A Beekeeper's Diary

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Tuesday 1 June 2004
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Today's events in 2003  2002  2001  2000

Laughing at our mistakes can lengthen our own life. Laughing at someone else's can shorten it. -- Cullen Hightower

I spent the day at the desk, again, taking care of all the details of managing our affairs and getting ready for summer.  Cattle prices are in the sewer right now, and, unless the prices pick up, we'll be taking a bath.  Oh, well.  That's how it goes: win some, lose some.  Everyone does.   Can't let the losses throw your game.  If there is one lesson I've learned in life, it is not how often you lose, but quickly you get past that and back to winning.

Today : Sunny with cloudy periods. High 19. UV index 7 or high.  / Tonight : Clear. Wind southeast 20 km/h becoming light near midnight. Low / Normals for the period : Low 6. High 19.


Wednesday 2 June 2004
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Today's events in 2003  2002  2001  2000

For every human problem, there is a neat, simple solution; and it is always wrong -- H. L. Mencken

This year, I did not feed either syrup or pollen patties, and I have noticed that the young bees are very much smaller than in other years.  Whether this will have a long term effect on the colonies, or not, I do not know.  What I do know is that in the years when we did feed well, we had good wintering, but before that, we sometimes had high losses.

In the afternoon, I went to Three Hills, saw the accountant and paid some more tax.  When I returned, Ben, Tom, and Jane from Irricana colony were waiting to load the empty frames we were offering to give away.  They loaded one truckload, then came back in the evening for another.  The Beemer worked perfectly, and that is good.  I am expecting to have to load two semis of supers in the next week or so, and a good forklift is an absolute necessity.

Wednesday : Sunny. High 21.


Thursday 3 June 2004
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Today's events in 2003  2002  2001  2000

In times like these, it helps to recall that there have always been times like these. -- Paul Harvey

I went to Calgary today to get the transmission and brakes flushed and to do several other tasks.   I was impressed by the service.  They drove me uptown and also gave me transit tickets.  Very professional.

On the way in, I stopped to see Frank at Global.  he says he has some orders for Fall patties already and is getting ready to ship more into the US.  So far, he has plowed every cent he has made in patties back into improving the production.  He has received glowing reports from some very well respected beekeepers across Canada and I think that this, as much as anything is what makes him tick.  We're hoping to learn more, and continue to improve protein feeding.  Medhat is working on a study to try to measure results of existing mixes, but we need to see if there are any ingredients that can improve the already good, tried and true recipes we have.

At one time, I had five cell phones, and slowly have decreased the number to just one old bag phone.  Today I finally broke down and bought a new cellphone and also signed up for unlimited 1x Internet access by cellphone.  It's expensive, but it is a trial.  If it works out, I can eliminate on phone line and also get connection anywhere.  I have some concerns with how it will work when I am in the US and near the US border, but most of my use is in Canada.

I was hoping to get some queen cells from Joe, but he tells me that the ones they have do not look so great.  We've had a cool Spring.  Tonight was the first time this year we have gone to bed with the doors and windows open because of the heat.  Some years, we have this kind of heat in May.  The effects of the cool spring can be seen in slower hive build-up and later splitting.

Bored?  Not enough beekeeping content? Readers are reminded to visit the pages from past years (Today's events in 2003  2002  2001  2000) to see the daily beekeeping activities when we were running a commercial outfit and also 'Selected Topics'.  I am now a (rather negligent) hobbyist and am not nearly as motivated as I was then.  I must confess that I have not yet even tested for varroa in my overwintered hives and that they have now gone 14 months without treatment.  I must get a drop board on them soon.  Stay tuned...

Today : Clearing this morning. Wind becoming southeast 20 km/h this morning. High 24. UV index 7 or high. / Tonight : A few clouds. Wind southeast 20 km/h becoming light this evening. Low 11.  / Normals for the period : Low 6. High 19.


Friday 4 June 2004
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Today's events in 2003  2002  2001  2000

A good friend can tell you what is the matter with you in a minute. He may not seem such a good friend after telling. -- Arthur Brisbane

I set up the cellphone Internet connection and tried it out.  It is about 4 times as fast as our dialup, but seems to go in fits and starts at times, and I got dropped quite a few times.  Later, I had to do a system restore when I ran into some problems, but, after a software reinstall, the cell connection seems okay.  We'll see.  Interesting note: I'm glad I did not trim back the amount of space dedicated to System Restore, since I see I have restore points going back almost a month.  If I run short of hard drive, I'll cut back on the space dedicated to SR, but for now, it gives me comfort.

Today : Sunny with cloudy periods. 30 percent chance of showers this afternoon with the risk of a thunderstorm. High 26. UV index 7 or high. / Tonight : Cloudy periods. 30 percent chance of showers this evening with the risk of a thunderstorm. Wind east 20 km/h becoming light near midnight. Low 11. / Normals for the period : Low 6. High 20.


Saturday 5 June 2004
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Today's events in 2003  2002  2001  2000

To have doubted one's own first principles is the mark of a civilized man. -- Oliver Wendell Holmes Jr.

Anther day at the desk and tidying.

We had some strong winds and a cloudburst, but not a lot of rain.  We are getting pretty dry, and Ellen is watering the garden every day.

Today : A mix of sun and cloud. 30 percent chance of showers this afternoon with the risk of a thunderstorm. Wind becoming southeast 30 km/h near noon. High 28. UV index 8 or very high. / Tonight : Cloudy. 60 percent chance of showers with the risk of a thunderstorm. Wind west 30 km/h. Low 10. / Normals for the period : Low 7. High 20.


Sunday 6 June 2004
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Today's events in 2003  2002  2001  2000

Too many have dispensed with generosity in order to practice charity.-- Albert Camus

It is a dull day.  I'm doing bookwork.  Ellen is off to a garden centre with Shirley.

Did I say we need rain?  Okay.  We don't.  Not any more, for a while, at least.  This afternoon started with a few cloudbursts, then the torrents began.  We had a...

 flash flood! 

A river in our yard where there wasn't one an hour ago, and there is...

...water pooling against our house. Next picture is a window on this same wall, and...

...water is part way up the window. 
Around the corner...

...water is running under a door and down the stairs, while,...

...at the other end of the building, water pools against another door, Inside the door,...

...water is coming up a floor drain, entering by a drain just outside.

Fortunately, however, we put in new drains recently, and although the concrete floor got wet and dirty, the water did not rise much.

The pond, however, appears close to overflowing.  Since, by the forecast, the bulk of the expected rain is expected tomorrow, not today, maybe it will go over.  That has only happened once in the past thirty years, and only from spring runoff.

Today : A mix of sun and cloud. 30 percent chance of showers this afternoon. Wind west 30 km/h. High 16. UV index 7 or high. / Tonight : Cloudy. Periods of rain beginning this evening. Amount 5 mm. Wind northwest 40 km/h gusting to 60 diminishing to 30 this evening. Low 8. / Normals for the period : Low 7. High 20.


Monday 7 June 2004
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Today's events in 2003  2002  2001  2000

The truth that makes men free is for the most part the truth which men prefer not to hear. -- Herbert Agar

Well!  We had four inches of rain in a few hours, yesterday, and we're in flat country with clay soil.  The neighbours had a grain bin float down from another farm and go through a fence.  The railway main line was washed out just north of here and they worked all night to get it repaired.  Roads were awash many places, and some local crops were washed out.  lakes appeared and filled, and valleys became rivers for a few hours.  Our pond is brimming full.

The diversion moats I built along the field east of us a few years back, anticipating just such an eventuality, worked.  Seems all the water that got into our basement was from the roof and near the building.  This morning things are drying out and there are only a few pools of water on the floors.

This afternoon, I pressure washed some of the rugs.  Pressure washing works well to clean furniture and rugs, when done correctly, and when the items can dry quickly.  Today we had sunshine and a good wind to dry things up.

Medhat Nasr, Ph. D.
Provincial Apiculturist
Crop Diversification Centre North

17507 Fort Road
Edmonton, AB, Canada T5Y 6H3
Tel: (780) 415-2314    Fax: (780) 422-6096
Mailto:medhat.nasr@gov.ab.ca

Hi everyone,

On Friday June 4, the first shipment of 400 queens arrived to Calgary airport. These queens were shipped from Strachan Apiaries, Inc, Yuba City, California. Queens arrived with the proper certificates and released from the airport without any problem.

Over the past several days, beekeepers called my office to express their thanks and gratitude.  We would also like to take this opportunity to thank all of you for your efforts. I would also like to thank the California queen producers who cooperated with us to get their inspection and health certificates ready as required by the Canadian Food Inspection Agency at the last minute. This positive response from all parties to the Canadian beekeepers' needs is remarkable. The change of regulations has allowed the beekeepers to import their queens from the USA in a controlled and regulated fashion. Now, beekeepers are trying to catch up with the season. They are importing thousands of queens to increase their number of colonies for honey production and crop pollination.

Thanks again and have a honey of a day,

Medhat

Medhat Nasr, Ph. D.
Provincial Apiculturist
Crop Diversification Centre North
17507 Fort Road
Edmonton, AB, Canada T5Y 6H3
Tel: (780) 415-2314    Fax: (780) 422-6096
Mailto:medhat.nasr@gov.ab.ca

I predict that the change to the import rules will have very little effect on those who do not care to participate in importing, but be a huge help to those who depend on purchased stock and breeders.  These changes will also make importation of the Russian stock and other selected strains much simpler, and make a better selection of strains available much more quickly and economically. 

I also predict that, within a year or so, many of those who opposed the changes will be lined up to import just like everyone else, and benefiting from the measures they fought with every possible dishonest tactic.  That's what happened with the Hawaiian stock years ago.  Why should this time be different?  Whatever.  That is how it should be.  In a democracy, once the battles are over, the groups must get over their differences and make the best of their collective decision.

What's next?  Package bees?  I suppose so, and that would be a a huge boost for our industry, but I think that I will let others fight that battle.  We'll see.

Today : Cloudy. 30 percent chance of showers this morning. Wind north 40 km/h gusting to 60 diminishing to 30 near noon. High 13. UV index 5 or moderate.  / Tonight : Cloudy periods. 30 percent chance of showers this evening. Clearing overnight. Wind north 30 km/h becoming light this evening. Low 5.  / Normals for the period : Low 7. High 20.


Tuesday 8 June 2004
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Today's events in 2003  2002  2001  2000

A strong conviction that something must be done is the parent of many bad measures. -- Daniel Webster

Bill phoned last night and asked me to help them unload two semi-trailers of mill equipment this morning, so I am off to to just that.

Later in the day, I had occasion to compose the first resume I have ever written in my life.  As a sales manager, years ago, I threw lots of them into the wastepaper (many are just fiction and bad writing), but have never written one before. It was an interesting experience, and maybe I'll share it here sometime.

I also set up a website for Chateau Three Hills, copying their old site across, and making a few improvements.

Today : Sunny with cloudy periods. High 18. UV index 8 or very high.  / Tonight : A few clouds. Wind southeast 20 km/h becoming light near midnight. Low 4. / Normals for the period : Low 7. High 20.


Wednesday 9 June 2004
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Today's events in 2003  2002  2001  2000

Philosophy is a battle against the bewitchment of our intelligence by means of language. -- Ludwig Wittgenstein

El & I had our eyes checked this morning.  For the first time in many years, my prescription has changed a bit.  I still don't wear glasses (since I lose them), but there are situations where they can come in  handy.  The price is ridiculous, though.  I can buy a pair of sunglasses for $15.  Similar frames alone for corrective eyeglasses cost more like $150, and I cannot see much, if any quality difference.  Explain that.  Then there is the cost of the lenses.  I prices glasses in Mexico when I was there the other year, and in Tijuana, at least, they are not a whole lot cheaper.

Hi Allen.

It's been awhile.  I have been enjoying your website for a couple of years, thanks to an
alert from (my son).

Here's a copy of an insurrectionist note I sent to (Some California queen producers) in response to news about the border opening.

Use it as you see fit.

----- Original Message -----

Sent: Thursday, June 24, 2004 3:49 PM
Subject: Re: Queen Imports

> Thanks for letting me know that the border is opening. I gather things
> have moved forward, finally.
> I still think y'all should hammer the turkeys who were in favor of
> border closure. All those dumbbells ever did to me was make our outfit more
> valuable, which provided a nice boost to my retirement program, but this
> doesn't mean that they weren't intellectually stupid, morally wrong, and
> just plain mean minded and avaricious.
> I favor a two price system for queens and packages: fair market value
> for the folks who fought to keep the border open and a destructive surcharge
> for the turkeys who were on the wrong side for the wrong reasons.
> In the meantime, I wish you folks well. You have been a heck of a lot
> more patient than I would have been.

Well, personally, I believe that the world has no hope, except for peace, reconciliation and forgiveness, but I can certainly understand the sentiment.  My vote is to get over things and to move on, however, there are still battles to be won before truth and justice prevail. 

These 'turkeys' as my respected friend calls them, continue to obstruct progress, development and depress profits by forcing CFIA to place hypothetical questions of bee health above the very real challenge to bee industry health caused by the continuing ban on package bees.

I received a letter today from CFIA in response to my submission regarding the Gazette publication prior to the (much delayed) queen decision.  The letter says that the package ban has been renewed to December 2006, citing the much discredited risk assessment.  Oh, well!

Even if these 'turkeys' were right about potential threats to the health of bees in Canada from controlled imports of package bees from the mainland US -- which they are not -- the insignificance of those minor and unproven threats to bee health compared to the high cost of the continuing embargo on the bee industry make the CFIA an unwitting accessory to a thinly-veiled and insupportable protectionist measure.

I would say the momentum is finally now increasing on the side of openness and freedom of choice, although victories are never automatic.  What we have suffered from being on the receiving end of similar dishonest, protectionist lobbying by groups like R-CALF and the US lumber producers, and the resulting trade disruptions, that most informed and intelligent Canadians understand that we need to take a good look at ourselves and clean up our own act, so the climate has changed for the better.

The 'intellectually stupid, morally wrong, and just plain mean minded and avaricious'  as my friend calls those poor, deluded souls who still cling to oppressive blanket bans, are discredited and on the run.  Their tattered remnants resorted to scare tactics and yellow journalism as a last-ditch rearguard measure last time, and their credibility is on the wane as a result.  Smart people can see right through such desperation tactics, and  I imagine that, about now, the people at CFIA are not happy to see them coming.  Now that the queen ban is gone, I think that it would not take much to convince CFIA that a blanket package bee ban is not in their best interest either.

It is not time to let off the pressure.  There is no reason to deny package bees to those areas of country which have indicated that they understand the 'risks', but need packages just the same.  The areas that wish to restrict or exclude US packages are already restricting or excluding bees and equipment from other Canadian regions, and there is no reason that they should not continue to do so and include the US packages from their own regions as well.

There is no excuse for a continuing, restrictive, one-size-fits-all policy.  Let's tell CFIA that.  You have the address from the last letter-writing campaign.  Send your comments there.

Today : Sunny. Becoming cloudy this afternoon. Wind becoming south 30 km/h this morning. High 17. UV index 8 or very high. / Tonight : Cloudy. 60 percent chance of showers. Wind south 30 km/h. Low 8. / Normals for the period : Low 7. High 20.

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