Tuesday, April 26, 2016

It's Party Time Tonight on the House!

     Yes, this is the first party at Hiawatha House! Everybody is invited. See the big crowd behind me? They all have their hands raised and are clapping!

      I wish!

       But there is a milestone of sorts on Hiawatha house tonight.

      This is my one thousandth post! How about that?

       I started Hiawatha House in 2008. I think I wrote two posts.

      In 2009 I wrote about 50 posts, but most of my time was taken in discovering how blogger worked. I wore out a copy of "Blogging for Dummies."

      I don't remember 100 posts of 500 posts. I do remember looking at 880 and thinking,"This is getting close to 1000 posts.

     When I started in 2008 I had no idea what was involved in writing a blog. I only knew that I wanted to write and keep up some writing skills.

     I think it was about 30 or 40 posts before I got a comment. I was surprised by the notification as I didn't know that's how you got a comment. The comment really excited me. Jen at Cottage Country Reflections was the first blogger to make a comment. Connie at Far Side of Fifty was the next to visit and make a comment. These two will never know how much encouragement was  given just because of the comments.

     The 1000 posts have been a lot of fun. I've met many fantastic people through the blog. Relationships developed through blogging have been quite unbelievable.

    I never ever thought that I would write 1000 posts!

    So tonight is a happy time.

Sunday, April 24, 2016

It Was a Cold and Nasty Day

      We've been cruising along through March and April with above average temperatures. It's been downright pleasant. It's a long time since we had overnight frost. It's been windy from time to time but overall very pleasant. It's been so pleasant that I've ridden 100 km (62 mi) on my bike. One day we had a high of 27C (83 F) .

     So this was not normal April weather. We usually get snow and lots of overnight frost. We can also get very nasty blizzards. 

     Well, it had to end. It cooled off Friday. Yesterday morning when I went birding it was miserable 4 C(37 F). In the afternoon it started to rain and about 6:00 Pm snow started and turned to huge wet flakes. Most of the snow melted as it hit the ground. We did accumulate about 2.5 Cm (1 in).

     So it was just a matter of time before we got some cold and nasty weather in April. ...and we could still get more.
      Now it got to 0 C. As you can see the bleeding heart is developing quickly. If it cools off slowly these hardy plants can withstand lots of frost as most the moisture leaves the plant cells so the cell doesn't expand and break.

Friday, April 22, 2016

The Loon

     I have been silent for a few days as a topic wasn't coming to me. I wanted to continue with another bird topic. I couldn't find what I wanted.

    So in my research I happened to find a couple of things that I had forgotten. The common loon is being considered for becoming Canada's national bird. The loon is a fascinating creature with it's captivating call. I have camped by lakes with some resident loons. They start early in the morning and it's hard to ignore them. Many times they call is in the night. However, the call is haunting and well known and remembered by those who hear it.

     The loon is also a distinctive shape and does the disappearing act by diving and staying under water and then quietly surfacing in another area. The coloration is as well known as it's call.

     Our one dollar coin has a loon  on it and we love to call the coin a looney. Have you got a looney? Now I should have remembered that the loon on our one dollar coin and is one of our favorite birds and one of the birds being considered for our national bird.

     Loon also stands for some derogatory meaning. Crazy as a loon. Looney.

     So I hope that the loon gets chosen for our national bird. We're one of the few countries without a national bird.

     Alberta' provincial bird is the great horned owl. I remember the process of making that choice. They wanted children to make the choice so programs were set up in the school for kids to make the choice.

     Now our national mammal is well known and has been for a long time.

Sunday, April 17, 2016

Formal or Informal

     Yesterday I took a birding group out for two hours on very beautiful day. We found lots of birds : black capped chickadee, crow, magpie, robin, cedar waxwing, downy woodpecker, red breasted nuthatch, white breasted nuthatch, mallards, red tailed hawk, house sparrow and an unidentified gull. The gull was about 2000 ft above us. 

      Now somebody gave us a bit of a lesson as some of us , including me, usually say seagull instead of gull! So smarty pants told us that there's no sea around us and to remember it that way.

      If you look this up you find that seagull is informal and gull is the proper term as there are many species of gull. So there!

      As a little guy I spelled seagull as "seagle" as in eagle. Now that goes too far and is just plain wrong even if you are in gr. two.

      There are many other situations where we have a formal usage and an informal usage. So if we are writing in a formal style we would use the formal term.

       So do you have examples of formal and informal terms?


Wednesday, April 13, 2016

Our town Has an Anti-bullying Bylaw

        Our town has an anti-bullying bylaw and yesterday someone was convicted and fined $500.00 under this bylaw. The person convicted? A 79 year old senior who uses a cane for walking!

        I know this senior well as he lives two blocks from me. He constantly complains about the neighbors around him. (They're all idiots!) He complains about the police. (They're all real idiots.) He complains about local politicians.(They're all total idiots.) His complaints have escalated over the 15 years since he has been retired.

       Now this guy would complain about his neighbors over many things: parking in front of his place, noise, neighbor's trees, neighbor's  kids playing. He would yell at kids going by. He walked into a neighbor's house without permission. He also walked into my house without being asked in. 

       Now he constantly called police and bylaw officers to make complaints.  As far as I know none of his neighbors were ever charged. He wormed his way into top police officers to complain about his neighbors and that nothing was done about it. He talked to city officials and local politicians. No charges were laid and officials tried to reason with this man about how the situation should be handled.

      In the last two years he made 23 complaints to bylaw officers. Of course these complaints have to be investigated.

      The 23rd time bylaw officers were called was because a car was blocking his driveway. When the officer arrived there was no car blocking the driveway. That's when the officer laid the bullying charge. This man constantly used officers to harass and bully his neighbors. None of us appreciate a visit from a bylaw officer about a complaint. When the complaint is without merit we really get upset.  People were really being bullied by his use of city officials. Officers time was taken from other work. 

      Now his behaviour could have been handled under more serious charges. The whole episode is very sad. Somehow, I don't think the $500.00 fine is going to solve anything. I would think he will probably become a bigger nuisance. Some people won't allow themselves to be helped. Living in urban areas we have to be flexible and have a little give and take and common sense. Common sense was lacking in this case.

City Hall Park

Monday, April 11, 2016

More Sound

      While I'm on the topic of sound or no sound, I should touch base with one of my original topics to post on.  On my very first post I listed some of the things I was interested in and would post on them from time to time.

      One of the topics was music. Pleasant sound! I don't think I've made very many posts about music. 

      My association with music is very limited. I'm not musical. I don't play any instruments and I can't sing. However, I do enjoy listening to music. My choice of music is very wide. In other words I listen to many different genres of music. That variety changes from time to time as new areas of music are discovered and once enjoyed music is forgotten.

     I like listening to radio where information is given about the music...lots of information...history, performers, techniques, how the music is put together, basic music. Music is much more meaningful when you know more about it. I like listening to Randy Bachman on CBC. He calls his show"Randy's Vinyl Tap." He plays good old rock and roll and has tons of obscure information and stories.

    Now I admit that I don't listen to modern commercial music at all. I am a way behind. I have excuses. Much of today's music is aimed at teens or young people. There's too much music to keep up in all genres. Some music I don't listen to such as modern country or rap. So I listen to radio stations that specialize in providing a wide variety of music and all kinds of background information. I started listening to much more jazz and blues. I like old time country and rock and roll. I like classical music. I've discovered classical religious music. Now I need a lot of help- to understand what's going on there

     I like to listen to music that doesn't have commercial success but it's out there and is played. There are many good local bands and singer/ songwriters. There are some odd ball music shows like Roy's Record Room which airs on CKUA. Roy plays music that was recorded on old discs. You never know if you're going to get country and western, blues jazz or anything else.

     So I'm not entirely about silence as I covered in my last post. I can listen to a lot of music in a day. I haven't downloaded much music but I realize there's lots out there to choose from.

     Now how about you? Do you have special musical talent?  Do you have just one variety of music that you follow? Any hints about some good music to listen to?

Saturday, April 9, 2016

I Love the Quiet

      The most peaceful moments for me are when it's quiet. Yes, I know I enjoy being by myself for long periods of time. I can go without talking so that when I talk again I can hardly recognize my voice. Ever hear a mouse rusting under the leaf litter? It has to be quiet to hear the mouse. Have you ever heard the little noises a nuthatch or woodpecker makes when it's within arm's length?  There are many sounds we never hear because it's too noisy.

       I turn my furnace off over night so that the furnace fan doesn't wake me up. I'd turn the fridge off if I could get away with it.

      Quiet times for me go back to growing up on prairie farm. We didn't have electricity. Just think of all the noise that would be absent if you didn't have electricity. The cook stove fire whispered quietly. The house creaked occasionally. That was it . It was quiet. Yes, we had a radio that used very sparingly. It was only noisy when kids played in the house.

    I had the backwoods cabin once! Then I moved and had to give it up. That cabin was quiet. Again, the only thing that made a whisper was the fire in the cook stove.

    When the power goes off in my house there is a pleasant peaceful feeling. Once in awhile the power went off at school and all the air conditioning stopped. The kids would stop talking. The quietness was beautiful.

     Large commercial buildings are incredibly noisy. Commercial buildings have huge echo power. Hospitals are terribly noisy. These building have nothing that will muffle sound.

    Airport terminals have thousands of people, air conditioning and many conveyor belt. T
here's also that PA system that is constantly giving messages. It's nerve wracking and confusing. Now I learned a big lesson when I left the Calgary airport and arrived in Lahue in Maui. There were thousands of people around me in the terminal but it was quiet. Machinery wasn't running. The terminal was open to the outside. People did not have to yell at each other and were very calm. I couldn't believe how quiet it was.
     Now I don't get to enjoy quietness very often but I always long for it.

    How about you? Do you enjoy the quiet or do you need  some noise around you to make you fell comfortable?