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Riding Skis Behind a 7 Metre Concept Air Foil Kite at Weed Lake.

Wednesday February 20th 2013
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Today I got started on cleaning up the shop downstairs.  I have several projects that need that space and it is quite cluttered.  Finding space for all the odds and ends is difficult and the way things are now, on tables and fixed shelves, things are not moveable and I need to be able to move things around easily.

A while back I bought some steel shelves on wheels at Costco and they helped a lot with the clutter.  I can also rearrange the workspace easily and bring what I need nearer and what is not needed into a corner.  Even though they are $100 each, I think I'll get two or three more.

I plan to install natural gas piping, work on the vans and build some floors and lids.  I also have to clear the floor to do some concrete grinding so that the water runs to the drains better.  Getting things onto rolling shelves will make all that work much easier.

Meijers came by at 6 and we went to the Mill for the first time, I think (other than the memorial party) since Bill died over a year ago.

Besides the three of us -- Ellen was not feeling well and stayed home --Fen, Betty, Bert, Martin and Lauralee and Maddy were in attendance. We had a great time.  We returned at ten and I stayed up until 1, watching video and doing a few tasks.

When one person suffers from a delusion it is called insanity;
when many people suffer from a delusion it is called religion.
Robert Pirsig

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Thursday February 21st 2013
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I slept in today and now that I am up, feeling ambitious.  I hope to get more cleanup done and maybe spend some time on the books.  I have a two GST returns to file by the month end and also two year-ends to do soon.  All these things mean I have to get the entries up to date.

Try to learn something about everything and everything about something.
Thomas Henry Huxley

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Friday February 22nd 2013
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I still have not managed to get a traction kite and the snow is melting.  Patrick says the kites come in Monday.  He still has my skis.

I spent the morning at my desk, shuffling paper.  I'm getting the papers into order for the accountant.  There are a lot of receipts to enter into the accounting software.  I sometimes wonder if there is an easier way, but they have to be sorted and collated anyhow and entering them only takes a little more time.  It is probably a good thing to look at them, too, and read some of the papers that piled up when I was away, or too busy to look.

After lunch I went out and flew kites.  The wind had cranked up to almost 10 MPH, so I had a good session with the 3.5 metre HQ Rush Pro IV, then, when the wind died a bit, I took out the Albatross 5.5.  The Albatross has handles, not a bar, and a lot more pull.  I have not quite mastered it, but managed to be dragged around a bit, and spent quite a bit of time straightening it out after having it pulled away from me by gusts.  I don't have kite-killers on it -- yet.  That kite seems a bit dangerous and I am not sure kite killers would stop it without taking me for an uncontrolled ride over the snowy field first so I don't want it tied to me.

Then, back to the desk.  I hope I finish this job soon.  At present, it looks like I have at least another full day ahead.

After supper, I was too tired to do much, so I watched an episode of Numb3rs and How to Snowkite (again). 

I had noticed a while back that I was down to 2 over-the-air TV channels and had not really cared as I don't watch anything that is interrupted with repetitive, insulting commercials.  I had assumed that they had gone off the air, but decided to re-run the channel discovery feature and -- guess what? -- I now have 6 channels again.

Good people do not need laws to tell them to act responsibly,
while bad people will find a way around the laws.
Plato 

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Saturday February 23rd 2013
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I started off by shoveling the ashes.  I have to do that about once a week.  We had hoped to install a gas furnace this winter, but the gas fitters were too busy to pay us any attention at all.

Today, I have to keep after the books, but right now it is blowing 15 MPH outside and I think I'll get some exercise.

Well, I procrastinated too long and the wind is down to 5 MPH.  I think that I am getting jaded flying a kite without being pulled on skis.  It is fun, and a good workout, but now that I can walk the kite around the window, do loops, figure eights and power dives and control the forces, the thrill is less.  Having tried  the depower kites at Weed lake, I can see the next step.

I still have to learn the bigger kite, with its handles for control, and that has been a bit of a steep curve compared to the bar, but I expect to used depower kites with a bar and maybe if I get my work done, I can get a kite Monday, recover my skis and see about travelling around the local fields.  Like this--  Or Snowboard?

Back to the desk. 

While I work, I'm listening to Internet radio using Tunein Radio Pro on my phone linked by Bluetooth to a Bluetooth speaker.  I like Blues and so right now it is Blues Classics on http://addictedtoradio.com/

I decided to go out anyhow.  Sitting all the time is bad and it makes me feel crappy.

I have been checking my blood sugar again lately, after not doing so for a while, and I see higher numbers than I like.  I like to keep those numbers under 8 after meals.   I saw an 11 today after not doing anything and eating some high-carb food.

It does not take much exercise to drop the numbers right back down to the 5 range (Canadian measure -- that is 90 in the US).  Even light housework and cleaning up the shop makes a difference.

I used to monitor my blood sugar often and adjusted my diet accordingly, but quit taking readings because I was starting to get readings that jumped around.  I got another meter and compared, but the two meters sometimes disagreed by several whole numbers.  I figured the strips were no good or something, and they are expensive so got discouraged, but recently I bought more strips on eBay from Poland and figure I'll just test for a while and see what I get. 

I also am thinking it is time to smarten up, quit drinking, be careful eating and exercise more.  I lost about 40 pounds over a year in 2006, and got down to 208, but have since gained back 30.  I figure I have lost ten pounds of muscle in that 5 years due to not doing the heavy work I did at one time.  I seem stable at this weight.

At that time, I also took metformin (Glucophage) and that seemed to help keep the numbers down.  Metformin is quite safe other than having a slight risk of causing lactic acidosis.  Alcohol and metformin can combine to cause trouble.  Of course, alcohol can combine with many things to make trouble.

While I was out, I took some junk out of the basement.  Now that the days are longer, the sun is higher in the sky, and temperatures are around freezing, working outside can be quite pleasant.

I managed to get most of the paper sorted and reconciled about half the accounts before supper.

After supper, I was too tired to do any more and watched Netflix until 9 and went to bed early.

If you want to know what a man's like,
take a good look at how he treats his inferiors, not his equals.
 J.K. Rowling

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Sunday February 24th 2013
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Going to bed early means getting up early.  I was up at 4:30 after a good night's sleep.  I see we can expect more wind today and mild temperatures. 

I still have a day of deskwork ahead, but plan to get in some time outside and doing housework and shop time.

When I awoke, my blood sugar was 5.7 and just now, after breakfast, it is 5.8.  I took another reading and got 6.2. Is something wrong with this meter?  I really don't know.  Of course neither is bad at all.  Maybe I am expecting too high a degree of accuracy.  I tried my other meter and got 5.7.

I eat a 3-egg omelet each morning for breakfast.  When I awake, I am usually groggy for the first while.  I stumble to the door and let the dog and cat out, make coffee, then let the critters back in after a few minutes.  Then I make my omelet and check email while it cooks.  Making the omelet is my morning ritual and keeps me occupied while I wake up.

Everyone says that eating so many eggs is bad, but in my experience, eating high carb breakfasts like pancakes, cereal or such makes me feel bad all day.  Even oatmeal cooked slowly, which is supposed to be ideal, has that effect if I eat more than a little, and raises my blood sugar.  I  can only conclude that everyone is different and that I should do what makes me feel best.

I often wind up spending a few hours at my desk before I do anything physical and have been thinking I really should get moving earlier.  Ideally, I should get some exercise earlier in my day.  It's a quarter to eight and I'm still sitting here.  What was I doing?  Collecting YouTube kiting videos.  Here are a few in no particular order:

I managed to reconcile more accounts and made significant progress and went for a short walk before supper.

Live as if you were to die tomorrow.  Learn as if you were to live forever.
Mahatma Gandhi

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Monday February 25th 2013
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I did some more bookwork and was waiting to hear from Patrick that the kites had arrived, so I could pick one up in Calgary, but they did not arrive  and I decided to go to Airdrie anyhow to do some shopping.  If they did arrive, I was close to the pickup point.  If not, I'd get some shopping done.

I bought wood for lids and floors at Lowes since I'll need lids and floors for the hives I'll be selling soon ,and had an extra key cut for the truck ignition.  It did not work, so I had them cut another.  It did not work either, so I gave up. 

By that time, it was snowing and when I started the truck, my windshield wipers were not working.  The wipers on this truck just quit for a while from time to time, and of course an intermittent problem like that is almost impossible to track down and fix. Fortunately, they started up again and worked all the way home.

I try to use Rain-X windshield washer fluid on my vehicles periodically as they have an ingredient that makes the windshield so slick that rain just runs off and wipers are usually not needed on the highway, but freezing rain can be a problem.

I then went to Costco to buy steel shelves.  I like the chrome units with six shelves that roll around the shop.  I had been told that they were to go on sale today, but they did not.  The regular price is not all that bad at $99 per unit, so I bought two units anyhow.

From there, I drove to Home Depot in Airdrie for more wood and had another key cut.  It worked. 

I bought some groceries at No Frills and drove home.  The roads were snow covered in spots and with the weather near freezing, I was very aware of the risk of black ice and drove accordingly.

Take a virtual tour of the interior of my boat, Cassiopeia.  Let it run, then pull and push the image with your cursor to look up and down.

The only difference between me and a madman is that I'm not mad.
Salvador Dali

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Tuesday February 26th 2013
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I awoke at seven this morning and am looking forward to more book work.  If I keep plugging, there must be an end somewhere ahead.

I also have the materials for making lids and floors, so I may get a start on that job.  I can't just sit at this desk all day.

Recently, I have been wondering if the diesel fuel currently available has sufficient lubricity for my 1999 truck.  Since 2010, all fuel sold is ULSD (ultra low sulphur diesel) and the older engines require sulphur, or equivalent, to lubricate the injection system.

I wrote to my supplier -- UFA -- and they sent me this link to their supplier's page discussing the question.   UFA assures me that their random tests show that they beat the industry standards.

After lunch, I got word that my kite arrived, so I decided to go to Calgary and get it.  I also needed to get gas for my off-road truck, mower and snowblower and The Calgary Power and Sail Squadron social happens tonight.

I unloaded the truck, blew up a low  tire on the forklift and drove to Calgary, got the gas, the kite, and attended the meeting then drove home, arriving around eleven.

Be careful to leave your sons well instructed, rather than rich,
for the hopes of the instructed are better than the wealth of the ignorant.
Epictetus

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Wednesday February 27th 2013
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The morning is dull and cool, at minus 9, and there is a light breeze -- hardly a great morning for kiting.  That is just as well since I am running up against a deadline for getting the accounts to the accountant by month end.  If it were a beautiful sunny day with a 8 MPH wind, I would be very tempted to break out the new kite.

A friend sent this by email:

I suspect there is more to the blood sugar story than the conventional message. My experience is not at all in line with the conventional message and while it is possible I am a total anomaly, I think there is just much more to the story.

When I used to eat a conventional "meat and potatoes" diet, I would experience some sugar highs and lows if I ate sweets in between meals. Since I have been on a low-fat vegan diet (meaning 80% of calories from carbs), I have not experienced any sugar highs and lows. Weight is 15-25 lbs less than it used to be, and exercise is in the same ballpark. I do not have a satisfying explanation.

I agree.  What we read in the popular press and books is an oversimplification, extrapolations from cherry-picked studies -- and also assumes either that what is true for one person is true for all, or tries to stereotype us into 'types'.

The truth is that each one of us is unique, not only in environment, but also in genetic endowment, history, psychology, beliefs, experience and in habits. All these have a bearing on how we respond to foods.

There is an interaction between foods we consume, both together and in sequence, and also the body's response to each, individually and together.  Foods remain in the body for a period of hours to days and that makes it difficult to isolate and evaluate the effects of each food.

Moreover when we consider the minute amounts of a chemical (micrograms of some substances like LSD) that can have huge and lasting physical or mental effects, the implications quickly balloon beyond comprehension.  Every food is a drug and we have little understanding of what they do, except in more extreme and obvious instances.

I had a friend years ago who subscribed to the food combining concept that was popular at the time.  In my own measurements, I see little rhyme or reason to what I see beyond the fact that consuming refined carbohydrates predictably elevates the glucose readings.

As for the vegan diet, I have no doubt that it has some advantages, as does simply going vegetarian, but both require a lot more work on food preparation and finding food when travelling than I am likely to find myself doing routinely.  Nonetheless, the idea is worthy of consideration.  I did try a vegetarian diet years ago, and think we did it right, but found that I was physically and intellectually weak while I stuck to it.  Returning to my normal diet made a big change for the better.

The Pope of the Roman Catholic Church is retiring.  I'm not Catholic, or even superstitious (well, maybe a little), but I find this interesting in light of an experience several years ago and in light of the Audible book I am currently listening to.

When we were in Rome a few years back, we went to Saint Peter's to see the building and the art at the Sistine Chapel.  As it happened the Pope was there and there was a major event going on, so we stayed and watched.  At one point, the Pope came within a stone's throw of us as he was blessing the crowd.  Interesting and impressive.  We never did get into either building.  The lineup for the Chapel wound around an entire block, so we went elsewhere.  I loved Rome and would go there again anytime.

I am currently listening to "A Distant Mirror: The Calamitous 14th Century" by Barbara W. Tuchman.  I find the book very illuminating.  I read the actual (paper) book, or parts of it at one time decades back, but listening now, I can see the parallels to current times and how little people and institutions have changed.  The book also sheds light on the Church and how myth and superstition has been used as a weapon and a goad to manipulate the masses throughout history, and explains how the amazing feats of construction that are still visible from former civilizations came to be.  It also makes very clear how fragile any empire and civilization is and how quickly it can fall.

Bookkeeping is no fun and the kite beckoned.  It came without the lines and bar set up, so I decided to do that.  This took an hour...  procrastination.

At least I am ready now if the wind picks up a bit.

At right is what $1250 worth of kite looks like once rolled up, and the bag is half-empty still.

He who has a 'why' to live, can bear with almost any 'how'.
Friedrich Nietzsche

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Thursday February 28th 2013
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Yesterday I got the GST/HST info up to date and off to the accountant and the lines attached to my kite.  Today, I have a choice of many tasks

  • Make lids and floors

  • File papers and finish up the paperwork

  • Vacuum the house

  • Blow snow off the driveway

  • Go to Weed lake and do some kiteskiing

What will I choose?  Tough choice.

There was talk of having folks over for supper, but I think Meijers are off to Manitoba and if I go to Weed Lake, I won't be back in time to make supper.  Right now, the wind speed is 0.0 MPH, so kiting does not look promising.

The temperatures are going up this week -- plus ten tomorrow -- so the snow may be gone before too long.  March is a big month for snow, though, so we may get more later.

Hi Allen

Been reading your diary over the last decade or so. I really enjoy it, hearing how similar experiences with bees can be all over the world. And now you're into power kiting- we live a mile away from a top kiting beach in the UK, so if you're ever over this way....!

AD> I'll keep that in mind.  I have yet to master kiting on snow.  Skis first, then snowboard.  Skis are easy.  After I manage the snowboard, I should find kiting on water much easier than if I started in water since snowboarding requires a start from a prone position much like a water start.

I was thinking about working schedules and what your experience of the 4 day weeks were, when you tried it a few years back. How come you didn't carry it on into the next season.

AD> Actually, I can't recall.  I'd say that a lot depends on your crew and their personal commitment to the job and their personal lives.  Hiring locals, we found they expected office hours.  Those with foreign (mostly Mexican) workers who live on site find that their help expects to work all hours and days and want maximum hours before returning home.  After a few years, though, returning workers tend to adopt Canadian expectations and are inclined to enjoy the local shopping, etc. and less likely to seek long hours

One idea you've really inspired me to do, is keep tabs on how many hours our team members put in across the seasons. we all love being among the bees but there IS a life to be had too!

AD> In the early years, I went through the typical progression.  At first I had an evening's work, then as I built up and did not streamline my practices, a day's work each week, then two days... and then 8 days.

AD> At the eight day point, I realised that something had to give and mechanized and also cut out a lot of hobbyist practices, delegated and farmed out some of the work, and cut back to five days a week.

Any tips on beekeeping software? I run a 1000 hive outfit in a paper workbook. Can it really be so much more efficient to install a spreadsheet system, or similar?

Enlarge SampleAD> I used MS Excel sheets (right) another example. for my own management decisions.   I  added columns as time passed and hid those that were not currently relevant.  Periodically I saved a new version and deleted old info that had no current use.

AD> My crews entered all the daily data in field workers' day sheets(Left) which changed as the tasks changed.  The sheets were designed to gather the information I needed to manage the current round and plan the next. Naturally, the sheets got sticky, dirty, and -- occasionally -- lost.  No problem.   More...

AD> For those who don't have MS Office, OpenOffice.org is a free office suite that is compatible with MS Office.

AD> I looked at lots of proprietary beekeeping software, but did not want to buy into a system that

  • might someday stop being supported

  • cost money up front and maybe in the future

  • used gadgets to record data

  • was written by someone who might or might not know what he was doing

  • may have problems with conflicting data from several people entering data at once or sequentially

  • creates a huge database that could become corrupt

AD> At one I did programming and wrote software.  I am acutely aware of the pitfalls.  MS Excel is written by a large and reliable company, is not going to go away, and will be supported into the foreseeable future.

And what info would you recommend recording, so as not to get too bogged down in the minutiae of bee quirks?

AD> Paper sheets designed for each task and printed as needed. If one is lost or damaged, little is lost. Examples in diary. 

I was imagining a palm pilot with a stylus to tap different squares, uploaded to a central table, that could be accessed by different staff members in the field. But I'm no computer whizz, so perhaps I'm dreaming.

AD> I went through all that and even looked at a bar code systems.  I decided that the cost of data collection can easily exceed the practical value and be a distraction from real, paying work. As for analyzing the collected data -- if it ever gets done -- the noise often exceeds the signal as in beekeeping unknown cofounding factors abound.

Thanks for taking the time to read this. 

AD> My pleasure.  Good questions.

Not too much longer to wait till Spring.

Science is constructed of facts as a house is of stones.
But a collection of facts is no more a science than a heap of stones is a house.
Henri Poincare

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