my QuickBooks Pro software has screwed up its files again and I have to reconstruct several days of entries so I can pay bills before I go.
These pages will likely not be updated much until the 20th, but anyone who has not read the older material may find something there to read as a substitute until I return.
I expect I will still post on BEE-L occasionally during my absence and may also send some material to this page.
Ralph showed up around 9:15, and we all decided that he was still too sick to work and he needs another two weeks to recuperate from his surgery and the flu he had over Christmas.
* * * * * *
Matt came in this afternoon and we went out to re-wrap the hives that Ralph and I moved the other day. We removed the existing square wraps and put on the new individual-style wraps. Some of the square wraps were from a batch that Inland made using inferior material a few years back (they charged full price). These particular ones are really tattered, and their recent ordeal had not improved them.
We found one dead hive out of the 40 we re-wrapped, and several others looked a bit small, but on the whole the hives looked quite good considering what they went through. Of course this means nothing, since pretty well all hives look good in January in spite of occasional dead-outs. In March we start to find out how many we will really lose.
We did the job in about two hours including the 40 minutes of driving, although Matt spend an hour loading the truck before the trip and a few minutes afterwards unloading the surplus materials.
My ankle is getting better but still aches a bit when I sit and is painful if turn it, but It was good for it to get some exercise, I think.
Normals for the period: Low minus 16. High
Tuesday January 9th, 2001
The day was spent in travel, first to Seattle, then to San Diego. I arrived late in the day, picked up a rental car and headed to Mission Bay.
Wednesday January 10th, 2001
I spent the day settling into San Diego and getting rested up for the convention. I stayed at Mission Bay Motel and wandered the beach a bit. I'm pretty well burned out from work and tired from the trip down.
Late the day, I returned my car and met Aaron at the Marriott. We went down and had a beer and met other early arrivals.
Thursday January 11th, 2001
Normals for the period: Low minus 16. High minus 4.