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I was worrying that I might miss my departure for China, but was I going by air, rail, or ??? I racked my brain for details and realised I don't have any reservations to China -- or anywhere, then I woke up a little more and craned my neck to look at the clock. Morning had arrived.
I got up and weighed myself: 222.0. Hmmm.
I started the month of January at 230+/-, so I did not meet my goal of 220 for the month, but two pounds is just a rounding error (right?) and, besides, any loss at this time of year is an accomplishment (right?). No sense beating myself up over two pounds measured on an arbitrary date (right?).
We have half-light at 0707 these days. The seasons are changing quickly and people are thinking about bees gain. I'm not.
I'm thrilled at my progress thus far in cleaning up the yard and my burning permit is still good for a few more days, so I hope to keep going today. The forecast is for flurries this morning, so we will see.
* * * * *
I always appreciate emails and forum posts from readers, (and I am always amazed I have readers). Today, I received this:
Thanks! Excellent article.
Although I do count calories, since calorie counting is simple, pseudo-mathematical, and works to some extent -- and has been the Gold Standard for years -- I have been monitoring the progress of the work to understand glycemic effects for years and understood that all calories -- or people -- are not equal.
I have also always known, back into my twenties and perhaps earlier, that foods act as a drug as well as providing fuel. And not long ago, I posted a picture (which I did not realise at the time might be more suggestive than intended) showing fruit and pills and asked,
Although I am not diabetic, I have tracked my blood sugar after meals for a decade now, beginning back when doing so made one a kook and brought questioning looks at the pharmacy or doctors' office.
* * * * *
* * * * *
Enough fooling around. Let's go burn some boxes!
Ooops. Maybe not. We have an 8 MPH SE wind. Not only is that enough to go kiting, but it is enough to make a fire want to wander away from its intended location. It is also blowing towards trees I do not want to kill.
* * * * *
Decisions. Decisions. The wind came up around 1030 and switched from NW to E to SE. It is right in the range for my 18 metre kite (4.5 to 12 Knots), but is dropping and can be expected to keep changing direction. The temp is up to near freezing. Seems perfect. Will it be by the time I get ready and get out there? We'll see.
* * * * *
Around two-thirty, the wind was still steady from the SE, so I took out my 8.5 foil, started the truck and drove south along the tracks.
I stopped along the way to look at where I had been burning and see a pretty clean burn. There is a bit to rake up later, but when I think of the mess that was there and imagine the grass I'll have growing there instead this summer, I am in bliss.
* * * * *
The wind was excellent today. It was a bit shifty and gusty, but nothing like the last day I went out there. The snow, though was icy and rutted. When I got going, I was afraid I'd never stop, but I did.
I ripped up and down the slope on the neighbour's open field until about 1700 when I found myself becalmed near my east property line.
Tilt. Game over.
Just as well. I was dead tired and did not have enough sense to quit.
By the time I retrieved my kite and lines (lines are $75 a set) it was six o'clock anyhow and I was in pain that I did not notice until I stopped. I'm a beekeeper. Pain is just part of the day.
What ever happened to listening?
Will I ever be? Maybe when I weigh 190 or less.
The fundamental nature of
exploration is that we don't know what’s there.
I slept eight hours, but somewhat fitfully with dreams again, perhaps due to taking two ibuprofen for the rib pain last evening.
I weigh 221.8, down a mere 0.2 lbs in spite of a Fatsecret estimated 4,350 calorie deficit yesterday. I wonder if, besides curious dreams, ibuprofen causes fluid retention, too. Let's ask Google.
I plan to attend the Bluewater Cruising Association meeting in Calgary tonight, since I hold a position in the Association's watchkeepers and especially because I have a burgee that is needed for the upcoming Calgary Boat Show,.
Seeing as I have to go deep into the bowels of Cowtown, something I try to avoid normally, I plan to accomplish some chores along the way. Exactly what, I have yet to decide. I want to go to Princess Auto to get some tarps and straps for a roof carrier to use on my forthcoming trip to Mammoth Lakes, and I have a pump to return to Canadian Tire. It is the second I bought and the second that does not work.
Eagle, Weed, Chestermere and MacDonald lakes are more or less along the route, so I might need to stop and do some kiting, too. So far, though, the wind forecasts are unpromising, especially for mid to late afternoon.
* * * * *
Sometimes I make a stew that is better than usual and I try to recall what went into it. Yesterday's was excellent, especially since I did not overcook it and the textures are interesting.
At the same time, I am looking to why the new kite does not fly as expected and the cause may be in the layout of the lines on the bar I was using. Adjustments are made using knots (right) and eyes. A larks head is made with the loop and slipped over a figure of eight knot or overhand knot making a tight, safe connection that can disconnected in seconds with bare hands in the cold or wet.
Around four, I drove to Calgary. I drove Cranberry since I had not taken the car out for a while and it was time for a run. The car has not been winter-driven in its lifetime so far, and the roads are currently bare and dry so this seemed like the time. This 1993 Grand Marquis is a sweet ride: full load and cushy to drive.
I drove to Princess Auto and bought tarps and straps for a roof carrier and proceeded to Tecumseh, arrived at 1900 on the dot, signed in, and upstairs went to the mess and joined the others for the BCA meeting.
The presentation was about the Great Loop and I was a bit surprised at how much of it was familiar. After my posts to the Calgary Beekeepers group, and realizing that I was at the various Alberta historical beekeeping events of significance, I am beginning to feel like I'm a sort of Forrest Gump.
On the way home, I was treated to an amazing display of northern lights. At times they seemed only a mile away and a half-mile from the ground. They were bright and close, but white, not coloured like those in the link. When I arrived home, the show ended. More.
I drove home, watched an episode of Grey's Anatomy, and went to bed.
We all know what to do.
221.6. Down another 0.2 pounds.
It's a beautiful day with no wind. No kiting.
Gotta get out and burn!
I did and as soon as I lit some fires, the wind started up from the south and this would have been a good afternoon of kiting, right outside my door, a better day for kiting than burning.
As it was, the breeze worried me because one fast-burning stack of pallets was close upwind from some old tires and one thing I don't want to burn is a pile of tires. They burn forever and stink, and make black smoke that attracts complaints -- and fines.
Why am I cleaning up? I'm glad you asked.
SHB is the latest make-work project for regulators. Although there is little risk that SHB will ever be an economic pest in Alberta or even become any more of a nuisance than wax moth, SHB is the latest scare and an excuse to maintain an embargo against cheap US package bees.
If we had cheap replacement stock, we would have a lot less need for regulators or assistance coping with our severe and unpredictable climate.
I worked all afternoon, setting and watching fires. The snow keeps wood piles isolated so that the whole thing does not go up at once. Looking out at dusk (1730), I see that some piles are still burning freely. There is no risk of spread, however.
Over the years, old equipment was stacked out of the way and projects that were no longer of interest or which had not worked quite as expected joined them. Old pallets also accumulated as I had no easy and cheap way to get rid of these things until now that fire permits have become less of a hassle.
Still, disposing of these things is not cheap if you figure my time. It will take an entire week of burning and then a few trips to the dump. Just the same, if I had to haul all this to the dump instead of volatizing it, the job would be ten times bigger.
As it grew darker, I glanced out the window and could see that one fire that had been slow all afternoon has flared up. That's good, but I hope it does not alarm the neighbours. Good thing I have a permit.
At bedtime, I looked out and see the fire has died down to almost nothing. Excellent. I don't want someone bothering me in the middle of the night.
Politics is not a bad profession. If
you succeed there are many rewards,
"Wind becoming northwest 20 km/h gusting to 40 this afternoon".
No burning for me today. 5 or 10 MPH (8 to 16 KPH) is too much, so 12 to 25 is far too much. Might be good for kiting, though
The scale says 220.2. At last, I have reached my goal for January.
My bladder had me up a few times last night though, so I assume the loss is water. Often I sleep right through, but not last night.
If I look at my recent progress, I look like a Trojan, stalwartly defending my intentions and progressing steadily to my goal. The unrecorded period is the time I was on my boat, but we can assume fairly safely that nothing much outside the normal range happened during that time. Nothing that would argue with the trend, though.
That is what I want to believe and what readers might love to see, and we could leave it at that and remember it that way.
Most people would believe what is portrayed, and think no father. After all there is a chart with convincing-looking data points.
* * * * *
But wait, let's look back a bit farther and see more of the picture.
How we kid ourselves if we don't keep careful track! It's deja vue all over again. We could have easily deceived ourselves with limited data and believed something that is not necessarily the take-home message.
If that November recorded weight is correct, then I was here before and I don 't recall. I have to believe my data and there is that one data point.
The data point is for October 30, so, I read the October 30th diary. No mention of weight. Hmmm.
In the October 20th diary, I say
Odd. I cannot find that number in the diary after returning from Thanksgiving trip to the coast, so I did a honeybeeworld.com search for '228.4' and found that I recorded that exact number in the Aug 10 diary, Aug 20 diary, the Sept 20 diary, November 1st diary, and December 1st diary pages, so I had been referring to the first (September) trip to the coast, not the more recent trip. Words are easy to misinterpret.
All this illustrates exactly what happens in more studies than anyone knows. Words are ambiguous, there are lapses in data recording or an instrument acts up or is replaced, someone gets sick, goes on holidays, gets annoyed with the supervisor, or sees results that will cause a stir and cooks the data to 'what it should be', etc. etc. If the assistants don't fudge the data, then the researcher may very well adjust it or drop seemingly inconsistent data points or observations on the basis that they must be errors.
This why so much Bee Science turns out to be BS, and it is not just bee science. Read this.
I am not saying that we deceive others deliberately, but it is just natural for us to deceive ourselves first and see what we want or expect to see, then want to share our delusions. In fact, our lives would be impossible if we did not deceive ourselves constantly. Civilizations are built on shared delusions.
In my house, they are, but my friends are special. Not everyone can stand having their cherished notions challenged, and some people are very fragile that way.
Here is my tryout of VoiceNote II - Speech to text:
I am spending far more time than I should on this diary today.
The one thing that stands out is that we seldom know what we are doing and any snapshot is just that a snapshot. When we look out our window, we can only see what is in front of us at the moment and not what is surrounding, or even within ourselves.
Should I try to reconstruct the chart? Maybe. I can just search the diary page by page for "22" and "21". Tedious? Yes. Worth it? Dunno.
* * * * *
I have noticed the chimney is not drawing as well as it might, so I cleaned out the bottom of the chimney yesterday and found two dead birds in the ashes. Sad, I thought, but now I wonder now if they built a nest there in summer when the furnace was off, then were killed when it started up. I also wonder if the nest is still there. I'll have to look up there and see.
* * * * *
I went south of the pond and see I have lots of burning I can do even if it gets breezy. As much as I have accomplished, I am not yet one half done.
OK! I reconstructed the Fatsecret chart and the values are from my daily diary, so they are truly what I saw at the time. My only reservation is that I changed scales early on, then the scale seemed to wander a bit at one point, but neither is sufficient variation to affect my conclusions.
Now I am going outside. It is dull out there and breezy, so I am not excited to go, but a man has to do what a man has to do.
I went out and burned up piles of dreams. These hive floors, lids and pallets were assembled at varying times over the past century by people spending years at the task at various locations all over Alberta.
These parts served us well until we palletized and did not need them any more. I advertised them but people were never very interested and those who seemed to be turned out to be just another problem, not the solution. They wanted them for nothing and if they got them for nothing or some token amount would pick through and leave me a mess.
I torched one pile and was considering saving some back, but my phone rang, then I got an email regarding a boat I am buying. I went in for a moment and when I came back the pile I had been saving was involved so I figured that fate had helped me decide and let it go, too.
There was a lot of good stuff those piles, but a lot of problems too. Also, the remains of old projects, begun and abandoned. Time to let go. A person can't do everything.
The promised wind never did arrive, and that was fortunate, so, after I got a few piles going, I got bold and lit a few more. I suppose I could have just torched all the trash the first day, but it took me a while to get used to how the fires burn and also decide how much to burn. This is a learning experience. It will take me many more days to finish, but I am approaching halfway.
Tomorrow, I go iceboating at the Ghost. Last summer at Bee Day, a fellow beekeeper invited me to go sometime and today we arranged for tomorrow. This should be interesting. I have always wanted to try it and almost bought an iceboat at one point, but have never been on one -- yet.
I keep getting notes of approval from Calgary Bee club members saying, "Keep posting." There was one in the forum today. I see we continue to get a few new members in the forum. We appreciate every question, comment, or reply. Thanks folks!
All that is human must retrograde if it does not advance.
That was the worst night's sleep in a long time. I don't know if it was smoke from the fires, the fact that my furnace was smoking a little, my diet and the pepper in the stews, my medications, avoiding alcohol, or just one of those inexplicable cycles in my life. Whatever the cause, I slept fitfully when I slept and worried about things I don't normally worry about. Finally, some time after four AM, I got up and drank a cup of coffee. After that, I slept soundly until 0730.
When I got up, I found my kitchen radio would not turn on. The failure may have been due to overwatering a plant that sits on top of it, but I suspect it is just another failure of early 2000s electronics caused by the capacitor plague. I suspect the latter as I noticed some deterioration in the radio's performance recently. Cassiopeia's chart plotters have come down with this malady recently as well, and I am looking at again replacing the multifunction display unit I recently replaced.
I weigh 220.8 today, up 0.6 pounds in spite of a large calorie deficit and care in selection of food yesterday. Bad sleep adds weight, plus I ate and drank water and coffee during the night. Eggs are 2 oz each and water weighs 8 oz per cup. When we are dealing in tenths of a pound, 2 eggs and a cup of coffee translates to 10oz or 0.6 lb! What a coincidence.
Yesterday, I spent far too long on this diary. That will have to end for now. Today I am going iceboating at the Ghost and have some shopping to do. For whatever reason, my furnace is smoking a bit and I'll have to troubleshoot that before I go. It is probably time for the routine furnace service that I do twice a year.
I drove to the Ghost and met up with Randy. It turns out that he has an excellent, two-person ice boat. We rigged and set out, and before long we were going close to 100 MPH over the bare ice. Temperatures were around +8°C and the ice surface was melting, providing a very slick surface, so slick that standing and walking on the ice was hazardous.
I shopped on the way home, watched video, and checked the furnace, then went to bed.
Three o'clock is always too late or
too early for anything you want to do.
I woke up at a bit after three and seeing as I was wide awake, got up. I weigh 220.0 in spite of only sleeping four hours.
I got a whiff of smoke again and went down to find the ashes were up over the ring. They were okay last night, but getting near the limit.
A sudden accumulation can build up sometimes, and it seems I must have hit a pocket of shale in the coal again overnight. When that happens, a lot of material passes through and is is thrown over unburned.
Sometimes the furnace can run unattended, even in winter, for up to two weeks without needing attention, but this time, it was one week to the day before ashes became a problem. I shoveled the ashes and went back to bed.
I woke up again at seven. Breakfast is at The Mill today and I am of two minds about going. I have things to do here and what is served is definitely not on my list of ideal foods. Crepes, syrup, jam, whipped cream, bacon, and fruit. The fruit is okay, I suppose, but I go for the company.
I had thought maybe to go up to Gull Lake afterwards for the day and an overnight since I would be twenty minutes along the route already, but Orams have basketball and volleyball and the winds at Gull are predicted to be very strong and gusty.
I decided that I need to get out more, so I did go to breakfast and did carry on to Gull Lake. Mckenzie was playing basketball in Sylvan, but the games were over when I got there, so I continued on and checked Sunnyside, found no one kiting, and drove to Birch Bay where I drove out onto the ice a way to get away from air turbulence.
Even out there the wind was gusty and twisty, but I took out my trainer kite and took some runs. From moment to moment the air currents ranged from zephyrs to violent blasts, but I had a few satisfactory runs before an especially powerful gust ripped the kite from my hands, threw me down and broke the brake strap.
I got back up and saw my kite vanishing rapidly downwind, and wondered if I would ever see it again. As I tried to recall the replacement cost, I made the slow quarter-mile trek back to the van over six inch crusty snow in ski boots, carrying my skis. When I glanced back could still see the kite skidding away, then stopping before carrying on, getting smaller in the distance. I rushed a bit, but decided that I shouldn't kill myself over a kite and rested a bit.
Once, at the van, I changed to street boots and drove the van out across the lake towards a dark speck on the horizon and I managed to catch and head off the skidding kite, bundle it up in the howling wind, and thrust it into a downwind van side door.
Not having much choice since this was my smallest kite, I decided to quit, and drove to the house. I was tired from the early day and the kiting and lay down for a nap. When I woke up I was groggy and think I may be fighting some bug. If so, that might explain the disturbed sleep the past few nights.
I try to keep a record of food and exercise and am pretty faithful in doing so lately. Here is the summary for February so far.
It seems that this month I run a daily deficit of about 1,400 calories and that should result in losing about half-pound a day according to theory.
Here is January:
Over the month, the deficit averaged 1,600 calories a day and should have reduced me by 13 pounds. It did not. I went from 229 to 222, half the estimate.
Here is December:
I should have dropped 12 pounds, but dropped 4.
Although there are many explanations, I suspect that the estimates for the calories and exercise are just that, estimates. Food estimates are probably optimistic on the low side and exercise on the high side, to make us feel good.
The deficit totaled from Dec 1 to now is 103,180 calories if I did the math correctly and their totals are correct. That calculates to 28 pounds of lost fat. I weighed 234 on Dec 3 and weigh 220 now, a difference of half of that, so something is fishy.
It does not really matter, though. What matters is that I am making good progress in the right direction and if I am kidding myself half the time, it does not matter. I as I have said recently, kidding ourselves and pretending is what makes life tolerable and even fun. Given what we know and what we don't, if we did not kid ourselves or pretend, we could not function in society.
Politics is the art of looking for
trouble, finding it whether it exists or not, diagnosing it incorrectly,
and applying the wrong remedy.
I woke up at 0300 again. I don't know why. I was not fretting about anything. I was just awake.
The winds here at Gull do not look too promising today according to some reports but windguru seems to think I have a chance.
Medhat sent me the agenda for the upcoming Beekeeping Systems and Integrated Pest Management Workshop February 9 and 10. I had not intended to go, but looking at the programme, I'm thinking now that I might. It is expensive, for a retired sideline guy with no dog in the fight, but I am still alive and I still care. With travel and hotel, it adds up to $500 at least.
There are many political aspects to beekeeping; bureaucratic decisions and fashion can very much impact what is acceptable and marketable, so it pays to keep up with the day's buzz, even if it what's new is often just based on speculation and arbitrary rulings.
I left Birch Bay before lunch and drove to Aspen beach where there was suppose to be 10 knots of wind according to an automated email I received. I drove out onto the lake and found there was barely a hint of wind. That gave me a chance to straighten out the kites that had tangled yesterday.
That accomplished, and with no promise of wind, I started to leave, but when I was turning around I found I was stuck. The snow was crusty and the ice under it was slick and there were packed sections where others had driven, making ridges.
I tried the usual tricks and after ten minutes decided to put on my chains. That is when I found that installing them was almost impossible when the wheel was deep in snow. I already knew that, but I had no shovel, so after another ten minutes and freezing my hands, I went to plan B. I let half the air out of the front tires. That softened the tires enough that I was able to drive right out.
On the way, I bought gas. The price is down to 66.9 and after the 7-cent discount, that puts gas under 60 cents. We never thought we would ever see that again!
Never ascribe to malice, that which
can be explained by incompetence.
I woke up at around 0300 again, so I got up and got to work. I have decided I am going to Edmonton for at least one day and I have a lot of things to do. I'll go back to bed in a while, but there is no sense lying there if I am not sleeping.
I did some desk work, had breakfast and coffee, and then went back to bed at 0505 and slept well until 0905.
While up, I updated LibreOffice to LibreOffice Fresh -- version 5. There is s trick to it. I was getting 1402 errors on both computers, but uninstalled the existing version using this hard-to-find fixit: MicrosoftFixit.ProgramInstallUninstall.Run.exe. After that, the new version installed easily.
I weigh 119.2 today!
I did deskwork in the morning, then cleaned out the chimney. It is a dirty job, but makes quite a difference.
I had thought the main chimney might be blocked, but we can see that looking up and down it was clear. The horizontal section, though, was clogged. The picture at right below was taken after some of the blockage was cleared. I also found and patched a hole in the cleanout that leaked smoke when the chimney was not drawing. It is all good now.
I left home around 2000 and stopped at Mike's to pick up some door prizes for the IPM meeting then drove to Orams'. I arrived a little after 2100 and everyone was already in bed. I went to bed after watching a bit of video and fell asleep immediately.
Imagination was given to man
to compensate him for what he is not, and a sense of humor was provided
to console him for what he is.
I slept well and awoke from dreams to the smell of coffee.
I weight 218.6 today. I'm off to the IPM workshop.
Zippy is problem. I am leaving her with Jean, but she has misbehaved here before, barking constantly and messing where she should not. Apparently Zip does not like Nathan and Sophie and misbehaves here.
For some reason, she is no such trouble at the Mill, but Fen was going to be away, too, and could not take her. I'll be leaving her with Ruth when I go away next, but am finding that she is getting to be a problem if I can't leave her places when I must.
I left around 0730 and drove to Edmonton, arriving in time for the main part of the workshop.
I found nothing particularly earth-shattering in the first few presentations, but I did shoot a few slides. Steve Pernal presented on AFB transmission, a topic of interest lately, but did not mention which strains of bee were used.
Oddly, this document is not on the Alberta Beekeepers website as I had expected it to be.
The other side (below) is of interest, too.
Everything was clarified soon enough in a presentation entitled Alberta Agriculture Response Plans; What is it all about? in which Medhat first explained how hard Small Hive Beetle (SHB) is to detect in small numbers, how a few beetles can reproduce into vast populations quite rapidly given the right conditions, and then introduced Dr. Delores Peters to explain how Alberta Agriculture plans to implement an inspection and permit regime for bees moving From BC to Alberta and within the province anyhow.
When it was time for questions, I pointed out the letter in my hand and asked if they were aware of the Commission's opposition to the plan and also asked if the Commission had changed its stand since the letter was written in December. They were aware and the Commission is still opposed.
Apparently government has learned nothing from the attempts to control the spread of tracheal and varroa mites, although the beekeepers have and are aware of the futility and cost of such interventions. Nobody knows if this plan will do any good at all -- or if SHB is even likely to be an economically significant pest in Alberta -- experience elsewhere suggest not -- but we do know the disruption and expense that this project will entail.
Apparently, Alberta Agriculture has taken this on without full consultation with all stakeholders or BC and against the explicit advice and requests of the organization that represents virtually all Alberta Beekeepers.
This situation is bizarre to say the least. For the Alberta Agriculture to ignore the representatives of the affected industry and rush to action seems most inappropriate. Is this even legal? Stay tuned.
There was some discussion, but clearly there is much left to be said. There was another item on the programme, but I left and went to the bar.
I was there all evening visiting with the all the various beekeepers who get together at such events. We are very much like family. We all know one another and have things in common. People bicker sometimes and even fight, but get back together after a while and continue as if nothing ever happened.
I see a lot more young people lately. Beekeeping is a family business and very often at least some of the kids stay in the occupation with the folks or strike out on their own. I see another new generation taking over.
Jean reported Zippy was okay so I got a room and stayed the night
I'm not a real movie star.
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