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After years of looking, I bought this boat

Monday December 10th 2012
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Here in Sudbury, we got 4 inches of snow overnight and it is minus ten. 

I didn't go anywhere today.  I just visited and did some computer things.

Windows Media Center works quite well as a TV recorder, but I noticed a program I had recorded froze at several points.  Seems to confirm that the hard drive is acting up.   I have a full backup and an image, so hopefully I am protected if I need to change the disk again.  The original failed after six months and it is now about six months since the replacement was installed.  I ran the disk check overnight and we'll see if that fixes things.

I think there is a world market for maybe five computers.
Thomas Watson - Chairman of IBM, 1943

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Tuesday December 11th 2012
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The disk check returned no errors, but the recorded TV is not running right.  It takes seconds to advance one second of the program, so I suspect that there is a disk read problem.  I'll run SpinRite on this disk when I get home.  Hopefully, it will last that long.

It is possible that I was doing something intensive on the computer at the time the program was being recorded that hogged the processor and affected the recording, but I wonder.  I did install the latest version of Maxthon around then.  I'll record some more and see.

Bill and I are supposed to go walking this afternoon, but so far he is still shopping.  I spent a little time buying an extra cell battery and cover, plus a wall charger for my Optimus Black on eBay and have some magazine advertising to place for Mike, so I keep busy.

The walk never materialized, but Mom and I went out to Mr. Prime Rib for supper.  After supper, I played with my TV tuner and the software that programs the UV5R handy-talkie, then studied a bit and watched some Netflix.

Be yourself; everyone else is already taken.
Oscar Wilde

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Wednesday December 12th 2012
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Two more days and I head home.  Ten days is a good length for a quick visit.  In summer, I come down for longer, but in winter there is less to do.  Here, I do many of the same things I would do at home in winter: books, study, tinker...

When a person can no longer laugh at himself, it is time for others to laugh at him.
Thomas Szasz

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Thursday December 13th 2012
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Mom and I went to Linda's in the morning and return e to 1207.  I have a lot to do. It looks like we'll have a walk today.  I meet Bill at 1PM.  I need the exercise and having a companion makes the walking more interesting.

I took the battery out of my boat and put it in the garage, along with the battery from Cloud 9 so that they can be charged over winter.  I have decided not to wrap my boat this year.  I left it unwrapped once before and it came through just about as well as if it had been wrapped.  I brought everything that might be damaged into the house last October.

Bill came by at 2, just as I was finishing dealing with the PVR.  It had never worked properly, so I called Eastlink and they reprogrammed it over the cable.  Now it works properly.  After that, we took a hike along my old paper route and then visited a while.  I gave him the UV-5R to play with until I come back.

I got to packing after supper and  and resurrected my 202 to check into the repeater.  It is actually fairly easy to use.  I had planned to take the Kurig coffee maker home and packed it up, but decide it is too fragile, even in its original boxes and will leave it here for my next visit.

I'm packed now and have the alarms to set.  I have to be up at 4 AM to shower and catch the shuttle at 4:45.  With any luck, I should be home in plenty of time for supper.

I've learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did,
but people will never forget how you made them feel.
Maya Angelou

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Friday December 14th 2012
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At four, I was awakened from a sound sleep by my alarm.  Fortunately, I had set two alarms -- my phone and my Tab -- since my Tab did not ring.  Its clock was an hour slow, since I had changed time zones since I last set it and somehow, it does not adjust like the phone.  Usually, I awake a few moments before the alarm, but not this time.

I was showered, dressed and waiting outside for the shuttle at 4:45.  When it did not show up on time and I had waited a while, I called the company.   I was already running late, since the original pickup time had already been fifteen minutes later than I would have preferred and would have only gotten me to YSB 55 minutes before the flight time at best, and if there were no more pickups.

I had had a bad feeling about this new shuttle right from the start, but had little choice since this one had driven my regular shuttle out of business.  When I had phoned to reserve, I could hardly understand the operator; the phone was garbled, and he had a very heavy accent.  He said to email him and I did, and received a confirmation.

When I called the cab this time, communication was no better, but by having the man answer yes or no to my questions, I gathered that he would be over to pick me up within fifteen minutes.

After ten more minutes of waiting, I decided I needed a Plan B and borrowed Mom's car, intending to leave it at the airport for her to pick up later in the day if he did not arrive as promised.  (She dos not like to drive in the dark).

At fifteen minutes, I started up the driveway, and as I reached the road, at sixteen minutes, the shuttle came, so I left the car.  The van was driven by the owner.  Somehow his driver had been diverted -- or something.  I couldn't understand him.

At the airport, I was told the flight closed 6  minutes earlier, but the let me board anyhow seeing as I was checked in online.  Good thing, since I had two connections to make, one in Toronto, and one in Winnipeg.

The flights went smoothly and Attie picked me up at 1220.  I bought some groceries and was home by 2.

The fundamental cause of trouble in the world is that the stupid are cocksure
 while the intelligent are full of doubt.
Bertrand Russell

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Saturday December 15th 2012
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I spent a few hours this morning writing the following and also phoned the police to come and talk to the CN Railway people who come on the property, park there, and are blocking access to our shed.  They trespass and don't ask permission.  We'll see if that helps.

The RCMP officer came by and looked things over, took license plate numbers and said she will look into it. She gave me a CN complaint number to call Monday.   I also emailed CN today.

Zippy and I took a walk down toward the scale, but did a short walk since the snow made walking difficult.  It was cold, too, with a light breeze.

>> The big difference above is Dee is totally open about her methods which allows for criticism.

I don't know that her methods are criticized. I think the criticism revolves more around her denigration of other methods and her advocacy of panaceas for complex problems -- and her fixation on 4.9mm cell size in spite of all evidence of its unimportance. Many see her as a Pied Piper, leading the inexperienced and gullible off to frustration, needless effort, and disappointment.

Personally, I appreciate her methods and way of doing things -- for her, not me -- and even wrote a series of articles in a popular US bee magazine on the topic. Looking back, I think I could have been much more critical, but wrote a simple, direct report of an interesting and unique and idiosyncratic operation, without comment other than that there seemed to be no mite or disease problems and that this was something we all would like to see.

My opinion, however, is the same as those of neighbours of Lusbys I met at the time I first went to Tucson to see Lusbys. I met the neighbours at a convention and wondering about the planned visit, and asked the neighbour what to expect. The answer was that Lusbys had "their own way of doing things and it may work for them, but I don't think it would work for us". I asked what sort of people Lusbys were and was told the were "good people". I found that to be true and have not changed my mind.

> Is that so? As far as I know, she has never acknowledged that they are dealing with 99% pure African stock down there.

As for "99%", well, I don't know how we can put a number on it, but it is reported that the degree of Africanization is the area is high, especially in Tucson area hives which are not requeened with EHB stock regularly.

Dee, totally open? Well, yes, except on that matter and the politics around it (there is a quite a story there) and on several crucial questions, which have not been answered or discussed publicly -- AFAIK. Other than the Africanization question, these tow questions are most important questions to anyone considering imitating her for any other purpose than for fun and entertainment.

We've been around and around the question of whether what Dee advocates would work for those aspiring to make a business of beekeeping many times, and the one thing we have not seen one from Dee is a business model. IMO, the reason that detail has not been disclosed is that Dee knows that her model is not self-financing and _does not work_ and it fails badly compared to the alternative models. So she just does not respond when asked, and/or changes the subject.

Anyone planning to build a business needs to see if his.her chosen plan works. Whether Dee's methods work for _hobbyists_ and amateurs is really not a question since _anything_ works for a hobbyist, as the goal is pass time and spend money. Spending, not making money expectation. I should know, I'm a hobbyist these days, and meeting that expectation (losing money) due to trying some of the popular hobby ideas going around.

For a hobby and playing, anything works -- any hive, any bee strain, any magic potion, even doing nothing -- as long as the goal is not to maximize income from bees in the most reliable, efficient and least risky manner, or to build a business from the income coming from the bees.

A problem in discussing matters like this is that it seems we cannot agree either on what criteria to use to identify a "Commercial beekeeper".

Some may say that anyone who gains significant income from beekeeping, regardless of making or losing money, is a commercial beekeeper, and I suppose that in the strictest sense this may be true.

However, I think that most of us with any business understanding would expect that in order to meet the definition of a truly commercial operation, the operation should be _self-sustaining as a business over time, and provide a return to capital as well as paying labour and covering expenses_.

In other words, a commercial bee operation by itself should be able to maintain itself without outside income, should throw off a little profit, and be able to grow -- not consume its capital or depend on external capital and free labour, whether that of the owner or of others. Whether that business is the sole source of income for the owner is immaterial, as long as it is profitable on its own over time, as defined above.

Consider for example"

Beekeeper A is a beekeeper who built up from nothing to a large outfit financed only by the earnings of the bee business and which produces large volumes of honey for sale and pollination services to boot. Beekeeper A now has property and equipment mostly paid for and is raising a family, mostly on the earnings of the business, which makes a good return most years (Sometimes not) and on average over a span of time.

Beekeeper B is backed by a family trust fund and fortunate enough to have made immense capital gains on inherited real estate, inhered a functioning commercial bee operation, and now runs a small operation with a low output of honey and provides no pollination services?

Are they in the same league? Are they both legitimately considered "commercial beekeepers"? Or is the latter a super-hobbyist with commercial pretensions? I would say the latter.

In the real world, in the past decades, I think many surviving beekeepers have made part of their return from capital gains, simply due to inflation over that period and encroachment of cities, but where it is the primary source of funding, and the return from actual operation is barely sufficient to cover expenses -- and there is no return to labour and capital, we have an unsustainable business.

I think that a basic understanding of these business realities are essential for those intending to make beekeeping a business and to be certain to follow the examples beekeepers who are actually earning enough money to to grow their business, rather than blindly assuming that just because a beekeeper has bees and can keep them alive, and has money and a nice place and lots of stuff, that this is a sustainable model.

I started with very little and built up. At first, I was gullible and believed the wrong people. It seems most of us do, since these seem to be the ones who pop up to mentor newcomers and write fanciful bee books. Along the way, I learned the hard way that things are not always what they seem.

That is not to say that I did not have help along the way. I doubt that you can make it in commercial beekeeping without help and a lot of luck. The best help for an aspiring commercial beekeeper comes from associating with commercial beekeepers, not hobbyists, and regardless of what some say about how secretive commercial beekeepers can be, in my experience they are very helpful if you have the right attitude and give in return. (There are some notable exceptions, but they are not the rule).

There are two things which have never been disclosed in the Lusby story AFAIK, regardless of how often the questions have been asked, and the answers bear strongly on judging "success" and deciding if the operation is viably "commercial".

The first is, "what kind of yield does Dee achieve on average?"

The second is. "what has been her major source of funds to support the beekeeping operation -- beekeeping itself, or extraordinary income (capital gains) and outside money?"

I am not questioning her ability as a beekeeper, or her sincerity, but I think if her followers had the whole picture, they might see things a little differently. I know I do. I took the time to go twice and see for myself, to ask the right questions, and to learn the facts.

The answers are important to those who hope to make sufficient money from bees to pay for their beekeeping, and provide enough to grow their operation from within and have no outside funding sources. You only live once and time is too short to make mistakes following the wrong example. Just sayin'

Of course it would be rude to ask these questions of a private person, and I would not do that. However, Dee has made herself a public person and is publicly claiming to be an example of a successful commercial beekeeper -- and people are believing her.

So, I'll ask again: How about it Dee? How about some numbers?

Believe those who are seeking the truth. Doubt those who find it.
André Gide

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Sunday December 16th 2012
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I wasted the morning again, writing to BEE-L.  Writing to BEE-L is not a total waste of time, though.  I got an email from a bee magazine wanting an article. 

My most recent project is addressing the misinformation and half-truths behind the small cell movement.  In the process, I discovered that I have been accidentally producing 170lbs/year, then realised that it was 170 lbs over 4 years, not one year.  That makes better sense.

It was cold this morning, minus 12 degrees Celsius, so I plugged in the diesel for the first time.  I though I'd see how long it takes to warm the engine with the block heater and used the IR thermometer.  It seems to raise the temp about 9 degrees C per hour from minus 10 so far.  The number is very approximate since I could only see the water pump and a a part of an engine head to measure. 

Judging by that, I reckon that at minus forty, it would take around four hours to get the engine up near freezing.  Of course, wind would affect the temperature rise, and we have to consider that this is a very rough rule of thumb since the heat loss is greater at lower temperatures since the differential between the ambient and the target engine temperature is greater.

>> Is that so? As far as I know, she has never acknowledged that they
>> are dealing with 99% pure African stock down there.

> This is because I was blind test as told to me by Dr Loper and then
> it was used against us, while all testing with better labs in Europe
> never showed AHB, but european stock instead..............which
> showed the USDA was testing wrong

How long ago was that?

What do recent tests say?

>> Dee, totally open? Well, yes, except on that matter and the
>> politics around it

> Well knowing confidential files is one thing and talking is another
> So let those needing info get right to read it

Could you say that in plain English, please? As I recall, you
and several others managed to have Arizona bee inspection eliminated
because they realized that the area was being invaded by AHB and were
contemplating restrictions on beekeeping and movement of bees.

Yes or no?

>> The first is, "what kind of yield does Dee achieve on average?"

> Depends upon rains each year and flora.......but sustainable the old
> agric way, and not today's way

I asked for numbers. Your fans need numbers to see what they are
getting into if they follow your example.

>> The second is. "what has been her major source of funds to support
>> the beekeeping operation -- beekeeping itself, or extraordinary
>> income (capital gains) and outside money?"

> Beekeeping itself...............and has been ..................for
> the most part.

That is not what you told me. You may be covering day to day expenses
with your beekeeping, but I doubt you are making money.

> So, I'll ask again: How about it Dee? How about some numbers?

> When all other commercial do that are big.....................

What does that mean? Plain English, please.

If you are saying that you will give numbers when commercials do,
that is right now. The data for the profitability of commercial
beekeepers using standard practices is tabulated and published
annually.

Moreover, I'll tell you my numbers right now. The source
information is public at http://www.honeybeeworld.com/diary/

I had to stop and look up the data since I had not calcualted yields
since honey production not my goal and honey is mostly a nuisance
byproduct to me and has to be removed periodically to get
empty comb.

This year, I extracted 1770 pounds of honey from 22 spring hives.
Those 22 hives were also split into 79 surviving hives, counted as
of late fall.

Other recent years, I have extracted nothing. In 2009, I extracted
about 1,000 pounds from 9 spring hives which were split to 34 going
into winter.

So, over 4 years, I have extracted 2,770 pounds from 9, 25,9 and 22
spring hives -- an average of 16.25 spring hives.

That is a 170 lb average, including a year when I lost all my hives
over winter and years when I split the hives as drastically as I
thought practical.

(Wow! I had no idea until I figured it out just now. Honey production
was not my goal).

OK Dee, you're up. I did what you asked.

Now it is your turn. Numbers please.

> But would like to add, ........the promise I made to Udall and
Regan, Nixon is coming to close in couple years, and then the fun
starts.......

I have no idea what you are trying to say here.

Please explain.

 

I'm a little slow this morning. I was surprised to see a 170 lb result and
should have doubted it, but I liked what I saw and sent it on.

(It's so human to accept obvious misinformation that pleases us.)

I should have realised that the 170 lbs was over _four_ years and gives a
43-lb average. That is much more in line with my expectations since I
was splitting as often as the bees would stand it.

Let's hope that Dee is a better mathematician than I was when she gives
us her averages. Maybe she should just give us the number of drums
per year and the number of hives she recons produced them.

I drove the truck down the property and back to pack a trail for walking, then walked the mile with Zippy.  I was waiting for a man top come by and get two hives we had been discussing for some time.  He showed just around dusk and we looked for two good hives for him and loaded them up.  They were very heavy, but we got them loaded. 

This is a good time of year to move hives if the weather is near freezing.  The bees stay in and don't come out and make a nuisance of themselves.  A brief disturbance does not seem to harm them at all.   We routinely moved hives from yard to yard at this time of year when wrapping years ago.  I also had a yard trashed by cattle one winter.  We put the hives back together and the wintered fine.

In looking over the hives today, I see one which appears to have some dysentery.  It was flying and bees were out the top auger hole even after dusk.  I think I can write that one off, but we will see.

There are only two ways to live your life. One is as though nothing is a miracle.
The other is as though everything is a miracle.
 Albert Einstein

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Monday December 17th 2012
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I woke up at 3:30 and was up before 4.  At 5:45, I drove to YYC and by 9AM was meeting Colin at YVR.  We took Cassiopeia for a sail out on English Bay, then met the surveyor and spent the rest of the day examining the boat.

Cassiopeia is a Bavaria 42, and a good boat.  She needs a few repairs -- all boats do -- but is fit for charter and my plan is to have it in charter.

I'm spending the night on the boat.

Yesterday is history, tomorrow is a mystery, today is a gift of God, which is why we call it the present.
Bil Keane

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Tuesday December 18th 2012
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I slept well in Cassiopeia's forward cabin and am now up for the day.  Electrical and mechanical inspections are on the agenda.

I'm in Vancouver, where the weather is always warmer than home and it seldom snows, but guess what?  Here's is today's Vancouver weather:  Good thing I have a good furnace on this boat.  There was ice on the docks this morning.

Snowfall warning in effect.
Today
: Flurries or rain showers ending this morning then mainly cloudy. Local snowfall amount 5 cm. High plus 5.
Tonight: Cloudy. 40 percent chance of flurries or rain showers this evening. Snow mixed with rain beginning late this evening. Local snowfall amount 10 cm. Wind becoming southeast 30 to 50 km/h near midnight except 50 to 70 near the water before morning. Low zero.

The day was spent with various tradesmen inspecting the boat from stem to stern.  All in all, it seems fine and now I have to decide.

I met Ron, my brother for supper at the Arbutus Club, then returned to the boat for the night.  Tomorrow, I have to decide, yes or no, and return to Swalwell on the 5:30 flight.

Imperfection is beauty, madness is genius and it's
better to be absolutely ridiculous than absolutely boring.
 Marilyn Monroe

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Wednesday December 19th 2012
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I slept well and awoke at 6:30.  Finding breakfast around here is not easy, as everything opens at 9 on Granville Island.  There is no food on the boat at this point, so I am hungry and wanting coffee.

Looking out, I don't see any snow on the deck but the reports are light snow at the airport and winds gusting to 41 KPH.

Colin and I had breakfast at the Market and discussed business.  At this point, it is looking like a deal.  We'll see.  I fly home at 5:30.

Now, an hour later, snow is piling up on the dock and suddenly I find I have nothing to do.  I'm alone in a big cruiser. I have time to kill and am starting to fix things aboard.  I phoned Ellen and she is feeling better today.  She was feeling poorly yesterday.

I have some time, so I think I'll wander around Granville Island.  GI is the heart of the city and I used to find it an exciting place.  I must be getting jaded.

*   *   *   *   *

It's 5:30 and I'm sitting on the plane, headed home.  This has been a fun experience.  The snow and rain and ice added to the fun.  I guess I actually enjoy bad weather as long as I am safe and warm.

In fact, when I was napping on the boat I heard someone washing it down, then later, cleaning off the ice, and I realised how comfortable it is to have the boat in charter.  Sure, the boat gets used up faster, but in the meantime, it is cared for.  If I owned a boat and was not under contract, no one would be caring for it. 

I could just charter when I want to sail, but the experience is much different from owning.  As an owner, I have paid up front and can sail anytime I like, but for a charter client there is an arrival date and a departure date and everything in between is clean-cut. 

Of course, Cassiopeia is not mine yet.  In spite of allowing an extra day, there are final details to iron out, but it looks like a deal.  It will be a deal.  If my counter is refused, I'll cave.   We are close enough, and it is all about small stuff. I hate to spend money, but this feels right.  The boat is good and the people are good.  Sometimes I just have to go outside my comfort zone.

I'm lucky to have made it to the plane this afternoon.  We left GI at 3 for a 5:20 flight, but the traffic was unbelievable due to the wet snow and freezing rain.  Colin tried several routes to the airport, but we were just sitting in traffic.  It took fifteen minutes to go one block in the direction of the airport, so I remarked that we had seen little traffic back where we started and little traffic headed that way.  Traffic towards the core was indeed light and we managed to backtrack to the Skytrain station several blocks from GI quite quickly.  I got out and was on the Skytrain to the airport moments after stepping out of the truck, and I was inside at YVR in twenty minutes. 

My flight had been delayed, as had most of the flights, so I made it -- and here I am.

If you tell the truth, you don't have to remember anything.
Mark Twain

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