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Bees hanging out after a day on a strong honey flow

September Honey Flow

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Saturday September 10th 2011
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The beautiful weather continues in Alberta. We have beautiful day  here, too, and a breeze, as well.  The sun did not shine in my eyes today, though.  I was asleep.  I got up and had breakfast at five, then went back to sleep until ten.  By then the sun was well up into the sky.

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I taught myself to  to touch type back in the 1970s, but my first computer was a 1978 Commodore Pet 2001 with a "Chicklet" keyboard. that keyboard was too tiny to touch type and I got into the habit of hunt and peck.  I'm fairly fast at it, but decided to see if I  can still touch type.  I'm quite surprised to find that I can, albeit slowly and in accurately. Touch typing has the disadvantage, though, of requiring me to sit in an erect position and that is a pain.  My hunt and peck typing is pretty quick and I can sit however I like.

My involvement with that first computer lead to many interesting adventures, including partnership in a chain of microcomputer shops.

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Working on Cloud 9 -- The cross member is finally removedWorking on Cloud 9 -- The cross member is finally removedIt looked to be a pleasant day for sailing, but the wind seemed shifty and I decided to wait for a better day, so I got to work on Cloud 9, our molded mahogany 1973 18-foot Greavette powerboat again this afternoon.

All along, access to the rotted portion of the transom has been difficult due to the amidships cross-member.  I figured that the cross-member was structural and although I considered cutting it early-on, I was reluctant to do so, not being sure how to put it back later and achieve full strength.  This particular piece had been problematic when we were pulling the engine, resulting in the need to strip off parts that could otherwise have stayed on and making a simple job very difficult.  Left in place, it promised to be just as big a problem putting the engine back in.  Additionally the access restriction has rendered working on the transom difficult.

I finally decided, that the piece is not all that structural and that I can rebuild it, as strong as new and without marring the appearance, much more easily than continue to work with it in place, so I cut it -- screws and all -- with the Saws-all.

I had to cut the screws.  In the process of trying to take them out, I discovered that the builders had used steel screws and that the threads have rusted inside the wood to the point where the screws turn, but do not back out.  They seem to hold well enough, and the structural pieces are glued as well, but I wonder...  I see steel screws in other places and they seem to act more like nails than screws.  I'll replace some with stainless steel or brass and leave the non-critical ones.

I have yet to pull the rest of the cockpit sole and examine the rest of the bottom planking.  I know I will have to caulk a little near the stem.  I saw water dripping out there when I lifted the boat, and I'll have to check for other leaks.  Unlike a lapstrake boat, plywood boat should not leak even one drop., even when dry after being out of the water.  I'm trusting that the boat is as sound as the stern section, where the only rot I've found is in the fir plywood used on the transom.  The rest is mahogany.

The outdrive is corroded, but the wire wheel cleans off the corrosion and old paint quite nicely.The leg of the outdrive and the bell housing are corroded and how to best to deal with that problem has been a question with no clear answer. I had hoped the Prop Doc might be the solution, but his price was excessive and after interviewing him I was not convinced of anything except that he wants my money. 

I have a little sand blaster, but when I tried it on Bill's little compressor, I found it was quite limited.  I bought a good cupped wire wheel for the grinder, and a little disk wire wheel for use with the drill.  I figured the one for the drill would be too weak to do much, but it turned out to be perfect.  The other one would be far too coarse.  Actually, I need some smaller ones to get into corners and maybe a Dremel tool if I decide to obsess about getting it perfect.  Now, researching further on the Internet,  I read that I should not use a steel brush on the leg, with no explanation as to why.  I hate that sort of incomplete information.  Is the prohibition due to some chemical issue that will cause the paint to come off, or merely one of scratching?

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Today's scale hive reading.Ellen sent the scale reading again today and it appears the flow has slowed a bit.  Fourteen pounds for the four hives amounts to 3-1/2 pounds a hive in the past 24 hours.  I'm hoping the hives have enough space for the flow if it keeps going. 

It looks as if the good weather may continue.  I guess, though, that all it takes is one killer frost and it's over.  At any rate, the hives should be in good shape for winter.  All the honey is for the bees.  I don't extract. 

My only concern is that the top box of the three or four on most hives is foundation, so those boxes will have to be moved to the bottom for winter.  In my experience, bees do not winter well on new comb or foundation and most top boxes were full boxes of foundation.  I imagine many of them are drawn and full, given the flow we are having.

This year, I did not make the mistake of placing foundation in the middle of the brood boxes, so I don't have the worry of potentially undrawn foundation in the centre of a winter cluster this year, as I did in one recent year.  I did place a sheet of foundation as each outside frame in all brood boxes, and that always works well.  Some hives draw it if they get crowded, while others ignore it and it serves as a follower board.  At the wall, it is out where the bees will not try to cluster on it for winter.

With all hives being in EPS (Styrofoam) boxes, moving the top box down to the floor, or removing it, will be all that is required to prepare for winter unless I decide to treat for mites.  I don't see varroa, so the only worry is tracheal.

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Sunday September 11th 2011
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I have three days here before the temperature dips (see right).  Today looks to be the best for sailing and the next two look good for working on Cloud 9.  I think I'll head to Sudbury for a few days when it gets cool on Wednesday.

In Alberta (above), honey flow weather continues, with several cool, rainy days thrown in, but no sign of frost yet.

Today is the anniversary of 9/11 /2001 and the radio is full of BS.  I think I'll listen to my book instead.  I'm over halfway through now.

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View of the rotten transom after removal of the inner layerView of the inner layer of the rotten transom after removalI got to work on Cloud 9 and pulled off the inner sheet of transom plywood.  It was a bit of work and quite interesting to see how they built it. 

Although the rest of the boat is high quality wood, the transom was built with two layers of common fir plywood (see the cross section c/w voids at far right) and that is what rotted.  Although the plywood was coated with varnish or some sealer, water was able to get between the two layers.  I think that the torque and thrust on the transom saturated the cheap plywood and kept flexing it, exacerbating the rot. 

I realize now that the drive would probably not have just fallen off in a catastrophic failure, but when we are carrying children out onto a large lake, prudence is advisable.  It could well have developed a leak sufficient to sink the boat fairly quickly.

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Under sailAround three, I had enough and decided to go for a sail.  The wind was typical of the Muskoka Lakes: shifty and gusty, but the day was sunny and I had a good sail around Tobin Island. and a swim along the way.  The water is still quite warm.

I'm about one hour from finishing that audiobook... Oh, I guess it turns out I'm done.

This has been interesting.  I had thought that I should get an audiobook to pass my time when driving across the country and I didn't -- I listened to satellite radio -- but I did not cross audiobooks off my list either, and when  I finally did download a book, I had no idea under what circumstances I would listen to it.  When I read fiction, which is very seldom, I like to take my time.  I was concerned that if I listened to a book while working that I would do neither well, but this afternoon, I listened while I worked and it actually enhanced my work since I was entertained while I contemplated the problems that pop up in sequence as I peel apart the boat and found myself more patient than I often am on an endless job like this. (After all, I am not yet half done.  I'm still taking the boat apart, not putting it together yet.)

As for the book itself, I don't know what to think since I realize that a book is not just entertainment, but a piece of work, and its construction is -- to me -- as interesting as the story.  Interesting also is how the author chose to steer the story , since it could have gone many ways.  I was grateful that the writer did not, as so many writers do, spend the first half carefully developing the characters and a credible plot, only to rush to an ending, recklessly throwing everything together in the final chapters.  This book was plausible, well-paced and workmanlike -- and entertaining. 

I gave it five stars for no one particular reason.

I have played around a bit with podcasts, but not found a good solution for using them on my Tablet or phone yet.  I have problems finding where I am and the CBC podcasts all start with a rather long and gratuitous plug for CBC podcasts, not a header explaining which podcast is cued up.   My failure to get traction in using podcasts is probably from lack of effort, although I have tried with limited satisfaction several programs that claim to manage them, and I am unwilling to join the Apple cult and use their horrible iTunes software.  Kies has not proven to be any better.  I have never much liked Apple, even when we had an Apple dealership back in the early 80s.  I recall being somewhat impressed by the first Macintosh, though, but not as much as the Atari.

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I had chicken wings for supper.  I treat myself to wings from time to time.  On occasion, I make them up from scratch, but the frozen wings can be handy -- they are usually pre-cooked, and good, so I buy them sometimes, but I watch the price per weight.   I bought Schneiders Classic Favourites the other day and checked the price and weight. , BUT when I opened the box, I found that at least 1/3 the weight was a useless sugar sauce and moreover, the wings were uncooked.  What a rip-off!  I think they have fooled me twice now. 

These days, one can hardly buy frozen fish filets, chicken or even hamburger without finding that they have added water, soy protein, "spices" or used some other tricky additions to reduce the amount of the actual meat content.  It denatures the product and I have quit buying any product that lists anything except what I intend to buy on the ingredient list.  Who would think that it is necessary to read the ingredient list on something marked prominently as 'fish fillets' or 'chicken breasts'?

We have managed to defend honey quite well, but just the same, there are crooks out there wanting to add cheap ingredients, label the result as "Honey", and conceal their deception in tiny letters on the back of the jar.

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Monday September 12th 2011
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I awoke at five to eight and turned on the news.  They are still talking about 9/11.  I turned it off.  Apparently nothing is happening in the world.

I've been in the habit of wasting the mornings at this keyboard, particularly on cool or rainy days, but I am not going to spend much time here this morning since the day is beautiful and warm and I have lots to do.  Later, there may be rain. The breeze is from the east.

First thing, though, I got a notification of a new post at the Honey Bee World Forum and thought it important enough to answer immediately.  These questions may well be on many peoples' minds right about now and there are a few fine points to consider.

Today's hive scale readingThe scale reading at right is from this morning, since Ellen was out for supper last night.  It shows a four-pound gain, and the bees are not doing much today, so it probably is not too far off what it would have been at 5:20 last night, but who knows?

The best results come from reading at the same time each day, at a time when the bees are all home.  We have been using 5:20 PM, or so and that works, but, since the field bees will be out some days and not others, probably 8 AM would be better.  That way, the bees are all home and the pre3vious day's nectar is dried down.  An evening reading, such as we have been using will show the nectar gathered, but not the actual honey produced.  Also, at 5:20, some field bees will still be out.  Nonetheless, any time that one can get a spouse to take a reading reliably and with enough light for a photo is a good time.

I finished my book last night and this morning so I checked into Audible this morning to look for more books and happened upon "Surprise Book Sale".  I bought "The Drunkard's Walk" for $5.95. 

I also found some free items on the Audible site and subscribed to The New York Times, and downloaded  The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy: Robbie Stamp Interview (04/06/05), Paris Is a Bitch: A Rain-Delilah Short Story (Unabridged), and An Interview with Kathryn Stockett, Author of 'The Help' -- all for free.

Marking the property lineI listened to The New York Times, which had the four lead articles, which I skipped along with the sports, still about 9/11, then started on The Drunkard's Walk while I went for a walk up the property line and down Birch Avenue.  I re-did the blazes with new survey tape to avoid having to re-survey some time in the future.

Moss is starting to grow on the pavementOn the way back, I noted that moss has really started to grow on the driveway pavement and that it will require some action, soon, before it does damage.

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After my walk, I contemplated the boat for a while and then drove to town to get some tools.  I needed some chisels for sure and was considering a Dremel Tool to deal with the matter of removing the rotted  portion of the transom without damaging the stringers.  I figured I would just look around, price some items, , then drive to Bracebridge to buy what I need.  I have had a poor experience with this store and did not expect much.  Service has been awful, with employees ignoring customers while chatting among themselves.

Right off, the tools I wanted to consider were locked up and no one was showing any interest in serving me.  Finally, I did get some attention and after reading the box, I decided the tool was not quite what I need.  I bought some chisels, though and they were on sale. 

Then I noticed  that 7-1/4" carbide saw blades were on sale for an excellent price, and, talking to a clerk, it dawned on me that I could use my Saws-all and/or the grinder to cut the transom from outside since I had decided that the cosmetic layer was in need of replacement below the water line anyhow.  It is fine up top.   I had intended to preserve the entire exterior sheet, but it had cracked a bit along the bottom edge when I tried prying it out and I decided it was not serviceable.  The cut should be dead-simple and should enable me to replace far more than I had thought possible up until now.

Then, on a roll, I asked about driveway sealing.  These same people who had driven me crazy by ignoring me or walking away in  the middle of showing me something on previous visits got quite interested, looked up contractors in the phone book, then ventured that one of them, a young woman, had done her driveway and it is easy.  I was surprised.  She took me to the product and explained exactly how to do it and looked for larger buckets to save me money.  Frankly, I was stunned, and came a way with a different point of view.

View of the transom after starting to cut out the rotView of the transom base after cutting out the rotI got back to the job and started cutting into the stern from the outside.  I was surprised to find that the stern has been re-done or at least patched before, in part at least.  The white stripe has been painted in three different places and someone used tons of stainless screws.

A lot has been done to the boat in the thirty-eight years since the boat left the factory in Gravenhurst and came to Pine Hill.  At one point, it even sunk while out for a test spin with the mechanic on board.  A mouse had made a nest under the gas tank and rotted the bottom ,according to the story.  I don't know the details as I was not around much in those years, being fully occupied with my bee business in the West.

Moon rising over the Indian RiverI wondered if the cheap plywood was from that job, or if it was original.  Tearing the wood out was a bit of a job due to the phalanx of screws, even though the wood was rotten and fell apart easily.

I worked until around eight, then quit.  I would have liked to continue a while, but the evening was quieting down and the sounds of hammering and cutting were beginning to echo loudly between the hills that surround our River. 

A full moon was just rising above the trees across the River as I went in for a swim, and called it a day.

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Tuesday September 13th 2011
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Ten days from today, I'm on the plane back to Calgary.

Rain began sometime after midnight, accompanied by thunder and lightning.  Near dawn, I hear sirens, but could not see any smoke or fire.  Several years back a cottage across the River was struck by lightning and burned down on August 2nd 2004.  The odd thing was that the cottage was on the water and sat quite low, below some nearby tall trees.  It is the brown one in the picture and has since been rebuilt, looking almost exactly the same as before.

The day is predicted to changeable, with a high of 20 degrees.  It should be a good day to continue with the transom job.  I'm making headway and the path forward is becoming clearer.Fall 2009 hive gain and loss chart

Back home in Alberta, the weather is also cooling, and the flow is slowing.  There is no sign of frost, so it is possible that it will get going again if we get a another hot spell.

Back in 2009, I plotted the gains through late August and September of that year, which turned out to have a long and strong September flow. The flow tapered off and ended near the end of the month.  If this year is like 2009, we still have a week or two to go before it is all over.  Click the chart at right for 2009 details.

On this date in 2009, I was home from inspecting bees and about to go on the road again, so I was adding boxes!

By this date in 2010, we had already had frost and on the 13th, the game camera spotted a fox on top of one of my hives.  Sugar syrup was in short supply and hard to get.  On the 11th, last year, the weather was too poor for inspecting and in looking at my own bees, I remarked on seeing what I was suspecting to be CCD.  Whatever it was, it spread through the yard and later killed 100% of my hives.

Bees on a sunflower at home in AlbertaReading on, I see I was contemplating getting glasses back in 2009 (Sept 30).  I did not get around to it, and have not needed them until lately.  In recent weeks, my eyes have had difficulty seeing close-up and I have been using reading glasses.  I have had periods like this before and then vision has gone back to the way it was.  Hope that is the case this time, too.

I spent several hours researching glues and only confirmed what I already knew: 3M 5200 is the glue I should use. Epoxy comes a close second, but I am concerned that if the epoxy does not impregnate the wood, that rot may occur.  Ref  Ref  Apparently, though, there are products that might have rehabilitated the transom without surgery, but I have my doubts that I would have had good success due to the configuration.

Of course, now that I think about it, wood encapsulation  might not be a problem since I called the local lumber yard and found they have both mahogany marine grade plywood and a piece of white oak that would be suitable!  These woods stand up to being wet.  For some reason the transom is made of fir plywood, but the rest of the boat is mahogany and oak and that part shows no sign of rot.  Maybe epoxy would be fine, too.

I went down and looked at the boat again with the intention of beginning on it, but the weather looked OK and seeing as I have done very little sailing, I decided to go out for a sail. 

When I got out there, the conditions proved gusty and overpowering, mirroring the very first time I sailed the boat after I bought it. 

I left the River and sailed into the Lake, to be met with vicious short gusts which veered randomly through  50 degrees of compass.  Once I passed Ishkaqua, I was clearly overpowered and soon found myself running out of sea room as I came up on Tobin Island.  I could reef, but I wanted to bear off and run down the channel and, running, full sail would be just fine.  The problem was that I had to turn from a beat upwind to a run downwind, exposing the beam to the wind as I turned.  What if a particularly nasty gust hit just when I was broadside to the wind?  I can only sheet out so far.  I'd be shipping water.

The boat has been heeled 45 degrees and perhaps a little more, without incident.  It is well-ballasted and extremely stable.  I doubt it would capsize, but I avoid angles greater than 45 because water could come over the rail and flood the cockpit.  That is not much fun and is never desirable, but today the companionway was open, and even if the cockpit has an open stern and is self-draining, water could conceivably go below.  That would not be good.   I could close the companionway, but I was seconds from the turn after which, the ride would be smooth, level, and quiet.

The first time I sailed, this boat I was not sure of the channel: then I was afraid of rocks, and unsure of the boat, but now I know the boat and the waters better and I made the turn without incident, being careful to complete the turn between the gusts.

From there, I ran with the wind, doing 6 or 7 knots to the end of the channel, then turned to return home.  I reefed the main in the lee of Stepping Stone, and tacked back to the River where I dropped sail and motored in.  It was a challenging and short sail, but satisfying.

I looked at Cloud 9 again, but it was 5:30, so I went up, grilled a steak and had supper.  After supper, I was beat and lay down.  I slept until after seven.

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Wednesday September 14th 2011
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...Well, according to Scotiabank’s ace economists it’s now likely Canada will be the first of the advanced economies to fall into a recession. Blame a slump in business conditions, American malaise, government spending cuts and a weakening housing market, the bank said.

...Imagine that. What happened to that ballsy talk about Canada leading the world in job growth, avoiding the global slowdown and everything being different? According to the Conference Board, the only thing growing fast here is the canyon between the rich and the rest. It’s now increasing more rapidly than even in the United States, were CEOs make millions and (as of this week) 46.2 million people live in poverty.

Alberta temperatures are declining but there is no sign of frost yet.  We have an east wind this morning, foreshadowing the cooler weather predicted for tomorrow and the next few days.  Although the days are expected to be 13,14, and 19, we will get very close to frost here, it appears, with nighttime temperatures of 2, 1, 3,and 3.  So far, the day is bright  and sunny.

Air Canada flight attendants voting on strike that could come as of Sept. 21
I fly home on the 23rd -- maybe?  I'm booked on Air Canada.  It is the only airline that flies through from Sudbury to Calgary.  I suppose that I could fly out of Toronto, but that means parking there and also if Air Canada is on  strike, we can bet that Westjet is not going to be cheap.

Microsoft previews Windows 8, stresses tablets.  This is a good article.  The next version of Windows should be interesting.  I've used Windows ever since the first version and it has never worked 100%, but is has become about the best out there for those of us who don't want to be constrained in what we install on our machines.  The new touch screen Windows machines on the market are quite interesting and I'm quite tempted.  They range from tablets to desktops.

Muskoka Lumber told me yesterday they have the wood I need, so I drove over for a look.  I need a hardwood marine plywood and some white oak for ribs.  I'm not ready to buy yet. 

They had the oak, but it turned out the plywood they have is fir, the same as what rotted.  I bought some groceries on the way home.  Then I spent an hour or two removing screws and thinking about how best to proceed before it was time for supper.

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The hive scale lost 2-1/2 pounds (left) over the past two days.  There was a strong southeast breeze at home and bees don't work well in unprotected , open areas on windy days, regardless of temperature or available bloom.

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I got tired of hitting the caps lock key by mistake and finally disabled it.  That trick is so simple, I don't know why I haven't done it long ago.

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Thursday September 15th 2011
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It should be warm in Alberta, and there is the chance of the flow resuming, but I'm thinking it will be tapering off.  The Saturday night forecast at home (above) gets close to frost, though, and a killer frost is pretty much inevitable in the coming two or three weeks.

It's only plus two here in Port Carling this morning, but I see that the Muskoka forecast has improved, with sun for the next five days, rather than the rain which was previously expected.  Tonight, though, promises a drop to zero (That's Celsius, not Fahrenheit and zero indicates the freezing point).

I took a stroll again today after lunch and covered about a mile.

There is some interpreting discussion of fall feeding in the honeybeeworld forum today.  I fixed quite a few broken forum links, BTW.  Thanks to a regular contributor for pointing them out. 

Feel free to post questions and ideas there for discussion.

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Friday September 16th 2011
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Today is cool and breezy, but I did get a little boat work done, and glued the broken bench back together as well.  The bench had been hit dead-on by a falling tree in early August.

I also spent time researching Zostavax®.  That is the vaccine to reduce the chances and severity of shingles, a condition which can affect people who have had chickenpox. 

"The vaccine for shingles (Zostavax®) is recommended for use in people 60 years old and older to prevent shingles. The older a person is, the more severe the effects of shingles typically are, so all adults 60 years old or older should get the shingles vaccine.

"The shingles vaccine is specifically designed to protect people against shingles and will not protect people against other forms of herpes, such as genital herpes. The shingles vaccine is not recommended to treat active shingles or post-herpetic neuralgia (pain after the rash is gone) once it develops.

"Disease Protection: In a clinical trial involving thousands of adults 60 years old or older, Zostavax reduced the risk of shingles by about half (51%) and the risk of post-herpetic neuralgia by 67%. While the vaccine was most effective in people 60-69 years old it also provided some protection for older groups.

"Research suggests that the shingles vaccine is effective for at least six years, but may last much longer. Ongoing studies are being conducted to determine exactly how long the vaccine protects against shingles.


I've been meaning to get a shot and to get one for my Mom, but have not found it easy to arrange.  When I first inquired, it was not approved in Canada, and it went onto my back burner.

As it turns out, Bill's mother had shingles last winter and my Mom came down with it for the first time the other day and is suffering through a bout.  I have wondered if I have had a touch of it, myself, since I have had some of the symptoms in the past year, but no rash -- yet.

Also, as it turns out, the vaccine is currently in short supply for the next two months due to bottlenecks at the source.  I hunted around and one of the best possibilities -- when Zostavax is available -- is Costco Pharmacies.  They charge $150 plus a $12 service fee.  I'm now on the waiting list.  Unfortunately Costco expects it in January, and I like to be south in January if at all possible.

Port side aft quarter with the rotten rib and lower transom cut outI spent several more hours on the transom and thinking about how best to repair it.  At right are two shots, one of the port aft quarter where I have cut the rotten rib and ply away from the bottom plywood, which is like new.  The lower is  a section of the transom that was cut out right where the rot begins to taper off into sound wood.  You can see that one end of the sample is more sound than the other.

The sandwich shown consists of a 3/4 marine plywood rib (top), then a 3/4 construction fir transom, and the 3/8 mahogany plywood outside appearance layer.  The worst rot is in the construction fir, but a bit has spread to the others.  The marine plywood and the mahogany outside layers are in much better condition than the construction fir in the middle.A section of the transom cut from where the rot ends.  Top is 3/4 marine plywood, middle is 3/4 construction fir, and bottom is 3/8 mahogany plywood

The third piece shown (below at right) is another sheet of 3/4 construction fir that fit in against the transom, sitting on the rib and screwed on for added thickness and stiffness.  I took it out previously.View of the inner layer of the rotten transom after removal

I think that I spend more time thinking than working, and this job is a stumper.   I could just slap in a transom, but I'm trying to figure the best way not to have this happen again in 40 years.  By then, I likely won't feel like working on it if it rots out again -- or falls off because I miscalculated.

Besides the obvious problem of construction plywood sitting with an end grain in water over time, the rot was abetted by the twisting and prying forces that the outdrive placed on the transom.  165 horses jolting and levering the three layers of plywood pulls any water that is in contact with end grain into the wood. 

Even after being out of the water since spring, the rotten wood is still soggy, so I doubt I should use that same construction method.  I have to locate some oak or mahogany plywood.  All the oak and mahogany is just as good as it was in 1973 when they first launched the boat, but the fir construction plywood is rotten wherever it sat in water.  Whatever were they thinking?  They built a perfect, sound boat and put one piece of cheap plywood in the transom that makes the rest of the boat unusable.

I apologize for the quality. of some photos on this site lately.  They are taken with my cell phone, and it is a cheapie (I love it anyways).  Usually they are acceptable, but  in low light and some conditions, the quality is poor.  I do have a better camera.  I just don't carry it much anymore. 

Writing about the camera in the phone got me thinking.  I checked, and it has adjustments, including macro and zoom and various other settings.  I reset it to default.  Maybe I had somehow set it to some Grainy ISO or something.  We'll see.

These little devices are amazing.  I recall that it was hard to get a transistor radio that would even fit into a pocket I was a teen.  The batteries were expensive and lasted only a few hours.  This phone has a built-in FM radio, which I have never used, in addition to the computer, an audio and video recorder ,and computer -- and I would not want the phone to be any smaller.  The battery is rechargeable and last about three years before needing replacement.

One week from today, I'm scheduled to fly home, but I'm having second thoughts.  Mom is ill, I have things to do here and there is nothing pressing at home.

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Saturday September 17th 2011
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The weather report says that Port Carling is at minus two at 6:30 this AM , but the thermometer outside says plus five and it is not particularly cool inside this  century-old cottage with only a fireplace for warmth.  There is a mist out over the River.  Once we have the first frost, the leaves turn all colours, so we will see.

Central Alberta is cooling and the forecast for Tuesday morning is suggesting frost.  The forecast also mentions the possibility of frost tonight.  Forecasts change, though so we'll see.

My flight on Thursday may be in doubt:

Air Canada running out of time to avoid strike by flight attendants: 'Kokonis believes the chances are strong that flight attendants will strike next week. "Although it may be short, I have a strong feeling that they're going to want to stick it to the company even if it's only for a couple of days.'"

I got to thinking about EAS for 2012.  The dates are August 13-17 and that works better for me than the  usual dates.  Burlington, Vt. is not too far off my beaten track, as well. (Map of my potential route on left below, EAS 2012 link on right in the table below).

The scale has gained 30 pounds since the 14th, or 30/3/4=2.5 pounds a day per hive.

I've complained in the past that EAS did not do a good job of promoting their summer meeting or make it easy for prospective new attendees to visualize when to arrive, when to leave, what is on the agenda, where they will stay and what they will do.  It looks as if they won't make this mistake in 2012.  I'm glad to see that.  In the time they wasted getting up to speed in promotion, a number of new bee organizations have stolen a march on them.  Here is a promo:

You are invited to the 2012 EAS Conference to be held at University of Vermont. and hosted by Vermont Beekeepers.· The theme will be “Bees and Beyond”.

Tom Seeley, Dewey Caron, Debbie Delaney, Michael Palmer, Jim Tew, Joe Latshaw, Ross Conrad, Micheal Young, Maryann Frazier Marla Spivak, Jeff Pettis, and whole host of other local and international experts that will be presenting at EAS Vt

I'm off to Sudbury later today to see how Mom is doing.  I'll take the outdrive with me for consultation with Harri.

*   *   *   *   *   *  *

I drove to Sudbury , leaving around noon and arriving mid-afternoon.   I can see I'll be staying a few days. 

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Sunday September 18th 2011
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I figure Mom would enjoy an iPad for the movies and talking books, so I went looking at tablets and checking out plans.

I dropped off the outdrive at Harri's and figure to have him clean it up and repaint it to save me some time. 

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Monday September 19th 2011
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It rained heavily today, but the weather is warm.

After a short visit with Linda in the morning, I bought some groceries and incidentals, then spent an hour at SouthCentre interviewing  service4 providers about data plans. 

I am always amazed at how bad some of the young salespeople are, and how excellent others are.  Some are quite defensive or argumentative and drive away anyone at all critical or unconvinced, yet those are the people who are most interested and who can shed the most light on issues.   Others are excellent listeners and can convert a disgruntled or skeptical prospect into a believer or a friend and a complaint or criticism into a sale or at least goodwill.  Some are also helpful, even if that helpfulness does not result in an immediate sale.  Others are insulting if they think they cannot get a quick sale.  I wonder how aware the sales management is or if there is any.   Some staffs seem to be in need of adult supervision and need to understand that making sales and friends is the goal, not winning arguments.  Some of these stores are doing the companies more harm than good.  Others are doing a fantastic job.

I returned home to check on Mom, then went looking for transom wood at Evans Lumber  I didn't have a lot of luck.  Then, I drove up to Best Buy, looking at devices for connecting the Internet to a TV .  I had chats with some excellent salespeople there and learned a lot, but not enough to decide on any one product.  I like Best Buy.  They have good stock, good prices and knowledgeable, well supervised staff. 

Actually, at $100 for Apple TV, $118 for the Wii, and $199 for the Boxee Box, a person could buy them all. The problem is to get Internet at Mom's and that means visiting Eastlink.  Their website is useless unless you log in as a subscriber, and I have no idea how good it is even then.  The basic information needed to make decisions is simply not there in an understandable format.

At home in  the evening, after supper, I researched Apple TV, the Boxee Box, and the Wii   Then I watched some more Monk, some Quantum Leap and half of Midnight Run on the computer, burning up about 0.8 GB of data.  (That data costs me $5.60 plus tax.)

*   *   *   *   *   *  *

The hive scale has lost eight pounds in the last two days. 8/4/2=1 pound a day per hive.  Ellen says the bees are robbing a bit from the stacks.  I am happy to hear that because it fills the wintering hives and empties some brood comb in storage for later use.  Because I don't extract and because I did feed syrup last year, most of my brood combs are full.  I always need some empty ones for splits.  As for disease worries, I gave all the hives a shot of antibiotic as preventative before I came east.

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