July  2015

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A swarm being re-organized and transferred from an
equipment stack to a new hive. Click to view.

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Monday July 20th 2015

Today A mix of sun and cloud. 30 percent chance of showers late this afternoon. Wind becoming south 20 km/h gusting to 40 this morning. High 27. UV index 7 or high.
Tonight Mainly cloudy with 30 percent chance of showers this evening and risk of a thunderstorm. Clearing overnight. Wind south 20 km/h gusting to 40 becoming light this evening. Low 14.

Click here for current conditions in my back yard
Ten day forecast

 Read yesterday's post
Often posts are edited the next day for improved clarity

I slept in until 0900 and then had breakfast, followed by coffee on the new deck with Mom. At 1000, the day is hot already .

I'm back at 1207, with one more week until I leave.  That seems like an incredibly short time to do all the things I'd like to do, so I have to decide how ambitious I want to be. 

I had been planning to buy a boat for the North Channel, but I might just be better taking out my little Hunter, being careful about the weather, and enjoying the time I have left instead of chasing boats.  Every possession claims a chunk of a person's time and time is precious.

I've stayed in today and worked at the desk.  I had dreams of sailing, but have to get the books to the accountant and had a tremendous amount of procrastination to do before getting down to it. 

I hate bookkeeping and the problem with the accounting file does not make the job any more attractive.  The fact that Quickbooks is a crappy program in the first place with a bad UI and slow performance and a tendency to throw errors does not make me want to start.

Now, at mid-afternoon, I am about to begin and maybe I can finish today, but am also acutely aware, now that I am using fatsecret.com faithfully that I have not done any exercise today and feeling I should get out for a walk -- at least.  The day is a bit cool for a dip in the lake and very windy, although I see neighbourhood kids in swimming.

I worked into the evening and am not encountering any problems other than remembering all the various people who bought bees.  It is all a blur.

At 2030, I decided to go out to Wal-Mart and buy sweat pants and a few other items. 

I had bought large and they were too small, then could only find XXl and they were huge, so I found some XL and found they are too large, too. Hmmmm.  At any rate, if I keep losing weight, nothing will fit anyhow.

I then returned to 1207, watched some Scrubs and called it a day, but did not fall asleep until long after midnight.

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All that we see or seem is but a dream within a dream.
 Edgar Allan Poe

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Tuesday July 21st 2015

Today A mix of sun and cloud. 30 percent chance of showers early this morning and late this afternoon. Risk of a thunderstorm late this afternoon. Wind becoming east 20 km/h this afternoon. High 30. UV index 8 or very high.
Tonight Mainly cloudy. 30 percent chance of showers early this evening with risk of a thunderstorm. Wind north 20 km/h becoming light near midnight. Low 13.

Click here for current conditions in my back yard
Ten day forecast

 Read yesterday's post
Often posts are edited the next day for improved clarity

I slept poorly and was up at 0505.  It is a beautiful sunny day.

Today, I have books to get out of the way.  With any luck, I may finish by noon.  Things were going well last night.  The kinks seem to have been ironed out of the file and all that lies ahead is dreary transaction entry and reconciliation.  I also need to get some exercise today.  Yesterday was sedentary and I feel it.  When it comes to fitness, 'Use it or lose it'.

Windows 10 is coming.  I keep getting emails from M$.  I signed up for the upgrade and wonder how smart that was for many reasons:

  • What if it fails and screws up my machine or won't run some essential software? 

  • What if I hate it? (like I hated Windows 8 when I tried it)

  • What if it decided to download when I am tethered to my phone and runs up a data bill?  They don't say if I have any control over the download, only the installation.

  • I really, really should make a backup image before I let it happen and I have not gotten around to that and don't know if I want to take the time to figure out how best to do it right now.

Anyhow, time to get to work...

I worked until my eyes glazed over, then went down and helped Mom rearrange a closet, then made a stew.  I'm back at the keyboard again and the end is in sight...

Allen,

My best advice right now would be to wait on Windows 10. I hear good things and I hear bad things about it. Yes you would want to do a complete image backup of your computer before installing Windows 10. The rumor mill has it that Microsoft is going to give away Windows 10 for the first year and then start charging for it. I may be cynical but Microsoft has been trying to rent software to the world for the last five years (office 365 ) and I'm suspicious that they will give Windows 10 to you for the first year and then charge you X number of dollars per year after that. The final point is if you're happy with Windows 7 and it does everything you need to do why bother taking the risk because we both know the computers and new operating systems can be a huge drain on time.

Unfortunately I will be one of those guys that will go by Windows 10 next week to put it through its paces only because it's my job. If people did not expect me to know the latest operating system I would be sticking with Windows 7 and or Linux.

Charlie

Charlie is right and that rental angle is something I had not considered, but it makes sense. 

Just like a pusher: free samples until you're hooked.  Hmmm.  That is a highly successful business model, and M$ sure needs one about now. I wondered how M$ would maintain a free O/S into the future and this is the only solution I can visualize that satisfies all the conditions and that lies in the realm of real numbers.

I'll probably go ahead if I have time on my hands.  I have three machines that are eligible and I'll image them first so I can restore them if I am not happy. I have to decide which software to use since I have not done that for a while.  The topic came up when my son said he can get me a quality 500GB SS drive for $165US (That's $212 CAD lately). 

I've swapped small drives for larger and used a backup image to transfer the Windows OS and files before , but it seems it was not without minor issues.

Many people don't like M$, but frankly, I do.   Their operating systems may have been awful (really awful) back in 3.1 days when O/S2 was head and shoulders better, but suffered from poor marketing, but lately M$ O/Ss just work, although they begin to limp as they reach middle age and crawl as they age further.

I've played with various Linux distros and a inevitably wound up with an unrecoverable system after an upgrade.  That has never happened with M$, but it did take almost 24 hours for Windows to diagnose and cure itself one time after upgrading to Millenium.  Good thing I was patient and did not kill the black screen. 

Another time, I had a bad upgrade to Win 8 in a laptop.  There was a change in the location of the user files and somehow the new O/S failed to get the news.  Mercifully, that machine died of some other malady (disk or BIOS failure it seems) before I had to shoot it to put it out of my misery.

I just received word that I will deliver my boat from Powell River to Sidney at the end of August. It's a 93 nautical mile trip and I have 3 days to make the journey.

Now, back to the accounting...

I finished the job at 1430 and that leaves me free for the rest of the week.  Now I have to decide what next.

I began by washing my boat again.  The boat had gathered dirt, spruce needles and leaves during my absence.

Then it was time for supper and a nap.

I had intended to launch the boat after supper, but things need doing first and I am too tired.  I went in and watched some video and my intent is to go to bed early.

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Those who cannot change their minds cannot change anything.
George Bernard Shaw

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Wednesday July 22nd 2015

Today A mix of sun and cloud. 60 percent chance of showers this afternoon with risk of a thunderstorm. Wind north 20 km/h becoming light this morning. High 23. UV index 7 or high.
Tonight Partly cloudy. 60 percent chance of showers early this evening with risk of a thunderstorm. Low 12.

Click here for current conditions in my back yard
Ten day forecast

 Read yesterday's post
Often posts are edited the next day for improved clarity

Now that I have become aware of how inactive I have become, I am paying more attention to daily exercise and went for a hike around Minnow Lake in the morning and recorded it on My Tracks

My Tracks apparently interfaces with Google Fit, but I have resisted allowing Fit to run or update to present.  I am now reconsidering.  Does anyone like that app?

   
My Tracks data screens after the walk


Minnow Lake panorama as seen from the Hillside Ave to Lonsdale trail

I did the same hike back in 2011 with an app on my Galaxy tablet at that time.  Here is that post from 2011:

I have a workout app on my Galaxy Tab and it tabulates distance and calculates calories burned.  Apparently I burned 303 calories and walked 3.65 km, averaging 4.2 km/hr. 

Terrain at left, Galaxy Tab app screen at right. Click to enlarge.

I have been pondering my involvement with Pine Hill for some time now and spent the day writing letters, then Mom and I went out for supper.

People are wondering about whether to update to Windows 10 at the end of this month.

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Be kind whenever possible.
It is always possible.
Dalai Lama

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Thursday July 23rd 2015

Today Increasing cloudiness. 60 percent chance of showers or thunderstorms late this afternoon. High 26. UV index 4 or moderate.
Tonight Mainly cloudy. 60 percent chance of showers or thunderstorms early this evening. Clearing overnight. Low 10.

Click here for current conditions in my back yard
Ten day forecast

 Read yesterday's post
Often posts are edited the next day for improved clarity

Counting today, I have four more full days here at 1207. 

I had intended to get out to the North Channel and do some sailing and perhaps buy a boat, but other matters have interrupted my plans.  Mom also seems to want my company and I feel guilty running off.  I used to spend much more time here, but in recent years, I have not been here nearly as much.

I spent the past two finishing the year end and in deep thought, writing letters.

I am a very slow writer and re-read and revise constantly.  I used to hate writing before the days of word processors, but this technology allows me to drag and drop or cut and paste my ideas around until I am happy with what I am saying.

I don't like to even pick up a pen or pencil, but do for grocery lists simply because a paper list is handier than having to handle a phone.  That is the extent of it, other than handwriting brief notes.

That is one big reason I don't quite understand why some people like the Galaxy Note and its stylus.

At this point I am revising plans and dealing with decisions that I have put off.  Several are now out of the way.  One big one to go... 

I had been up early and after breakfast lay done and fell asleep. 

I dreamed I had loaded a few bee hives (or some such load) onto a small flatbed truck and started off eastward in the dark.  I went ahead a bit and then found I was spinning or somehow stalled.  I worried I might be going down in mud and could visualize dual wheels sinking, but when I got out and looked I saw I was on a small cement bridge and that the back wheels were sitting in the centre and free and clear.  No sign of mud.  Hmmm.

I got in and drove ahead until I came to some stairs and proceeded to drive up, somewhat concerned that the truck might slide off to the left, as it was overhanging to the left, but made it to the top and turned around to look.  I found I was standing at the top of the steps with no sign of the truck or load.

Strange, I thought.

Done.  I dealt with the last issue. 

Now that is taken care of and I'm free -- again.

I checked my weather at home and see that we have lots of moisture.  The grass was brown. when I left, and now it is green and shaggy.

I just ordered a 500GB SSD for one of my machines.  Transferring an existing Win 7 installation to a new drive can be done.

Last time I did it, there were minor issues because the transfer has to be file by file, not sector by sector as would be the case in using identical drives, but nothing fatal happened, and the job is reasonably quick.  On the other hand, reinstalling Windows and all software at this point is a multi-day task.

Here are some good articles.

After supper, I started getting my boat ready to go sailing tomorrow.  Tomorrow is the nicest day in the my remaining time here, so I should take advantage of it.

I watched Scrubs again before bed.  Scrubs is a quirky, off-the-wall parody of life, but sympathetic, insightful and intellectual -- not stupid or crass like so much of television.  I get a lot of outright laughs and feel good after.

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Simplicity is prerequisite for reliability.
Edsger Dijkstra

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Friday July 24th 2015

Today A mix of sun and cloud. 30 percent chance of showers this afternoon with risk of a thunderstorm. Wind becoming southeast 20 km/h gusting to 40 near noon. High 28. UV index 7 or high.
Tonight Partly cloudy with 30 percent chance of showers early this evening and risk of a thunderstorm. Clearing late this evening. Wind southeast 20 km/h gusting to 40 becoming light this evening. Low 12.

Click here for current conditions in my back yard
Ten day forecast

 Read yesterday's post
Often posts are edited the next day for improved clarity

It's a sunny day, with promise of a breeze in the North Channel.  I'll see if I can be ready in time to go out for a sail from Whitefish Falls, Spanish, or Spragge.

Last night, I stepped on the scale and, surprisingly, it said 225.  That is unbelievable.  Not too long ago, it always said 240 or sometimes more. 

I've lost fifteen pounds since spring and seven and half in the last two and a half weeks, or three pounds a week.  Of course, my weight goes up and down a pound or two, even within a day and I am recording the lowest reading I see and gloating.  Until this reading, it read 238 for days.  Go figure.

Fatsecret has been a big help, as has sweating over the bees in the hot sun.  Exercise certainly does help, especially if it does not work up an appetite, and on hot days it does not.  Fatsecret, however made it possible for me balance my eating with my metabolism.   Until I used this app I could not see in actual numbers what was happening.

Well, I had better not sit here and let the day pass me by.

*   *   *   *

I began boat preparations and found I was getting hot. The day is predicted to hit thirty and maybe sitting out on the water in hot sun with no bimini is not the best plan for mid-day.

I also found I have a few small issues to deal with and that I would be getting away really late, so I went in and made a pot of soup for lunch.

After lunch, I went to town have Mom's walker tuned up and by the time I did that and a bit of shopping, it was suppertime.  Mom likes to eat early, at 5:30.  I took home a cooked chicken, corn and blueberries and that was supper.

I'm finding I can't eat much.  I've become accustomed to less food and even eating half of my daily calorie budget is difficult if I stay away from calorie-rich items like bread, crackers, candy, juices, etc and if I don't eat them, I do not get hungry.  It works both ways.

I did not do much in the way of exercise today and feel as if I ate too much, even though I am only at half of my budgeted amount of calories. 

I have to wonder if this is healthy, eating so little, but it must be.  I am eating good food and all I want.  I was hungry this afternoon, though and had an ice cream cone for 230 calories onto the total -- and I am still under budget by almost half.

 

Speaking of budgets, budgeting and record keeping is the secret to losing weight it seems, but also an important assist to accumulating money.  Being able to tally up in and out is sobering.

Avoid the big items that make a huge dent and don't satisfy, but create more craving.  The small things can add up, too if not watched.  When I was ten and had a paper route, I wondered why I never had any coin in my jeans.  I started keeping a daily log of every penny that went out and was amazed at how my corner store and penny candy habit was costing me.

Adults these days, too, buy coffee for three to five dollars once, twice a day or even more and often buy a snack with it.  Ten dollars a day is $3,650 dollars a year or  $36,500 in ten years, and all for something you can make for 1/20 the cost.

Maybe it is just because I became conscious of my own weight, but I am seeing more and more morbidly obese people.  It is shocking, really.  When I looked at the menu at Perkins the other day from the perspective of calorie counting, I could see why half the people around me were seriously obese.  Go to an all-you-can-eat buffet and the proportion of elephants is even higher.

Just now, I asked Google: "Mirror, Mirror on the Wall, Am I Obese?"

(I know I am.  I'm just hoping Google will lie to me.)

If your BMI is:
Below 18.5: underweight
18.5-24.9: normal
25-29.9: overweight
30 or higher: obese
Obesity level l: BMI of 30-34.9
Obesity level ll: BMI of 35-39.9
Obesity level lll: BMI of 40 or higher, which some also call "morbid" obesity

At the current 225, even after losing fifteen pounds from last winter's weight, I am still obese.  Drat! :(

And... to get to normal, I have to get down to 180.  i.e. lose another 45 pounds! 

Would anyone recognize me?

Just for sake of speculation (because the odds I will want to actually go that far are somewhere between nothing and nil) at this rate -- 3 pounds a week -- if I stuck it out, I would get there in 15 weeks.  The celebration would be somewhere in mid-November -- just in time for Thanksgiving gluttony.  Nice!

Maybe I should have asked Siri or Cortana instead.

Speaking of Cortana, If you have reserved Windows 10, the upgrade (we hope it is an upgrade and not another Microsoft Bob) will be coming down the chimney any day now.

*    *   *   *   *

I'm glad I didn't go sailing, today, I am tired tonight and turning in early. 

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Holding onto anger is like drinking poison and expecting the other person to die
Unknown

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Saturday July 25th 2015

Today Sunny. Increasing cloudiness near noon then showers or thunderstorms. Wind becoming south 20 km/h gusting to 40 near noon. High 25. UV index 6 or high.
Tonight Showers or thunderstorms ending early this evening then clearing. Wind northwest 20 km/h gusting to 40 becoming light this evening. Low 10.

Click here for current conditions in my back yard
Ten day forecast

 Read yesterday's post
Often posts are edited the next day for improved clarity

I was up at 0330 for a half-hour.  Contrary to my experience until now, I was hungry, so I had a breakfast of two eggs, but skipped the coffee, then went back to bed and slept until 0800 or so.

I stepped on the scale this morning and it again is up to 226 or 227.  Weight fluctuates daily.  The trend is what matters.

Today's weather here is overcast with risk of thunderstorms, and hardly a great time to be on the water with a huge aluminum stick poking straight up into the air.  I realise that I've been worrying about things and pushing myself and so I'm going to relax and quit trying to do anything much at all for the last two days of this visit.

*   *   *   *   *

Weather in my part of Alberta has been ideal for bees, with warm days, warm nights, dry spells and decent rainfall. 

Although I weakened my hives as evenly as I could by splitting, I am expecting they will be building up by the time I return.  In spite of my best efforts and selling off strong hives, there may even be some honey to deal with.

Some hives, those which had queens all along will be ahead of those that just completed raising and mating queens, and there will be some that are queenless.   I'll have to check all the hives and do some combining and perhaps some equalizing.

At this point, queenless hives without any remaining brood will have to be considered hopeless.  It is now too late to expect them to make a queen and build up before winter. Even if good mated queens were easily available, success in requeening is questionable at this point if colonies are strong enough to build for winter. Their bees and combs are better used to support colonies that need a little help.

Queenless colonies at this point will be eliminated used to boost the weaker queenright colonies by shaking out or simply stacking them up and the stronger colonies will be used to strengthen the weakest -- assuming the weak ones are otherwise okay in all regards.

For equalizing, the easiest way to equalize is to padgen -- exchange weak and strong colonies and that is easy with the new floors and a hand truck.

I have not observed any diseases of consequence besides several cases of chalkbrood, but it is time to assess the varroa load.  I have seen very few varroa so far in drone brood that was exposed when burr comb cells were opened by separating brood boxes.

Even if treating is not an option, and it might be for hives not producing honey, knowing what the current mite levels are is critical to planning for fall.  I have written extensively about acceptable levels and probabilities of colony survival in previous years, but the long and the short of it is that any detectible varroa beyond an occasional find is a cause for concern and further study or action.

These bees seem pretty good in regard resisting disease and pests, but after a few years of walk-away spits, I am thinking I should be doing some selection or bringing in breeders.

Walk-away splits work well, but do not select for anything except the willingness to raise queens when made queenless. 

On the other hand, by selecting queen mothers wisely, as should be the practice when grafting or raising cells or raising queens by other methods, desirable traits such as gentleness, HYG, and absence of chalkbrood can be encouraged and nastiness, susceptibility to disease and other negative traits reduced in subsequent generations.

*   *   *   *   *

I notice we are getting more activity in the forum, and today there is interesting post in "Off Topic" by a regular contributor who always has something interesting to say.

*   *   *   *   *

By 1000, It was raining heavily and I decided I should really drive to Pine Hill and retrieve my boat cushions before someone threw them out or some animal ate them, so I drove south and picked up my remaining items from the boathouse and cottage.

I was surprised to see Cloud 9 sitting in the slip looking like new.  I'm guessing my brother had the boat restored.  Nobody told me.

I called John H to see if he would welcome a visitor.  He has company, but said come for supper, so I continued south to visit Gord and John on Goucester Pool.

First I drove to Gord's Marina and visited a bit, then John showed up and we rode across to the island, visited, and had supper.  Faced with a full meal, I broke the calorie budget, as much to see what it was like as anything.  Hardly worth it, really. 

Eating is not all that much fun, actually, and eating too much is like smoking.  It's a habit and whatever immediate pleasure there is in it is outweighed by the unpleasant consequences.  It is easy to eat too much just because the food is there and when there is a variety, as there was, eating a little of everything adds up to an overload.

I had two glasses of malbec/merlot to be sociable, but know that I really have to watch myself.  For one thing, red wine now makes my gums sore after, but I also tend to forget to stop drinking.  The prospect of driving is usually a constraint, but as I age, it takes less to put me over the line.

The wine does loosen my tongue and where I normally listen, I get to telling stories.  I generally don't like to get into story-telling because it is so easy to bore people, and I have been soooo bored at times by others who just could not see that I was dying while sitting through their long and unremarkable tales.   I watch my audience for any loss of interest, but that did not seem to be an issue tonight.

At 2030, John ran me back to the marina dn I headed up the highway.  Google Now spoke to me and said I was on the fastest route and should arrive at 1055 PM. 

I arrived at 0230 the next day. 

Apparently no one told Google that the highway was closed at Point au Baril and had been for some time.  Two people had been killed in a crash at a narrow point in the highway where no detours are possible and the police were taking their time scratching their heads and getting around to clearing the road.

The police had set up roadblocks -- but they were unmanned with absolutely no explanation of what was going on.  I was, however, able to move up a long way by taking back roads. 

Alas, there is no back road past Point au Baril, so I sat in line and watched some video, which is what I would have been doing at 1207 anyhow, most likely.  After an hour of that, I napped a bit, but had to be on my toes since the line moved a mile or two every so often.

At one point, I was flagged by a kid on the shoulder of the road waving frantically in the dark.  A little car with two young couples had run their battery down while waiting and needed a boost.

Another car had stopped earlier, but been unable to help as their booster cables were too short to work in the narrow space on the shoulder, but I happen to be prepared with industrial quality cables that are long enough to reach across two cars and more.

I got to wear my flashy reflective traffic safety vest and hooked them up.  Soon we were all underway.

Finally, we were allowed through, and the traffic flowed well all the way to Sudbury.

Why the police and highway construction crews are allowed to block major highways for hours on end for no apparent good reason is beyond me.  When we tally up the person-hours wasted, the total has to be immense compared to the value of whatever excuse is used for the disruption.   I wonder how many unknown and unreported personal injuries deaths arise as a direct consequence of holding people sitting on a road for hours and hours in the middle of the night?

 Major roads are closed at peak travel times for hours for "investigation" after an accident if anyone was killed.  What is the point?  No amount of "investigation" will bring the dead back to life and we have no-fault insurance in Ontario, so I don't see fault being a huge issue.

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Everyone thinks of changing the world, but no one thinks of changing himself.
Leo Tolstoy

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Sunday July 26th 2015

Today Sunny this morning then a mix of sun and cloud with 60 percent chance of showers this afternoon. Risk of a thunderstorm this afternoon. Fog patches dissipating this morning. High 29. UV index 8 or very high.
Tonight Partly cloudy with 40 percent chance of showers this evening and after midnight and risk of a thunderstorm. Clearing before morning. Fog patches developing after midnight. Low 15.

Click here for current conditions in my back yard
Ten day forecast

 Read yesterday's post
Often posts are edited the next day for improved clarity

I got up for breakfast, but I'm going back to bed.

That did not work and I got up again.  I've had all of three and a half hours of sleep.

I stepped on the scale and saw something that looked close to 230 again.  As I say, weight fluctuates and activity changes the body's water content.  I sat all yesterday.

My girth is unchanged in recent days, so for the past little while I am not seeing any progress, but I'll keep the faith and hope.

Maybe getting home and working on the bees again will help, but I'll soon have visitors and that will be a diversion -- and a temptation to eat, and eat.

I spent the morning chatting with Mom.  I leave tomorrow morning and don't see the point in running around chasing my tail.  This trip has been a strange one with me trying to get my priorities straight.

I do want to put in a small ramp at the back door for her walker to improve her access to her new deck.

I did that, repaired a table, made a run to the lumber store, put the leg back onto a garden table, and had a swim.  That used up the day.

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Nirvana is where you are, provided you donít object to it.
Alan Watts

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Monday July 27th 2015

Today Cloudy with 30 percent chance of showers. Wind becoming northwest 20 km/h gusting to 40 this afternoon. High 18. UV index 3 or moderate.
Tonight Cloudy. 30 percent chance of showers early this evening. Becoming partly cloudy overnight. Wind northwest 20 km/h gusting to 40 becoming light this evening. Low 9.

Click here for current conditions in my back yard
Ten day forecast

 Read yesterday's post
Often posts are edited the next day for improved clarity

I fly at ten and should easily be home by supper.  First, I have to pack and tidy the upstairs before leaving by shuttle at 0830.

I've tackled something close to this many times before, but will be writing a bit on this topic when I have some time.  In the meantime, folks, feel free to take it on in the forum

General advice, not necessarily specific to Alberta, would apply here.  Going from six to one hundred is not a small step.

Hi Allen,

I'm looking to expand my small beekeeping operation (just 6 hives) to about 100 next year. Just wondering what your opinion would be as to how I should go about this - packaged bees vs. nucs vs. full colonies, and who in Alberta might be able to supply me with some good quality bees.

Thanks for any advice,

The above query was answered beautifully in the forum by our regular contributors.  I'll add a bit more at some point.  Right now, I am pretty busy.

I really appreciate the people who respond to questions in the forum.  We don't always agree, but they put a lot of experience, thought, and effort into responses.  Often we get opposing views clearly stated and that is very useful for everyone.  The quality of input is high and the tone friendly. 

I packed, parked my van, and my cab arrived on time.  I was at YSB exactly one hour before takeoff. 

The flights went as scheduled and I was in Calgary shortly after 1400.

On the flight this afternoon, I chose "Contemporary" again under "Movies' and had good luck once again again.  First I watched The First Wives Club and then, after a nap, Margin Call.  I didn't quite finish the second flick however.  We landed before it ended.

Attie picked me up and I was on the road in my van by 1430.  I bought groceries and drove home.

The day was dull and rainy and as a drove up, I noted that the lawn was overgrown.  When I got out, my white van was coated with brown mud from the gravel road, my feet got wet in the un-mowed grass.  When I walked in, my home seemed dull and depressing and smelled dank with a strong hint of animal. 

In damp weather, smells get stronger.  Ellen never could control her animals and although I thought I had eliminated odors, I get used to them and only notice them when returning from a trip. 

I often wonder how it seems from my visitors' perspective.  Some people are more offended by smells than others. 

I lit the furnace and turned up the heat.  Drying things out should help, but I will air the place out and have to address the problem with a steam cleaner, or maybe just Febreze.   I have visitors, beginning Wednesday.

If I decide on Febreze, I may need to use the industrial products, given the size of this place.

I was exhausted as it turned out, so I had a nap, then supper, watched video waiting for bedtime, and went to bed early.  I awoke around midnight and had breakfast, stayed up a while, then went back to sleep.

At Season 2, Episode 3, I'm about done with Scrubs .  It was fresh at first, but there is only so much they can do with the situation, the characters and the theme.  By episode twenty, this  is about worn out for me.

I broke my calorie budget today, going over by 5% before exercise is factored in.  On arriving home, I found my scale agrees with my scale in Sudbury. 

I had lunch on the flight, choosing the chicken wrap, red wine and cashews.  The chicken wrap is always a crapshoot, but was only a day or two old this time. I figured a glass of wine would not hurt.  I keep kidding myself.  It didn't, but could.

I have indeed lost the weight I thought I have, but progress is not as fast and steady as hoped.  It never is and I am quite happy with my 'diet'.  All I do is make different choices than before and avoid the high-calorie items that were a staple in my diet recently.

Using Fatsecret really helps.  It's numbers are often suspect, but they are always in the ballpark and close enough for an imprecise enterprise like diet and exercise calculations where coming within 20% of the true figure is as good as anyone can expect and averages are far more important than any individual data point.

  Questions? Comments? Join us in the HoneyBeeWorld Forum  

Man is so made that he can only find relaxation from one kind of labor by taking up another.
Anatole France

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Tuesday July 28th 2015

Today Sunny. Becoming a mix of sun and cloud this afternoon. Wind becoming north 20 km/h gusting to 40 this morning. High 25. UV index 7 or high.
Tonight Partly cloudy. Clearing near midnight. Low 9

Click here for current conditions in my back yard
Ten day forecast

 Read yesterday's post
Often posts are edited the next day for improved clarity

I'm home and rested up.  The sun is rising and I go to pick up Zippy this morning.

I spent my usual hour or two catching up on my diary and emails and it is time now to get out and look at the bees.

I drove through the yards on my return and noted several hives hanging out a bit.  I lifted several lids, and although and bees were in the supers and the pillows were glued down, the foundation was only started so far.

I intend to check all hives as soon as I have time, but the coming days will be busy.

Now that I have no cat patrolling the house, I set mouse traps.  While I was away, I caught one mouse and I see another running by just now, so I am going to have to do something.

I drove to Drum  and met Ruth and Zippy at Valley Vet.  Zip was happy to see me.  The vet gave Zippy a going over and pronounced her sound.  From there, I went for a burger and returned home.

At the A&W, I saw a beautiful dark red Grand Marquis that looked like new (you could say the car is cherry) and gave the driver a thumbs up.  He rolled down the window and I raved about how beautiful and perfect the car is. He said it will be for sale since it belonged to his father who had just died.

We introduced ourselves.  His name?  Allen (Allan, Alan?).  I said to give me a call when he sets a price and he took my number.  They are from Edmonton, and I hardly need another car, but...

I got home and went out to do some work.  I was thinking bees, but started on the lawn beginning with the north yards and then the pool and barbecue area, seeing as I would like the clippings to have time to settle into the turf before the kids are running in and out and in the pool. I vacuumed the pool as well.

A warning light had alerted me that one van tire is down a bit on the way home, I adjusted the pressures.  The job is not quite as simple as the job used to be before tire pressure sensors on each wheel became common.

That used up the afternoon.  I came in for supper and find I have lots of energy left, so I'll lift a few lids and work a few hives after a break.

I went out and did the North Yard, finishing by 2000.  Of the nineteen stands, seventeen were queenright, but some queens had only been laying for a few days.  There is not much for me to do.

I saw varroa on a larva that was exposed when shifting boxes. This is the first varroa I have seen in a while and a reminder to do some monitoring.  I can treat anytime on the hives that will not be producing honey for extraction. Click on the thumbnail.  The larger picture is much better.

Word is the camera on the nexus 5 is not as good as those on other devices, but it sure seems fantastic to me.  Low light shots are not good, though.

Although there was another good hour left for bee work, I quit for the day. 

I had not finished watching Margin Call when my flight landed yesterday, so I checked Netflix and was pleased to find it, and finished the last twenty minutes or so.  Margin Call was an excellent movie on many levels, I thought.  I'd love to find more like it.

Somehow, Take Me Home Tonight started up right after Margin Call, so I watched it, too, and it turned out to be one of the better flicks of its genre -- predictable in many ways, but gentle and lacking the unbelievable stupidity and crassness of so many such films -- and, bonus! -- the characters and story were almost (almost) believable.  The soundtrack music choices were excellent, too.  Another winner, for me anyhow.

Oh, yeah, I watched Scrubs, too.  Movie night for Allen.

  Questions? Comments? Join us in the HoneyBeeWorld Forum  

Let us not look back in anger, nor forward in fear, but around in awareness.
James Thurber

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Wednesday July 29th 2015

Today Sunny this morning and early this afternoon then a mix of sun and cloud with 30 percent chance of showers this afternoon. Risk of a thunderstorm this afternoon. Wind becoming southwest 20 km/h gusting to 40 near noon. High 27. UV index 6 or high.
Tonight Partly cloudy with 30 percent chance of showers this evening and risk of a thunderstorm. Clearing overnight. Wind north 20 km/h becoming light near midnight. Low 9.

Click here for current conditions in my back yard
Ten day forecast

 Read yesterday's post
Often posts are edited the next day for improved clarity

So far, this is an excellent day. 

  • I slept like a baby
    (No.  I mean soundly, not waking up every two hours, crying )
  • It's warm. The windows were open all night
  • The sun is rising on a clear, bright day
  • Everything is green
  • I seem to have my energy back.  I am feeling great and the scale says 225 more often now.
  • My hives are doing better than expected and not making much honey (Thank heavens!)
  • Mowing grass yesterday did not cause allergies
  • I see a great blue heron on my pond again this morning
    (I don't know why. There can't be any fish in it)
  • Zippy is home
  • Jon and the kids come tonight
  • This is a partial list

I have to remember to take back the Galaxy Tab I bought at Costco some time back.  In spite of its good features, the memory is full and machine cannot use the SD card I bought for apps.  As a result, unless I erase downloaded data (which also cannot be moved onto he card), I cannot update the software and fifteen apps have been trying to update for weeks now.

This is a known issue and I don't know why anyone would make an otherwise device like that and expect it to stay sold.  I increasingly do not like Samsung's versions, although I am writing this on a trusty Samsung laptop.  Maybe the problem is with Android and/or the apps themselves, but the base 16GB memory is known to be insufficient and there are 32 GB versions available, but no one mentions that 32 is not an option, but a necessity for any serious use.

I have to do some tidying and general cleanup.  I'd  like to work through the rest of the hives, but from what I saw yesterday, there is no rush.

Joe seems to think the flow is winding down because the canola bloom is ending but in my experience August is often the best month.

We had terrible years back in the seventies and eighties.  One year I had extracted everything at the end of July and had twenty pounds, but when we were done in early September (never got a Sept flow back then), we had one twenty-five. 

Also. there were years that we did not put on our comb supers until about now and we still made a full crop of comb.  (Of course we knew what we were doing.  Most beekeepers do not).

We have had bad Augusts, and 'nothing' Septembers, but lately they have both been very good.

There is action today in the forum.

I went out and vacuumed the pool, adjusted the chlorine, and pulled out my driveway leveler.  I tried pulling it behind the garden tractor, but decided that it would be too big a load to do that for long.  The 4X4 was a natural, but the turning radius is too long, so I ended up using my white van.

I built the device years ago out of some extra truck frame I had left over when I cut down some chip trucks for bee trucks.  It is my own design and does a great job of leveling. I have not used it for a long time and suspect it may have been partly responsible for wearing out the forklift tranny which was already weak.

The driveway was getting ingrown with weeds and grass, so this made quite a difference.  I'll have to repeat the process again in a few weeks.

At 1730, Zippy and I drove to YYC and picked up Jon and the kids.  We stopped for burgers on the way home and then watched Back to the Future before calling it a day.  Watching BTTF is a family tradition.  We all prefer the original flick. The sequels are OK, but not as tight.

  Questions? Comments? Join us in the HoneyBeeWorld Forum  

Iíve missed more than 9000 shots in my career. Iíve lost almost 300 games.
26 times, Iíve been trusted to take the game winning shot and missed.
 Iíve failed over and over and over again in my life. And that is why I succeed.
Michael Jordan

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Thursday July 30th 2015

Today Sunny. High 30. UV index 7 or high.
Tonight Clear. Low 10.

Click here for current conditions in my back yard
Ten day forecast

 Read yesterday's post
Often posts are edited the next day for improved clarity

I woke up at dawn, had breakfast, then skimmed and vacuumed the pool.

As the month end and approaches, I took a look at my fatsecret.com records.  I've entered my foods and exercise faithfully for twenty-five days now and have enough history to see how well it works.  

According to Fatsecret's calculations, I have eaten 48,889 calories.  Of course that number should be rounded to 49,000 calories and even that number is suspect, so let's call it 50,000+/-?.  According to the metabolism and exercise calculations, I have burned 87,741 calories.  Again, even rounded to 90,000+/-?, the accuracy is suspect.  Both numbers are just best guesses.

Assuming they are in the ballpark, that means I ran a calorie deficit of 40,000 calories and should have lost 40,000/3,500 or 11.5 pounds.  By the scales, I seem to have lost 7.5.

Weight loss seems to go in fits and starts due to metabolic cycles, and scale measurements tend to be approximate due to body water content fluctuations and so I will have to wait and see over a longer time span, but so far, it seems that Fatsecret's estimate is overly optimistic by fifty percent.  Many of the calorie and metabolic numbers have been entered by users and I suspect some of them are off by quite a bit. 

Nonetheless, for me, fatsecret.com is a very useful tool and turns weight loss into a game instead of guessing and self-torture.  I can see, too, that although being selective and disciplined when eating (and drinking) is  the major steering factor, activity level counts for a lot.  My greatest loss was when I was most active.

Jon and the kids went to the River for the day.

After reading Charlie's comments in the forum, I cancelled the Windows 10 upgrades on my two main computers.

I decided to do some more driveway leveling.  I should really wait until after a rain since it raises so much dust, but I wanted to do it and I did.

The leveler at right is pulled by chain from  a trailer hitch or carried on the forks of my Beemer. It consists of pieces of one-ton truck frame and is something I dreamed up one day years ago and which I made made in a few hours.

The front vee rakes the gravel outwards and the rear vee collects the swath and rakes it back in.

It works well.

Next, I'll look at some more hives.

Nope.  More leveling.  ...And I pulled the motorhome I bought twelve years ago and hardly used out of the way.  Ellen and I bought it on the understanding we would travel.  As it turned out, Ellen really wanted to stay home. 

We took a few short trips, decided the bed was uncomfortable, and that it got seven miles per gallon and it just sat there.  The roof leaked and the driver's seat disintegrated from the sun.  It is still a good machine, but too big and too old and I don't need something like that for one person.  I'll prolly just give it away of anyone wants it.

I had a swim in the pool and decided to take a break.  I've accomplished a lot today.  Why I did not do this cleanup years ago is a subject for a book. 

Actually, I think I am depressed, and have been, but have been compensating.  I think I am happy, but have been burned out and ineffectual.

On my trip east I dealt with some issues that had been bothering me and having company is also good for me, so I seem to be inspired today.

Then I disassembled two overhead fuel tank stands.  I was intending to sell them, but nobody used overhead tanks anymore.,  Too much evaporation loss.  That was one of those five-minute jobs that took two hours in the hot sun.

I cancelled my regular Thursday night supper this week.  Fen and Maddy were otherwise booked and Jon and the kids went to the River.  Joe was doing payroll and I somehow got ambitious and did a lot of yard work.

I had a salmon steak and cob of corn for supper.  The salmon had to be eaten and was excellent.  The corn turned out to be the first old-tasting cob I have had for a long time. I had two big packages of chicken and decided to bake the drumsticks.  With two kids around they will go fast.

After supper, I took a chance on allergies and mowed grass.  I also trimmed the apple trees so I could get under with the riding mower.  I guess it has been twenty or thirty years since I got around to doing that and the trees  really needed it.

Then I showered, washed my hair and flushed my sinuses.  We'll see if I sleep tonight. 

We watched the second episode of Back to the Future

Yup.  The drumsticks won't last long. Five disappeared at bedtime.

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If you want others to be happy, practice compassion. If you want to be happy, practice compassion.
Dalai Lama

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Friday July 31st 2015

Today Sunny. Wind becoming southeast 20 km/h gusting to 40 this afternoon. High 34. UV index 7 or high.
Tonight Clear. Wind southeast 20 km/h gusting to 40 becoming light this evening. Low 12.

Click here for current conditions in my back yard
Ten day forecast

 Read yesterday's post
Often posts are edited the next day for improved clarity

I woke up at 0444 and decided I was not going to sleep any longer, so I got up.  I slept well, but only five hours, so maybe the mowing did affect me.  Wakefulness at night can be sign of allergy, but I hardly notice any congestion.

The days are getting shorter quickly now and it is dark until 0500.  Sunrise is at 0554.

Yesterday, I was sitting at the computer without a shirt after swimming and I felt a stab in my right back, about halfway up.  A welt formed and realised I had been stung or bitten.   I did not know by what.  A few minutes later, a wasp or hornet came by, glanced off me, and stung me on the front at about the same level.  I did not swell beyond welts, but both stings are painful, even today.

What is interesting is that I have had a pain under or on the front of my right rib cage for several years now.  It is not too bad, but comes and goes and seems to be activity-related.

The doctor wondered if it was liver and I had two scans which came out OK.  The techs said, "Don 't come back". Gall bladder is another possibility, but I also have a spot in the middle of my spine that acts up, probably from a trampoline injury in my youth.  When I see any chiropractor, he always finds that spot and loosens it up. 

Moreover, several decades ago I cracked that same rib at the back when I landed on my booms after being launched into the sky one 'nuclear' day, windsurfing at Keho.

I had been headed for St. Mary's to meet the gang, but stopped at Keho because the wind was so strong I was afraid to drive my motorhome further.  Even with a small sail, the gusts lifted me right off the water.

At any rate, these stings happen to be right in that painful area and seem to be curing it.  Maybe the pain has been my rib all along, and not internal organs at all?  Odd?

I don't understand myself.  For years, stuff has accumulated out the north door and weeds have grown on the gravel pad.  My only weed control has been mowing.  I have not pruned the crabapple trees for a decade or more. Somehow, I got inspired yesterday and in one day made major inroads on a job that I had put off for years and which had appeared to me to be too  onerous to even begin.

In one day, I did what had seemed almost impossible.  I don't understand myself.

As for the bees, I sat and watched them a while. I figure they are okay without any attention for a few more days, although I should make sure none of the hives are getting crowded.  If any are, it will only be a very few at most.

I had thought I'd see a 20% attrition by now, due to queenlessness, but my North Yard sample came up with only two duds out of the nineteen.  I may have more hives this fall than expected.

At this time of year, hives just seem to have a way of recovering from queenlessness, given time.  Hobby beekeepers insist on meddling and don't give them a chance.  Commercial beekeepers have so many boxes on, they don't know what is happening in the brood chamber. Of course, some hives do not recover and that is what people notice and remember, not the 'miraculous' recoveries.

After years of being on pallets or stands, my hives sit right on the ground these days.  It is very handy for moving them with a hand truck, but I am not sure I like it, and will want to raise them up for winter.

I ran my hives sitting on the ground like this for years, but then I palletized.  Pallets get the colonies up off the damp earth to where they are not blocked as badly by grass and weeds.  Floors last much longer since they are not in contact with the earth.

After breakfast, I went back to bed and dozed for two hours.  I think I must have had a bit of an allergic reaction to the mowing as I was half awake much of the time.  Yesterday I was mowing tall grass that had not been cut this year and had dead grass standing from last year, so the mower raised dust.  Mowing the lawn does not seem to have as much effect on me since all the lawn grass is fresh and green.

Windoze 10

I went out and checked the pool and it is looking good.  The water is cool, though, at 18 degrees after the cooler weather lately.

Then I decided to continue trimming the apple trees.  They are really old -- seventy years or more -- and have a lot of deadwood.  I need to get under these trees to mow properly, so the time has come.

This is a beautiful example of a nest.   People say nasty things about hornets, but they are gentle giants.   I worked around these guys this afternoon, pruning trees including the one they are on and did not notice them until this evening.  I have wasps around, too and never get stung -- except for the two stings, sitting in my house yesterday.  I still can't figure what that was all about.

I am not sure I could be this close in front of my beehives for long without getting a sting or two.  That is not to say they are nasty.  I was mowing the other day and returning bees were bouncing off me without stinging.  The flow was on.

The pool was a welcome escape from the heat at times during the day and warmed up to twenty-two degrees by late afternoon.

After supper, Shirley came by with a gallon  of wine she had made.  It turned out to be excellent.  She stayed a while, then Sean came by with a computer for Jon to tune up.  Sean's mother came along later as well. I made popcorn and the kids watched the third part of the Back to the Future series.

  Questions? Comments? Join us in the HoneyBeeWorld Forum  ď

It is better to travel well than to arrive.
(a) Buddha

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