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A thriving colony needing another pile of patties.

Friday May 10th 2013
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This morning is fairly warm, but dull.  I have a few more hives to check and feed patties to, then there is lots of cleanup to do.

I noticed yesterday that I had placed some drop boards a week or two ago, so I picked them up.  This morning I glanced them over and see there is a lot of debris.  I could only see a few mites, but that is too many IMO.  I have not put in  Apivar this spring as the hives were so small, but I may now.  I think I'll clean off the boards and put them back in first to see what I see.

I did that and added a strip of Apivar to the North Yard.

Joe and Oene came for supper and we had a great time.

Tragedy is when I cut my finger. Comedy is when you walk into an open sewer and die.
Mel Brooks

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Saturday May 11th 2013
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I killed the morning working on a website to promote my boat.

I'm headed out to look for mites on the drop boards an put in more Apivar, and we have a student coming to work outside this afternoon, so we have to prepare.  Although hiring help gets things done, we have to do some work to make ready and plan the jobs.

Ellen, Megan, and I did some yard cleanup, taking down the electric fence in preparation for re-engineering it.

After supper, I checked the drop boards and did not see one single mite.  I put Apivar in these five hives a day ago, so that is auspicious, but Medhat has said the Apivar takes a while to act, so I'll wait a few more days before deciding if the rest of the hives need a strip.

When treating, there are two things to consider:

  • How effective was it for most hives

  • Whether some hives still show mites

In 100 hives, a few are bound to have higher residual mite levels, due to the strips being located poorly either due to the cluster moving off the strips, or from operator misjudgment.  Sometimes individual hives are missed.  In either case, the untreated hives provide a reservoir of infection fore the whole yard.

Are five hives enough to evaluate the fall treatment?  Maybe for the first point, but to find the occasional hive with high mite levels, all hives would have to be tested.

  Efforts and courage are not enough without purpose and direction.
John F. Kennedy

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Sunday May 12th 2013
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It's Mothers Day.  Jean and family are coming over.

They came in time for lunch.  We had made spaghetti.  I gave Nathan the beach ball I had bought and we all went out and kicked it around the front lawn.

Chris and I went for the one-mile walk down the property and back.

This hot weather will  bring the bees along fast.  The warm nights are the critical factor determining how much brood they can cover.

I see dandelions today.  I saw the first on on the 9th last year, and on the 11th the year before, so I guess they are pretty much on schedule.

I would have made a good Pope.
Richard M. Nixon

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Monday May 13th 2013
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There are now only two days until we go sailing on the West Coast to celebrate our 45th. Hopefully Ellen will be well enough and hopefully the weather will be good.

I did some bookwork today.  Megan came over in the afternoon to mow.  I sorted out the electric fence wire.

It is unbecoming for young men to utter maxims.
Aristotle

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Tuesday May 14th 2013
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We drive to Drumheller early today.  Ellen has an appointment.  Later Ruth will be by to pick up Zippy to take care of here while we are away.

The weather in Sidney is predicted to be cloudy with some rain over the coming days if you believe Environment Canada and nicer if you believe Weather Underground.

As for the bees, I am just leaving them alone for a while until they build up.  I have some cleanup to do, though.

We drove to Drumheller and Ellen settled in for her treatment.  Ruth and Dave are caring for Zippy for the next few days and as it happened, they had business in Drum, so they came into town and picked up the dog.

While waiting for El, I did some shopping errands.

We drove home after lunch and I finished patching the exhaust on the Toyota, using some muffler cement to fill some pin holes in the welding, and started packing for the trip.

Before supper, Shirley dropped over for a visit.  She just bought a new van and is selling the old one.  I took a look at her van and decided that her 2006 Dodge is not a lot better than the 2002 Dodge van I already have.

Reality is merely an illusion, albeit a very persistent one.
Albert Einstein

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Wednesday May 15th 2013
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 As of today, Ellen and I have been married for 45 years and as of August, we'll have owned the Old Schoolhouse for the same length of time.  During the earlier years, we lived in Calgary for a brief period while we were figuring out how to make a living here.

To celebrate, today we board the plane for YYJ at 1405 hrs and fly at 1440.   On arrival in Sidney, we'll catch a cab to the Marina and board Cassiopeia for a few days.  The weather promises to be cooler than during my last visit and overcast some of the time, but we should be okay as the predicted highs are in the upper teens.

While we are gone, the neighbours keep careful watch on the place.  We had the grass cut over the past several days, but I expect that by the time we get back it will need cutting again.

In any contest between power and patience, bet on patience.
W.B. Prescott

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Thursday May 16th 2013
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We awoke on Cassiopeia to a cloudy, foggy day.  Around nine, we motored out of the marina and past Dock Island, then headed west towards Butchart Gardens.  That trip is ten minutes from Sidney by road, if that, but three hours by boat.

We had an interesting arrival.  I wrote it up in a complaint letter to Butchart Gardens management:

We visit BG every year and I have always wanted to arrive  by water. There is a cove out back with free mooring balls and a dinghy dock  I've been eyeing for years.  The arrangement is explained on the Butchart Gardens website, (more) we we planned our visit carefully in advance.  I don't like surprises.

On May 16th of his year, we sailed over from Sidney and found the cove. The balls were all unused and so we caught one. I was single-handing our 42-foot sailboat, Cassiopeia, and found the balls easy enough to approach, but also found they have no pennant and are very heavy and barnacle-covered.   I could not lift the ball to where I could reach the bale and even if I could have, the barnacles would have scratched the boat.

After several tries, I found the balls too heavy and close to the water and although I had no problem catching and holding a ball with the hook,  I could not do so and feed a line through.  It was too far to reach.

I've caught a lot of mooring balls in many places and most have a pennant -- a rope or chain to tie to -- either one that pulls out the top of the ball, or one that attaches below the ball and has a small float.  Either is easy to pick up with a boat hook.

Finally I had to back up to a ball, feed a line through the eye from the swim platform at the stern, then leave the ball and approach normally and, from the bow, pick up my own line with a hook and finally tie to the ball.

Once moored in an empty mooring field, we had lunch, changed, and rowed in, or maybe I should say paddled in.  I didn't want to mount the outboard for the short trip in, but once we were in the dinghy, I discovered that one oarlock was broken, so rowing was out.  I had to paddle.  My wife is not well, so could not assist much and turning back and starting over would be a stress. Paddling a dinghy alone can be challenging as it wants to circle, but we made it to the dock without much trouble.

We landed at the dock, and as May is still off-season, no one was at the gate. We pressed the intercom button and received a crackling and unfriendly response. The intercom was intermittent, but we understood that the person on the other end only had one thing in mind and that was whether Cassiopeia was stern tied.  It seemed that no one would let anyone in or even come to the gate until the boat was stern-tied.  Frankly, it sounded a lot like, "Go away", and was most unexpected.

Nobody asked how long we were planning to stay, if the dinghy was just dropping people off, or how many passengers there were.  This "welcome" was a huge and unpleasant surprise.

I had examined the Butchart Gardens website carefully while planning the visit and although there was a good advice to boaters on finding the cove, and mention that the mooring is free, and a picture with boats stern-tied, no mention of stern ties being compulsory -- or that no one, including passengers would be admitted until the boat was stern tied.

The captain, maybe, but the passengers too???  And, why were there no signs or notices so that boaters would know before dressing up and ferrying people in to visit the gardens?

Frankly I saw no need for the tie for a short stay as the balls are well separated and we did not expect to stay long before returning to the boat and deciding whether to stay or go to Todd Inlet nearby. The shore where the stern tie must go is rocky and places to tie were not obvious from the boat. My main concern was to get Ellen into the gardens.

Anyhow, the person on the intercom was not at all helpful, the intercom was not working properly, and my wife who is quite frail was tiring, so I asked to speak to a manager and for someone to come down in person to let my wife in.

Personally, I didn't care if I got in or not.  I'd be just as happy out on my boat, but Ellen is a gardener and this was to be a special treat for her. 

The person on the intercom was not at all helpful, so I suggested we just leave and go somewhere where were are welcome, but Ellen was willing to beg to get in, and did.

She begged for someone to come down, and shortly a pleasant staff member showed up, introduced himself as Owen, sold us admission, let my wife into the gardens and offered to come out with me to assist with the shore tie.

With an able-bodied helper who knew the location and was willing to assist with paddling, the job was easy.  My main objection to doing so earlier was that I could not see any rock anchors and the shore was rocky and nasty for one person to approach and disembark on and that due to her condition, my wife could not assist -- and the afternoon was passing...

I can see how shore ties could be necessary if the mooring field had other people moored nearby and if the the tide turns, but we were not expecting to be away from the boat for long.  The nearest other ball was 60 feet away and nobody else was around so there was no immediate issue.

For overnight, I would think differently, but at the moment, the priority was to get Ellen into the gardens while there was still warmth and light.

When Owen and I reached the boat, I mounted the outboard and paddling was no longer required and we motored in to shore to tie up a stern line.  As it turned out, there were, indeed, rock anchors on the steep rocks beside the shore but the marker paint had faded, and being white, just looked like guano.

The additional person came in quite handy, and we beached on the rough shoreline.  It turned out that the rock bolt that matched my mooring ball had a sharp bolt that could chafe my expensive shore tie line, but it was calm and I took a chance and used it anyhow.  There was also a snag -- a fallen tree -- on the shore that would interfere with the line too, as the tide turned, but I was not about to give up that hard-won mooring ball and try to catch a different one, possibly with a similar problem.

While laying out the tie, Owen and I discussed the lack of pennants on the balls, the barnacles, and the need to have the moorings inspected periodically by divers. It occurs to me that there may no swivels on the balls, and therefore an additional justification for using shore ties besides keeping boats clear of one another if the moorings filled up and keeping the fairway clear.

Owen and I also discussed marking the rock screws on shore ties better and posting signage altering boaters that a shore tie is mandatory so people won't waste time or risk being refused admission. 

Not everyone is equipped to shore tie -- or able enough to jump off on that shore to fasten a tie.  To that end, I suggested that a pennant with a small float and possibly a weight be attached to each tie and left floating near the shore so that boaters need not risk disembarking and remarking on that rocky, steep shore.  Merely approaching the shore close enough to snag the float with a boat hook would suffice..

Anyhow having a positive, able guide and helper changed what was fast becoming a bad experience into a bit of fun. Other staff showed interest as well after I was up in the Gardens and asked me to write a report so they can improve the experience for other boaters.  So, one bad apple does not always spoil the barrel, but it could have had we not persevered and had we simply left.

We had a good visit and even bought the 12-month pass (a fabulous deal), and we'll be back.  If we have problems, I'll be sure to ask for Owen.

After that, I joined Ellen in the Gardens.  Later we spent the night at the mooring ball. 

Before supper, though, we took the dinghy on a spin through Todd Inlet to see what it is like and disturbed the quiet with our outboard as wee passed the crews of several yachts anchored there, sunning them selves on deck in the late afternoon sun.

The President has kept all of the promises he intended to keep.
Clinton aide George Stephanopolous

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Friday May 17th 2013
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We slept soundly and woke up at 6:30. The cove was very quiet and calm. Today we plan to motor up to Deep Cove and visit a winery there for lunch, then carry on to Poet's Cove for the Bluewater Cruising Association rendezvous. 

It's only a two or three hour trek to South Pender Island.  Ellen is tired and unwell some of the time, but we are having a good trip.  She rests or sleeps while I sail.

It rained all morning on and off.  We had a little wind now and then, and got up to 7 knots under sail at one point, but it then calmed again and we motored much of the way.  When we got to Deep Cove, we anchored and dinghied in to shore and walked to the winery. 

The beach was rocky and sharp. We tied the dinghy, then realised the the tide was going out and would drop about a foot during lunch, so we would have to drag it to the water on our return.

I'm still getting used to coastal sailing in tidal waters where one must always know  the times and heights of the tides.

After lunch at the Muse Winery, we dragged our dinghy to the water, returned to the boat and headed for Bedwell Harbour.  The wind was off and on, so I motored much of the time.  Near our destination, I encountered a two knot current against me. which was a surprise because by the tables, it should have been slack water around then.

On arrival, I radioed the dock and was assigned a place on the breakwater.  I found there was current there, too.

We tied up and went to meet the group.  The docks were filthy and we arranged a free day in exchange for washing the docks.

He has all the virtues I dislike and none of the vices I admire.
Sir Winston Churchill

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Saturday May 18th 2013
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Today is beginning dull and rainy, but we are snug in the boat.

At ten, there were snacks and coffee on the dock.  We wandered around a bit, but Ellen found it chilly and we returned to Cassiopeia to warm up.

After lunch, we went ashore and looked over the resort.  It is a charming spot, with great facilities.

We needed a few groceries, so my neighbour, Blake, and I ran over to Browning in the dinghy.  On return, I heated and cut up some sausage rolls I had bought for the purpose earlier and Ellen and I walked down the dock for Happy Hour.

After supper, there were activities, including star gazing. Even with clouds, we had a good discussion.

We're going to turn this team around 360 degrees.
Jason Kidd

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Sunday May 19th 2013
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This morning is sunny and breezy.  Everyone is out on the dock chatting and generally having a good time.

We visited with the folks, and after lunch, I motored up the coast in the dinghy and admired the cliffs, walked a beach, and returned. 

The afternoon was designated for boat visits.  We had two visitors.  One was the father in law of the broker who sold me the boat.

After supper, Ellen rested and I  dinghied over to the main dock with two other guys and spent the evening listening to The Timebenders.  They were excellent.

Half this game is ninety percent mental.
Yogi Berra

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