Thursday, June 30, 2016

Happy Birthday Canada


      Tomorrow Canada will be 149 years old. I can hardly wait until next year when we celebrate our 150 th

      So Canada is a relatively young country. In 1867 the British North American act was passed and it formed Canada. At first,  there were four provinces New Brunswick, Nova Scotia, Quebec and Ontario. Quebec and Ontario were only small areas on both sides of the st Lawrence and north of Lake Ontario and Lake Erie. It wasn't until the 1920's that they became the size they are today. 

     Where I live , Alberta did not become a province until 1905. Previously the Hudson Bay co owned all of western Canada. The Hudson Bay Co. traded  their land to Canada and Canada set up territorial governments

    Some people started to come to western Canada when the railroad was built in the early 1880's. There was a people rush around 1900 when many people came to get free land...homesteads. 

   So provinces were formed once enough people arrived. So some of us are younger than others...provinces. My province was formed in 1905.

    So we're a young country that occupies the top of North America. We're free and happy and I hope we contribute our fair share to the rest of the world to help others.

Wednesday, June 29, 2016

Private or Public?

      Yesterday afternoon about 3:30  a dump truck with some asphalt rumbled into my close. A few minutes later a truck with a trailer and bobcat arrived. After a  few more minutes a truck with tar and five men arrived. The next truck had the foreman. In the end the sign truck arrived with a sign guy and two woman flaggers. So I think this added up to 11 workers. No traffic went through so the flaggers had nothing to do. 

      Now what was the job for this crew? They were from one of the largest paving companies in Alberta. They had paved this street before and were coming back to correct a few things from

the original job. There were two small areas that should have had more asphalt ...about 3 sq yards.  Within 30 minutes all equipment and crew were gone.

     Now I'm sure one little old guy with a shovel and wheelbarrow could have done this patch in about an hour.

     I'm glad that the city didn't have to pay for this job.

    I got thinking. Many people think that private enterprise is very efficient. I'm not sure this little job was at all efficient. I know the company and they do some very large paving projects and I'm sure are very efficient at the large jobs. 

    Now there are some people who rationalize that since private companies are so efficient that they should do many things the government does. For example: education, health, justice system.  As an example our justice system sentences offenders with the idea that the offenders can be reformed to some extent. I think we have some success in this area as recidivism is reasonable. A private group running a prison would want to make a good profit and not run programs to treat inmates.

    Since I worked for the Federal govt. and local school boards you might suggest that I have some bias. I saw one person in the federal govt. who did absolutely nothing. After that they were good workers. 

    So where am I going with this? I think that there are things the private companies do well and other things the public service does well. In each area there are some notable failures. Failures don't mean that there should be massive changes.

    I just don't want people poking a stick in the other guys' eyes. There should be some respect for what each group does well. The things that don't go well should be looked at carefully.

Saturday, June 25, 2016


      The micro manager's sister phoned a couple of nights ago. The sister is 83 and not doing very well. She has Parkinson's and a couple of other health issues. She lives in a complex where she has her own small suite and has all her meals in the complex. 

    The micro manager does most of the talking as the sister is somewhat slow in speech and thought.

     One thing that bothered the micro manager was that her sister constantly commented that , "she had made so many mistakes"

     Now I happen to think that my sister-in-law was a pretty awesome lady. She came here on her own with a brother and sister to look after. She had four children. One's a lawyer, two are teachers and one a supervisor for a large drug company. She's successful financially and has travelled and wintered in Arizona for 20 years. Not bad I'd say.

     The micro manager didn't want to quiz about the mistakes but tried to get her to think more positively.

     The regrets issue got me thinking about the situation. I guess some people look back on their lives and are not satisfied and regret things. Some people become preoccupied with the issue. They think about every mistake they made and worry about it. They use up a lot of "I shuddas."

     Now I've made a mistake or two in my life. I was the typical young male who thought he was invincible and did some pretty dumb things. Alcohol fueled some of this rash behavior. 

     I made mistakes in my university courses. I can look back and see how easy it would have been to get better mark in high school. The goals I set were far too low.

     I can look  back and see things in my teaching career that I wish I could take back and do over. There were better ways to deal with a certain student. There were better ways to teach something.

     I can see things that I could have done better in raising my kids.

     However, what is past is over. It is was what it is. You cannot redo things. The majority of us do not dwell on this aspect of our life. I have a good pair of rose colored glasses. I usually think of only good happy things. Former students see me and some apologize for poor behavior. I don't remember their poor behavior.

     However, it's sad when someone gets in a condition when they focus on their past mistakes. I hope this stage of my sister-in-laws's life changes for the better.


Thursday, June 23, 2016

iPad Stuff

     I've had a problem with my ipad recently. Me! I haven't used it much for the last six months. I have watched the charge and kept the battery charged.

     Two or three months age I decided that maybe I should use the ipad so that it updates. Well icloud asked for a password. Easy peasy! But icloud did not accept my password. I tried a few more times and I was stumped.

     Now I'm not an Apple person. I admit that I have difficulty working with apple.

    Our library provides one on one help for seniors on their computers. So off I went.  Hey , they didn't even ask for my age. 

    Well it took a few tries before we satisfied icloud. It was a challenge. I now know how to retrieve a password or set a new one.

     Then my trusty librarian friend showed me many more tricks to work on the ipad. I was amazed at the simple ways to do things. Apple thinks I'm very busy when I don't close anything and then gets very slow. So I learned how to clear off all the sites I left open and don't use.

     Then the friendly techy noticed that my version of ipad was out of date so we downloaded the latest version. All the time he was showing me how to fumble my way around apple. 

     Then because I'm such a whimp I wanted google chrome for a browser so no problem. You can download it. 

     So I came home with a different point of view on my ipad. If I use it more I may become more familiar with it and like it.

So there. I emailed a selfie to myself and put it on the blog!!!!

Monday, June 20, 2016

Oh the Strawberry Moon

        Summer solstice is one of my favorite days. We wait for this day for a whole year. We look forward to long sunny warm days. But, it also means that days begin to shorten. But we won't think about that right now.

        This morning the sun rose at 5:13AM and sets at 10:01 for 16 hours and 47 minutes of sunshine.

        But what's really cool about this summer solstice is that in the northern hemisphere we get a "strawberry moon!" You've never heard of a strawberry moon ? Well neither have I.

       The strawberry moon is the name for the full moon in June. This comes from American natives who related the full moon to the time when strawberries would be ripe. So the full moon in June is always a strawberry moon. What's special is the times we have the full moon on summer solstice. It doesn't happen very often. So today we have a full moon on summer solstice. The last time we had this situation was in 1967.

       The following photos were from 2012. Tonight there is a cloud bank in the west.

North side of a house at about 9:35 PM

My back yard at about 9:55PM


Saturday, June 18, 2016

Surprise Father's Day

     Last Sunday I received an email wishing me a Happy Father's Day.

    Now I'm somebody who does not keep tabs on Father's Day at all. I just don't know when it is so when somebody wishes me Happy Father's day a week early I don't know the difference. So I really thought it was Father's Day.

     I thought I'd wait until the end of the day without mentioning it to my wife. Then at the end of the day I would have some fun and tease her about missing Father's Day.

     I started thinking about things. Maybe it isn't Father's Day and if I teased my wife about missing it I would  be the butt of my own joke.

    I had a plan. I would look on the calendar and see what date is Father's Day. Yes! Father's Day was a week later.

    So I told my wife that my daughter had wished me a happy father's day a week early. We both had a chuckle about it.

    Now I couldn't let my daughter away with something like this. She's too much fun to miss teasing. I knew she's be quick with an excuse. I thought maybe the American Father's day is a week before ours and that would be her excuse.

    She had a better excuse. She's in Austria right now and told me that it was Vater dag so she got mixed up or so she claimed.

    Well, no matter what I appreciated the Father's Day greeting.


Wednesday, June 15, 2016

International Wind Day?

     You've never heard of International wind day? Don't feel bad . Neither have I.

     I had the radio on this morning and I heard the term International Wind Day. It caught my attention. I have a curiosity about special days. If you look,  most days are special for something.

    Now I know Father's Day is for honoring dads. That makes sense. But honoring wind? That's a stretch.

    So I had to look it up. Yes, the day is to celebrate wind and all the ways it is used to produce power. Right now we are particularly interested in using wind to produce electricity. Back on the farm , in the 1940's Dad had a wind charger that charged batteries and that gave us power for electric lights only. Today windmills are used to produce large amounts of electricity. The first windmills that were installed in the modern age are being replaced because they now have windmills that are much more efficient.

     Wind power is used to power ships. John's Island has a post on sail boats today. Before steam the main source of power for moving ships was the wind. Windmills were also used to provide power for flour mills.

     We have lots of wind in the spring. As a kid, I can remember making kites (not buying kites) in the spring. We made kites with brown paper and small slats for cross pieces. These kites worked well. We used binder twine for string. We'd get  tired of flying the kite and tie the twine to a fence post. You could come back several hours later and usually your kite was still flying.

     So today is set aside to mark all the new technology and modern uses of wind power.

    We've had windy days all week so it was easy for me to think about wind.

     So do we say "Happy wind day to you?"

Tuesday, June 14, 2016


    I have a couple of small topics to take care of. They are too small for a post by themselves.

    So here's a cleanup. I posted some photos of goslings a while ago and somebody asked for ducklings. Usually I see lots of ducklings but not this year. I got one very poor photo of ducklings. I was shooting into bright sun and could not see the image so could not bring it in closer. These are mallard ducklings and they are about half grown.

   I like native flowers. I have areas I visit each year to get my fix. Saturday morning when we were on the bird walk we found many yellow lady slippers. Right beside the lady slippers was some striped coral  root orchid. I did not get a good photo of the coral root orchid.

Saturday, June 11, 2016

I've Got Flowers

      I've been watching posts of flowers for months now. My flowers have finally come into bloom. Now I know you've seen these flowers before. I know you know what they look like. But I just wanted to show you that it finally happened here. We are late but at this time of the year we have long days so plants advance rapidly.

Thursday, June 9, 2016

I've Been a Busy Boy

      For the last three months I've had to struggle with my blog. I've posted less and had to work hard to keep up with reading posts. And at times it was a struggle to make comments.

     However, I have a brand new roof. No I didn't do it myself. I had a very able contractor redo my house roof.

    So why has this taken so much time?  I have a micro manager. Grocery shopping takes a long time. If there are 100 tomatoes in the bin, the micro manager has to look at all of them. If there are 100 apples in a bin...yes you guessed it. The micro manager has to look at all 100 apples.

    So when reroofing came up, it was a field day for the micro manager. So first of all you have fun with the shingles. You have to get every last detail about all available shingles. Then if people from the same company say something different you're on a crusade to find out what the shingle spec actually is. There is also a product called ice and water shield. You guessed it, Each product has to be researched and compared. Choices take a long time.

    If there are five shingle outlets in town you have to go to all outlets and some of them twice. This is after numerous phone calls have been made to each outlet. These outlets know the micro manager very well.

    Then you have to get estimates from contractors. Each contractor is give specifications over and over again. There are questions about each contractor's bid and you phone them back.

    We had intended to get this job done in April. We've been working at it since March. It was finally finished Mar 7. 

    So I've been very busy with this project and many other aspects of my life have been getting second place. 

    Now I haven't got any photos of this project. I'm not supposed to go on the roof. Now I have been up on the roof, but don't tell anybody. 

   So the project took almost 4 months. Most people would get a couple of quotes and chose one and a few weeks later the project would be finished.

    Maybe some day the micro manager will buy three tomatoes and only have to look at six of them!

Wednesday, June 8, 2016

Ducks But No ducklings

      Last Saturday morning I visited the Michael Obrien Wetlands in town. This is a series of man made ponds. Some pond are about 7 acres and some are smaller and very irregular shapes. It's a great habitat for ducks as the pond edges have a heavy willow and grass edge.

     I was able to get some distant shots of ducks.

A lesser scaup that's trying to ignore me

A couple of mallards putting in time around their nest sites.
  Soon there should be ducklings following parents as the goslings were 

Sunday, June 5, 2016

Curious Geese

       On Saturday I went to a wetlands with my Saturday morning bird group.
       We decided to try something we often talk about but never do. We would sit on a bench and look at went by us. The pond we chose was about 3 hectares( 6 or 7 acres). When we sat down there was a pair of geese with some goslings on the far side of the pond. There was some goose chattering. the pair slowly moved , all the while being very alert. We didn't know it but they were deciding whether they should come and visit us. After about 15 min the geese and their goslings were right in front of us. I think they were looking for  handout but we had to disappoint them.

      There were a number of ducks on the pond and some sparrows were in the brush along the pond. we got glimpses of the sparrows but not enough to make an identification. they did have a beautiful song.

Thursday, June 2, 2016

Congratulations Miss Courtney

      One of my hard working neighbors across the street has reached a  very important milestone. Courtney has just finished her nursing degree after four years of hard work.

     So congratulations Courtney. Have a great career.  I'm sure you'll make a fine nurse.

     Now years of hard work have to go into succeeding at a nursing program. Courtney was a hard working and competitive student all through her public school experience. Courtney had to get "A" and she did.

    Many people who succeed in degree programs have special challenges. Courtney has her special challenge that made it harder to achieve her goal but also gave her a big incentive.

     Courtney has neurofibromatosis (NF). What's that you say? I've never heard of it. I had never heard of neurofibromatosis either  until Courtney decided to go public with her condition.  Courtney decided that she would publicize the condition so that people would be aware of it and that there would be support for people with NF.

     NF is a nasty condition of many faces. Courtney writes a blog on NF. I will let you read about NF from Courtney's blog. She's excellent at explaining NF. Many doctors are like the general public and have never heard of NF so Courtney has had to do a lot of research on the condition and educate many a doctor.

    So as well as getting a nursing degree, Courtney has had a life altering condition that she's had to face. So along with headaches, constant worry about what NF will do next she's met with success.

    Take a look at her blog and find out what NF is. By the way , she's an excellent writer.