It was minus 29.7 C when I got up at 6:30 this morning. It's another cold one. I looked over the weather probs for the mountains and Castle looks the best, for temperatures and snow, but it is a long drive from here -- about 240 miles. I guess I could make it for afternoon skiing, but Nakiska is closer, and I can make it home for supper. If I go to Pincher (Castle), I would want to stay over and stay another day. I haven't organized anything, so will likely go to Nakiska, if anywhere.
Fortunately we have not had much wind during this cold spell, and although the wind chill got to minus forty last night, I am trusting that the bees will be okay.
I went out and tried starting the Buick. It started -- at minus 30 without being plugged in! I feel like going somewhere. Nakiska, maybe, but we'll see what El thinks. Maybe we'll go shopping, or visit Jean and Chris.
Allen's Link of the Day: Varroa Treatment with Thymol and Oxalic Acid
Today..Sunny. Wind becoming southeast 20 km/h. High minus 14.
It was minus thirty when I got up this morning at 3:46. That is cold.
I have to go to Calgary today to a research meeting and also pick up more of the protein patties in Airdrie on the way by. Since their forklift won't run through the snow, I have to take my own. That means starting a diesel Swinger at minus twenty. Good thing we have installed block heaters in them
Ellen has an Art Club meeting in Irricana, so, after staying mostly at home during the nice weather, we are each on the road on one of the coldest days of the year. Wind-chill tonight is going to approach minus forty.
The meeting in Calgary turned out even better than expected with an attendance of 12 which was the absolute maximum we could have accommodated in the location we chose. This was a new idea, and we thought we would give it a try without getting too elaborate the first time.
The whole thing came about, because in one of our phone conversations, Adony mentioned to me that he could spend a day working in Calgary area whenever he is in town if beekeepers request a meeting with him. I thought that this was an opportunity, and called a few of the larger and forward-looking beekeepers I know and asked them what they thought, and told them to pass the word around. The people we called were pretty much the same group who had planned to finance Adony's work after he graduated, and before he was offered the position at the Beaverlodge Research station. I am sure we forgot somebody, if so, my apologies. (Call or write me for the next meeting info).
I also spoke to Heather Clay of the Canadian Honey Council, headquartered in Calgary. She was enthusiastic and had some suggestions. She attended and brought in her husband Doug, who was able to give us an outline of how research credits (cash money) can be claimed from the federal government for bona fide private research projects, such as some we have done in the past and are contemplating for the future.
The whole meeting idea was very casual and just off the top of my head, but actually, now that I think about it some, like Reese drove 200 km (120 miles). Chris was planning to come 286 km (he didn't make it), so maybe I should have invited people from as far north as Edmonton. Maybe next time, and maybe we can expand the idea to a hotel where we can have a whole day and an overnight. I'll have to poll the group for ideas.
Adony took notes, and as soon as I have his okay, I'll email them to the group and also post them here.
After the meeting, I went back to Airdrie. I had dropped a Swinger there on the way into Calgary so I would not have to haul it around the city, and on the way home, I picked up about 4,500 patties since they Frank and Mike were running out of room to work. In the picture (right), each pallet has 1,500 one pound patties on it and is wrapped in plastic.
I then continued to Robinson's for supper. Ellen arrived there just before me and we had a pleasant evening with the Robinson family.
We arrived home around nine and were greeted by three overjoyed cats. They don't like it much when we both leave.
Allen's Link of the Day: Infinity Publishing. Have your book published professionally, one book at a time, if you like.
I wonder, would anyone buy this diary in book form, if it were properly edited and laid out? Write me
Today..Sunny. Wind becoming southeast 20 km/h this afternoon.
High minus 19. Cold wind chill minus 29. Risk of frostbite.
Today it is minus twenty-three and there does not appear to be much hope of the temperature going up much for a few days yet.
We've been discussing tracheal testing on BEE-L. Here is one of my posts today:
Allen's Link of the Day: An interesting site about AFB
Today..A mix of sun and cloud. 60 percent chance of flurries.
Wind light. High minus 21.
It's minus 26C this morning. There is over a foot of new powder at Nakiska, and more elsewhere, but the predicted high is minus 18, a little too cold. Tomorrow looks better.
We have several inches here and snowmobiling is once again an option -- if it ever warms up.
I got to work today on some clean-up and set Paulo and Dennis to start cutting out old combs. We have thousands to do and need to get the job done in the most profitable fashion. Since there is honey in some of the combs and the renderers hate to do frames, we have decide to cut out any honey that there is and see if it is economical.
I also decided to look at getting a larger sump tank for extracting and made a few calls.
I went to donate blood again this evening in Three Hills.
Allen's Link of the Day: Old Woodworking Machines
Today..Mainly cloudy with a few flurries. Wind becoming north
20 km/h. High minus 19. Cold wind chill minus 29. Risk of frostbite.
A dull, cold day with lots of new snow. I worked at the desk and Paulo shoveled snow and worked on the extractors, scraping and painting. Dennis broke out the rest of the concrete around the furnace in preparation for renewing a section of floor. Matt was in for the morning and did some minor car repairs, along with repairing some electric motors that have accumulated around here and were in need of new bearings.
Allen's Link of the Day: Custom Woolen Mills
Today..Snow. Additional accumulation near 5 cm. Wind north 20
km/h. Temperature falling to minus 20 this afternoon. Cold wind chill minus 30.
Risk of frostbite.
We have a foggy morning today, with temps around zero C (freezing).
Paulo gave us the results of our mite and nosema tests. Virginia found no varroa, no tracheal, and no nosema in the samples we took of our own bees, but found varroa and tracheal in the samples a friend gave us to test.
Last week we collected 5 bees per hive from 10 yards picked more or less at random into 70% isopropyl alcohol. (The non-random element was that we skipped yards where we could not drive in with a van). Then Virginia shook the samples and poured the alcohol through a screen to look for any varroa that might have been on the bees. After that, she took twenty bees from each sample and pulled the trachea out under a dissecting microscope to examine them for acarapis woodi (2) or eggs, and, finally, she mashed the abdomens and examined the slurry under a compound microscope for nosema apis spores (2)
If we had found any tracheal mites, we would then have proceeded to examine more bees to get a better feel for the infestation levels, but we feel that this level of testing is adequate when we see that we have very low levels, and conclude that we need not look further. Write me ? We are now ready to do sample for other local beekeepers if they need the service.
I got a call last night about a parts car for sale. I went up this morning to look. It is snowing and raining today and the roads are pretty bad. I drove all the way up to Three Hills with the truck engaged in 4WD and wound up buying the car for the engine and tranny. Matt went with me and drove the car home. He says that it is not all that bad and runs and handles well, even though it has 300,000 km on the clock It has a good windshield and tires and the interior is pretty nice. The exterior has some rust though and would be a bit of work to make it look AI. I expect we will use it for parts. I may drive it for a day or two to see what it is like. I remember my first parts car-- I bought a 1953 Merc to get an engine to put into my 1941 Ford. The Merc was in running shape. The Ford was a big project. It soon became obvious that I should have kept the '53 and scrapped the '41. Am I about to repeat that mistake?
A while back, I was bragging about my savings from driving older cars. That was before the timing chain gave out, leaving me stranded in Banff. I guess that even new cars can have some expense and downtime, but I'm not bragging so hard right now after being without the Olds for a few weeks and incurring this expense. Being without a good car is keeping me from the mountains; I'm spoiled and don't enjoy driving an empty (rough riding) 3/4 ton truck 300 miles in a day anymore.
(Later) I decided to see how good the Buick is and took it for a safety inspection. As it turns out, the Buick only needs a few minor items like light bulbs and a couple of brake shoes, cylinders and hoses totalling $120 -- and two tires -- to pass. It also drives better than the Olds. I think I will keep them both!
Allen's Links of the Day: AllAllergy.Net
Today..Fog dissipating this morning otherwise mainly cloudy.
60 percent chance of snow developing this afternoon. Wind becoming northeast 20
km/h this afternoon. High plus 2.
This is the anniversary of the day I started this diary two years ago now. Who'd have guessed what has transpired since -- and that would keep it up.
I drove over to a neighbour's in the afternoon to look at a forklift for sale. It'll serve, but I can see why Swingers command a premium price from beekeepers. Nothing comes close.
I drove the jacked up 4X4 and it sure was rough riding. The roads are starting to heave. I guess the frost has started coming out. I see some road bans are in effects already. Anyone wanting to order sugar for spring feeding needs to think bout that.
Allen's Links of the Day: Dogs, bees in gene-mapping contest
Today..Mix of sun and cloud. 60 percent chance of flurries
this morning. Wind west 20 km/h. High minus 3.
I slept in this morning, and in the afternoon we all -- Jean, Chris, Ellen & I -- went for a walk down the tracks to our further home yard. We noticed cat tracks in the snow headed the same direction, and wondered why the cats would be wandering so far. When we got there, we discovered that the tracks circled each four-pack of hives and realized that it was a skunk we had been following.
Skunks catch mice around the beehives and also eat the dead bees in front of the hives. Later a skunk may decide to scratch and do damage to the wraps and hives, but for now, we can get along together. Live and let live.
There are several factors that cause skunks to become a problem. One is that the mother skunks get very hungry in spring and the other is that the bees get crowded and start hanging out. That makes the clusters on doorsteps a large and tempting meal. Having once experienced such a feast many skunks start to rely on bees, begin to scratch at entrances, and become a nuisance. Another is that mice sometimes live in the wraps and the skunk tries to get to them. The effort results in torn wraps -- and a huge misunderstanding between the beekeeper and the skunk which often culminates in the early demise of the skunk.
Meijers came over for supper.
Today..Mix of sun and cloud. 60 percent chance of flurries
this morning. Wind west 20 km/h. High minus 3.
Matt priced car parts this morning and in the afternoon, I went to Calgary, just to get away, and to do some shopping. I went to several computer stores to see what is available, and it seems the prices continue to plummet. I think that older systems are now competing with the new ones and people are waiting longer to upgrade. I am quite happy with my existing 266 system, but would upgrade if I could see a significant difference for a small enough price. We could use a better system for Ellen, though, for graphics -- if I could be sure she would use it enough to justify the cost. Hard to tell; it is one of those catch 22s. I went to a lot of trouble years ago, to get her set up for graphics work, but it turned out she was just not interested -- and merely played Mahjong on the expensive machine. Maybe she would use a graphics machine now, but her machine is too slow, and sharing the machine I use for business is not an option. We have the notebook, which is a 550, but I don't know how that would work, since I take it when traveling. I'm thinking of a used 450 system with Linux and the Gimp as a compromise.
I also went to Costco, but bought very little. It seems to me that their advantage over competition is waning. Coupled with the lack of parking and long line-ups to get out, I seldom go there anymore. I'm interested in an central vacuum system and so after checking at Costco, I went to Revy to look, then went to the Great Canadian Superstore. I wanted to get back there soon, since I have decided not to build the vacuum bee catcher shown here several weeks ago, since the sheet metal forceps work so well and are trouble-free and thus had $100 worth of vacuums to return before the two weeks allowed for returns was over. I also like to shop for fruits and vegetables and meat there.
I got home around eleven. Jean and Chris had arrived, and were just off to bed when I came in.
Allen's Link of the Day: The Great Northern Arts Festival is an annual celebration of Northern Canadian arts and culture
early this morning otherwise a mix of sun and cloud. Wind light. High minus 10.