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Here is a picture graciously supplied by Christopher Boughton of Cornwall England UK of a bee on Hellebore. 
It "was taken on January 23rd 2010 just after a very cold spell of weather ( for us in Cornwall ) we only just reach Frost temperatures in the early months normally but the last two years we have been down to -10C ( 14F ) then the wind will change and up goes the temperature so that the bees will fly.... Hellebore are in flower here from November to March, Snowdrops ( Galanthus ) from Late December to March".

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Tuesday February 1st 2011
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At 2 AM our south door blew open.  I happened to awaken and closed it.  By then it was pretty cold upstairs, and I wondered about the house plants.  That was the first blast of the coming Chinook, I suppose, but this morning, the temperature is still near minus 30. Hopefully, by tomorrow, the temperatures will moderate. 

I had planned to go to Calgary today since the Bluewater Cruising Association meets tonight, but the radio reports collisions all over Calgary.  I think I'll reconsider.  I have the furnace to clean and check this morning, anyhow and I have no clue what I will do about a replacement vehicle.  I'm tending towards new or nearly new.

We listened to the radio and the reports continued all day of vehicles in collisions and in the ditch in and around Calgary, so I decided to skip the Bluewater meeting.  Around 6, Ruth called and reported her car wouldn't start and that she was stuck at work.  I checked on a map and found she was only 9 miles away, so drove over and tried to start it, but it would not go, so we had a houseguest for the night.

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Wednesday February 2nd 2011
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This morning, I drive Ruth back to work and continue with my planning.  It is warming up and I'm thinking about the mountains again.

I drove Ruth back to work and took another look at the car.  Other than broken light parts front and back and some minor body damage, it seems OK.  I could straighten it out and if I can find the lights, repair would be simple.  It would not be like new, but it would be serviceable.  At any rate, it runs well and I like it, but I suppose it is time to replace it.

Pricing new cars is turning out to be quite a chore., and I am getting tiered of being deskbound.  With the he warm weather and bright sun, 'm inclined to see if I can get my snowmobile going and also to get skiing.  It is still possible to go today, but the forecast is for wind in Kananaskis.  Maybe I should go to Canyon.  The distance is not that different and the facilities are very different.

*   *   *   *  * 

I called the eye doctor's office around 2 to see if I could change my appointment from the 9th to some other time that did not fall in the middle of the IPM Workshop next week.  Agenda  Registration Form

She said, "Can you be here at 3:30?" 
I said, "yes", and drove to the south end of Calgary.

I had a field of vision test and a detailed examination of one eye that showed a new floater a while back, and that meant a dilation.  The field of vision gave 99% in both eyes (Whew!) and the pressure is up to 20 in  one, but still normal.  I put on my sunglasses and left the office and joined the rush hour traffic.

I hate sitting idling, so went down to a nearby Dodge dealer to kill time.  I looked at vans and test drove a 2010 model, then a 2011.  The 2010 rode well, but had a definitely truck-like ride.  the 2011 rode more like a luxury vehicle.  of course they both were, at $37,000 and $45,000 asking prices.  I  then got into my 18-year old Mercury Grand marquis and drove home.

I still like the Merc and it compares well  to the vans in terms of ride and quietness.  The steering and brakes need some work, but are not too bad.  The windshield cracked recently and the body got a bruising the other day.  It would take $3,000 to put all ship-shape on a car I paid $4,500 for six years ago and might be worth $2,500 in good shape if anyone would want a car that old.

I arrived home around ten, but as I drove north I was puzzled by a long line of flashing lights on the horizon north of us.  I had first seen them on the same road when returning from the airport and California and was curious, so, seeing them again, I drove an extra mile north and then realized that I could not see much more than I could near home.  I turned around in a driveway and found myself stuck so firmly that there was no movement forward or back.  I was alone on a country road, but in five minutes a truck came by and I flagged it down and got a ride the 3/4 mile to home, then went to bed.

Along the way, my rescuers told me that the red lights are clearance lights on the recently erected series of windmills along the ridge near Trochu.  I had seen them, but not added two plus two.  They are quite a sight, since they go on for miles along the ridge.

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Thursday February 3rd 2011
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In the morning, we took the 4X4 up to pull the car out and brought it home.

I have been concerned about the lack of transparency in billing on my Rogers Rocket Hubs and could see that I was approaching the end of my billing month and perilously close to triggering a $10 increase for one day's service, so, I decided to get my Galaxy Tab onto the Bell 3G+ network.  I had tried previously and entered the info, name... credit card... etc. many times, only to find their system was not up at the moment or that it refused my username and password after I finally managed to  register the SIM, but gave it another try.  I wound up phoning Bell, and after an hour on the phone managed to log on and access the 5GB I purchased.

I then had a brainwave and tried setting the Tab up as an access point.  That was simple and I was impressed to find that I could connect my two main computers instantly with no problem, plus the iPad!  Ellen's Vista machine refused to connect, but at any rate, I am clear of Rogers until the next billing cycle.  The speed according to the Speedtest is less than the hub, but the computers seem to run faster and the Tab is lying on a table with no antenna and the hubs need a 24dB yagi aimed south to perform at all well.  Interestingly, the upload speeds are twice the download speeds and the opposite is usually true, and the d/l is usually 5 to 10 times as fast.

That, and various desk tasks like moderating and writing articles used up the entire day, it seems.

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Friday February 4th 2011
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We're rounding up the usual suspects tonight for supper, so Ellen is off to town to shop.  She set the table yesterday.  What was a casual get together is getting more and more formal.

*   *   *   *  * 

The gang came and went.  We had a good time, as usual.

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Saturday February 5th 2011
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I slept in and am spending a lazy day.  I've been spending time on the Rogers site writing about Usage Based Billing and other Internet-related topics.  Time flies.

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Sunday February 6th 2011
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I spent the day, it seems, OKing posts on BEE-L.  I went outside to work on the forklift shifter, but found it too cold for comfort.  I also found my battery on the Merc was flat.  Did I leave a light on?  I did not see one on when I got the car started, so I wonder.  I thought that the electronics would shut it off anyhow if I did.  Anyhow, that is the second flat battery in a month: one in California and one at home.

In the evening, I tried to firm up my schedule for the coming months and thought I had it figured until I called our daughter.  She is expecting sometime in the next few weeks and I'll have to be around.  I had thought that it would be soon -- about now, in fact from the previous estimates --  but the actual date is very uncertain since it is an unusual pregnancy, and the birth could be anytime between now and March 4th.  That puts me on ice for now and makes planning difficult.

I may go to the West Coast for a week, but cruising in Saint Thomas, a 24 hour series of flights away is out of the question for now.  Drat!

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Monday February 7th 2011
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Today Snow ending late this morning then cloudy with 30 percent chance of flurries. Amount 5 cm. Blowing snow giving near zero visibility at times this morning. Wind southeast 30 km/h becoming light this morning. High minus 13. Wind chill minus 29 this morning.

Look at the weather!  And I have a hotel reservation in Edmonton for tonight.  The IPM Workshop starts tomorrow.

"The workshop will be held on February 8 and 9, 2011 at the Executive Royal Inn, 10010 178 St. Edmonton, AB, Telephone (780) 484-6000. For 2 days of fantastic speakers, lunch and coffee the cost is $194.25 (including GST)".  Agenda  Registration Form

I hate to have to rush up to Edmonton at the last minute and early in the morning so I always go the night before.  It costs a bit more, especially since I don't have a roommate to share expense (anyone?), but it saves on worry. 

Fog can be a problem driving in early mornings and there is time pressure when leaving at the last minute.  Going the night before makes sense and there are always a gang in the lounge the night before the meeting, catching up on the latest.

Driving conditions should be better this afternoon and evening, but I have no confidence in the car.  The battery was flat for no apparent reason and even though I am charging it, who knows why it went down so fast?  Besides, I have decided that the tires are too worn for safe winter driving, especially after my experience the other day.  So, I'll have to take the van.

I see there is activity in the Honey Bee World Forum these days.  Why not drop over there and comment?

Babe's Honey Farm president, accused of $956,944 in frauds.  Read more

The PMRA concluded that it is highly probable that exposure to clothianidin caused the bee mortality in Ste-Martine. Read more

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Tuesday February 8th 2011
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I'm at the meeting hotel.  There is a good turnout already, judging by the number of beekeepers in the lounge last night.  I had a very good sleep. Hotels and motels lately have really good mattresses and bedding.

Things get going at 8.  Medhat has a good programme set up for us.  Here is the agenda again. Agenda

*   *   *   *  * 

We had a full programme today, and a very good lunch.  In the evening a group of us went to Moxie's for supper.

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February 9th is included on the next page so that the meeting reports are all together.

 

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