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Ski joring on Gull Lake
Thursday February 20th 2014
Minus fifteen this morning.
I'm up early and full of ambition. I killed the usual two hours reading and writing, but am going down to the gym and plan to do a little exercise. In winter I don't get out and moving as much and as a result I get weak and lose flexibility.
The best-laid plans... I got an email about Mom's house and I am still at the desk. What a tarbaby this project has been. Suggested flooring and cupboard doors are at right. They are nice, but, no, they will not work in that house. Too dark and gloomy in that small kitchen.
I sent the pictures to Mom's residence in Victoria where hopefully she can see them. I can't decide for her.
I also have been billing my web clients. I am terrible at that and have let it slip. Not only that, my previous billings did not always make it clear exactly what time span was covered and when a client asked for clarification, I discovered that I had under-billed by a whole year.
All that kept me busy for a while, then I was captured by the Women's Olympic Hockey broadcast.
When this final game came on the radio, shortly after the women's curling, with its favourable result for Canada, I was interested to see how it went.
By the third period, I figured that Canada was a goner. They were so far behind, with so little time left, it would take a miracle, and was tempted to go out and do something physical. I had a feeling, however, that I should wait until the end and put off going out. That hunch was good, as our team came from behind and won in a very exciting and clean game. After that Zip and I went for a short stroll to enjoy the bright sunlight and calm weather.
There are things I need to do before I go away again, so I returned reluctantly to my desk and dealt with Air Canada. I needed to know if they can load Mom onto the little planes that fly from Toronto to Sudbury as I have my van in Toronto and wonder if I should drive her up or if we could fly. They do have facilities it seems, so I can liberate my van anytime I like and don't have to wait for Mom to return. Maybe I'll fly east in the next month or two.
A pessimist sees the difficulty
in every opportunity;
Friday February 21st 2014
When I awoke, I smelled a faint smell of coal smoke and checked the furnace. Seems that the ashes had piled up above the grate. How that happened, I am not sure. Not good. Anyhow, I shoveled the ashes and then drove Zip to town.
When Zip and I got to town, she would not go into the vet clinic and I had to carry her. She is frightened and I guess I am a bit, too. They plan to extract two abscessed teeth under a general. The procedure should be routine, but she is getting old and they have to check kidney function, etc. first. There is always risk.
I did a little hardware shopping and drove home. There is a strong wind blowing the snow across the roads. I considered kiting, but I'm guessing that the wind is too strong for me. It is also minus eleven and overcast, so it is cold out there. I like sun and temperatures warmer than minus ten.
The Men's Olympic hockey game is on the radio right now, and the Canadians and the US team are up in the semi-final, but somehow I just don't care. Men's hockey is just too nasty for me and I have little interest. The women's game is honest hockey IMO. The advice I heard given to the Canadian men if they want to win is this: "Play like girls". <G>.
Elijah came to work today and sorted the recycle heap. I just take the recycle can and dump it in the gym until there is enough to justify sorting.
Zip is back home and a bit dopey, but otherwise fine. I was wondering what the bill would be. I found out -- $744.47! That is more than I hoped, slightly less than I feared and half again what I expected. I hope this is a one-time expense, and I'm glad I can afford it, but wonder how families or pensioners can handle this.
Just as with people, the medical possibilities are expanding as are the costs. Time was, not too long ago, that people and animals just lived, suffered and died and there were no alternatives. Today, however, there are technologies that can extend life and improve quality, but they impose a financial burden. At some point, the expense is unbearable. It is hard to reduce such questions to dollars and cents.
Whatever is begun in anger ends
Saturday February 22nd 2014
We're back in the deep freeze today, but the sun is shining and we can expect to get up to minus thirteen this afternoon.
I booked a flight to Vancouver for a week from today to deliver boats between Powell River and Vancouver. The Powell River to Vancouver trip is 70 nautical miles and will take at least 10 hours and likely more depending on whether I use power or sail and depending on weather and tides . The day length lately has expanded to 10 hours and 45 minutes at that latitude, so the trip may be possible in one day. I'm not sure what boats I will be moving, or if I will have crew-- or be crew.
My tomato plants continue to yield in my living room south window.
I spent the afternoon cleaning up, vacuuming, and wrestling with my monstera deliciosa. This plant has been getting larger and larger in the corner of the hall and draping down to the floor. It was in a self-watering pot and has been difficult to water. I wanted to hang it from the ceiling and also change pots. The job was a lot for one person and a bit messy, but I got it done. The plant now looks beat -up with the leaves pointing various directions, but I expect it will realign wit the light fairly quickly.
Fen texted that a hat she has been knitting for me is finished, so I invited her for supper. She was in Calgary and swung by on the way back to The Mill. I now have a new hand-knotted wool aviator's hat. I had one before, but the moths found it.
Fen left at around 2100 and I cleaned up the kitchen, sat down to watch some video, though better of it, and went to bed.
Half this game is ninety percent
Sunday February 23rd 2014
We're almost at the predicted high of the day at 0659 and the coming week is predicted to continue below normals, too.
I woke up, put on the coffee, and turned on the radio. Lucky me, the Canada/Sweden men's hockey game is on my favourite morning radio station, CBR. Canada is up 2:1 at the end of the second. I was not intending to listen, but what the heck.
Now, at 0702, Canada is up 3:1. As far as I can tell, there have been no fights. Goes to show these goons can stop fighting long enough to play an honest game of hockey if they have to. I always wondered.
Late in the third, it looks as if this game is over, but who knows? The Canadian ladies came back from far behind in the final minutes and clinched the gold in overtime.
Today, I'm going for lunch at The Mill, and trying to get caught up before my next trip.
Yup. It's over. Three to One for Canada, and another gold for Canada.
The grate stopped turning again this morning and I can see that this morning will be spent in the shop, working on the furnace. The ash overflow seems to have disturbed the grate. It is time to clean the grate and check the system anyhow, but I usually choose a warmer day to do this sort of work.
Seems the ladies are not a whole lot better than the men when it comes to fighting. You can tell I don't watch hockey, if you watched this video, you just saw why.
By noon, I had the furnace grate out and was finishing reassembly. I got a text that lunch is at 1230. I rushed to finish up and left, only to notice that the fuel in the grey van was too low to make it to The Mill and back. I returned, changed vans and drove to The Mill, arriving a half-hour late. We had lunch, did the dishes and I returned home.
The outdoor temperature was around minus twenty, but the day is still and sunny. The furnace had been off for over four hours by the time I returned home, but the indoor temperature had only dropped about 2 degrees Celsius. The warmth from the sun counts for a lot. At night, the temperature would have dropped much more.
By 1600, I found I was too tired to do anything, probably from eating a high-carb lunch, and had a nap. When I awoke, it was 1745.
I had supper, then went down and did some cleanup in the shop.
We didn't lose the game; we just
ran out of time.
Monday February 24th 2014
Another cold morning. We reached minus thirty-two last night and are running far below the normal range of zero to minus twelve. This is the coldest, snowiest winter I can recall in the 45 years I have lived here in Swalwell.
The coal is down far enough in the bin that it is getting easier to work on the bin buddy, and the existing augers are not supplying coal reliably, encouraging me to get on that project.
Taking a day off yesterday makes me realize that I have been stressed this past week. I was dealing with several issues that I have been putting off. I've also set myself a deadline by deciding to go to the Wet Coast this Saturday.
Today, thankfully, I feel rested and energetic.
I got my landline phone bill today and cancelled the service. It is a waste of money. All I get is nuisance calls on it.
Doing that is a big step and a hard decision I have been putting off. The phone company has been siphoning off over $400 a year. I complained and they cut the price, but then they sneaked it back up. I hate phone companies. Almost without exception, they are sneaky and nasty.
I have had that phone number for over 40 years and I wonder if I will lose contacts by cancelling it. I would have deep-sixed it long ago if not for that worry. In the last year, though, I can't say I have received many calls from people who would not have found me otherwise. Sometimes we have to cut the cord.
Now I will probably find that some things like credit cards are tied to it and have to keep using it as an identifier for those purposes. For example, credit cards insist that we phone from home when activating cards and use the home phone when making online purchases. I don't think they ever call it, however.
Now I have to deal with a few other recurring expenses that dribble away money, like Mozy -- $US9.99 US/mo -- which I had to backup Ellen's computer and some of mine that I no longer use. Audible -- $US14.99/mo -- goes next. I have some credits I have not used and have to use them up before I cancel or lose them. I can keep the books I have purchased after I cancel the monthly, but will lose any unused credits.
Ellen was the person who used Audible most. She used talking books to keep her conscious mind occupied while doing art work. I only use them while doing shop work or on long drives. I find them useful as otherwise, sometimes I find myself obsessing about something.
There's many a bestseller that
could have been prevented by a good teacher.
Tuesday February 25th 2014
The cold continues without end.
I hardly accomplished anything today. I wrote a few emails and that was about it. Elijah came over and we did some cleanup it the gym. That was about it.
In the afternoon, the wind came up almost enough to go kiting, but dropped off again.
I've been watching The Guardian on Netflix in the evening. Other shows I watch sometimes are are Republic of Doyle, The Glades, and Numb3rs, and Lie to Me. I like light and fluffy stuff. I watch a few heavier shows from time to time, but not lately. I tell myself that I should be doing something constructive in the evenings like working in the shop, but typically I am too tired or bored. Not sure which. Maybe a bit depressed. The lengthening days are encouraging me to be more active, though.
I have a nice, warm, well-equipped shop downstairs with lots of cool tools and jobs that need doing. The crossbow (16' sloop is sitting in there on a trailer and it needs a wheel bearing changed, plus the boat needs some minor work. The snowmobile needs an hour or two of attention and would probably be back in commission. Both vans have small jobs that should attended to. The bin buddy parts are laid out ready for assembly...
Education is a progressive
discovery of our own ignorance.
Wednesday February 26th 2014
Today is warmer but predictions are for a return of the cold weather in the next few days.
I am feeling more energetic today. I don't know what was the matter with me yesterday. I do know I had an amazing amount of gas. I had soaked some dried kidney beans overnight and simmered them into a soup and eaten a few bowls. I doubt that is the reason for the malaise, but could be.
I did manage to finish installing FrontPage, an obsolete, but handy web management software program, on the new laptop. I had wasted about six hours the day before trying to get Garmin's MapSource to recognize my charts on the same machine. Garmin's software and protection schemes are a nightmare, but I use MapSource to plan my routes for boating and navigation on my laptop and would not go sailing without it if given the choice..
I finally called Garmin's support line and got the charts working. This was one of the things that was worrying me and high on my list. Another was dealing with some estate issues, and I managed to get a bit of that done today, too. The next big item is the books, and then the furnace.
* * * * *
My mouse wheel has been acting up and I figured it was die for replacing. Scrolling the wheel could as easily move the page up as down. In desperation, I shot the thing with WD-40 and after being a bit weird for a day, it now works perfectly.
As they say,
I think I will do some of the furnace work next, to get a bit of exercise.
I got to the stairs and the dog made it clear that she thought we should go for a walk in the bright outdoors, not go down into the dark, gloomy basement. I walked around the drive, then got ambitious, strapped my boots into my snowshoes and, we went out to look at the hives.
I snow-shoed a bit when younger, but never really got into it. I skied cross country instead. The wooden snowshoes I had were laced with rawhide and I had to wear moccasins. I like moccasins and wore them in summer when I was not barefoot, but did not have a good pair of mukluks. I did have skis, though.
At right, we can see that the sun is eating into the accumulated snow.
I did not have a great deal of hope for colony survival after the brutal weather, and figured I'd just lift lids until I found the first dead-out, then quit. I went down the north yard checking and all looked quite good, but the second to last hive seemed dead.
I had found a hungry hive several hives back and figured I'd take some honey to feed it. I lifted the top box of the suspected dead-out and heard a buzz. I guess they are fine and still far down in the hive. No dead-outs in that row.
Below are the hives, in order I looked into them.
The second last picture is a dead-out. The pillow was rock-hard. Somehow it picked up some water and froze.
You can see also some ice on top of the frames in the last picture. The other hives are dry, with just a few drops of condensation under the pillow. A little water is useful for the bees since they need to liquefy the solid honey.
At right is what I use on top of the hives -- a thin pillow and a standard telescoping lid. The standard lid stands up above the pillow and seals the edges nicely. You can see the lid on edge behind the hive, It has been taken off to show the pillow.
Normally, I use several pillows on each hive for extra insulation, but have been slow to put them on this year. Until now, it has not been important, but in the coming spring , top insulation becomes important when brood rearing ramps up, the bees are older and heat conservation becomes important.
Weather on Vancouver Island looks lovely. They have had snow, but as usual it was all gone in a day. I look forward to being out there again soon. This webcam shot is from Sidney, near where my boat is docked.
Freedom is not worth having if
it does not include the freedom to make mistakes.
Thursday February 27th 2014
Yesterday was a good day. I should spend more time outdoors and less at the desk.
Today I have company for supper and have not yet planned the meal. There will be six of us.
Wow! This is a short month. Tomorrow is the last day. I really have to get the books to the accountant to file sales tax before the end of tomorrow.
At noon, the weather is perfect for kiting - minus seven and 9.9 MPH NW wind in bright sun -- but I am behind the eight ball getting things done before I leave. Drat! I still have to go to town today and get the books to the accountant, plus more...
It is just as well I did not go kiting,. The wind picked up to 20 MPH and snow began drifting across the roads. I drove to town and did my shopping, took Zip over to the vet's to have the vet look into her mouth, then returned home to make supper.
Friends came by and we barbequed steak. Oene was coming over, but turned back because of the drifting snow and I heard that Dave and Ruth found themselves in a ditch and then had additional problems and had to be towed home.
I criticize by creation not by
Friday February 28th 2014
We are back in the deep freeze again today., with no respite promised for four days. I plan to leave tomorrow morning for a week or so, leaving my home and my pets in the capable hands of my friends.
Yesterday, I got the books off to the accountant and today I have inspect the furnace, tidy up, and pack.
I'll have to drive to Drum this afternoon to deliver Zippy to Ruth.
I did that and gave their truck a boost. The wind was howling from the north, making travel hazardous.
Pray, v.: To ask that the laws
of the universe be annulled on behalf
Saturday March 1st 2014
I rolled over and looked at the clock. 4:00. My plan was to awaken a 4 am and my internal alarm is working, it seems. I had breakfast and packed and I'm off to the airport. It is minus Thirty-five!
My plane was late and that was a good thing since the baggage lineup would have made me miss it. I landed at YVR at 0900 and Syd picked me up. We bought provisions and drove to shelter Island Marina to meet Colin.
By noon, Syd and I were underway in a Beneteau 435. "Simply Irresistible" on our way to Powell River. Our plan was to overnight at Gibsons and we arrived there around 1630, riding in on the rising tide.
After we tied up, we walked over to Gramma's Pub for supper and a pint.
Tomorrow, we plan to leave at first light. The remainder of the trip will take ten hours -- or more.
To see what is in front of one's
nose needs a constant struggle.
Sunday March 2nd 2014
I was up at 0400, had breakfast, studied day's planned course, and checked the weather. I tried to check my home, but the cameras would not report back. One of my cameras' remote watch site had sent an email at 2300 hrs that it had lost touch with the camera. That probably mean a power outage, an Internet outage or that my cat had knocked something over. It is minus thirty at home and a power failure could cool the house off quickly.
At first light, we left our slip and motored out over the shoal and into the Strait. It was snowing lightly and a gale warning was posted. We sailed a bit, but the wind was shifty and we decided to motor to make Powell River mid-afternoon.
I waited until Shirley was up and gave her a call. She said she would go over to my place and check on things. I also got a brainwave and called Carolyn. She looked out the window and reported that smoke was coming out of my chimney -- a good sign. She also checked and found that our Internet service was down. Whew!
We had an interesting morning. Syd went below and saw water sloshing over the floorboards, so he called me down. I tasted it and it was fresh water. It was also warm. I told Syd, "Don't worry, we are not sinking.". Somehow he found that hilarious. Anyhow, as it turns out, our hot water tank leaks. We knew there was a pressure system leak, because the pump kept running, but had not guessed it would be that bad. One of our water tanks is now empty. If we were days from shore on the ocean, a leak like that could be deadly if we did not have reserves.
The bilge pumps did not work, either, so I checked the filters. Both were clogged and I had to clean them both many times before the bilge was dry since the bilge was full of lint.
We arrived at Powell River, changed boats and had supper. I checked my bin camera and decided the fuel would not last the night. It was minus thirty with a 20 KPH wind. Even though it was 2130 MST, I called Shirley and texted Elijah and they took care of the problem. More later.
Write drunk; edit sober.
Monday March 3rd 2014
I'm up before dawn, aboard Genna II at Boat Harbour, planning the day.
Syd was not awake at our planned departure time, so I decided to set our departure back to 0900. I like to check out a boat well before leaving and we did not last night as we were tired after the day and after moving from Simply Irresistible to Gena II. We had gone up to the Three Frog for supper and gone to bed early. I don't even know if we have fuel, or how much.
At dawn it was raining steadily and chilly.
If you have made mistakes, even
serious ones, there is always another chance for you.
Today, we run over to Shelter Island and finish our deliveries.
He would make a lovely corpse.
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"If I make a
living off it, that's great -- but I come from a culture where you're valued
not so much by what you acquire but by what you give away,"
-- Larry Wall (the inventor of Perl)
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