A Beekeeper's Diary

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Details from a slide from Dr. Jerry Bromenshenk's presentation at the Alberta Beekeepers Commission AGM.
The image below is an infra-red shot of the same hives as the top shot. 
A lot can be inferred from the temperatures illustrated by colour gradations.
Compare entrance activity seen above to the amount of heat shown below
Jerry has his hives up on stands to thwart skunks.  I may have to do that.

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Brown text indicates personal ramblings that have little to do with bees and beekeeping.

Monday November 1st 2010
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Joe and I arrived at Fantasyland Hotel at the West Edmonton Mall around five last night, registered, had supper in the Mall, and watched "The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo".  It was actually pretty good.  My wife is reading the book, so it will be interesting to get her perspective if she sees the movie later.

Today we register and the meeting begins.

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Tuesday November 2nd 2010
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Joe and I skipped out for an hour or two to visit a plastics factory to look into moulding expanded styrene boxes of the sort sold by Swienty and BeeMax.  Apparently getting boxes made is not a big deal and the cost per box should be quite reasonable.  There is a fairly large expense for a mould, though.  That cost almost doubles if handholds are required, and of course they are.  We are waiting for a quote.  We'd make them in one piece.  The slight extra cost over making flat pieces to assemble is far out-weighed by the extra strength and eliminating the job of assembling boxes and the superior strength.  Painting is enough extra work.


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Wednesday November 3rd 2010
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Today, after the meeting, we drive home.  The weather looks excellent.  Some years there are snow storms or ice at this time of year, but this year the roads are clear.  We left around 5:30 and stopped in Red deer to have supper with Medhat who was also driving south. 

Joe has a new car (2006 Dodge 300) and I drove.  This machine makes my old car look poor by comparison.  I do prefer luxury models and this one lacks a few of the features, but not many.  after driving this car and the Flex, I'm thinking it may be time to break down and update my wheels.

We arrived in Swalwell around 10.

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Thursday November 4th 2010
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As I think further about the EPS boxes we are considering making, it occurs to me that maybe we should be considering 5, 6 and 8-frame versions.  Anyone interested in participating should drop me a line.  we are not out to make money on this project.  As with most of our projects, the goal is to benefit beekeeping in general with little personal reward other than the good feeling of helping and the respect that comes with making a difference.

Speaking of projects to benefit beekeepers, my friends have recently bankrolled a researcher to investigate several ant-fungus agents used in food everyday on the off-chance that they might just have an effect on nosema, which has recently been reclassified as a fungus.  These ingredients are GRAS and cheap and can be used freely.  Any results will be freely available to all beekeepers and no attempt made to keep them "secret" to cash in on beekeepers' anguish.  Wouldn't it be a gas if this works out?  The chances aren't good, though.  It is a long, long shot.

What we need in this industry is more people putting their money on the table for the benefit of all when a specific problem arises and a specific potential solution needs investigation.   It seems the money in our research funds are largely wasted and beekeepers are repeatedly disappointed to see ridiculous projects receive precious money when politics trumps reason and the trustees heads are turned.

What makes more sense to me is for people wanting to investigate a specific problem to ask publicly for support for a specific test or investigation.  The commercial beekeepers I know will throw a few thousand each at anything that holds promise of making a return on investment, but are reluctant to contribute to a general fund over which they have little or no personal control and where wastage is rampant.  IMO, that latter category includes all the bee research funds I know about (and probably any that are formed in the future).

I spent the day at the desk, except for an afternoon stroll with Zippy.  I have several more days of this.  Expenses for spring and fall work have to be submitted along with our GST quarterly return.  I wrote several articles for BEE-L.

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Friday November 5th 2010
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Two things of note:

  1. I fixed the "Subscribe" link on my BEE-L page.

  2. I have posted several of my BEE-L contributions on the Honey Bee World Forum for discussion with those who read this page and don't have the time for BEE-L. Check them out by clicking here.

Please Let me know if you have any problems reading or posting.

In the evening, I watched several episodes of "Firefly".  It was entertaining.  Supposedly a "space western", it was pretty much the same old formula TV sci-fi stuff with a 'psychic' and/or psychotic  girl thrown in for audience appeal.  It was enjoyable enough that I zipped the next disk at Zip.ca.

I have been a long-time Zip.ca fan and have a four-disk subscription.  I'm mostly pleased with them.  My only complaint is that they do not send my disks in order requested or anything even remotely like that.  What we get is always a surprise unless I have ordered several disks from a series.  In that case they have sent me all the disks at once.  Who can watch 25 episodes of Barney Miller without wanting something else in between?  I've complained, but to no avail.

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Saturday November 6th 2010
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There is still no action in the Honey Bee World Forum.  I can't figure this out.  The forum used to be very active.  Then I took it down for a while, and after I brought it back, I "improved" it by changing the software and adding moderation (due to spam from 'bots).  For a while, some topics got locked.  I unlocked them, but since then, there has been almost no activity.

I wonder if posters are confused by the "save" button which allows saving drafts for later, when people are expecting a "submit" button.  The "submit" button is there, too, but to the right of the others.  I've found it confusing, myself.

I've started posting my best BEE-L contributions in the Forum and will continue if there people show interest.  I was looking through the topics there and am finding some pretty good content.

I am running some tests on the forum and it seems that one post vanished on the way to moderation for sure, and I am wondering how many more have vapourized.  Please be sure to let me know if you post and your post does not show up in a short while.

This afternoon I spent a few hours at the health care centre in town having my heart checked out.  Ever since August, I have been more aware of my heart than usual and have noticed palpitations I associate with the recent head and chest infections.  I seem to have energy and no real problems, but I figure that it can't hurt to be sure since I am now 65 and my father did not live to 66.  Everything checked out fine again, so that is reassuring.

I had an ear infection in June and it came back several times, the third time with a sore throat.  I immediately got medication each time, but was concerned that I might have had some heart damage. 

The hospital, yesterday, did blood tests for heart damage signs and other potential problems, an ECG, and chest X-rays.  All came back just fine, so I guess I'll live a little longer. 

"Among the diagnostic tests available to detect heart muscle damage are an electrocardiogram (ECG, chest X-ray, and various blood tests. The most often used markers are the creatine kinase-MB (CK-MB) fraction and the troponin levels. Immediate treatment for suspected acute myocardial infarction includes oxygen, aspirin, and sublingual nitroglycerin".

Oddly I don't seem to be worried about dying suddenly, other than it would be most inconvenient.  I am more worried about not dying and being unable to do the things I love.  I suppose that one or the other is inevitable, judging by the 'reality' I see around me.  Let's just hope this is all just an illusion as suggested all franchises of all the major religions.

I then got some groceries, went home, cooked supper and watched "The Lonely Guy".  I like Steve Martin, but his movies are either very good or abysmally awful.  This movie was awful!  I watched the whole thing, but I have no idea why, other than wondering/hoping it might get better.

I set the clocks back and changed the batteries.  It is recommended to change the smoke detector batteries, too.   I don't have any set up and working, though.  Add that to my "Do" list, I guess.

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Sunday November 7th 2010
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The Forum is now working.  In addition to some excellent older material, we now have a few new posts.  It could be that the error was mine.  I am unfamiliar with the moderation panel and the lost post may have been on a hidden (to me) page that I discovered.  Ooops!

Anyhow, I intend to give regulars full privileges there to post without moderation after they have posted a few times.  The moderation is just to protect members (and me) from 'bots and spammers.  On the original forum I had to delete quite a bit and unsubscribe many 'bots and spammers.

I may put more of my content on the Forum, so check it often.  Here are two ongoing topics:

Note, from your forum "User control panel", under "Board preferences", there are a number of options to change the appearance of the forum completely when you visit.  If you use this direct link, you'll have to log in (if you are not currently logged into the forum) and then will be taken directly there.  Try the various skins to see what works best for you.

The forum software is doing strange things.  It delayed a post for a few hours before it showed up in the moderation queue and then, just now, I see a post went straight to the list and bypassed moderation.  I have work to do.  In the meantime, let me know if you post and it does not show up on the list fairly quickly.  Thanks!

I spent the day on the Forum and am quite pleased with it, so please check it out and let me know what you think.  I upgraded it to the latest software release -- always a risky task that can morph into days of work or a restore back to the previous version -- but all went well.  I deleted a few old posts, changed permissions, perhaps got rid of some of the moderation and generally tuned it up.  I added some new styles so members can have the kind of interface they like.  I did not add any of the heavy black World of Warcraft type or blood-red skins -- I personally don't care for them -- but will probably add any that are requested.

Below are a few of the options to see exactly the same page. Click to enlarge.

SkyBlue 

Serenity 

SE square left

prosilver
special edition

I also sent out a note to all subscribers to the forum.  I carefully proofread it before sending.  The only thing I did not proofread was the subject line.  It went out, entitled: "HoenyBeeWorld.com Forum Maintenance Notice".  Drat!


In the evening, I watched "Working Girl".   It was a pleasant movie from the eighties.  Notable were the hairdos and shots of the Hudson , c/w the Statue of Liberty and the orange Staten Island Ferries, familiar sights that bring back my trips into and through New York City on our way back from Bermuda to Canada via the Hudson River and the New York Canal System.  Part way through the movie, I realized I have seen it before, but that didn't matter.  I enjoyed it.  With the passage of time, the context changes and what was timely becomes a museum piece.

I'd like to spend a week or two in NYC sometime, preferably in spring or fall.

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Monday November 8th 2010
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I found a message awaiting approval this morning, so I guess that I have not quite killed the moderation feature.  I'm going to have to read the manual.  The phpBB software is pretty good, but the terminology in the admin pages can be unclear.

OK.  I created a new user and checked out how the board looks to a newcomer.   Everything looks great except that as a new user I find I have moderation abilities!  That will never do! Back to the salt mine.

... OK.  I fixed that.  Administering this board is not simple.  If I have this right, now, then established users can post without moderation after the first few posts.


Almost an eternity ago, I wrote the Beekeeping Technician Green Certificate course for Lakeland College under contract to Alberta Agriculture.  Only the first, lowest level was ever published and I have never seen a printed copy.  They have never promoted the course at beekeeper conferences AFAIK, but the program apparently has some participants.

Recently, at the Alberta Beekeepers Commission AGM, I met a group who are trying to bring back the Beekeeper Technician course (click here for the historical photo album) to Fairview College.   The course was discontinued years ago, but demand is still there and now, there is, once again, widespread support for the idea.  If you are interested, here is the Fairview contact info.  They will not be taking registrations any time soon, but a backlog of enquiries might speed the process of getting the course up and running.

I approached the Green Certificate management to see if I could share my Green Certificate manuscripts with GPRC and they were enthusiastic.

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Tuesday November 9th 2010
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The forum seems to work well, now.  We're getting some people posting again, and I am posting things there that may only clutter this page.

I have reorganized the topics on the forum and deleted a few old messages that were not relevant today, but otherwise everything is there.  I also took the forum out of the robots.txt and it will be interesting to see if the spiders pick up on that and index everything.  There is also the chance that this indexing will attract the spambots again.  We'll see.  Currently the forum is almost invisible on Google and Yahoo!, although I have seen the Yahoo 'bot there a lot lately.

I went to town in late afternoon to visit a bank that promised seamless Canada/US banking.  I wasted almost an hour in discussion; the people in the bank could not tell me what their spread is on exchange.  Apparently the spread varies and is not published.  As a result, rather than just making transfers from Canadian to US and counting on a constant commission, each trade has to be negotiated.  That, together with the high charges on the US credit card convinced me to seek another solution.

On the way home, I got a call from the fellow who had approached me about the Hope International Cambodia project.  It seems that suddenly they are in a hurry and have someone eager to go now.  I had given them a provisional acceptance, but have been pretty busy over the last little while, with the Alberta beekeepers AGM and getting caught up here and was expecting far more detail than I have received.

My initial research had indicated to me that the Cambodia project might well be ill-considered and impractical, but I had been expecting to get some background on the current projects that might change my mind.  The only information I received was pretty general.  No details on the people already on the ground there or what the place looks like.  Do they just expect people to fall in like Scott Bakula in Quantum Leap?  Anything I do, I usually research and plan well ahead of time.  Life is too short as it is for wasting time.  (FWIW, Dean Stockwell in QL is from a prominent West Coast beekeeping family of the period).

I have several contacts in the region and had been intending to write them, and get after my contact for more meaningful information on the details of the but since departure was projected for mid to late December or January was assuming that there was time for preparation and to tie up loose ends here.  Apparently not.  I was told that there are other projects coming up, but unless the group is more organized and can brief prospects better than I was, and provide greater certainty, I doubt I'll be interested.  Let's discuss this in the Forum.

I watched another episode of Magnum P.I., season one.  It is pleasant and funny, but I wonder why I watch it.  I turned the last episode off halfway through, and went to bed early, just after eight.  I way tired.  I seem to be running on Eastern time these days.  That is fine since I am off to New York next week.  Of course, after five days in Syracuse and Round Lake, I jump to LA on the west coast and experience a three-hour shift.  That should be interesting.

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