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A queen got into a shallow super, so we make it a hive -- for now.

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Tuesday August 20th 2013
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I'm late posting today.  This morning we tidied, said good-byes, and then I drove Jon and kids to YYC.  Meanwhile, Jean packed up and went back to Lacombe.

So, here I am with just my dog and cat, alone in this huge place.  So far, so good.

I asked Jean for a copy of the words she said at Ellen's graveside. Here they are:

I'm lucky that the people I call family are also some of my closest friends. They are among my most sought after people to spend time with. They are also the people I choose to travel with. And yes, Mom, twice in a row I ended sentences with prepositions. My family are also the people most willing to crack a joke and create one that goes on and on, gaining a life of its own as it becomes part of our family lexicon and history.

My mom, Ellen, was one of those keystone people. She was a rock and cheerleader for all of us. Someone to hold onto during stormy seas or someone with whom to share dreams and ideas--someone who would do whatever she could to help you make them come alive or lend her creativity to, but also to let them still be your dreams.

The problem I've had is that Mom was also one of my best friends. And when you have someone who loves you unconditionally and believes in everything you do and, in a heartbeat, will hop in a tiny car--and your tent--to join you and your family for a 3000km adventure it sets the bar pretty high for other friends.

My mom taught me what a great friend truly is. Sometimes, it is someone who sends a magazine article in the mail with a little sticky note on it referring back to a conversation you had weeks or months ago--letting you know that you are thought of and that you were heard. Sometimes it's someone who calls you to say one thing and you end up talking for several hours about everything else. Sometimes it's simply someone who's there to lift you up.

My mom has not only set the standard for friendship or taught me what a great friend should be, she's also taught me a lot about the power of being a mom--the things you can't learn in a book, but need to witness and experience.

She was also someone who would quietly work in the background keeping people together, taking care of details and making things go. One of those people where you don't realize how much they are doing until they aren't there doing it any longer.

Ellen loved adventure whether it was forging through the bush as a teen to go to someone's camp in Northern Ontario or hitchhiking Europe alone during her university days or after her 60th birthday, heading off to fulfill her childhood dream of visiting China. I guess I shouldn't forget learning Italian on the spur of a moment so she and Dad could make due during their Italy trip. Or heck, two years ago dusting off her Finnish to go meet the Swedish and Finnish family of her half-brothers.

She was a cheerleader for many of the people she touched during her life whether in the art world, the bee business, or otherwise. She loved to turn words on their head, collect interesting people as friends, turn the ordinary into extraordinary and loved the challenge of finding the potential of shapes, colour, and design whether it was in a thrift shop treasure find, stained glass, oil painting, or in her large, rambling garden.

And when it came to life, her unspoken motto seemed to be: Hey, life's going to happen anyway so you may as well be doing what you love. In other words, it's never too late to figure out a new adventure--a new passion to immerse oneself into--and just go for it.

Ellen changed the way many of us view our world and she left touches of herself everywhere. So while she will always live on in our hearts and memories, she will also live on in unexpected ways such as the way I--and possibly you, too--view the Alberta summer skies. If you miss Ellen, look up into the sky. If there are spectacular clouds and breathtaking views, then she is there beside you commenting on cerulean blue and noting roadside bloomers by their Latin names.

Supermom. Superartist. Superfriend. SuperEllen.


> Any tips on how to clean out wax cappings from a radial extractor?
> I have a 20 frame dadant radial extractor and it doesn't look like the
> basket and vertical shaft come out easily. Any advice?

Well, seeing as no one is answering, I'll jump in.  I've washed more extractors more times than I care to admit.  Ooops.  I just admitted it.

If you have dry storage, don't wash until you need it again. 

When you do, spray with low pressure cold water, have a beer or two, and repeat.  Repeat. Eventually, it will rinse clean.

Frankly, it really does not matter.  Do you wash your combs out? 

The reasons for washing an extractor are:

  1. Somebody expects you to (CFIA - The Canadian Food Infection Agency)
  2. You are anal
  3. The build-up is interfering with operation.

A coating of honey and wax on machinery is not likely to attract anything nasty and is an ideal surface for more honey. 

The exceptions are where dirt, mice and moisture are likely to contact the extractor before next use.

Then pressure-wash with cold water, but you are very likely to ruin the bearings.

Don't let it end like this. Tell them I said something.
Last words of Pancho Villa

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Wednesday August 21st 2013
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I plan to start catching up on the bookkeeping today and also work on bees and the truck.

I see we touched minus one degrees Celsius last night.  Was it a killer frost?  Possibly in some low-lying areas, but probably not.  My weather station is not working since the computer it was on quit a few days ago, so I do not have the back yard readings.

Now that the gang has left, I'm tidying up.  There are lots of little things to straighten up and now that I am sole occupant, I have spaces to reorganise and things to throw out and give away.

I plan to go sailing with Zeke again tonight.  It is a bit of a drive, 120 km, each way, but I figure I should make a point of being involved in things.

*   *   *   *   *

Just before I left, I got a call from Cooper Boating saying that my dinghy 9.8 outboard has been stolen.  A client reported it missing on a charter trip. Apparently, this will cost me nothing, and I get a new replacement outboard.  I liked the old one.  It was lightweight and ran well.  The new one will be 4-stroke and heavier as apparently that is all that is sold now.

Near the end of the call, I mentioned that it was peculiar that I had heard from him right after I had a dream about the boat last night, especially since I don't often recall dreams as clearly as I do this one.

In the dream, I left a crew member at the helm while I was doing some small job and when I looked up, found we were too close to the rocks on the point at the entrance to Bedwell Harbour (circled at right) for comfort.  A strong tide was pulling us in and I was looking down and seeing rocks below, but not striking bottom.  Then I woke up.

Colin said, "How about that?  Guess where the outboard was stolen? -- Bedwell Harbour". 

Up to that point, he had not mentioned where the theft occurred.

*   *   *   *   *

I left a bit late to get to Calgary on time, but did arrive in time to pick Zeke up by 5 as agreed and we had a good race night, placing well above the middle of the fleet.

In my haste to leave home, I left Zippy outside and once on the road, I realised that I would be back late and that coyotes had treed Amos in the orchard several times lately.  They come right up to the house at night and sometimes make quite a racket.  Amos can take care of himself, but I am not sure about Zippy.  I am so used to having people at home to let the dog in that I was not thinking.  I am now living alone and have to remember that.

Coyotes can be hard on dogs and I decided to skip the party after the race and returned directly home, arriving just after dark.  Zippy was nowhere to be seen and I feared the worst.  Two deaths in one week would be a bit much.

Zippy is not known to wander.  She is always right at the house when I return.  I called and called, then decided to walk the ditch by the road and started out the driveway.  At that point Zip ran up from the direction of town.  She does not like to be outside after dark, and I figure she was worried and went looking for company.

Although she never used to go to town, the grandkids may have taken her downtown and introduced her to neighbours when they were here recently.  That is good in a way, as long as no one complains.  Years ago, we had a dog that just went an lived at a neighbour's when we went away.  We did not even have to take over a dish. 

Zip is the sort of dog everyone likes, but you never know who'll complain.  I'd hate to get a call from the animal control officer to go get her back.  No biggie, though.  The ACO's Zoo/animal refuge is where Ruth got Zippy in the first place.  She lived at the GuZoo, which he owns until Ruth found her, and he knows her well.

If anyone says that the best life of all is to sail the sea, and then adds that I must not sail upon a sea where shipwrecks are a common occurrence and there are often sudden storms that sweep the helmsman in an adverse direction, I conclude that this man, although he lauds navigation, really forbids me to launch my ship.
Lucius Annaeus Seneca

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Thursday August 22nd 2013
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I see another hot day coming.  It is starting off cool, though.  The temperature is 65 in the house and I did close the windows last night.

I've decided to spend less daytime at the keyboard and also stop wasting time on BEE-L for a while.  I have lots of real-life things to do.  I'm behind on my correspondence with at least ten emails to handle, but I want to get the truck fixed and also look at the bees.  I dragged out the alcohol wash jars today.

I disassembled the mixing chamber on the fuel intake in the tank and could not see any cracks or other obvious reason for running out of fuel at 1/3 tank, then with considerable difficulty looked the subject up on the 'net and discovered I am missing the fuel pickup foot! (right).

 No wonder the truck was running out of fuel with 1/3 tank  The foot is several inches long and without it, 2-1/2" of fuel is below the intake.  The tank is only 14" to the very top and a small line sucking fuel 2-1/2" or more off the bottom instead of the 3" round mushroom-shaped foot would really cause the truck to act up when it began sucking air.

Knowing there should be a foot, I fished around in the tank and found a brand new foot. Apparently, someone had put on a new foot, but not used a clamp, and while the assembly was being installed the foot must have fallen off.  It could not fall off once installed as a properly installed foot is under spring  compression between the mixer and the tank bottom.  It is designed to draw every last drop of fuel.

*   *   *   *   *

It's five o'clock and I am quitting the truck job for the day.  I've been at this for four hours, including interruptions and research time.  I have the tank back together, with the gauge and intake installed and just have to hang the tank, fill it, and test it -- then hope it all works properly.  Right now I am too hot, dirty and tired to keep on it.  When I get to this point I make little progress and sometimes lose ground.

*   *   *   *   *

The second shoe drops.  After weeks of hearing nothing until yesterday, I got a another call from Cooper boating today.  I now have a new outboard, but guess what?  The dive report says that the boat has hit a rock on the last charter and now has some structural damage.

Cassiopeia has a fin keel and canoe bottom.  That is a good performance configuration, but one not too forgiving when encountering rocks on the bottom. A full keel is tapered from the bow and just rides up on a rock.  It might be hard to get the boat back off, but usually damage is superficial.  With a fin keel, the impact is on the forward surface of the keel.  That force pushes the keel back and bends the boat bottom, stressing and delaminating the bottom.

There are no reported leaks and the boat is still sound.  The surveyor says there is no reason to condemn the boat, and the next client is Cooper Boating's owner's brother, so out she goes again.

I'm glad I bought a boat that had existing previous damage at a deep discount then had her repaired to spec, and not a brand new boat.

If she were a brand new boat, as I was contemplating the other day, I would be feeling wounded and looking at big depreciation. As it is, I just laughed when  I heard the news.

Cassiopeia was in need of similar repair when I bought her.  Cooper Boating just brought her up to spec last March.  They are ace boat builders and glass experts.  Every time she hits a rock -- this is the third I have heard about since new -- they just make her stronger.

Thinking of my recent dream (see yesterday), I asked Colin where the bottom strike took place.  He has not read the report yet, so could not say.  I wonder; was it Bedwell Harbour?

The client must have had the Charter From Hell.  Outboard stolen and a bottom strike in one week?  Poor guy.

*   *   *   *   *

I started to make a bean salad, but Fen and her daughters came by for a visit and now I am done for the day.

*   *   *   *   *

Speaking of two deaths in one week (mentioned yesterday), my good friend, Brian W, died yesterday at 3 PM from cancer.

What experience and history teach is this--that people and governments never have
learned anything from history, or acted on principles deduced from it.
 Georg Hegel

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Friday August 23rd 2013
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> I have some hives in double deep boxes started this year from splits
> that I want to treat with Apivar. To get the strips where the brood is I
> have to manipulate the brood into one box. My thought is to put all
> the brood in the top box because most of it is capped or ready to be
> capped,

The brood that matters is the open brood. Sealed brood is of little interest to nurse bees and varroa. There is nothing for them to do there, but nurse bees feed larvae constantly and varroa lurk on them, waiting for an opportunity to enter a cell about to be capped.

Varroa can be found on bees anywhere in the hive, but are concentrated near the open brood.  Even strips far from brood will kill some varroa as the chemical rubs off the strips onto passing bees and circulates through the hive on those bees, but the best results always come from fishing where the fish are.

Late in the season, usually the brood nest is contracting and all the open brood is in one small area. Optimally, that is where the Apivar goes, spaced several frames apart.

> ...putting the strip there, the queen should go to the bottom
> box where there are empty cells and as the bees emerge the
> top box will get filled with honey setting the hive up for winter.
> Then I will move the Apivar and any left over brood down to
> the bottom box.

If the open brood area moves down during the treatment period, then the strips should also be moved down.  One such move should be enough.

This not an exact science, though, and many achieve good control without being too fussy or moving strips, however the closer the strips are to open brood, the better they work. Placement becomes more critical as the days grow cooler and the bees cluster more and more.

> I usually just let the bees set themselves up for winter so I am not
> sure which box is the best for getting the brood and strips together,
> top or bottom.

I let my bees set themselves up and don't interfere. I would not recommend moving more than the occasional frame of brood around late in the season as this may have an adverse effect on wintering.

August is not very late, however, and I would not be too concerned with adjusting the position of frames until mid to late September in my region, especially if the manipulation is minor and done with good reason.

> Sorry I keep asking you questions that seem very basic. I
> hate to guess at things when it could make me loose hives.

No problem. It makes me think about these matters, to our mutual benefit.

I plan to finish mounting the fuel tank today.

I started by tidying and then vacuuming the pool.  The truck is next.

*   *   *   *   *

Next, I launched my cartop boat on the pond and dumped in $130 worth of some gunk called SHAC Ponder that I was convinced to buy while at the Airdrie UFA.  I hate these sorts of products as they strike me as snake oil, but people claim that they work.  Of course people believe all sorts of improbable things.  I could provide a list of the most obvious but I am sure to offend almost everyone, so I will not.

Next I tackled the truck.  After wrestling with the tank for two hours, I had it mounted and working. 

Somehow on the process, I managed to crack the back of my Nexus 4.  I have no idea how I did it as I left it on a running board.  Did I step on it?  At any rate the Gorilla Glass screen is fine and the fone  works just fine

I poured in some fuel and the gauge works! I poured in  20 litres, then another and another.  Here are the readings.  (Empty, it read just below the pin).

20 litres                       40 litres                     60 litres

The truck uses about 12 litres per 100 km on the highway, so 1/8 tank should go 100 km (62.5 miles) easily.  The tank holds 140 litres, supposedly.

So, I spent two whole days fixing a minor problem.  Why do I do that?  Why do I do anything I do?  Sometimes I wonder.   I knew it could turn into an ordeal.

I also made a mod to the filler and breather, though.  Filling the last 10 to 20 litres has been slow due to excessively long tubes protruding inside the tank.  I trimmed them back in accordance with this advice.

The only remaining problem is that sometimes the wipers and washer simply do not work at all.  Then they do.  Matt had tried to trace the problem, but gave up.  I have had no better luck.

Oh, and I need to find out why the shift lever is sticky.

*   *   *   *   *

I found out where Cassiopeia struck bottom.  It was at Montague Harbour and at low speed while maneuvering in an anchorage.  I'm looking on the chart and can't see any obvious way to strike bottom without being negligent.

I do see, though that the tides ranged from a high of eleven feet down to almost chart datum (lowest normal level) from late afternoon, when people usually anchor for the day, to mid-morning the next day so if someone did not figure on shallow water in the morning...

The anchorages are crowded in summer, too, and maybe the client was having to make do on the fringes.  Curious.  I have to wonder.

I'm not feeling quite as cavalier after giving this damage some thought.  This is the third bottom strike for this boat in only 7 years of service. That seems excessive.

*   *   *   *   *

That frost the other night did do some damage to the flowers and I am seeing also that the neighbours are cutting the alfalfa again.  Robbing is getting heavy in an exposed stack (right).

*   *   *   *   *

This evening, I finally made that bean salad.  It is excellent.  I hope Karen does not mind my sharing the recipe.

Black Bean Salad

Lime Vinaigrette

3 tablespoons fresh lime juice 2 teaspoons chile powder l/2 teaspoon salt l/2 cup extra virgin olive oil

4 cups cooked black beans or 2 (15 1/2-ounce) cans black beans, drained and rinsed 2 cups corn kernels, cut from grilled corn or thawed frozen corn kernels 2 beefsteak tomatoes, seeded, cut into cubes (if your going to keep the salad for a couple of days use grape tomatoes, uncut, instead since they do not get mushy) 4 scallions, white and green parts, chopped or sweet onion l/3 cup chopped fresh cilantro or basil 4 ounces feta cheese, crumbled (about 1 cup)

To make the vinaigrette, whisk the lime juice, chile powder, and salt in a small bowl. Gradually whisk in the oil.

In a large bowl, combine the beans, corn, tomatoes, scallions, and cilantro. Add the dressing and mix well. Cover and refrigerate for at least l hour before serving. Just before serving, sprinkle with the cheese.

I'm still trying out the ten kinds of dried beans I bought and so far, I think I like the black beans best.  I'm also discovering that the canned beans are easier to use and better quality than the dry beans I bought.  Wal-Mart has very good prices for canned beans -- less than $1 per can -- and the beans are as good or better compared to others I have tried.  Not all Wal-Mart brand food items are as good as brand name items, but the beans seem to be.

The people need prosperity, pure and simple.
Lao Tzu

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Saturday August 24th 2013
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Another beautiful day.  I have a wedding to attend today, but may just stick to getting things done here.   I need to get bee and yard work done and look into improving the heating system.

In my digging for some data for a reply below, I noticed that the outdoor temperature had dropped to minus 22 in the last week of October back in 2003. 

I am currently still dependant in this old coal stoker that I built up from a Kirk's stoker 40 years ago.  It is reliable and cheap to run, and seems just like a modern gas furnace in it daily use, but requires a capable operator downstairs from time to time to remove ashes and ensure that coal is feeding properly, and do maintenance twice annually.

I have researched installing a high-efficiency gas furnace, but had a problem getting a gasfitter to commit.  They are all very busy, and Fort McMoney and the tar sands draw the young guys away.  The recent floods in Calgary are bound to create a lot of demand for gasfitters as well.

The design of a new or augmented system is not simple, as this place is not a standard residential building, or a commercial building either, so it stumps salesman who are just out to find easy projects to make a quick buck.  Someone is going to actually think and also know more than just how to plug in a new unit in place of an old one or install and entire system in a new building.

At any rate, I have to do something, and a simple high-efficiency unit or a pair of them will not be not the whole answer either.  The gas supply is reliable, but power goes off every year, with interruptions that last from a few moments to well over a day. 

Usually the outages are at times when the temperatures are around freezing and are due to ice on the wires, but there is always the risk that we could have an outage at minus forty with a wind. The former (usual) failure requires less than 100,000 BTU of backup capacity, but the worst case (latter) scenario requires at least twice that.

While a 95% efficient gas-fired unit makes sense for the bulk of my heating, I need a backup capable of preventing freezing if the power goes off for 24 hours or more.  That unit must be able to run automatically and with thermostat control when there is no power line electricity.  The other option is an automatic standby power generator, but that means rewiring the place at considerable expense, and then I still need a redundant heat source.

The requirements are more stringent if I plan to travel in winter than if I am home daily.  If I am here, I can mitigate any failure using a standby generator and/or a construction heater, but if I am away, even with someone checking the house, I risk losing my plants and having pipes freeze. In bad weather, house checkers tend to be unreliable as they have go out in bad weather or to travel when roads can be blocked.

When  Aaron and I were in Florida one January, his house froze up.  His girlfriend was checking on it, but there was a severe winter storm and cold snap.  Snowdrifts kept her from getting to his house on the day that his oil furnace failed to start.  The damage was massive, especially as he has hydronic heat.  Hundreds of feet of water pipes and radiators froze, then leaked and water ran down through the house.  Repairs were costly and took forever, as did cleaning up the mess.

Frozen pipes are a real problem. Repairing frozen pipes is just one part of the problem.  When pipes thaw, they flood the building, ruining drywall and damaging possessions.  Moreover, if the owner is away, water running freely for days can run up a water bill in the thousands of dollars, even if it runs straight down the drain.

> What is the latest date you can remember open drum feeding
> in the fall?

> Of course it is all temperature, weather related, but we are a

> long ways behind in our extracting.

Middle to end of October.

Basically, the best way to do it is to have the drums in the yard and covered until the last supers are removed, then to open them before leaving.

The disturbance and exposed honey encourages them to empty the drums quickly. If you wait a few days, the bees tend to be settled down and some may be slow getting to the feed.

One time I had a drum in a yard in late October that the bees did not touch and I did not want to have to leave it full all winter. I took a bucket and dipped out several gallons and went around the yard lifting lids and pouring a few ounces on each cluster.

The next day the drum was empty.

I went looking for some documentation of the above in the diary archives and found this instead:

From October 2003:

"Here's a post I made this morning in response some discussion on BEE-L"

> I was told that the reason Apistan is used, even in "resistant"
> hives, is it does give good mite drop, albeit they may still be alive.
> So you can get good mite drop with Apistan even with
> Apistan/Checkmite resistant mites.

If that is true, it would explain why Apistan treatment in early spring, in double hives with top entrances, in Alberta, with one strip, seems to work so much better than fall treatment with multiple strips, and why resistance has not been encountered using this method.

I understand that, even in the absence of resistance, Apistan tends to drop plenty of live mites. (Is this true? I wouldn't know, since the mites I see have been drowned quickly in the oil on the sticky board).

In Spring, the cluster is in the top box -- the bottom box is clear of bees -- and falling mites tend to drop away from the cluster to the distant floor and -- if still alive -- perish there. When treated in Fall, when bees are on the floor constantly, any mites dropping to the floor, even a mesh one, have a good opportunity to re-attach to a bee.

I have been surprised by how much more efficacious and cheaper the Spring treatment has proven over the past few years in our operation, when compared to the Fall, multiple strip, method.

The biggest problem with Spring treatment is getting out early enough to get the strips into the hives a.) before brood rearing begins to increase and, b.) 42 days before splitting, so that all bees get a full treatment before being split.  Since splitting begins for us May 10th, the Apistan must ideally go in on or before March 29th ( 7 weeks or 42 days before splitting).  Using our special individual wraps (1)  (2)  (3) (4) with pillows underneath and normal summer lids on top allows us easy access to install strips and patties without unwrapping the hives too early.

I am enjoying being alone at home. 

In some ways, nothing has changed.  Even when Ellen was here, she was preoccupied with art projects.  I often spent summers alone at Pine Hill and lived and sailed alone on my boat this past winter and spring.  We spent more time together after she was diagnosed as I drove her here and there and in the final months had to do pretty well everything.

In other ways. it is very different.  I no longer have a partner to consult and can decide what I want to do without alerting her, or discussion.  I also have a lot to reorganize and give away, sell or throw out.  I'm starting now, but the job will take a year I'm guessing.

I also have plants and a garden to tend.  I know nothing about gardening, but Ellen collected a lot of plants.  I'll either have to learn, get a gardener, or let the garden go wild.

After lunch, I went out and did the North Yard again.  I pulled another 14 boxes.  Some were plugged and others light, but I like to keep open cells right next to the brood chamber to assure they do not plug.  I need maximum brood rearing for the next month to get them up to wintering strength.

Then I went to the Quonset West Yard and began installing a second brood chamber under the singles.  I figure the season is about over and it is time to get ready for winter.  Some of these hives need to raise a lot of brood before then.  Even though I see pollen coming in, I'm placing two Global 15% patties between the brood boxes to encourage late brood rearing.

Two questions form the foundation of all novels: 'What if?' and 'What next?'...
Every novel begins with the speculative question, What if 'X' happened?
That's how you start.
 Tom Clancy

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Sunday August 25th 2013
Only 4 Months until Christmas
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Predictions are for another hot day.  I picked up the abandoned boxes and this time I put them into the basement.  I did not want to do that since any adhering bees wind up on the windows, making a mess, but last time I left the boxes exposed to bees, quite a bit of robbing occurred.  Moving them inside this early in the morning minimized the number of bees in the boxes.

Sharon dropped by after lunch and we had a good visit. 

Woman was God's second mistake.
Friedrich Nietzsche

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Monday August 26th 2013
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We only expect 24 degrees today.  My one and only job for the day is to get the books done, or make a good start.

Well, I made a start, but just a start.  I ran across the various forms I have to fill out after Ellen's passing and found them a bit opaque.  The instructions said help is available by phoning a number.  Of course the number led to a maze of options none of which seemed to address my problem and lengthy announcements about things that are irrelevant, then finally, an announcement that call volume is too high to patch me through to a human.  "Good-bye".  It hung me up!  Maybe tomorrow I'll get more done.

Phoning companies or government is one of my pet peeves.  Invariably, a menu of options is presented slowly and at length.  None of the six ever are exactly what I want, so I try pressing zero, zero, zero to get a human. 

That works surprisingly often, however just as often it gets me put on hold, being subjected to insulting commercials, irrelevant announcements and "music".  Are they trying to make people hang up in disgust?  Whatever happened to beep....beep... ?

I should get out and pull more boxes, too, as I don't want the hives to plug, but I have a month-end deadline to file my GST return.

No Sane man will dance.

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Tuesday August 27th 2013
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The bookwork continues.

It did continue and that is about all I did all day, except renew the carpet on the cat's clawing post and have a dip in the pool.

Our cat (actually Ellen's cat) Amos destroyed a lot of wicker furniture while I was away one year and turned into a real problem, so much so that I was ready to take him to the animal refuge.  Ellen thought that fixing his clawing post would help, but did not do anything.  Her cousin, Myra, was here two years ago in April and decided to take on the task.  She renewed the carpet and since then I have not seen any sign of clawing anywhere else!

I did have a very stern talk (and only a polite but assertive talk) with Amos at the time and assured him that if I ever saw him clawing furniture again, it would be an immediate one-way trip to the Zoo for him. 

People think that animals don't understand English.  I think they do, at least the way a child does.  A child understands many words and ignores the ones that do not yet have meaning for him/her.  Context, facial expression, and body language supply a lot of meaning, too.

I figure if a human can understand quite well and even speak by the age of two, why could an animal not understand by that age?  After all, animals are born far more developed and some are reproducing and raising and teaching their young by that age.

As for speaking, it seems to me that they do, a bit, but I don't understand.  I am quite sure Amos says "Hello" in the morning.

For the last several days, every time I get up for any reason, Zippy tries to take me to the door and the van.   I think she figures it is time to go and get Ellen.  I have explained that Ellen will not be coming back and why, but I don't think she wants to believe me.

*   *   *   *   *

At any rate, the bookkeeping goes on and I do have to finish by four tomorrow.

At four I must be on my way to Calgary for Wednesday Night Racing.  I have made this a routine activity lately to make sure I get out.  I was always a sailor, but never a racer, at least not since I was a kid at summer camp.  My idea of sailing is to point offshore, get away from land, set sail and don't change it for hours or days.  It is really not my style to sail in a pack of boats on a pond like Glenmore.  My preference is to try to stay away from other boats, and from other cars when on the highway too, for that matter.

In racing, we pass mere inches away for one another and twenty near-misses  of a foot or two in a night are par for the course.  There is never any contact though.  All this is not my worry, however.  I handle the jib sheets.  The foredeck person handles the spinnaker, and the captain steers the boat.

At 5:30, we rig the boat on the trailer in the parking lot, launch it, then sail out to the start line.  Then we loaf around until the signal, at which time we jockey for a good start position and try cross as close to the sound of the gun as we can.  Then we tack back and forth, raise and lower the genoa and the spinnaker over and over, dodge other boats, shout, "Starboard" and other demands for right of way and the occasional apology to other boats, until we arrive at the finish line.  We then hover around for ten minutes until the next start and do it all again until dusk.  

There are three races a night, then everyone goes to the clubhouse for a late supper and a beer.  If I stay for the whole deal, I get home around midnight.

All in all, it is a silly thing to do, but it is sailing and very friendly and I am getting to like it.

It's discouraging to think how many people are shocked by
honesty and how few by deceit.
Noël Coward

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Wednesday August 28th 2013
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Some time back, a reader suggested that I reverse the order of posts, and place the newest post at the top.  For whatever reason, I didn't at that time, but I am trying it today.

There are reasons to top post.  For one thing, visitors are presented with the newest material immediately.  Since the rise of blogging, top posting has been the rule.  This online diary started before the word, 'blog' was coined, and I don't consider myself to be a 'blogger'.  This is my personal diary, that I share.  Sometimes it is interesting to others, often not.


I write for myself.

(Note: due to feedback, I changed back to the original order after trying the new format for a day or two.)

*   *   *   *

Today, I must catch the books up to date and file GST.  I have a few more days to deadline, but cutting things close is not my style.  For one thing, I can't assume that my accountant can drop everything just to compensate for my procrastination.  I know I owe tax this period and filing late is a good way to attract unwanted attention and penalties.

There has been recent activity in the Honey Bee World Forum on topics that should interest most beekeepers.  The forum is not as active as it was at one time, but is picking up again.

At one time the forum was very active, but I shut it down for a while due to spam attacks.  I hardened it up again, but that made it harder to register.  Lately, we are getting more interest.

If you want to comment on anything I write or ask me a question that is of general interest, the forum is the best place to do that.  Please Write me if you have any issues registering or posting in Honey Bee World Forum.  I need to know if there are problems.

*   *   *   *

I slaved over the books and did not notice until lunchtime that Zippy was not around.  That was odd, since yesterday she was wanting to go somewhere every time I got out of my chair and trying to lead me outside to the van so I looked around the house.  No Zippy..

I had slept in today and had let her out at nine, and let the cat in at the same time.  I recalled thinking it odd that Zip ran right down the steps instead of just staring at me as she usually does when I let her out in the morning, but thought vaguely that maybe nature called today.

I had immediately gone on to working on the books and not noticed much until lunch.  My deadline was 4 PM as four was the latest I could leave for Wednesday Night Sailing and make it.

It is extremely odd for Zip to go missing.  In fact, she usually runs around the house barking and wanting in if she is left out alone, so I looked around again and called, then drove through town looking for her.  With no luck, and no more ideas where to look further, I went back to work and hoped she would appear.

I finished the books with time to spare and went looking again, through town, out to Shirley's, and even down to the graveyard.  We had all gone down there the other day to visit the grave, so who knows how a dog thinks?

Anyhow, I had no luck and went home again, becoming increasingly disturbed.  Losing your wife is one thing, but your dog?  And in the same fortnight?   I was well prepared in Ellen's case, as it was a long time coming, but Zip's sudden disappearance shook me.  I think I may be a bit fragile right now. 

I cancelled the sailing as I figured if she did show up, she would be very worried to find the house locked and me gone until midnight.  Who knows whether she went searching, got dog napped -- or what?  I figured it was a faint hope that she would just reappear, but should be here.

Oene called and I invited him over for supper.  I did some preparation, then went to the front door, which was open, and there was Zip, lying on her bed at the door.  She was overjoyed to see me and looked a bit dirty, very tired and somewhat chagrinned.  She wouldn't tell me where she was, so I have to guess.

When I awoke this morning, the railway guys were at the crossing at the end of our drive and across a road.  She likes to go bark at them and I'm guessing that she did just that and they made friends and took her for a ride. 

She loves to get into vehicles.  If I leave vehicle door open, and she is around, I know where to find her.  I'm guessing she got in their truck and they went off to work for the day down the tracks a few miles.

About the time she reappeared, it was quitting time and I did hear the beep beep of a backing vehicle, so...

What a relief!

*   *   *   *

No sign of the Troll, so I posted on BEE-L again tonight.

> One last rant and I will sit down and shut-up, I promise.

I have very much appreciated your contributions. Don't stop. I am sure your observations will cause others to be less inclined to just assume that because they treated that they can sleep for a while.

> Any one that has followed this thread from the start knows that I
> started by stating my alarm at finding lots of surviving mites
> when I pulled the strips.... My questions were always about
> the claim of killing mites in capped cells and not harming the
> pupae. Are there any studies varying those claims. Those
> questions remain unanswered.

Actually, they have been answered, but the answer is not as cut and dried as we would like or the one we want to hear.

Yes, that claim is true for some lucky cells, but not others. In those not in the 'zone', the mites and the immature bees will be damaged or killed and in other cells neither will suffer much harm. It is a matter of luck and location.

The formic concentration with any application method will vary with distance from the strips or pads, temperatures and numerous other factors. That concentration will vary from place to place in the hive and from harmless to lethal for mites, and for bees.

The concentration and exposure time required to kill the average bee, larva, pupa, mite or immature mite will be all different.

Moreover the contents of each cell will vary in how well they are protected by clustering bees, varying capping density, air currents, etc. etc.

Inasmuch as there is no practical way to control the formic vapour concentration at any specific point in the hive since the brood and bees are at varying distances from the strips or pads and since the ambient temperature or air circulation in hives can vary in an unpredictable fashion, we can deduce that in some areas the concentration will be optimal and in others either higher or lower than desired or that the duration of that concentration may also be variable.

Where that ideal concentration exists for the required period of time, without exceeding a lethal dose or duration (for bees and immature bees), but exceeds the level required to kill varroa females and males (males are smaller) males will be killed. That has never been a secret and we have talked about it here for at least a decade.

The problem, as Bob pointed out repeatedly is that the way to know you got a mite kill is to see that you also have some 'collateral damage' in the form of some killed brood.

So, yes, that phenomenon has been observed and documented, but how useful or reliable it is in practice can be questioned -- as you have seen.

Almost all fumigation methods suffer from these problems of uncontrolled release and concentrations. That is why the 'cattle oiler' methods work so much better and are much less subject to the effects of weather colony size, hive geometry, etc.

These latter methods rely on bees rubbing on the source strip and distributing minute amounts as the brush against and groom one another.

I wonder if Mitegone and the Amrine board may manage to get more even and predictable fumigation. The Apinovar method also seems to be quite consistent.

I don't think I like this top posting.  At the end of today's post, I start reading yesterday's post as if it follows today.  But it is about yesterday, not tomorrow. That's just weird. IMO. 

I can see why a blog which is a series of often unrelated or non-chronological articles should have the newest at top, but a diary???  Diaries are written top to bottom, front to back, at least in Western languages.

Maybe I should place the day's post at top each day, then move it down the next day so that it follows in order?  That could work.

If you like this order, please say so because if I don't get some votes for it, I'll switch back.

The difference between pornography and erotica is lighting.
Gloria Leonard

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Thursday August 29th 2013
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I still have a bit of bookwork to finish up, but the pressure is off.  I intend to get out to work on the bees today as well.

I mentioned losing the dog for a few hours and how it concerned me. She is not a wanderer or a hunter. The cat is a different matter.  Every time he goes out hunting at night, I'm a bit surprised to see him in the morning.

The hunter is also hunted.  He is getting old and one of these days, he will not be quick enough or hear well enough to evade the other predators out there in the dark.  He has a heart condition, too, and has for years.

I know this and I also know I can't change or protect him.  He was a stray that wandered in and stayed for a decade or so.  I am resigned to the fact that some night he will go out, and he may not return in the morning -- or ever.

In fact, at 0800, Amos has not yet shown up today, but then he is a cat and sometimes he goes for a long stroll.

(It was 0945 before Amos showed up today. Whew!)

One other thing: Whereas Zippy was always trying to get me to go somewhere the day before yesterday, she seems entirely content to lie on her bed today.  When I get up, instead of trying to lead me to the door, when I get up to do something she just lies there and looks at me.  Wherever she went yesterday seems to have satisfied her wanderlust.

Here is another post to BEE-L.  In the mornings, I generally write for an hour or two until I am fully awake.  I hope readers find it useful.

> I checked mite levels again in early October, after the
> autumn honey had been removed, and found that mites
> were high again, or my formic treatment had failed. I used
> Apivar (first chemical strips used since 1999) and lost only
> one hive that I can blame on varroa (strong hive,
> great production, found dead early winter). This year, with late
> spring (last frost May 28), I find almost no varroa, so will forgo
> formic acid mitewipes unless my next varroa count, late next
>  week, indicates otherwise. I use oxalic in early December.

Something to remember is that formic treatments reduce risk of tracheal mite problems, even when applied for varroa. In fact, formic is quite effective for acarine even though much less reliable for varroa.

The TM load or susceptibility of a yard of bees to TM is relatively difficult to assess. Acarine resistance and prevalence are variable from low to high across North America. TM resistance is not a dominant trait and yards that were never bothered by TM may become susceptible after queens change either naturally or by requeening with outside stock.

Whether Apivar has a significant effect on TM or not is a question I have not seen clearly decided. My impression from keeping my ear to the ground is that it does, and the widespread use of Amitraz in the US may account for the lack of reports of TM kills recently although recent reports from ARS seems to indicate that TM resistance in US stocks is as variable as when surveyed a decade previously.

Another explanation is that people see what they expect to see and that TM is as bad as ever. Could it be that many 'varroa' kills, especially with low varroa loads, were actually hastened by an undetected co-infestation with TM.

Pulling bees apart to detect TM is laborious and although it was de rigeur before varroa, I don't know if anyone does it anymore. Nonetheless, TM is still here and still doing the same harm it always did - AFAIK, but is masked by other concerns.

In the talk of resistance to amitraz and fluvalinate evolving, an important point that slips below the radar came up in this post made ten years ago:  and AFAIK, has been largely ignored.

A treatment does not have to kill mites to be effective if stunned mites drop to where they cannot get back on a bee.

Although the instructions that come with strips like Apistan and Apivar do not mention additional considerations which might increase efficacy, smart beekeepers have found that treatments made in shoulder seasons when the bees are up off the floor and nights can be cool require fewer strips and are far more effective, although I have never seen this documented. Using open bottoms or screens during strip treatments could improve efficacy considerably where partial resistance is a factor.

My impression is that Apivar (Amitraz) is a safer chemical than Apistan (fluvalinate-tau) for bees, beekeeper and hive products, but I don't have any conclusive data on this. Maybe our researchers can comment.

It seems clear that Apivar works really well and that even after many years of use, it continues to be the best synthetic available. As for Apistan, it may be working again, especially if used for knock-down and not expected to kill without the aid of a mite trap (oil) or an open bottom below.

Today marks two weeks since Ellen died.  A while back, we borrowed a wheelchair, walker, crutches and other aids from the local hospital and I have been planning to take them back.  I have also been wanting to test out the truck and top off the fuel tank, so Zippy and I went to Three Hills after lunch. 

The tank filled up easily for the first time, now that I have made the recommended mods.  Previously getting the last 30 litres in was slow and difficult.  The gauge seems to work well.

While in town, I had one of the swim tubes, a huge old tractor tube, repaired and got a few groceries.  The kids had a lot of fun with the tubes, but were pretty hard on them.

When I got home, I went out to work on the bees.  My heart was not in it and the temperatures were hot, but I placed a few brood boxes on or under hives and did two alcohol washes.  The results were 3 and 1.  I don't use a full 300 bees, though, as I find that 250 is more ideal.

Doing the washes reminded me why I hate alcohol washes. Killing 300 of the youngest bees with the most potential not only kills those bees but means that the 1,000 or more larvae they would have fed have to do without.

The job has to be done, but I figure that a small sampling is all I need.  I'll do a few more at random, but so far, it looks as if I might be able to make it through to spring to treat with Apivar then, when it is far more effective.  I'll be watching...

As for the hives, what I see out there is depressing.  A lot of hives are small and just getting new queens going.  The flows have been poor, and bees have been robbing every day for the past month.  That is a sure sign of a poor flow.  We could get a good September and that would help a lot.  Otherwise, I'm going to have to combine some hives.

I came in at six due to an impending storm.  I hope we get a good drenching.  We need it.

Although there is not a lot about bees in this week's logs, there is a lot of interesting and important material in the logs from previous years that could prove very helpful right now.

Try a few of the links below to read previous years experiences and see how the season progresses.  Each year is very different. 

Those in different regions may find that they have similar experiences, but that the dates or years do not match exactly.

2012   2011   2010   2009   2005   2004   2003   2002   2001   2000

These links take you to the beginning of each September, so just fast forward or back a page or two to find what interests you.

The previous and next links on each page allow for skipping forward and back.  Example below.

<< Previous Page           August XXXX            Next Page >>

Yes, some years are missing.  I quit the diary for a few years after retiring and even took it down for a while over privacy concerns, but put it back up due to reader requests.

Hypocrisy is a tribute that vice pays to virtue.
François de La Rochefoucauld

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Friday August 30th 2013
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The warm weather continues.  We had a shower last night and there is a chance of more and maybe some thundershowers.  We need whatever we can get.  After a very wet spring and early summer, things are looking very dry.

Today: More bee work, some housework (wash, vacuum, etc.), and then we are into the weekend. 

What is a weekend?  For a retired guy, nothing much, except more road traffic, and stores closed on Monday.  I suppose I should get together with Jean and family or friends.  We'll see what comes up.  I was thinking of putting on a supper for the Usual Suspects, although our ranks are thinning. 

I have noticed lately that I don't enjoy more than an hour or two conversation without doing something active.  It seems I would far rather be doing something rather than just sitting, talking. If I just sit, I tend to drink too much. 

When I put on a meal, I have cooking to do and cleaning up to keep me occupied some of the time while others chat.  Sometimes, with my kids, we go for a walk while we visit.

My parents played cards when they had friends over.  My Mom still has a Bridge Club and manages to stay in the top group, even at 94.  I haven't played cards for years but wonder if that is something I might enjoy.

At this point, I am still nose to grindstone, catching up after the disruption of this past month.  Fall is now close and I have preparations to make for winter.   I'm beginning plans for The Bluewater Thanksgiving Rendezvous.

Time for getting everything done seems very short as I should go east to see Mom, even for a week, soon and I plan to spend Thanksgiving week on my boat.  Seeing as I am organizing the Bluewater Cruising Association Thanksgiving Rendezvous at Thetis Island, I figure I should be there.

I need a new computer soon.  My old spare gave up and I may be able to salvage it, but it was not running well anyhow and was about five years old. 

I looked at the flyers and there are lots of apparently good deals out there, but they all come with Windows 8.  I would rather have Windows 7.  I can convert Win 8 back to look and run like 7, but why do that when I don't want all the Win 8 crap?

I really don't understand Microsoft.  They had the business niche and abandoned it.  Business customers do not want to spent big dollars retraining their staff to use a new interface.  Win 8 is designed for content consumption, not content creation and management.

I suppose I should push away from this keyboard, but I find that hard.

Hi all

I just finished extracting and I am wondering what others charge for honey sold from their house or to work colleagues etc. What's fair? How much for a pound, kilo? Maybe 3 or 5 kilo? Don't expect to get rich but covering some cost would be nice. Thank you all


I've been selling it for $15.00 for a kilo jar, and $10 for a 650 gm jar. Not one person has complained about the cost. Compared to a bottle of wine, I think these prices are very reasonable. I'll give a little discount if they order over 10 kilos, or if they are poor widows! I also give some as gifts of course, to close friends and family, my neighbours, or for special occasions.


That is good advice and a pretty good price.

The price of raw white honey in truckload lots is around $2.10 US/lb right now, so that is almost $5 per kilo without any value added. Larger quantities naturally sell for reduced price because the handling and selling are as real costs as the actual production of the honey.

So, if you are screening, clarifying and packaging and labeling it, and talking to each customer for ten minutes, $15/kilo is not at all unreasonable. If you are packing in 8 oz or smaller labeled jars, $15/kg is probably not enough when you figure in the cost of the jar, the label, the extra handling and the time spent selling it.

If customers are happy with your price, that has to be a good price. Keep in mind that some people even complain if they get it almost free, so if you never get any price resistance, you are probably charging too little.

Charging too little, even if you don't need the money, hurts your fellow beekeepers who may need to make some money, so if you want to give it away, see if the Food Bank will take it rather than giving it or selling it cheap to affluent people who are not close friends.

For those with larger amounts or fewer friends, or price resistance from customers, a look at the competition might provide some guidance in setting price. Take a stroll down the honey aisle in the local stores and take notes. Check out Costco.

Keep in mind that some of the honey on the shelf may not be local or high quality.

Note: I was in the local grocery store yesterday and saw good local honey on the shelf selling for $5 for a 500g tub.

I did push away.  The morning was dark and damp, and I used the opportunity to get some housework done.  It seems I just cleaned an vacuumed a short while ago, but three active kids and all the adults and two dogs plus a cat do make work. 

It warmed up around ten and I am off to work on the bees.  I spent an hour sorting brood combs. 

Sorting brood combs is a thankless and uncomfortable job, especially when I am not set up for it. 

Ideally that job is done on a table at working height with duckboards to provide a slatted surface to scrape and sort on, and the the scrapings fall through to be collected later.

Entire boxes of comb are dumped onto the table or nearby.  The boxes are inspected for condition, scraped and stacked nearby. 

Then the combs are sorted into piles according to whether they go for melting, are heavy outside combs, good middle side combs with pollen and some feed, or centre combs that are perfect empty brood comb.

When these stacks get high enough to make up a few new broods, the frames are inspected one by one, scraped and placed into the waiting boxes and stacked ready for the field.

When one sort pile gets too small to make up more brood chambers, more boxes are dumped and the process starts over.

Ideally, this job should be done outside on a sunny day with a light breeze.  The sun  allows for good visibility down into the cells to look for AFB.  The light breeze keeps everyone cool and carries away the dust. 

If the combs are mouldy, the scraping dust can carry moulds that can be dangerous, so good ventilation is advisable.  Worst case, a dust mask should be worn.

In the process, I saw the first wax moth I have seen in a while (right).  Wax moth is never a problem here as they only are able to get started in a few spots before the weather turns cold and kills them all.  The damage they are able to do is very minor and repaired by the bees as soon as the combs go back into service.

This was a pretty good afternoon.  I made up brood chambers and finished the North Yard, with 16 extras for the next yard.

I think I discovered one reason that bees do not winter well on new comb unless it has been used for a few brood cycles.  New comb is very tender and also often is not drawn to full depth the first year.  After a year of use, it has toughened up and the cells are usually full depth, although I am finding many combs that are shallow on one side. 

This particularly true of the Pierco we bought a while back.  For some reason, it tends to be bowed a bit and if crowded to ten-frame spacing, the bees find the spacing a bit close.  I don't know if it is just this batch, but I have heard this story before, so maybe it is common.  With wider spacing, this would not be a problem, but they are easy to crowd tight due to the hollow space in the end bar spacers.

It was hot, hot, hot midday and I was planning a swim, but now, at 1630, we are overcast and cooler.  I think I should quit as rain appears to be coming.

*   *   *   *   *

I quit for the day and had a light supper, then watched TV.  I never watch TV, so it was interesting.  The stations don't all run commercials at the same time and the programs are quite simple-minded, so I watched two or three at once.   That killed a few hours.  I also finally fixed my recliner tonight.

I bought a really nice electric recliner at the local recycle store for $5, but the control was always intermittent. Sometimes I got into the chair and reclined, then find I could not get it to go back to upright.  I could not get out without having to climb out.  Then it would work fine for a while, and then trap me again.

I looked it over and took things apart once, twice, but never found the problem, even after tightening and taping the wiring connectors.

This time, I found that the 'upright' button just did not work, but the 'recline' button always caused some action, even fully reclined, so I took the control apart again.  This time, with power on (I know that could be dangerous), I saw a little spark on the circuit board and some motor action when I pressed the microswitch. 

Ah Ha!  I got out my soldering kits and re-soldered the connection and the thing has worked flawlessly since!

Seeing me in a vulnerable position in the recliner, the cat, Amos, came and sat on me.  He claws gently and slobbers when he is petted at all, so I had to push him off.  He came back later and was more discrete.  He always sat with or on Ellen and I guess he is adjusting.

He loves the refurbished clawing post, BTW, and hugged it and looked at me when he first saw it had been fixed the other day.

*   *   *   *   *

I'm adjusting, too.  After two weeks of catching up and recovering from the events -- and from company, I am coming to terms with being alone in this place.  The reality is seeping through.  Things are not at all bad, but is it this how I want to spend the next few years? 

I wanted to move ten years ago, but stayed as Ellen wanted to live here and die here.  I guess she did, but about twenty years earlier than either of us expected.   I went along with her, as I figured I'd be dead by now.  That's ironic.

I'm sure things will all work out well, but for now, I have chores to do.  The estate planners called today and made an appointment to do probate and revise my will if necessary and I have all the things I listed the other day to do before cold weather hits, plus I have to figure out how to get away for a month at a time in winter without compromising my home, plants or pets. 

The weather was stormy at suppertime, but later turned nice. 

Idling around and killing some time, I read back in the diary to 2011.  Seems I bought this computer two years ago on Sept 1st.  It already needed a new hard drive a year ago.  I'm in the market now for a backup unit to sit beside it and eventually replace it.

Looking back, I am glad now that we decided in 2001 to retire.  I was 56.  She  was 57.  It took two years to sell out, so we actually retired in spring of 2003 if I remember correctly.  It's in the diary.. 

So, Ellen got in ten good years of retirement.  She was diagnosed at 67, so if she had waited to 65 to retire, she would have had a long working life and a short retirement.

We also took our Canada Pension early.  At the time, it was a gamble, as we took a reduced amount, but looking back, if we had waited to 65 she would have gotten much less.

There is a lesson there, I think.  Live now.

I'm taking it easy and hoping I get more ambitious over the next few days.  I really should do some things in the evening and not just chill.  I estimate that I am running at 50% capacity. 

I have a lot to do.  The bees are now a pressing task, and today was a good start.

A great many people think they are thinking
when they are really rearranging their prejudices.
William James

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Saturday August 31st 2013
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I slept 9 hours last night.

Yesterday, I noticed that leaves are beginning to fall.  Summer is over and we are into the Labour Day Long Weekend. 

This morning is fall-like, but warm at 11 degrees.  I've been leaving the windows open at night lately, with only the odd exception.

At nine, it is up to 16 degrees.  Time to push away the keyboard and get going.

Well, I did not.  I wasted some time writing to BEE-L and then  got out a camera Ellen bought a few weeks before she went to the hospital and tried it out.  My subjects were the fly traps I bought a few weeks back and have been testing. 

My tests are not very scientific, as each trap is in a different spot, but here they are, from poorest to best, left to right. 

The one on the right has caught as many flies as all the rest combined.  Of course it was the most expensive and not easily refillable.  I hung it in a tree, too and that might be an advantage.  Don't know.  I'll hang a jug there and see. 

The milk jug traps are the cheapest to run, obviously if they work.  The tops are about $6.  The little trap (second from right) was only $6 also.  The bag was almost $15, if I recall.  There are homemade traps that can be made from screen and pails, but so far I have been  too lazy to make them early in the summer and by the time I realise that the flies are back, it is a bit late.

The attractant in each might be a factor, too.  Each came with a chemical lure, and they may be different.  I should have just used an ounce or two of raw hamburger or dog poo.  Hamburger or dog poo are the best starter bait, but dead flies work best once the first ones rot.

to BEE-L

>>The biggest problem I see with internet discussion lists is general statements made about commercial beekeeping made by hobby and arm chair beekeepers.

> Add to that, general statements made about discussions. Why not produce some real content, rather than to simple criticize other people?

The problem is that commercial beekeepers are unrepresented on open lists, as are researchers.

There are good reasons. Both are busy, careful about what information they release, and sensitive to how it may be misunderstood or used against them.

Often their statements may be technical and not be understood by the those not educated in the context.

Both groups are careful about exposing themselves and their organisations to criticism that -- deserved or not -- may have economic or political impacts upon their activities and careers. They have to weigh the wisdom of releasing any particular piece of information as it may be privileged, confidential or give competitive advantage to others, and be discreet.

Often discretion means saying nothing, even in the face of outrageous provocation and/or deliberate and malicious misrepresentation.

In one example I recall, at a time when bee research funding was drying up and after a particularly egregious and misinformed barrage aimed in the general direction of an ARS bee lab on an Internet list we all know and love, the ARS reconsidered permitting employee participation in such open lists and even interviews with writers for major bee magazines. Coincidence?

Since then, we may receive personal messages off-list from researchers who read our comments, or hear that a particular post was widely circulated on closed lists or by fax, but never receive any direct list participation any longer.

Leading up to the popularization of the Internet, lists like BEE-L were dominated by researchers, since they were the ones with access to what was a scarce and elite new form of communication, run largely on the surplus capacity of institutional computers and networks.

As the Internet grew in participation and influence we passed the point where posts on a discussion group were of little consequence and only of Interest to geeks, to where 'journalists' began to monitor and mine for dirt. At the same time, open list participation skewed increasingly toward non-researchers and to less informed participants, including some who seemed to clearly be malicious, deranged or mischievous in intent. Moderation became necessary in many discussion venues.

Differences of opinion, misstatements, drunken or insane posts or misunderstandings, deliberate misrepresentation and slander, and conspiracy theories that previously led to minor local flame wars confined to the list and of no interest to anyone except those involved and other list members suddenly became potential brush fires that could spread via the media and cause nation-wide reaction with huge implications.

So, these days, wise participants consider carefully the implications of every word in every post, and organisations issue guidelines about where, when and what their employees or members should post.

Most commercial beekeepers are quite aware that they are generally misunderstood as a group and there are predatory organisations that thrive by disseminating distorted and incomplete information out of context and are very careful about revealing anything that could expose themselves or their fellows to abuse.

Besides, many commercial beekeepers are/were rural or on the road, with poor Internet until recently, and more inclined to being outside doing a physical job and finding the desk time demanded by an increasing paper burden over recent years a sufficient drag on their morale without adding to the time at a keyboard.

Participation in any particular list is hardly representative of the population at large, or the real world (if there is such a thing) generally.

Although lists can be a source of real information, they can equally be a source of misinformation and should be regarded only as a form of entertainment and time-wasting only slightly less screwy and unreal than TV sitcom programming.

Of course BEE-L is different.

I started to go out to work on the bees and decided that I should take the day off, so just puttered around all afternoon and evening.

The cat brought me a present today.  Is it thanks for the post refurbishing, or a bribe to climb on me to claw and drool?

I inherited Ellen's iPad and am putting it to good use.  I preferred the Galaxy a year or two ago, but am finding the iPad easier to see now that my eyes have changed a bit.  While it is good for checking mail, I have my phone with me at all times and it does that.  What I am using the iPad for mostly is as an Internet radio.  I have an excellent app that brings me non-stop music of any genre without commercials.  Plugged into a sound system, it sounds pretty good.

I'm not going to get into the ring with Tolstoy.
Ernest Hemingway

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Sunday September 1st 2013
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The greatest discovery of my generation is that a
human being can alter his life by altering his attitudes of mind.
William James

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