Tuesday February 10th 2015
Here is my day, laid out for me (at right). This programme promises to be educational.
I have said that we have learned nothing in the last decade that is actually actionable when it comes to practical beekeeping. The rules for managing colonies and producing a crop are -- AFAIK -- the same as ten years ago and maybe twenty.
I haven't been to meetings lately and quit BEE-L over a year ago, so maybe I've missed something. I was at the BCHPA in September, though and saw nothing new there.
Scientists have learned a lot, but when it comes to managing bees, nothing much has changed.
It would be nice to be wrong on this, but I doubt it. Today, I'll find out.
It is not bigotry
to be certain we are right;
Wednesday February 11th 2015
Did I learn anything? I learned the new head of Pest Management in Alberta (Bees come under 'Pests') is quite defensive about the 'right' of the chemical companies to keep the research studies they reveal to the regulators effectively out of public reach. He compared that 'privacy' of 'proprietary' data -- the work that establishes and defines the effects on insects and the environment -- to my right to not reveal my financial data. I said that my financial data is not widely distributed in the environment.
Nothing was said of the studies the chemical companies may not choose not to reveal to regulators. It seems reasonable to assume to the extent that they can only reveal studies they believe will further their ends, and abort, bury or spin studies that might work against them.
I also learned that there appears to be an association between neonic exposure and nosema. Nobody would say anything definite one way or the other and when I asked the direct question of the panel -- fairly clearly I thought -- the answers given were to another question I did not ask.
Observers are also finding detectable levels of neonics in the environment in macro samples of water, soil, pollen and honey, and I still have to keep asking: "If we are seeing detectable amounts in what are quite large samples by a bee's perspective, what are individual bees experiencing on their micro level"???
My questions seem to be too tough for anyone to dare try to answer. The rule in civil service is to never ask a question out loud that could prove embarrassing if answered honestly, and our scientists and regulators are civil servants.
I left the meeting at 1330. I'd have liked to hear Reece Chandler speak on his experience cleaning up AFB without drugs, but the other talk did not seem compelling and as it was warming up and windy out, I figured to get to Gull Lake for a kiting session in the afternoon.
The drive to Gull Lake went well, but I have been feeling a bit poorly -- weak and head-achy for the past several days and by the time I got to Orams', I was dead-tired and decided I would be better off taking a nap.
I slept an hour and a half and still felt groggy, so stayed in and visited. It's a shame because we don't get many good kiting days, but as it was minus eleven and overcast, I might not have had a good session. I'll never know.
I was half thinking of going home tonight since I had arrived early, but Jean and Chris needed a babysitter this evening, so I decided to stay and keep Nathan company. It's been a while since I read a Robert Munsch book to a youngster.
I'm glad I went to the meeting. I'm not sure I learned much, but it is always nice to see the gang.
I'd have liked to hear Reece's talk since, I guess I can say now, that I had discovered the problem when inspecting a few years back and mentioned it to him. Inspectors have to respect confidentiality and I do, but now that Reece is announcing his issue publically, I don't feel compelled to be silent.
Although people probably think I tell a lot of secrets, I don't tell even half of what I know, and do keep real secrets and respect confidentiality. Although I speak controversial truths (as I see them, anyhow) and ask questions that need asking, I try not to be mean or ever try to get others into trouble.
Here are some shots I took of slides during the presentations. They are slides that interested me during the moments I was awake. Some of the presentations were quite riveting, but I confess to dozing through others.
If you want to look at them all, here are the full-size slides on one page.
One thing that I learned at this event was that whatever else I do when presenting, I never want to bore people by moving too slowly.
Though I am not
naturally honest, I am so sometimes by chance.
Thursday February 12th 2015
I woke up early and had breakfast with the Orams before Chris and Mckenzie left for school, then visited with Jean and Nathan for a while. I had hoped for wind, but there was none, so I loaded my toys into the van and left for home.
Zip and I left Birch Meadows at around 1000 and drove to Sylvan where I bought groceries, then continued on to Red Deer. I stopped in Red Deer to look at vans for sale and then decided to get an oil change at the south Wal-Mart as I was leaving town. I had intended to do that in Sylvan, but there is no oil change bay at that store.
When I arrived at the store, I discovered they had a tire clearance and some discontinued tires were 60% reduced in price. I have been needing tires and this was my opportunity.
I told the fellow that my tires were sixteen inch as they are a factory upgrade, not the fifteen inch he saw on the door jamb, but he had pulled a wheel before he realised I was correct, and then discovered that they did not have my size. Another employee called the north store and they did have them. I drove all the way back to where I had been earlier. Driving between stores, though, a truck moved into my lane and touched my van lightly. I saw it happening in my mirror.
We both drove forward a bit, stopped in the middle northbound lane of busy a four-lane divided avenue, got out to check for damage. His truck was fine, being a four by four with a large, high chrome bumper. My van had a crease on the rear left panel below the taillight and above the bumper.
"I'm not going to worry about it," I said, "Are you?"
"No," he replied, "Thank you".
And off we drove.
I arrived at the north store and had to wait forty minutes for the tire job to begin, seeing as it was lunch time, but two hours after arriving, I drove away with new top-quality tires all around for less than half of the best price I had been quoted every time I had priced them previously. I bought $169 tires for $59! After taxes and fees, the total came to $324.45.
I arrived home and turned up the heat, put away groceries and thawed the chicken for supper. Fen, Betty, Maddy and Elijah were expected for supper, and I planned to stew some chicken thighs I had in the freezer.
As the chicken went into the oven, I heard Amos calling and found him lying at the foot of the basement stairs. He was convulsing but lucid. I knew right away that he was dying. It was only a question of how soon. I considered taking him to a vet, but did not think he would last the trip and I also knew that there was little they could do.
His eyes were clear and he was frightened. He looked to me for help and and I had to tell him that there was nothing I could do. As I stroked him, his eyes became foggy and he stopped moving. I was glad that it was over so quickly, but shed a few tears. He was a good cat and a friend.
Zippy was concerned and needed reassurance. I think she wondered if she was next, but got over it as soon as I told her not to worry.
My friends came by and we had a good supper, The chicken was every bit as good as I hoped.
After they left, I loaded the dishwasher, watched an episode each of Chuck and Veronica Mars and went to bed.
So ended a strange day.
All truths are easy
to understand once they are discovered; the point is to discover them.
Friday February 13th 2015
When I opened my eyes, the sun was well up into the sky and the clock read, "9:05". The thermometer shows plus one.
At 1110, I have only had breakfast and caught up the diary, plus had a short QSO on 146.970 and .82 with a ham out in Coronation who was plowing his driveway.
What will I do today? I have some bills to enter and tidying to do. The temperature outdoors is up to plus five and I really should go out to see my bees. I also have a lot of junk to pick up around the yard and I should get back to getting the forklift operating.
We still have some spells of cold weather ahead and spring storms, but the back of winter is now broken and I can worry less about my home when away. Minus forty is still possible, but increasingly unlikely.
Elijah came over and we took out drums of ashes the old-fashioned way, the way we moved full drums before we had a forklift.
One drives the van and the other runs the barrel truck behind, pulled by a rope. It works amazingly well and at one time, we would use this method to take 65 drums out to load a semi. We hoisted the drums with the hive loader.
Nature is pleased
with simplicity. And nature is no dummy"
Saturday February 14th 2015
The weather has moderated now and the days are lengthening quickly. The morning began with fog, but now has cleared.
This is Family Weekend, and I have to decide what to do. Jean spoke of going skiing, but figures that the hills will be crowded and decided against.
I have thought of going back to Gull Lake to spend time with Orams and with hopes of finding enough wind for kiting, but I also have things to do here.
I checked the forecasts, including specialized wind sites; they look promising, but are not in agreement. It's a long drive there and back.
The wind was weak and gusty, though, and insufficient to carry me back upwind, so was glad that Chris accompanied me and could drive down to pick me up, saving me a potentially long walk. Of course, I would not have gone very far down without knowing I had a ride back. When alone, I try to make sure I come back to my start on each tack.
needs to be said has already been said.
Sunday February 15th 2015
I had strange dreams last night, but slept well.
There is wind, so Jean, the kids and I are headed out on the lake.
The wind was marginal, but I was able to ride down as far as Aspen Beach. I was glad Jean followed me with the truck, though since I did not have enough wind to go back upwind. My legs also were growing tired. Low winds are more work than good wind.
Be yourself, not your idea of what you think somebody else's idea of yourself should be. Henry David Thoreau
Monday February 16th 2015
I'm headed home today. Zippy and I packed up around ten and drove south.
At the Bentley intersection, I decided to check out Medicine Lodge Ski Hill. The hill has snow, but looked skied off and the day is gloomy. I texted jean, but they did not want to come down, so I continued on homeward.
At Red Deer, I decided to take the 791 and visit Mike Darazs, my friend who owns Global Patties. He and Liz have moved out to the country, not far from Custom Woolen Mills. I stopped in and found him home. We had a good visit and coffee.
From there, I went to The Mill, less than four miles away, and found Fen, Maddy and Betty sitting around. I had a coffee with them, too, and continued home.
When I got home, the wind was strong enough to kite, but I had enough skiing in the past two days and decided to get inside and catch up on my chores. I have quite a bit on my plate right now.
I spent the evening updating some client webs, watching video, and working on my ham radio station. The new programming cable I bought does not seem to work.
My way of joking is
to tell the truth. It is the funniest joke in the world.
Tuesday February 17th 2015
Good Morning. Outside, snow is drifting down and the temperature is minus eight point five.
I have resolved to clear my desk today. Faint hope.
Faint hope, indeed. A phone call and an email piled on more tasks.
Well, I am just about where I started this morning. I managed to get the work that came in today off my desk.
In the afternoon, there was enough wind to kite and the temperature was not bad but I wanted to get the jobs done and it was dull out, so I did not.
Great people talk
about ideas, average people talk about things,
Wednesday February 18th 2015
I slept well, but woke up with strange dreams. Medhat was visiting and it happened that, at the same moment, CFIA was also inspecting my honeyhouse without notice and without my being there. (I have not had a honeyhouse for years).
On awakening, I also realized that I am not seeing or hearing trains. A while back, it seemed that there was a train going by every hour, but I can't recall noticing any in the past several days. I am sure there have been some, but not many.
The number of trains passing is an indication of economic activity. When things are good, there are lots. When things cool down, there are fewer. Trains passing here are not oil trains for the most part, but mostly containers of goods.
I know the Alberta economy is cooling, and assume that oil shipments continue, but wonder at the drop in traffic. I do know that Canadian Pacific (CP) had a short strike, but this line is Canadian national (CN). I also know that the Port of Los Angeles is backed up badly due to labour issues, and that there have been bad storms in the East, but I would not expect either of these things to have a drastic effect here. This is February, though, and maybe the Rogers Pass is blocked by avalanches and avalanche control, slowing traffic from the West Coast.
I am contemplating a drive to Edmonton (OK. I have pretty well made up my mind) to attend an Alberta Offshore Sailing Association (AOSA) meeting. It's a three-hour drive each way and not practical really, but the topic is the Baja Ha ha and there is talk at Cooper Boating of doing that next year. I also want to promote the Bluewater Cruising Association upcoming April event and this is a good excuse to go. If I go, I have to leave here at 1500 if I want to have supper there.
After the meeting, I have to decide whether to drive to Jean's (1-1/2 hrs) go home (3 hrs), or stay over in Edmonton (1/2 hr). I suppose my decision will depend on how tired I am -- assuming I go. I'll have to check the weather in advance.
This appears to be a nautical-themed day. I noticed a call from Austin last night and missed it until it was too late to call back. My phone had frozen up again and didn't ring. I called him back this morning and it seems that the keel fell off his boat, "Saga", moored at Maple Bay.
I used to sail the boat occasionally. Saga is an older wooden boat and has been sitting unused for a while. Anyhow, he wants to trailer the boat home and keep it in his farmyard and was looking for suggestions, and maybe some help.
I've been dithering about when and how to fly to Antigua. Today I decided and made a reservation. All said, the figuring took all morning -- and more.
It's 1400 and I am off to Edmonton.
Now that I am watching, I've seen two trains today.
I drove to Gull Lake for the night.
As I drive, after I finish mulling things over and get bored, I listen to an Audible talking book. My current listen is "The Circle". I am told that it is a dystopian novel about transparency, but so far, things are going fairly well and I am into book two.
BTW, my daughter's first book, Champagne and Lemon Drops is available on Audible now.
He felt that his
whole life was some kind of dream
Thursday February 19th 2015
I'm at Oram's this morning. Chris is off to the teachers' convention. Jean is taking the kids to Chuck E. Cheese's in Edmonton. I'm going home -- unless the wind picks up and I go kiting on the lake, that is.
Now that I have settled on a departure date, one week from today, I have a week to do the various things I imagine I need to do before going.
One of those things is to attend to my bees. I need to check them for food, take off any unneeded boxes, possibly rearrange feed frames (only if absolutely necessary), perhaps close a few of the extra vent holes, and put on more pillows. Maybe I should put in some Apivar on a warm day. I won't be back until late in March, although that date is still undecided. It is a bit early to do that, but early may be better than late.
I am wondering about putting on patties, but think maybe not. It is too early to stimulate the colonies and the patties I have on hand are last year's. I am wondering how good they are. These patties have been stored out in the cold all winter, but were ones I got early in the fall.
After a lot of whooping and hollering about new miracle bee feeds, it turns out that natural bee pollen is still the best feed for bees. How about that?
I'm sitting here in Jean's kitchen watching for wind. The predictions are for kiting weather this morning, but so far, I see little evidence that will come to be.
Ten knots (11.5 MPH) is enough for a good ride and I need at least that much. I need strong winds to get back to where I start from if I go kiting, since Jean will be away and can't come to retrieve me.
At 1030: If there is wind out there, I am not seeing it, so home I go.
I stopped in Sylvan and bought groceries, then headed south. I was almost at Red Deer when I got an email that required a prompt reply and I figured I needed my laptop to answer properly. When I stopped to get it out, I remembered that I left the computer on the kitchen counter, so I drove the 30+ km back to Orams'.
Once there, I noticed that the breeze had come up enough to kite, but had work to do. I sat down to deal with that email and several more that demanded attention. By the time I was done, the wind had dropped and Chris arrived home.
Again, I headed home, and arrived at 1730.
I invite everyone
to choose forgiveness rather than division,
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