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Friday December 7th, 2001
Today was pleasant, with sun and little wind. Paulo continued painting boxes and Dennis did odd jobs, including dealing with two tires that had gone flat. Bead leaks are common in cold weather when vehicles are not driven. I worked at the desk and played with the computer.
Thursday December 6th, 2001
Cleanup continues. Dennis left at noon, Paulo painted boxes in the afternoon and tended a bonfire of old skids and boxes that had accumulated. We were unable to burn until recently due to the extremely dry Fall. Now that we have snow, the hazard is greatly reduced. I am still working on the books, and the going is slow due to interruptions.
I went for a short snowmobile run in the afternoon, but found it unpleasantly cold, even with the face shield on my helmet. We could use a bit more snow. I expect we'll lose some with the warm weather coming, and even in cold weather, we lose snow to sublimation -- the process of evaporation from ice crystals directly to vapour that takes place where the air is very dry and energy is available from the sun.
Wednesday December 5th, 2001
I did some bookwork, then worked on wiring the lights and cleanup in the gym.
In the evening, I walked a mile on the treadmill. The walking took 20 minutes, and I did some other exercise as well. I've concluded that buying a better treadmill might have been wise. The one I have has handles that are a bit low for my build, and, although the flywheel keeps it moving somewhat, the motorized ones keep a constant belt speed and the programmable speeds and ramp angle can provide some variety. I can see that the runner's high (another link) (another) does not hit until somewhere near the one mile mark.
Tuesday December 4th, 2001
I worked on the books again and the guys continued putting up lights. I am nearly done. I'd hoped to have them done by late afternoon when I had to go to town to donate blood, but I was not quite done. The guys are slow at the light project and I had to take time to help them often.
After donating blood, I went swimming at the Three Hills Pool.
Monday December 3rd, 2001
At nine, we went to see the accountant and got some groceries. After arriving back home, I worked a bit more on the books and showed the men how to do some of the jobs we have for them. The guys are putting up lights in the gym and that will keep them busy for a day or two.
I used the treadmill again this evening. I find it does make me feel a lot more energetic.
Sunday December 2nd, 2001
I spent the day playing on the computer and procrastinating. I finally used the treadmill I bought a year ago and set up a few weeks ago. It's a non-powered unit and not as nice as the machines in hotels and exercise rooms. I didn't want to splurge on an expensive machine until I found out if I would stick to using it. So far, judging by my slow progress in assembling and approaching it, I rate my enthusiasm as being underwhelming, but now that I have started, I may just get to like it.
The reason I decided to use it today was simply that I felt so dreary from lack of exercise that I simply needed to do something. The weather outside today was not appealing for walking or bicycling due to a breeze and minus ten temperatures and the layer of snow and ice that makes tire contact with Mother Earth unreliable. I had taken a snowmobile run earlier and found the wind chilling without a visor (I was too lazy to go and get my helmet from the car), and although that gets the lungs going, snowmobiling hardly rates as exercise -- unless you get stuck.
I walked on the treadmill for about ten minutes (total) spread over several segments and covered 0.8 of whatever the distance measure is in that time. Interspersed with that, I also used the rowing machine and did a few presses and sit-ups. All in all, I think the exercise helped a lot and I felt more energetic afterwards. I think I'll try to make a routine of doing some kind of workout.
After the initial amazing weight loss, I reported here in the spring and early summer, my weight has been pretty stable at 231 to 237, depending on the time of day and my previous activities. That is pretty good. I usually put on ten or more pounds in winter, and am not seeing this happening so far this year. We'll see. I did not put any weight on during the Ontario trip, and that is an achievement. Not doing so did not take much will power either, I don't much care for the foods that cause me problems now, and can usually avoid them unless they are the only food served.
My weight is lowest in the morning before breakfast. I find it interesting that I consistently lose about 5 pounds overnight, mostly due to respiration and elimination, I assume. That is a surprising amount, since it amounts to about an Imperial half gallon of water! I suppose some of the weight goes off as CO2 due to metabolism too, but I can't imagine that it is much. I find it fascinating that I find I can guess what my weight in pounds before stepping on the scale day or night, and that I am correct within 1/2 lb 90% or more of the time.
Meijers came for supper and a visit.
Saturday December 1st, 2001
We went to Calgary to do a little shopping and took some pictures along the way.
The picture on the right shows chickadee tracks in the snow. These little birds like to eat the bees that die in the snow in front of wintering hives. I see no signs of mice or of shrews. Small animals and birds can often be detected by the tracks they leave in fresh snow as they travel between hives.
The snow on the lids is an indicator that there may be enough insulation on these hives, however the snow is mounded up more on the drums (seen at the top of this page) so I suspect that there has been a little melting occurring on the hive lids. We have been debating whether there is enough insulation under the lids or not, and we think we may need more.
Just as a house with patches of melted snow on the roof may indicate insulation problems, a circle melted in the snow on a hive lid indicates heat loss from the cluster through the lid. Such heat loss can mean that the cluster must stay smaller than optimal to maintain warmth in late winter, and that starvation is therefore more likely due to covering less comb with food.
Top insulation is most important part of the wrapping material in cold climates, since, when the cluster finished eating its way up through the hive and comes into contact with the lid, the bees can can spread out if the lid is warm. If the lid is cold -- a heat sink -- the cluster loses heat by contact with it and suffers. Many beekeepers think that R20 is needed in lids.
I'm not sure what is optimal. though, since we have wintered with amounts varying from R5 to R30 and not been able to discern much difference. However, I have never done a careful comparison and differences of ten to twenty percent in survival and /or thriving are hard to spot. The current setup has about R8, since there are only two 1" Kodel® pillows under the (non-insulated) lids. The clusters are still in the bottom box at present, so cluster heat is going out the top entrance anyhow. Later on they will be in contact with their lids and I'll watch to see how the snow lasts.