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Thursday March 29th, 2001, 2000

I see that this diary is getting quite a few hits lately.  That is nice.  I also get complimentary emails from time-to-time which I enjoy.  I am planning on  working soon on the print version a bit more.  100 people have gone to look at that page and I have not had any complaints -- or any feedback, so I wonder how it is working for folks who try it. 
toolbox.jpg (60526 bytes)toolbox1.jpg (220461 bytes)Here are two shots of the toolbox full of bees I picked up the other morning and which seems to be doing nicely.  The previous owner cut quite a bit of comb from it for honey last summer, as you can see in one of the pictures.  In the other shot, the bees are visible.  I'll have to feed and treat them soon, I imagine.
Click to go to The Sept 2000 article about this swarmSpeaking of swarms, Kim tells me that the picture I sent him (left) will be on the cover of the April Bee Culture magazine.  I am looking forward to seeing it. The swarm seems to have died over winter.

This afternoon I entertained a beekeeper who came to look at our trucks.  He spent a lot of time looking at and driving them, but apparently could not make up his mind and left empty.  

This afternoon, I loaded bees for a customer.  This is the first load to go.  I expect things will pick up quickly as the weather gets better.

Today: Mainly cloudy. Wind increasing to west 30 km/h. High 8.
Tonight: Mainly cloudy. 40 percent chance of evening showers. Wind diminishing to west 20. Low minus 3.
Normals for the period: Low minus 6. High 6.

Friday March 30th, 2001, 2000

Normals for the period: Low minus 6. High 7.
Sunrise:6:14 AM / Sunset:7:05 PM
The Moon is Waxing Crescent (20% of Full)

The sun is now rising in the northeast and the days are almost 13 hours long.  The temperature normals are now increasing weekly . 

Small Nakiska MapJean and I went to Nakiska for a day of spring skiing.  My ankle is pretty well 100% now, although there is still a bit of sensation from the sprain I received New Years Day.  

Conditions were excellent.  There was about 15cm new powder overnight.  Although we got there at noon and found it somewhat tracked up, there were still lots of fresh patches since the hill was not too crowded.

Today: 40 percent chance of morning flurries then a mix of sun and cloud. Wind northwest 20 gusting 40 km/h. High plus 4.
Tonight: Increasing cloud with 30 percent chance of flurries overnight. Wind northwest 20 diminishing. Low minus 7.

Saturday March 31st, 2001, 2000

Not much happened today.  Outside it was overcast and windy.  I went for a bike ride, but wore my snowmobile helmet to break the wind.  That worked okay, but the shield is designed to cut wind from directly in front, not the side as was the case on the bike.  In the evening, I did a bit of reading and figured out the VCR I bought a while back.

Today: Increasing cloud. 30 percent chance of showers developing. Wind increasing to southerly 20 km/h. High 8.
Tonight: Partly cloudy. Wind southerly 20 gusting 40 becoming westerly. Low minus 1.
Normals for the period: Low minus 5. High 7

Sunday April 1st, 2001, 2000

All the clocks have to be set ahead this morning.  

It looks a bit nicer out today. We had some people come by today after lunch today to discuss hives and equipment. It looks as if things should go well. 

It's at times like this a person finds out who his friends really are. When I announced my retirement, found that some people rallied immediately to help me by offering to buy equipment and by helping find buyers. Others helped me by suggesting fair prices to charge and by scouting out the competition and letting me know id my prices were too high -- or low. Curiously, others almost shun me since I have announced my intent.  I've discovered over the years that some beekeepers are public minded and can see the value of assisting other beekeepers.  They can can see that making sure there is a good market for the equipment retiring beekeepers want to sell will enhance the value of their own equipment when their time comes.  Others think only of themselves and send money offshore even to their own detriment.  I think it will go well, but occasions like this remind one that one cannot ever have too many friends. 

I miss the old internet. But maybe it is returning to the times when people gave for the joy of giving. Poor Richard sent out his newsletter again today after a long hiatus. Seems dot.com dreams have shattered and he is back to his old stompin' ground.  The greed rush on the internet was distressing to many of us old netizens and the sight of so many people defiling our meeting place with get-rich-quick fantasies was saddening. Now they don't talk so loud, now they don't seem so proud. I still appreciate the credo of many old-timers, exemplified in this statement by Larry Wall (the inventor of Perl): "If I make a living off it, that's great--but I come from a culture where you're valued not so much by what you acquire but by what you give away," 

Today: Increasing cloud. A few morning flurries or afternoon showers. Risk of a thunderstorm. Wind becoming northwesterly 20 km/h. High 6.
Tonight: Wet snow and risk of a thunderstorm this evening. Mainly cloudy with 60 percent chance of flurries overnight. Wind northerly 20. Low minus 6.
Normals for the period: Low minus 5. High 8.

Monday April 9th, 2001, 2000

The days grow longer quickly at this time of year.  In the last fortnight days have increased in length by almost an hour.  The normal daily lows have increased by three degrees and the highs by four.  Conditions are rapidly improving for bees.  In about two weeks, we should have crocus pollen.

Normals for the period: Low minus 3. High 10.
Sunrise: 6:52 am / Sunset: 8:22 pm.  The Moon is Full

Tanker3.jpg (16172 bytes)The semi arrived with sugar syrup this morning and was unloaded in a matter of an hour or so.  We decided that, since the weather is cool, and will be for a few days, that there is no reason to rush to get syrup out to the yards, so Matt and Ritchie are changing the tranny in the Red Hive Loader Truck (sold), dropping the tranny in the white gas truck and sandblasting the Green Swinger in preparation for painting.  
El & I may go out later in the day to distribute some syrup into drums.  The problem is that, by providing some open feed in drums, we want to make sure that any light hives don't starve, but do not want to plug out the strong hives or have syrup left in the drums when flows start in May.  Bees will empty drums in March and April , but may not take much in May and June. If it rains, syrup can ferment and be wasted.  Moreover, any syrup we put in drums is not easily available to feed directly into hives using our pressure system.  Individual feeding in frame feeders ensures even distribution and is preferable in many ways, but until we open our hives, only the individual wraps are easily accessable.

When I started this diary, I was counting on it being useful a year down the line (right now) to show me when I was on schedule and when I was jumping the gun.  It has already proven to be invaluable, since I see that last year we did not really get started on unwrapping and feeding until the middle of the month.  I also can see from my comments that even then we were plenty early.  

 I've been getting a bit worked up about getting out to the bees and can see after reading the diary from last year at this time that I can relax a bit.  I also can see that there is a lot of reading in the diary and that maybe I should have stuck more to just chronicling the events since some of the material seems a bit dull at this point.  Nonetheless, it is illuminating to see how what and how I have been learning in the past -- and I am assured by regular readers that their eyes do not glaze over when they read the diary.
Today: Morning fog otherwise mainly cloudy. 30 percent chance of afternoon showers. Wind west 20 km/h. High 8.
Tonight: Mainly cloudy. 30 percent chance of showers or overnight flurries. Wind north 20. Low minus 2.
Tuesday: Mainly cloudy. 40 percent chance of flurries. Wind north 20. High 4.
Wednesday: A mix of sun and cloud. Low minus 6. High plus 3.
Thursday: Mainly sunny. Low minus 3. High 8.
Friday: A mix of sun and cloud. Low minus 1. High 10.

Monday April 2nd, 2001, 2000
Heavy snowfall warning in effect
And I'm driving Ellen to Calgary for cataract surgery this morning...

Today
Snow. Further accumulations 5 to 10 cm. Wind increasing to northeast 30 km/h. High near zero.
Tonight
Snow. Further accumulations 5 to 10 cm. Wind northeast 30 gusting to 50 giving blowing snow in open areas. Low minus 6.
Normals for the period: Low minus 4. High 8.

Tuesday April 3rd, 2001, 2000
Heavy snowfall warning in effect
Back to Calgary for a check on El's eye after the cataract surgery yesterday

Today: Snow. Further accumulations near 10 cm. Reduced visibility in snow and blowing snow. Wind northeast 30 km/h gusting to 50 km/h. High minus 2.
Tonight: Snow tapering off then mainly cloudy. Further accumulations 5 cm. Wind north 20. Low minus 6.
Normals for the period: Low minus 4. High 8.

Wednesday April 4th, 2001, 2000

I went to the dentist at 8 to get a crown glued on permanently.  In the attempt to pull off the new cap on a top tooth, one on a lower tooth came off, so he had to glue on two instead of one. Once that was over with, I headed to Nakiska for a few hours of snowboarding.  There was a report of two feet of new powder over the past two days and I expected to see lots of white fluffy stuff.  By the time I got there, most of it was packed down and a bit rough.  

My first run was down an edge area where there was some fresh, untracked powder left and I soon found why it was not packed.  I found myself thigh deep in heavy snow -- and stuck  The 'powder' was in fact damp powder and more like wet cement than the powder I had dreamed about.  Never trust the non-skiing media or the reports from ski hill management.  Anyhow, it was a gorgeous day to be up in the mountains and I had fun.

I left a little early and headed home. At 7:30 I was in Three Hills at a watershed group meeting.  KWAC (Kneehill Watershed Advisory Council) is a local grassroots organisation that is working towards cleaning up the creeks and protecting our watersheds from abuse.  It embodies the very best characteristics of the local citizenry: patience, tolerance and good humour. Although this district is the heartland of so called redneck Alberta, these hard working honest people are fantastic neighbours.  I saw that over thirty years ago when  I was travelling for Lincoln Electric and this place has been my home since.

Today: Morning fog patches otherwise a mix of sun and cloud. 40 percent chance of flurries. Wind southwest 20 km/h in the afternoon. High near zero.
Tonight: 40 percent chance of evening flurries then clearing. Wind becoming west 20. Low minus 6.
Normals for the period: Low minus 4. High 8.

Thursday April 5th, 2001, 2000

I've been feeling pretty lousy again for a week or so and am starting to realise that my problem may be food sensitivities. I've been reading up on them and trying to apply what I read to my own experience.

We are still working on a number of administrative matters.  Ellen went out in the afternoon to assess some local yards that are marked as being light in our fall notes and concluded that losses are in the 20% range in those yards.  She also concluded that the hives are strong, but some are light and will be needing feed, so I ordered a tankerload of syrup to arrive Monday morning.

Meijers came for supper.

Today
A mix of sun and cloud. West 30 km/h. High 6.
Tonight
Mainly cloudy. Wind southwest 20 km/h. Low minus 3.
Normals for the period: Low minus 4. High 9.

Friday April 6th, 2001, 2000

This afternoon, Ellen and I went out to look some hives over and do a little test work.  We started at he west end of our domain and put Apistan, patties and menthol into a few hives and left syrup in drums in several yards.  

We pulled a few frames and were surprised to see that the hives had no sealed brood at all in one yard although the bees were very strong and good areas of open brood were in evidence.  We enjoyed the opportunity to work on a small scale and enjoy the hives.  We realise that if placed tight end to end, our beehives would make a solid line of hives a nautical mile long.  Such large numbers require mass production methods and when we are working the whole outfit the experience is much different from these personal small scale forays. I'm looking forward to retirement, but it is hard to give up such good looking hives.

Today: A mix of sun and cloud. Wind southwesterly 20 diminishing to light. High 7.
Tonight: Mainly cloudy. Low minus 5.
Normals for the period: Low minus 4. High 9.
Saturday April 7th, 2001, 2000

Today I slept in and then later met with a beekeeper who came to buy a truck.  He had a hard time making up his mind which one to take.  He would have preferred a gasoline powered truck for its lower cost and cheaper maintenance, but wound up taking one of the diesels because the gas truck he chose still needed a bit more paint and transmission work.  I am easy to get along with and specified that he could trade across to another of our trucks without penalty within two weeks if this particular truck is not exactly what he wants.  He loved the sides and the tarp system.  I think he will really enjoy this unit and will find it makes his work easy and fun compared to almost any other truck.  We put a lot of thought into refining the design of these units over the years.

Later in the afternoon, we met with a prospect who wants about eight hundred hives to work out the details

When we went to bed at nine, Adony had not yet appeared.  He was skiing with his father in the Kananaskis and had mentioned he expected to be late arriving.

Today: Mainly cloudy with a 40 percent chance of showers or snow. High plus 5.

Sunday April 8th, 2001, 2000

Adony was here in the morning and, as usual, we had a good discussion of the industry and current research before he left around noon.  He had damaged a knee while skiing the previous day and it had stiffened overnight.  He decided to make a stop at the local hospital on his way back to Beaverlodge.

Today: Cloudy with showers of flurries. Wind north 20 km/h. High plus 3.
Tonight: Cloudy. 60 percent chance of showers or flurries. Low minus 1.
Normals for the period: Low minus 3. High 9.

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   "If I make a living off it, that's great -- but I come from a culture where you're valued
not so much by what you acquire but by what you give away,"
-- Larry Wall (the inventor of Perl)
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