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Thursday February 15th, 2001

Thursday: A mix of sun and cloud. 40 percent chance of flurries. Wind north 20. High minus 15.
Tonight: Mainly cloudy. 40 percent chance of light snow. Wind north 20 km/h diminishing. Low minus 20. High windchill near 1600. Risk of frostbite.

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

Friday February 16th, 2001

Today: A mix of sun and cloud. Wind increasing to southeast 20. High minus 13.
Tonight: Partly cloudy. Low minus 20.

Saturday February 17th, 2001

I like to get away from time-to-time, go to a city to wander around, so El & I headed to Calgary, had brunch at the Marlborough food fair and then spent some time exploring  Sunnyside.  We lived there years ago and so we dropped by some of our old haunts.  The little house at 202 was still there, which is somewhat amazing since far more sturdy houses have been levelled and replaced by apartments.

In mid-afternoon, we went to see if our sculptor friend, Peter was home and as it happened he was, so we had coffee with him before heading home.

Today: Sunny. High minus 5.
Tonight: Partly cloudy. Low minus 14.

Sunday February 18th, 2001

Ellen went to her stained glass workshop around ten and I worked hard on the sale website.  At five, Bill, Fen and Lorelee came for supper and we watched a movie.  It was a most pleasant evening.

Today: Mainly cloudy with a 40 percent chance of light snow. High minus 1.
Tonight: Mainly cloudy. 40 percent chance of light snow. Low minus 16.

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

Monday February 19th, 2001

We spent the day working on ads, lists, phone calls and paperwork in general.  Matt sanded the blue C&C.

Time flies.

Today: Occasional snow giving slight amounts then a mix of sun and clouds later this afternoon. High minus 7.
Tonight: Becoming mainly clear. Low minus 19.

Tuesday February 20th, 2001

We spent the morning working on ads and the website, then went to Red Deer for supper and to get a few things.

I wanted to check hives along the way and see how they are doing and we stopped at Winthers' and Getz's yards.  We opened 16 hives and did not see any dead.  We looked into both new wraps and the normal four packs and it appears the hives are warmer in the larger packs.  We saw a little ice in the corners of the individual wraps, but the bees look just fine so far.  The individual wraps are noticeably cooler and the bees cluster tighter.  Whether this is a good thing or not we will see later.

We met Jean & Chris and went to Manzzinis for supper, then home again

Today: Mainly sunny. Wind south 20 km/h in the afternoon. High minus 3.
Tonight: Mainly clear. Wind becoming northwest 20 km/h. Low minus 13.

Wednesday February 21st, 2001

Everything has been a bit of a blur for the past few weeks, what with the trip to Victoria, the drive back, the Aventis meeting, our decision to sell, then the trip to Saskatoon and all the work structuring the business end of things and arranging the advertising.

I'm working on filling in the past few weeks and have made a good beginning this evening...

This was a day of working on books and ads.  El & I went to Linden for lunch to meet Flo & Johnny.  Matt continued working on the cab & chassis trucks to make sure they are ship-shape. It is now daylight at suppertime (6PM)

I got a load of water and groceries after supper.

Today: Mainly sunny. Wind northwest 20 km/h. High minus 2.
Tonight: Mainly clear. Low minus 15.

Normals for the period: Low minus 11. High 1.
Sunrise: 7:34 AM : Sunset: 6:04 PM

The Moon is Waning Crescent (5% of Full)

Thursday February 22nd, 2001

It's daylight at 7 Am now.  The sun isn't up, but days are getting longer quickly now. We're mostly working on office jobs these days.

Today: Mainly sunny. Wind southeast 20 km/h in the afternoon. High minus 2.
Tonight: Mainly clear. Wind southeasterly 20 becoming westerly. Low minus 10.

Normals for the period: Low minus 11. High 1.

Friday February 23rd, 2001

This past January was a warm month when compared to averages, and quite balmy at times.  February has been quite the opposite, with temperatures sitting consistently well below long term averages.  This is not -- theoretically at least -- the best situation for our bees, since by now, most hives will be rearing brood and the bees are getting older.  The last few months of the winter determine how successful overwintering will be and I am fervently hoping for some warmer weather soon.

From the look of the bees, things seem to be okay, but it is hard to tell yet if there will be a problem.  So far it looks as if most of the bees are alive, but if the winter drags on and spring comes late, and spring is cooler than normal, we'll likely see colonies that would have made it drop by the wayside as the wintering bees age and fail to be replaced or clusters are unable to reach their feed now that they are at the top and sitting on brood.

Today: Increasing cloud with occasional snow developing this afternoon. Wind increasing to west 20 km/h then shifting to north 30. High minus 7.

Tonight: Periods of snow. Wind northerly 20 diminishing. Low minus 18.

Saturday February 24th, 2001

We worked on our plans today and got things ready for my trip to Edmonton tomorrow.  The ABA is having a  bee disease workshop Monday and Tuesday and I'm planning to head up there tomorrow to be there in lots of time Monday morning.  I hate waking up to find I have a 3 hour drive and it is foggy or icy.  It's much easier and more pleasant to get there night before.  Besides, there are often other earlybirds and a chance to visit with friends.

Since we are retiring, it might seem surprising to some that I am going to such a meeting, but we still have an awful lot of  bees and I need to know what is happening.  It's also a good chance to talk to my fellow commercial beekeepers and make them aware of what we have for sale.

We got some snow today, but not enough to make snowmobiling look very attractive yet.  The weather is still consistently cold and I am getting tired of it.  The day was dull and I find that depressing after a while.

Purves-Smiths and Bert came for supper and we had a good time. It is minus twenty out and they had to be careful not to let their diesel cars get too cold.  They left around nine.

Today: Occasional snow tapering off in the afternoon. Total accumulation 3 to 5 cm. Wind easterly 20. High minus 14.

Tonight: Mainly cloudy with occasional snow giving less than 2 cm. Wind northeast 20 km/h diminishing. Low minus 23.
Normals for the period: Low minus 11. High 1.

Sunday February 25th, 2001

I left for Edmonton around 2 PM and stopped in Red Deer along the way for some supplies. i needed some disks and paper.  Then I spent an hour with Chris & Jean at their place Snowboarding on their Playstation.  It was minus twenty and bone-chilling cold when got to The executive Royal Hotel around 8.  I found some beekeepers already there, in the bar of course.  We had a good visit.  Gary Reuter and Dave Westerveld were up to speak  I'd met them in San Diego.

Today: A mix of sun and cloud. 30 percent chance of flurries. High minus 17.
Tonight: Partly cloudy. 30 percent chance of flurries. Low minus 22.

Monday February 26th, 2001

Click to enlargeThe meeting started at 9 and was very well attended by 'all the usual suspects', but there were some new faces too.  There were about 60 beekeepers in total.  The sessions covered American Foulbrood quite thoroughly as well as other disease issues.  Gary Reuter spoke on hygienic bees and also the SMR bees that Harbo developed.  Apparently the latter are better than hygienic at varroa control, but experiments so far indicate that occasional varroa  treatments will still be require even if SMR bees are adopted.
I had spent some time in my room the night before making disks and 8-1/2 x 11 sheets advertising our sale and set them out on the registration table. At first they just sat there, but as the meeting went on, about 50 disks and sheets were picked up, so I'm hoping we get some response.  Quite a number of the attendees asked me at one time or another for details, so I expect that we'll hear from some of them in the next while
I distributed disks of my Retirement Sale website and a flyer, hoping to develop interest.  Initially the response was muted, but enthusiasm built over the two days.  I think my fellow beekeepers felt a bit puzzled at first, but later got used to it.
Today: A mix of sun and cloud. High minus 12.
Tonight: Mainly clear. Low minus 15.

Tuesday February 27th, 2001

Gary Reuter, Dave Westerveld, Doug Colter, Adnoy Melathopoulos, Terry GreidanusThe Bee Colony Disease Update continued this morning.  After a panel discussion at 1:30 PM, we adjourned to Barry and Julie Termeer's place to tour their new plant.  I had been there only a few weeks ago, but had not taken my camera along.
Click to enlargeThis time I took some shots that I'll post here. About half the group came along and Barry and Julie treated us all to donuts and juice while we watched a movie they made last year showing the methods they use to control bee diseases.  On the way to Termeers', I dropped Adony at the airport.  He was on his way to speak at the Beemasters Course at Simon Fraser University in Burnaby, near Vancouver.
Click to enlargeThis is a picture of single hives stacked in Barry's wintering room.  The room is normally entirely dark and held near freezing temperatures with constant low-level air flow to ensure healthy bees. Success is generally pretty good.  Termeers built this new building several years ago and it is a beautiful facility.  Click on any of these thumbnail pictures for an enlargement.
Click to enlargeUncapper.jpg (57451 bytes)This is Termeers' extracting line.  On the left, a crane style deboxer removes the frames from supers and places them between upright guides and they slide down to the uncapper (on the right).

At the uncapper, one operator removes the combs from the guides and places them one-by-one into the Dakota Guness uncapper infeed.  Once uncapped, they travel down the moving conveyor and are taken off by operators who place them into extractors.

Click to enlargePumps.jpg (41432 bytes)While one operator loads an extractor, the other on that line unloads another.  Meanwhile several machines are spinning out honey.  

Two pumps (one is a spare) are in the foreground. One or the other carries the honey and cappings from the triangular drip tray/extractor manifold and the uncapper to the heat exchanger and Spin Float in another room.  From there it goes over to the bulk tank and awaits drum filling time.

Barry reckons they can handle 15 frames a minute continuously using the Dakota uncapper and the five Dadant extractors.  Four students work on the line at a time.  Barry is able to leave them with the job and go out to work bees without worrying too much about breakdowns or damage to the equipment.

Today: Mainly sunny. Wind increasing to west 20 km/h. High plus 4.
Tonight: Mainly clear. Wind west 20. Low minus 10.

Wednesday February 28th, 2001

I'm back from the meeting and back to working on advertising and selling our bees and equipment.

I am feeling vindicated.  Over a year ago, I wrote an article on BEE-L, warning about SAFB.  At that time we weren't hearing much about it, but I guessed that it would be big news shortly.  When speculating on possible causes of the outbreaks that were suddenly appearing all over North America, my guess was that there might have been only one original mutation or source of the variant strain.  I predicted  that all outbreaks would be proven to be closely related organisms spread by international trade -- if anyone cared or dared to question the party line. 

The politically correct line was, and still is, that this AFB is spontaneously arising from the familiar variety of AFB in individual beekeeper's operations at geographically separated locations due to beekeepers' methods of drug application.  AFAIK, absolutely no research backs this convenient hypothesis, yet it is almost universally used to explain the phenomenon and blame the beekeepers, not regulators.  For some reason the more obvious and simple explanation that SAFB either always existed in some isolated part of the world or arose in South America and has recently been spread around the world by those ubiquitous drums of Argentine honey has been ignored. FWIW and  IMO, SAFB is now being spread by the honey coming out of domestic operations that have become contaminated.  My comments were met with universal disbelief and by emotional, irrational arguments supporting the 'blame the beekeepers' theory.

At the Alberta Beekeepers Association's disease update meeting this week, Lawrence Cutts was scheduled to speak, but, personal matters intervened and Dave Westerfeld came in his place.  I'd met him the first night in San Diego and Aaron and I had a beer with him at the time.  I was impressed then and am even more so now.  Dave is a fascinating, enthusiastic, open (and rambling) speaker.  I greatly enjoyed his straight from the shoulder style and wide range of topics.

In one of Dave's talks, he mentioned discovering resistant AFB early on in Florida and, looking around, found empty Argentine honey drums stacked nearby.  I gather that the 17 inspectors in Fla are pretty thorough and honey samples were taken from the residue left in the drums.  It was analysed for AFB and guess what?  It turned out that -- not only was there AFB in the honey in the drums -- but the AFB they found was OTC resistant! In case anyone wants to read the original discussion on BEE-L, here are the links.

029917 99/12/01 07:56 114 SAFB is a New and Distinct Contagious Disease
029922 99/12/02 10:52 25 Re: SAFB is a New and Distinct Contagious Disease
029924 99/12/02 10:44 119 Re: SAFB is a New and Distinct Contagious Disease
029934 99/12/02 23:15 67 Re: SAFB is a New and Distinct Contagious Disease
029942 99/12/04 22:27 221 Re: SAFB is a New and Distinct Contagious Disease
029970 99/12/08 10:09 276 Re: SAFB is a New and Distinct Contagious Disease
029973 99/12/09 10:15 29 Re: SAFB is a New and Distinct Contagious Disease
029995 99/12/13 12:48 264 Re: SAFB is a New and Distinct Contagious Disease
030025 99/12/17 18:47 14 Re: SAFB IS A NEW AND CONTAGIOUS DISEASE
030042 99/12/19 20:45 103 SAFB of just AFB..?
030089 99/12/29 07:12 186 Re: SAFB of just AFB..?
032011 00/06/13 12:18 30 Re: Extender patties and resistance to oxytetracycline
033976 01/01/04 13:23 73 Re: AFB - GM crop connection possible
033982 01/01/05 10:51 35 Re: rAFB
033983 01/01/05 09:11 37 Re: rAFB
034129 01/01/15 09:06 64 Re: Pollen Collection
034311 01/01/28 21:36 33 Re: AFB resistance and GE crops
Today: Mainly sunny. Wind increasing to west 30 km/h gusting 50. High 10.
Tonight: Clear. Wind becoming northwest 20. Low minus 5.

Normals for the period: Low minus 10. High 1.

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