Thursday, June 30, 2011

Telus Tower Peregrine Falcon Nest Update

       I have had a link to the peregrine falcon web cam which is on the Telus Tower in Red Deer.

       This year things have not gone well with this nesting pair. They had five eggs. The pair ate three of the eggs for some reason or other. The other two eggs turned out to be infertile.

      This week two peregrine falcon chicks were found to put in the nest.

      A  video of this process has been placed on you tube. I can't get the link on my blog so I will give you a link to Natural Wise and you will find a link to the video on Natural Wise.



Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Blogger Appreciates Comments

       As a blogger I appreciate comments. One of the things I have been working for on my blog is to get reaction from readers. My journey to comments has been long,slow and  rewarding.

     As I said before I started Hiawatha House before I was on the Internet. My daughter helped me establish Hiawatha House in Aug. of 2008. A few weeks later she left and I blogged from the computers in the local library. I think I made three posts in 2008. I had the naive notion that if I put something on the Internet thousands of people would automatically see and read my posts. I knew there were comments but somehow I wasn't getting any comments.

     In Mar. of 2010 I hooked up to the Internet at my house. This meant that I could look at blogger and begin setting up the blog. There were many things I didn't understand. I didn't know what a URL was . I was able to write a few more posts. As I wrote I learned a few things about how to change the look of the blog. Still no comments.

     Someone told me about counters and that it was simple to put a counter on your blog. After much puzzling a finally got a counter on my blog. I found out that very few people were reading my blog. One guy seemed to read me several times a day. It turned out that my biggest reader was me! So I got rid of myself. Still no comments. I didn't know where the comments would appear on the blog!

      I then discovered that I could follow other bloggers. I found a few interesting blogs to follow but they seemed to be blogs that didn't post very often and were probably struggling beginning bloggers like myself. They didn't respond as they  were like myself and I didn't make comments on other blogs.

     Somewhere in early 2010 someone commented on a post . I was amazed. Then I had to find out how to publish the comment. That comment made me work harder. I  learned so much from the one comment. I should go back and find out who made the first comment.

     Some where out of the blue a couple of people who were not my friends began to follow my blog and make comments. These comments really were encouraging and made me think more about my blog and the things I was posting.

    In the last half of 2010 I began to post more material and more people began to comment. Well, I got a couple of comments a week! I also learned that I had to follow more bloggers.

    So by 2011 I was getting comments on every post. What a treat! You get feed back about what you write. Comments confirm that what you are saying has some value. Comments also give you many more ideas for writing topics. Comments also give me confidence to go on and try harder. Sometimes you have regular readers who comment all the time. Some times people appear from out of the blue. Many of my readers are locals and they comment orally when they see me. I have a large family and occasionally one of them comment but I discuss my blog with them often.

     Comments...What a treat!  Thanks to all those people who drop by and leave a comment. Thanks to all those people who drop by and read Hiawatha House. You are very much appreciated.

Saturday, June 25, 2011

A Man and his Scythe

         I know that if I do a post that has scythe in it, I will probably get hits from gamers so I'll be up front and tell you that this post is actually about scythes.

       Yes, the same as yesterday, I am selling my scythe.

        Since I've been a child there have usually been scythes around me. My Dad had a scythe on the farm where I grew up. As little kids we'd play with the scythe from time to time like we played with everything else on the farmyard. It's funny we didn't do grievous harm to someone as we played with something as dangerous as a scythe. I only remember one time when my Dad used the scythe to knock down some tall grass in the yard. Dad probably bought the scythe on an auction sale for the monstrous price of 10 cents.

        After I finished high school I worked for ten weeks on the section maintenance crew for the railroad. One of the jobs we did that summer was to cut a two meter strip of  grass  from the ballast. This was done with the scythe as it was in the days before the railway invested in mowers . So I was actually paid for one weeks to cut grass with a scythe.

      Years later when I was somewhat established I was a sort of back to the land type and bought a resort lot that was completely covered with native vegetation. You guessed it. I bought a scythe to cut down some of the foliage where we could park a holiday trailer. I found the scythe on and acreage and the owner had probably done much the same as I...used the scythe once and decided to find some other method to cut grass.I only remember using the scythe once to clear some grass. (Sounds like Dad. ) The scythe has been kept securely in the rafters of my garage and has not been used since 1978.

     Now scythes have been a relic for many years. They were a relic when I was a child in the 1940's. So I think back to a time when scythes were actually used as there was nothing else to cut your grass with or to cut your crop. I have an appreciation of how hard these people worked before there was mechanization.

      So now it's come time for me to part with my scythe but not before I think about scythes in my life.

Friday, June 24, 2011

A Story in my Treasures

        Today I am selling a Coleman Camp stove and lantern. I am trying to get rid of some of my "stuff" that I haven't used for a long time. I haven't used these two articles since sometime in the late 1980's. I have had these two items since 1965. As I part with them I think about some parts of my life.

       In 1965 I was a young teacher at Inuvik NWT and then, as now, was very much an outdoors person. In the summer of 1965 I went to Saskatoon, Sask. to take a summer school course. As soon as I got there I bought the Coleman Camp stove and lantern. I parcelled them up and immediately sent them on their way to catch the barge to Inuvik. Air freight was very expensive so heavier things were sent in by river barge.

      Inuvik is situated on the Mackenzie delta and is a boaters paradise as there are thousands of kilometers of channels on the delta. I had a small boat and motor and with my purchase of stove and lamp was ready to explore the Mackenzie delta. My friend had a tent and provided moral support.

    So my stove and lantern went with me on fishing expeditions and goose hunts. They also travelled on the Arctic ocean to Tuktoyaktuk. The big adventure they took me on was to travel by boat up the Mackenzie river from Tuktoyaktuk to Hay River , a distance of 1800 kms(1100 miles).

    In 1969 I became a southerner again and so my stove and lamp became part of my car camping experience. The first apartment I rented I had to use my camping equipment for two weeks as I was waiting for my furniture to come from storage. We spent most of this time camping.

    Later we bought a small 16 foot holiday trailer. We found that it was easier to use the Coleman stove and cook outside rather than the small trailer stove.

     So these two items remind me of my camping experiences and the stages I went through. Having had these two old items for 46 years covers a good portion of one's life and as a result they are full of good memories.

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

First Day of Summer

        The first day of summer is sort of a let down as we have had beautiful weather for some time. The important thing for me about the first day of summer is the amount of daylight we get on the longest day of the year. Where I live the sun rises at 5:14 AM and sets at 10:00PM. So we get 16 hours and 46 minutes of sunshine. With the long evenings we get , it doesn't get dark until 11:00PM and it starts to get light about 3:00 AM.

       With days that have so many hours of sunlight our plants develop rapidly. It is a very lush time of the year as far as plants are concerned.

       Ancient people always knew approximately when the longest day of the year was and celebrated appropriately.

       I spent five years in the Arctic and have never forgotten the 24 hours of sunlight for about six weeks. It seemed to energize me and I enjoyed summer.

      So on this longest day of the year I have to say how very enjoyable it is to celebrate the benefits we receive from the sun's energy.


Saturday, June 18, 2011

Why Do Good Bloggers Disappear?

        I spend time every week searching for blogs that I would like to follow. I like blogs where people post at least once a week. I have a wide variety of interests so I look for topics on  birds, wildlife, gardening, life experience, art, books, music and posts that provoke thought on  variety of topics. I find something that looks interesting and then follow it on my favorites for a while. If I think this would be an interesting blog then I follow it.

       My searches are some what scattered. Once I looked at some one's picture beside me and it turned out to be an awesome blog. Jenn ably covers a wide variety of topics on Cottage Country Reflections. She is an expert on grief as she spent time looking after her parents and so had first hand knowledge in the care and loss of loved ones. Jenn is a passionate advocate for fairness , justice and equality so when she gets on her podium on these topics she's got my undivided attention. So I found this blog by blind luck.

      Most of the time I comb through lists of followers or blogs people follow. I find many excellent well written blogs but find some of them to be limited to a specific area or topic that is not highly interesting to me. I also follow a number of political bloggers but I haven't put them on my blog list but keep them on my favorites list.

    Now what causes me some concern and curiosity is when some good bloggers suddenly disappear. There's a last post and  no more. There's no warning that the blog is about to cease. I had a second blog one time and I decided to give it up. I had started the blog when I didn't really understand how blogger worked so wanted to try something else. When I decided to call it quits I wrote a last post and told readers, if there were any, that this was the last post.

     Several blogs which have ceased , explained and gave notice that the blog would end. Peter Stewart, from Out of My Multiple Minds was up front with his readers and fully informed us that he was dying. Peter blogged until two days before his death and his daughter posted after his death. It was a most powerful blog and gave me a great deal to think about. Some bloggers have come to the point where they wish to slow down. Teacher Man told us he would see us later. From time to time he still posts.

     The people who just plain disappear leave a bit of a hole in my blog world . They've had excellent blogs and then disappear with out warning. I keep hoping that some day they will come back. As time goes on I begin to fear the worst and that the blogger has passed on. I understand that in the real world someone will have much more important things to do at the end of their life than to write a blog. Some people , I'm sure, become incapacitated and are not able to blog and they may not have friends who know about their blog. So these bloggers have just disappeared: Margaret's Ramblings70 Plus and Still Kicking, Truthteller and Wren's Nature Note book. I enjoyed reading your posts and miss you. 

     Bloggers often develop great friendships. The online world can become very meaningful and a rich source of    support in daily life. I appreciate the bloggers I follow and value their thoughts and comments made through their blogs.

Thursday, June 16, 2011

Cell Phone Surprise!

     I had advertised two bikes for sale. One person had phoned me to make an appointment to come and buy one of the bikes. As this call was sooner than I had expected I went out to clean up the bike a bit and pump up the tires.

     When I was out the phone rang and my wife answered. No one replied when she answered. She could hear weird noises and thought that maybe ot was a prank call but there was a name and number on call display. She said hello several more times and then decided to leave the caller on line and hoped they would discover they couldn't use the phone if she didn't hang up. We were spooked a couple a days ago when we received a call that was very suspicious and fit the pattern of a well publicized scam. The caller had left a message that they were from a bank and had an urgent message for me and that I was to call back. This was 7:00PM so I decides to wait and call the bank the next morning. So my wife's apprehension was totally justified in this case.

     After 18 minutes some very surprised person discovered his cell phone was on and could not figure out why it had dialed our number. My wife gave him a rough time because by this time she was not only upset, she was livid. We discovered that it was the guy who was coming to buy the bike. When he got to my place he discovered that indeed the call was from his cell and he had discovered what had happened. He had a touch phone and had not turned it off so when he put it in his pocket the touch rang my number. So for 18 minutes we could hear noise, conversation in two languages and no one responding to us.

     Now the cell phone was in the guy's pocket and the sound was not good but I can well imagine that some discussions that could have taken place could have been pretty "interesting." This gentleman was certainly surprised as to what had happened and a little embarrassed. He apologized profusely. So sometimes cell phones are capable of causing a big surprise.

Sunday, June 12, 2011

Is Dental Surgery Ever Nice?

        This week I had some minor dental surgery.  I had a small growth inside my lower lip. It was in a position where I would accidentally bite it about once a month . Of course , the pain and surprise were pretty intense. My dentist took it off in 2002 but it grew back right away.

       So when I went for my regular dental check up in March, I told the dentist about the little growth and asked him about it. He remembered taking it off and was surprised that it grew back and said that he would take it off again and do a "better job."

       All the necessary weapons were laid out and the deed was done on Friday at 11:20 AM and I was home in time for lunch with four sturdy stitches to close the wound. As I was eating lunch I said, "I think these stitches are coming out." Sure enough two stitches had let go and disappeared while I ate lunch. A third stitch disappeared in the afternoon. Now what do I do at six PM on a Friday evening with only one stitch left? So I can phone this dentist after hours. He told me that he would see me in the office on Sat. at 10:00AM. He looked in my mouth and was surprised that the stitches were gone! So this time he put in seven stitches altogether and two different kinds. Guess what? As I was eating lunch I could feel that stitches had given away. By evening I had lost four stitches. So phone my friendly dentist again. This time he said, "It will heal without stitches so let's leave it." The position of the surgery was were there is much movement of lips and teeth. As I said the location is exactly where my teeth meet so the teeth would catch on the stitches ans soon loosen them.

     Now getting the growth cut out was not a problem but getting eleven stitches leaves your lip full of twenty-two little holes that HURT. So I learned a lesson and my dentist also learned a lesson about the challenge to put stitches in a lip.

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Glasses Shopping Challenges

       Three months ago I had my annual eye check up at my optometrist. He told me that there was a change in my prescription and that I should get new lens. So okay, I'll look after that later.

       This week I finally had time to shop for lens and my trusty shopping advisor came with me or rather , closer to the truth, I went with my shopping advisor.

        We had very specific things we wanted in a lens and asked for a list of each specification. We wanted brand X , trifocals, plastic, UV coating and a specific brand of coating. The day was a challenge to say the least.

       The first place we went to did not deal in trifocals.

        The second place would only give a complete estimate and would not break anything down. When we pressed to be sure we were being quoted the specs we wanted he became somewhat rude and left us. He also answered two phone calls while talking to us.

       The third place really weaseled around the brand X lens and we finally pinned them down and they were quoting another brand.

       The fourth and fifth places were much more direct and broke their quotes down without any prompting.

       The sixth and seventh places danced around coatings and would not directly say what coating was being used.

     The last place would not quote brand X as they did not deal with the brand but wanted us to think what they had was equivalent.

    So after a day of shopping we were much less than satisfied. In coatings alone the quote was from $79.. to $179.00. One has to think that there was some fudging on what coatings were actually going to be used. We found that several places were claiming to give us brand X but what they were really doing is sending their lens out for the brand X coating.

    We were quite disgusted as all places were trying so hard to compete that they were making the whole process hard to understand. Some of them were just outright dishonest. I was left very disappointed to find that a very necessary product had become so complicated from a sales point of view that the poor little old consumer was left out of the equation.

     We picked the best of the bunch to buy from and went in on a Wednesday as they had a sale on. My shopping manager decided to ask if the change in my prescription really warranted a change of lens. The licensed optician was very direct and said , "No, this lens need not be changed." She said that a change that small if tested over at different times would probably move back and forth. So after a long frustrating day of shopping I found out that I really didn't need to change the lens. I was also left really wondering how honest the dealers were in the optical business.

Saturday, June 4, 2011

Sometimes I Fall Like a Sack of...

       A few months ago I posted about falling in the snow while I was cross country skiing. I hoped the neighbors didn't see me as it was rather embarrassing getting myself out of the deep snow. One of my blog readers had a good comment as she said, "You just had to tell about it." Since that time two people told me that they saw me struggling awkwardly to get myself out of the snow. They were ready to come out and help me.

      At my age falling is a serious issue. As I just told you it can be hard getting back up. But mostly the risk of serious injury is quite high. Also falling can be caused easily because of poorer vision and less sense of balance. However, I do not let these issues deter me from being active. In other posts I have told of my participation in skating, cycling, running, gardening etc.

      It's cycling season now and you guessed it I fell off my bike!!! One of those slow awkward embarrassing falls. And again I hope nobody saw me but it's alright to write about it. I started on my ride and suddenly the pedal stuck and I couldn't move my right foot. I looked down and saw that my shoe lace had caught in the large sprocket and that the shoe lace had wound around the crank. So there was my foot tightly held against the pedal. I couldn't pedal anymore and so soon the bike was going to stop and I would have to think fast as to how to get myself out of the situation. I couldn't tip to the left as my right foot was caught and I would be hung up with nowhere to go. I couldn't tip to the right as my right foot was caught and I wouldn't be able to put my foot on the ground to balance the bike and remain upright. So I more or less did a semi controlled fall to my right. It worked. I then got my shoe lace unwound and got up with no harm done. One more surprise. The chain had come off the back sprocket and jambed so when I tried to pedal the cranks wouldn't turn.

      So I felt like I was a sack of something falling on the curb with a quiet plop! Hopefully that's the last fall I have this year.

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

How Time Flies

        Yesterday morning I noticed that my friend, Bob,  had wished his daughter a happy 45th birthday. He mumbled a couple of things about entering into the world of parenthood 45 years ago and that parenthood was still great to this day.

       A week ago a blogging friend did a piece where part of it included a picture of her with her infant son, a son who left her and this world all too soon at the age of 40.

       I was fortunate enough to be 68 years old when my Dad died. I had told Dad that I wanted a Dad until I was 70.

       All of these examples are about the passage of time. With the passage of time there are losses. We lose our youth. We lose our children. We lose our parents. In some ways we lose the past as it dims and disappears.

       With my friend with the 45 year old daughter I couldn't help but comment that back when his daughter was born he was Mr. tall dark and handsome. His daughter got a big chuckle over my comment. I started to think of why she would think the comment humorous. When I first met her Dad he was in his late 20's with some gray hair on the temples. He was a lanky dude who was very active. His daughter obviously does not remember him in that way. By the time she would make memories of her Dad he would have changed physically.

       DJan, the blogger, often writes about her lost son. DJan looked at the picture and could vividly remember her lost son  and it brought back good memories of him. What she felt most about the picture was to look at herself and feel that she could hardly recognize herself. The photo was one that she had not seen before so to see it was a shock.

     As I was reaching rather ancient milestones and visiting my Dad I could see that the wheels were turning in his head. On one of his birthday cards I told him that on my next birthday I would be sixty-five. My step mother told me that he sort of shook his head and thought about it and then said, "You know Red's and old man!" My stepmother thought the comment hilarious and so did I. It must be hard for a man to watch his son grow to be old.

      All of these situations occur as time passes.  Our memory of the past dims and the situations we pass through modify our perception of our past. It's interesting to visit with my brother and compare the memories we have of the same things. We are less than a year apart so we were there for the same things. Sometimes we refresh each others memory of incidents we experienced.

       Alvin Toffler in Future Shock has an excellent section on time and how humans think about time. Toffler goes back and shows how we began measuring time which then posts landmarks in our lives. Toffler also dealt with our perception of time  and how it alters as we age.

      So these three situations just happened to come together and get me thinking about time. This coming from a guy who never wears a watch.

      How do you feel about the passage of time? Does it intrigue you? Does the passage of time make you feel happy or sad? I hope that everybody fully enjoys the passage of their life and the experiences they have.