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      November  2015    

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Fall is here. The leaves are down and the pond is freezing
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Sunday November 1st 2015

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

We had breakfast (cold pizza for me) and I headed home around 0930, stopping in Sylvan for grocery shopping.  I chose Extra Foods since they can administer the flu shot and in past experience there is no waiting.

The shot took five minutes, start to finish. In the twenty minutes that one is expected to stick around in case of a reaction, I bought groceries.  When  I left, I was a little light-headed, but otherwise there was no effect and I am not sure that the shot was the cause.

From there, I drove to Red Deer again and stopped at Home Depot to get a key cut.  They sent me to Wal-Mart and I had the valet key in my new Chrysler key cut.  If I had had the blank cut before the remote failed me in Airdrie that night, I would have been able to get into the van and drive. As it was, I was locked out. 

Now all three van keys have working valet keys.  I need three remotes since without two working remotes at hand, a third remote cannot be programmed. It takes two working remotes to program a third, so if I lost one remote without having a third, I would be stuck with only one.

By the time I got home, it was almost dusk.  I spent the next few hours dealing with the problem computer, with indeterminate results.  I still have random occasional lock-ups and a very slow machine at times.

In my troubleshooting I found I had to remove Soluto after I found it had usurped error management from Windows Error Reporting and locked WER out using a group polices change.  On a home version of W7, I do not have gpedit.exe.  Grrr.

Rooting out all vestiges of Soluto turned out to be a real job since the uninstaller did not work well and I had to hunt down all references in the directories and the registry and delete them. 

If nothing else, I had a chance to reacquaint myself with all the various diagnostic tools in Windows, few of which are easy to find or self-explanatory.

This experience proved to me once again that any third-party Windows tuner or such 'speed up' software is a bad idea no matter who recommends it.  Windows has its own internal ways and no third party can reliably improve on what Windows does to fix itself internally.  Any such apps just throw sand in to the gears sooner or later.

I watched more of Death in Paradise, then went to bed.

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Never miss a good chance to shut up.
Will Rogers

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Monday November 2nd 2015

Today Increasing cloudiness then 30 percent chance of showers late this morning and this afternoon. Becoming a mix of sun and cloud this afternoon. Fog patches dissipating late this morning. High plus 5.
Tonight Partly cloudy. Low minus 7.

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 early today and see I am up about five pounds from Friday.  Pizza?  Dunno.  It must be all water and maybe I am sensitive to salt intake.

Today is the first day of the Alberta Beekeepers meeting in Edmonton.  At one time I always attended the full meeting and times I also served on the board.

Lately, it just looks like a big expense and seems less interesting.  That is probably just me, but from what I can see when I go to meetings there is a lot of talk, but nothing real has been accomplished in the last decade or more when it comes to managing bees, other than some new equipment like EPS boxes and nucs.

The researchers and the regulators and extension people are busy, but from  where I sit, they are not doing much of any value for the beekeepers and their efforts may actually be a drag on the industry.

*   *   *   *   *

When I left Saturday, I took nothing but my wallet and phone, so was not tempted to post here until I returned. I'm catching up now.

*    *    *    *    *

The computer cleanup continues...

What is the most useful tool IMO? Control Panel\All Control Panel Items\Action Center\Reliability Monitor

This tool shows exactly when and where things went bad.

You can see the downward trend and the real low point.  Each of those little icons has information attached that shows up when clicked. It is very detailed and it is easy to see what change is associated with each event, although not necessarily the cause.

I noticed uPlayer showed up right about the beginning of the troubles, and it is a PUP, but not considered malicious, so I removed it.  I have to say that Search Everything is very handy for rooting out such nuisances.  I find it indispensible for many purposes.  jv16 and CCleaner were helpful, too, for the registry searches and cleaning I had to do yesterday.

Next, I am going to uninstall all the 'recommended' Windows updates.  Many, if not all are preparing the computer to 'upgrade' to Windows 10.  That begins by typing "Installed updates" into the search on the start button.

From: GWXUX.exe application; Do not wish to update to Windows 10 - Microsoft Community

"Uninstall KB3035583 and then hide the update from the Windows Update list, all explained here: How to uninstall KB3035583 The Windows 10 Downloader for Windows 7 and 8.1"

I decided just to uninstall the one update for now.  There are two telemetry updates, but they merely tune up the feedback I had already agreed to share with Microsoft.  I've read the privacy policy and it is no better or worse than Google and I really don't dislike or distrust M$ any more or less than all the others out there.

The machine seems to run better and the Windows 10 icon in the system tray is gone.  We'll see how this works out after a while.  Windows needs some time to itself to sort through things and adjust itself after changes.

Well, it is just about noon and I wasted the morning, but the computer is fast now.  I had to install a group policy editor on the machines since it only has Windows 7 Home, so now I can manage Group Policies and enable Windows Error Reporting (WER).

Installing Soluto was a big mistake.  It was recommended by Window Secrets and they are usually pretty good, but this one was a huge miss.

I still get the odd freeze, but Ctrl + ALT + Del allows me to either start the task manager or select 'Switch Users' and that seems to break the freeze.  I have no other user, but this selection seems to interrupt what ever is hung and when I sign myself back in, all is well and my session resumes.

Something is timing out and hanging, I guess.  I suspect it has to do with the clipboard and Synergy.  Maybe error reporting will help.  After I activated WER, I notice it wanted to complain to the mothership about Synergy, confirming my suspicions.

Now to do something real after spending a virtual morning.

I spent the afternoon and evening sorting through things and cleaning up.  I am realizing that could spend the rest of my life just moving things around. George Carlin really nailed it.

After supper, I walked a while on the treadmill and watched the last two episodes of Death in Paradise.

On the treadmill, I tired out sooner than I expected.  I did well over a kilometer, but was watching the video and not really paying attention.  I walked 5.5 km in Victoria two weeks ago without any problem, then walked to Thrifty's and back, another 2 km, so I wonder why I was tired tonight.  I'll have to pay more attention to speed and incline next time.

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Failure is not the only punishment for laziness; there is also the success of others.
Jules Renard

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Tuesday November 3rd 2015

Today Cloudy. 30 percent chance of flurries or rain showers this afternoon. Fog patches dissipating late this morning. High 6.
Tonight Cloudy. 30 percent chance of flurries this evening. Low minus 5.

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 have a day of cleanup ahead of me. 

My job for the day is to work on making room to make changes in the heating system and I have to be in Calgary for the Bluewater meeting tonight. 

As it happens, I also have to be in Calgary again tomorrow for an eye appointment.  In both cases, I have to be in the southwest and about 118 km and an hour and a half from here.  That means three hours of driving each day.  I am so looking forward to self-driving cars!

At one time I used to enjoy driving, and I have driven at least a million miles and probably two.  As a kid I would go for a drive just for fun, but over time I have come to consider driving an expense and a waste of time.

Lower gas prices, talking books, and better vehicles are tempering that opinion and, truth be told, time spent behind the wheel is no more wasted than much of the time I spend at this desk, however sitting at the wheel costs me about $10/hour (cash) and probably $20/hr all-in.  Sitting at the desk costs nothing.

I think I am becoming a miser, or just realizing now that I have been for some time.  One thing for sure, I am not a big spender.

I find that inflation makes it hard to remember what things are worth.  I have to remind myself that one hundred dollars now is like ten dollars in my youth, and probably somewhat less.

A gallon of gas was 37 cents then and was $4.18 the other day after discounts.  A loaf of bread was 23c and is now around $3.  A coke was 7c and is now over $1, but for almost twice the volume.   An ice cream cone was 10c, but we can't buy one that small anymore, so comparing is difficult. 

When I was 20, I bought a new car for $2,500, incl taxes.  A comparable car now would be about $25,000.  Minimum wage was 90c and now is over ten dollars, heading for fifteen.

How we decide what is expensive and what is cheap is quite fascinating.  People who choke on spending $10/GB for data that will last them a day gladly spend $10 on one beer or $100 for a restaurant meal and then give $20 to a waiter.  Go figure.

Next: how to save a dollar... (comment)

I have been told by various people that dried beans are much better than canned, and cheaper.  In my experience, though, dried beans tend to split and be inconsistent -- and a bit of work -- while canned beans are generally perfect and convenient.

While buying canned beans the other day in Wal-Mart, I struck up a conversation with a woman who was buying dried beans.  I said I always have problems with dried beans splitting. 

She said not to add salt while soaking and cooking.  I don't, but, as I often do -- usually to my later chagrin -- I believed the stranger's assertions over my own experience and bought more dried beans to try again, thinking maybe the brand I had before was defective somehow.  (I should mention that she did not know that uncooked kidney beans are toxic and even a few can make one sick, so I wonder how much she really knows about beans...).

So, I soaked a package of romano beans overnight and cooked them this morning. Same result as ever -- mushy, split beans and I cooked them for the minimum time on the package.  They started splitting early in the cooking, but they have to be cooked.

They are tasty alright and will make a great chili, but are useless for a bean salad. 

As for economy, $1.34 bought me a bag of beans that yielded 5.5 cups of drained beans after soaking and a bit more volume after cooking.  On the other hand, 88c buys me a can that yields 2 cups.  So after doing the math, in the can I would be paying $2.42 for the same volume of beans, or roughly double, so bagged beans are cheaper alright.

In return for those savings, I am doing extra work and settling for split beans.  For some recipes, that does not matter.  Bagged beans are fine for chili, but for convenience and salads, etc. cans rule.

A consideration, too, is that in many stores canned beans cost double what they do in the box stores, so the difference could be much greater. 

Also, for a real bean aficionado, beans can be bought in larger bulk bags for much greater savings, and bags of beans last a long time without special storage are great for a food storage program against disasters.

Just the same, how much am I saving?   I might save a dollar a day, at most.  If I had a big family and a tight budget, dried beans would be the way to go, but for me canned beans look like a better choice.  I'll keep a few bags of beans around just the same.

My computer is behaving itself since I worked it over.  I uninstalled Synergy and installed it again.  Now that I managed to delete Soluto (not an easy job) WER reported a number of crashes that implicated Synergy and also the clipboard.  Synergy shares clipboards between computers, so this was not proof, but came close enough.

I have been working with computers ever since 1978 when my wife bought me a used Commodore PET for my birthday.  It came with no instructions, but I learned programming and parlayed that knowledge into a career in the computer business while still running bees.  Austin, mentioned here earlier (Sept 15) was the founder of the business and my boss/partner.

Those were heady days in the computer business.  In the early eighties, I installed the high school computer labs throughout south and central Alberta and into B.C. We opened a store in Spokane as well, and a second store in Calgary and were looking at Edmonton.

I saw the first Compaq computer at Comdex in Las Vegas and the first Mac as well. I spent weeks there on business. One year, we took our whole staff and wives/significant others to Comdex.

In the double-dip recession that followed, I returned to full-time beekeeping, but continued with computers, and got involved with the web early on.  To this day, I still host and manage a number of client sites.

Enough of this virtual life.  Back to the physical world...

*    *    *    *     *

I did not get any clean-up done.  I found myself writing an article for the Bluewater newsletter, seeing as I was headed for a Bluewater meeting shortly, and doing other various odd jobs. 

I left for Calgary at 1730, feeling tired, but I stopped for coffee and burger along the way and the coffee woke me up. I'd figured I'd be early for the meeting, but there were fifty people there already when I arrived a little after seven.  Thirty is a more typical number for our meetings.

The presentation began at 1930 and turned out to be highly entertaining. The speakers were a couple who enjoy the time at sea far more than the destinations and enjoy one another's company. 

Personally, I enjoy both the voyage and the destinations, but many people emphasize the destinations over the journey.  Apparently the speakers' reputation preceded them and their friends and family packed the house.

Their topic was Following the Trade Winds West.  One slide in particular caught my attention, a diagram of the winds, showing how ocean currents gyres and trade winds circulate, allowing downwind sailing coming and going across the oceans. The black line is their route.

I was back home around 2000, went straight to bed, and fell sound asleep.

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Sooner or later we've all got to let go of our past.
Dan Brown

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Wednesday November 4th 2015

Today A mix of sun and cloud. Fog patches this morning. High 6.
Tonight A few clouds. Increasing cloudiness overnight. Low minus 8.

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

My Nexus 5 silences alerts during a quiet time I have programmed, and I chose 2100 through 0700, an interval during which I expect to be asleep or resting and do not want to receive calls or messages.   I go to bed anytime from 2100 to 2400 and can be up anytime from 0400 to 0900, so this solution is imperfect. 

Today I was fast asleep at 0715 when my phone jolted me wide awake with a text message from my daughter, continuing an ongoing background conversation that I really did not need to know about until later.  It could have waited.

I got up and stepped onto the scale to find that I weigh 228.4.  A few days ago, the same scale read 234.  I wonder what is going on.

The breeze is from the south this morning.  Frost garnishes the lawn and ice is forming on the pond. Today, I am off to Calgary again for an eye appointment at 1415.

This computer has frozen twice this morning, so the underlying problem is still eluding me.  At least I have found a workaround to bring it back without a hard reset.

Around noon, I started out for Calgary and by the time I had gathered the things I need and returned to take my medication it was 1250.  That gave me just enough time to make my appointment at the far corner of the city.

I arrived exactly on time and sat in the waiting room for almost a half-hour before my name was called.  After a few minutes with an assistant and two minutes with the doctor, I was on my way again.

My pressures are 13 and 15, in other words, ideal.  The SLT seems to work on me.  I had the procedure three times since 2002 and it still works.  Apparently that is unusual and I am lucky that way. My incipient glaucoma has not progressed.

I idled through rush hour traffic to Standen's Spring, only to find that they -- one of the largest spring manufacturers in North America -- did not have the springs I need.  I had phoned and they had said they did. 

I continued on to Princess Auto, where I returned some things I had bought previously and picked up a mate for a spring I had bought earlier.

From there, I went to Wal-Mart for groceries and drove home.

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The critics don't build great cities
 Federico Pena

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Thursday November 5th 2015

Today Increasing cloudiness this morning. High 6.
Tonight Cloudy. Clearing near midnight. Low minus 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

At 0450, I was suddenly awake, but tired.  My mind was not especially active.  I was just awake.  After lying, half asleep, waiting a half-hour for sleep to return,  I got up. 

Today, I weigh 232 again.  I'm up and down four pounds in 24 hours.  What is going on?  Is it salt?  Maybe the nuts I ate?  I know nuts put weight on me and I have a jar of Costco mixed nuts and was indulging yesterday.

I'm expecting visitors today.  A diary reader has expertise in heating and offered to drop over to advise, then I have the usual suspects here for supper.

I ate breakfast, then went back to bed and slept at least a half-hour, but I am still tired.

The forum is active recently.  We are solving the problems of the world, and I think we could use some help.

It was time to vacuum again and do laundry, so in the morning I did housework, and made a vegetable soup for lunch.  Colin and his wife came by after lunch and we discussed my heating problem.  We looked over the  the possible locations and considered alternatives.  The conclusion was to make an in initial installation, then go from there.  I'm still at the point where permits are the next step.

They left and I set the table for supper.  Fen and Betty arrived around 1800 and we had a pleasant evening.

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A leader is a dealer in hope.
Napoleon Bonaparte

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Friday November 6th 2015

Today Cloudy with 30 percent chance of flurries early this morning. Clearing this morning. High 6.
Tonight A few clouds. Low minus 3 with temperature rising to plus 3 by morning.

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

Today is dawning bright and sunny.  The pond surface is now completely frozen over.

I spent the day researching heating.  At one point, I went out and moved some hives around in the Quonset West yard.  The day was cool and breezy, I was uninspired, and I quit after an hour.

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The key to successful leadership today is influence, not authority.
Kenneth Blanchard

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Saturday November 7th 2015

Today A mix of sun and cloud. Wind southwest 20 km/h. High 13.
Tonight Clearing late this evening. Low minus 1.

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

My plan for the day is to continue preparing to work on my heating system.  I'm starting today by getting the boat trailer axle repaired so I can move it out of the way. 

I have been trying for months to find replacement springs and wasted a lot of time in various stores.  The last springs I found are simply too stiff so I finally decided I can re-arc the one sagged spring myself.  All I have to do is bend it a bit.

I bent the spring cold and the job took me about fifteen minutes, using some woodworking clamps.  I didn't use any heat since I didn't want to soften or harden the steel.  I could have done this long ago, but somehow figured I should replace the springs. I should have more faith in  my own abilities.

It's over 15 degrees outside today, but the wind is blowing at over 10 MPH, so although it could be a good kite day, it might be uncomfortable for the remaining bee work.  The bees will be active, too.

I spent the late morning and entire afternoon on the springs and bearings, but I got it done.  This is part of my procrastination process to get ready to clear space for the new heating set-up. 

Now, I suppose I need to do the fibreglasing on the boat so I am done with that job and can say I did it.  I've only hemmed and hawed for five years or so. 

Will I fix the snowmobile next?  Dunno.  It is probably only a few hours work, but somehow I find it easier to spend five hours at a keyboard doing nothing than doing some real work.

I was talking to Aaron, my friend in Upper new York State today and asked about SHB.  I know he has had SHB for many years now and I never see them when I go visit and he never complains about them.  He gets nucs and packages from the southern states, too.

If we are likely to have a problem, he would have it worse because his climate is milder than ours and his season is well over a month longer.  He is at 42 North and I am at 51-1/2N. 

Me: Hi Aaron,

After several (more than a few) years of SHB, what is the verdict?  Have they been a problem for you?


Aa: They're here. I have seen more in the hives over the years, but they've never gotten to a level of concern in yards, and the presence has varied from year to year; some years more than less, other years less than more. That is to say they've never amounted to more than a minor nuisance.

The biggest nuisance continues to be in the honey house, and even there the nuisance is minor. Sound beekeeping practices (good bees, no procrastination) trumps SHB every step of the way. I had one problem this fall with a single frame in a honey super that had gotten laid up with drone brood. It was a week or two in my extraction room before I got to it. and that single frame (medium frame, two patches of drone brood) had an impressive SHB larvae party going on; crawling larvae, slimed area where the drone brood was present. Had I gotten to it right away I would have cappings-scratcher removed the drone brood and extracted the frame. Having procrastinated long enough to let the SHB larvae get going, I trashed a single frame in a 9-frame super. My bad.

Now, at the same time, the Chair of the Apiary Industry Advisory Committee in NYS, who runs at most a dozen hives in his back yard is experiencing problems with SHB and has gone on record with the NYS Commissioner of Agriculture that SHB is a major problem in New York State.

So as all things in beekeeping, YMMV.


Me: Thanks for the update. I wondered. SHB is showing up in southern Ontario and southern B.C.

They are worried it will show up here, but I have heard that they have already been here a few times, but did not get a foothold, and were not reported.

Reporting things gets borders closed, etc...

May I quote you?


Aa: Absolutely. In a nutshell. In my (our?) climate, good beekeeping trumps SHB.

I'd say we don't want SHB, but doubt it will be a big issue when it comes.

I watched YouTube on my LG Smart TV for a while and was surprised (a bit)  that YouTube knew me without my entering credentials (that I can remember) and had my viewing history and 'watch later' list at hand when  I did sign in.

YouTube has not run well on that TV in the past, but now runs smoothly and in HD at times.  The Smart TV or YouTube response is slow, however, compared to my computer, phone or tablet. I can also run video from my computer through HDMI or other options, I suppose.

I went to bed early for me, at 2200.

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Faith branches off the highroad before reason begins
William James

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Sunday November 8th 2015

Today A mix of sun and cloud. High 9.
Tonight Partly cloudy. Becoming cloudy this evening. Wind north 20 km/h gusting to 40 becoming light after midnight. Low minus 1.

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 over eight hours last night, but not without waking up at midnight and taking two Benadryl (diphenhydramine) for allergy.  I tend to forget that I get stuffed up and sleepless from dust in the basement shop.

I was up for a half-hour and during that time I put some frozen chicken breasts into the crock pot.  I also looked at my trailer work and noticed the springs still look a bit sagged by the position of the hangers.  I am now wondering if they are the original springs, or replacements that are a bit longer.

I've also realized why the springs were sagged.  These boat trailer springs are designed for eight hundred pounds since the boat weighs maybe three hundred pounds, maximum, and a load of eight hundred would be the most to be expected with gear and luggage inside.

The wild card is what happened if the boat was abandoned outside without a tarp through heavy rains or over winter without a drain, as I believe it was before we got it.   One foot of accumulated water would add a ton to the boat weight and if the boat filled right up, two tons!

I know that probably happened since we had to re-glass the centerboard box where it had split from the inner hull all around due to damage from ice formation between the liner and hull. If there was that much water, there could have been much more.

I notice, that the house is getting messy again.  I am halfway though throwing out clothes and the kitchen needs its daily cleanup. The chicken in the crock pot has to be made into soup. I only did half the vacuuming the other day and there is more to do.  I have a pile of paper on this desk... 

I'll work downstairs again today, too, but hope to get outdoors for a while.

In the morning, I am full of ambition, but I find that I am only good for about six to eight hours of actual physical activity in a day, then need to chill.  Also, I am find I am weary mentally in the evenings and tend to spend two hours watching video when I could be working on research into various current topics. I suppose this is all part of growing old.

My computer has stopped crashing, but I notice some occasional hesitation and freezing in the cursor. 

This computer is running the Synergy client now and previously it was running the server whereas it previously was the server.  I am not sure what the issue is.  It could be an interrupt conflict affecting the wireless keyboard & mouse software or it could be something affecting the wireless connection to the router. 

I have noticed some instability in the wireless router connection previously, with occasional disconnections and reconnections.  For smooth keyboard and mouse action, the TCP/IP connection through the router to the Synergy server on the computer next to it must be continuous.  My microwave oven affects the connection, as, possibly does placing other devices sharing the same microwave band nearby.

I've recently taken to rebooting Windows more often.  In the past, I did not shut down this machine for weeks on end, but I know that Windows definitely benefits from rebooting and that maybe frequent rebooting is beneficial.  I don't know the details, but there seem to be some self-analysis and repair routines that run during shutdown and startup.

The above got me thinking and I checked the priority of the services.  On the server, synergys.exe had a 'high' priority, but on the client, only 'normal'.  I raised the priority on the client and we will see.

So far, it works!  I tried 'high' and still see some stutter occasionally, so moved to 'realtime'.  I am reluctant to do so for fear of crippling something more important, so we will see if it helps and if there is any fallout.

Nope that did not fix the Synergy problem.  I think it may be a network issue.

*   *   *   *   *

I did some tidying, some computer sleuthing, some research and made some soup.  So  far, I did not go down to the shop or outdoors and it is now 1503.

I decided I am slightly depressed today and find that interesting.  Both my thumb joints hurt, too, and I cannot associate that with the work I did yesterday as I cannot think what I might have done with each hand to cause that on both thumbs.  I suspect the depression and the thumb problem are part of the same thing, whatever that might be.

Allergies?  Getting my hands dirty and greasy, then washing them?  That is the only thing that happened to both hands yesterday.  I did get some advanced formula bearing grease on them and washed both with soap -- hand cleaners are too harsh for me -- and I applied hand lotion.

Why am I a bit depressed?  Well,  I am faced with starting up the furnace job again and that means committing further to this place when ideally, I would be leaving it.

Although I can normally avoid the thought, this brings me face to face with dealing with this huge place and the accumulated treasures of almost fifty years of both my wife and myself living here.  And they are indeed treasures.  I have a house full of good artwork and a shop full of tools and pretty well everything I could need.

I have reached and passed, however, the point where I am ready to move on.  In fact I passed that point years ago but my wife wanted to stay.  We stayed. That was almost fifteen years ago.

Leaving my wife being in charge of the daily matters, I was free to travel as much as I liked and that worked well for both of us.

My plan, failing to obtain her agreement to sell at that time when I was younger and more ambitious for the job of cleaning up and selling was to die first and leave her with the problem of what to do with this place she so loved, but she beat me to the punch.

When my wife died, I was left with the full responsibility for this place.  So, I am faced with the problem of what to do.  Thus far, it has not been a huge burden, but time has passed and I find I do not have the enthusiasm I had hoped I would develop for this conundrum....

I could just ignore the problem, carry on until I can't and eventually be carried out, leaving the job of sorting it all out to my heirs or I can try to deal with it.  That means either selling the place somehow or downsizing everything.  I can now see why farmers have auctions.  They just want to be rid of everything without having to think about each little item or cart it all away themselves.

At any rate, with sore hands, I figured I should spend a day doing less physical work.  As for the mild depression, I realise it is weekend and I don't have much of a social life this week. I should be on the coast or down east around now, but have this job ahead of me and I don't have a lot of friends around here.  More reason to move, I suppose.

How do I start?

I'm not getting far with troubleshooting the cursor pauses, but I am reacquainting myself with the diagnostic tools inside Windows.  I'm increasingly sure the issue is with the Broadcom wireless.  It has been flakey for a long time and I have observed it losing connection, the reconnecting in the past.

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Monday November 9th 2015

Today Cloudy. 60 percent chance of flurries changing to 60 percent chance of rain showers or flurries near noon. Risk of freezing drizzle early this morning. Wind north 20 km/h gusting to 40. High plus 4.
Tonight Cloudy with 60 percent chance of flurries this evening and after midnight. Clearing before morning. Wind north 20 km/h gusting to 40 becoming light near midnight. Low minus 9.

Normals: Max: 2C  Min: -8C
 Sunrise: 7:41     Sunset: 16:53

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

As of today, here in Central Alberta our day length is down to 9 hours and 15 minute.  At its highest point at noon today the sun will be only 22 above the southern horizon.   In comparison, in Los Angeles the sun will climb to 39 at noon today and in Road Town, Tortola, BVI, 55.  On midsummer's day the sun here in Central Alberta reaches 62.

By winter solstice on December 21st we will have lost another hour and twenty-one minutes of daylight and have less than eight hours of sun.  By winter solstice the angle at noon will be only 16! 

Shorter days and lower sun angles mean less solar gain each day, colder days and nights and greater load on my heating system. The image at left shows climate history in this region with highs, lows, means and extremes. 

The extremes are of the greatest interest as they do the most damage even though they are often brief and transient.  As with most things, the average (dotted line) does not look too worrisome.  The coldest average is only minus ten degrees Celsius.  Bees and houses are not under threat at these temperatures. 

A closer look, however, reveals that minus forty is a possibility, and we know from experience that a week or more of temperatures in that range can come along.  I can recall minus forty-five.

This chart does not show winds and even light winds can greatly increase the effects of cold weather.  If the winds pick up snow, that makes matters worse. 

Drifting snow can pack into hives and drifting snow creates drifts, limits visibility and creates conditions that makes travel difficult and risky.  Vehicles won't start or get stuck.  Roads become blocked or closed.  People responsible for tending empty buildings may not be able to get to them to check on the heating right when they need to the most and if power fails, linemen may not be able to get out to restore electricity in a timely manner.  Even if they can get through snowy roads, working on transmission lines and climbing up poles  at minus forty with chill winds can be unbearable.

Extreme climate events  -- temperature or cold winds with blowing snow -- have a huge impact not only on people, homes and machinery, but also on on bee wintering. 

These extreme weather events may last for a short while, or for days and people may not even be particularly aware of them if they happen at night or other times when they are indoors, or while they are away on a trip. 

Nonetheless, permanent damage to bee colonies, homes, water lines, and animals may occur quite quickly during these events -- and the real cause of the damage may not be apparent even a short while later.

Each year at this time, I am forced to face weather concerns that fade into the background in March each year as days lengthen and weather moderates.  I realise that I have 'frozen', and done almost nothing since this time last year. 

I have been at almost exactly this point each previous November at this time.  In fact we discussed my conundrum in the forum last fall.

Have I made any progress?  Am I just running in a circle, or is it a spiral? 

While I may appear to be the same place, there are changes.  I am getting older and the horizon is growing closer.  I am also becoming aware, over the past year or two, that I am less ambitious and less capable, and that limits my options and should simplify my choices. 

I'm not sure this is as obvious to others as it is to me.

As I see it, my options are to somehow sell this place and move or to mothball it for winter.

  • To sell, I imagine I need to clean up the yard and dispose of most of my possessions.  I also wonder if I need to remedy deficiencies in the wiring, etc.  Maybe not.  Maybe I could just sell as-is?  Most of my possessions are easy to unload, but others, like my wife's art are more problematic.  Regardless of what I do or don't do, someone will have to deal with this sooner or later.  My kids don 't seem very interested in discussing this.
    Regardless, this is not something I am likely to accomplish in the next few months.

  • To mothball, I have to accept that I'll have to either dispose of my plants or provide them with a safe space. Ruth and Dave are always happy to have Zippy.  As for the building, I would need to have some amount of heat in the building to prevent freezing of the basement floors.  When we bought this place, the basement floors had been frozen and had heaved up.  Fortunately the gym floor did go back into place, but the north end floor never did recover and had to be re-poured.  Nails on drywall had also popped from the temperature changes.

    In the short term, the obvious answer is to get reliable background heat, deal with the plants and drain the plumbing when going away.  Then stop worrying.

Background heating requirements are much less than

If I do mothball the place, I still have to return home every month due to health insurance considerations, plus I do like to ski and see friends here. Coming and going means draining the water system on departure, then  turning the water back on and restoring heat on return,  then draining lines and fixtures again before leaving again. This may need more thought.

I could also decide to drain the water and take my chances with the plants.  Replacing plants or doing without them is not as great a hardship as destroying the water piping and fixtures.  My plants are worth $1,000 at most.

I realise that I am just recycling ideas from the forum last year.  I'm a slow learner, I guess. I see I decided not to sell.  That is something to reconsider as each year rolls around.

I know for certain that I need to cut down on my bee habit.  I was almost completely out of bees, but built back up when Ellen was ill to have something to do.  I'm now finding it is beyond my abilities and my ambitions.  Judging by the trend, my interest is likely to decline and my abilities likewise.

*   *   *   *   *

I'm cheered up now.  I think I had a touch of some bug or maybe allergies.  My thumbs are better, but my digestion was a bit off today, so maybe the punk feeling was not due an attack of existential angst, but rather something physical. I still do not feel like doing cartwheels, however.

If it is allergies from working downstairs, that will be a problem.  I need to spend a lot of time there in the coming weeks.

I had  a nap this afternoon, then did some filing.  I've been forgetting to nap and napping really does help.  The filing somewhat relieved my pent-up need to get more organized and get back down where I can see the desktop. 

I dropped a stack of papers here a few days back, accumulated from when I was travelling and when I was in hospital. They are the pieces that were not processed, which need action, or are hard to file.

What happens is that I lay it all out and there are always some items I don't know how to file or which are in progress.  They are laid out in fifteen or so short, neat stacks on the dining table and I am working through them nicely, but then decide to have company for supper or pack up to go travelling, so I pick them up into one big stack to put out of the way. 

Later, I forget to get working on them again.  Today I tackled the job.

I'm also catching up again on my research for the gas installation project.  In the past, I had researched the parameters and options in depth, and got very close to action, but never followed through for various reasons.

I am always working on many diverse topics at once and new thoughts crowd out the old.  Some people can remember everything they have ever done, but I have a mercifully short memory. 

Actually, I tell myself, my memory is not all that short.  Rather, like Sherlock Holmes, I just don't bother remembering things that are not currently relevant.  If pressed, I can usually dredge up memories if I have to.  I don't have total recall, however.  I have turtle recall.

Names and faces escape me sometimes, though.  Not for people I know well, but for people I don't know well. 

Usually I need a really good reason to remember people I have not met numerous times.   Some people want to know everything about everyone.  I don't.

I was in the West Marine store in Victoria the other day and a familiar-looking couple approached me an greeted me enthusiastically.  Apparently we had shared some magic moments in the not too distant past, but I still cannot place them.  It bothered me then and it still does.

Nancy began work on my boat upholstery today.  The job should be done by the end of the week with any luck.  I'm looking forward to seeing the results, but am scheduled to go to California before I'll have a real chance to get to the Coast.

...And then  there is the furnace issue.  How long that will take is still up in the air.  I still have to clear the space to work...

Charlie wrote me tonight, so I got out my cost and heating history spreadsheet and took a look.  I have to check it over for errors, but It appears that at current prices, if my calculations are correct and they may not be, gas may be cheaper than coal and 92% efficiency might not save much over 82%.
 

> The two questions I would ask and research the daylights out of are as follows:
> 1. what is the average repair costs for this equipment

1a. And can I repair it myself reasonably quickly.
1b. Are the likely failures predictable and can I keep the required spare parts around?

> 2. what is the mean time between failures

This is one reason I have not rushed in. I have been observing friends who have high efficiency boilers and they have gone through several in ten years or so. The same friends recommended using a high efficiency hot water tank instead last time we talked.

My daughter's high efficiency gas furnace has been trouble-free after a minor initial issue.

> It has come to my attention that these new high-efficiency furnaces have $500 control boards and they like to die every couple of years. Whereas my 40-year-old furnace has a thermal coupler, a quarter horse electric motor and a belt and I might have $200 in repairs every 20 years. To gain an extra 20% efficiency when one the majority of the gas bill is delivery charges and other BS it clearly doesn't make economic sense in my mind to spend way more money on a high-efficiency furnace only to have your wallet sucked dry in repairs.

Good point. With current gas prices, I don't see a huge savings by going high efficiency.

> Maybe the high-efficiency refers to the furnace bleeding money out of your wallet.

> My aunt is to gas fireplaces of which neither one works and her new high-efficiency furnace has decided to die today. As the executor of the estate I'm expecting $1000 bill by the time I get heat in the house because of all of this high tech crap.

If reliability and low initial cost is the goal, maybe you are right.  I wonder if the codes allow low efficiency furnaces these days.

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The scientific name for an animal that doesn't either run from or fight its enemies is lunch.
Michael Friedman

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