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My Wintering Hives at the Beginning of March
It is now two weeks to the day since I did the last mite drop counts. I went out and picked up the boards. Did not count yet. Looking in the entrances, I see some dead bees on the screens, so this could affect the drop counts. I did nothing about it at this time.
Jean and the kids came down for supper and stayed the night. Mckenzie and I are going skiing tomorrow.
Every day I get up and look through the
Forbes list of the richest people
Friday, Mckenzie and I went to Nakiska for a day of skiing and were back by supper time.
Creativity often consists of merely turning
up what is already there.
Did you know
I did some odd jobs today. The dishwasher had not done a good job on the cutlery, so I cleaned the screens again. They were not nearly as bad as last time, but there was some food blocking the grate and a piece of nylon tie. It pays to be very fussy about scraping and rinsing plates going into the machine.
In the evening, I made a cake, and enjoyed using the new oven. The old one was uneven. This one is much better.
Even if you're on the right track, you'll
get run over if you just sit there.
EPS boxes chalk and yellow after a few years and they look awful. Even after 8 years of unpainted service, these are still standing up though. Lacking paint, the surface has powdered a bit and I am certain that the boxes will last longer and rub off less on clothing if painted.
On the new boxes (top), I used an expensive paint, with a proper undercoat, sprayed on carefully, but from what I have seen, other beekeepers have had as good or better results using cheap exterior latex paint and a roller. Rollers are slow, though and the BeeMax are particularly annoying to paint manually due to the many little molded-in marks on all surfaces. The Meijer boxes have only handholds to make a bit of extra work and no other marks to worry about.
The boxes shown here are all BeeMax boxes. I should mention that I no longer recommend BeeMax due to their poor design and cheap construction which became apparent when I assembled this last order of 100, and also had a better look at the ones I have had for about 8 years. Some arrived broken in shipment and when I was painting them after assembly, several stacks fell over and the boxes actually broke!
Beaver Plastics is now making boxes with Meijers' mold, and can be had for about the same cost. The Meijer boxes are denser and far tougher, but my tests showed they insulate just as well as the lighter duty boxes.
Meijer boxes may cost a bit more to ship since they are cast in one piece and don't knock down flat, but they do not require assembly. Assembly takes a fair bit of time and requires glue (I used the wrong kind), so the slight shipping advantage is lost to the extra labour required.
Even with glue, BeeMax corners are very weak, though, since there is no way to glue most of the joint surface since it is inaccessible. I would never want to try to stand on a BeeMax box, but can stand safely on one of Meijers'. As for lifting heavy BeeMax boxes, one must handle them carefully or risk sprung corners. Breaks are easily fixed with Weldbond glue and a few drywall screws to hold the joint until it sets, but it is a hassle.
More on EPS boxes:
Repairing EPS bee boxes:
I checked my bees this afternoon. They all seem OK, except one looks to be queenless. It has that look. Others vary in strength and one was very light in the top box, but the bees looked good. I pulled the box off the bottom and put it on top. I don't like to reverse at this time of year, but I don't like hives starving either. The bees looked to be OK and were not quivering or anxious, so I think they will be fine.
The box at right was the top brood box on one hive I opened. The bees are not up into it yet. It is solid new comb, full of capped honey. I pulled a frame and the bees are barely into it. I don't care much for this and should probably have placed an empty brood comb in the centre, but I did not.
BTW, I'm downloading and installing Windows 8 preview on my netbook in the background right now. I figure the netbook could not run a whole lot worse than it has been. It was so bad last summer that I bought a replacement. Actually, I bought the replacement partly because I did not need such a small machine now that I have the Tab and the phone. I bought a bigger laptop.
I cleaned the netbook software and registry, but I had loaded it with lots of programs, then uninstalled many. Then, to add insult to injury, I had run an optimizer. If the machine was not screwed up before 'optimization', it was after. Fortunately the optimizer saved backups and I got the netbook running reasonably well again, but in the past, I have found that installing a new Windows version over an old one often results in a decent performing machine, so I figure, "What the heck?"
I have yet to count the mite boards. I seem to have lost interest for now. They are sitting here, waiting.
Fen and the Meijers came for supper. I had made a shepherds pie.
A man who has never gone to school may steal from a freight car;
but if he has
The next several days promise snow, and there is a bit coming down now. March is a big snow month in Alberta and offers some of the best skiing in the Rockies -- if you can get there. The roads can be pretty snowy and slippery.
Windows 8 Preview installed without a hitch and presented me, much to my consternation, with the screen at right. I examined it, saw a square that was labeled. "Desktop", and was taken immediately to my familiar desktop which woks pretty well the same as it did under Windows 7. The start orb is gone and that is a bit of a puzzle. It seems that just moving down where it should be has the same effect. I don't know about all the 'apps" that seem somewhat useless, but I suppose they will get better. Anyhow, the computer is no faster or slower and seems to work OK.
We're off to Three Hills this morning for more blood tests.
I've been shopping for a new van for some time now and the Dodge and Chrysler vans have been the main focus, although lately I have been considering Toyota and Honda as well as Hyundai and Nissan. The advertised gas mileage on the new models has been a motivator and justification for purchasing a late model rather than the ten-year old models I have always favoured. The many new features, like backup cameras, are added incentives to go newer.
If prices of fuel stay up and Canadian mileage estimates are accurate, driving a newer vehicle should pay for itself over a sufficient number of miles.
We now have
I was pretty well convinced the newer vans make the advertised 35 MPG (Imperial) mileage advertised on the window -- which is pretty good compared to the real 22 MPG the Dodge gets and the real 26 MPG the Toyota gets -- but then I found this and this. If this is true, the 35 MPG advertised becomes a mere 28 MPG. That is still better than the 22 MPG my 2002 Dodge is getting or the 24.5 the 1998 Plymouth gets, but not better than the 28 MPG the 1998 Toyota Sienna has given us over time.
In Imperial MPG
That's still good, but now I don't know what to think. The payback contribution from fuel savings has shrunk to almost nothing compared to the higher cost unless gas prices double, and in that case, I won't be driving far enough to make those projected savings -- I'll cut back -- or I'll be inspired to be driving something smaller for most purposes.
I think I'll just use the US figures. What started me thinking about this was that the Canadian stickers say 35 MPG and the US reports say differently.
Below is a comparison from the EPA website. I chose two vehicles I have, and two I might like. I have to multiply the numbers shown there by 4.55/3.78 or 1.20 to get Imperial MPG.
I can see that logic dictates against buying a brand new van. Drat! I have not bought a new vehicle since 1967, although I have bought a lot of cars and trucks and vans over the years. Each time I scope it out, It seems clear that an older machine costs about half over the ownership period that the new one does.
"I cried because I had no shoes, 'till I met
a man who had no feet.
Well, we got our snow and I drove to Three Hills on slippery roads this morning to cash in on 10% Tuesday at the local IGA. I had trouble getting out the driveway and that was after I managed to scrape enough of the ice layer off the windshield to see. I loaded up with groceries and then drove home.
After I got home, I had along nap and tackled the snowy driveway with the snow blower. I got it done in good time since I don't have to do as good a job as in early winter. We are expecting a few hot days soon and I just want to make sure we don't have a slushy mess.
It was quite a workout and I realise that this long winter at home playing chauffeur and housemaid has me out of shape. I had planned to be in Florida this winter on a boat, and in the Caribbean, but que sera, sera.
"Nothing travels faster than the speed of
light, with the possible exception of bad news,
What do I think of Windows 8 so far? Well, I am less than impressed by the user interface, but when I restored an old desktop theme, it looks and acts just like Windows 7 -- once I get to the desktop, and that was not easy. I had to press F1 the first time and thankfully "Help" worked as always and I was able to figure it out.
As for being optimized for netbooks, I am not seeing any improvement over Win7 so far, and I have run updates and defragged several times. The atom processor is slow and as I look at the machine right now, the processor is running at 100% and the memory at 55%. (It is installing the latest Evernote update). I do have a 20" monitor hooked up to it running 1440 x 1050 and I imagine driving that many extra pixels in full colour is working the processor hard as well. Maybe with just the built-in display it would run faster. At least the machine is reasonably responsive even with the processor pegged to the pin.
It seems the opening screen of this version is designed for touch screens, but it also works with a mouse and keyboard once I figured out how. I'd have preferred that the install had detected a PC and come up with a more familiar desktop right off, much like previous Windows versions and all the various Linux flavours.
Maybe I'll take that back about performance. I think it is running a bit better than Win 7 even though the CPU seems to be almost pegged all the time. We'll see. At present the indexer is pretty busy and services.exe is using 1/3 to 1/2 the CPU. Maybe it will settle down after it finishes indexing.
(Later) I think it is faster and I see I am able to use the eye candy that stalled Win 7. I doubt I will continue to do so, however since this is such a puny machine.
I was very frustrated with the initial view and the help was not much help, but I am now reading the Microsoft forum devoted to this release and have learned a bit more about getting around. The Metro UI is very clunky for desktop users, but I imagine that by release time that this will be fixed.
The processor is now idling at 50%, so the break-in has passed.
"Faith moves mountains but only knowledge
moves them to the right place."
Today we drove to Calgary to see several doctors and renew prescriptions. For various reasons, I wound up walking the entire length of the east hospital complex four times, adding up to a one-mile hike, so I got some exercise out of the visit.
It all went well and we visited Peter and Edie on the way home. From start to end, we were gone eight hours and Ellen held up well. We are told the treatments are working and I can see that she is a lot stronger lately.
Whoever gossips to you
will gossip about you.
I got the power bill today and see that our price per KWH is still near 30c. Several people sent me their power costs a while back and I appreciate it. What I do is simply take the total price I pay (including delivery, taxes and all the other components) and divide that total by the number of KWH being billed for the month. It is clear that, for a guy who is sitting directly on top of a major supply of oil, gas and coal, I am paying far more than most people in North America do.
The current government "deregulated" the power monopolies some time back and we have been paying ever since. We have a Provincial election coming up and I hope our electricity prices will be an issue.
Nearly all men can stand adversity, but if
you want to test a man's character, give him power.
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"If I make a
living off it, that's great -- but I come from a culture where you're valued
not so much by what you acquire but by what you give away,"
-- Larry Wall (the inventor of Perl)
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