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The last of the snow. Enough to get stuck.

Monday March 10th 2014

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The overnight temperature held steady around freezing, and only dipped below minus one after 0600 this morning.

At 1000, I had an appointment to see a sleep therapist and drove to Three Hills, where I was given a recording device to wear to bed tonight, and instructions on how to operate it.

I spent the rest of the day catching up on paperwork and tidying.

At bedtime, I put on the sleep monitor according to the instructions I received in the morning and spent the night trying to keep it aligned. 

Research is what I'm doing when I don't know what I'm doing.
 Wernher Von Braun

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Tuesday March 11th 2014

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After the worst night of sleep I've had in a while, I awoke and removed the device. I sure hope it provides some meaningful information despite having pulled out of position over and over.   I have to take it back to town this morning for the data to be examined and hope I don't have to wear it again tonight.

It seems that the focus of this test is on sleep apnea, but my major issue is sinus congestion.  When I saw my doctor in December, he referred me to an ENT (Ear, Nose & Throat specialist) and this sleep clinic.  This appointment required a wait of over three months from that date.  My ENT appointment is over four months from my doctor's visit. Anyone who does not think our Alberta medical system is broken just is not paying attention.

I went to town and was told that my sleep recorder records were good enough.  No need to wear that thing again, so I went home and got back to shuffling paper.   

After lunch, I decided to take a walk and wandered over to the quonset. This is my first visit this winter as the snow is very deep. 

As I approached the hives, I thought, "Oh, Oh!  They are all dead".  No bees were flying in spite of the plus three degrees and warm sun.  I lifted a few lids and all was well.  Beekeepers like pictures of bees and I took a few.

These are the first two I looked into. They are triples in EPS boxes with two 1" thick pillows on top.

               

From the mess on the snow in front, I figured this one (left) would be a goner, but they have been busy cleaning out all three boxes and the floor, I guess.  The picture at right is a glance into the top of that same hive. 

A pile of dead bees near the entrance is a sign of tracheal mite kills in winter, but also, in a hive of 40,000 bees each of which live only a few weeks or months, some daily mortality is normal.  Quite a few dead bees can be expected to have died naturally and fallen to the floor during prolonged cold spells when it is too cold for them to fly away to die.  When  the weather warms, the cluster loosens and the bees then clean out the hive if the colony is strong enough.

In the pictures, you will see small drops of moisture under the pillows, outside of the area where the cluster makes contact with the plastic.  This is a good thing as the bees need water to liquefy and thin granulated honey, particularly if they are raising brood.  Having a bit of water handy saves them risking the outdoors. The condensation is clean (distilled) and warm and ideal for the purpose.

Here, at left, is another hive I worried about.  It looked to me as if it might have had a mouse visitor, but a closer look shows they have been cleaning and throwing out debris, too.  The cluster is large.
 

All these hives raised their own queens last summer. (Check back in the diary).  I became fed up with the expense and time lost with purchased queens and simply split strong hives in half without checking for a queen.  I checked a few days later and sold the queen-right half as a strong single and these are the other halves.  From what I see, these queens are better than what I can buy.

Here (right) is how I make my lids: they have an outer rim that telescopes over the EPS boxes and an inner rim that pins down the outer edge of the pillow, and also happens to fit nicely on the top edge of a wooden standard or shallow box so the same lid is a telescoping lid for either type of box.

Fitting both is important, since in summer we stack on wooden supers, then reduce back down to EPS boxes in fall.  Having different lids for each phase would be a nuisance.  This one has an optional pillow wedged up inside for extra insulation.  The only disadvantage is that the hives in a row or on a pallet have to be at least two inches apart for the lids to fit.

As you may note, many of my hives have a standard telescoping lid, made for wooden supers, perched on top.  This also works well, but is a bit more precarious and water can sometimes wick under, since the lids do not telescope down over the EPS boxes due to the greater outer size due to thicker walls (inner size of EPS boxes is the same as in standard wooden boxes).

When using a high lid like this, it is important to place a pillow on the frames to prevent bees from building a mess of comb up in the empty space, although burlap or a plastic or canvas sheet laid on the frames also work well. Any of these allow for piling patties on the frames. I often put on five or six patties at a time.

In some pictures above a little ladder comb can be seen above the frames.  It typically results when patties are placed on the hive and the pillow is lofted up. As the patties are consumed, and if there is a flow on bees will sometimes replace the empty spaces they create in the patty with wax.  A bit of such wax is actually beneficial as it allows a bee passage over frames and I don't scrape it unless I plan to reverse or super that box.

There are only two tragedies in life: one is not getting what one wants,
and the other is getting it.
 Oscar Wilde

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Wednesday March 12th 2014

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Today I am off to Calgary to speak to the Calgary Beekeepers in the evening.  I usually try to avoid going to the City, but seeing as I am going, I'll to do some shopping, a computer repair for a friend, and sign some estate papers.

I left at around 0900 and stopped in Airdrie to shop at Wal-Mart for canned goods and various household items, plus rechargeable AA and AAA batteries.  Wal-Mart has the best deal on them.  I also dropped into Dollarama for flower pots, which I have found to be by far cheapest there, and very attractive.

Next I went to London Drugs, looking for a portable battery charger for my phone.  Syd had bought one at LD and I was looking for one like his that holds at least 5000 mAH for use in the cockpit of my boat when not near 110 volt power.  No luck.  They had some selection, but what they had were overpriced and had insufficient capacity.

After, I drove to Calgary and dropped by Princess Auto to look around, then drove to SW Calgary to sign papers and on to Stemz where Shirley is minding shop for Anne who is in Mexico.  They have a new computer and it has been infected with adware.  I spent a few hours cleaning it up.

While that was happening and during the waiting time during scanning and rebooting , I went to the LD next door and found the same unit Syd had bought and found it cost less than I expected.  It is 4800 mAH, but that is in my target zone and at $40, a bargain IMO.  It is $15 on Amazon, but by the time it is delivered here, it would be over $50.  The reviews, for my purposes, are pretty good.

After I finished at Stemz, I drove to 14th and Kensington and bought some chicken at Chicken on the Way.  Ellen worked there briefly 45 years ago and the place has not changed much.

I sat outside and ate the chicken at roadside tables only feet from six lanes of traffic, watching two beggars working traffic stopped at the nearby light.  They did not approach me and I did not approach them. 

I don't know what to think of begging in a rich city like Calgary with quite a few resources for those without.  I know there are many with no options, but I suspect for some this is a chosen lifestyle.   I've known a number of bums and thieves, and for them, given a choice between earning and stealing or begging, the 'honest' method would be the least attractive and a last resort.

After watching the entertainment for a while, I crossed the street and bought two pairs of Birkenstocks, then drove to the Banff Trail Community Centre to give a talk to the Calgary Beekeepers.  The talk began at 1915, ended at 2100, and we chatted until almost 2200.

Zip and I drove home and arrived around 2230.  I went to bed an hour later.

Nothing in the world is more dangerous than sincere ignorance and conscientious stupidity.
 Martin Luther King Jr.

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Thursday March 13th 2014

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I have a lot of tidying and filing to do today and am inviting the usual suspects for a potluck supper.  I am short of time for cooking.

While we covered a lot of ground in the talk last night at the Calgary Beekeepers meeting, there is a lot we did not cover.  For another perspective and to fill in blanks, here is a good reference: Recommendations for Management of Honey Bee Pests and Diseases in Alberta 2012. Although the page is titled "2012", the recommendations are current AFAIK.

The weather in the next week is mild and the worry of a house freeze-up has diminished to near zero, although a heating failure could still stress my houseplants.  My friends are here, taking care of the cat and the plants, but my heating system is unconventional and in colder weather, time is of the essence in dealing with heating failures.  Even conventional systems may be hard to repair before harm occurs if the temperatures are extreme, but mine is unique and although it is simple and basic, only a few people understand it.  In the coming week, the weather is expected to hover around freezing, up to eight above during the day and minus eight at night.

I managed to deal with a lot of the backlog of paperwork during the day and my friends showed up at 1800 for the pot luck supper.  A new load of coal arrived just at dusk, so now I have a good supply that will last until mid-fall.

The most immutable barrier in nature is between one man's thoughts and another's.
William James

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Friday March 14th 2014

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Today, I get ready and fly to Sidney.  If all goes according to plan, I should be in Sidney just after supper. I'll probably come and go over the next several weeks.  I can get a flight on short notice and can be home in a few hours anytime I decide to. 

I have some work scheduled on my boat -- I am replacing the front dodger windows as they are wavy and foggy to the extent that seeing forward is difficult -- and also try to spend some time with my Mom.

I received several comments on my power brick mention the other day.

> I picked up from one of the liquidation places a couple months back -- a USB portable battery pack. The liquidation place was on the street directly east of memory express on 58th Avenue and about a half a block north. These portable battery packs for cell phone are cheap, I think I paid five or six dollars for them and they ran on 2 AA batteries. I got these for my people who are traveling so they could just stop in at any store pick up a pair of AA's and at least make emergency phone calls. However if you're going to use rechargeable batteries and you've got a half a dozen this may be a good solution for you. I would not say that these are quality devices but if you lose one overboard you won't be worried about it either.


Thanks for the tip. They are a solution, and using  rechargeable 2500nAH AAs, they would have the same capacity for much less money.

However, I think I'll try this one and it will do what I want without fooling around. Syd seems to like his.

I have been dragging out my rechargeable AA and AAAs and checking them out for my backup GPS, though, but this looks like a simple solution for my phone that will work without fuss.


> If you aren't satisfied with what you bought.... I bought one of these last year. Used it a few times on canoe trips and when I went hunting last Fall. The LED charge indicator light is pretty crappy... I'm never really sure what it's trying to tell me... otherwise it's a great battery pack.

Worth looking around... some guys ship free.

http://www.dhgate.com/yoobao-thunder-power-bank-yb-651-big-capacity/p-ff8080813b22dc5c013b26d791824459.html#s1-1-1

http://www.dhgate.com/store/product/high-quality-yoobao-thunder-power-bank-for/158306845.html

http://www.dhgate.com/high-quality-yoobao-thunder-power-bank-for/p-ff8080813dafa416013db54417e13c10.html#s1-3-1


These are good suggestions.  I have ordered from China with varying results, mostly good.  The time-lag can be 3-6 weeks, however.

In this case, I wanted it now, and I wanted something I have seen in use.  The price is a bit higher, but sometimes I just have to pay for convenience.

I may try some of the alternatives for a spare, though.


Now that I have tried this thing out, I can see it works well, but is probably a bit overpriced compared to the alternatives suggested. 

Two nickel metal hydride batteries give enough voltage to charge the 3.8 volt lithium battery in the phone and two 2500 mAH batteries give 5000 mAH.  The phone's logic should control the charge rate, so I don't imagine there is much in the box I bought besides two batteries and connections to USB ports.  It does also have a circuit to charge the batteries in it, negating the need for a separate charger.  Hmmmm.

I put the bin auger back in the bin, watered the plants, packed, and drove to the airport, with plenty of time to spare.  I stopped for gas along the way and went to Park & Jet, assuming that I would be in the airport in twenty minutes at most.  The shuttle took forever to arrive, then sat ten minutes waiting for stragglers.

I counted thirty-three minutes from the time I parked until I stepped off the shuttle, with only minutes to spare to check my bag. By chance, I had bought a premium fare since it was only twenty extra dollars and I waltzed through security instead of standing there for ten or fifteen minutes.  As it was, I arrived at the gate just in time for priority boarding.

I have always wondered why people in the front of the plane choose to board early and sit there for ten or fifteen  minutes while people jostle past, bump them with backpacks, and stare at them.  I can see the advantages, though.  No standing in the tunnel and waiting for the crowds to disperse, then waiting in the aisle while others try to force heavy bags into the limited overhead space.  Sitting by the window, I was not bothered by the crowds going by, but I would not have wanted to be in an aisle seat.

I don't usually check bags, but when I'm going sailing, then possibly continuing on to Ontario, I need a variety of items that won't carry on.  As it was, I did not have enough to fill the large wheeled hockey bag, and so I stuffed in a lightweight fluffy parka just to keep things from flopping around in the bag during handling.  I'm thinking I should buy an inflatable toy to use for this purpose, as it could be inflated appropriately when the bag is less than full, or carried deflated when more items are needed.

Not everything that can be counted counts,
and not everything that counts can be counted.
 Albert Einstein

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Saturday March 15th 2014

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I awoke before dawn and looked out to see rain. That is a typical start of a day here in Sidney at this time of year, even a day that ends warm and sunny.

I have noticed the AM/FM radio on this boat does not bring in weak signals well and gets noisy sometimes with local stations, and AM reception is terrible, so I began the day by pulling it out. That took some research online to find the manual

When I pulled the radio out (right) I found that, sure enough, the antenna is just twelve inches of wire.  I'll probably extend it a bit.

Car/boat radios have changed since I worked at a car radio shop back in the '60's.  Back then, the antenna had to be tuned to the radio.  Now, there is no such provision.

Adding wire did not help.  There are marine plug-in antennas that look just like more wire, but get good reviews, so maybe I'll try one.  First I have to find a convenient source.

Mom called and I am to go over at 1600 to visit, then go to supper together, so I have the day to kill.  No sailing for me today, as there is little time and the weather is crappy.

Joan called.  Ron and their daughters are on the Island and they invited Mom and me to supper, so there will be more than just the two of us.

I wasted most of the morning playing with the radio and other little things.  I refilled the water tanks.  I thought that I had left them full, but maybe one of the staff emptied them for the winter.  Maybe I simply did not refill them after the Vancouver Boat Show, but I seem to recall that I did.  Who knows? I shower and wash dishes and that consumes water quickly.

The day continued dull with intermittent rain and gusty winds. I did nothing much, but was busy the whole time.  While I fiddled, I listened to Definitely Not The Opera. The program consists mostly of interesting first-person accounts of various experiences related to the theme of the day.  At one time I found it a bit maudlin, but either it has changed, or I have -- or both.

At 1530, I am ready to go out, but the rain is pouring down and I am a long way out the dock.  I'm glad I have a rain suit.

Dressed in yellow rubber, I walked to the truck, barefoot.  To keep my sandals dry, I carried them in a bag.  After the long walk down the dock and up the ramp to the truck, I drove to the bank where I stripped off the rain clothes on the sidewalk, then walked in to the the Green Machine (banking machine) and made some deposits, then left. 

From there I went to the hardware store for a few items, then killed the rest of the time before supper at West Marine looking at chart plotters for Carpe Diem, my other boat in Sudbury.  I also evaluated a $12 boat radio antenna they had hooked up to a radio and discovered that it was no better than my  12" of wire.

At 1700, I drove the Pat Bay Highway to 10 Acres, the restaurant where we were to meet. Parking an extended cab, long box truck downtown is not easy and I was pretty sure I would get a ticket where I parked as I was overhanging a yellow curb by a foot and a half at the rear, but despite leaving in what should have been lots of time, I was running several minutes late and took what I could find.

Somehow, I found I was in a glum mood.  I had been feeling somewhat dazed all day. 

In fact, I have been a bit brain-dead and depressed since the weekend when Jean and I started cleaning up the studio and burning lists and accumulated paper that El left and throwing things out.  I can see that dealing with all the art and glass and notes will be a huge and emotional job, and it seems so final. 

I entered the restaurant feeling unenthused, but supper and the company was good and that cheered me up.

Just after I arrived at the restaurant, cousins Vince and Gillian walked in. Quite a coincidence!  of all the restaurants in town and days and hours to go to any of them, all my relatives in this City (except Jack who was watching their kids) decided independently to go to the same one at the same time.

On the drive back, my mind ran over the day and I realised that I had walked out of the bank earlier without my bank card.  I had been distracted and left it in  the bank machine, simply leaving rather than waiting for the receipt and the card.  Since I had not finished my session, I had left the session open on the machine and it was possible to do quite a number of things with my accounts.  My card was in the machine and it was asking if I wanted to do anything more -- and I had just walked away.

Realizing that there was a remote chance that someone behind me had happened on the open banking session and had decided to take advantage, I called the bank hotline, and failed the identity questions -- apparently they 'know' more about me than I do myself -- but managed to put a hold on the card and verify that nothing had transpired. The odds were very high that the machine had detected a lack of response and simply swallowed the card, but who wants to take a chance?

I bought some groceries and flowers and returned to the boat, checked my accounts online to verify that nothing had happened, and now sit at the navigation station, thinking and writing.

Up late and looking for something to do, I dropped by BEE-L to see what is going on there.  Not much.  The usual earnest and insightful writers are still being trolled and contradicted by a writer who, to my eyes at least, is too clever by half and cynically plays with their earnestness for entertainment.

These trusting souls take this guy seriously and never seem to catch on when he ridicules ideas and slathers on high sounding 'evidence' and citations which may or may not support his claims or misrepresents their positions.

Those few of us who actually watch, understand, and remember, see that subsequent discussion and evidence proves he was dead wrong over and over, but he never seems to bring that up and he plays the same game over and over.

When  I moderated the list, I nipped that sort of baiting and disingenuousness in the bud, but some enjoy such abuse and I decided to go away where I don't have to encounter it.

I don't regret divorcing myself from the list. I spent many years reading and writing on BEE-L and I credit that experience for maturing my writing and my attitude, but one consequence of all that experience is that I can see through BS*, and have no need to waste time or worry on such goings-on.

Surprisingly, I don't seem to have any more time than when I spent hours many days writing articles for BEE-L.  Why, I wonder?

* "BS" stands for "Bee Science".  Credit: Andy Nachaur.

Experience teaches slowly and at the cost of mistakes.
James A. Froude

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Sunday March 16th 2014

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The wind howled in the rigging all night and the boat rocked gently.  I had the best sleep in days and very little congestion.  That is odd as I was up after midnight and, before bed, I finished off some bean vegetarian chili I had made a to home and brought along.  I figure if anything should give me congestion, that should be it.  It did not.

It is the best chili I have made lately and sadly, I don't recall the recipe because, as usual, I just threw things into the pot.

I do know that I used

  • Dried beans I had cooked previously and frozen, both kidney and white firm ones, the name of which escapes me.
  • Added water
  • A can of diced tomatoes with Italian seasoning included
  • Crushed garlic
  • Powdered cumin
  • Salt and pepper,
  • Some small celery slices
  • An onion

The celery and onion were added at the end so that they were still a bit al dente. The beans were not cooked to a mush and were still a little firm.

So far, I am very pleased with the portable charger I bought.  It is simple to use and charges my phone and iPad quickly.  I have yet to deplete its charge completely and I did charge my iPad from 60% to full.  Also, I don't expect this device to reach full capacity until it has been cycled a few times, but even from new, it seems to hold enough for my purposes.  I May buy another, bigger, cheaper one online for extra capacity, although I hardly need it.

At 1130, we meet downtown today for Mom's 95th birthday celebration.  Ron arranged it.  The drive from here is a half-hour and I'll allow extra this time for parking.

I made it on time and we had a good party.  I left two hours later and the others said they might come by my boat, so I waited around, rather than going out for a sail.  At 1600, Carling called and said they would not make it as they had spent extra time with Mom and were racing for the 5 o'clock ferry back to The Mainland.

That was OK with me.  I had had time to make another pot of the chili and have a nap, and now it is pouring rain anyhow.

I did not have cumin or celery or garlic, but the stew was not much different, however I used canned beans this time and it is a bit mushy.  That is not a bad thing since most chili is mushy, but I like beans al dente -- and beans and other vegetables are lower on the glycemic index if not overcooked.  I think I overdid the black pepper, but the taste may fade and blend on sitting.  Black pepper varies a lot in strength and flavour.  Each brand requires a different amount for the same effect.

Experience teaches slowly and at the cost of mistakes.
James A. Froude

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Monday March 17th 2014

    Saint Patrick's Day    

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I had another good night's sleep and awoke to sunshine.  Looking out, I see a beautiful day shaping up. 

I see that the weather in  Alberta continues mild, but that later in the week, when I expect to return home for a few days, that things are expected to cool down.

Today, I plan to take off the dodger and take it to the repair shop at UK Sails, then Mom wants to go to Mattick's Farm in Cordova Bay.  It's a perfect day to slip the lines and get away from the dock and go somewhere, but I think I'm stuck on the shore.

I dropped off the dodger windows at UK Sails and drove to Berwick to pick Mom up.  We drove to Mattick's Farm where she bought some sweaters and shoes and we had lunch.  After, we drove to Shoppers Health Care to get her walker repaired, then drove back to Berwick.  Once there, we realised that the repairman had forgotten to re-install the basket onto the walker and it was left behind, twenty minutes away.  I called and they promised to send it over to Mom.

From Berwick, I returned to the boat, removed two mirrored cabinet doors that have damaged silvering and delivered them to Capital Glass, where the mirrors will be replaced in the next day or two.

Mistakes are the portals of discovery.
James Joyce

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Tuesday March 18th 2014

 

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Today is starting off dull here on the Salish Sea.  I am waiting on a call from UK Sails, where my dodger parts are sitting, waiting for repair.  They assured me that the job would be done in three days and this is day two.  They have not even begun and I have yet to meet with them about the details.

I'm looking at flights home.  I should go back in  the next few days to get the tax papers to the accountant and check on things before I return here to take Mom back to Ontario.

I also hope the snow will have melted enough that I can get in to work on the bees. It is now time to put on patties and insert Apivar strips. I like to apply patties a month before crocus pollen is available on about April 20 and insert Apivar at least six weeks (42 days) before splitting begins on about May 10th.  Six weeks from today is April 29, so I have about ten days to insert Apivar to be done by May 10th.

The reason for waiting to introduce pollen patties until a month before reliable pollen is available in the fields is that supplements boost and stimulate the colony, and there is no point in doing so too early while they are confined by weather and lack of forage.  Once feeding starts, the colonies will eat a lot more of their food stores and require extra work, be stressed and potentially decline later if they build up too soon and there is no natural forage outside for them to work on.

Apivar must remain in the hive for 42 days for best effect and when splitting begins, things go best if the chemical has done its work and strips can be removed when splitting.

Otherwise, if the treatment is not finished by the time that brood frames are distributed into splits, it can be a nightmare figuring out what is treated and what is not -- and what to do with the partially used strips.  If this is the case, the question is: where should they be inserted and should new strips be added to hives that are not completely treated? There are no easy answers.

Additionally, if the beekeeper waits until the hives build up before treating, then more strips are required as there are more frames of bees to be treated.

Varroa are found in greatest number right near open brood.  As the brood area expands, the same amount of active ingredient must treat a larger area and is less effective than one well-targeted strip placed right near the small early-season brood patch.

The location of the brood patch is easy to find after patties are placed on the hive as it will be directly below the area of patty that has been consumed first.  Bees in spring will not usually consume a much of protein patty  unless it is within inches of open brood.

Not only are there more bees to treat if we wait too long, but there are more and younger, stronger mites, since the varroa have had time to replace the old, tired mites with a new crop that could have been prevented by earlier treatment.  This means more expense, more chemical in the hive, and less effective treatment.

Earlier treatment means that the cluster is smaller and the bees are clustered more of the time.  Mites that drop fall to a cold floor, are chilled quickly, and die.  Weeks later, the hive is more full of bees more of the time, and warmer.  Then, dropping mites are likely to get a second chance on a passing bee since the odds of finding bees on the floor increases as the season goes on.

The best solution is to insert the strips in the week that comes 42 days before the earliest likely splitting date -- Period.

Although exact the date is not cast in stone, for me the optimal window in time is coming up this week and next.

Figure this out here.

Not only have UK Sails been slow in starting the job, but I just received a call from the glass shop that the mirror job will be tougher than expected.  They are right near the sail loft, so I'll visit both on the same trip and consult with each.

I drove out to UK and then the glass outfit.  Both are on schedule and will complete by end of business, tomorrow afternoon.  I returned to the boat, getting a fridge thermometer and a shower squeegee, and groceries along the way. The shower squeegee is for clearing rain and fog off the new dodger windows in the future and prevent scratching, after I install them.

Tonight, I go to visit Mom and have supper.  Once again, I'll drive the Cooper Boating truck.  I'm driving a mobile billboard.  Good for them and good for me.  Win/win.

The truck consumes a lot of gas, though.  I used $58 in a few days of running around.  That included two runs into Victoria, though and that is a 27 km run each way, or 34 miles for the return trip.

Mom and I had supper at the Berwick and took her an Android tablet.  I had reset my Galaxy Tab and installed Audible so she can listen to books, since one eye became foggy after cataract surgery and she is on a wait list. 

I had set up an iPad for her some time back and she had decided not to keep it, but since then, she has seen what these things can do, so maybe she will keep it.  There is a very steep learning curve for anyone with no knowledge of these devices, but she has a sharp mind and if she decides she can learn it, she'll learn it.

I returned to Cassiopeia and booked a return flight from Ontario and then a flight tomorrow night from here to home, arriving late.  Somehow, I am not having a great time here.  It is dull and I don't get to go sailing due to little things like delayed appointments and visits to Mom.  I have things to do at home and today, I find I miss the bright sunny living room and prairie skies.

I plan to come back here next week, once my chores are done at home.

We all want to believe in impossible things,
I suppose, to persuade ourselves that miracles can happen."
Paul Auster

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Wednesday March 19th 2014

 

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Looking out, I see another dull day.  My plan is:

  • Mount the outboard crane
  • Work on the cockpit table
  • Install the repaired dodger
  • Install the new mirrors
  • Clean up and pack
  • Fly out at 2100 hours

The weather at home promises to be cool while I am home, but I am hoping that enough snow has melted to allow access to the bees.  Although cool, the predicted temperatures are fine as long as it is not windy and I should be able to check hives, feed and install Apistan in the afternoons if they are sunny.  There is always the chance, also, that the predictions are wrong.  It could be warmer -- or cooler.

Bees Capable of Learning Feats with Tasty Prize in Sight

I did get the dodger and the mirrors and get them installed and I did pack, but never got around to the cockpit table or the outboard lift.  At 1945, I caught a cab to YYJ and flew home. 

There were only 14 pax on WS154, and I could have saved myself the few extra dollars I spent on the upgrade.  Anyone sat anywhere on that flight. 

My baggage appeared the instant I got to the conveyor and the shuttle was waiting.  I retrieved my van at 1146 and drove home, and went to bed at 0135.

He possessed the logic of all good intentions and a knowledge of all the tricks of his trade, and yet he never succeeded at anything, because he believed too much in the impossible. Charles Baudelaire

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Thursday March 20th 2014

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I'm back in Swalwell.  The weather forecasts were optimistic.  There is a little new snow and the forecast is for more -- and wind.  This is hardly weather for working bees.  I could have stayed in Sidney.  I can, however get the tax papers together in any weather and be ready for any decent weather we get.

I woke up tired from the flight and the late night, so I began the day with something easy and undemanding -- by going over to Shirley's to clean up her computer. 

Her home machine has been invaded by MyPC Backup, Conduit Search, and Advanced System Protector, the same junk that was on her computer at Stemz.  I assume she had visited the same infection source on both.  She has Norton on this machine and it did not prevent the invasion.

I downloaded Malwarebytes and ran it, getting 409 bad items.  I removed them and rebooted. Then I went through the registry with regedit and removed all the MyPC Backup entries.  I also deleted all the rogue program directories. 

After that, I downloaded Winpatrol and Spybot 1.6.2 and installed and ran them.  Spybot found more items that Malwarebytes had missed (!?), and deleted them and rebooted.  Spybot is running a boot-up scan now.  That takes a while.

I drove home and back a couple of times while the scans were running. The first trip was OK, but by the time I went the second time the roads (right) were slushy and I encountered white-outs in the half-mile trip. 

When the cleanup was complete, I set up two non-admin user accounts on the machine, one for her and one for her husband.  They had both been using the administrator account and blaming one another for the infections

The infections are usually not the user's fault since this stuff is everywhere and tricky.  Unless the user is very savvy or well protected, it gets in. 

Even smart, informed users get the odd bug.  I've had the odd one and who knows?  Even in spite of several layers of defense and scans, I could have one now.  The anti-malware developers are always, necessarily, one step behind the malware developers and learn about these nasties after they are in the wild for at least a little while.

Shirley was going to leave for Calgary, but I told her to forget it.  She would not get far.  I was planning to invite the usual suspects here for supper, but that idea is not going to work out.

This is the sort of weather that weakens and kills overwintering colonies.  They can stand cold, especially before they build up, but now, when after they have been weakened by winter and are beginning to expand the brood area, they are vulnerable to chilling and starvation.  Unless they are safe from wind, and well insulated, they will be stressed.

This a  reason not to feed too early or otherwise stimulate colonies.  If colonies expand their brood area too early, parts of it will be chilled and the bees will be stressed trying to keep it warm.

In my experience, colonies that conserve food, energy and strength for when conditions are right will result in colonies that surpass colonies that are stimulated early, and be healthier.  Nosema is a stress disease, and stressing bees is linked to high incidence of nosema.

I had intended to get out to install Apivar into the hives and to put on patties, but today will not be the day.  I still have a week or so to get it done on schedule, and I need to go to Airdrie to get patties.  Today will not be the day for that either.

Joe Latshaw just sent me a link to a 6-frame EPS nuc box available in the US.  Does anyone have experience with them?

As time passes, I am increasingly having problems with my web software.  The techs who maintain my servers keep bricking up openings in the servers that could be exploited by hackers, but this also restricts bona fide access.   I was locked out yesterday, as any who looked for the day's post might have observed.  I was on the boat and using cellular access, so did not pursue the matter then, hoping it to be transitory.  Apparently it is not. 

If this keeps up, and the direction it has been going, nobody, including the owners and authorized users, will be able to access the machines.  Currently, I am having to FTP, rather than publish by HTTP, and this method is awkward since I have more limited ability to access multiple directories at once.  I'm hoping that the latest problem can be identified and fixed.

Well, up until now, when I need FTP, I have been using Filezilla but not taking full advantage of the advanced features for casual uploads.  IT seems now, however, that I need them, and I am appreciating what this free (I think I donated, though) software can do  This software has come a long way from the command line FTP I used back in the 200 baud dial-up modem days of Internet.  For one thing the synchronized browsing feature is slick and allows co-ordinated browsing through two copies of the same site.

Heav'n hath no rage like love to hatred turn'd, Nor Hell a fury, like a woman scorn'd.
William Congreve

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Friday March 20th 2014

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I'm up at 0400 today and cooking beans.  Congestion again, and things on my mind.  Today, I plan to exercise and to shuffle paper.  I have a day at least that must be done, and another week of going through old files that I should get around to.  Weather-wise, today does not look much better than yesterday.

Regarding the web problem, here is what my techs say:

"As for FrontPage extensions themselves, support for them has been completely dropped, FP has for quite some time been at end of life, and Microsoft is dropping support for the software itself in April this year completely as well, so extensions have been dropped already, and there won't be further support for them.".

I knew this day was coming, but was hoping not too soon. 

Oh, well.  Everything passes, but things are piling on this week.  I wonder if it is time to give up this diary again.  I stopped writing for a while back in 2005 and took down the site, but put it back up a year later, due to demand.

When I get up, I like to listen to Calgary CBC radio, but before 0500, Local (Calgary) CBC plays material from other networks offshore and they tend to be about grim topics. 

As a result, I use Tunein radio on my tablet or phone, or radio websites on my computer to time-shift and listen to morning shows from elsewhere.  Right now, I am listening to CBC Sudbury.  Their weather sounds to be no better than ours.  I'll be there in a little over a week.

I recall when listening to foreign shortwave stations was an exotic experience.  These days, just about any major radio station in the world is streaming online.

He has all the virtues I dislike and none of the vices I admire.
 Sir Winston Churchill

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