Saturday, October 3, 2015

On American Robins

    This morning I watched hundreds of robins whirling through my district. It was plus 2 C (36 F) and very windy. They were not flying south but spending time eating berries left on trees. 

    Last Sunday afternoon when I was at Heritage Ranch there were again hundreds of robins in the area. They were flying with abandon and eating saskatoons, chokecherries and whatever else they could find. It was at this time that we found the pileated woodpeckers. I also took photos of robins at that time but they were so poor I deleted them.
Pileated woodpecker

   I have noticed some time ago that some people are reporting that their robins had flown south. That got me thinking. Robins nest into the Arctic. It will take them a long time to get to me in Central Alberta. In the high country, mountain meadows above the treeline, the robin is a common nester. The Arctic and mountain robins nest nest on the ground. 

    I'm wondering if the mountain robins come down from the mountains and visit me for a few weeks? I wonder how many of these birds are Arctic robins?

   These birds have frosty breasts with just a hint of color showing through. The black is also much duller.

    I've also said many times that I've seen robins in every month of the year in Central Alberta. 

   So there must be tough robins and wimpy robins. There seems to be a wide pattern in their fall migration. I don't notice this in the spring.

   No matter what , I'm enjoying these joyful robins who are passing through in this October.

Thursday, October 1, 2015

More Blogger Mumblings

     I recently did a post on blogging that got away on me. I was interested in two bloggers who were making some serious attempts to change their blogs. Sometimes we need to change to rejuvenate and get out of a rut.

    I have some things that I would like to change on my blog and named them and why I would change them. I also went out on the limb to ask people what they liked and what suggestions they would make about my blog. There were no great surprises and it's always nice to reaffirm what is going on. There were many suggestions. I now know how to live dangerously when I want to change my blog. I have to set up another blog and use it for experimenting.

   Now when you ask for opinions you risk hearing some things you might not want to hear and some things that are just plane wrong. All of your comments were great.

   I then reflected on being able to ask for judgements.

   As a teacher , I went through many evaluations. In the 50's and 60's we had one visit a year from the superintendent. It was a terrifying visit. We didn't know what he was looking for and I don't think he did either. I had one superintendent who was most helpful.

   As time went on teacher evaluation changes. Specific skills were looked for. We were trained to use these skills and when an evaluator came to your classroom you knew exactly what he was looking for.

   Evaluation expanded. Principals and vice principals visited the classroom so we had 4 or more visits per year. Not all of these visits were formal.

  I was a department head and I also did classroom visits.

   I also had many student teachers and had to evaluate them. This evaluation was a pain because of the way the evaluation form was set up. Having student teachers was always a good experience.

   So it wasn't hard for me to ask for opinions and I'm glad I asked as I learned some things and certainly had things reaffirmed.


Monday, September 28, 2015

This Fall Keeps on Giving

   I didn't start this fall with any intention of taking pictures of fall colors. Colors this year have been brilliant and wide spread. So here goes with some more fall colors that were given to me.

Brush  on the river bank

Wagon trail

Aspen at the bottom of the escarpment

This time I got some sky in the photo like I was supposed to.

A cooperative pileated woodpecker that posed for me.
       I was surprised to see two flowers in bloom.

Common bluebell

Smooth fleabane

Saturday, September 26, 2015

I Bin Workin' Hard!

    I've been working hard to get some photos of fall colors. Yes, our colors started few weeks ago and the best of it is over.

    Along with colors we had some good sky scenes with cloud build ups. 

     So from time to time I grabbed the camera and took a bunch of shots. Most I deleted. 

    So here are some of the shots I kept.

Excuse the neighbor's eave's trough on the left

There's a lot of power in this one.

Lots of sunlight on the birch

A large poplar that's past it's prime

A mountain ash with red berries to go along with yellow leaves.

Tuesday, September 22, 2015

Equinox Thoughts

      Tomorrow is the first day of fall and it usually causes me to stop and think about seasons,weather and time.  The Equinox seems to be a very definite line between summer and fall. One minute it's summer and the next minute it's fall. In reality we've been sliding into fall for quite a few weeks. Our weather has been more variable. We get cooler nights and daytime highs are not as sizzling. The cold northern air is pushing south and mixing with warm air. The two air systems don't like each other so they
fight and push back and forth.. Sometimes one wins and then the other wins. Guess what? We have cool days and warm days. Now when I wake up in the morning it's not very light. I don't have enough time to go for a bike ride after supper unless I want to ride in the dark. Daylight is much less than a few weeks ago.

     So things have been changing and we have  a line to mark the changes. So when the sun shines directly on the equator we have the term equinox to describe the situation.

     Here the sun rose at 7:21 and set at 19:33 which gives us 12 hours and 12 minutes of sunlight. Our days are rapidly getting shorter.

    With the fall Equinox I always think about September. September gives us some interesting times. We see some vivid colors. We see plants that have become inactive. We have some good things and some bad things. We can have very pleasant warm weather and it's been known to snow here in September. Other people like September because they say it's not too hot or too cold. September seems to be a  time to finish summer.

   Where ever you are I hope you are enjoying some gentle September weather.

    There are songs that roll around in my head for September. My favorite is Neil Diamond's September Morn. Do you have a favorite September song. There are many of them.


Saturday, September 19, 2015

EEK! The Freezer Crashed

   The good thing is it wasn't my freezer that crashed. It was my neighbor's freezer that quit.

    Why is it that when freezers crash , it's always a big surprise. We rarely know when our freezer is on it's way out. Sometimes we don't catch the down freezer for a few days. Half the stuff  or worse  is thawed.

    Then panic!, panic! Help ! Help! What do I do? How much of this can I rescue. Call a repairman. Can he repair it.? Your mind is working in overdrive. Sometimes you can get a repairman quickly enough and the freezer can be repaired. And if it can't be repaired then plans A,B,C,D...

   My neighbor appeared at my door Thur morning. Her freezer had died. She caught it in time to rescue all her food. She happened to go down for a loaf of bread and it felt a little soft and she discovered the freezer was off and would not kick back in. She asked if we had room in our freezer for some of her stuff. She had room in her side by side fridge for the meat but needed a place for her baked goods. Yes, we had room enough for her stuff.

    So her scramble wasn't over. She had to quickly find a freezer and get it to her house. The business could not deliver the freezer until Monday and then they wanted $90.00. They were able to get the new freezer in the back of their Jeep and then wrestle it downstairs on Thur. She had to wash it well as there was a chemical smell associated with new products.

    Now things don't usually happen in ones. Her husband had a medical appointment with the anesthetist as he's having a kidney removed. 

    They had enough stress in this situation. Friday morning she arrived to get her bag of baked goods. 

    How about you? Has your freezer died on you? Have other things quit, like your sump pump?

Thursday, September 17, 2015

Another Heritage Ranch Visit

     A few weeks ago I visited Heritage Ranch hoping to see a few interesting, birds, plants and landscapes. I didn't find much and got sidetracked by horses so my post was on horses.

     Sunday afternoon I visited Heritage Ranch again with two friends. We didn't see much for birds. I don't know why? It's a good birding area. We did see a bald eagle. 

     I was able to stop talking long enough to get a few photos.

One of my favorite bridges. It's for cyclists,walkers and skiers. However it's just wide enough and plenty strong enough for a gravel truck to cross.

Going down the 100 steps to the valley floor.

A bend in the river where the bank is eroding. 

Part of the pond made from an old quarry

Bog orchid. I was surprised to find this bloom in Sept.

Now this was blooming lustily. A nickel to the first person who identifies it.