Farewell San Diego: AHPA 2018

by Jorge

The American Honey Producers closed out another annual meeting this morning. I appreciate that most of the sessions are only thirty minutes at this meeting. Most of my academic conferences require much more time commitment on any given topic--something like ninety minutes to two hours most of the time. It's good to encourage concise delivery and to keep the brain from overloading on any particular topic. Here is the outdoor gallery where we held most of the sessions. It was a synthetic hoop-type building in the Doubletree's patio area--an interesting solution that I had not encountered at a conference hotel previously.

One of the opportunities at the national level conferences is chatting with some of the major vendors that we buy materials from throughout the year, and those that we might do business with in the future. I'd probably need to put up another building before I would have space for the air ram extracting line that Cowen Manufacturing had on display. Perhaps one day! Here is the nifty nameplate they put on the system for this conference:

We went the budget route by getting a multi-purpose skid steer for our near term needs, but here is the real beekeeper's forklift rolling into the vendor show. They are pretty awesome for the migratory bee world handling many semi loads of bees. A & O Forklifts up in Michigan is the outfit occupying this niche market:

On the plane ride home I'll think about the main topics of interest and make a few comments soon. For now, Phil is fulfilling his lifelong love of reading a local paper before leaving town:

The boarding call is issued! We now wish ourselves a safe journey home!

The 2018 Bee Life Commences--In (Usually) Sunny San Diego!

by Jorge

One of the first missions of the 2018 apicultural life was running over to Chicago with several barrels of honey for a good customer, so we dropped by another place to get some used cement form plywood. It can be useful for building pallets and lids--very strong, weather resistant, and affordable when acquired used. It also weighs tons, so a hefty truck is needed for this task. The weakest tire on our backend got replaced in the big city before we came back to home-sweet-Iowa home.

Phil and I are also gearing up for the latest information at the 2018 annual meeting of the American Honey Producers Association in San Diego. The temperature is far more springlike than our chilly departure from Cedar Rapids. It is actually raining and overcast for our first few hours in town!--I am very fond of green plant life, so it will be great to have a nice boost for the flora during our week in the land of sunshine. My next post will probably share a bit about our experience.

It's always sad to leave the little man for consecutive days, but at least he and mommy have a handy little tractor to harrow the arena as entertainment in the meanwhile :)

Cuddle Up for New Year's Eve Bee Friends!

by Jorge

It is an exceptionally chilly day leading into New Year's Eve! The sun rose around -5F, and tonight we're looking at -16F for the low. At least there is not a fierce wind to go with the bone chilling raw temperatures. Several inches of snow began to accumulate on Christmas Eve, and it doesn't appear likely to disappear anytime soon.

In the most excellent of news, the bee mailbox is still grinning through it all:

I don't believe the diesels will be going anywhere for a couple of days. They are comfortable absorbing whatever kind rays of sunlight land in their direction:

I hope the bees are healthy and well-clustered on top of a good food supply. There will not be much lateral movement within the hive to other grocery stocks for a few more days as they sequester every bit of warmth. These temperatures don't spell the end for bees that are in good shape, but any weaker small clusters are prone to having a tougher time. Fingers crossed that they still look strong when I check on their status in several weeks!

Happy Holidays 2017!!!

by Jorge

Ebert Christmas was a happy event yesterday. We are lucky to have a good number of holidays together. The willingness of the Colorado and Oklahoma contingents to drive great distances allows that to happen in most years.

Andrew bought his Grandpa Phil a massive recycling truck this year. After Andrew creatively helped to open it with an excavator, they agreed that Andrew can borrow it for a while. Grandpa Phil will use a smaller recycling truck at his house. When Andrew starts dating I'll have to let him know that buying presents for other people with your own uses in mind doesn't always go over flawlessly :) It was still fun that he wanted to buy his grandpa a gift!

As usual, I got my "kicks" by other means. Andria took pity on me and my duct-taped boots. I considered buying new work boots for the last two years, but I guess the floppy toe over the last few months made it clear to everyone else that the time had arrived. The new and the old:

I have a few months to break them in around home before the 2018 bee season puts on many miles during the great bee journey!

A Cozy Bobcat and a Baby Goat

by Jorge

Today and yesterday I got to try out the "new" (to us) Bobcat skid steer to load up some round bales we sold. It got them loaded in great shape and made me appreciate the upgrade. I can't wait to get a special fork setup on it to handle some bees in the spring! It's admittedly plain Jane by today's industry standards but quite fine in my world.

As you may have noted in the image above, the loyal 825 Bobcat is still for sale. I thought snow might create some demand for the bucketed beast, but the clouds have offered the scantiest quantity of flurries thus far.

Andrew is especially happy about the new Bobcat because I will let him ride in it with me. The 825 does not have a safety bar but does have touchier controls, so he was banned from joining that party. I will miss it, but maintaining two machines doesn't make much sense at present.

He was also happy to go to a solstice party and hang out with a couple of baby goats. He found some furry love! There was an awkward moment when a lady goat started pushing against his tummy and lifted him up on her head (an interesting and slightly traumatizing sight), but that did not dissuade him from returning to the little ivy munchers:

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