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The North Yard - reduced to singles with a super
I awoke at 4. Today I am scheduled to sail in Calgary, but Ellen is in the hospital. I'm wondering if I should cancel my day on the water to visit her there.
I wonder if I can go to Calgary for just the afternoon. I'll look into that.
I'll have to do a hive count now that this round is done. I advertised hives for sale again on the Calgary Beekeepers site. I don't care if I sell hives or not, but have some to spare.
The swimming pool is half full.
I drove to Three Hills, visited Ellen and drove to Calgary and arrived in good time for the skippers meeting. I was assigned a boat and we headed for the start line. There was hardly any wind at all and we did a few races, then went for lunch. It was so calm that we paddled in.
After lunch, we returned to the start line and found we had more wind, but that it was very inconsistent. After coming in third in one race, we became progressively slower and were dead last in the final races. The skipper has just acquired this boat and is just getting it tweaked. We suspected that it is taking on water in a forward compartment.
I like sailing, but have never been too fond of racing since I was a kid and used to race dinghies at summer camp.
The day was very hot and swimming is not permitted in Glenmore as it is Calgary's water supply, so we were happy to go in for a beer after it was all over. A supper and dance followed, but I only stayed for the supper. I left around 8 and was home around 9:30.
I heard that after I left there was quite a bit of drinking and people took cabs home. Apparently after people left vandals came by and damaged boats and cars and drove Zeke's car through a gate. The car is nowhere to be seen.
Men have become the tools of
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Just after midnight, I awoke to the sound of rain and hail and observed an amazing storm. The wind was tossing the trees and rain and hail pelted the windows. The sky was bright with non-stop sheet lightning above the clouds, but there was little thunder and no ground strikes that I could see. This continued for twenty minutes or more as I watched out the windows. I thought the wind was extreme, but my weather station only showed 25 MPH.
I realised that with that wind, water would blow under the basement door, so went downstairs and used the new vacuum to suck up the pool of water that accumulated between the drains. That took a hour or more. By then the storm was over and I went back to bed.
I next awoke at 8 AM and realised that I'll not be sailing today. I was to be on the dock by 8:30 if I was going and those docks are 1-1/2 hours of driving distant -- and I have yet to have breakfast.
It is just as well, I think. I probably have lids to put on hives and things to pick up, although glancing around, I don't see anything amiss.
Ellen is feeling better again. I'll drive up to visit later today.
I wandered out to the North Yard and see that all is well. The lids are still on the hives. The alfalfa nearby has been flattened, though. I wonder how the local crops are. The canola a half mile away looks greener today. I wonder if it was knocked down. Canola tends to bloom much longer if hailed than than if it is undamaged. Broken plants re-grow and bloom later, after the first bloom is over. That may no be good for the farmer, but it is great for the beekeeper.
I moved the bubbler in the pond, then added some blue dye to decrease the light penetration and enhance appearance. Then I went looking for the outboard motor. We used to motor in circles on the pond as a gag and I am also thinking that if Jean and Chris are near a lake that the cartop might be fun. I should really get the Crossbow sailboat operational, too. I towed it back from Ontario two years ago and here it sits.
I am going to need more supers as I will have to pull some honey tomorrow. The flow is beginning to get going now. I can always tell by the number of stable flies I see. Until lately, I have been able to leave the doors open, but now I have to be careful or I will have flies in the house.
I went up to see Ellen around supper time, then went to The Mill for supper. There were nine of us.
The longer I live the more I see
that I am never wrong about anything, and that all the pains that I
have so humbly taken to verify my notions have only wasted my time.
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Here comes another hot day with thunderstorms. I have responses to my emails sent out mentioning that I have hives for sale again and it appears that I will have to decide how many to sell and stick to it. I could probably sell more than I want to.
I suppose I should get out while it is still cool and pull some honey and do some tidying. I see that Elijah is here mowing grass.
I tallied up the hives from pictures I took. There are more queenright hives than shown, though, as when I split, I marked both halves as question marks (angled bricks).
Well, I spent the morning at the desk, researching things and updating counts, talking to the doctor, etc. The day has stayed cool so far, and I have not worked on the bees. Jean phoned, and I think I'll go to Lacombe for supper after I visit Ellen.
Elijah finished mowing at 2 and I drove to the hospital to visit with Ellen, then drove to Lacombe to have supper with Jean. After a meal of Chinese take-out, we drove to Birch Meadows to see the new house and check out the neighbourhood.
We got back to Lacombe at nine and I drove home, stopping to see Ellen along the way.
Forgive your enemies, but never
forget their names.
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I have orders for eight hives as of today. I doubt I want to sell any more for the present. I suppose I'll know better after I check hives today. I know I'll need some more supers.
I drove to the hospital this morning and visited Ellen for an hour, then returned home.
I then began looking for hives for an order of six hives for tonight. I have two ready and won't have a problem finding more. I am picking out hives that have made a super of honey and are queenright, then transferring them to wood boxes as requested.
It is 25 degrees in the sun, with little wind. By 1330, I was finding it too warm and came in for a while. I am thinking of having a swim -- the first in my pool this year. I still have to finish the setup and check the water quality. It will be fine now, I am sure as the water is fresh from the municipal supply.
My main concern is that it may still be very cold! That is OK once in. After soaking a few minutes, I can work in the hot sun for a half-hour before starting to feel the heat.
I was into the pool twice today and at 18 degrees C, it is brisk but does the trick. I finished preparing the 6 hives and they are ready to go tomorrow at 0630 hrs.
Meijers came by with more supers for me and picked up 15 more or less full supers of honey to go to extraction. We had a good supper, then they went north to visit Ellen. I decided that three visitors in that small room would be a crowd and stayed home.
Zeke says his car is still missing.
The best way to predict the
future is to invent it.
My alarm woke me at 0530. My customer was scheduled for 0630 and I needed time to wake up and do a few last-minute things to be ready.
The morning was damp and a thundershower passed over just after I got up. I had breakfast and went out to move the hives onto forklift pallets for easy loading. I had checked the hives yesterday transferred the ten frames into wood boxes. Three of them were already on hive floors, but the rest were still on 4-way pallets.
I finished just as the customer drove up, and we loaded the hives. He was gone by 7:45. By then, the sky was clearing, but the bees stay in well when it is damp and rainy. All it took was a bit of smoke now and then.
I had 84 stands at last count and just sold 6 today with two more promised. That will leave me 76 and by fall, I expect at least 10% shrinkage if I don't sell more. That will mean 65 to 70 going into winter.
Actually, I would be happy to winter 50, so can sell another 15 or twenty.
I'm always pleased that people are happy. I know that the odds are that some hives will always go queenless or have other problems, and I worry people will blame me, but so far the feedback has been positive. One fellow even came back for six more hives the other day.
I've decided that I will only sell singles and nothing in April or May. Things are too hectic and rushed in those months. They are the time for package bees, not singles. My bees are ready in June and that is a good time for people to get them as the weather is settled and most of the risk has been taken.
After I loaded the hives, I drove to Three Hills and visited Ellen. They think she can come home tomorrow or the next day. That surprised me.
I then bought some groceries for lunch and drove home to get there before Jean. I drove into the driveway and they arrived moments after. We had pizza and corn on the cob for lunch, then they went north to visit Ellen on their way home.
I did not do much this afternoon. I made up the bed and other odd jobs.
I could have gone sailing on Glenmore tonight, but decided that it is a long drive for uncertain conditions. The trip is 1-1/2 hours each way. Evenings have been tending to thunderstorms lately and when there is electricity in the air, sitting on water with a tall aluminum stick pointing up is not the best place to be.
A scholar who cherishes the love
of comfort is not fit to be deemed a scholar.
This has been a cool summer. The mornings are dark and damp. Today is no exception. I have been able to leave the windows open for the last week and the furnace has been off for about that long, but the nights are cool at 10 degrees and we have only had on or two nights around 20 degrees. That makes for good sleep, but the hot nights are best for the bees and drawing comb.
The pond is overgrown with duckweed and I have been trying to figure out how best to remove it. I need to build a skimmer, then filter out the duckweed. I don't know what volume to expect, but I suspect that I will have several drums of duckweed to strain out. I don't really know how to handle that. My pump is quite high-volume and I'll need some sort of filter or baffled tank. The bare spot in the middle is where the bubbler causes a rising current.
I called Ellen at 9 and they are keeping her entertained at the hospital. I'll go up later in the day.
I went to visit Ellen and the doctor said she can come home, so I did a few errands while she got ready, then we picked up some prescriptions and returned to Swalwell. I spent an hour or two figuring out her various drugs and the schedules and then cooked supper. Megan came to cut grass. It is dry enough, but breezy and cool.
All told, I must have spent four or five hours figuring out the various medications and the schedule. This is real work! I have a new appreciation for nurses.
After I'm dead I'd rather have
people ask why I have no monument than why I have one.
Today dawned bright and warm. Ellen is sleeping in. I suspect that sleep in a hospital is disturbed by traffic in the corridors all night.
I began the day by checking the pool chemistry. I'm still adding cyanuric acid. I add a bit at a time as I don't want to overshoot. Too much, and the only solution is to drain partially and refill.
Here is an interesting documentary for North Korea. I offer it for what it is worth. DOCUMENTARY ‘EXPOSES WESTERN PROPAGANDA’ (AND IT’S SCARY HOW TRUE IT IS)
I spent the day doing odds and ends. One job I have been putting off for a year now is the towel rack and baseboard in the bathroom. I finally got started on that job.
After supper, I had a nap, then sold a hive and some supplies. I see the hives have been hard at work and some are hanging out. The hive I sold had a super of honey, which I removed. Time to put on the rest of the supers, I guess. I had planned to do that today actually, but did not have a lot of energy. Taking care of Ellen keeps me busy.
To be sure of hitting the target, shoot first and call whatever you hit the target.
Today is bright and breezy. I plan to put on the supers first thing and do some fixing in the bathroom.
Ellen is getting worse and I am on call all the time. Fen came by for lunch and visited until four. That gave me some relief.
I got out and began pulling honey and checking hives. I pulled about 12 boxes and left them standing on end to abandon (right). Usually at this time of year, the bees abandon in minutes or hours. When I went to pick the boxes up at dusk, there were still bees in most, so I stood them on end on top of the hives (to keep them for animals) and left them overnight. Often the bees abandon as soon as the sun comes up. If not, if light robbing starts, that will encourage the resident bees to fly and enter a hive. The trick is to get back before robbing bees empty the supers.
We have been seeing some light robbing on the brood boxes in storage over the past few days, and it continues all day. The local alfalfa has been cut and much of the canola is finishing off. Hopefully we will have a hot August with a good second alfalfa bloom.
As I pulled the honey, I checked the brood chambers ands spread brood. When running singles, some hives fail to spread out. This is especially true if there is a lot of granulated and capped honey at the sides. I move these frames in to the middle and alternate them with full frames of brood, forcing the bees to uncap them and move the honey up to make room for brood. I should really scratch the capped ones with a capping scratcher to speed the process, but scratching is a messy job.
I built some of these Quebec boards some time back and now I don't know where they went. I could use a few right now. They are handy for various jobs and work really well. For one thing, young bees abandon down through them very nicely.
Quebec Style Bee Escape Board: A chemical-free way to encourage bees to leave the honey supers during extracting season. Place the escape board between the brood chambers and the honey supers. The bees find their way down into the brood chambers through a maze on the escape board, but can't get back into the honey supers. Wood & wire construction, made in Quebec. (from Beemaid)
The right to swing my fist ends
where the other man's nose begins.
Jean and family are coming for lunch.
Ellen is much worse today and we are thinking she may have to go into care at the hospital. We contacted Jon and he is coming up for the week.
These are just young bees which had gone up through the excluder it seems and had no idea where to fly to go home. This happens with singles as the brood nest is restricted compared to doubles and the excluder is right next to the brood, especially in Piercos as the thin top bar is no barrier, so the young bees which do not normally wander far from open brood sometimes find themselves upstairs.
I then worked through more hives. These hives are much better than I expected. Even after a terrible winter and a slow spring, and being split multiple times, they are making honey and have eight to ten frames with brood. At this rate, I may have more hives than I planned.
I advertised and immediately, it seems, have sold the the ten hives on offer.
I have gone through 26 of my 75 or so remaining hives so far and count 12 of them as strong and queenright. I'm selling ten and assuming that the rest will come along in the next weeks. I finished splitting several weeks ago and most have made nice queens.
I did not buy queens this year. Those who did report varying results. Some had 2/3 failure others 90% success. Of those who report success, I wonder how carefully they check and how certain they are that the queen they see is the one they bought, and not one the hive produced.
Dogma is the sacrifice of wisdom
Jonathan arrives today and we will be consulting with Home Care nurses as Ellen's condition has changed. Jean and family will be back.
The day dawned sunny, but cool at 4.2 degrees above freezing and a slight breeze.
I have boxes sitting on hives abandoning and will pick them up shortly.
I picked up the boxes and now have 16 more or less full supers ready to go. That means I have checked 37 and I now have 18 strong and queenright, and 7 less strong and queenright for a total of 25/37 queenright. The balance are making queens and should mostly be good in a week or two. I've had good queen success this year.
Home Care came and said they would try to find a hospital bed for Ellen. Jean came down and Jon arrived from LA. We got a call after lunch that we could take Ellen up at 4.
Jean drove Ellen to the hospital at 1630 and we all visited a while, then returned to the Old Schoolhouse.
Heav'n hath no rage like love to
hatred turn'd, Nor Hell a fury, like a woman scorn'd.
I'm off to Three Hills to visit Ellen. Walking into the hospital, it felt distinctly like fall, and July is not yet over!
I hope we get a change of trend soon. We need hot nights and days for a while. Of course, we also need some bloom and the canola is all finishing now. Most years, it has been staged through the summer, but I am not seeing much yellow anymore. I assume varieties or cropping practices have changed considerably in the past year or two, unless what I see is a product of the weather this year.
Typically, we get a hot August, but I have seen years when the rain began after the first week and the rest of the summer was damp.
I retuned home 0930 . Ellen is much better today and the doctor says he thinks a new medication they were trying caused to problems we were seeing and she may be able to return home again soon. At any rate, we are all taking turns visiting today.
Before noon, I went out to continue working through the hives. They are looking good and I had to remove more boxes of honey than I expected. The bees are robbing lightly, though, even at midday and that is unusual. This is turning out to be the worst bee year I have seen in a while.
I finished another group of hives (right). All are looking good. Seven are strong and queenright, two are awaiting queens to lay and one is weak and queenright. Not bad. I pulled a lot more honey, too.
My goal is to open these brood chambers up to where there is very little honey below the excluder and the queens are laying full-on. I also rotate the combs from outside to the centre to flatten them, have the honey removed, and get them all full of brood.
Barrel feeding works wonderfully to feed singles when the supers come off -- as long as the weather is hot and holds for a few days. Feed and be placed in bee-proof drums in advance and opened when the boxes are pulled.
A yard will empty a drum of 67% sucrose syrup in a day. We used to feed a drum per 20 hives to start, then follow up in a week or two with more as the brood hatches and makes room for more feed. 600 lbs/20 hives = 30 lbs per hive. That makes about 20 lbs of stores. By staging the feeding, the hives that take feed early settle down and let the others fill up. Full hives lose interest in foraging.
That advice is for keeping them in singles which I do not recommend. In our case, I slip a brood box of honey underneath in September to make them into doubles. That box has about 60 pounds of feed and with an additional 20 pounds drum fed to fill in the voids, is enough for winter.
We often follow up with another drum or two in early October since bees use a lot of feed in fall until all the brood hatches. Plugging the hives helps reduce the brood area and assists in varroa treatment as long as feeding does not drive the bees down away from strips. Strips should be placed in the lower box if heavy feeding is planned as that is where the cluster will move as they store the feed above.
I had supper, then went down and did the South Yard. It was quite dismal, and only gave one box of honey. Most are waiting on new queens. I had worked them last on the last round on the 22nd and split quite drastically as some were building cells. Most should have laying queens in a week or two.
I am now done this round.
There is no reason anyone would
want a computer in their home.
I visited Ellen first thing and she is much better. Apparently a drug that was supposed to help actually was causing confusion and after discontinuing it, and as it clears from her system, she is back more to normal.
I'm back home and have finished my latest bee round again. I try to go around every ten days or so. Anything more often than that tends to be destructive as I have queen cells developing and queens mating.
When I go around, I spread brood, check for queens and remove any full supers. Where there is doubt about whether a hive is requeening well, I add a frame of young brood. Disrupting the yard and brood nests too often can be counterproductive as queen cells can be broken and queens returning from mating flights can be confused by appearance changes, a disassembled hive, or a beekeeper blocking the entrance, especially in mid-afternoon.
I have some boxes of honey to pick up, and a hive to prepare for a customer, but that is it. I need to clean up and sort equipment, though and also get ready for a visit from a fellow who wants ten hives later this week.
After visiting Ellen, I picked up the honey I tipped up last evening. I now have 35 boxes here ready to go.
Here is the current tally:
In the late afternoon, I drove to Calgary to sail with Zeke. The Calgary Sailing Club holds Wednesday night races and Zeke sails in the San Juan 21 fleet. I picked Zeke up downtown and we drove to Heritage Park to launch the boat. Zeke's car is still missing after being stolen last week.
At 9:30 everyone met on the clubhouse deck for burgers and beer. I left at 10:30, drove Zeke home and then drove back to Swalwell and arrived right at midnight.
Jon was up and needed a VPN connection. We looked at the router and the modem and concluded that somehow the modem was blocking VPNs. I had already established this a year back as I recall. At nay rate, we had to use the tethering on my cell phone to get the required connection.
A pint of sweat saves a gallon
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"If I make a
living off it, that's great -- but I come from a culture where you're valued
not so much by what you acquire but by what you give away,"
-- Larry Wall (the inventor of Perl)
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