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The surviving hives in the North Yard.  They will be reduced to singles and doubles.

Wednesday May 1st 2013
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The day dawned clear and cold at minus 6 degrees.  The wind is light.

This morning, I plan to go to Three Hills for a glucose tolerance test.  I did one years ago, but it is time to do another.  My blood sugar has been creeping up, but is still in the OK range.  Nonetheless, my HBA1C was 6.0 and although considered normal, is getting to the upper limit.  I attribute this to Alberta winter.  I just don't get out and exercise much in winter anymore.  Having Ellen ill has not helped as I did not get south much.  I get a lot more sun and activity when I go south in winter.

I went to town and killed two hours at the hospital lab while I did the glucose tolerance test.  This time, I checked with my own monitor every half hour.  At the end, my reading was about 10.3.  I say about 10.3 because my home monitors have become very unreliable lately and I took three readings to get an average.  10.3 is not good, but it is not really bad either.

A half-hour later, after I drove home, and ate a hamburger along the way, my meter said 5.9 (average of 5.7, 5.9, &6.2) which is quite normal, so I don't know if I can believe it at all.  How can the blood sugar drop that much in a half hour, unless the slight exercise of walking to the car and to the house had that big an effect.  Can that be?

In 2006, my meter said 6.3 two hours after taking the75g of glucose and that is much better, (the lab got 4.4) but that time, they let me go downtown during the two hours and come back when the two hours was up.  If moving around has a big effect, that could explain the difference.  This time I just sat and read my tablet.

We'll see what the doctor says, but I'm interpreting these results as saying that I am progressing towards diabetes, but not there yet.  I already know that I need to watch what I eat (and drink) and exercise more.  I've been quite careless lately.

All the stress of the past year, with my wife being ill, my sister dying, and my mother reducing her activity has been hard on me as well.  I've been drinking too much, exercising too little and worrying.  Not a healthy situation.

I drove the Toyota and the exhaust is still loud.  I knew that the patch I clamped in might not have sealed perfectly, and that is the case -- unless there is another leak somewhere.  I had hoped to avoid welding in that restricted  space, but I guess I must.

I pulled off the other drum off the Caravan, and confirmed the shoes are still good, but should be replaced, so I don't know why the idiot light comes on.  Maybe just a system imbalance if the adjusters are stuck?  I'll change the shoes and pads and we'll see.

Then I went out and welded the exhaust on the Toyota.  I managed to get it welded, but there are still some leaks.  I used some hose as a stethoscope to chase them down and wonder if I can kill them all.  That flex pipe is not designed to be welded.

This idea, which just came in by email may well come in handy.  Thanks!

Allen,
I have successfully used like aluminum flashing the kind that you would get for edging the roof about a foot wide roll and wrap the exhaust pipe and a bunch of a silicone and generally good for nearly 600 Degrees and a couple a hose clamps to hold everything in place generally good for many months. The single biggest problem with this type of fix is that if you need to weld it afterwards you will need to use a grinder to get to bare metal again.

Thanks
Charlie

The area in question is at the Y-pipe and I know from experience that manifolds can get up to get dark red or dull orange.  The temperatures at the Y may be less.  Probably not, though, according to this.

From Wikipedia (Degrees Celsius):

Black red (when viewed in dull light) 426 to 593
Very dark red 593 to 704
Dark red 704 to 814
Cherry red (lower critical point) 815 to 870 (critical point depends on carbon content of steel)
Light cherry red 871 to 981
Orange 981 to 1092

EGT (Exhaust Gas Temperature) discussions on the web suggest temperatures up to 1200 degrees F near the manifold.

RTV Silcone can stand up to about 700 degrees F , but gets granular above that, as I recall from using it on my furnace grate.  This might not be a problem, as it just gets crumbly and does not soften or melt, but I do have some muffler cement and that would work, too, probably better at higher temperatures.  I may buy some muffler tape and/or flashing tomorrow and use the clamp idea since the region of the welds and leaks is narrow and could be clamped.

Actually, I should have used that idea before welding!

I briefly looked at the North Yard and added more patties where required.  Still no pollen coming in.

Still more people wanting nucs...

Anyhow, that is it for today.

There is nothing permanent except change.
Heraclitus

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Thursday May 2nd 2013
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We have another cool morning, but the night was around freezing except for a few moments at minus four.  The coming days are all above freezing, with some daytime temps predicted at plus 24.

Ellen is feeling quite well today and accompanied me to Red Deer.  I dropped her off at Bower place and picked up the rotor for my truck, then went for an MRI.

That was interesting.  Maybe I'll describe it sometime.

Anyhow, after that, I met Ellen at Bower Place.  Jean and Nathan had dropped down to see her, so we met at the Food Fair.

From there, we went to Wal-Mart where I returned some items, then drove home.

I was pleased to find that the exhaust was quite quiet.  Apparently I had managed to do a decent job of welding yesterday.  When I started the van  up right after the welding, it seemed loud, but I guess that it sealed up.  Maybe the flex pipe I used leaks a bit until it is heated.  I don't know, but it is quite acceptable as-is.  I may do a bit more work on it later, but for now it is good.  Now I just have the red van and the truck to work on.

We arrived at six, and I went out to look at the bees.  The South Yard needed finishing and tidying, so I cleaned it up and put on patties.  I then added patties to the Quonset Yard where the bees has consumed a portion of their supply.  (right)
 

I've expressed the opinion that the 5.0 mm cells on PF-100 frames are a bit too small and that the bees often draw them badly.  Above are two examples (left and middle) compared to a typical Pierco 5.25 mm cell frame (right)

At 8:30, I called it a day.

Any man who is under 30, and is not a liberal, has no heart;
and any man who is over 30, and is not a conservative, has no brains.
Sir Winston Churchill

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Friday May 3rd 2013
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Today I have to put the wheels back on the red van, pack and make it to my 12:55 flight to Sidney.

I started on the van and discovered that one of the brake adjusters was bent and the other was not hooked in properly.  I rectified that and put the van back together.  As it turned out, I did not need the new shoes.

The drive to YYC was routine and I decided on Park and Jet.  Although it is $5 more than the budget lot, I get a ride to the terminal and that makes things easier than walking, especially if there is problem finding a spot near Departures.  I did get a ride, but the shuttle took twenty minutes and by the time I got to the gate, the plane was pre-boarding.

An hour and a half later, a taxi let me off at the Marina and I walked to Cassiopeia.  The weather is beautiful and sunny with a light breeze.  I was tempted to cast off and go, but decided to walk up town for fish and chips.  I had the fish, but substituted a salad for the fries.

 When I got back. I worked with maintenance to try to remedy a sewage leak that has shown up recently.  We may have it fixed now.  This the third try.

I was tired and went to bed early.  It is good to be back on Cassiopeia.

In science one tries to tell people, in such a way as to be understood by everyone,
something that no one ever knew before. But in poetry, it's the exact opposite.
Paul Dirac

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Saturday May 4th 2013
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Today, I plan to go over to Pender Island to scope out Poet's Cove.  El and I plan to spend our 45th wedding anniversary there attending a Bluewater Cruising Association meet and stay on this boat.  I figure it might be a good idea to know how to get there and what the place looks like in advance.  First, though, I have to check the weather and the tides and currents and study the charts.

Above, the tides are at left.  It important to know when there will be strong currents and shallow water.  Two potential routes are at right.  The middle one is the least ambitious and should be easy.  The one at right includes a swing by Saltspring Island where a friend lives.   Having an idea where I am going is important as there are plenty of rocks out there and the US border is along the route.  Crossing that invisible line could result in a visit from a patrol boat.

Figuring all this out while moving along at 7 knots is not wise as, even with autopilot and a chart plotter, the steering and the sails and other boats of all sizes coming from all directions at various speeds require full attention.

I did all that and left the dock around eleven.  I had no idea how far I'd go.  This the first time I've handled this big boat without anyone else on board and my plan was to go for a day sail and come back to my slip here at Sidney for the night.

Although my destination was Poet's Cove, I figured I'd just take things as they come. Having a schedule on a sailboat or a light plane is just asking for trouble.

Once I got out there and put the sails up, I found it was easy and my trepidations faded.  I sail alone all the time, but people make it sound like a big deal.  Maybe it is, but I don't see it. 

My main concern is that I don't know these waters and their tricks of wind and current.  Traffic is heavy and omni-directional.  I'm not sure of the distances and times required for transit yet.  Intellectually I can easily figure these things out, but I am not comfortable until they are part of me.

I sometimes wonder if I am missing something everyone else sees.  Someone said, "What if you have a heart attack out there alone or die at the wheel?", and I said, "Then I won't have to worry about it, will I?  It'll be someone else's problem."

I confess that I stacked the deck, though.  This trip would have been a challenge in a lesser boat, but I purposely bought a boat with an advanced navigation system, radar, in-mast furling -- and a full enclosure. Not only that, I have 2 VHF radios -- and cell phone coverage pretty well everywhere.

On this boat, there is no need to go forward on a heaving deck to hoist or reef sails or to sit in cold wind or hot sun.  The sail work can all be done from the comfort of the cockpit, aided by winches. The enclosure can be opened or closed to suit the weather.  The boat steers itself.  All I have to do is tack, choose a safe course and watch out for traffic.

Anyhow, once I got near Saltspring, I found I was far ahead of schedule and so I sailed and motored up to Fulford Harbour to look aroundNothing ever looks the way it appears on maps or pictures and I was quite reassured by what I saw.  I've taken the ferry in and out of Fulford many times, but it looks different from my own boat.  I can see that I can land here at Fulford if I want to, and that Russell Island is approachable, too.

From Fulford, I went around the backside of Russell island and set sail for Bedwell Harbour on Pender Island. The wind favoured me all the way.  Poet's Cove Resort is easy to reach, so I sailed by, took a look, and that was that. 

On the way out of Bedwell Harbour, I was reminded why knowing the currents is so important.  I happened to be passing at full ebb and I went through an eddy at the entrance that carried me enough that if I had been cutting corners I might have been carried too close to the shallows.

Finding my way back was an adventure.  I followed my plan, but had to figure it out on the plotter.  If I cut across US waters, then the route  would have been more direct, but as it happens, I forgot my passport at home -- and am still waiting for a radio license for the boat. I doubt I would be stopped for cutting the corner, but who wants to take a chance?

I was back in my slip at Port Sidney before 6, two hours earlier than my planned deadline, having investigated everything I planned to -- and more.  Next time I'll stop along the way, or stay over, but this was just a reconnaissance mission.

The boat performed flawlessly and I did much better than I had feared in moments of self-doubt.

I could have done this same trip in about the same time in my Hunter 23.5, but the experience would have been very much different.

People continue to call and write, wanting to buy bees.  At this point I can't promise anyone anything.  The spring has been brutal here and the bees are quite slow building up.  Details...

I'll sleep when I'm dead.
Clarence Darrow

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Sunday May 5th 2013
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Where to go and what to do?  I've always wanted to go to Bouchart Gardens by boat.  Maybe today is the day.  I also want to head towards Victoria some time, but see the tide is against me, so Brentwood Bay it is (left)  That way, too, I'll be near Fulford in the afternoon as I have arranged to meet up with Bruce sometime after2.

It was eleven by the time I got organised, so I motored and sailed over to Russell Island and anchored.  The anchor held beautifully and I launched the dinghy, put on the outboard and circled the Island.  Then I went for a walk on the Island.  I got several hundred yards and my phone rang.  It was Bruce and he was home, so I ran across and picked him and Karen up and we went back to the boat.

We decided to have a sail, so weighed anchor and motored out into the channel, but the wind had died and after a few tacks, we gave up and returned. 

On return, I tried to set the anchor, but this time it would not hold. Not only that, but the boats were all facing different directions and I had no idea where their anchors really were and where the boats would line up or if their anchors would hold if the wind shifted.  Mine would not hold in the first place.

Bruce and Karen had invited me for supper, but I did not trust the anchor and would not let the boat out of my sight, so I dinghied them back across and checked the weather.  I was still thinking of staying the night at anchor if I could get it to set until I read the forecast.  High winds were forecast, so I headed for Sidney and a nice, secure dock.

I've spent many nights at anchor and slept well, but this anchor is a poor one.  It is rusty and dull and the joint is very slack.  I noticed that right away when purchasing the boat.  A confirmation of my suspicions came when the boat returned from a Christmas charter with the secondary anchor mounted in place of the primary (this one) -- reportedly since the client could not get the primary anchor to set. 

This anchor is a CQR knock-off and quite worn to boot.  CQRs were amongst the best at one time, but a new generation of anchors has proven them antiquated as the new ones reset reliably if the wind shifts and the pull comes from a new  direction.  CQRs often don't.

I had this one put back in place recently, but now wonder if I should have.  I guess so.  Otherwise I would have never known how bad it is.  I now know it is no good at all.

I'm going to buy a Rocna or Manson Supreme.  They are expensive, but so is dragging and anchor and going aground -- or disappointing a charter client.

So, here I am back at Sidney for the night.  I must say that the local waters are getting quite familiar and so is the boat.

I've learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.
Maya Angelou

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Monday May 6th 2013
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I slept soundly, and AFAIK, the wind did not blow at all last night.  I might have been just fine in the anchorage, but I doubt I would have slept as well, worrying about the anchor.

I was thinking of going sailing today, but decided to do some boat maintenance, and wound up going downtown and buying a new 25 kg Rocna anchor and some companionway hinges.  That was about it, except that I found the windlass does not seem to work manually.  It worked fine under electric, but unless I have not figured it out, the emergency ratchet does not work.

You can only find truth with logic if you have already found truth without it.
Gilbert Keith Chesterton

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Tuesday May 7th 2013
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Tonight I return to Alberta and today I'll fuel up the boat and do some odd jobs.

This turned out to be a full day.  I had imagined doing some sailing, but odd jobs kept me busy.

I drove the Cooper truck downtown and picked up the switches, a shackle, and ordered a new companionway board for the boat, then returned.  At four, I motored the boat over to North Saanich Marina for fuel.  That took a bit over an hour.

Then I had to pack and close up the boat.  Two hours later, at seven, I caught a cab to YYJ and was home by midnight.

Everywhere I go I'm asked if I think the university stifles writers.
 My opinion is that they don't stifle enough of them.
Flannery O'Connor

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Wednesday May 8th 2013
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I'm home and the bees wait.  The morning is clear and warm, but windy.

I did not do much of anything today.  Mavis came for lunch.  I washed my truck. 

El and I planned the long weekend (the one after this) on Cassiopeia.

That is about it.

It has become appallingly obvious that our technology has exceeded our humanity.
Albert Einstein

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Thursday May 9th 2013
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I have to go to town today for a follow-up doctor's appointment.  Tonight we have old friends over for supper.

I hope to get around to the hives and also do some cleanup.

> Several members have been wiped out by AFB in last year.
> It may be easy for you or your peers to diagnose and fix.
>I believe I could. Not the majority of current members, however.

Actually, AFB is easy to diagnose in this day and age and there is no
excuse for anyone except a blind person who can't smell to miss it.

In the early stages, detection requires some careful looking, but after
one brood cycle, anyone who can't spot it is willfully ignorant and or
simply negligent as it is right in your face in open cells.

Proper light, viewing from a correct angle, and good vision and a toothpick or stem of grass are all that is necessary, along with pictures of AFB in all stages which are available on the 'net. Everyone has a smartphone these days, so Bob's your uncle. No excuse.

When found early, it takes very little to deal with it. For a few
cells, A little scraping of the affected cell(s) and a treatment or two
of OTC or Tylosin will clear it up and it may never be seen again.

Even without the drugs, there is good chance it won't reappear, but it is wise to use a little of the magic powder.

For more than a few cells, the frame should be burnt. A little
antibiotic is wise, but even without, the case may well be cured.

In any case, re-queening is wise since the stock has proven susceptible. There are strains of bees which can clean up AFB scale and not break down, but never count on that as individual queens vary -- a lot.

If all the frames break down, then that is usually due to starting with
badly contaminated equipment from hives with massive breakdown. Such
hives can be cured with drugs, but that is beyond most beginners and the
hive should be destroyed.

See also the forum posts...

I went to the doctor and got a clean bill of health, went by the accountant, bought groceries, and returned home.

Today was hot, and I went out to check the hives.  There is not much to do with the bees except renew the patties and glance at the clusters.  The hives range from barely viable, with a palm-sized patch of brood to hives with six frames with brood.  I noticed drones being raised in one. (right)

The best hives ate all their patties and the rest ate a patch out of the middle.  I am always amazed how the young bees -- the only bees that eat protein -- are concentrated in a small area over the brood as evidenced by the size of the hole in the patties.  If the patties are more than a few inches from the brood, they are not eaten in smaller colonies.

I'm seeing pollen in the hives, lots of it.  The pollen is pale in colour and I'm assuming it comes from the trees and bushes which were blooming.  Could be some crocuses, too, by now.  I have yet to see even one dandelion flower.

Some hives that seemed to have lots of patty left actually do not, as we can see from the patty I flipped over (right).  The feed has been 75% consumed from below, but the patty looks almost like new from the top.

The bees in all hives, both large and small, look healthy and young, and that is reassuring.  In a few weeks, some hives will be wanting to swarm and the others should be catching up.

I found one hive with a little brood and two queen cells, plus a few drones under development.  I appreciated their intention to supersede, and assume a failing queen.  Considering that there are no drones around and that drones need two weeks to mature after emergence, I rate their chances of mating a queen as slim, so I stacked a very weak hive with a viable queen on top.  We'll see what happens.

Otherwise, I have lost no more hives.  The good ones look good and the others are coming along.  The days are warm, but some nights are cold.  If we get some warm nights, that will help the slow ones catch up.

It is much more comfortable to be mad and know it, than to be sane and have one's doubts.
G. B. Burgin

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