Sunday, April 23, 2017


     I had snow again. My mind has been blank on good post topics lately so the snow came and gave me one of my easy topics.

     Fresh snow is fairly normal at  this time. We may be getting more than usual this spring.

     Our days become very long so plants develop rapidly and reach maturity before the fall. Right now the sun rises at 6:20 and sets at 8:48 for 14 hours and 28 minutes of daylight.

     New blades of grass poking out of the snow.  The types of grass we plant are able to withstand these conditions.

     The view on my street this morning.

     A rather peaceful looking dwelling.

     My blue bells are doing well at the side of my house . The snow didn't hit this area.

     I have seen times when these blue bells have been covered with snow but they are not harmed.

Tuesday, April 18, 2017


      Sometimes I have to work very hard to come up with post topics. Good topics? that's another thing.

      However, the post topic gods have been very good to me for the lat few days.

      It snowed again! That's right. Snow Sunday morning and now more snow on Tues morning. that's very lucky for post topics.

     So this morning at 7 AM it started to snow and snowed for about 2 hours and when finished we had 5 cm (2 in ) of snow.

     By 3:00 PM the snow was gone. we had a high of 5 C (40 F).

     It's quite common to get snow in April and not unknown to get snow in May.

Sunday, April 16, 2017


   Yes the Easter bunny visited last night. I looked out my window this morning and my yard was full of rabbit tracks. It doesn't hurt that we had fresh snow so the tracks were obvious. 

   So I went out quickly looking for treats! Well, after looking all through the yard I found nothing! Well, maybe I will go back to believing the Easter bunny is a fake. 

    All kidding aside , we had a nasty day weather wise yesterday. It was dull, windy, with a little snow and about minus 2 C (28 F) all day.

    It snowed overnight so footprints showed in detail.

    Now with all the tracks, I think I had more than one rabbit. I'm guessing three as I've seen three together this week.

    So footprints in the snow leave a story of what went on overnight.

    This morning was cold minus 7C (20F) and clear.

Thursday, April 13, 2017


      April 10 was national sibling's Day. It's a day for us to recognize and acknowledge the relationship with siblings. 80% of us have siblings

      I quite often write about national days. Some of them are very frivolous such as National Cupcake day. I happen to think that there is some very well worthwhile value to National Sibling's Day. I wrote a post about it last year.

      The surprising thing about National Sibling's Day is that it's a very recently organized event.   The idea was originated in 1997 and in 1999 April 10 was put aside for National Sibling's Day. Some states have declared April 10 to be a holiday

     There is a similar day in India which has a much older origin.

     I took the opportunity to tell my three brothers that they are the best brothers I could have ever had. I told them that they are each very different and that they have supported me in their own way. I thanked them for being my brothers.

     It's also an opportunity to mend some fences. Not all siblings have a good relationship. Just maybe if the day is celebrated some siblings may be able to rekindle a relationship. 

     My two children have no relationship at all . They had a fight and since they are very good with words they said some hateful things to each other. With the Internet words can fly back and forth very rapidly and there isn't much time for reflection. . Since one lives in Chicago and one on the west coast, they have no trouble avoiding one another and the schism does not cause any awkward problems. However, as a family we would be much happier if we had a regular relationship. So today I emailed them requesting that the hatchet be buried.

    A belated Happy Sibling's day.

Monday, April 10, 2017


     Since spring is coming slowly to my world I thought of the question "What is Spring?"

     Spring is different where ever you may happen to be. If you are far south spring may not be very noticeable. The temperature doesn't change much. Leaves and grass are green all year. If you are where I live spring comes slowly over a long period of time. Warming is gradual with back slides to cold winter temperatures. We have to get well into spring before much plant activity takes place. Today, several plants right beside my house are showing green shoots. Some trees are in bud but it will be a long time before we see trees leafing out. The ice went out of the river last week but all the ponds and lakes are still covered with very solid ice.

     Then there's the Arctic spring. I've been through five of those. The light is bright...very bright. But there's no warmth in it. In late April there is some melting snow but it is in May that the snow disappears and the huge rivers lose their ice. It's a funny thing that the Canada geese arrive the end of April and sit on the ice of lakes. It's 3 or 4 weeks before they can begin nesting.

     Now for some people spring is the return of birds or just one species. For other people it may be the awakening of plants. I like to go out in the woods when the sap goes up and you have the invigorating odor of the trees coming to life. For some people it's when rabbits and weasels turn brown.

      Tomorrow morning the sun rises at 6:49 AM. I like to see mornings come earlier and earlier. Then I like to see the evenings get longer.

      So we have a whole lot of nice things happening for spring and then wham! Things suddenly turn to winter. Later on this week I have a three day forecast of snow. 

      No matter what I like spring. It's a general move to warmth.

     So what is spring for you? Do you have a barely noticeable spring or a long period of moderation? What particular part of spring do you like best?

    Now I must apologize as I posted this when I was only half finished the post.

     Mar. 24 2016. A late spring storm.


Saturday, April 8, 2017


      I called my spunky 89 year old friend the other night and she was a little down. I wrote about Dorothy and how a Least weasel got in her house and how she finally got it out of the house.

     Right now Dorothy is facing some challenging problems. These are problems that come with aging. Her husband has been in care for three years with dementia. That's a big challenge by itself.

     Dorothy has decided to move into a senior's residence rather than continue living in her duplex. She will be in the same complex as her husband but he is in the closed section for dementia people.

     However, Dorothy wants to list her house on May 1 and has to clean it out. That's a challenge for most of us. Some people have stuff and then there's Dorothy. They had 4000 books! There are many very beautiful books.Her husband was a prof and Dorothy and environmentalist. Nothing was thrown away. Dorothy still has her ballet dance books.(half a shelf) Another full shelf contains her husband's journals.

     So I was called over to take some of her books. I was polite and took 8 books. The only thing I could do was suggest places she might take the books. 

     Her sense of humor...there's a new thrift shop that's opened up a block from her house.

     So downsizing and getting rid of personal effects is sad. Things that have all your memories are being disposed of. The final date is less than three weeks away. 

    So when I phoned Dorothy , I think she was a little overwhelmed by the situation. 

   Her comment was, "They're not making a backup pill yet so I'll just have to keep going." I like that term but I wouldn't take a back up pill.

   Most of us will have to go through this step in our lives. It's not pleasant but should and has to be done. So although I'd like some books and would like to help dorothy get rid of some books, I'm in the same boat as Dorothy. I have to get rid of stuff.

Wednesday, April 5, 2017


      I've always filled out my own income tax returns. My income tax situation is very simple and straightforward. Yes, there are very poorly expressed sections that cause me problems. One is what they call split income pension. It's straightforward. I transfer some of my pension income to my wife. Now when the tax guys get in on writing the form it suddenly gets complicated. 
they don't use the best of terms. Pension transferee??? Who's that?  They do make a mess of the form. I fool them. I get it.

     This year they went one too far so I have to rant.

     I always have paid my income tax with a check. After I finished my tax form I noticed that I'm not allowed to pay by check anymore. They offer 4 options. I don't do online banking. Skip that one. I'm not setting up a debit account. I don't want somebody having access to my account. The only option left was to get a remittance voucher.

     Now you have to order a remittance voucher online or by phone. The Micro manager tried the phone and it didn't make sense. 

     If I set up an account I could order the vouchers online. So I set up an account and ordered. It would take two weeks.

   Now there was no notice about this change. I finished my return Mar. 27 so if the mail works I get the voucher before April 30 which is the deadline. Some people may finish their return April 25. How are they ever going to get a voucher?

    So I am very angry with the tax department for not advertising that checks could not be used this year.

    The micro manager called some officials and gave them the gears but they would not budge on the way things were set up.

     There's a saying don't argue with the taxman. It was impossible in this case.

Sunday, April 2, 2017


      Spring is a time of many variations that pull us up and down. There are nice times when our spirits soar and there wild times when we are saddened once again . We are looking for spring...actually summer. We are hoping. Setbacks drive us to nuts.

      So today our weather was very dull. We had heavy dark clouds but no rain or snow. Our temperature was around  5 C(40 F) all day. It was windy and looked very unpleasant. When I went out it felt much better than it looked.

     A few days ago we had clear skies and 10 C  (50 F). People brought out the shorts.

     So spring brings a wide variation in our daily weather. A cold front is coming in tonight and we may get some drizzle and snow.

     The snow has disappeared except for the dirty remains of snow banks that are in shaded areas.

     The grass is brown but if you look in sunny locations you can find some new grass shoots. Our grass slowly loses its color over the winter and in the spring is brown. It takes a while for things to turn green. I have bluebells along the east side of my house. Since bluebells are early they are about 2 -3 Cm (1 in) tall.

    Most days we have new birds that arrive from the south. We've seen Blue birds, Trumpeter swans, gulls and a few ducks. From now on there will be a steady stream of arrivals. I took my bird group out yesterday morning to  small area and we found 13 species of birds.

    I'm also running a little project called Bird Species 150 which to find 150 bird species  to celebrate Canada's 150th birthday. So bird reports are coming in steadily Check and see what species have been reported.

   And my bunny had a snooze in my back yard today and he/she is starting to turn brown. Richardson ground squirrels have come out of hibernation. The old males come out first and later on the young males and females. The old males return to hibernation in July again.

     So slowly but surely spring is coming to Hiawatha House.

     I've had some new visitors recently and some made comments. Thanks for visiting Hiawatha House and thanks for the comments. Maybe we'll have a conversation.

Friday, March 31, 2017


     Today is National Crayon day! I sometimes have to comment on some of the national days that are observed from time to time. So I'll probably have half of my readers upset with me.

   Okay, I'll admit that I'm not arty at all and that colors don't play a big role in my life so when fusses are made over crayon colors I have to say ,"Give your head a shake." Every year my Mom bought me a standard 7 or 8 pack of new crayons for the start of each school year. Then one year some kid had a 12 pack of crayons. The standard pack today is 24. I think you can buy a 64 pack.

    Crayola makes a big fuss when any colors are changed. This year they are ditching, oops , retiring dandelion. Dandelion has been around for a long time and a new color is going to be added. As usual a big deal and process are made to name a new color. The new color hasn't been chosen yet.

    Now the adult colorers (I don't think this is a word) may have something to say about my making fun of naming crayons. Apparently coloring for adults is a great activity for adults and seniors these days. In fact, I am somewhat interested in adult coloring for a pass time.

    Maybe I could color inside the lines now that I'm a senior!

    However, I think this day is a very blatant advertisement for a brand of crayons. . Looking at some of the different websites it's a very smooth skillful advertising ploy.

   After all, they got me to look at it!

   What about you? Do crayon names impress you?


Wednesday, March 29, 2017


    Rarely do I ever receive a package in the mail...a big fat bulky package that was coming from a real person, a relative. What could this be?

    I finished high school in 1957 and left home to further my education and then I was away teaching in other areas. For the first few years I came home to the farm regularly. Gradually the visits back home became fewer and fewer with longer periods between each visit. My contact with people was limited to my brothers who stayed in the area and a few very good friends.

    I married, had a family and raised them.

    1957 is 60 years ago. Someone who was born after I left could be 60 years old. That means that there are few people left who I know or who have ever heard of me.

    Well I ripped open the package as fast as I could . What was I receiving? My sister-in-law sent me 5 editions of the local paper. I haven't seen the local paper since 1973! She also had 4 memorial service bulletins.  

    Now of the 5 papers , there were 4 obituaries of people I knew. They were all in the upper 80's and 90's! I haven't found anything else in these 5 papers that I know anything about.

    Now the one lady ran our country store. I bought lots of pop and candy bars from her! Good memories.

    So the package reminds me of the passage of time. Two things go on. I change and my home town changes.  We've both got 60 years older. I have lived a life in other areas with new and different people. It's changed me. I love my old home town and still refer to it as home, but there's no place for me in that little village.

    So the package, although interesting, reminded me that our lives go on and we adapt to new people and places. These people and places are two of the many things that shape us as we pass through this world and become the people we are.


Sunday, March 26, 2017


      Some time ago I wrote in great detail about a speeding ticket I got and how I was going to fight it. You wanted to know how it ended. Well, the ticket was withdrawn because of the time taken to deliver the ticket to me.

     However , moving through the justice system was disappointing and challenging.

     I found the justice system to be a complete gong show. People didn't know what they were doing and were reluctant to do anything when they did know. First, the prosecutor's office wasn't going to take my letter of request for disclosure.  It is the prosecutors responsibility to get the disclosure organized. When I did get the disclosure package three weeks ago , I noticed there wasn't much there. When we checked 75% of what I asked for was not there. All of what the prosecutor needed was there. Was the guy inept? Did his staff not check? Did he set this up against me?

     On my first appearance the prosecutor said he would phone me. He never did call back. The Micro manager finally phoned him and his reply was not helpful. Finally, a good advisor phoned the prosecutor and explained that most of the disclosure was missing. Only then was he ticket withdrawn. The prosecutor fully intended to haul me into court. Only when an ex police officer called the prosecutor as the ticket withdrawn. I don't like seeing things done by people who have clout. The issue should stand on its own merit.

  If you're going to challenge a ticket, much research has to be done. It's a lot of work and very challenging.

   One thing that happened is that the city quickly got digital equipment which should cut the time in half and tickets will be delivered much sooner.

   I learned a few things and I think I might be on a crusade. We seem to shut our eyes and think that photo radar is infallible. It's not half as accurate as they claim. The position of the radar vehicle, distance into the speed zone, slopes, surroundings, equipment and operators all have a bearing on accuracy.

    Then I started looking at signage. I've requested the city's policy on signs. So far I haven't got the  policy. That makes me more suspicious and I'm going to find out how they place signs. I've seen places where there's a clutter of in a 50 meter space. Who can read that many signs when you're driving?

    So I won what I wanted ,but I think I may have found some more work for myself.

Friday, March 24, 2017


      This week my daughter as in France ...working.

      This week my son was in Las Vegas...working.

      I thought this was pretty neat for my kids.

      My daughter is the manager of education and training for the company she works for. When her company buys other companies she goes out and trains the new company on changes they will have to make to their operation.

     My son works for a high tech company and he was in Las Vegas at a trade show showing the company's products. 

    At least one of them could have taken Dad with them for the week!

Wednesday, March 22, 2017


      I listen to a noon radio talk show most of the time. This week one of the topics was about how our kids have embarrassed us. I had an instant idea but didn't phone in. Instead ,I thought I'd tell my readers the story.

    I have to set things up for the story. Early 1970's. (Wow that seems like a long time ago.) We wore huge bell bottom pants that had large patterns and wild colors. Remember the leisure suits? My son was 3 1/2 years old.

     We were camping. I took him to the campground bathroom. My son pointed to a cubicle and said, "Dad, there's a clown in there." I tried to ignore him and distract his attention. He got more excited than ever and was jumping up and down because there was a clown in one of the cubicles. Since we were standing waiting for a cubicle to be available I couldn't hide. What my son saw was the bottom of a pair of trousers and big shoes. The pant cuffs were huge. The green plaid pattern was gigantic...something like what a clown would wear. 

    The guy emerged from the cubicle and my son was  jumping up and down saying, " There he is Dad. There's the clown." 

    Now I must admit the guy could have been taken for a clown. He was young and obese so the bell bottoms were larger than ever. I don't think the guy caught on that he was being called a clown. 

    When we got back to our camper my son told his Mom that he had seen a clown.

    It was embarrassing but fun once it was over.

Monday, March 20, 2017


     When I was grocery shopping last week I needed particular item. When I found it I was happy to see that is was on sale for $2.69. Ah ha I said ,  "I'm lucky! This is on sale."  The item was on the top shelf and although I'm not short the writing is hard to see. When I checked my receipt I found that I was charged the regular price of $2.99. What gives? I went back to look at the sale tag on the item. Well, if you bought three they were at $2.69! Now very few people would by 2 or 3 of this item because it's one of those that's on your shelf but not used very much. So pretty tricky. First they force people to buy three items or the suckers like me who miss the small print , pay the regular price.

     Now  I'm used to buy three for a sale price and over three they are regular price. As you see the sale tag above is almost opposite to this one.

     Another pet peeve is a price for assorted with a limit of six. So there are 8 varieties of soup. Does this mean I can only take six cans of the same variety or can I pick six different varieties of soup. Again if I make the wrong interpretation I lose out. 

     I buy almond milk. It comes in packs of 2 two liter containers or a two liter buy itself. So on the double pack it says 2 for a certain lower price. Does it mean I have to buy 4 liters or does it mean the two liter in the pack?

    Now to add more confusion to this mess, the prices are sometimes entered incorrectly and don't match what's on the shelf.

    Now every grocery store has a points system...customer loyalty. Each store you go to has a different plan on how points are collected and spent. Some you just collect points and redeem them. One store offers a sale price with the use of so many points. Good deal? I think not.

    Each store has a different set up at the cash register to see your groceries go through.

     I realize that all these strategies are clever marketing. There are strategies that most customers are unaware of.

    So do you think I'm not a happy grocery shopper? I want one good simple price and no gimmicks. 

Saturday, March 18, 2017


    Well, a belated happy St. Patrick's day!

    As a child, in school,  every St Patrick's, we would dutifully make our shamrock in art class and have green decorations in the classroom. We were probably told an Irish story or maybe a bit about St. Patrick. Somehow, the excitement of St. Patrick's day never got to us. It didn't have any relevance for kids who lived out in the boonies and rarely got out of their local district.

    St. Patrick has a long history. It is thought he brought Christianity to Ireland in the 5 th century and for a bonus he scared all the snakes out of Ireland. So  St. Patrick is well known in Irish religious and cultural history.

   St. Patrick's celebration spread to many parts of the world as the Irish were great travellers.

   St. Patrick's day celebrations, as we know them today, were largely started in America. Some of the enthusiasm for parades went back to Ireland and now they have the best parades. So again religion and culture are celebrated. The Irish are inclusive as they keep saying everybody has a little Irish in them. So many people who are not Irish get caught up in St. Patrick's day celebrations.

   Much  of Europe had similar celebrations for St. Patrick and his bringing of Christianity.

    A  few bloggers posted on St. Patrick's Day.

   Now there are many other patron Saints. I'm not up on all the saints.

   One very interesting saint is St. Urho. He comes across as being the real McCoy but was a actually the creation of a Minnesotan in the 60's. He borrowed liberally from the St. Patrick  story and invented a saint for the Finnish people of Minnesota. A tradition has been built up around St Urho and Minnesotans of Finnish backgrounds have wacky parades and parties. St. Urho day was originally celebrated in the summer. Today it is celebrated on March 16! St. Urho has now spread to Finland.

   Only one blog I  follow posted on St. Urho's day.

   Now at age 77 I have never seen a st. Patrick's Day parade. We still don't have St. Patrick's day parades where I live.

   Am I missing something?


Wednesday, March 15, 2017


    Now from the land of ice and snow my title makes sense. And we did get 20cm (8 in) of snow over a four day period.

    No , I'm talking about being busy. Really busy. So I have not been able to post as often and I admit that reading and commenting on blogs has been less. I have missed reading some blogs meaning I like the blog and would like to read it in more detail.
    Sometimes one problem gets tangled up with a couple of other projects and then "I get snowed under". I mean really busy.

   So two weeks a go the micro manager discovered a little water under the kitchen sink. "So I'll just take a little look and see what's the trouble. " I found out the trap was leaking. That's the u shaped thing on the drain. This is a double sink so there are two drains.We went to our handy plumber who sells products and gives advice. He suggested we take out all the pipe under the sink and replace it with ABS (plastic). No, no we said we just want to replace the trap. Off we went to another place to find that we couldn't get what we wanted. We decided to take another look to make sure we were right. Well, we found a leak in another place. Back to the plumber for advice. Well, he still said replace the whole thing. He suggested a couple of options. Well, after puzzling and puzzling we decided to change the one side with plastic. 

    Well lo and behold when I was taking the right side apart the left side fell apart. So then I had to replace both the left side and right side.

    So off we go and buy the supplies. The right side was tough to line up and it leaked. 

   So lesson learned. I buy more supplies and try again. I finally did a great job on both drains.

    So my guy was right at the beginning. He said replace the whole thing and that's what I ended up doing.

   Now some people are saying why are you so silly and do it yourself? Why don't you call a plumber? I like these projects even if they are difficult. Plumbers cost too much money. Plumbers leave you with a big mess to clean up. Plumbers break other stuff!

   However, this is my last project. First, I don't have training or experience so the projects are a challenge. Next , I'm too old to crawl around on the floor and get into small spaces.

   So this is probably my last post on doing a home project.

Sunday, March 12, 2017


    With my title I've probably made at least 50% of my readers angry.

     Changing time twice in a year always brings about discussion on both sides of the issue. Some of it heated. Most of the negative comments come in the spring when we spring forward and lose and hour of our sleep. We don't hear so much complaining in the fall when we get an extra hour to sleep in.

    The comments I've heard this spring have more substance than just complaining. People are asking why do we change. People have been following blindly without thinking about the reason for time changes...if there is one. Why do we change time? Who started the time change ? When did it start? Here people blame the farmers for the change. Farmers are the biggest complainers about time change.

    So now people are saying, "Do we really need to change time?"  The next question is but which time should we stay on? The hour ahead or the standard time. This is really when the choices are divided. There are good reasons for staying on standard time for the whole year and good reasons for staying on daylight saving time. The the term daylight saving time is a stretch. We are not saving time. There's still 24 hours in the day.

     Ask shift workers about the change twice a year.

    One place I know. Saskatchewan, Stays on standard time all year and has done so  for many years.

    I would like to see us go in the middle of standard time and daylight saving time. 

    Anybody with me?

Tuesday, March 7, 2017


        In my previous life as a middle school teacher, I had to teach options from time to time. One time the school had  three blocks of six week options. These options were  to be something that was not covered in any other part of the program. We had to name our own poison. In other words, we had to make up an option.

      Since I was keen on cycling I thought well, I'll do a cycling option in the spring and fall. I would do bicycle safety, maintenance, riding skills and you could always find a few games to go into the program.

     One of the  activities I tried was the Gold Rush ride. I took 100 egg sized rocks and painted them yellow(gold). In one of our larger parks with bike trails. I would hide the rocks. Then the kids had to find the rocks while riding their bikes. I was amazed that the kids participated in this activity with such energy. I had one kid choose my option 6 times in a row. 

     Later on we had a welcome to the new class , gr. sevens, in September. Again we chose a large park and bussed 200 grade sevens out for hot dogs. But we needed an activity. You guessed it...the old yellow rocks. We went out the afternoon before the event and hid the rocks. On the afternoon of the hot dog roast we divided the kids into groups. They came from 5 different feeder schools so we wanted to mix them so they got to know kids from other schools. So when we were all organized somebody said "go" and off they went. Liberal amounts of licorice twisters added energy to the hunt. Again the kids went tearing around looking for the rocks. My buddy, the art teacher used to keep the rocks in his art room. He probably still has the rocks in his garage at home even after 20 years of retirement.

   Well, a few posts ago I wrote about finding 150 bird species for our country's 150th anniversary. I'm getting the same feeling about the activity. We're not finding rocks but birds. I can't believe the enthusiasm people have for finding species, reporting them and general discussion.  
    I guess I'm a one trick pony and use the same activity over and over but in different forms. I guess it's basically a type of treasure hunt!

Saturday, March 4, 2017


   Recently I have been very surprised by what I have experienced at the hands of our justice system. I have really started to wonder if our justice system works the way it's supposed to.

   Now I'm not a crook. But I am currently experiencing the wheels of justice and how they turn. I'll tell you that they don't turn very well.

   My crime is speeding. Yes,  photo radar caught me driving at 41 kmph in a 30 kmph speed zone. We're all surprised when out of the blue we get a speeding ticket in the mail. There were three things that caught my eye when I looked at my ticket(1) The quality of the photo was very poor. (2) You could not identify the location from the photo(3) something labeled 48 Ave NB didn't make sense. If it hadn't been for these three issues I'd have gone down and paid my $105.00 fine.

   So I started with some basic research. It took them 46 days to get my ticket to me. I found out that in our bill of rights we have the right to have justice in a reasonable time. A ticket is to be delivered in 21 days. I decided to fight the ticket.

   I met with a prosecutor and told him I would plead not guilty. He told me to go and arrange for a trial date. This was the most efficient of the whole issue. I then had to make an application for disclosure. These people looked at me if I a nut. I was not amused with these people. They didn't want to take my application for disclosure.

   Now I'd previously written about my issue with entering the courthouse and security. It was not a great day.

    This week I received an email out of the blue from the solicitor general's department. They were answering my Dec. 8, 2016 email. What really got me going was that the writer's name was not on the email. We phoned the solicitor General's dept and got nowhere asking for the name of the person who wrote the email.

     To say the least, I'm not very pleased with how our justice system functions.

     My court date is April 4. With the gong show I have been dealing with , I'm not sure what could happen at my court case. I am asking for the ticket to be withdrawn.

    Okay , stay tuned.

Thursday, March 2, 2017


    Here, March definitely came in like a lamb. Wind was light and it was clear. It got nasty in the afternoon with lots of wind. However, when March arrived it was nice. I should mention it was minus 16 C (plus 2 F).

    Now I like weather sayings and once in awhile I will look for their origins. Origins usually turn up some interesting information. I couldn't say facts or even fake facts but I'd be wrong. Research has uncovered various theories as to why we have special weather sayings. Origins are ancient. They may have a religious aspect. Many refer to agriculture. Others refer to stars and constellations in the solar system.

    Origins for in like a lamb go far back and come from various sources. The Leo constellation is high in the sky in March. Some think this influenced the lion part. In many places lambs were born at this time of year. In like a lamb sounds better than in like a kid! Religious beliefs come into play as well.

    One thing I notice is that the sayings like groundhog day have a  European origin. So I sometimes wonder if the southern hemisphere has the same sayings or do they have their own which apply to their schedule? I'm looking for comments from some Australian followers. I'm sure there are many sayings for African weather. Are any of them the same as what we have?

   There are other weather sayings that are not common and we don't know about them.

   So do you pay attention to weather sayings? Do you like the sayings?

    The photos are from Mar. 21 2013.

Tuesday, February 28, 2017


     Four nights ago our microwave went dark. It stopped in the middle of heating our supper. It silently quit and went dark. That was it for a hot supper.

    Now when the microwave quit I realized how dependent I had become on it and how much I used it. It was difficult to be without it.

    So half the supper was cold. The next morning, no hot cereal. No hot morning coffee. My soup for lunch had to  be done on the stove. I can't remember the last time I heated soup on a stove. We kept running to the microwave only to discover again and again that it wasn't there. We suddenly realized how many times a day we used the microwave.

   The microwave was still on warranty so we had to take it back to the store. There was a hassle at the store but finally they agreed to replace the microwave. But , they didn't have  one like mine. they checked other stores. Finally they found the right microwave but it takes a few days to get here.

    Now the last time the microwave died we just went out the next day and bought a new one. Unfortunately, this time we have to do without the microwave.

    Now all this whining has made me look back and wonder how we lived before microwaves. In my Mom's case she spent more than half her life without refrigeration. We didn't cook so much at one time so we didn't have leftovers. Now we make large amounts of food, refrigerate it and then warm it up with the trusty microwave. Want  coffee? Boil the kettle and throw a teaspoon of instant coffee in your cup! Remember instant coffee? It's been 20 years since we had instant coffee. 

    So now on the fourth day without a microwave we are getting used to the routine. We're not going to the microwave only to get a shock when we realize the microwave is gone. I haven't stopped looking over for the time on the microwave clock.

   Maybe Thursday we'll have the new microwave!

Sunday, February 26, 2017


    Did you ever get a problem where you worked for hours trying to set things up but couldn't find a solution.

    That's what happened to me today. I told you about my 150 species count. As usual , I get a good idea but I don't think it through to the end. I knew I wanted to set  up a list that would show all birds spotted, the spotter, location and date.

    Now some people would say that's easy and I'm sure it is. They would say set up one of those little boxy squary things and away you go. I've never learned how to use that handy dandy program.

    So I tried about 4 or 5 things and found out they wouldn't work. Put the list on my word processor and transfer to face book. It doesn't work. I wanted to pin the list to the face book page so that it was obvious and people could see the additions. The face book page is too narrow.

    Finally, during supper, I said I'll bet the blog would work. So I've worked another hour and yes, the blog does work.

    You won't see it on this blog but on Natural Wise.

    So now I feel much more relaxed and when I get all the reported birds typed in I will be happy.

    So go over  to Natural Wise and have a look at the list.

   Do you ever get a problem that is so difficult that your head hurts?

Friday, February 24, 2017


      This year on July 1 is Canada's 150th birthday. There are many events and celebrations planned. Not too much has been advertised yet. Most events will take place July 1. However, other events will take place in the summer season.

      Now I think most readers know that I lead a bird watching group on Saturdays. We don't go out birding in the winter so I have extra time to think about things. Now that could be dangerous.

      I came up with the idea that we look for 150 bird species in our city and surroundings!!! So this is one event that will run most of the year. People will report bird species that they see to an email address. Yours truly will sift through the sightings and make an official list of species sighted. This idea was met with enthusiasm so here we go for a Canada birthday project.

    With this project we will be celebrating Canada's birthday.

    I also hope that this project will get some publicity. The local paper picked up my project proposal to members within 24 hours so that was great publicity. With publicity I hope that birders will get to know other birders. I hope other people just generally get an interest in birding.

    I also hope that the public becomes aware of the importance of natural habitat in the health of bird populations and other wildlife.

    So wish us well in finding 150 species this year and around July 1 you can wish us happy birthday.

     As of today we've found 35 species.

Sunday, February 19, 2017


   Most of you know that I'm a bird person and lead groups of bird watchers.

   Most of you know that I'm not very organized and describe myself as random chaotic. I get many things done. I just keep at it.

    Well I had to learn something new this week.

    I counted the species of birds my bird group saw from Sept. 1 to Dec. 15 , 2016. I was surprised that they had found 45 species. I was impressed.

   So the next innocent thing I thought was that I should report this to our newsletter. This is where things went off the rails.

   I wrote out all the bird names and submitted them to the writer of the newsletter. Now I've known the newsletter writer for a long long time. She's good. She's damn good. She's written six books and I know that it's hard work. We are fortunate to have her write our newsletter.

  Our awesome newsletter writer asked me if I could organize my bird list according to the AOU. Could I use capitals and dashes where required? Now this is asking a lot of somebody who is well ,sloppy. Besides , I'd never heard of AOU. I had a suspicion of what it was . I didn't want to display my ignorance and ask newsletter writer. 

   So I hit the Internet and found out AOU means American Organization of Ornithologists. Cool! Now what are they telling me. The ornithologists have a system of writing bird names that they have agreed to and it's very strict. I had given my list of birds to the newsletter in the order we saw them.

    To reorganize a list is tough. To reorganize to a system you don't know is a challenge. First, I used an old list. Then I found an up to date list . I finally got my list done and sent it off. Well wouldn't you know. In a list, the bird name does not start with a capital unless it's proper noun like "American"!

   What I had was a pattern to follow and none of the other rules.

   Well, I learned how to do a bird list properly. I'll know better next time.

   Since it's Canada's 150th birthday this year, we will try to find 150 species of birds. There are about 260- 170 species in this area so we should be able to get 150 species for Canada's birthday.

     cackling geese...not Canada geese.  Cackling geese look exactly like Canada geese but they are only about 1/4 the weight.

Wednesday, February 15, 2017


    Today we lost a Canadian classic: Stuart McLean a beloved Canadian storyteller.

     Stuart had a radio show, the Vinyl Cafe. where he read his own stories about a fictional family of Dave, Morley , Stephany , Sam ,Arthur the dog and a whole neighborhood of various  neighbors. You felt as if you were part of this neighborhood and listened every Sunday for the episode.  Most people could see themselves and many people they knew in his stories.

    The stories usually centered around some inept behavior that brought about mayhem. One of Canada's favorite stories was "Dave Cooks the Turkey." It was read at every Christmas season.

    Stuart also included some unique Canadian music. He loved to find great performers who were not well known. I discovered some interesting music by listening to Vinyl Cafe.

    Stuart also took his show on the road. It was extremely popular. I went to see him when he visited our town.

    Stuart published a number of books with his stories. I have "When We Were Young" and have read several other of his books.

    Stuart has won a number of literary awards and an Order of Canada.

    I will miss Stuart McLean. He sort of glued us together as a Canadian society.

Stuart McLean's The Vinyl Cafe, features music and humor, often regaling stories by McLean about Dave, the owner of a second-hand record store, his wife Morley and their children, Sam and Stephanie.