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December 2016

 

 

 

 

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Background Image: Flying over the Rockies

Saturday December 10th, 2016

Today A mix of sun and cloud with 30 percent chance of flurries. Wind up to 15 km/h. High minus 20. Wind chill minus 33.
Tonight Partly cloudy with 30 percent chance of flurries. Wind up to 15 km/h. Low minus 28. Wind chill minus 33.

Environment Canada forecast
Ten day forecast

Sunrise, Sunset, and Moon Times

I'm hoping to see the surveyor this morning to get the survey on Shongololo started.  Word is that he will be here at 0900.

Ken came by at nine and we spent the day looking over Shongololo.  Ken is very thorough and turned up a number of minor issues that will need attention.

Callum came by at three and we discussed things that need doing and the possibility of lifting the boat to complete the survey Monday.

I correct, revise and augment entries in the previous several days first thing each day before writing new diary entries.  Read yesterday's post

Either I've been missing something or nothing has been going on.
Karen Elizabeth Gordon

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Sunday December 11th, 2016

Today Mainly cloudy with 30 percent chance of flurries. Wind becoming northwest 20 km/h gusting to 40 this morning. High minus 20. Wind chill minus 36.
Tonight Mainly cloudy with 30 percent chance of flurries early this evening. Clearing this evening. Wind northwest 20 km/h gusting to 40 becoming light this evening. Temperature rising to minus 18 by morning. Wind chill minus 33.

Environment Canada forecast
Ten day forecast

Sunrise, Sunset, and Moon Times

I have the day free. Nothing planned.

I have the van, so maybe I'll travel to Victoria and walk in Beacon Hill Park.

I didn't.  I did hike over to the pier, though. 

As I hiked along the seawall, I noticed assorted sailboats milling around and a race committee on the pier, sounding the start sequence.  So, I wandered over to find out what was up.

It was the Sidney and North Saanich Yacht Club and Canoe Cove Club Sunday race.  Boats of all sorts were participating and I learned I could join in if I like sometime.  I'm not a racer, but would enjoy the group activity.

I walked to the store, then realised I was feeling chilled and not great, so instead of being out in the cool breeze, I decided that perhaps spending the afternoon in the cabin would make more sense.  I have had a slight sore throat and I'd better get over it before I go east for Christmas.

I dozed a bit, had supper, then went over to Shongololo and crawled around in the engine room for a while taking pictures.  My main goal was to discover where the autopilot parts are located and to determine why the autopilot is not working.  I was expecting to find something broken or missing, but everything looks sound, bright, and new, so the problem must be electrical or logical.

Glancing at my phone a few minutes ago, I noticed an Android Nougat 7.1.1 update available for the Nexus 6P. It is installing as I write.  I hope it is successful.  I depend on the phone for everything and occasionally things can go wrong when upgrading.

I correct, revise and augment entries in the previous several days first thing each day before writing new diary entries.  Read yesterday's post

Iím an atheist and I thank God for it.
George Bernard Shaw

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Monday December 12th, 2016

Today A mix of sun and cloud with 30 percent chance of flurries. Wind northwest 20 km/h gusting to 40. High minus 11. Wind chill minus 29 this morning.
Tonight Partly cloudy. 30 percent chance of flurries early this evening. Wind northwest 20 km/h gusting to 40. Low minus 18. Wind chill minus 28.

Environment Canada forecast
Ten day forecast

Sunrise, Sunset, and Moon Times

My raw throat is not getting any better and I chill easily.

Looking out at dawn, the portlights are obscured by snow, but when I can see out, the docks appear to be free of ice and snow.  Maybe we can lift the boat today and finish the survey.  Then I can close the deal and go home.  I'm in no rush.  Weather is getting better here and the temperatures home are much colder.  I'd like to stay a bit, cast off the lines and take a boat out overnight.

The day cleared and we were able to arrange a lift for 2PM today.  Callum and I motored over and met Ken at the lift.  The survey was completed by four, and we discovered nothing of any concern.

We returned to Port Sidney.  I boarded Cassiopeia, had a bite of supper and napped an hour.  I was chilled and tired, but otherwise feel fine.

While at Vector, I picked up a thermostat for the Espar being under the impression that the one on Shongololo was not working. On my return, research showed that the heater is modulated and runs continuously, but varies heat output, so the thermostat does not click like the one on Cassiopeia.  I do not need the new one.

Lee commented today on my worries about the Alberta Beekeepers Commission in the forum.  He quite clearly explained his opinion of me, and also how he and others who favour excluding small beekeepers without their consent reason.  It makes interesting reading.

I correct, revise and augment entries in the previous several days first thing each day before writing new diary entries.  Read yesterday's post

Write something to suit yourself and many people will like it;
write something to suit everybody and scarcely anyone will care for it.
Jesse Stuart

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Tuesday December 13th, 2016

Today Clearing early this morning. Wind becoming northwest 30 km/h gusting to 50 early this morning. High minus 9. Wind chill minus 30.
Tonight A few clouds. Wind northwest 20 km/h gusting to 40 becoming light late this evening. Low minus 23. Wind chill minus 32

Environment Canada forecast
Ten day forecast

Sunrise, Sunset, and Moon Times

It's a beautiful day in this neighborhood.  The sun is up, the day is bright, and I am finished doing my due diligence.

*    *    *    *    *

Since there is a tendency in discussions to generalize issues, attack personalities, and get distracted with a lot of irrelevant matters, I think I should clarify and emphasize the one important current issue regarding the Alberta Beekeepers Commission.

Whether I am a great beekeeper, whether I am right or wrong about various issues, whether Lee likes me and what I stand for -- or what I may think of Lee and what he has done, personalities aside, there is one big concern and that is this:

Commission insiders asked Alberta Marketing to alter the basic criteria for participation, contrary to the formula that was originally approved by a vote of all registered Alberta beekeepers at the creation of the Commission.  Changes were made, but not ratified by the entirety of Alberta beekeepers and are thus illegitimate. 

These changes adversely affect a majority of Alberta beekeepers and should be rescinded or taken to the population for a vote.

The fact that for whatever reason,

1.) the changes were seemingly done without proper consultation, publication or authority and

2.) that apparently insurance was purportedly sold and not delivered or refunded are separate matters that bear examination separately

Whether these actions were due to design, negligence, or simple incompetence must be determined and dealt with appropriately. 

I hope everyone realizes that I do not bear anyone any malice and am only seeking fairness for all. I also respect all parties involved and their rights and their desires.  Unity, peace, and justice is the goal, not war and division.  I'd like to see the leaders actually show leadership in Alberta beekeeping and not create artificial divisions and sort people into arbitrary categories, or hide behind voting restrictions and trickery.

Let me very clear.  I like and respect all the beekeepers I deal with although some can be very selfish, close-minded, and difficult. Most respond to a call to their higher instincts, but not all.  I understand that maintaining democracy is a continuing process and that democracy and rights constantly erode unless defended.

Although I have served on the board a number of times, my best work has been as an outsider, offering new ideas and holding the incumbents' feet to the fire by writing or speaking in business meetings..

When I was presented with the Lifetime Achievement Award at an AGM luncheon, many expected a long speech about striving, family, God, and self-justification, but all I said was, "You have all heard me speak at length before and know me well, so I will spare you.   I have fought beside or or against you all at some point or another and for some, both.   Today, as I look around this room, I see family. I love you all.  Thank you for this."

We are family and should stay that way.

*    *    *    *    *

I am expecting Colin to arrive after lunch and from here, I have to decide whether to fly home or stay a few more days.  In the meantime, I am doing some work on Cassiopeia, installing a battery monitor and more 110V outlets.

The weather here (right) looks good until Saturday, but the weather at home looks cool for outdoor activity and there is not much snow locally near Swalwell for kiting. 

My house is looking good (left), but the plants will need water Thursday. I'll decide after I talk to Colin.

Colin came and we completed the deal.  I decided to stay for at least tomorrow and maybe the next day.

I correct, revise and augment entries in the previous several days first thing each day before writing new diary entries.  Read yesterday's post

The complete lack of evidence is the surest sign that the conspiracy is working.

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Wednesday December 14th, 2016

Today Sunny. Wind up to 15 km/h. High minus 9. Wind chill minus 29 this morning.
Tonight A few clouds. Increasing cloudiness before morning. Wind becoming north 20 km/h after midnight. Low minus 25. Wind chill minus 37.

Environment Canada forecast
Ten day forecast

Sunrise, Sunset, and Moon Times

The weather here is predicted to be clear for the next few days.  At home, the weather continues cold. I have had a raw throat the past few days and have been hoping it would clear itself up.  So far it has not, so I am on the fence.

Mid-morning, I let down Shongololo's dinghy and pumped it up. In winter, inflatable dinghies go slack as the air contracts.  I tried to start the outboard, but It would not go, so Callum looked at it and we decided the fuel was bad and that the carb was plugged. That is a job for a warmer day.

I then took Shongololo out for a spin and practiced docking and got to the point where I was able to back all the way down a narrow channel to the berth despite a breeze and dock neatly.  Good.

Ken came back to finish the survey and I paid him. 

He is very thorough.  Although he is a very mild person, due to his high standards, his nickname is Doctor Death and I wonder if I was wise to pick someone so critical to assess a boat I plan to sell again soon. No regrets, though.  I want to know the truth and not pay someone to lie to me.

By noon, I could  tell my head cold was getting worse and I was chilling easily.  I could stay on either boat tied to the dock, but I had planned to cast off for Saltspring and have supper with Bruce.  Bruce reported in sick, though, and I decided that I'd be better recovering at home with central heating.  I was planning to return home soon anyhow as I will be going east for Christmas and have a few things to do at home.

I went online, got the last available seat on the WestJet 6:15 to Calgary, packed, and caught a cab. I was at the airport three hours early, but figured I would be waiting somewhere, so why not there?

We landed at 2037 in minus twenty weather.  Arriving at the van, I could see the tire  that was low when I left and I had tried unsuccessfully to fill when leaving was lower, so had to seek out an air pump.  I returned to the nearby service station where I had unsuccessfully tried to get air before, and thankfully they had repaired the hose.

 I was home in bed by eleven.

I correct, revise and augment entries in the previous several days first thing each day before writing new diary entries.  Read yesterday's post

The best argument against democracy is a five minute talk with the average voter.|
 Winston Churchill

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Thursday December 15th, 2016

Today Increasing cloudiness. 60 percent chance of flurries this afternoon. Wind up to 15 km/h. High minus 17. Wind chill minus 28.
Tonight Cloudy with 60 percent chance of flurries. Low minus 25.

Environment Canada forecast
Ten day forecast

Sunrise, Sunset, and Moon Times

I weigh 218.2 today.  Not bad for having been away for a week. The weather here is cold.

I see, today, that the Alberta Beekeepers Commission has updated the board of directors page (right) to what I assume is the current roster, but the list still says 2015/2016. 

I could say something caustic about the Commission's internal confusion and inability to maintain clear and accurate communications, but I won't.  Their website and recent activities speak for themselves.

I'm not well today, but well enough to catch up on various tasks around the house and catch up on the deskwork.

I correct, revise and augment entries in the previous several days first thing each day before writing new diary entries.  Read yesterday's post

Americans are willing to go to enormous trouble and expense defending their principles with arms,
very little trouble and expense advocating them with words.
Temperamentally we are ready to die for certain principles
(or, in the case of overripe adults, send youngsters to die),
but we show little inclination to advertise the reasons for dying.
 E. B. White

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Friday December 16th, 2016

Today Clearing this morning. Wind up to 15 km/h. High minus 18. Wind chill minus 32.
Tonight A few clouds. Wind up to 15 km/h. Low minus 30. Wind chill minus 33.

Environment Canada forecast
Ten day forecast

Sunrise, Sunset, and Moon Times

It is minus twenty-six outside this morning. 

I see, checking back today, that the Alberta Beekeepers Commission has updated the board of directors page again to get the year right.  I wonder what brought that to their attention?

Maybe a little outside scrutiny is a good incentive to straighten up and fly right.  We'll see if when challenged they can run a decent site and provide proper transparency.

The Commission has botched communication terribly over the past year and this failure has gotten them into hot water.  Speaking only for myself, fortunately, nobody wants anything beyond seeing the improper changes corrected.  No one AFAIK is seeking penalties for the people responsible although from the outside, one might think that heads should roll. We just want to get along with proper representation, good communication and transparency.

Speaking of transparency, consider this:

Although it is now two weeks since Liz and I met with the Marketing Board and eleven days since the meeting with the Commission board, I have yet to receive a copy of the minutes of either meeting.

How long does it take to type up the minutes? What is going on?  We're being stonewalled!

"Delay is the deadliest form of denial" -- Peter Drucker

I wonder if some unhappy people are trying to come up with a narrative that saves face -- and their jobs -- or maybe they just hope we will go away if they stall. If so. they should not count on it.

* * * * *

I have been planning to drive up to Jean's for the night and for lunch tomorrow, so I left around 1630 and made the two-hour trip. Roads were clear and temperatures around minus twenty-five.

Jean and Chris were out for the evening by the time I arrived. Mckenzie, Nathan and I played Fish until bedtime.

I correct, revise and augment entries in the previous several days first thing each day before writing new diary entries.  Read yesterday's post

Delay is the deadliest form of denial
Peter Drucker

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Saturday December 17th, 2016

Today A mix of sun and cloud. Wind up to 15 km/h. High minus 18. Wind chill minus 40 this morning and minus 27 this afternoon.
Tonight Partly cloudy. Becoming cloudy after midnight. Wind up to 15 km/h. Low minus 23 with temperature rising to minus 13 by morning. Wind chill minus 28.

Environment Canada forecast
Ten day forecast

Sunrise, Sunset, and Moon Times

I woke up early, had coffee and breakfast and went back to bed and slept another hour and woke up with a revelation.  See below.

Before lunch, Chris's parents and sister came over and we visited until mid-afternoon. A good time was had by all. They left and I followed, having been parked in.  I arrived home around six and veged out all evening.

*    *    *    *    *    *

I woke up remembering how we got where we are, with clarity.  In matters like this, it is easy to get distracted with details and opinions.

It all has to do with having the new Commission assume the Alberta Beekeepers Association, staff, and assets. 

Here are the facts. Although I was retiring at the time and was not a voting member -- I was a $50 member at that time -- as I paid to be last year and I should be now -- in the tradition of the ABA, any member (and usually non-member) was permitted to speak, but only voting members voted. (It's a wonderful system IMO).

Although I was not a fan of the Commission idea because I have seen what happens when a group has a power to tax -- money gets spent aimlessly just because it is there -- I spoke in favour of allowing the transition to a Commission format, but only if the current ABA membership structure was maintained. I didn't make the motion, second  it, or vote on it.  I couldn't since I did not care to vote, but I may have written the motion.  I wrote quite a few.  I figured if my ideas were good, others would carry them.  If not, having a vote would not make much difference.

In spite of misgivings, I trusted Grant Hicks to make sure we did not have a repeat of the earlier fiasco where a group of commercial beekeepers convinced Alberta Marketing they represented the industry and created a Commission which was dissolved in short order by a popular uprising and resulting plebiscite due to arbitrarily including some who did not want in and excluding others who did.

The ABA had a membership structure, and although the Commission rules apparently did not accommodate that terminology -- membership -- the Commission agreed to maintain that feature -- exempt beekeepers under 100 colonies, but not exclude them if they chose to pay $50 to be a 'member' or ante up the minimum payment for a vote -- the 100-hive price.

Those producers who did not want anything could just ignore the Commission totally.

That satisfied everyone, those who did not want to participate, those who wanted to be included, and participate fully, but not vote, and those who wanted to vote on industry issues.

All registered producers voted and by two thirds majority authorized the formation of the Commission.

*    *    *    *    *    *

That worked well for a decade until it was time for a review and by then, people had forgotten the bargain we had made and Marketing wanted to clarify terminology.

"Member" is not in their vocabulary, so they re-wrote the Plan.  Why the ABC office did not object is a mystery. Breaking the decade-old deal throws the Commission open to another general vote and opens the Commission to having all registered beekeepers as equal in the scheme and each with an equal vote -- just like every other Commission in Alberta.  Beekeepers are the exception.  Should we be?

If I were on the Commission, I would scream for the recent changes to be declared illegitimate, which they are, and therefore restore the original Plan that has worked, will work, and protects the interests of all parties, and apologize to those who have been damaged and inconvenienced by the unintended consequences.

*    *    *    *    *    *

As it turns out, it appears that nobody on the board was intentionally offside, and the board is probably as innocent as they claim. They are part-timers and rely on the information they receive from the permanent staff, who is paid to know the history and all the necessary regulations regarding procedure and on Marketing to keep everything proper and legal.

A side issue, but a serious one for some beekeepers was the collateral damage caused by the unannounced changes.

No one was notified by the office and therefore people were completely unaware that, in spite of having paid membership and insurance, they apparently had neither.

I am told that it took repeated phone calls to the office to get an explanation.

These unexpected actions by the Commission office caused problems for the beekeepers who paid to be members and to buy insurance.  Having not been notified, they were unaware they were uninsured for the year and then had issues with their home insurance when they found out.

Moreover, our ejection from the Commission  means, I assume, we are no longer Canadian Honey Council members and no longer entitled to discounts at the North American Beekeeping Conference or subscribed to the National magazine.

The fact that these changes were enacted without authorization and due notice leaves everyone in limbo.

It appears that much of the board was unaware of the procedural and communication lapses, or of the legal obligations for publishing intentions and gaining authorization to make significant changes in the constitution -- or even that such changes had been made on their behalf.

Most of the board seemingly did not clue in until they started getting blowback from the representatives of the affected beekeepers as word spread.

I assume, that the Commission office was responsible for announcing notice of intentions in advance of a decision to all affected parties, and to know who is affected and must be notified, and ensure that the required authorizations are obtained before acting and to advise the board.

None of these requirements were met and the board was not aware they were not.  Why? And why did Alberta Marketing not look into this more deeply at the time?  They have been burned by believing a few ambitious beekeepers before.

Seemingly, at this point, the fingers point to the Commission office and Marketing deciding to ignore requirements for proper notice and a input by the affected parties and just proceed with changing the Plan as they saw fit.

Who has to give authorization for changes in eligibility?  Some in the Commission seemingly figured just a quorum of the current "eligible producers", or maybe even just a motion by the board, however, we have not been able to find a record of event that authorization.

The Commission was created by a vote of all registered producers, currently eligible or not, and the eligibility rules were devised to suit all parties at that time.  Therefore, for any legitimacy, consent must  be obtained from all registered producers to make any material change in eligibility.

This is a difficult and time-consuming article to write properly and it is still under construction.  I am really, really tired of this.

As with many matters I report, I know more than I can reveal. There is quite a bit to this...

I correct, revise and augment entries in the previous several days first thing each day before writing new diary entries.  Read yesterday's post

Guidelines for bureaucrats:
(1) When in charge, ponder.
(2) When in trouble, delegate.
(3) When in doubt, mumble.
 James Boren

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Sunday December 18th, 2016

Today Mainly cloudy. 30 percent chance of flurries near noon. Wind west 30 km/h gusting to 50. High minus 1.
Tonight Partly cloudy. Wind west 30 km/h gusting to 50. Low minus 7.

Environment Canada forecast
Ten day forecast
Sunrise, Sunset, and Moon Times

I woke after midnight and was feeling congested, so I got up and spent an hour researching water mufflers, then went back to bed and slept until 0855.

I spent the day doing research for my boat work and a few hours writing and re-writing about the damn Commission again.  What a drag on everyone. 

I feel sorry for the poor board members who did not ask for this mess. I realise I am being hard on them, and I guess I should because it is their duty to be responsible and they have to relay on guidance from their staff since they are busy with their own affairs.  They are volunteers, some who just took the job because no one else would or out of a sense of duty.  IMO, their staff let them down in several ways, but I don't know.  There is little communication.

I'm still waiting for the minutes.  That, at least, would be a sign of good faith.

I fly at ten tomorrow, so I went to bed early.

I correct, revise and augment entries in the previous several days first thing each day before writing new diary entries.  Read yesterday's post

America is at that awkward stage.
It's too late to work within the system and too early to shoot the bastards
Claire Wolfe

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Monday December 19th, 2016

Today Cloudy with 30 percent chance of flurries in the morning. Clearing near noon. Wind southwest 20 km/h gusting to 40 becoming west 50 gusting to 70 in the afternoon. High minus 1.
Tonight A few clouds. Wind west 40 km/h gusting to 60 diminishing to 20 gusting to 40 near midnight then becoming light overnight. Low minus 12.

Environment Canada forecast
Ten day forecast
Sunrise, Sunset, and Moon Times

I woke up around midnight, got up for a while, then went back to bed.  I didn't get to sleep right away, and lay there watching the images in my mind that come at the edge of sleep. Sometimes they are as wide and clear as day vision, sometimes tiny and dark.  Abstract, mostly, morphing and shifting, but sometimes faces and places and varying from dark and vague to sharp and bright. Eventually, I drifted off and woke up refreshed.  By two, I was ready to get up and I had coffee and breakfast, but felt sleepy and went back to bed. I had set an alarm for three previously, but altered it to four.

At five to four, I woke up, packed, shoveled ashes, showered, and found I was still ahead of schedule, so slept another forty-five minutes and decided to leave.  I'd be early, but better to be an hour early at the airport than one minute late. On a trip like this, if I miss the first leg, I might not be able to reschedule the second and find myself stuck overnight at YYZ.

When I went out, the tire was down a bit again. I was beginning to think there is a slow leak and I resolved to overfill it in Airdrie to be sure that it would still have sufficient air after sitting a week in the airport lot.  With alloy rims, it could be a rim leak, and they often heal themselves, but if it is a nail, then it could get worse suddenly.

I arrived in Airdrie, pulled into a gas station and filled the tire. Then the end of the valve broke off and air came out uncontrolled. I put the cap on and then took it off long enough to refill the tire and capped it again. I called Mike and he was at the shop, so I explained the problem and drove over, hoping to make it before the tire went flat and leave the van there.  Although I had left early, time was now running out and I had little to spare.

I made it to the shop and it so happens that Kal Tire is right across from the shop, so I dropped my bags at the shop, took the van across the street, and got into Mike's car to make the rest of the trip. The van will take at least an hour, an hour I did not have, so Mike was a real lifesaver.

We pulled out onto the highway and headed south on the four-lane.  Three miles down, traffic slowed to a stop and emergency vehicles passed us on the shoulder.  Hard to believe. Two holdups on the same day, and the way things were going, my chances of making my flight were growing slim.

Then the traffic started moving again and we saw the cause of he delay.  High winds had blown a trailer over and it was blocking one lane.  There were no injuries or serious damage we could see.

Now at highway speed again, we made it to the airport forty-five minutes before flight time.  With my Nexus card, I passed quickly through the security and was at the gate before boarding began.

I correct, revise and augment entries in the previous several days first thing each day before writing new diary entries.  Read yesterday's post

If we command our wealth, we shall be rich and free; if our wealth commands us, we are poor indeed
Edmund Burke

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