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Saturday January 10th 2015

Click here for current conditions in my back yard

It's a bit warmer in Swalwell, and a lot colder here in Northeastern Ontario, but the forecast here is for warmer later today, with snow flurries. It's January, alright.

I had some of the 'sweet and sour' soup we bought at Smiths yesterday for lunch (it was just 'OK'), had a nap, then went to Bill's. 

His pal, Vic was there and Bill, Faye, and Vic were looking at prefab sauna packages online and drinking coffee.  They found a good deal and it is available for pickup in Kitchener-Waterloo.

We sat around for a while BSing, and I asked Vic if he wanted to go to the Boat Show, too, seeing as Bill and I are pretty much set on going.  He said yes, and maybe we'll go to K-W, too, to pick up some sauna packages in his truck.  So, this little two-day run down to the Big Smoke and back may be morphing into something bigger.

I finally got tired of sitting around and said, "Lets go see if we can't get into trouble somewhere". 

I can sit all day at a keyboard, but more than an hour or two of sitting  at a table, talking, drives me nuts.  I have to do something.  Anything.

Vic was going home anyhow and Bill and I had a hike in mind, but I had been corresponding with someone out in The Valley with a snowboard for sale and so said, "Lets go to Chelmsford." Bill is a very agreeable guy, and so off we went. 

It's a half-hour up the 144 to Chelmsford.  The roads were icy and  and the wind was blowing snow across the road, reducing visibility to almost zero for moments at a time.   We almost turned back, but we did not.  We persevered up through barren, rocky hills past the Clarabelle Pit over Stobey Seven Shaft Mine where I worked graveyards one thousand feet underground as a chute blaster and slusherman almost fifty years ago, then on to The Valley.

I was not clear on directions, so we stopped at Tim Hortons.  The Valley is a different world;  signs are in French and, in the parking lot, there were as many snowmobiles as cars and 4x4s.

I was hungry, so I had a sub while I texted for further directions.  When I got word, we moved on.

We arrived at the destination and drove down a long driveway through spruce forest into a idyllic yard by a lake and were greeted by the young man with whom I had been corresponding by email after his response to my Kijiji ad.

He was a high school senior and were were obviously seniors of the other sort, so it was an incongruous sort of meeting, I thought.

Seventeen and seventy.  No problem. Mutual respect.  Snowboarders are snowboarders.  Mutual recognition.

We went into the large, heated shop, looked over the gear and stuck a deal right off.  Cash changed hands and I have a kit.  He'll upgrade.  I am sure he knows exactly what he wants and where to get it.  I'm happy to get this done.  So was he.

I briefly showed him my kites and suggested he check out kiting on YouTube.  I bet he will. I'll see him on the lake one of these years. 

We drove back to Bill's and along the way, stopped at Wal-Mart for a bit of a hike around the store.  We arrived home at Bill's right at six.  Faye had prepared supper, so we ate and then visited.  We are old, old friends, going 'way back to high school, and cousins by marriage.

Bill's sister and husband came by and we visited until ten. Somehow, I was not bored. 

As so often happens, although Bill and I were inseparable friends in high school, we hardly knew one another's siblings.  After all, they were a year or more and school grades separated from us.  That mattered then, but five decades later the age difference seems to have evaporated.

People tend to play in their comfort zone, so the best things are achieved in a state of surprise, actually.
Brian Eno

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Sunday January 11th 2015

Click here for current conditions in my back yard

I slept until 0900.  The day is dull, with large fluffy flakes of snow falling and cloaking the trees.

At home, I see that outdoors, we have plenty of new snow and that a deer has walked by. The pond is now well-covered with snow.  Inside, the plants are looking good.

 

I'm having a good time here and hardly miss being at The Old Schoolhouse. I wonder how my neglected bees are doing, though.

I was watching for wind on the lake, but no luck. There is lots of new powder snow, but just a slight breeze.  I need a decent wind to be sure of a good ride.  I also thought of going to Adanac for some snowboarding, but decided on a hike instead.

I had a nap after lunch, then went over to Bill's.  The roads are really slippery and I had to back down the hill twice approaching his place.  That was hazardous, as the road was lined with parked cars and the hill was so slippery the brakes and the steering wheel had little effect.   All I could do was use what slight influence I had to control my slide down the hill.

I managed to miss all the cars and stay on the road, and on the third try, I made it up.  Faye called the city to sand the street and they said they would send a truck out right away, but we saw no sign of sanding, even three hours later.

We had coffee, then Bill and I had a good long hike up through the neighbourhood, followed by a trip to Canadian Tire and Wal-Mart, and the wine store.

I returned to 1207 for supper.

After supper, I was tired, so I had a little nap, then drove out to Moonlight to buy skis I had located on Kijiji.  I wondered a bit about them since I want skis for powder and crud and these are all-mountain experts skis, but when I saw them, I couldn't say no.  All I need now is poles and I am fully set up to charge the slopes or kite the lakes.  Maybe I also need new legs and new lungs.  We'll see.

What is wrong with the picture at right?  (Hint: I'm Goofy). Answer tomorrow.

Another question is, "Am I crazy?"  I have to wonder.  If I didn't know better, I'd say I've been a bit manic lately, but for now I'll just chalk it up to having survived another Christmas and the lengthening days.

Sometimes we put off doing things that are right in our reach and later regret it.  If I have regrets, it don't want them to be for things I did not do.  I hate the term "Bucket List" since it sounds so defeatist.  I am more the type to say, "Just do it", but there is a commonality.

I watched an episode of Chuck and went to bed.

Never tell people how to do things.
Tell them what to do and they will surprise you with their ingenuity.
George S. Patton

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Monday January 12th 2015

Click here for current conditions in my back yard

I slept in again, this time until 0800.  The day is sunny and although wind is predicted, the trees are still. 

We're undecided about when we will go south.  Vic has a doctor's appointment today that will make decisions for him, apparently.  Bill and I can go anytime, but Mom has an appointment tomorrow morning and would like me to drive, so it looks as if Wednesday is the new 'go' day.

I'm thinking I'd actually be better off to make the trip alone since then I could stop at all the ski hills, visit friends and generally be unconstrained by the agendas of my companions, but I decided to do it this way and we'll see how it works out.

Answer to yesterday's question.  The board I bought is set up for someone with a 'regular' stance and I am goofy-footed, so I have to rotate the bindings to suit my preference and set up my stance.

Skaters ride either 'regular' or 'goofy'.  A 'regular' person finds it more natural to ride with the left foot forward, the 'goofy' person rides right foot forward.  Of course on a twin tip, we ride both ways, but one direction feels more natural.

This board is directional, and a twin tip would have been better, but I'll have to ride fakey on one tack if I want to stay riding heel side.  This all new to me, so we will see.

Answer to the other question: Yes, I think I have been a little manic.  That is what happens, though when a country boy gets to the city.  Life in Swalwell is, for me, pretty boring a lot of the time and that is a reason I am thinking I should move and have thought so for a decade or more. 

When I travel, everywhere but where I am at the moment seems somewhat unreal.  Sometimes I ask myself when I am away, "What if everything in Swalwell just disappeared?"  The answer is that I probably would not miss anything too much, although it would create some hassles and I would probably be quite annoyed.

Although that is an exercise in imagination, in fact, somebody somewhere is losing everything every day.  Contrary to what most people think we cannot lock up our valuables and protect what we own.  We carry everything we are and own with us everywhere, and can't do otherwise because everything is in our minds.  If we lose or mind or we lose our life, we have lost everything.

That said, I checked my cameras at home and verified that, indeed, everything is as I left it.  Now to adjust the bindings.

I adjusted the bindings and I am really pleased with my purchases.  The snowboard is directional, but suited to what I want.  I set up a centred duck stance so I can ride either direction heel-side comfortably, checked the boots for fit in the bindings and tightened things up.  I will find out soon enough if the boots are comfortable.  They were a bit snug, but that is not bad unless my feet get cold.

Then I checked the skis.  Sure enough the skis were set up just as I would set them myself.  Now to head out on the lake.

I decided to go to the boat ramp because I can drive right out onto the ice and because the wind is from the north.  There is almost no wind here at 1207, but there was a good breeze down there.

I drove a fair ways out and parked, then flew the trainer kite to get a feel for the wind.  It was marginal and gusty, but building in strength.

I noticed a car stop further down the lake and watched the driver get out, then start setting up a kite, so I drove over and said hello.  It is always wise to have a buddy when kiting.

I watched him for a while and decided there was enough wind, so got my kite out and put on my skis.  I decided on skis since that was what he was riding and the snowboard is a bit trickier in light wind.

We ripped up and down until almost sundown and I packed up since I promised Mom we'll go out for supper, besides the wind was getting twisty and dropping as it often does around sundown.

I'd have more pictures, but my phone did not like the cold, and the one picture I did get (right) is foggy.

Here is a video shot by someone else that gives a hint of snow kiting on Ramsey is like.  As with most YouTube videos, it could stand some drastic editing.  Sorry. If you have the bandwidth, you might prefer to run it as HD, not the low res 360P I chose to conserve data.

I returned to 1207 and rested up a bit, then Mom and I went to Mr. Prime Rib for supper. 

When we left the restaurant after supper, the temperature had dropped to minus twenty, and that is cold.  I was comfortable outside all afternoon at minus ten and in the wind, but coming out of the restaurant in the dark was bitterly cold.

I checked on the cameras at home and all looks well.  Must have been a warm day.  Hardly any coal was used.  I think I'll watch some video and go to bed. 

I'd love to pull out and head out at 0530 for the boat show in the Big Smoke  tomorrow, but am waiting to see what the others decide.

At any rate, this was an excellent day.  Any apprehensions I had about the kites, the skis and the weather proved groundless.

Alone we can do so little, together we can do so much.
Helen Keller

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Tuesday January 13th 2015

Click here for current conditions in my back yard

I slept until 0800 again.  The thermometer reads minus twenty-seven.  Warmer temperatures and wind are predicted for later in the day.  Bill says Vic won't be coming south and Bill is waiting for delivery of the snow thrower he ordered, so it seems we won't be going today.

Weather is much warmer at home and everything looks fine.  Days in Swalwell are now a bit over eight hours long, but here in Sudbury, five degrees south, day length is up to nine.

The day remained dull, and the wind came up to where I could go kiting, but I had some errands to run and I also was feeling a bit run down.  Maybe something I ate last night. I don't know.  Without sun and with the minus twelve temperature, the conditions were just below my minimum criteria for comfort outdoors, too.

My legs were also a little tired from the exertion yesterday and it is always wise to take a day between such exertions at the beginning of a season, so I resisted the strong temptation to get out there and rip up and down the lake and went shopping instead. 

After supper, I cleaned out the van and unfroze the windshield washers, then turned in early to be ready for the coming drive early tomorrow.

Fall seven times and stand up eight.
Japanese Proverb

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Wednesday January 14th 2015

Click here for current conditions in my back yard

I was up before the alarm was set to go off at six, had breakfast and packed.  I will be at Bill's door at eight and we should be in Toronto by two this afternoon.

I see we are having a heat wave at home with lovely temperatures and all is well.  Weather continues cold here in Northern Ontario, but warmer than it has been

I was at Bill's door at 0800 and we drove south, stopping at Parry Sound Wal-Mart, then again in Vaughn to look at sauna kits.  We arrived at the Boat Show at 1350 and stayed until 1950.

As the Show closed, we drove to North York and took a hotel for the night. After rising early, driving 250 miles and walking around for six hours, I am tired.

A lack of transparency results in distrust and a deep sense of insecurity.
Dalai Lama

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Thursday January 15th 2015

Click here for current conditions in my back yard

Bill and I are off to the Boat Show again this morning and then back up to Sudbury later in the day.

Weather at home is very mild for this time of year and in Toronto, the weather is mild.  In Sudbury, it is over ten degrees colder than here.

I booked a flight to Vancouver for the 21st and will attend the Boat Show there to finish up business I did not have time for in Toronto.

We drove back down to the Boat Show and stayed until about 1500, then headed for Sudbury.  The roads were good at first, but we ran into freezing rain about halfway and the roads were snowy from there on.  I had switched seats with Bill at Barrie and he drove most of the way while I watched video.

We arrived back in Sudbury a little after 2000 and I was at 1207 a bit after 2100.

Most of the successful people I've known are the ones who do more listening than talking.
Bernard Baruch

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Friday January 16th 2015

Click here for current conditions in my back yard

I slept in today, then spend the morning here at 1207. 

The washer Bill and I installed for Mom back in September of 2004 decided to give and error code and I spent some time chasing that down and looking for a servicemen.

After lunch, I drove out onto the Lake at Bell Park a quarter mile and tried kiting, but there was not enough wind.  Bill joined me for a while.  The snow is getting deep enough that the van is now dragging bottom in the snow and there is a risk of getting stuck.

I returned to 1207 for supper, had a nap and did some deskwork.

There is a very real relationship, both quantitatively and qualitatively,
 between what you contribute and what you get out of this world.
Oscar Hammerstein II

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Saturday January 17th 2015

Click here for current conditions in my back yard

Today is dull and minus twenty here this morning, with a north wind.

Sudbury today: Increasing cloudiness. Periods of snow beginning this morning. Amount 2 to 4 cm. Wind southeast 30 km/h. High minus 6. Wind chill minus 30.

At home, Swalwell is having mild weather.  I'm in the wrong place, it seems.  No matter, I am happy to be here and will be sorry to leave on Wednesday.

I happened to be looking at the exchange rates today and notice that the Australian and New Zealand currencies have strengthened against the US dollar at the same time as the Canadian dollar has dropped.  (Down is up in these charts). That suggests that the price of package bees in Canada this spring is likely to be even more punitive than last year.  Maybe air freight will be cheaper, though?

I was tired today and had a nap before lunch.  Mom wanted to go out for lunch, so we went to Casey's Road House and then returned to 1207.  The wind was blowing and the temperature minus fourteen.  I could fly a kite, but figured I'd be cold and had another nap instead. 

Later, the temperature came up and the flag was still flying, so I went out to try kiting, but when I got to the shore I decided that it would be a flop and went back to the house.

At home the weather is warm enough that much of the snow has gone.

I am going to have to get working on my presentations soon .  I need three ready for mid-March.  I like to write things then edit a few days later when the inconsistencies and omissions are more obvious, so I don't like to leave things to the last minute.  I have two presentations ready, but need a third and decided on Beekeeping Myths.

Beekeepers, it seems are prone to believe just about anything without much, if any, proof.  I have a list started, thanks to one of the forum participants and won't have any trouble adding at least as many more points.  Feel free to add your favourites, or ague with some that are listed.  Controversy can be a good thing if it makes people think.

I'm thinking that when I have the slide show finished I'll post it and others can use the points to make the same presentation -- in their own words and with their own prejudices, of course.

 If you’re going through hell, keep going.
Winston Churchill

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Sunday January 18th 2015

Click here for current conditions in my back yard

The temperature here is zero and there is wind, but I am not sure how much.

I notice more people are participating in the forum.

Around 1000, I went out onto the lake and flew the 8.5 metre kite for a while to get a feel for the wind, then got my skis and made a few runs. 

The snow was excellent, but the wind was barely adequate and also gusty and twisty.  Despite lulls where I could not even get the kite off the ground, I got a few good rides across the lake and back. 

Riding in weak winds is a lot harder than riding with enough wind, since I have to work the kite and launch and re-launch it, and after several hours, I returned to the house, exhausted and drenched with sweat, but satisfied.   Any kite rides are better than none.

If you don't love what you do, you won't do it with much conviction or passion.
Mia Hamm

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Monday January 19th 2015

Click here for current conditions in my back yard

Two more days and I am off to YVR.

The weather continues exceedingly mild in Alberta.  Here in Sudbury, we are back below minus ten again.

This morning, I discovered that the forum software was several versions out of date.  That creates a security risk, so I had to get right on the task. 

For some reason, although I checked the update feature in the admin pages regularly, I did not see any update availability.  I was beginning to think that odd, since updates generally come often these days.  A mention of a posting time discrepancy by a user made me think about it more deeply and check the downloads website, where I discovered I was far out of date.

The updates, combined with writing email took up the morning and part of the afternoon.  Although the day was warm enough, at minus ten, and sunny, there was not enough wind for kiting.

In mid-afternoon, Bill came by and we went to New Sudbury to walk and for me to get a haircut.  We returned to 1207 at six and that was my day.

Oh!  And I spent an hour or so trying to get Audible's clunky software to work on my PC.

As we express our gratitude, we must never forget that
the highest appreciation is not to utter words, but to live by them.
John F. Kennedy

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