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Looking south towards Lake Ramsey from 1207 North Shore Drive

Tuesday April 1st 2014

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I'm up at 0400 and having a coffee, then heading out.  I was a few minutes late picking up Mom at The Berwick and, of course she had her cell turned off. We made it to the airport right on time and I turned in the rental car.

Six hours later, in Toronto, we were shuttled to my van.  The battery still had enough charge to unlock the door, but not to start.  The driver gave us a boost with a portable booster and we were on the 401, then the 400, Sudbury bound.

I have always thought those little portable lunchbox-size booster battery packs were just a gimmick, but this one sure did the trick!

We arrived at 1207 around dusk and entered the new improved kitchen.  Quite a change -- and not necessarily for better.  The contractors had done things the way they thought better than original and had not restored the old look.  The changes will take some getting used to.  Also, although they had filled the cupboards and drawers, nothing was where it belonged and boxes of things remain stacked in the sunroom.

We called it a day at 2100.  It was only 1800 Victoria time, but I have leaned when travelling to change my time zone as soon as I step on to the plane and start living and thinking in the time at destination.

If you can't get rid of the skeleton in your closet, you'd best teach it to dance.
 George Bernard Shaw

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Wednesday April 2nd 2014

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We are back at 1207 and trying to find the toaster, the knives and forks...  The contractor had claimed to have put everything back where it was, but everything is in the wrong place and there are still boxes of things in the sunroom.  I suspect the can opener and the toaster and the cutlery are there

Half an hour of searching has still not turned up the toaster.  Toast is all Mom eats for breakfast, so we had to use the oven.  We have days of reorganizing ahead.  Good thing I did not just plan to turn around and head home.  I'll be needed here.

We began the organizing and after an hour found the toaster and toaster oven and the cutlery in a stack of boxes and restored them to their places.  We also found the can opener and I had some salmon.  Earlier, I had only toast and coffee and I know from experience that for me that is a deadly combination.  I am very uncomfortable within a few hours and need something more substantial.

I went shopping in the afternoon and got groceries and a roast chicken for supper, plus odds and ends.

After, I met Bill at Harri's shack to look at Harri's radios.  Harri died recently and his brother needs to deal with all the items left behind.  We dug around and found pretty well everything and Bill took it home to clean and test and appraise for sale.  I followed him and we went back to his place for a visit.

Old things are always in good repute, present things in disfavor.
Tacitus

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Thursday April 3rd 2014

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Mom gets her hair done this morning and I'll drive her over, and then we'll go for lunch.

Back home, I see that we are expecting some warm weather, with the warmest day being the day before I return on the ninth.  I wonder how long it will take for the snow to melt and how full the pond will be.

Looking at my surveillance cameras, one of the latest additions seems to have quit working.  I wonder what the cause might be.  Could it be that the setting sun was in its field of view and did it harm?  It did work fine for a few days after I set it up.

I drove Mom to the hairdresser, then we had coffee and visited a friend.  While they visited, I had a nap.

We did that and had coffee at her favourite gourmet shop, then stopped to visit a friend of hers.  While they chatted, I caught forty winks.  I am tired today.  It has been a hectic three months since Mom's house froze.

We then drove back to 1207 and had a rest, then sorted things in the kitchen.

After supper, I went over to Bill's and we played with one of the radios (more) from Harri's shack that I am thinking I might buy.  I don't do much hamming anymore, but have had an advanced license since May 26, 1976.  If I had a station set up, I just might use it.  I used to enjoy operating mobile.  This particular radio would work fine for both ham and for marine HF use as well as a home station.

Bega's Beekeepers on the Move

Political correctness is tyranny with manners.
 Charlton Heston

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Friday April 4th 2014

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We are expecting snow today.  A spring storm has closed schools north and west of us. Bill and I plan to hike out to his camp at Teepee 2300 tomorrow.  I wonder if this weather will affect our plans.

Mom and I spent the morning again finding and sorting kitchen items that were in various odd cupboards and boxes.

All in all, I'd say that in most ways the new kitchen is an improvement over the old one, but we are used to the old kitchen and the old cupboards.   Mom complains, but I suspect though that if a fairy waved a magic wand and the old kitchen came back, we would be disappointed.

Mom used to bake and entertain, but that is in the past.  It takes time to realise and accept that fact, so she has a lot of pans and things that are no longer needed.  Finding and handling everything while finding space to store things is proving to be an opportunity to throw things out.

I find this is true of myself at home, too.  I have a lot to find a new home for or throw out.  My interests and activities change and things accumulate. 

Disposing of things is not always as easy as just throwing them into the trash, either, although I know that is what many people do.  I have a conservative nature and to me some things still have value and should be given away or taken to Value Village.  Other things are useful, and although I may not have not touched them for ten years, I still remember when they were new and think they may come in handy.  Other items yet are not properly put into trash and must go to recyclers.  Recently I found it cost me roughly as much to pay Elijah to sort out the used drink containers I accumulated as I got for them at the bottle depot.

In this day and age, many common items cost less to produce and transport in bulk than they do to store, index and retrieve.  I find that when I save parts and screws, bolts, etc., that when I need the piece, finding it in my own stock is harder than driving to town to buy a replacement from the bins at a store.

I could spend days sorting and filing my stuff and do sometimes, but that has a cost, and because there is just one customer -- me -- the effort of keeping things is often hardly worth the small advantage of having spare parts and other such items at hand, beyond the basic repetitive needs.  There are exceptions, however, and sometimes, having that one old piece of junk actually saves the day.

Hardware stores on the other hand, have many, many people picking items from their inventory daily and the cost of maintaining that inventory is spread over all of those customers.  Moreover, in my personal inventory, there are many more items I will never need than is the case for a store.  The stores will turn over  most stock quite quickly, but most of my inventory hardly ever turns over.

Bill is still wiring his sister-in-law's house and I expect we will play with the radios some more later today.

I cleaned the sunroom and now Mom can sit in her favourite chair and read.

We are having the promised snow, so I suspect that Bill and I will not be driving to Manitoulin tomorrow to meet with the hams and to snowshoe out to Teepee 2300.  Bill worked all day and I doubt I'll go over tonight.

I'd like to watch some video, but I think I have had my fill for now.  I'll try anyhow for something to do this evening.

When I find a TV series I like, I watch about ten episodes and then I find the writers run out of ideas or need ratings and get desperate.  They write something that seems either preposterous or really out of character for the protagonists, or the theme.  At that point, they lose me.

Once you replace negative thoughts with positive ones,
you'll start having positive results.
Willie Nelson

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Saturday April 5th 2014

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I did not go out last night and I did not watch video.  I did some reading on the web and went to bed around 2230 hours.  I slept poorly at first, but then slept in until Bill awakened me with a call at 0830.  We were supposed to go hiking today, but the snow has changed that plan.  I spent until 1000 unpacking more boxes with Mom.

The sun is coming out here in Sudbury and the day promises to be a beautiful one.At home, the sun is shining, too and I see the pond came up a bit yesterday.  Although yesterday was not a hot day in Swalwell, at 1700 MST last evening the room temperature at home had risen five degrees C above the thermostat setting.  That rise all came from solar gain as the furnace was not running at the time.

At this time of year the sun angle has increased just enough to shine in the large south windows most of the day.  By summer, the sun is further overhead for the hottest part of the day and the gain is actually less.

 

Length of day

Solar noon

Date

Sunrise

Sunset

This day

Difference

Time

Altitude

Apr 5, 2014

7:03 AM

8:16 PM

13h 13m 05s

+ 3m 51s

1:39 PM

45.2

Jun 21, 2014 5:21 AM 9:55 PM 16h 33m 19s < 1s 1:38 PM 62.4

From http://www.timeanddate.com/worldclock/astronomy.html?n=55

The fifth camera is still offline.  It was a new one out of the box and must have been defective.

In the afternoon I went over to Bill's and we looked at the Yaesu again.  This time we pulled off the top cover and inspected for cigarette smoke damage. 

Although the exterior was still tarry after two cleanings, the insides were surprisingly clean.  There was some dust and tar between the front panel and the radio itself, but we were satisfied that the device is in good shape.  We looked online and found some comparable sales, estimated a fair price, and I made Harri's brother an offer, so now I have an HF ham rig again.  I'm trusting the strong tobacco smell will diminish with time.

There are some good questions in the forum today.

After supper, I returned to Bill's and played with the radio some more.  His place is more suitable than 1207 since he has antennas set up and I do not.  I think I am figuring out the menus, bit by bit, and it seems to work fine.

I have learned throughout my life as a composer chiefly through my mistakes
and pursuits of false assumptions, not by my exposure to founts
of wisdom and knowledge.
Igor Stravinsky

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Sunday April 6th 2014

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This will be another warm today at home.  I did not check the cameras last night at sundown, but did notice the water has risen earlier during the day.  This early, although we have full light here in Sudbury, it is still dark at home.  Sudbury is two time zones ahead, so sunrise is earlier here.

The sun finally came up at home and I see that the pond is not as high as I had feared.  For some reason the surveillance software distorts the picture and stretches it horizontally.  After correction, I can see that the level is still down six feet from overflowing.

The weather here in Northern Ontario is gorgeous today and I must go for a walk.  It is minus six, with bright sun.  Perfect.

Mom went to church with her friends at 0930 and I went shopping a while later.  I was in Wal-Mart when she phoned and found she could not get into the house, so I headed back.  By then she had figured it out and was in.

I had a nap, then went to Bill's and we went for a 1.6-mile walk around the neighbourhood with the GoPro mounted on his hat, then had supper.  Brenda was over, too.  After, we played with the Apple TV, trying to get the iPad to mirror.  No luck.

I bought the GoPro for use in examining the bottom of boats, but the charter employees did not seem to catch on, so I have this camera that I don't really need.  Maybe I can convince Colin of its usefulness when I go out again.

I see that more snow melted today back at home.  Ruth says that Zip has a sore paw again today and may have to take her to the vet again.

I'll be home in three days and hope the problems can wait until then.

It takes but one positive thought when given a chance to survive and thrive
to overpower an entire army of negative thoughts.
Robert H. Schuller

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Monday April 7th 2014

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Ooooeee.  Tuesday is predicted to be plus twenty degrees C.  That is going to melt a lot of snow, but Wednesday will be cooler again.  Let's hope the runoff waits until I get home.

I have two and a half more days here in Sudbury with lots to do.  I am still settling Mom in and Bill and I have yet to go to camp.  Maybe today.  We'll see.  He is waiting for an electrical inspector and should know this morning when he is free.

AQ: Allen, have you thought of wearing your go pro as you inspect a hive? There are probably beekeepers, like me, who are curious what you are thinking as you go through a hive. I managed to get my iphone camera on a beekeeping helmet with a car dashboard mount. I think it has potential, but a go pro might be better. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3gkJllv0HYQ

Me: Yes.  That was the other business usage that justified the $600 cost in my mind.

I am not sure a head mount is the best for this, though, as the resulting video can be vertiginous.  A tripod might be better for much of the video, but the over-the-shoulder vantage point could possibly make some good AFB-spotting video. I'll experiment.

The GoPro can be run to shoot fish-eye or conventional and has many other settings.  I'll learn what settings are best in time.

I have mixed emotions about heading home on Wednesday.  It will be good to be there, but this jetting around is giving me whiplash.  I just settle somewhere and I'm off to somewhere else.

I'll be home for a week, then a week later I am tentatively scheduled to be on the Left Coast again for an Easter flotilla.  After that, I have work at home and then should probably come down to see Mom again to finish settling her in.

May 10th, I have to be home to remove Apivar and start splits.  By the label, to be exactly 42 days, I could begin on the 7th however, a  day or two +/- will not matter for the strips, but can make a huge difference to the bees. Splitting should not take place until the hives are strong enough to maintain heat as the nights can still be freezing.

By then, I will be lifting lids and adding more patties.  In fact, I hope to do that on my return this week.  A quick glance at the patties on the hives will tell me if there are young bees and suggest whether the queen is laying -- or at least has been in the past month. 

An uneaten patty is an indicator that the hive needs examining, as there is probably no brood emerging or larvae being fed.

Reading these signs permits the beekeeper to avoid disturbing hives that are building well, while examining and working with those that need combining. 

Requeening at this early date is likely to be unsuccessful, but a queenless colony combined with a queenright colony will yield an extra split in a few weeks, as long as the queenless colony has not been queenless all winter and is not obviously ill.

About mid-May, slabs of brood from eggs laid three weeks before, back when the natural pollen began, should begin hatching and bee populations should begin to mushroom. 

Hives can double in population in a matter of days, and when they do that they appear to be more than twice as large.  That is because they can then generate much more heat, while losing less since the surface to volume ratio decreases with larger clusters. (You'll get a lot more skin area skinning a ton of mice than a ton of elephant).

I like to split hives in half, so I prefer to wait until they double in size.  That makes splitting easy.  I also let them raise their own queens, so I want to make sure the drones have been hatching for a while and had a chance to mature.  This method of splitting achieves a certain amount of selection, since only the best hives will have mature drones at this time. (If we don't consider drones from drone layer hives, but in spring few of them are likely to have survived).

Just as the apparent cluster size much more than doubles when the bee population doubles, the cluster size of splits reduces by more than expected, especially in drafty boxes.  That smaller cluster can mean stress, since the bees have to work to cover the brood when split in two compared to what they could before spitting, when still intact as one colony. 

Splitting also changes the brood nest geometry from an approximate sphere  or ovoid -- the natural cluster shape -- to a half-sphere or some random shape if frames are sorted and scrambled around during splitting, and the surface area to bee count ratio of the cluster is greater in a smaller cluster.

Many beekeepers spread brood accidentally or intentionally when splitting and this increases colony stress and can result in visibly chilled brood and sacbrood or nosema.  Where the pupae are not actually killed, inferior emerging bees later on.

Some hives are always ahead of others, so I do one round of splits, then a week later go around again and split the laggards and deal with the duds.

I always do the work myself, but maybe I should recruit the Calgary bee club to assist?

By the 19th of May, it is time for seconds for those who  installed packages in early April.  Things heat up fast once May rolls around.  Of course, Southern Alberta has a history (more) of late spring snow storms so nothing is assured.  Snow or no snow, in May the bees begin to explode in numbers and frames of brood.

My notes of bee management at this time in previous years can be found in the diary archives.  Questions and discussion are welcome in the forum.

Tony, the contractor came by at 1000 for a meeting about any little items remaining on the house reconstruction.

I kept busy here until after supper, then went over to Bill's to play with my radio.  We did another hike around the neighbourhood. Again, we walked 1.6 miles (purple).

There is little difference in people, but that little difference makes a big difference. That little difference is attitude. The big difference is whether it is positive or negative.
Robert Collier

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Tuesday April 8th 2014

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Bill and I have planning to hike out to camp before I go, but today is the last opportunity.  The weather here promises wind and rain, so I wonder what we will decide. 

At home in  Swalwell:

Today, 8 April: A mix of sun and cloud. Wind becoming west 30 km/h gusting to 50 this morning. High 18. UV index 5 or moderate.

I'm hoping that the wind and warmth today will not result in a torrent of water running off the fields.

Looking at the video this morning, I can see the water is rising.  I called Joe, and he says water is running at his place.  Today will be warm, but tomorrow will be cooler again.

Bill called, and we are going out to camp.  That will take up most of the day.

We did go to camp, leaving around 1000, and after driving to Whitefish Falls, hiked across the ice on snowshoes through snow, slush and up to six inches of water to Teepee 2300.

Everything was in order and the camp was warm and comfortable with the sun streaming in the south windows.  We had a rest and a snack, dried off, then made the return trip and across terrain to avoid the water.   The walk was only two miles, total, but gave us a real workout due to the slush and deep snow.

On returning to town we drove over to pay Harri's mom for some ham gear we decided to buy and after, I treated Bill and Faye to supper at the Holiday Inn.  From there, I returned home and will turn in early.  After today's workout, I should sleep well.

Looking at the surveillance video from home this evening just before dusk, I see that a lot more snow has melted, but the pond still seems down quite a distance from the brim, and that is a good thing.  I'll be home tomorrow before midnight with any luck at all and be able to watch it from close up.

I always wanted to be somebody, but now I realize I should have been more specific.
Lily Tomlin

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Wednesday April 9th 2014

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I went to bed at 2200 last night and woke up at 0256 this morning.  I got up, ready for the day, thinking it was 0600.  I usually wake up early on travel days and for morning flights, 0300 is my habit.  Today, however, I fly in the afternoon.   I'll go back to bed as soon as I wake up enough to fall back asleep quickly.

I awoke at 0625 the second time.  Today I leave YSB at 1530 , connect at YYZ, and should be home by midnight.  In the meantime, on my schedule I have a meeting with the contractor and packing, plus small jobs for Mom.

I bought some ham equipment on this trip and am now wondering if I will be able to take it all with me.  I can check a bag, but there is some weight involved and I also have to protect the gear from impact.  Usually my soft bags make it through the system without harm, but there is always that one time when they encounter a savage baggage handler or fall off the cart.

When I check bags, I sometimes remain on the plane, watching the handlers unload the bags and occasionally have thought of videoing the action from my window seat.  Many of the crews are quite gentle, but some individuals are in the habit of chucking bags in a way that each bag lands harder than necessary, with a jolt.  Sometimes bags fall back and off the cart.

I'm not the only one to notice this happening and the almost sadistic behavior of some handlers.  I don't know why the airlines don't monitor and manage this important aspect of passenger experience better.

Having thrown many fragile and very heavy supers up overhead onto trucks, I know that it is possible to hand bomb things up in a way that they land softly and hardly receive a jolt at all. 

Nonetheless, I notice many beekeepers and their helpers seem to get satisfaction from hearing the supers landing with a loud thud.  That may be okay for strong frames and boxes, but some of us have older, more fragile equipment and learn to baby it a bit.  Some of my boxes are well over fifty years old, I estimate.

Swalwell weather continues to experience well below the seasonal normals and runoff is very late.   In recent years the end of snow melt and the final runoff has been getting later and later and I'm guessing it may still be a week before we see the end of it.  This is later than I can ever recall.

 

Last night was warm and the nightly refreezing will have been be much less than previous nights.  Consequently, the melt and ensuing runoff may have continued well after dark, so I am waiting to see if the pond has come up since sundown.  Now, at 0726 EST, I cannot see the pond on the camera yet as it is beyond the range of the infra red flood from the camera, and sunrise at home is still an hour away.

Now, at 0707 MST, I can see that the pond has risen, but is not quite full.  I'll have to watch it.  I also see the timestamp on the video is still on Daylight Time.

The contractors came this morning and Mom is having some oversights managed and some changes made.

There are inevitable misunderstandings when the owner goes away during renovations and does not have email or a cell phone that is answered reliably.  I tried to assist during the project by relaying messages, but doing that is a suckers game.  I knew it at the time.  At this point, I am staying out of it.  We'll see how everything works out.

I called Shirley to see if she had been over to The Old Schoolhouse lately and she said she would check for me.  A while later she said that the pond water is a foot down from the top of the berm, that there is no water running from the field anymore, and that the snow is mostly gone from the field.  I guess I can stop worrying.

Bill drove me to YSB and I was there in plenty of time.  The flights went well and Mike was waiting at YYC at the scheduled time. 

While flying over Manitoulin Island, I noticed that the North Channel (top of picture) is still almost completely ice-bound.

My baggage took almost forty minutes to arrive on the carousel due to construction at the airport.

I drove to the Real Canadian Superstore and bought wine for tomorrow night's party and groceries as well.  An hour later, at 2330, I was home.  The pond is down a foot from the panic level and all is well.  It's good to be home.

Amos is glad to see me.

All human actions have one or more of these seven causes:
chance, nature, compulsions, habit, reason, passion, desire.
Aristotle

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