Saturday, July 26, 2014

Maskepetoon Park

      I live in a small city of 100000 people. We have an excellent park system because some of the early farmers, who had land that was taken  into the city, donated large acreages for parks. I have my favorite parks and some parks I've never been in.

     My friends have told me for a long time that Maskepetoon park was an excellent area. It's an area of river bottom and escarpment. Most of it is excellent native habitat. A small portion was mined for gravel. I finally visited Maskepetoon Park today and it is all my friends say it is and more. There's old growth forest and some of it is dying. There are various types of wetlands. I'm too late to see many flowers but the golden rods were at their prime. All kinds of birds were in the massive amounts of shrubbery. Heavy shrubbery makes it hard to see birds but it makes excellent habitat for them.

    So my afternoon was most enjoyable. As I walked along I also thought of the name. Maskepetoon was a wise Cree chief in the area. He was able to persuade his people to live peacefully with others and so he has been remembered with much respect.

A general map when you enter the area

Typical river scene

Choke cherries

A nice touch for a stairway landing

Some healthy wetland

Trails wind through the area

There are many interpretive signs

A couple of giants bit the dust yesterday in our windstorm

The remains of a giant poplar which is now providing food.

You are in a fen when you read the sign

The trail back home

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

When Will Governments Become Moral,Open and Honest?

      One of our senators, Mike Duffy, got into serious trouble earlier this year over his expense account. He charged for a main residence in Prince Edward Island (PEI) and a house in Ottawa. There was no house in PEI. In fact, it was very dubious if Duffy had a claim to residence in PEI for many years. So politicians being politicians, they began yelling at each other and asking questions. The answers changed as the procedure moved along for several months. Other discrepancies were found in the senator's expense accounts.

    Three other senators were found with expense account inaccuracies. One senator paid back most of what was over the limit. 

    Now Senator Duffy was appointed by Prime Minister Steven Harper. Steven Harper apparently wanted somebody who could speak to party members and get them to part with their cash. It looks like Duffy used some of his Senate expense account money to pay for his time, effort and travel to promote his own party.

    Now this didn't look good for Steven Harper's government. So a scheme was invented to give Duffy $90000.00 so that he could pay his illegal expenses back to the government. The plan was hatched up in the Prime Minister's office(PMO). So one of the PMO staff cut a check from his own bank account. The operation quickly fell off the rails and got the government in more trouble than before.

    Now a full scale audit was started. Then Mike Duffy was suspended from the Senate. So the Prime minister and the Senator quickly became enemies. Senator Duffy was claiming that the PC told him to claim expenses for Conservative Party of Canada business. Then the RCMP  was brought in to make a criminal investigation. Recently Mike Duffy was charged with 31 offenses. One of the offenses was accepting a bribe from Nigel Wright from the PMO. However, Nigel Wright,  who paid the bribe was not charged!!!

    So this is a long story that's far from over . As the story continues it gets more sordid .

    Now there's a good possibility that Steven Harper may be called as a witness to this criminal trial. Immediately Steven Harper says he has nothing to say so doesn't intend to appear at the trial as a witness. Steven Harper may not have the choice as to whether he attends or not. I think he's very much fearful of cross examination since he's given a few different versions of his part in this story.

    This is a low point for government morality, openness and honesty. When will it change? How can it be changed? When will politicians get some common sense and act in  proper manner?

Sunday, July 20, 2014

I Thought I Got Away With It

      I was the typical young male. I took risks and behaved in various rebellious manners. 

     In school if there was work I didn't want to do I could become as devious as possible to get out of it until my Dad caught me and that ended the nonsense. In literature we took the play Abraham Lincoln. I'd read a couple of biographies on Lincoln and I liked him. I didn't like the play. Worse than that, each day the teacher wrote 4 or 5 questions on the chalk board so we were supposed to read a section and then answer the questions. I copied the questions down and didn't answer them. My buddies laughed and were always watching to see if I got caught. 

     There were 25 kids in my high school from gr. 10 to 12  with one teacher for all courses.. You bet the teacher was busy. One day he had a few minutes and was going to check our "questions". The boys really got excited as they thought, "Red's going to get caught this time." Well I was next in line when the bell went so my book wasn't checked. The guys laughed harder that ever and I thought I was a super hero. I couldn't see any further ahead than than answering the questions.

    My brother took the same  course then next year. He tried to do the assignments but had trouble with them. He knew my books were still in the house so he thought, "I'll just copy Red's answers." He was surprised to find that not one question had been answered.

    So I got away without doing the assignments on the play Abraham Lincoln or so I thought.

    A few years later I found myself in first year college English. Guess what? I wasn't prepared for it. In fact, I failed the course. There was more to it than not doing assignments. I was never assigned an essay all through high school. I was not taught how to write an opinion piece and support my position. I was not assigned a persuasion paper. I was completely unprepared for college English. I had to do some hard work, get some tutoring and do the course twice in order to pass it.

    So did I get away with anything? I think not.

    How about you? Did you do things that you really got away with or did you pay the price sooner or later.

    As adults , are there things that we don't do but cost us in other ways?

Friday, July 18, 2014

The Next Time I Promise I'll really Listen

      From time to time couples have a little misunderstanding and things go seriously wrong. Not wrong like Andy and Flo Capp where there was a cloud of dust with four little arms and legs sticking out. This would be Andy and Flo fighting. I'm not talking fighting here but a misunderstanding that results in an awkward  problem.

     Yesterday my wife went to the fair to put her shift in the food booth that supports her church. She's done this for thirty years or more and loves it. In her younger years she would walk to the fair with a friend and sometimes I took them out or picked them up.

    I agreed to drop my wife off and pick her up. She had gone over the routine for me to pick her up about a week ago. She'd gone over it several times, but I only listen to the last set of directions. This time there were no last set of directions.

    When the time came to pick my wife up the directions were a little fuzzy. Her shift ended at 7:00 Pm. I waited for a few minutes after seven to leave. I had to park the car and walk to the crosswalk across from the fair to wait. She wasn't there when I arrived. No worries. I then remembered she was going to eat supper after her shift. No worries. I couldn't remember if she said she'd phone. 

    8:00 PM came. She hasn't arrived. I'm getting impatient. 

    8:30 came. I'm starting to worry. Did she try phoning and didn't get an answer and was still at the booth? Did she get a ride and expect I would still be at home?

    Finally at 9:00 PM I thought there's no use waiting here. It isn't going to happen. 

    I went home. It was  relief to see the house windows were open. I knew where she was. But what was I going to catch when I got in?

    On the other hand she was worried I'd be upset because I was waiting. We didn't fight like Andy and Flo. We were relieved that each one got there without any harm. 

     Oh yes. She didn't have a house key. However, she found the key that's hidden outside. Luckily the door was not locked and she could get at the key.

    Next time I will listen the first time the directions are given. Promise!

   Do you run into grief because arrangements went wrong? What's the worst situation you encountered? What's the funniest situation you got yourself into?

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

A Friendly Rabbit Pays a Visit

    I went out to my back yard about 7:00 PM to get some lettuce and was surprised to see a white tailed jack rabbit lounging comfortably on the grass. My visitor did not move until I was within 3 m (10 ft) and then reluctantly rose ,stretched and made a couple of hops and sat down again. This told me that the visitor wanted photographs taken so appropriate poses were made by the visitor.

    Later I looked out the window and the visitor was having a healthy meal of chard. Before I could get out with the camera the visitor decided to have a course of grass.

   The hare that I'm showing you is rather large and can weigh up to 4.5 kg (9.5 lb). Only the Arctic and Alaskan hares are larger. They are adapted to open plains with brush.  They have become quite used to city life and do well in the parks and yards

Sunday, July 13, 2014

Excuses! Excuses! Excuses!

     I had a fine selection of comments on my last post. I posted about painting my fence and suggested that you could volunteer to help. Now the excuses really came on thick and heavy. The end of it was that I was not going to get any help. Most excuses were highly creative.  Now Bob and Bob my neighbors only do oral comments and I will hear from them when I see them.

     I referred to Mark Twain's story Tom Sawyer and the Fence. Now as it turns out Tom Sawyer was a master a making excuses. Tom Sawyer was painting the fence because of an excuse.

      One day Aunt Polly was missing some of he jam. She picked on Tom as a likely suspect but Tom wriggled out of it and sneaked away. Aunt Polly was more worried that Tom would skip school. (Which he did.) So this excuse worked for Tom. 

     Tom went downtown and got into a terrible fight and his clothes were ripped and dirty. This really caught Aunt Polly's attention so Tom was assigned to paint the fence on a  Saturday morning when he really wanted to be downtown. So by getting people to paint the fence, the job was done quickly and Tom was able to go down town after all.

     So you see Tom was a master at making excuses. Some excuses worked and some didn't.

     Now I know all of you can make excuses. What are some excuses that worked? What excuses failed? What excuses backfired? What excuse worked over and over again. What excuses never worked?

Thursday, July 10, 2014

Red and the Fence.

     I'm painting a fence. Where is Tom Sawyer when I need him?

     One of my favorite stories is Mark Twain's Tom Sawyer and the Fence. In this story Aunt Polly assigns Tom to white wash the fence. The first person to come along wanted to paint as Tom had made the job look very interesting. Tom said, "No, it would be too hard to do." Well some money was exchanged and the guy painted for a while. Somebody else came by and the same action took place. In the end the fence was painted three times and Tom Sawyer was a wealthy kid.

    Well, you know what I'm after here. I'm looking for a little help. Now most of you will say that you live too far away. But my two neighbors, Bob and Bob, who read this blog, are probably  heading for the hills. They are the only ones close enough to help me!

   Now every other summer there is a fence around my place that needs painting. Preparing the fence for painting is a lot of work and then the painting starts. Yesterday was 30 C (90 F). That's too hot to work.

    So slowly slowly the fence will get painted and then on to the next maintenance job.