Tuesday May 1st, 2001, 2000There goes one of my favourite forklifts. I advertised it on the web and sold it too cheap -- at my asking price. A beekeeper phoned a few weeks back and I committed to a sale, not having figured out that we might still be needing it. He definitely wanted it and sent a deposit, so we stuck with the deal. Anyhow, he drove all the way up from Washington state to get it. At least it is going to a good home, and I know he is going to absolutely love it.
We still have three Swingers and the Bee-mer, but I am beginning to see that when young beekeepers buy bees from us they often need a forklift, so I've been hanging on to them as best I can. Swingers are a good value. They maintain their price in the used market well, and it only takes a hundred hives or so to pay for one if it is financed over 5 years or so. Having a Swinger enables a beekeeper to run much more than a hundred extra hives, sets the stage for future expansion, and perhaps most importantly, makes many difficult jobs easy and pleasant.
The loader on the truck shown above struck me as very clever and easy to build, so I took some pictures to share with readers. Click on the thumbnails below for a closer view. (I recently got a broken link report. They should be fixed now).
We are now unwrapping hives every day. We were concerned that they might be far behind normal since we did not see sealed brood when we looked in mid-April, but they are now down into the bottom box and laying up a storm.. We've been checking dead-outs for any signs of disease and so far have found nothing. The winter losses seem a bit higher than some years, but the survivors are looking very good.
Our retirement is proceeding less quickly than we might have hoped, but we have several deals in place and more in the works. Personally, I don't care if I do run a thousand or so hives this year, since we are well set up for that number. Ellen, however, would really like to get out of the bee business and devote full time to her painting and other art projects.
I noticed my first dandelions of the year today.
Wednesday May 2nd, 2001, 2000
Thursday May 3rd, 2001, 2000
Friday May 4th, 2001, 2000
Jean arrived last night and we were up and on our way to the airport by 5. Jean was following us in her car since she was planning on leaving it in Airdrie so she could go straight home on arrival back in Alberta Monday night. About 6 miles from home, I noticed that she was not visible in the mirror, slowed down and started to pull over. Just then, in the dark, a of group of deer appeared on the edge of the road and started to parade across. With no time to stop, but braking hard, I looked for a gap in the line and aimed for the most promising one.
No luck. A yearling doe panicked and jumped into the hole I had picked. A second later she was dead and the car a wreck. We got out and surveyed the damage. Jean came up and she and Ellen pulled the deer of the road while I phoned 911. They weren't particularly interested and said to report it some time when I had a better connection. Nothing was leaking and the hood was stuck closed so we continued.
We arrived at Boston in late afternoon and headed south on 93 after a brief detour in the wrong direction. The roads in Boston are a mess and at rush hour, driving was not simple: the signs were confusing and the drivers not co-operative. We stopped in Foxborough for supper and got to Seekonk
Saturday May 5th, 2001, 2000
Sunday May 6th, 2001, 2000
At nine, Jon and Sarah, our group, and members of Sarah's family met at the hotel restaurant for breakfast. After eating, everyone except Segsworths, Jon and Sarah, El and I left for home. Sarah and Jon then took us on a tour of the region, ending up at her mother's place. There was plenty of food left over from the previous day so we had a lunch of leftovers, then spent the afternoon visiting and getting to know Sarah's mom better. At five, our time together ran out: Sarah and Lindsey S. had to get back to Guelph so Sarah would be in time for her summer job interview the next day at nine AM. I heard later that they got there at three AM but that Sarah was sharp for the interview and that it went well.
Jon, Sarah, El, Jean, and I went back to the hotel for a swim. Then Jon and Sarah left, for home in Chepechet since they had a flight to Florida to catch at seven in the morning.
Monday May 7th, 2001, 2000
With our flight leaving Boston at 3:24 PM, we decided to head north after breakfast, since we wanted to see a bit of the city. We made Boston around noon, and this time the drivers seemed much more genteel and the streets much easier to navigate. We drove around the downtown, then parked and spent a pleasant hour on Boston Common enjoying the marvellous statuary.
We then turned in our rental car -- it was a brand new Taurus and averaged only 22 MP(US)G -- and after an hour's unexpected delay due to thunderstorms in Chicago, we boarded AA505 for Calgary. At this moment I'm sitting at 32,000 feet in a Boeing Super 80 writing this in the memo pad of my Palm m105. My Toshiba 2750 notebook sits in the seat pocket behind me since I am doing a comparison of Graffiti writing to keyboard data entry. So far I am finding Graffiti to be pretty quick and accurate -- and getting quicker! When we get to Calgary I'll have to drive home missing one headlight- in the dark. Tomorrow is another day -- in another world.
I'm less than favourably impressed with my Olympus D-460Z digital camera. It locked up with a bogus 'Card Error' again at the wedding and I can't get the pictures out of it again. Last time I managed -- after much fiddling -- and I hope I can again. But add this worry to the fact that the pictures are not as good as those from my previous Olympus, and the fact that the zoom mechanism grinds and clicks most ominously, and it is apparent that this is not a very good camera compared to what I am accustomed to.
Tuesday May 8th, 2001, 2000
Today we readjusted to being home and got over all the travelling. Ellen had some kind of stomach flu. Steven and Matt continued to unwrap hives and put in the medications and strips. In late afternoon, the wind picked up and the sky was black with blowing dirt. Visibility was less than a mile for minutes at times.