Friday, January 21, 2022

A little update - Bees, Trees, Solar Power and Scams

Bees working hard in the Veronica bush

 

 A bit slow this week. My computer did a little update and lost all my bookmarks, so while I am finding those again, I thought perhaps it's time for a little update, so that you don't come away from the site entirely empty -handed.

 

Busy bees

 My bees have finally produced some honey instead of baby bees. Contrary to warnings that flow hives don’t work in cold climates, mine has worked beautifully. From what I’ve heard  from other beekeepers, it seems to depend on what the bees feed on. In the bush and especially when they gather pollen from tea tree, the honey apparently becomes much thicker and doesn’t flow as easily. The flow hive is much more expensive than conventional hives but it negates the necessity of having a lot more equipment such as extractors and so forth.

 

First harvest

 

 

Solar Panels

With our long summer days, the solar panels are finally doing some good.  This month’s bill is around $47, about half what it used to be at this time of year. The power company says that so far I have saved $627.84 and that I have saved 2.09 tons of CO2, 0.85 of a ton of coal (my alternative power source mostly comes from hydro, hence the low score) and that they have planted 114 trees on my behalf. At this rate it will still take about 8 years to get a return on investment, but it feels better and we are still looking for ways to reduce our consumption such as doing things like laundry and showering during peak charging times, so we get the maximum benefit of generation, rather than the modest return from feed -in to the grid.

 

Tree Planting with Ecosia

 

My tree count using Ecosia as a search engine has reached 835. As far as the search experience goes, much better for EU news and some international news but I still check in with Google from time to time to get more local and regional news. Both claim to use renewable energy for searching, but Ecosia generates twice as much as it consumes. For more about this click here.

 

My car

 

Still grounded. The mechanic has tested +ve for Covid, but at least I’ve managed to find a second -hand motor for it and a place that can fix camper vans. Would that I could afford an electric version, but that’s a long way off.  Fortunately, I rarely use it unless I am travelling around the state. For the last couple of months I’ve been getting my shopping delivered and occasionally using Uber, so I haven’t missed it much. I did however get scammed while trying to buy a motor via Gumtree which is a local buying and selling site. No sooner had I paid for it, than two more people offered almost the same deal. "Oh don't worry about the freight, I have an account with ....."  "My girlfriend's car..." "Have to get rid of it..."  "Just wanted to help..."  One even showed the same photo of a motor, which must be floating around on the web somewhere and then I got really worried, especially when there was no motor.

Normally I’m really careful, I just use PayPal and only buy from well established companies, but these motors are as scarce as hen’s teeth, so I accepted an offer from a private vendor. He sounded friendly, had had a few positive reviews and put up his driver's licence as proof of id. Unfortunately, the licence was either stolen or a fake. Still waiting for the bank to try to get my money back. I also reported it to the police and they told me contact SCAMWATCH, so I did. 

To my disappointment, Scamwatch couldn't do anything on my behalf other than note the scam for their records. When my son checked the phone number, it had been reported at least three times already for very similar reasons. Over the past year Australians reported a record $AU 21 million lost to scams, up 89% on the previous year.  Unfortunately at this stage I see little hope of getting my money back and because it's also a big problem in other countries,the next post will be about how you can protect yourself against scammers.


 


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