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I think we ought always to entertain our opinions with some measure of doubt.
I shouldn't wish people dogmatically to believe any philosophy, not even mine.
Bertrand Russell (1872 - 1970)

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Saturday October 10th, 2009
October past: 2005, 2004, 2003, 2002, 2001, 2000, 1999
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We are having our Thanksgiving meal today, since Jean and Chris are going to his sister's tomorrow.

Still cold, and the forklift is still frozen up.  Everyone knows that beekeeping is simply impossible without a forklift. 

I'll bet the bees are down out of the supers today.  I should go and take a few off, but company is coming.

Sunday October 11th, 2009
October past: 2005, 2004, 2003, 2002, 2001, 2000, 1999
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I figured out how to thaw out the forklift, using Mr. Heater and the wind went down, so I started work on the scale again.

I downloaded Mepis and loaded it onto a thumb drive, using unetbootin, a free utility . Actually, I did not need to do the download.  Unetbootin lists the various distros and will do the download, then install a boot loader and boot into Linux from the thumb drive without affecting the computer's own files or operating system.  Mepis is very fast And looks good.

Monday October 12th, 2009
October past: 2005, 2004, 2003, 2002, 2001, 2000, 1999
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Nothing much happened today. I spent my day at the desk, getting the last of the inspecting records done and playing with Mepis.  The live CD ran like lightening from the thumb drive, by when I tried installing it in a Virtualbox virtual machine, the instructions were ambiguous, and the install ran slow.  I ran setup twice, and still have not got a good system.  Too bad. It looked like a good distro, but I am thinking that more time went into appearance than making it usable.  Too bad, because it has better documentation than some distros I have tried.  The problem is that the docs are CIPU -- Clear If Previously Understood. They are written by people who are not installing for the first time.  I'm not stupid, but I do not know what some of the terms imply in this particular instance, seeing as they can be used in different senses.  Additionally, the install process insisted I assign a domain to the computer.  In my experience this can lead to networking problems.

We watched -- at least my mother did, Ellen & I drifted off to do other things -- The Secret Life of BeesFrom what I did see, it seemed somewhat brutish for my tastes and had not much to do with bees.  I later had a sauna and watched Men in Black again.  Now, that is my kind of movie

Tuesday October 13th, 2009
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It's another dull, cool day.  It is minus 5 out, but I am going to pull some supers today, if the forklift co-operates.  I'm tired of being indoors.

I may get the scale finished, too.  I was making a piece for it the other day when supper was called.  If it works, then I should be done in a matter of an hour or so.


Well, it turns out that it is cold and the shifter cable is frozen again.  There is enough of a breeze that Mr Heater won't do much. I'll have to just take the cable off and drain it, I guess. 

I may just pull some supers anyhow, since I can get them off with no bees and little disturbance.

 


I took the cable off, thawed it, and blew air through.  I think I'll dry it overnight, too, though.

I also decided to take advantage of the weather and went out to the bees.  I was able to pull 23 supers in about a half-hour, even with carrying them 40 or 50 feet to the pallet, seeing as the forklift is out of commission. The bees were always down out of the top box, and sometimes the second, although there were a few stragglers in some.  I only took off two boxes that were not crammed full.

For whatever reason, the top of the cluster seems to often be right at the top of a box, with a few bees on the bottom of the one above.  I think I may have to take some lids off and let the clusters contract to get the next layer off without bees.

We watched Australia.  It is quite an epic, and a good watch.

Wednesday October 14th, 2009
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Today, we went to Rosebud for lunch and the theatre matinee show.  Mary's Wedding was playing.  Lunch was good, and the show was riveting. 

We had 4" or so overnight and continuing into the day, so the roads were slushy, with some drifting across in spots.  This early in the season, the ground is not frozen hard and drivers are not used to snow.

Thursday October 15th, 2009
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Mom has been here a week now.

We drove Mom up to Jean's and had supper, then spent the night.

Friday October 16th, 2009
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We had an enjoyable morning at Jean's then came home.

Saturday October 17th, 2009
October past: 2005, 2004, 2003, 2002, 2001, 2000, 1999
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I figured it would bee too cool to have any robbing (my honey is in an open shed o a pallet since the forklift was frozen up.  I was wrong.  I spent the afternoon repairing and painting the scale, and when I went over to the bees to deliver the scale, I see there was a bit of light robbing going on.  No big deal.  I don't really want the honey.  My intention is to use it to feed the bees and only extract what I have to.

I also notice the skunk or skunks that have been a minor problem thus far and tolerable are getting much more desperate.  They are really scratching at the doorsteps, then rolling and and killing bees that come out.  (See picture at left) I'm going to have to do something.  I'll be wrapping soon, and skunks ruin bee wraps by clawing at the hives.

I'm back to weighing the hives again.  I'm afraid that I missed one of the most interesting periods -- the time right after the first killer frost.  I suspect that there would have been some significant weight losses at that time.  We'll see what happens now.

 
Re: Used luxury cars. Hello- I noticed the comment on Grand Marquis cars. I agree; I have a '94 that has at least several more years left. I bought it from a elderly woman. The car is in better shape than most other cars at the current age & miles. The "poor man's Cadillac" gets great mileage even with the V8 power. My only complaint is that the power windows need fixing every few years. Good luck with your car & bees.

Sunday October 18th, 2009
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Ellen & I met Mom and Jean at the Black Knight in Red Deer for the dinner theatre at noon.  Novel House was the featured play.  It turned out to be mediocre, but fun.  The food was good, too.

Compared to the Rosebud performance, this one was overpriced; the script was a bit dopey and and the acting less polished, but the food was better.

I'm not complaining about either, though.  Each was pretty darn good. We don't get out to the theatre much, and we enjoy what we get.

 

Monday October 19th, 2009
October past: 2005, 2004, 2003, 2002, 2001, 2000, 1999
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Here's an interesting site: http://beeman.se/index-f.html

I took a scale reading today.  The scale is still a bit sticky, even after my repairs.  Anyhow, it appears that the four hives lost 6 lbs over two days. That amounts to 3/4 lb per hive per day.  Extrapolating that rate of loss to the end of April, that would amount to 135 lbs! (6 months x 30 days x 3/4 lb/day = 135 lbs).  Obviously this rate of loss cannot continue, since hives typically only have ninety pounds of stores (150 [total] - 2x20 [boxes] - 8 [bees] - 15 {lid, floor]) going into winter and there is always some -- 20 lbs and often more -- left over in May.

When in Red Deer yesterday, I bought some carpet tack strips.  A 12-foot package costs $1.95 and makes 9 entrance skunk repellers.  I have heard of this idea before, and thought it was just one of those hobbyist notions and had never seen it in practice until I was inspecting last month.  One fellow I know with 4 or 5 thousand hives has one of these on every hive.

I have a skunk problem, and am not keen to shoot or poison the poor desperate skunks.  I've done both in the past, but I guess I'm getting soft.  Anyhow, I blew a few dollars and today I put them on.  We'll see if they work on a skunk that has been eating bees all summer. I also wonder if the strips will work as well on hives like mine that have an entrance auger hole within skunk reach.

There was a light rain when I went out and the temp was 9 degrees C.  Even then, a few bees were out and about.  I'll have to be sure to get that honey I pulled out of their reach.  When I hammered the three tacks in, some of the hives were calm, but others came right out to see who was banging on their doorstep.  I thought the most active hive might be light, but I hefted it and it seemed heavy enough.  It was only a double, and the others are taller, so maybe the skunks have been bothering it more since the cluster is closer to the entrance.

I saw some white pupae on the entrances, so I guess the bees are ending brood rearing and settling down for winter.

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