Thursday March 29th, 2001, 2000
Friday March 30th, 2001, 2000
Normals for the period: Low minus 6. High 7.
The sun is now rising in the northeast and the days are almost 13 hours long. The temperature normals are now increasing weekly .
Jean 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.
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.
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,"
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.
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.
Monday April 2nd, 2001, 2000
Tuesday April 3rd, 2001, 2000
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.
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.
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 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.
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.