Philosophy is a battle against the bewitchment of our
intelligence by means of language.
There go some more supers... We're almost at the end.
Ellen & I were up early and off to town to buy a car and to get our Reverse Osmosis (RO) filter refurbished. We bought a '93 Merc Grand Marquis and came back home. It is a lovely car, with a smooth ride, and all the options, including digital dash. In the afternoon, I went to town to license and insure it. While there, we dropped off the van to get its windshield patched. There are a few small chips and it pays to get them filled quickly, before cracks develop, assuming the glass is not so badly sandblasted that a replacement is due.
To me, the windshield is the critical component in a car or truck. Some people care more about the exterior finish, but, for me, that is of far less importance. I spend many, many hours looking through the windshield, and its condition is paramount to me -- and critical for my safety. A bad windshield can be deadly when driving towards the sun, if it is dirty or pitted badly.
It is amazing to me how quickly a windshield can be ruined by following a truck with a load of sand that is not tarped or encountering a sandstorm. It is also amazing how many people do not see that and drive with windshields that impair their vision. Smokers, in particular drive with windshields that are hazy. Only a cigarette or two is all it takes to lower visibility markedly compared to a clean windshield.
Then I ran over to Linden to meet with a client who wants web work done.
Today : Cloudy with sunny periods. 30 percent
chance of showers this afternoon. Wind becoming northeast 20 km/h this
afternoon. High 18. UV index 7 or high. /
Tonight : Cloudy. 60 percent chance of showers. Wind northeast 20 km/h becoming
light near midnight. Low 9.
Marc was here at 5 AM and I was up waiting for him, but he was parked in my quonset and I did not realize that until 6, when I heard his radio when I went out to look around. He had already loaded his truck and just the trailer was left to go. We made short work of that, using the forklift, and then Ellen & I were off to Calgary to see our advisor and pick up our water filter.
Although I do not really need glasses most of the time, specs do make driving at dusk and after dark more pleasant and probably a bit safer, since I can see a bit better, and when I have glasses, I don't suffer eyestrain on long drives. I have also noticed that some days my eyes are better than others, and that, although there are some nights when I do not need them at all, there are others when they are a blessing. My biggest problem is that I do not need glasses badly enough, and as a consequence, several times now, I have put my glasses down and walked away without missing them for days. By then, I have no clue where they might be. Sometimes I do find them, other times, I don't and that gets expensive.
Today : Cloudy. 60 percent chance of showers. Wind becoming northwest 30 km/h near noon. High 15. UV index 5 or moderate. / Tonight : Cloudy. 60 percent chance of showers. Wind north 20 km/h. Low 7. / Normals for the period : Low 7. High 20.
I see the CHC oxalic registration project is getting underway. See the CHC site for details, and think about sending in some cash to help out.
I spent the day waiting around for a customer to come to get 500 supers. A couple had bought them six weeks ago, and paid for them, which was wise, considering the demand for supers, and I had agreed to store them until they could get down, but they had trouble getting here. After a postponement or two, they finally would be coming today, with a truck and trailer. I was expecting them at about one-thirty, but got a call around two-thirty saying he was at Three Hills, ten miles away, straight up the highway. I got the forklift ready to load.
An hour later, they still hadn't shown up, but the husband and a friend finally arrived by four, having gotten lost along the way. We went out to load, but, as it happened, the next pallet of supers in the row -- the first that I brought out -- was one of the poorer ones in the lot, so they spent some time looking at them. I waited patiently, saying nothing, until they finally decided to load, then brought the supers over with the forklift for them. I just pick up the pallets of supers as they come out of the stack without looking at them. Sometime there is a pallet that is pretty poor and sometimes there are some that are almost new. I don't sell small lots, so it usually averages out over a load. Some people will use every frame and every box, no matter how dilapidated and others may throw away 10% or more before they ever take them to the bees, but I have no way of knowing who is who, and I am selling everything I have -- as-is, where-is, take it or leave it.
After that pallet, the stacks got more typical, and I noticed quite a bit of new-looking equipment go by (and some poorer stuff). They loaded all they could into the trailer and truck, when they ran out of space, they wound up short of the total by about 70.
About then, Ellen came over from the house and said the guy's wife, who had stayed home, had phoned the house and wanted to talk to me. Apparently he had called her with his cell phone, and she wasn't happy. I went to the house and called her. She wanted a refund.
I couldn't figure that one out. They had bought the same supers everyone else bought, waited until the very last possible minute to pick them up, driven 8 hours to get them, then loaded them, then wanted a refund. I told her, no, that she had bought and paid for them, and that were hers. We had pulled our ads, and the time for selling supers this year is past. Moreover I am about to go away for a month and want to take down the shed before it blows away. She then claimed that I had misrepresented the supers and went on a bit. I said that I certainly had not. What I tell everyone is the same: that I am reluctant to try to describe them, since everyone has different expectations, and I tell everyone to look for himself.
Anyhow, she went on and started to claim she had been 'screwed'. At that point, I told her she was being a baby and put the phone down. It is too late to back out now. They need comb, obviously, and, even if I decided to sell their equipment for them, I probably can't sell the equipment until next year, anyhow.
That is what I hate about selling bee equipment. One person buys and is very happy, knowing he was lucky to get drawn comb at any price and will make money, but another buys exactly the same stuff, for the same price, then complains like crazy, gets abusive, and loses sight of the fact that he will come out ahead (Read this), even if everything is not perfect. You never know which person it will be that ruins his own day and tries to ruin yours as well. I've had customers who complained bitterly about the equipment, then come right back and buy more of the same. Go figure.
I've come to the conclusion that people who want to be happy will be happy. Those who don't, won't.
Have a nice day. If not for yourself, do it for the people around you.
Ruth and a helper dropped in, then Purves-Smiths came over and we all had ribs for supper, sitting around a bonfire by the pond.
Today : A few showers. Risk of a thunderstorm this afternoon. Wind northwest 20 km/h. High 15. UV index 3 or moderate. / Tonight : A few showers ending this evening then clearing. Risk of a thunderstorm. Low 6. / Normals for the period : Low 7. High 21.
What happened today? Pretty well nothing, I guess. In the evening, Ellen & I bottled some wine we made from a Costco kit, and were amazed at the quality. Also in the evening, the first tornado of the season was spotted near Vulcan and moving towards Lomond. Apparently it did no damage.
Today : A few showers. Risk of a thunderstorm this afternoon. High 14. UV index 3 or moderate. / Tonight : Cloudy with 60 percent chance of showers. Wind northwest 20 km/h. Low 5. / Normals for the period : Low 8. High 21.
Up early and off to Three Hills to get the Merc checked out. I had been a bit concerned about the fuel economy before I discovered that the digital readout was calculating in US gallons, so the mileage is actually 20% better than what the dash tells me. The shop changed a fuel filter and determined that the EGR is jammed, so that will be another $250, but then hopefully, everything will be shipshape. I also ordered a trailer hitch, to be installed tomorrow.
While all this was happening, I walked the mile and half over to the hospital to get some blood work done, then had breakfast and walked back.
After the mechanic, I visited the Tire Shop and had the tires inspected, balanced and rotated.
Today : Cloudy with sunny periods. A few showers with thunderstorms beginning this afternoon. High 13. UV index 6 or high./ Tonight : A few showers with thunderstorms ending near midnight then cloudy periods. Wind becoming west 20 km/h this evening. Low 4. / Normals for the period : Low 8. High 21.
Beekeepers spend a lot of time in the sun. While conventional helmet and screen veils offer good protection, the Sherriff type veils (See left panel) that have become popular recently offer very poor sun protection for the temples and face. I personally have sun spots that I attribute directly to having used these veils because of their convenience, and have had some spots removed a while back. Bee careful! Read about the risk here and also take a look at how to spot cancerous growths here.
I've warned Sherriff about the sun problem several times, and at one point, they incorporated a cloth panel above the face instead of a bit of the screen, but then they went back to having screen above where the protective shade piece should be. IMO, this is deliberately and blatantly irresponsible manufacturing. Other manufacturers have now copied the design, but they all seem to be open to the sun at the top, and lack the shade piece. If you find you have a choice, get something that projects you better from the sun. If not, consider adding some shade. It is a simple matter to add a piece of cloth over the screen above the face. The alteration in no way impairs vision, but certainly can have a very positive impact on your future health.
In the morning, Ellen & I took the Merc to town to have the EGR valve replaced, and left it at the glass shop to have a chip repaired first. The mechanic will pick it up there and do the EGR, and install a hitch. We also put up posters around town to sell the Achieva. We now have too many vehicles and need to sell two cars.
After lunch, the customer who had come on Saturday and still had 68 boxes left to pick up, came back and loaded them. Seems the anxiety of the other day had passed, and when I offered a few extra boxes to make sure he was happy, he only accepted three or four to square off his load and then wanted to see what else we have for sale that he could use. Sounds as if he is going to come back for some drip pallets and winter wraps. We had a great chat, then the rain started up and he was off. I was much relieved that he got over his concerns and is now a happy customer.
In the evening, I watched the Leaders' Debate on TV, and judged it much better than previous leader debates. Although the party leaders all talked over one another at some points and made canned comments to satisfy their handlers, I assume, for the most part -- in comparison to the normal rudeness and irrelevance of Canadian parliamentary debate -- they showed mutual respect, and I got the impression they actually were listening to one another. I also got the impression that none of them really thought that they had the answers. That, IMO, is a good thing.
Today : Cloudy with sunny periods. 70 percent chance of showers this afternoon with the risk of a thunderstorm. Wind becoming northwest 30 km/h this morning. High 16. UV index 6 or high. / Tonight : Cloudy. 70 percent chance of showers this evening with the risk of a thunderstorm then clearing. Wind northwest 30 km/h becoming light this evening. Low 4. / Normals for the period : Low 8. High 21.
The Merc is taking longer in the shop than expected, so the trip to pick it up will be put off until tomorrow. We were planning to load a super B with supers to go north today, but I put it off until tomorrow due to weather and a feeling that it would go better.
I stuck to my desk and got a lot more work done, including an assignment for our lawyer. I've sold equipment and bees to over 20 beekeepers in the past few years and, as it is with anything, some have been delighted, some have been businesslike, and a few have been difficult, but one customer has unnecessarily made a point of being awkward.
In the evening, Ellen & I drove to Drum for supper with the Meijers at Fred & Barney's.
Today : Cloudy with sunny periods. A few showers beginning this afternoon. Risk of a thunderstorm. Wind west 20 km/h becoming north 30 this afternoon. High 16. UV index 6 or high. / Tonight : A few showers ending this evening then clearing. Risk of a thunderstorm. Low 2. / Normals for the period : Low 8. High 21.
The truck arrived at mid-day and we loaded until about 5, then the helpers had to go, and the trucker discovered he had the wrong tarps. We were half loaded, and decided to resume tomorrow morning.
The topic of beekeeper conflicts and differences of opinion is a touchy one, and one I have been very careful about discussing here, since I don't wish to smear anyone, and although I try to be objective and I try to stick to the facts, facts can be hard to nail down. Moreover, every story has two sides, and most people are good-intentioned. Oftentimes, the fact that perceptions, expectations, experience, or cultural backgrounds can be very different accounts for much of the misunderstanding. Different people have different assumptions.
In any deal, it is a tough judgment call how much to give, and how much to take. Although it is important to try to specify everything sufficiently to ensure understanding, specifying every detail can be impossible, and usually there is a little dissatisfaction felt by at least one of the parties. I've heard it said that one sign of a good deal for both parties is that both sides walk away satisfied, but thinking that they could have done a little better.
Recently there has been a sellers' market in honey, and currently there is a sellers' market in used bee equipment. There simply is very little drawn equipment to be had, and the seller sets the terms. There is little room for negotiation. Considerations that might apply when there is a more balanced supply situation are not relevant. Basically a buyer has two choices: 'take it or leave it'. There is a third option, I suppose and that is 'take it, then complain and/or welsh on the deal afterwards'.
In our situation, I find that, while most people realize that the market sets the price of everything from honey to beeswax, some others think that there is an intrinsic 'right' price for things, and that other 'ought' to sell to them at that price and terms which they have in their mind. These people can be very difficult to deal with, since no matter how many times they are told that this is the price, and these are the terms, they try to -- retroactively sometimes -- impose their will on the seller or ignore their responsibility to have done due diligence, by accepting the delivery and then reneging on payment, badmouthing the seller etc. Strangely, however these same people don't usually seem to mind benefiting from high prices in their products, and charging all the traffic will bear for their honey or pollination.
Today : A mix of sun and cloud. High 19. UV index 7 or high. / Tonight : A few clouds. Low 2 with risk of frost. / Normals for the period : Low 8. High 21.
I was up early and out moving boxes. Right off, I noticed that the forklift would not hoist a heavy stack, and had to tighten the belts. Then the performance improved.
Things then went smoothly until the second trailer was almost half loaded. As I was approaching with a pallet, the converter axle slowly squirted out from under the front of the trailer I was loading and the whole thing did a headstand, pitching some of the top boxes forward off the truck, and rearranging the stacks a bit. Fortunately the bulkhead restrained most of the load from falling off. With a bit of effort and planning, we managed to get the trailer back up, and the boxes straight.
Of course my new camera failed to work again, and we missed shots of the worst part, and we went back to using my old Olympus for the later pictures. What you see here is after we lifted the trailer back level and shimmed it up with a stack of pallets.
Once we were done, Ellen & I had to go to Calgary. The trucker continued to tie down and tarp the load. It was a slow process, since he did not have the proper tarps or enough straps. I had to donate a pile of straps, and lend a ladder, and it was fortunate that I had them.
The loading was a huge job, and took about 6 hours, since we had to shrink wrap the boxes, at our customer's request. As it turned out, that slowed us down a lot, and may not help him keep the stacks together when he unloads, since we found the wrap on one pallet sticks to the next when unloading or moving stacks. He may need to cut it off before unloading. Hope not.
The quonset is pretty well empty now. We have a few hundred boxes left and some foundation. That's it.
It's a strange feeling, to see that chapter of my life closed, but not a bad one.
We went to the city and dropped by Gibraltar, then picked up my driving glasses and got a boom vang for the boat, then drove home via the Mill.
Friday : Sunny. Wind becoming southeast 20 km/h in the afternoon. High 18.
Well, we are done. I have some last-minute jobs to do, then must get on the road. I hope to leave by Monday at the latest. From here on out, for a while, these pages may get a bit sparse, but I will be getting back to beekeeping after a while, since I expect to be working on a beekeeping course curriculum, and that will inspire some new topics here.
Jean & Chris came in the afternoon, bringing the boat. The fenders needed changing and it took Chris and me about three hours to get the job done. We had supper, then they headed home.
I'd have liked to have the boat ready and to have test-driven the trailer a week or more ago, but was not willing to drive to Ponoka, and the kids hadn't managed to get down earlier. As it is, I found the springs are pretty flat, so I won't be able to carry much of the extra stuff in it as I had planned.
Today : Sunny. High 22. UV index 8 or very high. / Tonight : Clear. Low 9. / Normals for the period : Low 8. High 21.
At 4:45 AM, I was on the road and headed for Ontario. By twenty after midnight, I was in Dryden Ontario, 1120 miles east of home. I slept a few hours in the car, then at 4, I drove on.
Today : Cloudy with
30 percent chance of showers this morning. Sunny with cloudy periods this
afternoon. Wind north 20 km/h. High 22. UV index 8 or very high.
For the first time in years, I decided to take a long break from writing my diary. The story resumes in late July.