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Tuesday April 10th, 2001, 2000:

I drove Ellen to Calgary for her eye appointment at 8:30, then we stopped by the Zoo for coffee on the way home. It was bitter and cold there and we headed for the indoor garden.   We then went to the Golden Acres and I enjoyed the lush vegetation in the greenhouse while Ellen shopped for plants. 

We returned home and worked on various administrative items in the afternoon, then I attended a land use bylaw meeting called by local ratepayers to organise resistance to proposed municipal bylaw changes in the evening.  Over recent years we have seen erosion of farmers' and residents' rights in the area, and increased red tape administered by people who seem to have no appreciation for the people who make up the county.  My neighbours are patient, tolerant people, but are getting fed up with seeing regulation and associated fees constantly increasing with little if any real benefit.

Today: Cloudy with a few flurries. Wind increasing to northwest 30 km/h. High plus 3.
Tonight: Periods of snow. Wind north 30. Low minus 6.

Normals for the period: Low minus 3. High 10.

Wednesday April 11th, 2001, 2000

The guys came to work this morning but the weather was quite cool and breezy.  Matt had some things to do, so took the day off in favour of working another day and Ritchie went out to put syrup in open feeding drums.  He was finished by noon and had some things to do as well and took the afternoon off too.

I went to a ratepayers meeting this afternoon.  I'm usually pretty vocal at meetings, but did not speak once.  I was pretty impressed by how eloquent and informed my neighbours were on the subject of the proposed land use bylaw and did not have much to add.

This evening we had a visit from a beekeeper and his wife.  They are buying a truck and five hundred of our hives and we wanted an opportunity to get to know one another better and to finalise details a bit more.  At their request, I'll be working with them to provide advice and guidance during the season.  I'm sure that I will enjoy that. 

We agreed to start moving hives next Wednesday.  We'll lend them forklifts to make the move easy and maybe even provide a driver or two to make what could be weeks of work for one man alone into an easy job.  We're set up to move bees easily and the way we do it, moving can be fun.  

Getting this move underway will make our planning easier, since we now have that many fewer hives to worry about.  We have been wondering if we need to hire help now, since bee work begins in earnest at the start of May.   We have quite a few more hives spoken for tentatively, and I expect that sales will pick up now as beekeepers discover how many hives they have left after winter -- and decide how many replacements they need.  Many don't like to spend money until the last possible moment.

Today: Mainly cloudy with a 60 percent chance of flurries. Wind north 30 km/h gusting to 50 diminishing this afternoon. High plus 3.
Tonight: Clearing this evening. Low minus 9.

Normals for the period: Low minus 3. High 10.

Thursday April 12th, 2001, 2000

We saw the first crocus today and crocus pollen coming into hives. More below.

Pat phoned to say he is happy with the truck he bought the other day and that the sale is now final, so I can cancel the insurance.  That makes two trucks sold, with five to go plus two cab and chassis.  Two trailers of the original six are sold as well.  Pat says he is highly recommending our design to friends and to expect more people to come by soon.  Hope so. 

I made reservations to visit family in Ontario on the coming long weekend.  I hate to take time away, but I've been working weekends and weekdays for quite a while now and need to get away for a few days.  We expect to be very busy next week with loading hives that are sold and making sure all others are okay.  Meijers are reporting higher than expected losses due to lack of feed in some yards, so we are very glad we overfed last fall.  We were a bit fanatical about feeding and began to wonder if we had overdone it.  From the current perspective, I think not.  Nonetheless, we did buy a load of sugar syrup and are now distributing it as fast as we can to all the yards ahead of the expected warm weather this weekend.

Ellen was getting pretty anxious that some of the hives she had visited last week were starving, so we went out to look at the bees and to put on some patties.   The first yard we visited was looking pretty sad with what initially appeared to be as much as 40-50% loss.   There is always an occasional yard like that, but it is very depressing when it is the first yard of the day.  We had not used this yard for wintering before and had hoped it would be good since it is sunny and a bit sheltered by terrain..  We opened one 20-pack wrap and discovered that there were more bees alive than first appeared, but that they were slow getting going.  We were relieved to see there was lots of feed in the hives, so much in fact that some of the bees were not entirely up.  Nonetheless, this yard was disappointing.

We went to the next yard with diminished expectations, but found 7 of the 8 hives we opened there (at random) looking good.  Crocus pollen was coming in and being stored.  We were surprised to see that, even though the hives are populous, that many have only open brood at this time.  I discussed this with other beekeepers and it is not uncommon this year.  everyone blames it on the cold stormy weather in the past few weeks.  I don't know.  I can't recall having seen this before.  I expect, though, that the hives will soon explode with new bees due to the incoming pollen. We visited a few more yards and then returned home reassured that our bees are nowhere near starving.

Today: Mainly sunny. High 6.
Tonight: Partly cloudy. Low minus 3.

Normals for the period: Low minus 3. High 10.

Friday April 13th, 2001, 2000

It's Good Friday, and -- Ohmygoodness! -- it's also Friday the 13th!

I predicted an early spring from the weather we were experiencing a few weeks back, but I have now concluded that it is not happening.  There is still ice on the pond and the bees are running behind schedule by several weeks.  A year ago the pond ice had melted and we were in the middle of a spring storm.  Two years ago we were finished unwrapping.  This year we have not started.  Things can change fast though.

I'm starting to think that I'm beginning to understand a problem that has plagued me for all my adult life, causing at various times, joint pains, insomnia, mood swings, nasal congestion, racing pulse, irregular heartbeat, occasional random high blood pressure readings, blurry vision, dizziness, weakness, confusion, and much more -- food sensitivities.  More:  Food Allergies

I've recently been looking into this fascinating area, and although there seems to be quite a bit of quackery associated with the subject, and although sensitivities are elusive and very hard to pinpoint, there also seem to be obvious symptoms once the sufferer learns that sensitivities are not like other allergies and learns what to look for. Normal allergy scratch tests and some other standard allergy tests do not necessarily reveal food sensitivities.

The most significant obstacle to what should be easy discovery of such sensitivities is that sensitivities normally do not trigger the familiar primary IgE immune reaction.  Sensitivities normally trigger a secondary one, involving IgG, and instead of occurring predictably, often seem to occur without rhyme or reason.  There may be other reactions involved in food sensitivities, but that is beyond the scope of this article.  A book that I have found useful is The False Fat Diet.  There are a lot of useful info in the book, but over half the book appears to me to be pure bunk.

The single most amazing thing I have discovered is that I sometimes can eat a food to which I am quite sensitive and have no noticeable reaction whatsoever.  That does not mean that I am not sensitive to it, just that I have not reached the threshold for an obvious immediate reaction.   Just eating reasonable portions of a sensitive food will often not cause any noticeable effect, either immediate or delayed, but eating it again within a week or consuming more than small portions can cause discomfort or illness.  I have this problem with red wines.  I used to react to them, and, as a result, quit drinking them for a few years.  Then I discovered that I could drink red wines with no bad effects, but still avoided them or only had an occasional glass or two.  Then, after having no adverse experience from such small experiments, I got cocky and drank red wine several days in a row.  What a mistake!  I had general illness that I thought must be a virus: my digestion was badly upset for over a week, I had continuing toxic effects, and I had serious insomnia for three nights running.

To get over such a reaction, just abstaining from consuming the problem food is not enough.  It is necessary to cut back to very basic foods and to limit the amounts eaten.  I have also found that I cannot drink anything alcoholic at all during the recovery period.  

It seems that sensitive people usually will be found in lab tests to have quite a few foods that cause reactions, but which have not been a detectable problem due to being consumed in moderation or isolation.  There are, however, threshold and cumulative effects and when all factors add up enough over a short timeframe to trigger a reaction, it then takes time and careful restriction of diet for recovery.

Today: Increasing cloud. 40 percent chance of afternoon showers. Wind west 20 km/h. High 6.
Tonight: Mainly cloudy. 40 percent chance of flurries or evening showers. Wind northwest 20 diminishing. Low minus 3.

Normals for the period: Low minus 2. High 11.

Saturday April 14, 2000,  2000
I was up by 5 and By 9.30. I was on my way to Toronto.  On the way the oil light came on twice in the car, but when I pulled over and stopped the engine and restarted, it was fine, so I made it to the airport in time.  By 3PM, I had a car pointed north towards Sudbury. I had reserved a subcompact but was upgraded to a Chrysler Intrepid again at no charge -- but not exactly no cost, since I used an extra $10 In gas.  It was worth it. I found this Intrepid very quiet and natural steering compared to the last one I rented.

Click to enlarge On the way to Sudbury I stopped at the family cottage in Port Carling.  The place has been in our family for over 100 years now.  We always wonder how the roof has withstood the snowload, especially on a year like this.  

The roof was fine. I wandered around a bit. Everything else was okay too, and I went on my way. 

I spent the weekend visiting my mother and sister.

Sunday April 15th, 2000
Easter Sunday

My childhood homeCrocus picture suitable for Windows wallpaperSegsworths, Mom and I had a pleasant Easter turkey supper at Mom's.  She still lives in the house that was my childhood home, shown here from a location on the lakeshore.  Jessie, her companion is foreground.  

Volunteer crocuses were out in full force in a wild area of Mom's lawn (just left of the dog).  We counted 75+.  The picture at right is a thumbnail of the crocuses in a size suitable for windows wallpaper. Click on the thumbnail to see a full sized image, then click on the large image once it has filled in and select "Set as Wallpaper".

Sunday: Mainly sunny. Low minus 8. High 5.
40 percent chance of evening flurries otherwise partly cloudy. Low minus 8.

Monday April 16th, 2000
This was another day of visits and resting. Mom and I went to some garden centres, then to Linda's for supper.

Mainly sunny. Wind southeast 30 gusting to 50 km/h. High 8.
Mainly clear. Wind diminishing to south 20. Low minus 2.

Normals for the period: Low minus 2. High 11.

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