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It is right at freezing this morning at 4:30 AM and today does not look like a good day for outdoor work. With a high expected of around freezing, and strong wind and clouds predicted, it will be unpleasant at best. I've worked out in much worse, but I think I may wait a few days for better weather to finish the cleanup I started yesterday. Looking at the current forecast, the next week does not look too promising, although tomorrow and Monday may be OK if they are not too windy.
This job will take three more fairly full days at minimum, I estimate. Best case, Loading the trailers may take a day each and delivering them may take another. The two dumps I have to visit to get rid of my various items are 12 and 30 miles from here. Once loaded and hooked up, each trip will take two hours -- if all goes according to plan.
In the afternoon, I ran up to the farm to get eggs and decided, seeing as I was driving the truck anyhow, to check the trailer hook-up in case of surprises. Sure enough, the truck and the trailer have different electrical plugs, so I have to make an adapter. Otherwise the hitch looks to be about right and I have air bags on the truck so I can level the load if necessary. The trailer should be fairly well balanced, though, so there should not be too much weight on the tongue.
To ridicule philosophy is really to philosophize.
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It's a cold day with no promise of warmth later. If there is no wind, I may get some outdoor work done, but I have some indoor jobs to do and need to make up a converter for the trailer electrical connections.
First, I'll check the traps. I have not seen an signs of skunks lately, but have left the traps set just in case. As long as they are set, I have to check them daily. I should check the drop boards, too, but with this cold weather, I wonder if the drops may be reduced due to less bee activity.
Yup. I got another skunk last night. That's number 19, I think. It is hard to keep count.
I pulled the drop boards and did a little cleanup,. but it is cold out there. It is minus 5 this morning and cloudy. Even without any wind that is cold. A few months from now, minus five may seem warm, but right now, I prefer to be inside.
I counted the drops again today and the three day average seems to be down a bit from the last two counts and lower than the Sept 1 counts. That seems to indicate some degree of control, is still short of 100% by a lot. Basically, it appears that the drops are just staying even.
Hives 1, 5 and 6 are interesting in that they are still dropping about the long-term average or above while the others are dropping considerably fewer now. Hive 1 was a hive in which the brood had gone down from the top box and in which I had to move the strips down to the next box.
It is also clear that the formic knocked down mites very quickly.
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There is a skiff of snow on the ground this morning, but the forecast is for up to 15 cm more.
There are quite a few projects on my plate and some deadlines coming up. I have been doing things on an ad hoc basis, so I began the day by prioritizing. Without priorities, and an plan, there is the risk of missed deadlines or last-minute panic.
I also reserved a flight to Sudbury for ten days in early December.
The traps are empty this morning and there are no skunk tracks in the snow around the hives, so I guess I solved the problem for now. I'd have never guessed when the problem began that I would find there were nineteen skunks in total!
The ground is hard this morning. It won't freeze hard for a week or two, but that day is coming.
The hive scale has not changed since last time. I wonder if it is stuck.
I did some bookkeeping this morning and shop cleanup in the afternoon and evening. I listen to books from Audible while doing such jobs and it keeps my mind busy during what would otherwise be boring work. Currently, I am listening to Fear and Loathing at Rolling stone.
Later, I watched Flashforward on Netflix.
Being a philosopher, I have a problem for every solution.
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Today, I'll continue the cleanup and deskwork.
The best laid plans... I wound up driving Amos to the vet and getting a flu shot, then buying groceries. Amos began yowling this morning and it was determined that he has a sore ear. We suspected ear mites, so off to the vet I went. I had suggested we just cut a piece of Apivar and stick it in the cat's ear, but common sense prevailed and I braved the storm outside for the sake of the cat... and the caterwauling.
With the new GPR, installed yesterday the Super Duty fired right up. I had a blast. The roads were snow-covered and slippery, and driving a big noisy diesel 4X4 felt perfect. Other than for the skiing and snowboarding and ski-joring, I don't care much for winter. The days are short, the nights are long and cold, and going outside often risks life and limb, but today I enjoyed the clouds, blowing snow and drifted roads.
I arrived at the vet's right on time. The vet confirmed the mite diagnosis and $106 later, I left with a medicated cat and a package to treat Zip at home. Mites are contagious. Apparently these mites get around, and can infest a dog, but people don't apparently get them. I took Zip in case the vet wanted to see her, too. She didn't.
When I got to where I expected the the flu clinic to be, the parking lot was empty and covered with untracked snow. The plow had not yet arrived. To me that was no problem. I parked right by the door in the empty lot. Then I looked inside and couldn't see many people.
Usually the clinic is lined up out the door and it takes an hour or more to go through the queue, so I wondered if they had moved it this year. As it turned out, it was the clinic, and it was open. There was no line-up for the shots, and it took me ten minutes, start to finish.
I then bought some groceries, went to the bank, and that was about it for the day. Coming home, I avoided the highway and came cross-country on gravel and prairie trails where I felt safer and could drive at higher speeds.
When I got home, I wasted some time learning my new eTrexLegend HCx GPS and ordering some charts for a sailing trip I am planning on the West Coast over Remembrance Day weekend. I had a Legend Cx some time back, but lost it. I think I may have left it on the balcony railing in Galveston two years ago. It was so insensitive that I always had to put it near a window to start up, and even then it took minutes to find itself. This HCx found itself within 30 seconds right out of the box, and right in the middle of my house. Bonus!
Divide and rule, a sound motto. Unite and lead, a better one.
The snow and cold weather continues. This heavy early snow is a surprise. We often have snow before Thanksgiving (Early October in Canada) but almost never have snow that stays until after Halloween, and Halloween is still a week away.
I see some warm weather (plus ten degrees Celsius) coming later this week, so maybe the snow will melt. I hate to get out the blower this early and spend an hour or two clear the driveways, only to have a Chinook clear all the snow a day later.
With this early snow, Nakiska is opening for Saturday and Sunday this weekend and claims that this is earlier than any Canadian resort has ever opened. Looking at the webcams, though, the coverage looks sparse, and the hours will be limited to 10 to 3, so maybe it is just a stunt.
Yesterday was a bit of a bust as far as working on my priority list. A change in the weather often has this effect. The cat's problem and the side-trip for a flu shot and groceries were major diversions. Hopefully, today I'll get more done.
In addition to diversions like the GPS setup, other little projects have drawn me away for the priority list. For one thing, I have been completing a bit of online shopping that I have put off in the past.
Purchases of the GPR and the GPS went well and mail delivery was fast and easy, so I ordered a few other items I have been wanting, including a USB microscope and a magnifier headband for mite count from www.DHGate.com.
I've also spent some time learning to use the magnifier and voice recognition (VR) features built into Windows 7. The magnifier is easy to learn, but there is a learning curve for VR.
Nonetheless, I'm finding both could prove very useful. Years ago, I purchased VR software and found it was inadequate for most use at the time and abandoned it, but now I use VR on my Android all the time for texting. I'm really impressed by how quick and accurate it is. The built-in Win 7 VR seems pretty useable as well, and I am currently learning how to use it and its many commands.
Today is the day to start removing Apivar, but the temperatures are too cold and besides, I am allowed another 14 days since the strips were repositioned. Actually, I don't know when I am going to have access to the hives again. I guess if the bees go down and are not in contact with the strips, they are effectively removed from the cluster until the bees come back up later in the winter.
Lead, follow, or get out of the way.
Now the race to open ski hills is on. Norquay is opening a few runs today! Canada Olympic Park will open this weekend also. Here in Swalwell, we have as much as 6" on the ground.
I got some bookwork done yesterday, but time flies and it has been two months since I have been caught up. I still have a huge pile left to do -- at least a whole day's worth, -- two if I am honest with myself, which is not a good idea sometimes, and it is killing me.
Sitting at a desk is hard on me. I was feeling sluggish yesterday, and checked my blood sugar. It was running higher than I like, 7s and even 8, so I got out for a walk over to the hives and around the yard to get some exercise and see if the wildlife nuisances have been here.
I see no skunk tracks, but it looks as if the foxes have been around. The deer have passed through and are eating windfall crab apples, but avoided the electric fence.
My keyless entry key fob for the 4 X 4 arrived from Amazon. It cost me $10.20, delivered, and I had it programmed in five minutes, following the simple instructions that came with it.
I managed to do some more bookkeeping and then made supper. The usual suspects arrived around six for supper.
To teach how to live with uncertainty, yet without being paralyzed by
The return of anything resembling warm weather has been put off a day or two further into the future and we continue to receive more snow daily. No doubt about it: winter conditions are here for the year, barring a Chinook.
Today, my mouse wore out. I tried cleaning it with WD-40 and an air jet, then washing with alcohol, but then the wheel was not working quite right. At the same time, the left click became unreliable.
Using another mouse did not solve the problem, so I deduced the problem was software and uninstalled all the mice and touchpads in the device manager and rebooted.
The system reinstalled them and everything worked, but now Synergy was acting up. I rebooted the router and the computers with no luck. Finally, I uninstalled Synergy on two computers and rebooted and reinstalled Synergy and all is well, but the day slipped away.
The hives are pretty quiet. I see a few dead bees out front in the snow, and some hives have more than others. A few hives have bees in the auger holes, but most do not, indicating that the bees are clustered. Looking at tracks in the snow, I see that birds have been feasting on the dead bees around the hives. I saw some small animal tracks, but am not convinced that a skunk is still in action. I'll need fresh snow to get a better reading.
Consider how hard it is to change yourself
and you'll understand
The cold snap continues, and the sky is overcast.
I have not checked the drop boards since the 21st. That is six days ago, so I'm guessing that there will be a lot of debris -- and mites.
I decided to pull the boards and take a look. Since I have not tried starting the diesel below zero degrees C (freezing) and last night was minus eleven, I went out and gave it a try. The temperature was still minus eight, but it fired right off. It took three tries, however, before it would keep running. I could have glow-plugged it a lot more, and will next time, but I figured to just use the timer light at first to see how that worked. I can see that a minute or so of glow plug warming would be a lot better than the 15 seconds indicated by the timer.
Minus ten is an average December/January temperature around here, with as many days above as below, so it is reassuring to know the truck will start at minus ten. I'll try starting it at minus twenty later, then maybe minus thirty, but plan on plugging it in for cold weather. I doubt it will start at minus forty and would not even try. Starting these big engines in cold weather is hard on them and I noticed that, even with new batteries, the engine cranked a little slower today than when the day is above freezing.
After the boards were counted, it seemed clear that all the mite drops are down, and by a lot, but Hive One is still high. It was a hive where the brood area had moved down below the strips and I had had to move the strips to be closer to the brood. I have been told that the strips need to be in the brood and this seems to corroborate that.
Most are now under the 24/day threshold that Jean Pierre Chapleau mentions as the beginning of risk of loss or small surviving clusters. I think the colder weather is a factor, as I noticed last year that the drops diminished during cold spells.
I suppose I could go out and do an oxalic evaporation some day when the weather warms up and see what falls down. That would be interesting. I think I will. Looking back, my varroa drops now, after using Apivar are about what I had after my first oxalic vapour treatment last year on this date. I must say the weather was much, much better on this day last year.
Man is equally incapable of seeing the nothingness from which he emerges
It looks as if Halloween night will be a cold one. The first warm day promised is Saturday. My plan to clean up the yard and take a load to the dump is on hold.
I get cabin fever every so often, especially in this dull weather, so after lunch I got into the Super Duty and drove to Crossiron Mills. They had a part for my AR Drone on hold there and I was running out of time to pick it up. I also had a few other errands to run.
While at The Source, I picked up three Bluetooth-enabled amplified stereo speakers so I can listen to Internet radio, podcasts, 8Tracks, or Audible on my phone or Tab while working. I can't find anything on commercial radio that interests me and CBC repeats programmes too often during the day for my liking, so I can time-shift CBC by tuning in Montréal or Halifax -- or Vancouver or listen to the podcasts of my favourites
From Crossiron, I went to Wal-Mart and did a few more errands, then drove home.
I conceive that the great part of the miseries of
mankind are brought upon them by
More dull, cool weather! Five more days of this, possibly with a bit more sun, and we'll be back up to warm weather again -- if the forecasts prove out.
A while back, I wrote about boom loaders and gave rough plans for building one. I didn't get around to making one, though, although I did look at my steel stack and begin planning based on what I have on hand. Then yard cleanup and the bad weather intervened.
Shortly after, a reader sent the following diagrams and links.
Every so often someone asks for a link to my 2002 Bee Culture article about my first trip to Lusbys. The article, I entitled "The Truth is Out There", thinking of the X-Files, but the Kim, editor changed it with my permission to "A Desert Storm", seeing as the US was in Iraq for the first time about then. I like my title better as it suggests a dichotomy between the official story and the apparent facts.
The article used to be up on Beesource.com, but I asked Barry to take down all reference to me and anything I wrote there as I was/am disgusted by the bias shown there, and the biased editing of posts by "moderators" and do not wish to seem to endorse the site in any way.
I later found that I don't have a good electronic copy of the article on hand myself, but today, I realised that the Internet Archive keeps copies of old pages. Here is a link to the Wayback archive copy, and here is link to a local copy I made.
The forum is getting quite active lately, with several new members. Currently we are discussing MAQS among other things. Below is an excerpt, discussing formic generally:
It's probably obvious that I am procrastinating today. Today it is the books, the decision whether to buy Cassiopeia or not, and the priority list.
Anyhow, I broke down and had my coffee around noon, then made a chocolate layer cake and a pan of brownies for Ellen. I'm trying to put some weight on her, since her treatments knocked 10 pounds off her, ten pounds she can ill afford to lose. So far, my efforts are working -- on me.
I didn't get much done today except researching the boat, and snow kites. In the evening, I cleaned up more downstairs. I listen to "Fear and Loathing at Rolling Stone" on Audible to occupy my mind while I work down there or do other boring tasks. Otherwise, for some reason, my mind wanders and I begin brooding. A good story keeps my mind occupied while my hands are at work, and I am pondering the next move.
I used one of the Bluetooth speakers. It works well, and is plenty clear and loud, but pairing every time I wander too far from it -- 40 feet -- is a pain. I would be just as well to plug into it with the 3.5mm jack and leave the phone there or use the Tab. I also discovered that the power connection is flakey on the first one I used and it will have to go back.
Oh Joy! The new forecast predicts plus five tomorrow.
You miss 100 percent of the shots you
The promised good weather keeps receding. Today is another dull day. I am one of those who love bright light. Our house is all windows and it is still not bright enough to suit me.
I have not checked the drop boards since the 27th. Early on this morning, I walked around the yard sand took a glance. I see Hive One has enough to count. Other hives, not so much. Maybe I'll pull them out and do a count. My new headband magnifier arrived from Amazon.com in this morning's mail, so I'll try it out.
My Garmin GPS charts arrived from eBay this morning, too. I bought the micro DS card with all the US and Canada's West Coast for 2/3rds the best price I could find anywhere else and when I tried them out on the GPS, they seem OK.
Well, I counted the mites, using the new magnifier. It works really well and I am pleased. The magnifier works well and the mite counts are getting lower. I have to wonder, though, how much is due to the cold weather, how much is due to dead bees clogging the screens, and how much is due to the Apivar.
I'm glad I decided not to go to New Jersey this week , I was offered a chance to sail with Frank on Nov 3rd out of Sandy Hook. I'd have flown into Newark in the next few days and we'd have cast off for Bermuda and The Caribbean right away. Somehow, I thought better of the idea and cancelled a few weeks ago.
Here is Frank's report from Compass Rose X:
The third-rate mind is only happy when it is thinking with the majority. The
second-rate mind is only happy when it is thinking with the minority. The
first-rate mind is only happy when it is thinking.
The dull, cool weather continues. My outdoor projects are on hold, maybe for the year.
I spent the day at the desk, and my major accomplishment was placing an offer on a boat.
As far as the laws of mathematics refer to
reality, they are not certain;
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