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Jack Welch 

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Wednesday January 20th, 2010
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Thursday January 21st, 2010
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I drove from Miami to Lehigh Acres and spent the night with Gord and Shanta.  Her sister and Mom were there, too.

In the afternoon, Gord and I went west to the shore and looked for marinas and boats.  We did not find much near Fort Myers, though and a look at the charts shows why.  Although there is a lot of water in the bays, it is very shallow. I'll have to look around Naples.

Ellen says:

Foggy today with temperatures ranging between -10 and -4.

The scale reading was 49.

I was ready to go to 3 hills this morning around 9 but the fog rolled
in and I couldn't even see Carolyn's so decided to go tomorrow
instead.

Friday January 22nd, 2010
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We were up at 5, since Gord and Shanta's family were flying back north.

I've been going from MacDonalds to MacDonalds since they have free Internet at all US restaurants now.  Wonderful.  I tend to eat there anyhow, avoiding the obviously unhealthy choices and find it economical and handy.

After spending a few hours at MacDonalds and after the sun came up, I went exploring.  I took a room at the Econolodge.   I've stayed at two Econolodges now and they are cheap and good. They also have free wireless, unlike Motel 6, which makes email a hassle there.

Saturday January 23rd, 2010
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Today Snow and local blowing snow. Amount 2 to 4 cm. Wind becoming north 30 km/h gusting to 50 this morning. Temperature steady near minus 4. Tonight Cloudy. 60 percent chance of flurries. Wind north 20 km/h gusting to 40 becoming light late this evening. Low minus 9.

That's in Alberta.  I'm in Fort Meyers at the Econolodge.  I spent the afternoon visiting a Real Estate guy, then driving around Cape Coral.  What they say about foreclosures and cheap, new houses for sale by the hundreds is true.

Good-sized newer houses on large lots (over an acre) are selling for fractions of $100K, and some are on canals.  The neighbourhoods look pretty decent, too.

I booked my flight to BUF tonight and my hotel in Orlando.  I tend to waste a lot of time booking on the Internet, but like to know what I am getting and save as much as I can, too.

I can't figure why the scale hive weights fluctuate the way they do.  Some days it seems they use nothing, then the next they use more than average.  Is it the scale, or is it the bees?

Either way, I can't see how.  Could it be environmental?  Humidity, perhaps?

Sunday January 24th, 2010
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Ellen says:

The weight is up possibly due to ice inside the hives from moisture freezing and also the tops of the hives have more ice.  This doesn't brush off.  I think some snow stuck to the ice that was there from the other day.

The weather has been gradually getting colder. -7 now at 4 P.M.

Monday January 25th, 2010
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Eleven more months until Christmas and I'm here in MCO, waiting to fly back to Buffalo and the snow and cold.  More and more airports have free Internet, now, and it makes getting there early more attractive.  The only fly in the ointment is shortage and placement of AC outlets.  Here, to use a power outlet, a user must stand.

Ooops.  Make that rain.  I just checked the forecast.  Tonight I'll be in Burlington.  Similar weather.

*       *       *       *       *       *

I landed in Buffalo, retrieved my van and drove to Burlington.  The drive was very windy, but I arrived in time for supper and had a good visit with John and Jill, then hit the hay early.  I was beat.

Tuesday January 26th, 2010
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I went straight up the Guelph Line to Owen Sound and looked at a boat that interested me.  It is likely a sound boat, but a bit old and grungy inside.  (The weather did not make it look any brighter).  I took a pass on it for the time being.

I then dropped in on my cousin Jack at Thornbury for a minute, seeing as I was going by his door, and he and his wife convinced me to stay over, then go snowshoeing in the morning with their group.

Wednesday January 27th, 2010
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Today, I went on a two-mile march on the Bruce Trail with about twenty 70 and 80(+?) year-olds, and I have to admit it was a real workout.

From there, I went by Penetang and glanced at a Grampion 28.  Could not see much since it was tarped.

Then I proceeded to Sudbury through some white-knuckle snow driving conditions, arriving in time for supper

In the evening I retrieved my Internet from Harri and visited Bill and Faye.

Thursday January 28th, 2010
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I spent the day at the desk and got next to nothing done.

Friday January 29th, 2010
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I visited Linda this morning, then got an oil change at Walmart.  In the afternoon, I slept for an hour and a half, and I'm off to Bill and Faye's after supper

Saturday January 30th, 2010
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I visited Linda again this morning and spent the afternoon at the desk.

I've removed the adjustments from the wintering scale hive chart. I had been averaging out zero loss days, assuming they are impossible, but now have to acknowledge that I am monitoring weight and not consumption.  Weight reflect not only feed consumption, but other factors like accumulation, then melting of ice inside and outside the hives.

'Cooking' data to fit our expectations by throwing out unexpected data points is generally a bad idea in science, since it can obscure what is really happening and allows us to confirm our prejudices.  What is happening is not necessarily what we expect and if we start fiddling, we can miss something important.

I recommend that everyone try to do some science now and then.  If nothing else, it makes obvious how many things can go wrong and the decisions necessary to complete the study, then to present the results.  These decisions necessarily taint the results, the question is how much and how honest the decisions are.

Sunday January 31st, 2010
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It is staring to look as if CHC is up to their old tricks again.  As if promoting Canadian honey at the ABF Meeting (North American Beekeeping Conference) was not insensitive and provocative enough, I noticed this in the January 2010 b-TALK which just came in by email.

"The Canadian Food Inspection Agency has invited CHC to a bee health
advisory committee meeting in Ottawa. The first meeting will be held 17
February 2010. Heather Clay, Corey Bacon and Tom Trueman will represent beekeeper interests on the committee"

I contacted the head of the CHC Bee Health Committee, and he has heard nothing about this.

Huh?

I have been out of the loop for a while.  For one thing, I had not been getting news from the CHC due to a foul-up.  Now I am.

At the North American Beekeeping Conference. I attended the CHC meeting where  I learned that they have a budget of around $300,000 and still are short of funds.  Seems the manager is now a CEO, and the organisation is hiring 'consultants' to do the work.

Huh?

The chair appeared to me to be very defensive in response to questions asked from the floor, and that is not a good sign.  Are they doing the work that the beekeepers have asked them to do?  Apparently not. They are rather devoting money and energy to promoting 'Canadian honey', which is the job of packers, not beekeepers and only of interest to a small rump of our industry -- and an also activity likely to get us noticed unfavourably by our US friends who thus far have treated us as one of them when practiced insensitively at an international conference attended by beekeepers, not consumers.

Alberta is one of the provinces paying a good deal of the the freight for this apparently mismanaged and out-of-control organisation.

I think it is time we delayed payment of funds until the end of each year and made payment contingent on performance, and deducted funds to the extent that CHC works against or ignores our interests.  Why should we finance those who work against us or ignore our priorities?

CHC claims credit for some good work, such as obtaining approvals for chemicals, etc.  Often as not, however, the grunt work is performed by provincial groups or individuals at their expense and who must request the endorsement of the national organisation for purposes of dealing with the federal government.

*       *       *       *       *       *       *

One thing that concerns me is the term "Bee Health".

Some take it to mean literally what it says, health of bees. Period.

Personally, I am also interested in not only bee health, but also beekeeper health (financial).

There is a trade-off that the ivory tower types and idealists don't appear to understand.

Sure, we could have a limited number very healthy bees if we stopped trying to make a living from them and isolated and mollycoddled them, but most of us realists are perfectly willing to sacrifice some health of bees in return for freedom of movement, certainty of supply, and expanded opportunities.

Alberta's decision to subjugate regulation and enforcement to free trade, research and extension has proven out. We can grow and trade and still maintain reasonably healthy bees. Border closure was largely a fiction in Alberta, yet the bee industry in Alberta, alone among the provinces, has grown.  Nonetheless, import restrictions are a heavy burden on the industry and result in supply uncertainty, high cost (double) and provide questionable protection from questionable threats.


That point is lost on some beekeepers, and somehow those protectionist, regulatory types tend to get control of the CHC agenda, financed by the very people they hamstring at every turn. Their agenda hits resonance with the bureaucracy. After all, what do bureaucrats love best? Regulation and endless meetings about artificial distinctions.

If we really wanted bee health, then one obvious route would be importing healthy packages, so that treatments would be minimized here. That notion seems to go over the heads of the protectionists.

Anyhow, the term alarms me. Sure we want healthy bees, but what extremes are justified, and at what cost to beekeepers?

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