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Canola Country

Monday July 1st 2013 
   Canada Day 
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It'll be hot in Swalwell today.  Thirty-two is predicted.  Here in Sudbury twenty is the prediction.

Everything is closed for the holiday.

I think my sanity is returning.  I knew I was wound up, but when one is crazy, it is hard to tell how crazy.  Anyhow, I am almost relaxed.

I also notice that I definitely have lost weight -- about ten pounds -- and that my blood sugar is trending lower.  The last 8 readings are 5.8, 5.9, 5.4, 6.2, 6.2, 6.4, 5.8, & 5.9.  My blood pressure this morning is 117/74 with pulse at 58.  I checked it a half-hour later and got 119/72 with a pulse of 59.  Most recent readings have been around 120/80, with several as high as 137/85.  I don't know what that is all about.

So why the improvement?  I have no proof, but recently, I discovered beans, seeds and nuts, and have been using them for snacks and sometimes breakfast and part of lunch and supper.

Like many Canadians, I previously was only vaguely aware of beans.  Having only encountered them in chili or canned baked beans, I was not really aware that they could make up a large portion of one's diet and, in fact, be part of a very tasty and healthy diet.  I think that the very fact that they are cheap works against them in a society which endlessly promotes expensive things.  Who promotes beans?  There is no money in it.

For whatever reason, lately I have become much less interested in meats.  I avoid breads for the most part as well as potatoes and other simple starches.

Beans have an excellent nutritional profile, but are very low fat.  Seeds and nuts tend to be higher fat.

The seed/nut mix I like is Wal-Mart's Texas Hold-Em, Poker Mix, pumpkin seeds and roasted, salted sunflower seeds all mixed together.   Any one of them is a bit much IMO, but the resulting mix makes a great snack.  It looks to be high-energy, but does not seem to fatten me up.

With beans, I rinse several cans of beans (more) and a can of kernel corn (more), a chopped onion, and optionally a can of small black olives, then add enough red wine vinegar and quality salad oil (mixed) to almost cover, and let sit at room temperature for a few hours, stirring occasionally.  After the dressing becomes watery, I pour off all the liquid.  At that point, more vinegar can be added to prevent mushiness.  (I don't bother usually).  This salad is good for two days or more in the fridge.  Some people like to add sugar, too, to sweeten it up but I don't. 

People always worry about gas with beans and I suppose that, like lettuce, gas can be a problem for some, especially those who seldom eat them or eat too many. 

The human digestion system is a marvel and a mystery.  Apparently we have more bacteria cells in us than the cell count of our actual body. I find that hard to believe, but whether it is true or not, our gut bacteria are very important to digestion and absorption of nutrients.

Why is this relevant to the question of beans and gas?  Simply because beans require different bacteria than white bread and french fries for proper digestion, and people who never eat beans or similar fibrous foods, may have gut microorganisms adapted for their normal diet but few of the bean-handling sort.  It takes awhile for the digestion to adapt to a change of diet.

Most people who eat properly cooked beans regularly and in reasonable amounts have no problems with gas.

The following is a short excerpt from Beans and Gas: Clearing the air.  It is a great article and well worth reading!

"Noting that “An increasing body of research and the 2010 Dietary Guidelines for Americans supports the benefits of a plant-based diet, and legumes specifically, in the reduction of chronic disease risks,” they started people on pinto beans, black-eyed peas, or vegetarian baked (navy) beans. During the first week, 35% reported increased flatulence but that fell to 15% by week three, 5% by week five, and 3% by week eight. Much of the bad rap for beans grew out of short-term studies in the 60′s that didn’t account for our body’s ability to adapt".

Not much happened today.  I sat in Carpe Diem and worked on the wiring.  Water has gotten into the deck and down into the ceiling lights.  On this boat that does not mean rot, but it caused some corrosion.  In addition some bulbs were burnt out and I went online and again ordered LED bulbs form China.  I was happy with the last batch, but these are a different style.  Cost? $10.65 for ten -- delivered.

This came in today and I skimmed it:  Comb Management: National Management Survey 2010-2011

Skipping to the end, I concluded it was not very useful and dismissed it offhand as being just the same old hype about the benefits of comb replacement and condemnation of used comb.  It is not.  I often review my writings and thoughts for errors and so I looked at it again just now when I find myself with more time. 

On rereading it, it seems self-contradictory at first and words seem to be missing.  I suppose I'll have to look at it more closely, but as far as I can see it confirms that replacing too much comb is harmful and using old comb is harmful.  I knew that.  I suppose if I watched the video first, I might have had a different impression, but videos are typically far too slow for me and I avoid them if there is text.

Although I am not sure if everyone agrees on exactly what is 'old comb', I often say that drawing 10% new comb, maybe 20% max is about all one can count on drawing without causing some increased bee loss over winter.  I should know since I produced a lot of comb honey and even if the bees do not winter on the new comb, the pressure on them to make comb and plugging of the brood nest due to the lack of readily available storage comb weakens the hives and reduces wintering success.

Some years, more than 10-20% can be drawn without harm, but too much can be risky.  We never know in advance when  the music will stop.  Will it be mid-August, or will the first frost come in October.  In Alberta, either is possible. 

I have been drawing more lately and would not be surprised if drawing too much comb too fast contributed to my poor wintering, come to think of it.

Thanks Charlie.  Apologies.  I should have looked closer and watched the video before blowing it off.  How can I complain about a report that agrees with my experience?  I still hate videos, though.  They are often a waste of time compared to a transcript, but have to admit that this one is actually pretty good.

This was an evening of fireworks.  The next-door neighbours had a big party and set off quite a few.  I tried taking pictures with this phone  (left), but the camera app on the Nexus 4 leaves a lot to be desired.  The shot quality was awful, when I managed to get a shot at all.  Science North had a fireworks  display later, but I did not bother watching.

Distrust any enterprise that requires new clothes.
Henry David Thoreau

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Tuesday July 2nd 2013 
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Thank goodness the stores are open again.  I need a few items, like laundry soap.  Everything was closed for Canada Day.  It is easy to forget that when I was a child in Sudbury that the stores all closed on Sunday and many on Wednesday afternoons.   We have gotten spoiled.  One the other hand, in those days, it was possible to get a whole family together for an event, even if some worked in retail.

At home, we live far enough from stores that we maintain a reserve supply of  everything from meats to toilet paper and never assume we can just run to a store.  It costs a minimum of an hour and $15 in mileage to run to the nearest store, and out in the country there are no stores open 24/7.  Store hours are much more limited unless we drive a half-hour or more to larger centres.

I may dream of going sailing in the North Channel, but this morning Mom and I are going shopping and this afternoon I have some house cleaning to do.  I may get the boat ready to go, but I realise that I have left some things like my second anchor and chain in Muskoka.  Tomorrow, cousins are coming.  I wonder if I will even launch the boat this trip.

Friends may come and go, but enemies accumulate.
Thomas Jones

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Wednesday July 3rd 2013 
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I woke up late today -- almost ten.  We have company tonight, so I'm cleaning up the upstairs today. Other than going out for supper, that looks like my whole day.

I did vacuum the upstairs and make up the extra beds and everything looks great.  Hugh and Ilona arrived around six and we all went out to Mr. Prime Rib for supper and a long after-dinner chat.

Looks to me as if I may not launch my boat this visit as I am running out of time.  I could launch it for just a day, tomorrow.  It seems like a lot of work for a little time on the water, but I have done it before and time expands, it seems.  If I do, I have to worry about sunburn as I have no bimini on this boat.

If I were two-faced, would I be wearing this one?
Abraham Lincoln

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Thursday July 4th 2013 
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It looks to be a little cooler at home today. 

Here, in Sudbury, we are expecting 27 degrees.  I have not decided what to do today.  I have 28 hours before I have to catch my plane.  I have a few chores to do for Mom and need to seal up my boat.  I could go sailing, but that would make for a big day and I am thinking I would be smart to continue relaxing and recovering from the stress of the spring and early summer.

I think I'll do some wash, make up the guest room again, do a little shopping, improve the tap at the back door, assess any improvements I want to make on the boat and that will be it.

Hugh and Ilona left, headed west.  I'll see them in several days in Swalwell.

I did some odds and ends and mostly rested.  In the afternoon, I went shopping for some hose parts for Mom, and a few things I need.

Jean called and told me that Ellen is dehydrated and that they are going to Drum to see if they can check her over.

I called Jean before I went to bed and they were at the hospital in Drum, where Ellen had been checked over and given intravenous fluids.  The process was to take 2 hours and then they planned to return home.

Jean and Ellen returned home last night, but while shopping this afternoon, I called Jean and she said that Ellen requested to go to a hospital again as she was still disoriented and not taking food or drink.    She had to call the ambulance, though, as she did not think she could get Ellen into a car.  They went to Three Hills this time and had her admitted.  Jean reports that Ellen is not coherent, though and we suspect dehydration again.

This is the third day after the chemo and that is usually the worst day, with her typically spending the day in bed and sleeping a lot.

After supper, I relaxed and drank a bottle of Citra Montepulciano D'Abruzzo and went to bed at around nine.  I can't drink a bottle of wine every night, but once in a while it seems to do me good and tonight was one of those nights.

We are all born ignorant, but one must work hard to remain stupid.
Benjamin Franklin

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Friday July 5th 2013 
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I slept like a baby and awoke at 4:30.  (By that, I don't mean that I woke up every two hours crying.  Maybe I should rather say I slept like a log and woke up refreshed).

I see from Jean's emails, sent after I was asleep last night (2 hour time difference) that Ellen checked out OK.  Her sodium was low, and she was dehydrated but otherwise fine.  I assume they went home.  It is too early to contact them in Alberta.

Anyhow, I checked my blood glucose (BG) and my blood pressure (BP) this morning and saw my BG was 4.7.  An hour later, it is still 4.8  Go figure.

My blood pressure on the other hand was 130/73.  That is not bad, but the systolic is a tad high.  Some mornings my BG is 6.2 and my BP is 118/73.  I see no rhyme or reason. 

All these numbers are not too bad for an old guy and seem to have improved since I switched to more nuts and seeds and beans in my diet and cut down on meat, cheese and eggs.  I also can see that I have indeed lost ten pounds without trying. I still have a stomach, though.

I've been watching my BP, BG and diet lately as I was getting closer to diabetic readings than I found acceptable. 

There is a continuum from normal to pre-diabetic to diabetic to insulin-dependant diabetic and diet and exercise habits have a big effect on how fast that progression happens or if it happens at all.

The health implications of crossing the line from pre-diabetic to diabetic are not pleasant.  Vision loss, amputation and other complications are common.

It is possible to re-cross the line in the other direction, back towards normal, with exercise and diet, but few ever do as it is hard work and requires self-discipline.  It is much easier to never go there in the first place.

Today I fly home at 1530 hrs and, with luck, arrive at my home around midnight. Between now and then I have to seal up my boat so it stays clean, sort my items that stay and that go, and do some work on the back door tap for Mom.  There are probably more things, but I can't think of them now.

I got it all done and Mom drove me to the airport,  She is 94, and drives better than many younger folks, but knows her limits and does not drive at night.

My plane was on time, but I was early, so I sat in the lounge for an hour and texted with Jean. 

She was at the hospital and reluctant to phone.  Ellen is alternately delirious and lucid, but they are hydrating her and improvement is expected.  That last chemo round really knocked the stuffing out of her. 

Since this hospital had not seen her lately, and knew of her underlying condition, but not of her recent chemo, they tended to assume she was approaching the end and might not have used their full bag of tricks if Jean had not been there to tell them she is enjoying life and living well, just poisoned by the chemo.

All this goes to show that it is important to have an advocate with you when going to a hospital and dealing with the medical system.   Even if you can speak for yourself, there is safety in numbers and they often discount what a sick person says, but respect a companion.

I watched most of Scarface on the longer flight.  It is a great movie, but I got weary near the end and turned it off.  Any movie requires some suspension of judgment, but some take too much advantage of our forbearance.

Flying over Calgary, I see the flooding is not over yet.  The rivers are still swollen.

I caught a cab to Airdrie and drove home.  The roads are wet and the house smells damp and strange.  I went to bed and slept.

If I agreed with you, we'd both be wrong.
Anonymous

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Saturday July 6th 2013 
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Awakening at 6, I got up, had breakfast and drove to Three Hills.  Jean had warned me to be there so I would be sure to see the weekend doctor on call and be sure that he did not see Ellen in a lucid moment and discharge her.   Three Hills is a small town and getting doctors to practice there is difficult.  Although some of the doctors are excellent, some are less excellent and all are overworked.

I got there around seven and El was glad to see me and we visited a while.  She seems to be improved, but is still a bit groggy at times.  I learned the doctor was not due until nine, so I stayed around for a while and spoke to the weekend nurse who called our GP, spoke to him and assured me that El is there for the weekend and I can relax.    I went home and will return later today.  She sleeps a lot and there is not much I can do there even when she is awake.  After 45 years of marriage, there is not a whole lot left to say and we are not much for board games or cards.  I'll take her her iPad..

I don't know anything about music. In my line you don't have to.
Elvis Presley

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Sunday July 7th 2013 
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I drove up to see Ellen this morning at nine and stayed a while, then drove hme.

The igniters on my new stove, purchased in  Feb 2012 quit working today.  I took it apart and it seems the module is shot.  I can get it online I see, so that is the plan.  In the meantime, I have to reassemble it and light the burners manually.

Elijah came over and cut grass.  It is getting quite long again.  Megan is away on holidays.

I went to Three Hills again after supper for a visit, then returned home and cut grass until dusk.  The grass is long and wet.  At least it is not dusty.  Dusty grass can inflame allergies.

War does not determine who is right, only who is left.

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Monday July 8th 2013 
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I'm off to Three Hills again for a visit and to get propane, mower gasoline, and the accounting files at the accountant's office.

I'm discovering that hospital visiting is not really my thing.  I know some people go and sit in hospital rooms for hours while a loved one is passed out in a coma, but I don't think I could get into doing that.  Fortunately Ellen is just fine, other than being weak and dehydrated.

I drove up and visited Ellen.  It was a busy place and various health care people came and went from her room while I was there. Then I ran my errands and bought a shop vacuum cleaner.

When I left town a heavy rain was again falling and the rain continued long after I arrived home.  I had hoped to cut more grass, but it is too wet.

> (On BEE-L) You said:

"Since then, in the mid-2000s, Weaver bees were 'unofficially' tried in Canada, but were too hot at the time. I can't recall how they wintered."

> How could this (have) happened if boarder was closed?

The border has never been closed except in the minds of regulators and the beekeepers who respect the regulations.

The border is still is not closed and can never be.  Bees come and go by various means, including free flight (and swarming) in eight out of ten Canadian provinces.

How they arrive here from the Middle East, Asia, and Eastern Europe is less obvious, but not too hard to guess.

The shop vac sucked up the water in the north basement nicely.

After supper, I lifted lids in the North Yard and did quick checks.  One end hive had a super of honey, which I switched to a weaker hive in exchange for an empty super.

Now I just have to check here when I did the splits to see if the queens should  be mated.  I don't want to mess with the yard until 21 days after.  I hope that date is clear in these notes.  Sometimes such info is hard to dig out of the mass of words.

It seems my weather station is not working.  I wonder why.

You're never too old to learn something stupid.

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Tuesday July 9th 2013 
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I awoke with a sore throat.  Not a good thing for a guy whose wife is in hospital.  I took an ibuprofen and that seems to help.

Looking back over these notes, I see that my last walk-away splits were made on the 20th of June, meaning that if I wish to wait a full three three weeks, that I should wait until the 12th to check queens.

Waiting three weeks makes checking easier, since most new queens should be mated and laying by that time.  Before that, it is hard to tell, as virgins may be flying and are hard to spot even when in the hives.

After three weeks, eggs should be easy to spot.  Also, there is no danger of confusing queens returning from mating flights by moving things around.

I will go out and poke around a bit though.  Time is a wastin'.  I am concerned that the mating weather may have been less than ideal. That could delay the onset of egg laying a few days.  We'll see.



The day promises to be hot and I am thinking of getting out to get some work done before it gets unbearable.  If I get outside before 8:30, that will be a record for me.  Lately I have seldom been out before ten and sometimes noon.

The rail tragedy at Lac-Mégantic is amazing.  Apparently, this train was carrying crude oil.  I would have thought that crude would not be very explosive, but I suppose enough crude, confined in a steel car and heated to high temperature could do the kind of damage we see.

I went out and checked the North Yard this afternoon.  One hive was building swarm cells, so I broke it in two and placed both halves back behind the row so the flying bees will drift out of them to the row in front and deplete them down to where if they do swarm, the swarms will be small.  Obviously both halves will have good queens shortly.  I gave each a super for room.

Metamorphosis of the queen bee
Egg hatches on Day 3
Larva (several moltings) Day 3 to Day 8˝
Queen cell capped ~ Day 7˝
Pupa ~ Day 8 until emergence
Emergence ~Day 15˝ - Day 17
Nuptial Flight(s) ~Day 20 - 24
Egg Laying ~Day 23 and up

I had to give several hives a second super and also found several hives in the row that do not yet have laying queens.  Eight of the thirteen (counted after the split) have laying queens.  In a number of hives, the queen only began in the past few days.

This normal.  I am two or three days early for the Day 21 check.  Day 21 is the earliest to expect to see much.  (See table at right below and calendar above right).  So far, it looks as if they are requeening themselves well.

Michael Bush's bee math page is good, but contains several potential errors.  See if you can spot them and report your observations in the Honey Bee World Forum.  This math is tough. 

Hint: the bees will often wait until the last eggs hatch before starting cells, so how long it takes for new queens to hatch may depend on the age of youngest eggs in the split.  If the youngest eggs were newly laid at time of splitting, an extra three days may be required compared to a split made with only hatching larvae and no eggs.

Queen cells are built on Day 4 after egg laying. The table at right (above) is courtesy Wikipedia

If I want to raise some mated queens quickly, it looks as if the swarmy hive can give me some good-looking ripe cells.  Right now, though, each half is too full of bees to work easily.  I'll wait until some have drifted out. 

Some say using swam cells selects for swarmy bees, but I don't think that will happen in just one generation, but it will definitely propagate a successful colony.

I could stock the six mating nucs I have and give each a cell.  In eight or ten days the queens would be mated and laying.

I see I have a skunk bothering the hives again this year.  This time I won't let the problem get worse.  I'll deal with it now before I have 19 skunks like last year.

Several of the supers I borrowed are full and I'm running out of supers again.  I have six that are not on hives.

I did not go to the hospital today.  Ellen had quite a few other visitors.

You can get more with a kind word and a gun than you can with a kind word alone.
Al Capone

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