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 October 2018

 

 

 

 

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Background image - A foggy, rainy morning at 1207

 

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 Wednesday October 10th 2018

Today Periods of light snow ending this morning then cloudy with 30 percent chance of flurries. Fog patches this morning. Wind southeast 20 km/h becoming light near noon. High plus 1. UV index 2 or low.
Tonight Cloudy with 30 percent chance of flurries. Wind up to 15 km/h. Low minus 4. Wind chill minus 3 in the evening and minus 8 overnight.

I woke up at six and dozed until seven, then got up.  I have to pack today and I'll help Bill get a length of tower this afternoon. At seven-thirty I fly from YSB and at half-past midnight, I should be meeting Bert at YYC.  I expect to be home in Swalwell, in bed, around two.

In Mexico, I see Sergio is still on track but is now just a storm (winds 39-73 MPH). The storm warning (yellow) does not extend as far south as La Paz where I plan to be on the 28th of this month. 

 I don't see any other cyclones forming and the cyclone season is nearing an end.  That does not promise immunity, though, as the season extends into November.

This morning, I did odd tasks around 1207 getting ready to go later today.  I need to be ready by about one-thirty as I will be busy all afternoon.

I see there is snow at home. (left)

I drove to Bill's and we attached his trailer and went out to Steve's to fetch a section of radio tower.  He wants this heavy duty section to bury as a base for a free-standing tower he will put up.

After, I returned home, finished putting the boat away for the time being, and packed.  I was ready when Bill came to drive me to YSB.

My flight was almost empty -- just six pax. I arrived at YYZ and changed planes then arrived at YYZ at 0045, a little after the scheduled time of 0030.  Bert was there to pick me up and we drove to his place where I recovered my Merc and drove home.

 

Quote of the Day
  The important thing is not what they think of me,
but what I think of them.
Queen Victoria

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 Thursday October 11th 2018

Today Cloudy with 30 percent chance of flurries this morning. Clearing this afternoon. Fog patches dissipating this morning. High plus 5. UV index 4 or moderate.
Tonight Increasing cloudiness early this evening. Wind up to 15 km/h. Low minus 4. Wind chill minus 6 overnight.

I arrived home around two and when I opened the door, I smelled coal smoke.  That is a sign the furnace is acting up.  I went down and spent the next hour dealing with a problem: the ring had stopped and coal was spilling over into the ashes.  Frankly, it was  a hell of a mess.  I should not have done the grate service immediately before leaving.  I should have run it a day before leaving. It was working fine before I left, but apparently something went amiss shortly after.

      

It is a good thing I arrived when I did.  As it was, I shoveled a drum and more of unburned or burning coal out before I was done and there is more to go, and if it had continued to run, the furnace would have been filled to bursting.  By then, it was three-thirty AM.  With the smoke and heat, I decided to leave the exhaust fan running and leave the rest of the job for later, after a night's sleep.

That done, for the time being, I went upstairs and found that the CO detector was chirping, so I aired the place out.  Then I discovered it was just complaining about low battery.  It is a plug-in unit with a backup and I had unplugged it to lend to Carolyn when she was feeling ill after her new furnace was installed on the chance the installation had caused a CO problem.  When she returned it, I had left it unplugged and the battery was used up.

I showered, put on the new long underwear I ordered from China on eBay and went to bed.  I slept until nine and woke up feeling as I always do after staying up past two -- crappy. I made coffee and eggs and ate.

The house is at fifty degrees and the furnace is not ready to run, so I turned on the kitchen stove burners and an electric heater and sat down.

I see that Sergio is dying off (right) and no threat to Baja Sur.  From the weather report below right now looks like an ideal time to be in La Paz but I won't be there for another two weeks.

It is amazing to me how clear my memories of La Paz are now.  The place was so strange to me when I first went and I could not imagine how familiar the waterfront area and shops would become.

Next, I have to work on the furnace.

And that is what I did.  It turns out that the ring is not rotating quite right and the chimney is also blocked with soot.  It all seemed just fine ten days ago.

It also seems the volume of coal coming up the tube from the bin is greater than usual and that may have overpowered the air supply, resulting in the grate being flooded with coal and a lot being thrown over. I had to correct that issue a year back and wonder if the repair failed.

For now, I re-cemented the grate and watched the ring.  It skips a bit, but the fire is fine when I turn the air up.  I'll fix the ring issue once the house is warm again. 

I'll also have to clear the fly ash from the horizontal section of the chimney.  It seems to be almost totally blocked. I did clean the worst of the dust from the bottom of the main chimney a bit to ensure exhaust flow and noticed a dead bird.  I suppose a sparrow was sitting on the rim for warmth, was overcome by fumes and fell in.  Once in the nine-inch flue, flying would be impossible.

Sometimes bees make a nest in chimneys during summer resulting in a mess when the fire is lit come fall. It is a good plan to have a screen over such openings, but a bee-proof screen might be too restrictive for a coal furnace flue.  Screens fine enough to exclude bees would get sooted up.

I have always had a problem clearing the soot from the horizontal chimney run and made up an auger today to do the job with the aid of an electric drill.  It worked well.

Considering how late I went to bed and how I only slept six hours, I am feeling pretty good.

I had supper, then watched the pilot and an other episode of Limitless. It is entertaining, not gruesome and features the usual crime and memes but they are well done.

Quote of the Day
Talking much is a sign of vanity,
for the one who is lavish with words is cheap in deeds.
Walter Raleigh

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 Friday October 12th 2018

Today A mix of sun and cloud. 60 percent chance of showers this afternoon. Wind becoming west 30 km/h gusting to 50 this morning then northwest 50 gusting to 90 late this afternoon. High 8. UV index 3 or moderate.
Tonight Rain showers changing to a few flurries this evening. Wind northwest 50 km/h gusting to 90 becoming north 30 gusting to 60 this evening then light overnight. Low minus 6. Wind chill near minus 10.

At 0357 heard a bang and woke up, unsure if it was my imagination or real.  It was real. The switch for my bedside lamp had fallen onto the floor. The tape holding it to the nightstand table edge had let go. 

I found I was wide awake, so I got up for day and made coffee.  Some days I am groggy when I wake up.  Not today,

I have not weighed or checked blood glucose or blood pressure for a while. Last I stepped on a scale in Sudbury, I was approaching 228, up twenty pounds.  I blame the weight gain partly on the antibiotics: first doxycycline, the amoxicillin. Of course, drinking beer, eating less carefully, and less exercise couldn't have anything to do with it?  I'll have to get back on my programme.

I took my last amoxicillin and realised that although my jaw is almost normal, I have slight sensation in a lower molar.  That tooth had a root canal years ago and has been trouble-free, but could now have an abscess and since it has no nerve, I would not feel it until the infection spread.  I'm guessing that the infection is knocked back to its source, but that there may be a pocket of infection that the drug does not reach.  I'm going to have to call a dentist.

Which one? I dislike Canadian dentists with their rooms full of assistant, overly friendly manner and complex pages of price quotes, all of which seem overinflated, then the waiting times. 

That said, Canadian dentists have saved my teeth many times. I'd be toothless by now if not for them, the important work was largely decades ago and the practice of dentistry in Canada has changed since then and seems to me  to be more about business than medicine now. \

*   *   *   *   *

I'm also going to have to work on heat in this building.  I can't keep chancing that the existing system will function reliably. I discovered on my return home that it had malfunctioned and that fact had escaped my house minder.

I plan to be a way a lot and need a reliable heating system more than ever.  Moreover, coal is getting more expensive.

I would like to sell this place, but don't know where to start as it is so unconventional al and full of art and various projects.  I suppose one place to start would be by consulting a realtor.  I should bite the bullet and do it. I have other things to complete first though as I am only here until the 28th.

I have a load of deskwork to do today, but also want to go for a walk and need to take a run to town.

I went to town and decided to make a cottage pie.  I bought groceries and called friends on the way home to ask them over, then made the casserole and got ready.

They arrived at six.

Quote of the Day
Entrepreneurs are simply those who understand that there is little
 difference between obstacle and opportunity and are able to turn both to their advantage.
Niccolo Machiavelli

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 Saturday October 13th 2018

Today Mainly cloudy with 30 percent chance of flurries. Wind north 20 km/h gusting to 40. High zero. Wind chill minus 7 in the morning. UV index 2 or low.
Tonight Clearing this evening. Wind north 20 km/h gusting to 40 becoming light this evening. Low minus 8. Wind chill minus 5 in the evening and minus 11 overnight.

I woke up at five and realised I had too much wine last night. My memory of the dinner was fuzzy.

I should be more careful with red wine.  It has unpredictable effects.  I rolled over and slept until eight and got up.  I feel fine but a little tired and vague.  When will I learn.?

I had some of the leftover cottage pie for breakfast.  It was not as good as my last one. The meat is tough and I added some ketchup as per the recipe, but not as much as recommended.  I'm glad I did not use much as it is plenty strong.

I have always preferred to buy hamburger at the IGA in Three Hills because it has been the best by far. Other stores use poorer quality meat and I think by the way it cooks that some add water. Judging by this package, I'm wondering if maybe the IGA has compromised their standards.

The store changed hands recently and people have noticed the store has fewer specials and higher prices than before.  Now, I think they have lowered the quality of the meat and possibly added water to the ground beef.

I noticed yesterday when I bought the meat that it was very red and that there was a thin red liquid running around in the package and leaking a bit, but figured it was okay.  Then when I cooked it, I noticed it seemed bit tough and watery and now I notice it is chewy and not as flavourful as their usual product.

Oh, well, I don't eat much meat anymore.  Just the same, when I do or have company it was nice to have a trusty supplier. Nothing lasts forever, however.  Enjoy it while you can.

The morning was spent at the desk.  I have cleanup to do downstairs and need to check the ring but then I'll get back to catching up on the desk mess.

The day is cold and dull with some flurries expected. I'm planning a walk regardless.  I have a package to drop off at Carolyn's and suggested she walk with me but she is worried about getting her new washer and drier installed.  I offered to do it, but she figures it needs more muscle as the machines need to be moved downstairs and the old ones need to go out.  She might be right.

My furnace is burning nicely now. (right).  I still have to check the auger intake though, and I'll film the ring rotation with my snake camera to make sure there are no skips or misses as it goes around.

My jaw seems okay now.  Maybe it is cured.  I hope so.

I had a long nap in the afternoon and spent the day mostly at the keyboard, writing and searching for the missing door handle on my yacht, Cassiopeia.  I see now that I wrote to svb24.com to complain about the missing part at the end of August and have not heard back.  Searching is time-consuming.  I figure there should boat wrecking yards, like auto wreckers but have no luck so far finding any.

At any rate, I have left this issue hang too long and spent several hours searching and writing worldwide sources.

Quote of the Day
Take care of your body as if you were going to live forever;
and take care of your soul as if you were going to die tomorrow.
Saint Augustine

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 Sunday October 14th 2018

Today Sunny. High 9. UV index 3 or moderate.
Tonight Clear. Wind up to 15 km/h. Low minus 1. Wind chill minus 5 overnight.

I slept well and woke up at 0700.  I'm still a bit groggy but getting things done.  I have two weeks before my next trip.

I am pleased that I have gotten around to tackling some ongoing issues, one being the lack of a proper washroom door handle on Cassiopeia. I have a list still of backlogged items, including accounting, bill paying, the van, and the heating system

I've taken to writing my lists in a scribbler.  As handy as electronic notes are, they are not as simple to access and reference. My handwriting is awful and the scribbler is a mess, but it works.

We have sunshine today, but I see ice on the pond.

I spent the day at the desk.  Although I had reconciled most accounts, I found I had not reconciled my credit cards since the end of May.  Of course I looked them over at the time they were available but had not entered them into the books.  That job is time consuming but necessary.

After lunch, Carolyn and I went for a walk around town. The weather was cool, but pleasant.

Along with the bookwork, I did some research and the day went by. I had a long nap in late afternoon.

I watched two episodes of Limitless before bed. It's actually a waste of time that could be better spent on -- for example -- studying the Coastal Navigation course I have been carrying around with me but almost never doing.  My excuse has been that I did not have the necessary chart, but I now have it at hand.

Quote of the Day
The world as we have created it is a process of our thinking.
It cannot be changed without changing our thinking.
Albert Einstein

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 Monday October 15th 2018

Today Mainly sunny. High 14. UV index 3 or moderate.
Tonight Partly cloudy. Clearing before morning. Low zero.

I woke up at 0235 and found I was awake, I tried to go back to sleep, but found I couldn't, so got up.  I find that after a while I can go back and sleep until morning.  In the meantime, I get useful work done.

Oh, oh! Here comes Tara, a new storm forming down along the Mexican coast with Baja California Sur in the possible path.  So far, Tara is just a storm.

I went back to bed again a bit after four, listened to some Spanish lessons to see if I would sleep.  I might have slept a bit, but was back up at 0445. I made coffee and got back to work.

The weather in the coming week looks pleasant so maybe I'll get some outside work done.  I could use the exercise, too.

I use Thunderbird for email and am finding that sometimes it loses items and then they reappear. It is also very slow and uses a lot of resources. I really could use better software, but don't know where to find anything better other than maybe Outlook.

I went back to bed at 0600 after three eggs and four cups of coffee and slept right though to 0935.

I am still working through the bookwork, but Carolyn and I took a stroll around town at two. Having someone to walk with helps us both to get out and not malinger.  It is a perfect day for a walk, sunny and with a light breeze.

I can't believe how long it has been since I reconciled accounts. It seems many have not been entered since may although I have glanced them over.

Well, it is now 1915 and I have just about finished the reconciliation.  I'll have to go over things again tomorrow.

I'm going to work on the Coastal Navigation course for an hour tonight and see how that goes and maybe spend some time on my Spanish before I watch any video.

Quote of the Day
Life is a series of natural and spontaneous changes.
Don't resist them; that only creates sorrow.
Let reality be reality.
Let things flow naturally forward in whatever way they like.
Lao Tzu

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 Tuesday October 16th 2018
225  6.9

Today Mainly sunny. Wind west 20 km/h gusting to 40 becoming light this afternoon. High 18. UV index 3 or moderate.
Tonight Clear. Low plus 1.

I woke up at six, but went back to sleep until 0855. That gave me ten hours of rest. I'm catching up.

Gerry comes by today to take the kiln away.

I see I'm down three pounds this morning from the high weights I saw earlier.  I suspect the antibiotics were a factor in water retention.  Don't know.  MY blood sugar is high, though, at 6.9. 

I called Shirley and she came by.  I figured I should consult her about the various supplies Ellen had in the studio.  I need to get the place cleared out, but don't want to give things away.

Looking south, I see a new depression forming (left) and Tara moving north towards the Baja  (right). The hurricane season is not over until November.

Tara is a still just a storm and could be a good thing if the winds are not too strong.  Rain is a good thing in the desert as long as it does not cause flash flooding.

         

I called Shirley to see if she wants any of the glass or art supplies, so she came over for coffee.  Gerry came and we took the kiln apart and loaded it.

That is the end of an era.  I still have a lot of stuff to remove from the studio, but this is a start. I see Tara is dissipating and now has died down to winds under 39 MPH.

I worked on email and did a bit of housework, then shoveled ashes.  This coal is very peculiar and may be the cause of the furnace issues while I was gone.

Next: Coastal Nav study.

Quote of the Day
Life is a series of natural and spontaneous changes.
Don't resist them; that only creates sorrow.
Let reality be reality.
Let things flow naturally forward in whatever way they like.
Lao Tzu

Yesterday's post

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 Wednesday October 17h 2018
224.4   6.97

Today Sunny. High 24. UV index 2 or low.
Tonight Clear. Low plus 2.

I woke up at 0635 and got up.  I had not slept especially well but am energetic and surprisingly ambitious.  I notice, first thing, my weight is dropping although I have not made any special effort.

Then I saw an email from SVB24.de saying something about sending me the missing door handle for Cassiopeia. 

Today promises to be a perfect outdoor day with temps up to 24C and I see that south of Baja Tara dissipated completely but another storm is building.

I'll try to finish the reconciliation and take a look at the van today, plus call a plumber about heat.

I made a batch of bean stew and had part of a salmon steak for supper, with some left over for tomorrow.

I decided not to eat after six PM since this seems to be the latest diet fad: eat normally, but only between 8 AM and 6 PM. Apparently it works.

I find beans are giving me gas and they did not before the antibiotics, so it may take a few days to get adjusted to them again.

Well, I did not get around to calling the plumber, but did cal the Alberta Motor Association to have the van towed to Drumheller.  I get free towing up to 100 miles with my membership and Drum is 30 miles, +/-.

I had worked on this 2009 Town and Country a few times, trying to correct the starting problem and failed. In fact It just got worse.  These new machines are logic-dependant and it is possible to get locked out of the computer.

The tow truck took its while getting here but when it arrived I had a great chat with the driver.

He's a local guy, about sixty, "local" meaning anyone from fifty miles, but a country guy.  He's from Beiseker, twenty miles away. I taught welding there fifty years ago. 

Country people know one another from that far around, either by family name, having met at a rodeo, auction, or other country event.

This guy knew everyone.  Apparently my former next door neighbour was forever having bad luck with her vehicle and getting locked out or having other issues. Anyhow he was in no hurry and we visited for probably half an hour. 

This has been an unusually social week for me, what with Gerry coming for the kiln, walking with Carolyn, Shirley visiting, and now the tow truck.

Now my van is at a shop in Drum.  We'll see what that costs.

I got more desk jobs caught up and then settled down to Coastal navigation.  This time, rather than just studying to pass a test, I dove right in and allowed myself to get distracted and research details, treating it more like entertainment than a task.  When something was interesting, I looked it up further.

I have Dominique Prinet's manuals and exercise book I bought from him at the Boat Show plus I have downloaded the slide show for instructors that he offers for free on his website.   I'm working my way through the slides.  My goal is to score 100% on the exam.

I watched some Limitless and then went to bed around eleven.

Quote of the Day
Life is too important to take seriously.
Corky Siegel

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 Thursday October 18th 2018
224.0   5.4

Today A mix of sun and cloud. High 18. UV index 2 or low.
Tonight A few clouds. Wind up to 15 km/h. Low minus 2. Wind chill minus 5 overnight.

I first awoke at five or so, but dozed on until 0723 and got up.

While dozing, I had a dream where I found myself at the spot just off Galiano Island where I had anchored in Just Do It! at dusk in May. Someone was with me.  I knew at the time, but have forgotten. It was slightly foggy and getting dark. I saw a number of navigation buoys and then realised my anchor was hanging down a few metres and it snagged on an iron rod that turned out to be a radio tower below the surface.  Somehow my phone got wet and was still working anyhow. I realised the next one I buy must be waterproof.  About then I noticed there was an airplane down there, too, and could clearly see an apparently intact Air Canada plane below me.

After that, I don't recall, but the dream was a mish-mash of things on my mind, apparently.

I'm feeling pretty good -- clear mind and no aches or pains and my hands, which sometimes were stiff in the morning are just fine. I weighed and see my weight is dropping with no special effort and my blood sugar is 5.3 this morning!

I still have a list of tasks that have been neglected and that is my plan for today: whittle it down.

I had forgotten, but now realise that I need to do some serious cleanup in the north end before I get a plumber in here, so that is in the cards.

I find I am increasingly reluctant to do the hard physical work I used to take for granted.  It is not that I can't.  It just does not appeal in the same way.

I'm enjoying being here.  I saw a quote yesterday that said something like, "Happiness is not wishing to be someone or somewhere else."  That's me, I guess. Of course, I'll be off again, soon.

*   *   *   *   *

The seawater temperatures in the Sea of Cortez are balmy these days (left). I'll be there with any luck on the 28th. (I found that graphic on Facebook and [damn Facebook] of course I cannot find it again.)
 

*   *   *   *   *

I'm actually getting things done. First the books, then working on the Coastal Nav studies and now I had a furnace guy over to look at the setup.  I also did a lot of vacuuming.

I was considering installing a boiler and a duct coil, but that has BTU and other limitations, thus the need to consult. We looked around and I mentioned my favoured alternate plan.

My alternate idea has been to install two updraft forced air furnaces, one under each of the two existing main branch ducts on opposite sides of the building.  That would allow using both the coal furnace and also the gas furnaces, which would be a good plan at least until the new units are working. After all, winter is coming.  

While the tinwork would be easy, the problem was to run the vents from the basement outside around obstacles and to come out somewhere where they would not fog windows and to run two gas lines through concrete walls.

While explaining, the penny dropped.  I had planned to move the hot water tank upstairs, but I suddenly realised I can mount the furnaces upstairs, too, directly above where I had considered and run the vents up through the roof.  That would not require nearly as much wood butchery or concrete busting.  I've spent a lot of time studying this problem and now -- I think -- I have the answer. 

The fellow who consulted does not have time to do the job for a while and is not a tin smith, so I called Kirks's the company that made my furnace seventy years ago.  They are still in business and just now planning to sell off what is left of the coal stoker parts in an auction November first.  Luckily, I won't be here or I would be tempted. They are busy until next week, but I think I only need them for the tinwork and maybe the gas hookup.

After spending more time on furnace research, I got back to the Coastal Nav and then watched some Netflix and went to bed around ten.

Quote of the Day
From this arises the following question: whether it is better to be loved than feared, or the reverse.
The answer is that one would like to be both the one and the other,
but because they are difficult to combine,
it is far better to be loved than feared if you cannot be both.
Niccolo Machiavelli

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 Thursday October 19th 2018
224.4    5.3  110/67 55

Today Sunny. High 13. UV index 2 or low.
Tonight A few clouds. Wind up to 15 km/h. Low minus 1. Wind chill minus 3 overnight.

I woke up at 0525, got up and weighed myself, then made coffee.

Today I plan to go to Calgary to the Foothills Association of Cruiser Sailors meeting and do some shopping along the way.  Between now and then, I'll do some more planning for the heating and some cleanup.  I also have the mower deck to deal with and expect to hear about the van repair.  There is a chance I'll have to go and get the van back from Drum.

The van did not get finished.  I called and was told the transmission thinks it is in gear and that is why the lockout.  Maybe tomorrow.

I got ready and drove to Costco and spent some time shopping.  My main mission was to buy toilet paper -- they have the best for lowest price -- and looked around to see what is new.  I used to spend evenings at Costco back when I was feeding a family, but seldom go there now.  I see some amazing new lighting options and may go back. 

I spent an hour looking at laptops and decided that the array of options is confusing.

I3,i5, i7?  8550U or ???  Is the processor the limiting factor?  Maybe I need to run some benchmarks.  I should come prepared. Even if the machines are not connected to Internet, I can connect to my phone and download the software.

What about options? Optical drive?  USB 2 or 3 or 3.1?? HDMI?  Speed is a major question.  I am finding my old machines are getting slow.  Maybe I need a desktop again for the home machine.  Right now I am using two laptops.

I continued on to the meeting at the Legion.  They had a nametag for me this time.  I met up with Gunther and Bruce, my companions on the Spring Thaw two years back and we caught up on things and I had two beers, a Coors Light which tasted like water and a Rickards Red plus some junk food snack.

The presentation was a bust for me because the projector and microphone did not show up and the presenter did not enunciate.  Public speaking is a lost art these days with microphones and amplifiers available everywhere, people can mumble and speak softly and this fellow did both.  I managed to catch some of the talk, but not enough to enjoy it. He also ran overtime, so I left since I wanted to buy groceries.

At the Deerfoot Walmart the greeters were security guards.  I have not seen that since Pico, near San Clemente.  Those guards were armed. These not.

I bought groceries and drove home.  along the way, I opened the jar of nuts I bought and ate some.

I was in bed by midnight.

Quote of the Day
The third-rate mind is only happy when it is thinking with the majority.
 The second-rate mind is only happy when it is thinking with the minority.
 The first-rate mind is only happy when it is thinking.
A. A. Milne

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Three Hills Area Weather Forecast
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not so much by what you acquire but by what you give away,"
-- Larry Wall (the inventor of Perl)
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