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Geoff Wilson speaking at the IPM Workshop in Edmonton this week
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We're seeing more seasonal weather today, with minus seventeen outside at sunrise today.
Jean and Mckenzie went for a skate, but found it pretty nippy out there.
I spent the morning tweaking and repairing the report page for my mite drops to date. There are two versions, one for fast Internet connections and one for slower connections. Between the two, the fact that time has passed since I wrote the intro, and the fact that the purpose of the page has changed, it is amazing how much writing and re-writing those few paragraphs required.
There are a number of oversights, one of the most notable of which is the fact that the charts I have posted do not yet show the resumption of brood rearing.
It's minus twenty again this morning. Minus twenty is cold enough to make being outside for more than a short while uncomfortable. I need to get out and get some exercise, and the next few days look more tolerable.
Being here in Alberta during the winter was not in my plan and the climate is not good for me. I need warm weather and ocean. Fortunately the darkest days of winter are past, and the days are growing longer quickly. Soon it will be spring and then summer.
Getting active helps, but the mountains are two hours away, so going skiing is a bit of a drive and I don't have anyone to share the ride or the expense. It works out to four hours of driving for about four hours of skiing, and about $50 in gas plus a $50 afternoon ski pass. I could go for a full day, I suppose, but a half day is about right for me these days. I ski pretty steadily and get around ten runs in of 1,000 vertical feet each.
I have lots of work to do around the yard and the house, but that is far down my list of fun things to do. Seeing as I am stuck here for the foreseeable future, maybe I had best get with it if only to keep in shape. I have some old equipment to burn but we have no snow cover and I'd hate to start a prairie fire, so I maybe I'll pile some things up and burn them some day later when we get some snow.
Joe and Oene came by for supper.
The weather is warmer today and the coming days look to be moderating. Snow is forecast and I'm thinking it is time to go skiing soon.
I'm doing a little bill-paying today and I see our electricity cost (left) is the highest it has been in all the time I have been tracking it. At 27.8 cents per KWH, including tax, this is almost twice the lowest amount in my chart and I can see that the trend is up. The average over the time I tracked it has been 19.2 cents.
Last time I checked the prices elsewhere, Manitoba and British Columbia were paying 6.5 cents per kilowatt hour. I'm sure that must have increased a bit, but I doubt it is half what I am paying. Please take a glance at your power bill and take the total cost including delivery and taxes and divide by the number of kilowatt hours -- or send me both numbers. I'll be fascinated to compare.
Our Alberta government deregulated electrical generation and distribution a few years back, claiming that competition would moderate prices and now there are more hands collecting $$ between the generator and my meter and the prices just go up. I'm hoping this will turn out to be a big issue in the coming Alberta election. I'm OK, but wonder how many on fixed incomes can afford the cost.
We are back up to the freezing point this morning. Good thing, too, since I noticed a gear problem with the furnace transmission last night. I shifted it into another, higher, gear which works fine, but I should do a repair today. Running in a higher gear makes a hotter fire which is less efficient and could, over time, damage the steel liner. I imagine the steel gear shaft has worn again. That has happened a time or two over the forty years since I built the coal stoker setup from a Kirks system. Warmer weather means that if I shut it off for an hour or so to change components, that the house will not chill much.
Here is a power price report sent by a reader in Virginia (Thanks!
$276.53 for 2839 KWH works out to 9.7 cents per KWH. Not too bad from where I sit! The US dollar and the Canadian dollar are roughly at par right now.
I didn't get around to working on the furnace. It seems to be running well, and I was distracted with a trip to Three Hills and then making supper for Ellen and Ruth, who dropped over for a visit.
In the evening, I watched "The Unusuals" and some "Republic of Doyle". I finished off "Life" the other day. That was a fairly short series, but one I enjoyed. I also watched an episode of "Lie to Me" that I had seen before. Oh, and I watched an episode of "NUMB3RS". That's a lot of TV. I was uninspired to do anything else, though. I've been a bit sore lately, with a bad foot and a hip/thigh pain.
As I have mentioned, I only watch using Netflix. I simply cannot stand the ads that interrupt normal TV programming and if I see something interesting on a TV channel, I usually end up turning off the TV when the first barrage of ads appears.
Locally, it looks like a nice day. I'm looking at the Nakiska webcams and things don't look so sunny, until I note that the date stamp is from last night. I guess they turn off the cams at night. Seems dumb to me. When I am making a decision to go or not, I want to see what is going on now, not yesterday.
I see that Sunshine Village have their webcams running. I'm not about to go there, though since it is an extra hour of driving each way plus a long 20-minute gondola ride to get to the Village, and also requires a Banff Park vehicle pass which costs $19.60/day or $136.50/yr -- $8.30/day for one senior.
If I am going skiing today, I'll leave around 10. That gets me to the hill in time for an afternoon ski and I can be back by supper. I see that the Nakiska cam is now online and things are looking good.
I think I'll go.
I left around 9:15 and stopped in Airdrie to visit with Mike and Liz. From there I drove to Nakiska and bought an afternoon senior ticket and was on the hill just after 1. There was two inches of new snow and conditions were wonderful (right).
By 2, I had made five runs and took a break. After, I did three more runs and called it quits. By then I'd one a little over 11,000 feet of vertical. My biggest day ever was 50,000 feet in 7 hours to earn a Gold Pin at Norquay twenty years ago, so this relaxed 11,000 feet in less than two hours was a lot of skiing, especially for an old man.
I stopped for a few groceries and a dozen roses in Airdrie on the way back, and was home by 6.
Minus nine at 5:30, with a promise of plus two later and sun. My legs are a little sore from the day of skiing, but not too bad. I only notice it when I walk downstairs. I think I quit at just the right point yesterday. I've been getting out of shape and need to get more exercise.
I was feeling energetic today and did some cleanup and chores, then made quiche for supper.
My legs are still a little sore from skiing. That seems odd, since I didn't feel them much after skiing at Christmas and I made more runs and skied more vertical feet that trip. Of course, I was skiing with the kids and others that day and maybe was not skiing as hard or as many steeps (double blacks). It could also be the several months of relative inactivity since then -- or the Avodart.
I discontinued the Avodart several days ago and my foot and hip pains seem to be fading. I can walk normally again. I also have more energy.
Today we have three appointments in Calgary and we have to leave around nine-thirty.
* * * * * *
We drove to Calgary for the three appointments and came away encouraged. Things are looking up and Ellen seems to have stabilized. We stopped at Lowes on the way home and I went in for a few minutes.
Once home, I realised that it has been a week since I pulled the drop boards and I went out and exchanged them fro fresh board. I noticed that bees are less apparent at the auger holes and wonder how they are doing. The populations are likely dwindling a bit, but they are also probably sitting on more brood now and that will keep the cluster tighter than before when temperature regulation of the cluster was less of a chore.
I counted the drops and they came in at 0, 0, 0, 4, 0, &1. I'll be updating the drop page and the charts soon, but have grown a bit tired of the task now that there is not much to observe.
We are now about a month from the beginning of spring and the days are getting longer. It is passably light out until six now. There is little snow around and the days are often shirt-sleeve warm. Winter is still here and we're certain to experience a few more cold spells, and maybe a foot or more of snow a few times before the trees bud out, but the spring-like interludes are growing longer and stronger.
I have been watching an hour or two of old TV episodes on my LG Smart TV in the evenings lately. I find that I am fast running out of shows that I enjoy on Netflix. I'm good for a while yet, but I can see that the selection is limited unless I want to watch "90210" or a number of really dumb series.
Speaking of dumb, I am increasingly finding even the ones I like to be transparently stupid and contrived. It seems they throw in a particularly unlikely episode in from time to time just to test the audience's patience and intelligence. Jumping the shark on "Happy Days" was just one such farce. Maybe it is done just to remind the audience that they are watching fiction. (Dan Quayle had to be reminded that "Murphy Brown" was fiction).
Of course, stretching credulity is the part of fiction, and all television, if we are completely honest, but I can usually manage to ignore that fact unless it is showed in my face.
I'm watching largely because I am stuck here at home for the duration, and run out of ambition after dark, but spring will change that I expect. It usually does. I love bright light and don't enjoy gloom. Also, it seems Ellen is getting better and may be less reliant on me soon. I hope.
Today is Nathan's birthday. He is now one year old. Jean and family will be here tomorrow for a little celebration. My legs are no longer sore, but it looks as if I'll be busy today with errands and chores at home.
El and I went to Three Hills and did a few things. Ellen had more blood tests, which took almost an hour since the techs were unfamiliar with some tests that had been requested and had to research to make sure they followed procedure properly.
While Ellen was busy at the lab, I went over to UFA and bought a 20 lb propane bottle. In recent years, the type I have used over the years have been superseded and it is now time to upgrade. I have quite a few bottles since I use propane for many things, including running the forklift. The new connectors that replace the traditional POLs look more sensible and easier to use, but the guy at UFA says they are subject to failure since the new ones are plastic and degrade in the sun. I bought a new pigtail anyhow and plan to change over to the new system completely soon.
After the trip to the lab we bought groceries for an "At Home" we are planning for for Sunday afternoon. We're expecting ten to fifteen people, and good weather. We haven't had the "Usual Suspects" over all at once since early fall. Ellen has been feeling better the past few days and we are hoping that she has turned a corner and hoping she'll be able to stay up for the four-hour reception. She's been up pretty well all day over the last two days. Before that, she had found it more comfortable to stay sitting in bed much of the time.
Shirley and Grant came by for coffee at three.
I still have not finished updating the mite drop data. There is not much to report, but I should go out and lift some lids to see how the clusters look.
The forecast has changed and we are expecting snow today and cloud tomorrow. I had hoped for a warm sunny day for Sunday and a nice afternoon for a barbeque and bonfire. We'll see. It seems that one cannot count on the forecast for planning further into the future than a day or so. Even then there are surprises.
Jean and family will be here for lunch today to celebrate Nathan's birthday, and I have to get ready for the party tomorrow, so my day is pretty well committed
"We always overestimate the change that will occur in the next two years and underestimate the change that will occur in the next ten." Bill Gates
There was a question about high school beekeeping courses on BEE-L recently. In 2004, I wrote the Beekeeper Technician Manual for the Alberta Green Certificate Programme. Only Level One was contracted and published, but at the time, I wrote all three levels, seeing as it was difficult to determine what skills fell into which level without outlining them all. After I finished, my formatted work went to committee for editing and printing. At that point, I lost touch with it and it was years before I actually received a printed copy. By that time it had been in use for several seasons.
I spent the morning vacuuming and getting ready for company. Our friends arrived at two and we had a good afternoon, visiting. We had burgers at around five-thirty and everyone left except Bert and Fen. We sat around talking until about nine.
Meijers arrived a little earlier than the others and lifted a few lids before coming into the house. They confirmed that one hive was small, but the other two they opened looked good. The weak one was test Hive One, a hive that I had previously noticed to be small, but with brood, so we'll see.
I still have to finish updating the charts from the recent mite counts.
"So divinely is the world organized that every one of us, in our place and time, is in balance with everything else." Johann Wolfgang von Goethe
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