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Thursday 20 January 2005
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It is hard to believe that a man is telling the truth when you know that you would lie if you were in his place -- H. L. Mencken


I spent the day working on the curriculum again, but ran to Three Hills to see the accountant.  Our year end is coming up fast and he had some new insights into the wisdom of buying more cattle.  Ellen and I spent a half hour with him, then I got home and back to work.

> I'm considering the purchase of a Flux drum pump to transfer 115-120
> degree F. honey from drums to a bottling tank.  Has anyone had experience
> with this brand drum pump? 
> Any other pumps that will do the job without  positioning the drum
> horizontally?

We often used standard, cheap (~$100) 1" brass gear pumps, available at most  hardware stores and geared down with pulleys to 180 RPM or so, with no problem.

They are self-priming over reasonable distances if the suction hose is airtight and the pump is in good condition.

> Thank you for your reply to my question about pumping honey from an upright
> drum into a bottling tank. I have a Kelley gear pump with the standard
> pulley reduction that I use to pump honey during extracting from a warming
> sump to drums. I had been making the bad assumption that the Kelley pump
> would not self-prime.

> So, I'm thinking of setting the pump on the drum, connecting it somehow to
> a 1 1/2 inch PVC "dip tube" in the drum and using the standard 1 1/2"
> food grade tubing for discharge into the tank. If there's something more
> that I'm missing on this, I'd appreciate your comment.

If the pump is worn, it may not self-prime. If so, sometimes pouring a little honey into it in advance and turning it a few turns will help. Any air leaks in the suction line, no matter how tiny, will also challenge you.

Today : Fog dissipating late this morning then cloudy. Snow beginning thereafter. Risk of freezing rain. Snowfall amount 2 to 5 cm. High minus 3. / Tonight : Snow. Risk of freezing rain this evening. Snowfall amount 2 to 5 cm. Low minus 14. / Normals for the period : Low minus 16. High minus 5.


Friday 21 January 2005
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Criminal: A person with predatory instincts who has not sufficient capital to form a corporation -- Howard Scott


I spent the day working on the curriculum again, but El & I took a few hours at mid-day to meet with Sheri at MacMillan to discuss things, seeing as our year end is coming up fast.

Tonight : Periods of light snow or freezing rain. Low minus 13. \ Normals for the period : Low minus 16. High minus 5.


Saturday 22 January 2005
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College isn't the place to go for ideas -- Helen Keller


Today : A mix of sun and cloud. Wind southeast 20 km/h becoming light this morning. High minus 4. Wind chill minus 25 this morning. / Tonight : Cloudy periods. Temperature rising to plus 1 by morning. / Normals for the period : Low minus 16. High minus 5


Sunday 23 January 2005
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The right word may be effective, but no word was ever as effective as a rightly timed pause -- Mark Twain


Another day slaving over a hot computer.  I'm still far from done editing, but have to submit tomorrow morning.  Hope I can make it up in the stretch...

I haven' heard from this guy for a while, but here is a note well worth reading.  Let's have more news from readers.  Please???

Morning Allen.

I have had quite a little contact from people that were either at one or both meetings earlier this month. Also had a call from a honey importer looking to pedal bottled China honey.

As near as I can gather there have been container ships loaded or will be loaded in the not so near future with China & American blended bottled honey. It also was explained to me that our China friends have been working hard at setting up a network of across North America to sell there bottled product over here.

This guy was very bold when I asked him as how in the devil they though this was going to work & how can they label this stuff as having American honey in the container. I was told that that China has been purchasing some American honey for the past few years. And it is just as easy to bottle the 1 oz. of American honey per 5 pound container over in China as it is done over here by some of the packers only a lot cheaper.

I inquired about the taste & what not, & was assured that the honey was very nice colored & had good taste. I could not get a price or as to what size containers were being shipped for sure. Maybe I asked too many questions.

I have had this type of call from importers in the past few years but I dont remember ever getting this much detail from any of the callers in the past. So I called one of my queen breeders from California to check this story out. He tells me that he has seen bottles of packed in China honey starting to show up in the southern part of the state. He also told me it was very cheaply priced. I guess it was just a matter of time before the little China men pulled this deal on the honey packers. We all knew it was only time before it happened.

Went in to a local supermarket chain here in the city to check the honey prices on the shelf as a usually do once a month or so. I do this because one of the 5 brands on the shelf is packed by a nearby local packer that buys our honey crop. I know what we sold our crop for, & I have a real good idea were the store brand label is packaged at -- & I know what they have been paying for honey in the last 3 or 4 months.

His 5 pound container is priced 93 cents higher than the store brands 3 pound container. The store manager has given him extra space as his product sells very well & is priced right. I tasted the store brand. Looked good but, what crap for taste!

Next hot item seems to be the Cargill Honey Replacement product they have come out with. Some time back I was told that corn syrup sales to beekeepers accounted for up to 20% of the yearly sales for many of the HFCS people. As this gent explained to me is he & others have called there syrup brokers & warned them that there next load of bee feed syrup & from this point forward had better not come out of a Cargill plant or one that Cargill has there fingers in.

Just that simple Allen. Why should we support them when they turn around & cut our throat?????????????

Speaking of the China I understand that that a small group of American beekeepers have seen fit to undermine one of their fellow beekeepers by importing plastic queen cell cup & plastic cages. I find it strange that a man spends the last 20 years of his life in perfection of this plastic business in order to make life easier for American queen breeders & to raise a better queen. ...And what happens someone thinks he is making a couple of pennies too much for his thousands he has invested, so what do they do, but turn around & run to a country that is all but cutting the legs out from under us beekeepers, support them & all but kill the guy who invented the entire deal.

I guess its all about greed Allen, or maybe hate would be a better word.

Last item that also seems to be on ever ones mind is that Canada & the USA need to have our governments establish what the word HONEY is or means for the entire food industry. Until this is done, all the beekeeper is doing is spinning there wheels.

Not a lot of good news lately in this business Allen, maybe its a good thing you got out when you did!

See Ya.

A very worthwhile message.  Yes, I think we did sell at a good time, but when pollination cut back, we realized that we either invest more -- $250,000 0r more -- to get up to date, or get out.   Due to age, we got out.  Beekeeping is a good way of life and I miss it.  Beekeepers will stick with it as long as they can, then a bit longer.

I worked all day at the project, then Ruth came by for supper.  After, I worked until midnight, then turned in.

Today : A mix of sun and cloud. High 4. / Tonight : Cloudy periods. Low zero.  / Normals for the period : Low minus 16. High minus 5.


Monday 24 January 2005
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If a little is good, and more is better, then 'way too much is just about right -- Mae West


First thing, I sent off the material for review.  Turns out I'm still not done.  After review, there is editing to do and a meeting to attend for beekeeper review and comment, then more work again.

Today : A mix of sun and cloud. Wind southwest 20 km/h. High 8. / Tonight : Cloudy periods. Low minus 8. / Normals for the period : Low minus 16. High minus 4.


Tuesday 25 January 2005
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Basic research is what I am doing when I don't know what I am doing -- Wernher von Braun


I have used AVG Free antivirus for many years now.  Recently, a new version - V7.0 - replaced the venerable V6.  V7 has new bells and whistles, including auto-update, but the new installation pops up balloons when working, and adds text to the outgoing and incoming email. Fortunately, these annoyances can be turned off.  Here's how.
1 Right-click the AVG icon in your system tray (bottom right corner of taskbar), and launch the AVG Control Center.
2

Right-click "Email Scanner" in the main pane, and click "Properties". 

3

In the "Properties" box, click, the "Configure" button and uncheck the two "Certify Mail" boxes.

4 Click the "OK" button.
5

Next, click the "Properties" button and clear the "Show notification icon" and "Show information window" boxes.

6

Click "OK" and then OK again. Minimize the AVG Control Centre.

7 You're done!

More security info

The Canadian Commercial Honey Producers, Canadian Honey Council and SBA joint meetings are coming up shortly in Saskatoon, the Manitoba meeting follows, and the ABA February meeting is coming up shortly thereafter.  After that, come the ABA trip to Quebec and the Bee Masters Short Course.

February/March 2005
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(Click dates to get more detail)
Saskatoon: Map  Info  More

I haven't decided whether I'll attend any or all of these.  The meetings in Saskatchewan should be excellent. and the Edmonton ABA meeting is always very worthwhile.  Each of these is an opportunity to catch up on the latest ideas and doing a little buying and selling.

The Quebec trip will be a good one, too, I am sure, and, for young beekeepers, a chance to make lifelong friends.  I remember taking a week-long course at Olds College many years back.  My classmates there went on to become significant members of the Alberta beekeeping community and most have been very successful.  Although we learned a lot of beekeeping and business in that week, we also built a network that served us well, over and over, in future years

Those who take up beekeeping join a secret society with worldwide membership.  The love of bees is unique and incomprehensible to most non beekeepers, but binds beekeepers everywhere.

Allen's Links of the Day:

Hard Drive Monitors

HD Tune | HDLife

Then, again there is always the strong temptation to go to the Vancouver International Boat Show and return via Osoyoos.  The Alberta migratory beekeepers are there in mid-February, and it is always fun.

Today : Sunny. Becoming cloudy this afternoon. High 4. / Tonight : Cloudy. 30 percent chance of flurries overnight. Low minus 4. / Normals for the period : Low minus 16. High minus 4.


Wednesday 26 January 2005
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A poem is never finished, only abandoned -- Paul Valery


We were thinking of going to the city, but it has been foggy all day, and the roads are icy.   Ellen has been working on her paintings lately, so that kept her busy.  I did some odds and ends.

We're trying to decide whether to buy cattle or hogs again.  So far, the project looks risky.

Attached is a link to our local newspaper that had a front page, top line, article yesterday. Just thought you might find it interesting: http://www.mercurynews.com/mld/mercurynews/10727620.htm

Thanks.  I appreciate all email, especially ones I can use.  FWIW, I know Gene, and visited his home, back in 1986

Today : A mix of sun and cloud. Fog patches this morning. Wind southeast 20 km/h becoming light this afternoon. High 4. / Tonight : Clearing this evening. Low minus 9. / Normals for the period : Low minus 16. High minus 4.


Thursday 27 January 2005
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I can believe anything, provided that it is quite incredible -- Oscar Wilde


I did some business in  the morning --  our year end is very close -- and went to Calgary in mid-afternoon, to do some shopping.  I saw a computer I loved -  a Sony Vaio  but did not buy it.  This little machine was 3.2 lbs, and had all the bells and whistles.  I'm finding this Toshiba to be a wonderful machine, but a bit big and heavy to lug around.  I bought a few things, including Microsoft Streets and Trips, c/w GPS receiver, and headed home.  I use my old Rand McNally maps program, that came free with a road atlas, years and years ago all the time, and figure an update is due.  Such software saves a lot of driving around and pays for itself quickly.  With the GPS, this should be a big help in strange cities.

Today: A mix of sun and cloud. Fog patches this morning. High 7. Tonight: Cloudy periods. Clearing near midnight. Low minus 12. Friday: Sunny with cloudy periods. High plus 4. Saturday: Sunny. Low minus 7. High plus 4. Sunday: Sunny. Low minus 7. High zero. Monday: Sunny. Low minus 5. High 6. / Normals High: -4C Low: -15C


Friday 28 January 2005
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Tact is the knack of making a point without making an enemy -- Isaac Newton


Calendar of upcoming beekeeping eventsMedhat called this morning.  He will be doing more protein feeding experiments this Spring, and mentioned a meeting I had forgotten to add to my calendar.  He is planning a pollination meeting at Nixons', near Innisfail on Friday the 11th, and Heather Mattila will be in attendance.  She is a grad student, working on nutrition 
Today: Fog dissipating near noon then a mix of sun and cloud. High zero. Tonight: Cloudy periods. Clearing near midnight. Wind becoming southeast 20 km/h this evening. Low minus 12. / Weather warning for Drumheller-Three Hills: Visibilities are reduced to less than 800 m in fog this morning. Fog has formed over the Red Deer, Drumheller and Coronation Areas this morning. Poor visibilities of 800 m or less will continue this morning. Conditions will improve near noon as drier air Pushes southwards.

Saturday 29 January 2005
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Three o'clock is always too late or too early for anything you want to do -- Jean-Paul Sartre


The day began foggy, and Jean called to cancel their planned visit to Swalwell.  Soon the sun came out, and the day was beautiful. Elliotts came over to get a sink they had here and later we went for a walk.

Today: Sunny with cloudy periods. High 5. Tonight: A few clouds. Wind southwest 20 km/h becoming light this evening. Low minus 5. Sunday: Sunny. Wind becoming northwest 20 km/h in the morning. High 6. Monday: Sunny. Low minus 3. High 7. Tuesday: Sunny. Low minus 2. High 8. Wednesday: Sunny. Low zero. High 7.


Sunday 30 January 2005
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The best way to destroy an enemy is to make him a friend -- Abraham Lincoln


Day are getting longer, and Spring is peeking around the corner.  Sunrise: 8:15 Sunset: 17:18 Moonrise: 23:25 Moonset: 10:17

> All that time the tractor stood in the snow, one meter away from
> the hive ...The temperature was around -4C.

> ...I wondered what the chances would be that the bees
> got disturbed so much by the vibrations and noise that they would
> break away from the cluster and what the results could be if this
> happened?

I would not expect any problem from this.

Assuming the bees did not show up at the entrance, I would assume either that they were not disturbed much, or they were already dead or too weak to react.

Even if they did break cluster and even come out the entrances a bit, I still would expect no ill effects. Bees typically do break cluster a number of times during winter and move around, then cluster again, so, even if they did so due to the tractor, I think they should be fine.

We used to pick up and move hives between yards on our flat-deck trucks in late Fall, and at temperatures anywhere from minus 10 to plus 10, with no apparent ill effects. Sometimes they sat overnight on the truck and then rode around again, sometimes for several days, before we put them down somewhere.

Occasional short-duration external disturbances don't seem to have any lasting effect on wintering bees, in my experience, anyhow.


>> Occasional short-duration external disturbances don't seem to have any
>> lasting effect on wintering bees, in my experience, anyhow.

> Unless the external disturbance is deer knocking the hives over.

Agreed. I wasn't including upset or breaking open.

> Between deer and horses I'm down 15 hives this
> winter!

> I'm thinking of drilling holes in the stands and sinking rebar to
> stabilize them. Not that that will stop the horses.

It only take a glance at barbed wire to make most horses back off. I was on a trail ride and one of the horses noticed that it had come up on a 2-foot long piece of barbed wire on the ground. It stopped dead until the wire was removed.

For yards with horses, we bought steel posts and a roll of barbed wire at a farm supply. We used a hollow post pounder -- manually operated -- to set the posts. Three strands of wire were easy to put up, and in spring, we just folded them back, out of the way. I suspect that such a fence would deter deer, as well, since I gather they are just walking into them in the dark?

Today: Cloudy. 30 percent chance of flurries or freezing rain this morning then clearing. Wind becoming northwest 20 km/h this morning. High 6. Tonight: Clear. Low minus 8. Monday: Sunny. High 8. Tuesday: Sunny. Low minus 4. High 6. Wednesday: Sunny. Low minus 3. High 10. Thursday: A mix of sun and cloud. Low zero. High 9. Normals: High: -3C Low: -15C


Monday 31 January 2005
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I have only one superstition. I touch all the bases when I hit a home run -- Babe Ruth


Well, we had a big day.  We've been deciding whether to buy more cattle, and if so how many, and where to keep them.  We were looking at several deals for some time, now, but weren't quite happy with any, until we spoke with a neighbour who happened to have an idea that worked for us both.  So, we wound up doing a deal where we now have some feeders, some pregnant cows, a few open cows, plus a lot of hay, and a lot less money.

The day began with counting the feed on hand, so we went out to take a look at the stacks.  We drove out the pavement to where the first stack was located, right near one of our former, and perhaps future, bee yards.  We had a lot of snow last month, but most of it has melted in the warm spell we have been experiencing over the past two weeks and the field looked passable in the four wheel drive, so we drove into the field.  We got about 20 feet and we were stuck - high centred.  The snow was hard enough to walk on.

I had my trusty cell phone, so I called Ellen, and before too long she arrived in Bigfoot, our rusty, battered old Chevy with big tires and a 4" lift kit.  Maybe, come to think of it, the lift is more like 8", because we almost need a ladder to get in.   Anyhow, she had the recovery strap with her, and after two or three good tugs, we were on the road. 

A few years back, we would have been stuck for an hour, at least, and probably two, by time we got help and dug ourselves out.  We would probably have had to shovel, and might have bent something, or needed a tractor, but with the phone and the strap, and a light truck pulling, the job was a cinch.  Due to the elasticity in the strap, there is no hammering from chains slackening and tightening, and the force exerted by taking a slight run with the towing vehicle is far greater and far more unrelenting than we could ever muster with a light truck using a chain or cable.

After we counted hay, we counted cattle. Then, Lester dropped by to pick up the cheque for some of the animals we bought, to give an opinion on the open cows we are thinking of selling, and to help us sort some of the other cows.  Then we wrote some cheques and took a trip to the bank.

Today, fortunately, we were blessed with lovely weather for the job. The sun shone, it was plus 10C, and we were in shirtsleeves some of the time.  Last year, at this time, when we drove around looking at cattle, the high was around minus twenty-seven, with a nasty wind that brought the chill to below minus forty.  That's a difference of thirty-five degrees C (or 68 F), between the two years.  Such swings are not unusual around here.  I've seen greater temperature swings within a day -- even within a few hours!

Today: Sunny with cloudy periods. Wind becoming southwest 20 km/h gusting to 40 this afternoon. High 9. Tonight: A few clouds. Wind southwest 20 km/h gusting to 40 becoming light this evening. Low minus 9. Tuesday: Sunny with cloudy periods. High 9. Wednesday: A mix of sun and cloud. Low 1. High 11. Thursday: A mix of sun and cloud. Low 3. High 10. Friday: A mix of sun and cloud. Low minus 5. High plus 5.

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