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The last load of honey ready for pickup last week
Minus one this morning in Swalwell. Frost again! I see yesterday 's low was -1.3 C. Today's will likely prove to be similar. Are these killer frosts? Hard to tell from here.
Meanwhile here in Sudbury, I found it too hot to sleep last night and had to open the window wide. Alberta is sunny, but Sudbury is misty and rainy.
After lunch I went out and had my hair cut and id some shopping. This is about the second time in twenty years or more that I have paid for a haircut. Ellen always cut my hair. I went to Wal-Mart since it easy and cheap -- if you call $17.38 cheap.
Then I bought Mom a new convention/toaster oven and an electric pressure cooker. She had her original old aluminum ones, but they are pretty worn and the bottoms are a bit bowed. That suggests to me that they may no stand the pressure one of these times.
I returned in time for supper and am off to Bill's for the evening.
No passion so effectually robs
the mind of all its powers of acting and reasoning as fear.
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It's minus one again this morning in Swalwell. Frost again! I see yesterday 's low was -1.5 C, so nights are getting colder. It is warm, but muggy here in Sudbury, with another day of overcast and high humidity.
Mom and I went to the outdoor market this morning. She likes to buy local vegetables. From there we went o visit a friend of hers in the hospital and found out another is there, too, so made two visits in one trip.
A new topic in the forum: Moisture Issues - Please help
I have decided to quit writing for BEE-L. I am tired of people skimming what I write with great care and then writing BS. in reply. There are only a few offending individuals, but it is most annoying. It seems that the more brilliant a person is, the less he/she feels the need to actually have to understand what is being discussed and what is quoted before commenting. Unfortunately, the moderator is unable to distinguish trolling, misdirection, rhetoric and general BS from real content worthy of the list, so I fold.
As they say, BBB - Bullshit Baffles Brains. Trying to argue with anyone who is not sincere is pointless. It is a moderator's job to suppress such mind games, but they fool the list owner every time. Each trap being set looks perfectly fine to him as he is an honest guy and does not understand or recognize guile and deliberate disruption. It is sad to watch.
While shopping yesterday, I bought Mom an electric can opener, an electric pressure cooker and a new toaster/convection oven to update some of her kitchen equipment. She read all the manuals and decide that she did not want the pressure cooker, preferring her stovetop pressure cookers to the electric unit as her recipes require quenching the pot to stop the cooking and the electric units cannot be quenched. They also do not reach the same pressure as the standard pressure cookers.
So, this evening I returned the cooker and looked at kayaks. I need some way to get to shore without swimming if I anchor my boat off the shore. The season is ending and the stores are putting the summer items into storage. I think I prefer an inflatable, but they have been sent to the warehouse, it seems. A kayak tends to be big and hard to store on a 23.5-foot boat.
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I see that the temperature is minus one Celsius back at home at 0800 and yesterday went down to minus 1.1 C . Here it is much warmer, and damp. Today is sunny, though, so maybe I'll either launch my boat, or get it ready to launch tomorrow.
It is time to pump the summer fluid out of the windshield washers and refill with minus 45 fluid. That is quite easy to do. I just open the hood, pull a washer hose off and put it into a jug then run the washer until it sucks air. Saves finding the washers frozen up the first really cold day, and I save the fluid for the spring.
I see by the declining temperatures that maybe I should have fed before I left. A week at this time of year can make a difference, but there is still lots of time. I plan on open feeding in drums. I typically provide one drum of 67% sucrose for each 20 hives.
I have been leaving the frame feeders out of hives in recent years and I think that is a mistake. I plan to put them back into every brood box in spring. They are not adequate for fall feeding, but do help in spring. I used to have a frame feeder in every brood box and the only issue is knowing which side they are on when opening hives to fill them. If the feeders are on the outer side of the lower box, the upper box is in the way when hives are on pallets in fours. For hives on single stands, there is no problem.
I have to clean the feeders first as many are full of comb. I plan to use a hot box to warm them so that the wax is like butter. Warming boxes and frames that need scraping can make those jobs easier, too. The alternate is to scrape boxes when frozen as the wax and propolis is brittle. That would not work well for feeders, though..
I was going through old pictures and here is a good shot of varroa in an alcohol wash.
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Yesterday hit minus 2.4 C in Three Hills and it is zero there at 0500 today, so I think that is about it for the season.
This fall turned out a lot like 2009 and ended at the same time, about the 20th. Here, again are my hive scale records from September 2009:
I had planned to launch today, but got off to a slow start. The day is bright and sunny, but cool, with very little wind. I think I'll just work ion the boat for now and be ready for later. I return home Wednesday, so time is running out. I do plan to wrap the boat this year, after not doing so for two winters. If I get her all cleaned up now, then she is ready to go in spring.
The system shown at right worked extremely well when I did it and I'll do it again. I found that lashing the tarps was awkward and time-consuming, so I think I'll just hang weights this time.
When I just blocked the springs to prevent overload from snow and let the snow build up (left), I had some water inside after and since I cleaned the interior very well last visit, I don't want to get it moldy in there again.
I've been invited for supper at Bill and Faye's tonight and Mom wants to go visiting in the morning, so I see I may not splash Carpe Diem this trip.
I'll looking at the time remaining and the weather and thinking that I'll spend the remaining time cleaning the exterior, rebedding some deck fittings, altering the outboard power supply line, measuring sails so I can order replacements over winter, and putting up a tarp shelter so that I can access the interior easily at any time until I unwrap in spring. One thing I had put off doing that I did today is take the shrouds off and coil them. They are a huge nuisance when the mast is down and I want o clean the deck or do anything at all. I'm planning to set up a system that allows a quick disconnect.
I looked back and I see I bought this boat on June 26, 2007. That was six years ago now.
At 1700 I went to Bill & Faye's for supper. We had a good visit and I returned to 1207 at 2100.
I see the weather is expected to warm up at home after I get there. That's perfect for feeding the bees.
This is becoming a stuck record. It is minus one at home again at 0600 MDST.
Today I meet with a window repairman to discuss Mom's basement windows at 1000. Then I promised we would go out and look at walkers and wheelchairs and visit her friends in the hospital. When that is done, I'll work on my boat. I fly home tomorrow afternoon at 1530.
AT 0700 in Swalwell, the temp has dropped to minus three! Time to be sure that pressure washers and all the things that can freeze are safely stored inside.
So, the window guy came and we decided I'll just board up the offending window. The Mom and I went wheelchair shopping and on to the hospital where we visited three of her friends. After that, we had lunch at Perkins and returned here to 1207.
I looked at the basement window and decided that it is best left to the professional Mom knows.
I then laid out and patched the tarps. I washed the boat once again and decided that from now on, I'll wrap the boat when I leave it here as it gets filthy in a matter of a few weeks. I had it fairly clean back on July 5 and it was a lot of work the past few days. The interior stayed dry though, so I am assuming the water has been getting in the companionway. One thing I also noted is that the empty gas jerry can I had left inside sure stunk up the boat. Gasoline has no place inside a boat's cabin.
By figuring out how to quickly detach and reattach the shrouds without losing adjustment, I can make the task much easier. I'll see how long it takes to wrap the boat today.
I'm up before 0700 today and getting ready to go home. I've been here a week now and had a good stay. Now I have to get some things done at home to get ready for winter and to go to the coast for Thanksgiving. It seems that Jon will join me on the boat for some of the time.
On my flight east, I watched Dr. Strangelove or: How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Bomb. "An insane general starts a process to nuclear holocaust that a war room of politicians and generals frantically try to stop". It was as good as the first time I watched it and probably just as relevant today as back in 1964.
On the flight west today, I watched another classic.
What a difference a week makes. It's 55 degrees F in the house this morning. I had not bothered to finish the furnace before I left since the weather was mild. I see the next few days will be cool, so I should get it running.
By now it is after lunch. I watered all the plants and they were all fine except, as always, the tomatoes. I then caught up on email and reading and now plan to work on the furnace. I have to be at The Mill by five. The day is cool enough that I don't think there is any rush to feed the bees.
Before then, though, there is the furnace to finish. Waking up in a cold house is unpleasant when I am not used to it. I have lived in an unheated home without power or running water and only a wood/coal stove for heat when younger, and Pine Hill can be cold in the mornings, but her at home, I prefer my creature comforts to having to dress warmly on rising.
As I left, I saw bees robbing the equipment stacks, so maybe they would have been taking feed from drums if I had put it out. The temperature was just above 10 degrees (left), so
I arrived at The Mill at 1710 hrs, picked up Fen, drove to Rick's to pick him up, and the of us went for supper and the Michael Jerome Browne concert at Cafe Radio in Carstairs.
The meal was excellent and the concert was worth the trip. I found it strange to hear blues played by a middle-aged white guy from Montréal dressed in a business suit, with a businessman's haircut, but he did a great job. The first set was a bit mechanical, but he warmed up in the second set and by the end, when the opener of the place joined him, playing doghouse bass, he was really cooking.
He played four different instruments -- six string, twelve string, banjo and violin (plus juice harp) --and spent a lot of time changing instruments and tuning. At one point he said, "Tuning is like aircraft maintenance: it's always worth the time". That was true, and brought a laugh, but the tuning between numbers interrupted the flow. I contrast that Davis Wilcox whom I saw at tRed's in Edmonton and again at the Key in Bala. Both times, Wilcox came onto stage and played an hour and half full-on and non-stop, I don't recall more than a little tuning either time.
I dropped Rick and Fen off and returned to a warm house and a welcoming cat. The temperatures along my drive from 30 miles due west varied from minus three to plus one. Three Hills official temp according to the Environment Canada website at 2200 was already minus four, so I think there is no doubt that we have a frost tonight that will finish off any remaining pockets of bloom. Time to feed the bees.
I awoke at 0545, got up and had breakfast. It is quiet here without Zippy. Amos comes up from the basement and says, "hello", but doesn't frisk around like Zip. He would like to sit on me an be petted, but he kneads and slobbers when petted, so the idea does not appeal.
It's 0645 now and I see some brightening in the east, but it is still dark out. The official Three Hills temperature is minus five as at 0600.
I spent until 0815 at the desk, waiting for the sun to get up, writing and playing around and now it is time to do something real. Today I have to go to Drum to get Zip from Ruth and buy a few items. I'll also put some feed out for the bees and do some tidy-up downstairs and outside.
Also, I need to deal with the swimming pool one of these days. I see it gathered some leaves while I was away. I'd like to set it up in the gym, but I have no way to save the water while I move the pool. The water is worth $100, so I hate to just dump it.
I have a smaller pool, but it has some issues as it has an inflatable rim and Ziggy, a cat we had when I last used it, had clawed the rim and caused an air leak I was unable to repair. Ziggy was a bit 'intellectually challenged' and one day he figured that the pool had a flat top like a counter or table and jumped up. Finding it full of water was a huge surprise and he swam to the edge in a panic and clawed his way out. So much for the inflated pool edge. Maybe I'll try to repair it once again and siphon the water into it. I don't need a big indoor pool. That one will be fine if it will stay up.
The Toyota van would not start a week ago when I went out to start it. At the moment, I was leaving for the airport to fly to Sudbury, and just abandoned it where it sat and took the other van,. I knew the battery was getting weak and just assumed the battery was flat from not being used for a month.
I put it on a 24 hour charge when I returned and before I left for Drum today, I tried starting again, but had no luck. I boosted with the truck and the engine started fine, so the battery must be totally shot. Closer examination showed the battery clamps were corroded badly, too, so when I went to Drum to meet with Ruth and get Zippy, I bought a new battery and clamps.
* * * * *
Before I left, just after lunch, I filled a drum with syrup and grass for a float and placed it near an equipment stack where some robbing has been going on.
When I returned at 1600, I noticed that the wasps, which are numerous had discovered it, but the honeybees did not seem to have gotten the message yet. I baited it with an old comb, but I may have to pour some syrup as a primer into a few hives to give them a taste, and/or scent the drum and the primer syrup with something like vanilla or thymol to make it more easily detected.
* * * * *
Zippy was happy to see me in Drum and climbed into the truck. Ruth reported that she had taken Zip to the vet and that she had a bad abscess on one paw. Sure enough, the paw was shaved and looked discoloured. The instructions had been to keep it bandaged, but what dog will stand for that? The alternative was to get antibiotics, so I picked some up.
On returning home, Zip and Amos were glad to be reunited. Looking at them, I was struck by how old they are both looking. Zip seemed to have aged several years in my absence. Could be the infection.
I'll have to get the bees feeding today. I'll bait the feed and prime a few hives. At the same time, I'll see how they have accepted the second boxes I added earlier. I may have to reverse some as I just threw the boxes on at the end.
Then I finished installing the new battery into the Toyota Sienna. The job took a while as the new battery was higher than the old one. As a result, the hold-down was a bit short, and also the battery clamps had to be replaced. When I was done, I turned the key and the engine cranked faster than I can recall for a long time. The battery was a good investment!
Next, I hooked up one of the big trailers to the truck to work on the wiring. The taillights on the trailer sorta work, but not quite properly, and I want the unit to be highway-ready as Jean will be using it to move later next month and Maddy wants to borrow it later today.
I moved the equipment trailer away from where it was sitting, too. I want the bees to start robbing the drum faster and I am hoping the bees that were robbing the equipment will return to the spot, not see the equipment, and take to robbing the drum.
* * * * *
I received a comment, today, about my coal furnace. I like it. It is entirely automatic and from a person in the home is concerned, no different from gas or oil except for requiring some maintenance twice annually and, unlike gas heat, the coal bin needs attention daily in cold weather to ensure that there is adequate coal on the auger, and the ashes need to be removed once a week or so in heating season. If it breaks down, there are only a few people who can fix it and I am one of them. That has happened only very rarely over the past 40 years.
The issues are:
My goal is to ensure that I can leave for as long as a month without risk of freeze-up, even if the person attending to the place is not at all mechanically inclined.
If the electricity goes off for an extended time, this furnace does not work as it needs power to run. Of course most modern high efficiency gas furnaces have the same problem, but I can get a gas heater that runs without power. The problem is that such units are less than 82% efficient and without power, there is no fan to circulate the heat throughout the building, so several would be required to prevent freeze-up.
The plan is to augment this furnace with gas backup units. The efficiency of a back-up unit is not as important as it would be in a primary furnace since the backup only carries a small part of the annual heating load and thus only a small part of the cost.
* * * * *
I had lunch and then decided to have a nap. I've been reading again about how naps are good for health and creativity. I slept an hour. I always do. The advice is to just sleep twenty minutes, but I seldom do.
Then I finished troubleshooting the trailer lights. The problem was a bad ground. It almost always is. When we built these trailers twelve years ago, I designed then so that all the lights are sealed and inside a tubular frame for protection from brush when driving off-road, and from weather. The wires were all soldered and bonded to the frame. I discovered today that water gets in and stays, I suppose around the rubber gaskets that hold the sealed beams. The ground s for the lights wire rusted and I can see that I need a floating ground in addition to the frame ground. I am surprised that I did not design one in. Maybe I did. I don't know as I did not do the wiring myself.
Maddy and Fen showed up just as I finished. They had brought supper and Fen put it on the stove while we went out to load boxes.
I have a thousand or so boxes that I considered too good to throw away and have kept in a pile by the quonset. They are not good enough for beekeeping without repair, and labour costs more than new boxes.
Maddy is gardening with a scheme that uses boxes, so I lent her the truck and helped her load all the boxes she can use. That amounted to about 150 this trip..
We returned to the house and had supper. Afterwards, they drove back to the Mill. I'll get the truck back tomorrow.
I had a long phone chat with Colin who was alone in the office at Sidney on this Saturday night, working on plans and catching up with his messages.
Today was cool and windy and I did not see the syrup in the drum go down as much as I would like to see.
Last night was warm and today promises to be warm as well, but windy once again. Bees don't fly freely in wind. Rain is expected this morning, too. I should set out more drums of feed for the bees and should cover the drum that I set out recently as water floats on the surface of syrup and deters the bees. Rain also wets the grass or straw I placed on the surface as a float, resulting in a soggy, sinking landing surface for feeding bees.
Jean and family will be here for lunch. Fen and Maddy will be back with the truck and trailer and stay for lunch as well.
* * * * *
All the above happened except for the bee work. Rain fell in the morning and the wind picked up in the afternoon. I checked the drum and there are bees there, but not enough to indicate success. Coming days are expected to be cool and rainy, so I see no point in rushing to feed. I trust the time will come.
* * * * *
I have been watching myself lately, looking for the cracks that are expected after losing a mate. Today I was especially aware of something I have been increasingly observing over time. Although I very much enjoy having friends and family over to visit, I get uncomfortable just sitting around and being engaged in conversation for hours. I find it stressful after the first hour or two, especially if we run low on subject matter.
After an hour or so of sitting chatting, I feel like doing something, anything. I have been vaguely aware of this for years. I think I get bored, and am waiting for something to happen. Sitting at a meal does not seem to have the same effect, at least to the same extent, perhaps since it is an activity, but I do tend to get conversation going, then withdraw to tidy or prepare another course.
Lunch was late today as guests arrived 3/4 hour late and I found that by then I was getting tense and tired. By the time lunch was over and everyone left, I was exhausted. Strange. After catching up on email and tidying, I was again refreshed. Sitting at my desk, I relax, organize my thoughts and juggle my priorities. At any given time, I have at least ten projects in mind and am constantly multi-tasking. I'm going to have to think about this.
Every so often, I need a few undisturbed moments by myself to 'reset'. I'll have to work on this and learn to relax more. Having something to do helps, and I am thinking that drinking is not the best solution. Although it has served me well in the past, there are associated risks. One is forgetting to stop, and another is that if some emergency came up, I might not be in a position to handle it. Of course the health risks go without discussion as they are many.
When my parents entertained, they often played cards. My Mom still plays bridge once a week. Ellen and I used to play Scrabble with friends years ago, but lately we haven't. Maybe I should look into parlour games again.
Around 1800, I found I was feeling tired again and had a nap, and once again, I slept an hour. I think I may be fighting a cold.
One of my distractions today was an email I received around noon from a fellow BCA club member who had been walking the docks at Sidney this morning and had noticed that my enclosure had a huge pool of water on it as it was improperly adjusted. The boat was returned from the last charter on the 22nd and the Cooper Boating crew was responsible for inspecting and securing the boat at that time. That was one week ago and now there is damage. I am sure I will be indemnified, but I am becoming somewhat disenchanted by a lack of feedback all summer and this obvious neglect.
Hearing that the boat hit a rock and needs repair did not bother me. Learning the outboard was stolen did not bother me. Those are things beyond Cooper's control, but this was something that was a well-known risk, has happened before, and they dropped the ball. I'm not going to make a big issue of it as these things can happen, but when considered in addition to a lack of feedback this summer, and lack of follow-up on a few other minor matters, I am growing increasingly concerned.
Rain and wind today, with a high of 13 degrees Celsius. I doubt there will be much bee flight.
I have an appointment in Calgary today to deal with Ellen's will. I'm planning to tidy and catch up on deskwork, then leave for town after lunch sometime.
The BS continues on BEE-L. Apparently people, including the moderator cannot distinguish deliberately disingenuous BS, grandstanding and harassment from intelligent and useful discussion. The issue is only with a very few posters and one in particular.
I've decided to quit BEE-L, permanently this time, and confine my contributions to The HoneyBeeWorld List, and post any responses to BEE-L topics of interest there. I'll continue to read BEE-L, but like many sensible people before me will leave quietly and comment elsewhere. If you are interested in my comments on BEE-L posts, subscribe to the HoneyBeeWorld list here. The list has been in operation since 2008, but has not always been very active. The list is moderated, but people who are known and act responsibly by presenting only quality and polite material post directly, without moderation. In the event that members break that trust, they will be put on moderation, and if they become a problem, quietly banned.
If you post to The HoneyBeeWorld List and your email immediately goes to the list, you have earned that trust. Be careful and check your messages very carefully before you send as they will go to quite a few people. If in doubt, sit on your response a while and read it over again before sending.
I'll be addressing the issue of trolls and distractions on BEE-L in the near future when I have time. For those who can't tell BS from worthwhile reading, I plan to dissect a few recent examples of BS posing as a serious posts (and passing moderation on BEE-L it seems) in the near future. These are classics by the worst offender. Subscribe.
The The HoneyBeeWorld List archives are here, but they are available to list subscribers only.
Sometimes it pays to procrastinate. I have a meeting this afternoon in Calgary and could have gone in early to do some errands, however, I planned to leave for Calgary at the last moment -- around 1400 -- and do my shopping on the way home after the meeting. That way I could make sure I am prepared as I have put dealing with all the paper off until now.
The drive is 150 miles round trip and the return is at rush hour, so I was not looking forward to the trip. As I was preparing and one hour from leaving, I got a call asking if I would prefer to have the meeting by phone. "Of course", I said, "Yes." I guess that they finally reviewed my file and could see that there is nothing to justify a drive of that distance and a meeting lasting one and a quarter hours with an expensive lawyer.
It is now a month and a half since Ellen died and I am not sure I have completely dealt with all the notifications required after a death. For one thing, I know I have a small life insurance payment coming -- enough to cover the burial and a headstone. I'm in the process of going through all those papers and instructions right now.
* * * * *
The meeting took a half-hour on the phone and saved me three hours of driving. I have to go in tomorrow anyhow for another meeting, so I can sign the papers they will have ready for me then. I also was able to go to the files and pull out papers to answer questions, which I could not have done had I driven in.
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