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    Sunday December 17th, 2000

    It's minus 12 C this morning and rising.  Wind is predicted for later, however.  We're off to Calgary today to a coffee party.  I hear we'll be discussing the impending removal of Lorsban from the market and other impending events.. 

    As I read all the material about insecticides, I am getting the strong feeling that they are all bad things to spread around the country and on our food.  There are subtle ill effects on both the environment and on people.  But what is the solution?

    Today: 40 percent chance of light snow this morning then a mix of sun and cloud. Wind increasing to northwest 30 gusting to 50 km/h. Temperature falling to minus 11 in the afternoon. Windchill increasing to 1600. Risk of frostbite.
    Tonight: Clearing. Wind northwest 20 gusting to 40. Low minus 16. High windchill near 1600. Risk of frostbite.

    Monday December 18th, 2000

    I think the guys are coming to work today.  They have enough lids ready to go out and change some.  The weather looks good. 

    It's the 18th already, so I think we'll take time off for Christmas any day now.  Time flies.  we had planned to go south, but so far, it just is not happening.  Maybe we'll just fly somewhere for a week or two.  I had been playing with the idea of going to France, but don't know.  Next thing I know, the bee meetings in San Diego, Saskatoon, Moncton, etc. will be upon us.

    Today: Becoming mainly cloudy. Wind increasing to southwest 30 km/h. High minus 3.
    Tonight: Mainly cloudy. 40 percent chance of light snow overnight. Wind southwest 30 becoming northwest 30. Low minus 9.
    Normals for the period: Low minus 15. High minus 3.

    Tuesday December 19th, 2000

    It turns out that we've run out of bricks and we're worried that the lids will blow off in some of the less sheltered locations.  So, I'm off to town to get more.

    I have torn my whole computer system apart and added a 20 gig drive and system Commander.  I'm planning to add Linux to my system to play with it a bit.  I am extremely tired of MS's instability for power users.  Rebooting five times a day is a bit much.

    Today: A mix of sun and cloud with a 40 percent chance of light snow. Wind northwest 30 gusting 50 km/h. Temperature falling to minus 6.

    Tonight: Mainly cloudy with occasional snow. Wind increasing to north 40 gusting to 70 giving local reduced visibility in blowing snow then diminishing to northwest 20 overnight. Low minus 18. Windchill up to 1900 in the evening.

    Normals for the period: Low minus 15. High minus 3.

    Normals for the period: Low minus 15. High minus 3.

    Wednesday December 20th, 2000

    Sunrise: 8:37 am  /  Sunset: 4:30 pm
    The Moon is Waning Crescent (23% of Full)

    Everyone was off to a quick start this morning -- except me.  I was up until 1:30 AM working on the imidacloprid site and adding the info about the big demonstration in Paris the day before yesterday.  Ellen handled the morning meeting.

    The guys were out of here -- without a courtesy call on the intercom to say they were ready -- to put the lids with risers on within a half-hour or so.  They were obviously hoping to finish today.  Usually they are glad to sit around for a few minutes before leaving. 

    Today they broke about 5 of our written standing rules in their hurry to leave.

    • At minus twenty, they started a diesel truck that had not been plugged in

    • They left without final instructions

    • Only one truck had a cell phone

    • ...And two more things I've already forgotten.  Am I too forgiving?

    I caught up with them after about 10 miles and explained that we were very concerned about the tape falling off the wraps at this temperature and that we had planned to test to be sure that it would not be a problem before doing 400+ hives.  When I had put samples of the the tape into the freezer the other day as a test, it had fallen right off and we were concerned this could happen outdoors.

    I went to several yards with them and assured myself all was okay, and left them to continue.

    It is a gorgeous sunny day, and at minus twenty C, it is a bit crisp, but fun to be out.  The bees we peeked at were just fine and there is not much moisture inside.

    I have many things to say here -- and some good email -- but not as much time as I'd like, so ...

    Meijers came by for supper.  We had a good time as always.

    Today: Mainly cloudy with a 30 percent chance of light snow. High minus 10.

    Tonight: Clearing. Low minus 16.

    Thursday December 21st, 2000

    This is the first day of our holiday.  Sharon is here for the morning, and Matt and Steve still have  to come by for a chat, but otherwise, we are free.

    Today: Mainly sunny. High minus 6.
    Tonight: Mainly clear. Low minus 18.

    Friday December 22nd, 2000

    It's foggy and minus 16 here this morning.  At 9 Am it's hardly brighter than a moonlit night and we have hoarfrost. I guess this must be the first day of winter.  Could be; we've been running about ten to twenty degrees below normal for the past week or two.

    I am enjoying not having to worry about the staff, other than getting the payroll done in the next day or so. 

    I continue to have computer problems.  Now my printer has stopped working and the video is running slow.  Restore has no good restore points, so it looks like a big job to get things tuned again.  I was writing about this the other day and got a nice email from Al Lipscomb, LipscombA@hsn.net to which I have not yet replied.  I'll reply here since he reads this and I am sure he won't mind having his good and concise advice shared...

    For a more stable OS, the Windows NT / 2000 family is much better than the 98/ME family. However this is a costly alternative.

    If you have time and are going to look at other operating systems I would suggest you take a look at some of the following:

    Mandrake Linux(www.linux-mandrake.com/en/). One of the better distributions for the desktop user. Does a very good job at installation time in setting up such things as the GUI environment. Based on RedHat Linux.

    RedHat Linux (www.redhat.com). Pretty much the leader. Has some advanatages in the server market but not a bad choice for desktop.

    FreeBSD (www.freebsd.org). Not Linux but a rather robust true Unix. It is a bit simpler to configure and use than Linux. My personal second favorite.

    OpenBSD (www.openbsd.org). A secure and stable OS. My personal favorite. Does not have the support for as many applications but its security is top notch. My personal favorite but not always the best choice for a new user. Based out of Calgary, Alberta, Canada. (www.theos.com)

    BSDi (www.bsdi.com). Another version of BSD Unix. This is a pure commercial product. Available at computer stores. Have not personally used it but it has had good reviews.

    Be OS. (http://www.be.com/products/freebeos/). An easy to use product for desktop applications.

    I am grateful for the advice and actually have OpenBSD on hand.  A partner of mine from my computer days runs the distribution for OpenBSD out of our old shop and brought me a copy last time her came to visit.  I also have a Linux distribution on hand too.  I tried BeOS some time back, since it can be run just like a Windows® program and I was impressed. I removed it due to lack of disk space, but may install it again after I get this beast stabilized again.

    The biggest problem is that I am used to and dependant my current aps and unless I can switch O/Ss quickly and access files from all of them, I am inclined to stay with the devil I know.  For example I use FrontPage to maintain these pages and don't want to reboot every time I get a notion to make a change.

    No sooner had I gotten relaxed and the payroll done but there was knock at the door and Ralph is back, looking to work.  His medical problems have cleared up and he is ready to go.  I put aside my holiday mood and found him a project.  He left in one of the trucks and I went back to relaxing.  An hour later I got a call: the truck had quit and he had ridden to town. Could I rescue the truck?  I did and he got back on track.  He later  unloaded some of our trucks and got a load of junk ready for the dump.  He'll be working tomorrow, and I expect -- to some extent -- so will I.

    Jean and Chris will be here tomorrow and we will trim the tree.

    Today: Cloudy. 60 percent chance of light snow. Wind northerly 20 km/h becoming easterly. High minus 14.
    Tonight: Mainly cloudy. Low minus 18.

    Saturday December 23rd, 2000

    hoarfrost.jpg (86266 bytes)Hoarfrost again this morning, and minus twenty-two degrees -- again.

    Ralph took a load of trash home last night intending to take it to the dump near his place when it opens this morning. 

    He called last night to report that a friend had mentioned noticing that the wraps were off some of our hives near Acme where he lives.  He went out this morning and discovered four wraps off -- and three lids missing completely.

    Apparently the farmer had dumped several semi-loads of newly-purchased cattle into the field, maybe at night.  Normally cattle that know the territory are no problem, but the 200 or so strangers had milled around, knocked our drums over, disturbed the hives and generally made a mess.  Ralph found the wraps a half mile away, blown, I suppose, by strong winds we've had lately.

    He tidied up as best he could and came back here for some more supplies and will go and finish in a while.  Right now, he is loading a truck to onto a trailer to  take over to a shop nearer his home for painting.  We tried to start it, but although everything seemed to be there, and it cranked over well, it just would not fire. We pulled it -- no luck.  Probably Matt borrowed some essential part and did not tag it -- and he is away.

    In the next weeks Ralph will be working on two trucks we bought and never got onto the road, then repairing lids and supers.  Hopefully he can work independently and I'll still get some peace this winter.  Having him back has already paid off: we'd have lost all of those 16 unwrapped hives by spring if not for him and that would have meant  about a $1,000 loss -- even after allowing for the fact that we normally lose about 20% of wintering hives.

    When we try to figure where we lose most of our profits, it always comes down to wintering.  Losing 20% to 25% of your livestock annually is a huge cost.  Add to that the fact that the survivors are often weakened by winter, and we have a lot of expense.

    I spent some time installing the TurboLinux CD I got with System Commander onto my notebook (a non-essential system) and found it is not as simple as it was supposed to be.  All went fairly well, except that the instructions are not consistent.  I had trouble booting the Linux install.  It would not boot from the CD, even with some tinkering, and when I finally did get it up -- from a floppy, I discovered that I had not made a large enough partition (1meg) for the full install which wanted 1.2 megs or so.  I had done what was recommended.

    I ran it anyhow, since it said it could make do.  Watching the automatic install was impressive.  I had no idea how much good stuff came with the free system.  Maybe I don't need M$ after all.   BUT, when I finally booted into Linux for the first time I saw a localhost login_ prompt. 

    I was not prepared for this.  Localhost?  What localhost?  Anyhow, I tried all the user and password combos I could think of and never got past the username part.  I am still at this moment locked out.  Bummer!

    Today: A mix of sun and cloud with 30 percent chance of flurry. Morning fog patches. Wind southerly 20 km/h. High minus 15.
    Tonight: Partly cloudy. Wind becoming light southwesterly. Low minus 17.

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