Sunday, September 17, 2017

I PART WITH MY BACKPACK

       I had a very classy backpack for hiking. I didn't just go for an afternoon but for up to five days.

      I live close the the Canadian Rockies so there were excellent opportunities for backpacking. I once went into Mt Assiniboine (11780 ft.)which was a five day trip into the wilderness. We didn't climb the mountain as it's a very technical climb and I have no experience with that.

     In backpacking you must pack: food, cooking utensils, water treatment kit, clothing, sleeping bag, sleeping mat, tent and a few other goodies. Don't forget the rain jacket or the wind shell!

     So your backpack could weigh up to 50 lbs. For this weight you need a good pack that would make it comfortable to carry.

     I bought such a backpack that would hold 90 liters. My foresight wasn't that good as my backpacking days were ending. As a result I only used the backpack a half dozen times.

     I've kept the pack just in case I would go out one more time. But I realized that when downsizing the backpack could be sold.

    I advertised on Kijiji and never heard anything until a lady called two days ago. She came immediately and bought the pack as her son was going to Australia.

   Now she told me that when they were looking at my ad the son said isn't that funny how he got is Grandpa to model the backpack! When the lady gets home she will tell her son it was Grandpa's pack and he actually used it.



Friday, September 15, 2017

PRIVATE GOLF COURSE

     This is the third post on the property that we went birding on last Saturday.

     What's really cool about this property is that they have their own nine hole golf course! It's not a long course but has all the bells and whistles of a regular course. It's a whimsical course with hole markers , decorations and benches. The family has their own tournament and they can golf a round anytime they feel like it. No worries about tee times. Just drive to the farm with your clubs. When their Aunty still lived in the house , they had a club house. Aunty always served up something special. I remember enjoying one of her brunches.

    Since this is a farming family they use farming as a theme for things on the course.

    I'll bet no course has a cultivator shovel for a yardage marker.

  
     The moose is the tee off place.

    And if you get tired there's always a comfortable bench.
     I don't think this cart was meant as a golf cart.
     Old machinery decorates most holes.


   
    A fairway starts beside the field.

     There are a few guys like this are watching you.





Wednesday, September 13, 2017

WINDING TRAILS

    I like winding trails that take me the long way to the destination. On those winding trails there's much to see. You can also find things to do.

   In my last post I wrote about birding on a private property where native habitat had be kept. since farming was carried out on some of the property, there were trails that allowed access for farming.

   These trails caught my attention the other day.






Saturday, September 9, 2017

SATURDAY MORNING BIRD WALK

    Many of you know that I lead a bird watching group every Saturday morning. I do the recording. Sometimes I carry my binoculars and other days it's the camera. I can't handle all three of them at the same time.

    This morning we visited a rural property that is private. The former owner was an avid bird watcher and certainly knew the native plants. She built a huge house overlooking a very shallow lake that is home to many water and shore birds. She hosted many bird watching groups and always had food ready. But that's another story. 

    Today we spent two hours walking through the property. It's an undeveloped piece of farmland. One of the relatives has carved out a private nine hole golf course. All of this makes very good bird habitat.






      The lake was covered with birds but most were too fr out for identification. We were able to pick out coots, Blue-winged teal, Common golden eye and Canada geese. a spotting scope would have been handy at this location.

Thursday, September 7, 2017

BUSINESS TAX

     Our country, Canada , is looking at some proposals to change the small business tax to make it "fairer"

    We have a very low business tax in this country. It's much lower than what the ordinary working citizen would be taxed at. 

   Then there are the "loop holes." Businesses can income sprinkle. I like that term. It means that a small business can pay family members a salary if they are under 24. This means that the kids would be taxed at the lowest rate. It also means that the small business has less income to pay taxes on.

    Then there are shares that can be bought in the business which means no tax is paid at all.

     Then there are special taxes when the business is sold or passed on and these taxes are also low. For example, farmers are exempt from capital gains on a certain part of their farm.

     So the small business people are up in arms. They can come up with all kinds of silly reasons why the tax should remain at the low rate. Most of it is their own choice. They don't have employment insurance or other benefits. They could buy these benefits like I do. The cost of benefits were deducted from my paycheck.They have long hours of work. Well, guess what? I worked 60 hours a week when I taught. I was not able to get time off to go to my kid's school interviews. They gave me three days to travel to another province for my Mother's funeral.

     Small businesses  feel they should get a tax break for creating jobs. 

    So I am taxed at a higher rate than small businesses. Not fair. It's been going on for a long time and the government is seeing tax that they are not collecting.

   So I hope that some of the proposed changes are adopted and the tax rates are fair

Sunday, September 3, 2017

WE'RE TOO CHEAP

      "PENNY WISE AND POUND FOOLISH"

       For a long time I have thought that our society has been too cheap for their own good. 

       Hurricane Harvey got me thinking about this again. I was amazed to read that the drainage system in the Houston area was completely chaotic. Now I know that the floods in Houston could have never been prevented no matter how good the drainage system was. But it was surprising to see that they cheaped out on a good safe drainage system.

      I have other examples. I constantly hear people yelling about high taxes and all the damage high taxes will do. On the other hand low taxes will bring in new business and industry that will share the tax burden. What people fail to realize is that the new businesses need new services built. Many times businesses are encouraged to locate as they are promised tax relief and benefits.

     Health care is expensive. People are loudly warning that we will not be able to afford our health care at the present level. They somehow or other think that if people pay for their own health care it would be so much better...better if you want to let people die because they can't afford health care. But what really matters in health care is preventative health care. Try as much as possible to prevent people from getting sick and the costly health care will be less.

    We let public buildings get into such poor condition that we have to do costly renovation when if they'd spent money on upkeep the building would last much longer. Here, a large school that was built in 1968 will be bulldozed once it's $10000000.00 replacement is finished. The powers that be were too cheap to keep the old school in good condition so now it is to their thinking beyond repair.

    Now I can hear lots of examples about how tax money is wasted and that's true in many cases. But's what's wrong with developing a system that works and projects are done efficiently.

    One of my favorite gripes is that this province, Alberta, subsidizes the drilling of each oil well to the tune of $300.00 per meter drilled. The last time I looked oil companies were supposed to be very profitable and generating lots of tax revenue.

    In a recent post I gave an example of our local museum where funds for a new museum were voted down but much money was put into the old museum. Sooner than later a new museum will have to be built .




    So I think that if we weren't so cheap to start with and developed adequate programs and built good quality infrastructure , we might not always have to be rebuilding. We might also be safer and healthier.

    

Monday, August 28, 2017

THE OLD GIRL'S (SUMMER) LEAVIN'

      I went out this morning to tend my garden and I got the feeling that my plants are finished. there will be no more progress. They will hang around for a few weeks but there will be no more new development.

     Some leaves on tees and shrubs are starting to turn and drop off. Part of this is because of the stress from heat and dryness

     In particular, I was looking at tomatoes. I've got a good crop and we've been eating them for two weeks. We had two hailstorms so some of the garden plants have had a challenge. the onions have done nothing since their tops were knocked off.

     We have had a very hot dry summer. It's tough on plants. I do some watering but only for plants that cannot tolerate being dry. It got to 26C (82 F) today. It was 12 C(54 F) this morning. For the record, the record low for today is -0.6C (30 F) and the record high is 32.3 C (92 F).

     I get back from my after supper bike ride about half an hour before sunset. The sun sets tonight at 8:30. It rose this morning at 6:40.

    So gradually summer is winding down and slowly leaving us.

    Photos are from 2015 and better times.





Saturday, August 26, 2017

I AM NOT EASILY ALARMED

       I'm not easily alarmed. I'm cool and low key about things. Today something happened that shook me up. 

      I was leaving our small subdivision this morning. We leave from a T intersection that's controlled by signal lights. I was in the left lane to make a left turn. Another vehicle was in the right lane and also making a left turn. It was early and traffic was light. No vehicle was behind us.

     I made my left turn and had gone a 100 meters when I heard tires screeching. I looked in the rear view mirror to see a small car that had made the same left turn I made and it was fishtailing across the two lanes.

    Before I could decide what defensive action to take the vehicle bounced up on the 4 meter boulevard. Dust and auto parts were flying through the air. I thought, "That's it for him. He'll never move from there." Well , he did move and continued in the opposite direction.

    I was shocked. If he'd come to the intersection a few seconds earlier he probably would have rammed into me. If he hadn't lost control and caught up to me he surely would have sideswiped me.

    I was shook up over this one.

    The vehicle beside me made a u-turn and followed the creep. I don't think the creep would go too far as the vehicle was heavily damaged.

     This was too close for comfort.

Wednesday, August 23, 2017

SOLAR ECLIPSE BLUES

      I'm 77 years old so I've been through a few solar eclipses. I did some research to find out how many eclipses I'd experienced. I couldn't find a list of eclipses in the places I had lived.

     I tried to think back to any eclipses I could remember. I could only remember one when I was teaching and we had set up the kids to watch it. I believe that one was a total eclipse. I cannot remember any other solar eclipses. So either my memory is extremely poor or I'm not that interested in eclipses. 

    I would think that I won't remember this eclipse either as I was not highly excited about it. We had 80 % here and unless you were looking at the sun there was very little change. It did get noticeably cooler. The clouds were much darker. If you didn't know that there was an eclipse you wouldn't have noticed any change in light.  

     So I wasn't overwhelmed by the eclipse. I know , understand  and appreciate the significance if the event.

    I took photos at approximately ten minute intervals. The last three show some loss of light.







Anybody tired of seeing this guy yet?

                                              The end



Sunday, August 20, 2017

AN ATTRACTIVE CONDOMINIUM

     As I was waiting the other day after taking photos of the museum I noticed a condo across the parking lot. This condo looked attractive from a distance. when I got closer to the condo I could see why it was attractive. Almost all suits had attractive flowers on the balcony.

    Too often condos have an industrial look as they are plane flat cement walls. No effort was made for decoration.

   This small condo is owned by seniors so I suppose they got together to make their building look attractive.

    My next challenge was to find a decent angle to get the photo. 





     

Wednesday, August 16, 2017

THE WALKER

      When I took the museum photos the other day , I had arranged to meet my wife in the museum parking lot. I had extra time so I looked for other things that might make a good photo. I had gone over to the side walk in the area and then I saw my wife at the end of the street.

      I took a number of photos as she was walking toward me. I thought nothing of it. My wife does not like her photo being taken. she didn't know I was taking photos and still doesn't.

     The walker turned out to be an interesting photo and I wish I had taken more in the sequence. 

     So have fun looking at the walker and wondering what's going on. The walker insists that she carries the big bag. You can't separate her from the bag. she also has one of the biggest heaviest handbags you could find. so these two bags overwhelm her and make her look larger than she is.






Sunday, August 13, 2017

MORE MUSEUM

     In my last post I showed you the south side of the museum with the murals made from photos of Canadian people.

     Today I'll show the back of the museum and the north side.

     Most back entrances are  neglected and rather unattractive. Not so with this museum. Large squares make the back walls eye catching.








     On the north side they have chosen to cover with local street scenes from the past. 





 


    
 This flag has been seen all over Canada this summer to mark our 150th anniversary.



Thursday, August 10, 2017

OUR MUSEUM JUST BECAME MORE ATTRACTIVE.

      Our small city built a very attractive museum in the early 1970s. A collection had been slowly accumulating so a good place to exhibit things was needed.

     This area has grown quickly from 25000 to 100000 less than 50 years. So a new museum was needed a long time ago.

    A proposal was drawn up to construct a new museum for about $30000000.00. This would allow for much more exhibit space and the collection would be under one roof.

   Well, a section of the community was strongly against a new museum. They had every excuse in the book for not building a museum and criticized all the points for a museum.

    So the project was abandoned.

    So plan B. Well, renovate the building we have. Renovations are very expensive and you always find some very expensive surprises. One surprise was to find that the entire north wall was not insulated. You could not regulate the temperature and humidity for proper storage and display of the collection.

    So to make the story shorter, almost $300000000.00 spent over ten years and we have the same footprint.

    So a few weeks ago finishing touches were done to the exterior. So here's part of the exterior.. 





  
     These 5 designs are on the south wall. They were made by putting photos of people together to make the design. 



  
     I think it's very attractive.