When a stupid man is doing something he is
ashamed of, he always declares that it is his duty.
Sunday 1 February 2004
Minus twenty-one this morning and we are off to Calgary. I'm going to the boat show and Ellen is going to see the Bog People at the Glenbow. We'll meet the P-Ss there.
We met outside the Glenbow (picture), then Bill and I went to the boat show, and the others went to see the Bog People exhibit. After we went for supper and drove home.
Today : Cloudy with sunny periods. 60 percent chance of flurries this morning and early this afternoon. Wind becoming north 20 km/h this morning. High minus 18. Wind chill minus 34. / Tonight : A few clouds. Low minus 25. / Normals for the period : Low minus 14. High minus 2.
Monday 2 February 2004
Minus twenty-two again this AM, but we are promised minus eleven, later today. We are having one of the coldest winters I can recall.
I overhauled the topics list for the diary page and added some items on my site which were not indexed, and were thus hard to find.
Ellen & I went to Airdrie to shop, then Robinsons came over for hamburgers in the evening.
Here's some good news. If we can police the adulteration of honey, one of the major forces driving down honey prices will be licked. Beekeeper fined $6,000 for selling honey containing foreign sugar
Today : Sunny. High minus 11. / Tonight : Clear. Low minus 22. / Normals for the period : Low minus 14. High minus 2.
Tuesday 3 February 2004
Our cattle arrived this morning. It was minus 21, but still, so the weather was not too bad. Later we got up to minus 7 or so.
I heard today that the import of queens will be going ahead. CFIA has the process in the queue, but apparently no one knows how soon the matter will be gazetted and passed. It is anyone's guess whether we will see U.S. queens before April. I sure hope that the queen suppliers in the US get enough warning in advance to increase supply so that there will be enough to go around, both here and in the States.
The question of traceability is proceeding independently. As far as many of us are concerned, traceability is a waste of time, but some want it, and if they are willing to pay the cost and suffer the inconvenience in their own jurisdictions, they are free to go on with plans for tracking imports. As I understand it, provinces that do not wish to have US mainland queens distributed in their region are free to put any restrictions they want on their own beekeepers, as they do now with other matters, like disease and locations.
Let's hope that the restrictions on queen imports are ended soon for the provinces and districts that need imports, and let's hope it happens soon. Don't count on it, though.
Let's also hope that this breakthrough spells the end to the toxic culture in Canadian beekeeping circles that has caused beekeepers in some areas try to impose their will on those in distant regions or in other parts of the industry with different needs. If we all are free to pursue our goals without unreasonable interference, we will all be happier and all do better. I am sure that nobody in Alberta cares if Saskatchewan or Ontario or Quebec beekeepers wish to limit their options by regulating their own imports, but, in the case of obtaining Hawaiian imports, history has shown that beekeepers from the very provinces that attempted to block those imports were quick to line up to buy them after Alberta spent the money and effort to get approval. I predict that, when the other provinces see the benefits of importation, they will drop their 'principles' and rush to compete for imported supplies, just as they have before.
Today : Sunny. Wind becoming south 20 km/h this afternoon. High minus 7. / Tonight : Cloudy periods. Low minus 10. / Normals for the period : Low minus 13. High minus 2.
Wednesday 4 February 2004
Finally the weather has warmed up. It is minus fourteen this morning and we are promised thawing temperatures today and for the rest of the week.
We are now into a new fiscal year -- our year ended January 31st -- and I am willing to sell some more of the remaining equipment. I've been refusing to sell remaining items due to the potential tax hit, but now we are free to sell some more of the few remaining items on our sale pages. Excluders are going quickly, and I think both trailers will soon be gone. I'd like to sell the rest of the supers while they are still fresh, so I've dropped the price of the supers a little (for sales of more than a hundred at a time).
Ellen & I went to see our planner and a lawyer to get our wills, powers of attorney, etc. completed and came a way a bit lighter. We then shopped a bit and came home.
Today : A mix of sun and cloud. Clearing near noon. Wind west 20 km/h. High 4. / Tonight : Clear. Low minus 16. / Normals for the period : Low minus 13. High minus 1.
Thursday 5 February 2004
Although the weather is moderating, it was still minus nineteen when I awoke at 7. The days are warm, however, and yesterday the roads were slushy. The Days are getting much longer, too, especially in the evening.
I'm expecting Medhat around 8:30 and we are off to a meeting in Scandia to discuss bee research projects. The SABA has raised some money and are contemplating what priorities to pursue. At this point, nutrition looks like number one. I agree, and we are hoping to evaluate our current diets, as well as amounts and methods of application. We also hope to improve our formulae to optimize results and cost. As well as SABA, the seed companies that hire bee pollination and Global Patties are supportive.
Medhat arrived, and we drove to the meeting, which was very constructive and resulted in a decision to conduct the project in Alberta, under Medhat's supervision. While some of the long term goals are somewhat abstract, the immediate focus is to analyze the effects of the current patties in use and seek improvements in nutrition and cost-effectiveness.
Beekeepers are already accepting delivery of patties, and planning to put them onto hives within weeks, so Medhat has his work cut out for him planning how they should set aside some yards and allocate hives for applications to test several existing formulae head to head. beekeepers will
It was agreed that there is no time to hire help before beginning but rather that the beekeepers should evaluate the hives and put on the patties, while marking the hives. Records must be kept, and, with digital cameras, the beekeepers should be able to record their benchmarks in a way that they can be compared later, if necessary.
Today : Clearing this morning. High minus 3. / Tonight : Clear. Low minus 8. / Normals for the period : Low minus 13. High minus 1.
Friday 6 February 2004
It is definitely warming up. I'm off to Vancouver this morning to see several beekeepers, attend the boat show and to look into the oxalic treatment offered by a fellow on Vancouver Island, if I get out that far. I plan to stay as long as a week, but we'll see.
I'll be writing more about the upcoming nutrition work when I have time, but right now, I have a plane to catch.
I arrived in Vancouver, picked up my car, and drove to the Boat Show. As expected it far surpassed the Calgary show, with hundreds of booths. I stayed until late, then went to my brother's place for the night.
Today : Sunny with cloudy periods. Wind west 20 km/h. High 4. / Tonight : Clearing this evening. Wind west 20 km/h. Low minus 5. / Normals for the period : Low minus 13. High minus 1.
Sat 7 & Sun 8 February 2004
I spent these two days at the show and visiting with my brother, Ron and family. At the show, I made some contacts to follow up later. I had originally planned to buy a boat, but, after sober reflection, have decided that taking training cruises and chartering is more advantageous, at least until I have more experience. Boats cost a lot and depreciate quickly. The price of training cruises can be a very good bargain. Unless I decide to live aboard for a while, which I might some time, chartering or signing on as crew is a more rational plan. At present, I have plenty of people to visit and places to stay all over North America to be tied down to another home.
Saturday : Sunny. Wind west 20 km/h. High plus 3. / Sunday : Flurries. Wind northwest 20 km/h. High minus 1. /Tonight : Periods of snow. Amount 2 to 5 cm. Wind northwest 20 km/h. Low minus 3.
Monday 8 February 2004
This morning, I posted a message on BEE-L and, as an afterthought, added the tag line, "In Vancouver". Shortly after, I got an email from Wayne, a local beekeeper suggesting that I meet him for lunch.
We met at Granville Island, and decided on Bridges. During lunch I mentioned that I intended to call Ron Lin, another local beekeeper, who had bought bees and a forklift from me, but had later been involved in a an accident which destroyed the Swinger and some of the hives. We called his cell, and, as it turned out, Ron was eating lunch at that same moment, only a few hundred yards away across the bay. He and his wife and son came over to Bridges, and we had tea, then all headed out to look at Ron's wrecked forklift and visit his honey farm.
The accident was in November, and Ron is just now getting around well enough to start pressuring ICBC, the government insurance company which has offered him very low compensation, to pay full value for the items he lost. Even though he has recent bills demonstrating the true value, they are low-balling him and he is being forced to sue. In fact, he was at a lawyer's, this very morning, and that was what brought him downtown. Our call was most serendipitous, since he wanted our opinion on the damage.
We all drove east on Highway One to the yard where the Swinger was being stored, and quickly agreed that the machine was a total write-off. Although a good welder with mechanical abilities could make something of it, the shop time involved would exceed the value of the restored unit, and, at this point it is unclear whether the engine and transmission are any good. An impact like the one that injured Ron and wrecked his outfit could have done expensive internal damage to the engine and transmission that might not show up until the unit was restored and run a while. Some heavy steel parts were badly bent and. although they can be straightened, the unit may never line up properly again. Moreover, the front drive axle is toast -- it is broken and bent-- and a lot of other small stuff is bent up too. The Swinger might make a good project for someone, but won't be moving hives this spring, and the time for moving is coming fast.
We then all drove over to Honeyland Canada, Ron's bee farm. He and his wife have built a well planned and spotless setup for showing off beekeeping to tours that drop in. They have a screen room for working bees and a glassed off extracting shop designed so visitors can view the goings-on. He hopes to run a beekeeping school there in the future, as well. Of course we had to look into some hives as well. Here's Ron with a good-looking wintering hive.
Monday : A mix of sun and cloud. 60 percent chance of flurries in the morning and of rain showers late in the morning. Wind northwest 20 km/h becoming southwest 20 in the afternoon. High plus 5.
Tuesday 9 February 2004
Today, I agreed to meet Ron and look at the truck and the trailer, so we met at on United Avenue and drove out to the yards where they were in storage. Although the truck looks only slightly damaged, the impulse was sufficient to knock the engine off its mounts. The trailer is badly bent up and the forklift is broken and twisted badly enough that it is a write-off, although a farmer with a welder could make it useable again.
We then drove out to see Neil at Golden Eagle. When we arrived, we were delighted to see that Jean-Marc was also there and so we all went on a tour to see Jean-Marc's hives, then get a bite in Maple Ridge.
We then went to Bobby Sox in town for a bite, then J-M left us and we returned to Golden Eagle Berries via a yard of Neil's and the Bordertown TV set. Neil's hives were not looking as good; they had not been lucky enough to have been on a good flow last summer. Although they had gone to Alberta, the area where they went was dry and had serious grasshopper problems. One of the basic truths in beekeeping is that the best medicine for bees is a good honey/pollen flow. Nothing builds bees up like a good flow, and nothing runs them down like going without.
We all discussed the idea of going to Edmonton for the meeting and going via Osoyoos to see the Alberta guys who are wintering there, along the way.
Tuesday : Sunny. Low minus 4. High minus 1.