Wednesday, November 20, 2019

MORE MOOSE

     Just when I thought it couldn't get any better with moose stories it did.

     Lynette was out with her trusty camera and was most fortunate to find two bull moose sparring to find out who was the best. I have spent more time in the bush than most people and I have never witnessed two bull moose in conflict.
Image may contain: tree, outdoor and nature


Image may contain: tree, outdoor and nature


Image may contain: outdoor and nature


  
     This is the time of year for moose to breed. Males compete with some major fights to claim a number of females that they get to breed. 

    Most times of the year we have moose in our city of 100000. Sometimes there are quite a few. I think these moose are just across the river from where they saw the cow and two calves. 

    On several occasions I've had moose in my small urban yard . On one occasion I got up in the morning and looked out my front window and there they were...a mama with two calves about 4 m from me. Moose browse.  They eat the ends of shrubs and some trees. They were doing a good job of trimming my birch tree. It's fascinating to watch them eat. They take in an enormous amount of food. They don't do much chewing just a little so they can swallow the material. 

   They're very interesting animals. Thanks to Lynette for being on the spot and getting such excellent photos and thanks for letting me use them on my blog.
      

Saturday, November 16, 2019

MOOSE


     Okay, some of you wanted to see photos of the moose the birders saw  on Nov.9. So here are three photos. They are very healthy looking animals. I think this is the same moose in all photos.

 You can see the gate behind the moose. This was where the birders were supposed to hit the road. Instead they had to turn around and go back 1.5 km.


     All photos are courtesy of Lynnette. 



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Wednesday, November 13, 2019

MICRO SHOVELLER

      We have had lots of snow falls but none of them have been heavy deep snows. We've had some heavy wet snow which is difficult to shovel as it is very heavy. Then it doesn't fall off your shovel like it should. I don't mind shoveling light dry snow. It's light and you can easily move it away from walks or drive ways.

      Now I can handle snow shoveling. I might be  bit slow but I get there. Yesterday we were lucky and looked out the window to find Brandie, from across the street,  shoveling our side walk.

     Now from time to time the micro manager says she would like to get some fresh air and she goes out to shovel snow. She does an excellent job and the walks are clean after she's finished.



      Now the micro snow shoveller doesn't like photos taken of her. This photo is not flattering. However. she does very well at 4' 10" and more than 80 to shovel all the snow sometimes.

      She has had the winter cap for about 25 years. She got it in her cross country ski days. 

Sunday, November 10, 2019

BIRD WATCHING FINISHED FOR THIS YEAR

     Some of you know that I lead a bird watching group every Saturday morning.

     Yesterday was our final day for this year. There comes a time when it's too cold for binoculars, cameras and fingers. We start to see very few birds as we don't have many winter birds.

     Yesterday was dull and cold . I didn't think we'd see much. However , our list included:Canada geese, black-billed magpie, common raven, downy woodpecker, black-capped chickadee, boreal chickadee, red-breasted nuthatch, white breasted nuthatch  and northern flicker.

     I sent the group around a 1.5 km loop and I went back to the nature center to get coffee and cake ready. Yes, we have coffee and cake on the last day. They were supposed to be back before three and they weren't back. So they had a story. They had almost got all the way around when they encountered a mother moose with two calves on the trail. When she lowered her head they cleared out as fast as possible and had to walk all the way back around the trail. They were excited about their experience.

   Birding has changed a bit. Camera optics are better than binocular optics. Many times someone gets a good photo and we use that to identify a bird. The camera has a photo and it doesn't matter if the bird flies away.

   So we had our cake and coffee and talked about what we'd seen over the summer and look forward to next year. This year we saw about 90 species. There are a little over 200 species in this area.

Image may contain: plant, tree, outdoor and nature

    One of Lynette's photos that brings in the detail.

Friday, November 8, 2019

MORE SUNSET

    My post from Nov. 5 is in need of some refinement.

    One thing that would have made things easier to understand is that the sun set at 4:52 PM . So at 6:00 Pm when I took the photos it was basically dark. There were just some great colors showing and I wanted to try and pick them up. 

   I received some good advice. It's too late to look through your camera for the right settings. By the time you find info on your camera the scene is gone. But I get it that I have to look these things up  and learn them before the scene presents itself. 

    I hate to admit it but I took these photos out of my window. Since I live in an urban area, if I went outside at ground level I would not see any of this. I  know that there are great places in the country that would give me a good view.

    A tripod. Yes, a tripod would be very helpful instead of leaning up against a wall, fence or car.

   So I will continue trying things and I hope you continue with pointers and advice.









Did I ever say I liked clouds?



Wednesday, November 6, 2019

SUNSET

    About 6:00 Pm out of the corner of my eye I noticed that the sun had set and it was almost dark and continued on my way. Then I stopped ans said," I think there's something out there. So why not try a photos.

     Well I figured out one thing that it's hard to focus in that light. I also found out that I'm pretty wiggly and things get blurry.

     So it was minus 8 C and about 6:00 PM.




    The white strip is the neighbors fence which was lit by the street light. The things that look lights on the left are where snow is piled up on the mountain ash berries.

     I think I need more practice on sunsets!

Sunday, November 3, 2019

I HATE SHOPPING

    I know I've told you several times that I hate shopping. Once in a while I just have to shop and I whine all over again.

    It got down to the point where I had only one pair of jeans without holes and they were becoming very close to having a hole. Now on the yard I always wear jeans with holes ...lots of holes. But I never go off the yard with a pair of jeans that have holes.

    So the Micro manager took me off to the best jean buying place. Oh no. The jeans I bought the last time  ( five years ago) are not sold anymore. The other jeans cost 70 bucks a pair and I'm not paying 70 bucks for a pair of jeans. 

    What to do? I finally settled on jeans of less quality and less price. It didn't seem right but that was all there was. So after an hour I walked out of the store with something I really didn't want.

    By accident we stopped in another store because the Micro Manager wanted something. As we were walking through the store, what did we find but the exact jeans I wanted at a good price...40 bucks!

    So I ended up going home with four pairs of jeans. Now I'm not buying four pairs of jeans at this stage in my life. I might not wear all of them out!

    So today was one more day of shopping. First we took back the jeans we didn't want and then we stopped at the mall again to look for what the Micro Manager wanted.

   Now that was two days of shopping in a row!

   That was painful.

Friday, November 1, 2019

THOUGHTS ON HALLOWEEN

    Halloween here means that 20 to 25 kids show up at your door to receive candy.

    However, I started to think about Halloween. I went to Wikapedia and found more than I ever wanted to know. I was aware that Halloween was the celebration on the evening before All Saint's day. It is thought that it originated in Celtic times. The changes in Halloween over time are interesting. They go into great detail about various religions and people. Each group had their own way of celebrating.

    What I as really thinking about was how Halloween has changed over my life time.

    On the farm we didn't do Halloween at all. In school we did something which I don't remember. It was probably to color a witch or pumpkin.

    During the 60's in the Arctic we didn't observe the evening.

    When I came to Red Deer in 1969, I moved to a fairly new area of town. Most residents were young and had kids so there were many kids around. You had over 100 kids visit your house. There was also some damage done. Some things were turned over. A few eggs were thrown. Gradually the evening became only the receiving of treats. Now malls have events for kids so fewer kids than ever tour the neighborhood.

    When my kids were little in the early 70's we took them out "door knocking" They were crazy about this. I remember taking them one cold and windy night. I wanted to go home but they wanted to keep going. One of them was still a preschooler.

   
The sad little boy won best costume at the school dance with this costume.

     A very large scary ghost.


      Somebody who wanted to collect for UNICEF one year.

     When my son was about 14 one Halloween he wanted to go to his friends place about 8 Halloween evening. They were just going to fool around in the house? But he asked me if he could take my bike. He came back in about an hour. The next spring when I got my bike out it was covered with egg. He and his friends had been out riding bike and throwing eggs at each other and I only found out about it in the spring.

   So Halloween used to be a bit of a wild affair in the early 70's but has become a very tame affair.

   That's a big change for 50 years.

Monday, October 28, 2019

SUNRISE

     A couple of days ago we had a spectacular sunrise that I happened to see.






Saturday, October 26, 2019

HOW MUCH AM I WORTH ?

       A while ago , I can't remember how long ago, I blogged about how much I was worth. I had found the doctor's bill for my birth in some old papers of Dad's. The doctor's bill for my birth was exactly $10.00 so I put down my value as $10.00.
  

      Well, this has been amended and updated. For my 80th birthday someone gave me a check for $80.00 so I'm worth a dollar a year!


      So here I am from one to eighty!

     If the truth be known I care nothing about money. I like to play with a few unrelated figures. 

     I would be happy to be like my Dad and slide on out of here with less than $2000.00 in his bank account after all expenses were accounted for his funeral.  We did not have to go through a will because his assets were so few. If the family agreed to take the money out of the account and close it that would be the end. No fuss! No muss!

Wednesday, October 23, 2019

THE CANADIAN ELECTION IS OVER

      On Sept . 12, I wrote that we were having an election on Oct. 21 and that I wasn't going to say anything about elections on this blog. I kept that promise so it's my time to say something.

      Well the election is over. Some how or other most people are unhappy and some people are downright angry. I don't understand why. We live in a very good country. We have a strong economy, lots of employment , some awesome social programs and some people are so angry that they want to separate from Canada. 

     We elect 338 parliament members. We have a first past the post system . So whoever gets the most votes wins. We have a proportional representation. 

   We have three major parties and two small parties. 

   The campaign was disgusting...too many outright lies.  The parties didn't do much to tell us what their policies would be although I didn't follow much.

    The incumbent party (Liberals) won the most seats but not enough for an outright majority so we have a minority parliament. The conservative party of Canada came second. The liberal party will have to walk a fine line and get support from other parties to govern. Sometimes minority parliaments get lots of good things done because they have to cooperate to stay in power and besides people don't want another election right away.

    People are really whiny . They all seem to want their own little goodies and the hell with anyone else.

     So political junkies are having fun talking about what may happen. 

     What should happen is that many parliament members need a good push to come to their senses and do what benefits the whole of Canada.

Monday, October 21, 2019

THE END OF THE LINE

     ....even if you're old and gray
         riding around in the breeze
         we're going to the end of the line.

       A  few chosen lines out of order from one of my very favorite songs The End of the Line by the Travelling Wilburys.

       Well, since I turned 80 today I had made up my mind that there would be changes made in my life.

        So I decided I had  to quit riding my bike. There is a high risk factor so there's no sense in tempting fate. So I like to think about riding around in the breeze. 

       I have ridden about 45000 km since 1983. I will miss it

      So today was officially my last ride. I was fortunate enough to meet some well known people on the bike path and say good bye.




        There's nothing like an 80th birthday to make one think about the realities of life.  So we're riding to the end of the line even if we're old and gray!

       Now the rear view mirror on the helmet shows up as a black spot.


     So some of my birthday loot!

     But after I got in the house from my last ride I said, "You know what? There are recumbent bikes! "  So maybe I'll get a recumbent and keep on riding.

Friday, October 18, 2019

A JOLTING SURPRISE

     A long time ago, on this blog, I wrote about becoming a cashless society. I pointed out that some places in Europe do not accept cash. There are many reasons to go cashless and it is coming.

     Now yesterday I got a big surprise when a parts place said they do not accept cash. I had ordered a part and drove across town to pick it up. Now we only take the credit card when we plan to pay with it. We use the card on all big items. This item was less than $40.00 .  

     The business was very accommodating. They let me take the part home and phone my card number in. They even gave me a receipt before I walked out of the business.

    Now this incident was a big shock for me. I hadn't heard about any businesses going cashless. It's the best plan for this business as they are a wholesaler and deal with large orders. It's much less work for them to deal with credit cards rather than have to account for cash. Computers look after your money for you.

    It got me thinking about a cashless society again. Have I been unaware of certain businesses not accepting cash? I look around in restaurants and rarely see people paying with cash.

    Do you use much cash anymore?

     Have you found businesses that don't accept cash?

Tuesday, October 15, 2019

BIRDS KEEP CHANGING

    In my last post the idea that bird species could be divided into several species caught some attention. So guess what? Another post on birds comes up.

    The example I used was the consideration by the International Ornithological Union (There other ornithological groups.) to  divide Canada geese into six different species. Many people are quite happy to go along with just Canada geese. For some people to divide geese into 6 groups is horrifying . However, scientific study shows that there are big differences within Canada geese. One of them is size. One group of geese is about 1/4 the size of other geese. We think of most Canada geese as having a standard color pattern. Not so.

     There are many other species of geese in the world but this is only happening to Canada geese as far as I know.

    Juncoes have been divided a few times. Sometimes species are put back as one species. There is an American crow and then a northwestern  crow which is very much smaller.

    So I am a birder ... and a bit nerdy, but a book I read a few years ago got me thinking! It's pretty hard to get me thinking.

    The book was called "To See Every Bird on Earth" written by Dan Koeppel. It's a neat book where Koeppel writes a history of his father but manages to write very much about birds. Koeppel's father was one of a few people in the world who try and see every bird in the world. They are obsessed with this mission. The go to all corners of the earth and spend no end of money.

    So Koeppel tells his father's life story and tells about birds and how the International Ornithological Union classifies and reclassifies birds.

    I found this a very interesting story and it opened my eyes to bird watching.

    So for anyone who's interested in birds  or science , this is a good read.

Sunday, October 13, 2019

A SUNNY WALK

     Yesterday , Oct 12, we had a nice sunny afternoon. After a discussion ???with the micro manager we decided to have lunch out. I didn't want lunch out. I wanted to walk on the trails all afternoon. Well, she said , "We'll go for lunch and then we'll go for a walk and then we both get what we want."  I'm not really sure of the logic in this one.

     Anyway, we went to one of my favorite places and there were thousands of Canada geese. They are getting ready to fly south but not right away. Canada geese will stay here as long as there is open water and the food isn't covered by snow. At this time the Canada geese are slowly moving south from the far north. There will still be some geese on the Mackenzie Delta.

    However, this is what I found yesterday.





     Oh yes, The bird naming people, the American Ornithologist's Union,  are discussing dividing Canada geese into six different species. Wait for it.

Thursday, October 10, 2019

ACCIDENTAL THANKSGIVING POST.

      I did not intend to write a post on Canadian Thanksgiving. However, John from John's Island emailed me and asked if the Canadian Thanksgiving was similar to the American Thanksgiving. I accidentally deleted John's email so that's why I'm posting on Canadian Thanksgiving.

      There, I got that off my chest!

       Our thanksgiving is quite similar to an American Thanksgiving. We have the traditional turkey dinner and all the trimmings. Potato, sweet potato, gravy, veggies, stuffing, aspic , a couple of salads, cranberries. So see the meal is similar.

    We have a few traditional football match ups to watch.

    Now traditions are changing and changing fast. In my case my kids are away. We've given up the whole turkey business because there's just the two of us but we still have the other part of the meal. So many people are separated and many people don't have the traditional meal. Some people don't cook that much and would never attempt the major feast.

    When I was still on the farm we had a huge meal but it had to fit in with the harvest. If we were still harvesting well no big meal. It was out on the combine. Then when harvesting was done we would have our big meal.

    The most important thing is to think about things and what we should be thankful for. We live in a very special country that tries to follow social justice for all.

Monday, October 7, 2019

BABY JACKS

      I walk about 2.5 km most evenings. Most evenings I never meet anybody but that's another post.

     On a fairly regular basis I see deer and jack rabbits.  It's close to rutting season for the mule deer. Through most of September I would see four bucks. They vary from a very senior buck to a young buck with spikes. I watch for them but sometimes I hear them before I see them. They are having little tussles and you hear the click of the antlers before you see the animals in the dark.



     I caught this doe in mid November not far from my house.

    At times I see jack rabbits every walk. What I've seen the last week has me asking many questions. I found three little bunnies that are 1/4 to 1/3 of the adult size. Miserable weather can kick in in October and we sometimes have winter weather by the beginning of November. Tonight a cold front has moved in. Our high tomorrow will be minus 2. Will these little guys reach maturity before winter sets in?


A two day old jack rabbit

An adult jack rabbit in my yard. They can weigh up to 10 lb.

Up close



    Now the first night I saw these three little guys in the road gutter beside the sidewalk. I told them that was a silly place to sit but they didn't listen. The doe was about 50 m away. One crossed the road. The next night I saw only two little guys. This time they ran into a housing development which is quite safe compared to a road. The next night they were in a dark and fairly large yard. They were chasing each other! I couldn't believe that they were playing just like puppies or kittens.

    Each night they seem to be more active and venturesome.

    I certainly hope they make it to the winter. Statistics aren't on their side. Only 30% make it to one year of age.

Wednesday, October 2, 2019

SNOWY IMAGES

    This weekend , Sept 27, 28,  and 29 we had snowfall. We were very fortunate as we missed the very heavy snow. We had maybe one or two cm.  Further south the storm and snowfall were brutal. Waterton Lakes National Park, on the American border, had 95 cm of snow. They had the snowplows out. Calgary had about 30 cm of snow. It slowed a large city down and there was lots of street clearing.

     Black current, raspberry and gooseberry.
     Juniper
    Juniper and wet street
Snow formed on a juniper branch

Sunday, September 29, 2019

I FOUND THE SINGER AND MORE.

    In my last post I left by wondering about  a third singer to go along with Perry Como and Johnny Ray. I found him and  more.

    I remembered a radio show called the Breakfast Club. It seemed to me the singer I was looking for was on the Breakfast Club. I found the Breakfast Club and right away I found the singer I was looking for...Johnny Desmond. Desmond had an active career in music, movies , television and show business. I was happy to find Johnny Desmond.

    After the Breakfast Club there was a 5 minute segment called Morning Devotions. I remember the theme music was from the cello and very calm and soothing. I've always like the cello. Now I don't remember any thing about the Morning Devotions. Hey, why don't I look it up?

    Now what I accidentally bumped into was more interesting. I remember listening to the Breakfast Club most mornings when I was a kid at home. It came on at 7: 15 AM for a half an hour. It had music and comedy and I'm not sure what else. I tried to listen to one or two of them and found the sound and quality very poor. I think the Breakfast Club started in 1933 with emcee Don McNiel. It ran into the early 60's.

    So does anybody else remember Johnny Desmond? Does anybody else remember the Breakfast Club.? It was also called the Swift's Breakfast Club when Swifts began sponsoring it.

    Oh , there was a comedian...Sam something, who I really liked. I have to go back and find this guy and see why I really liked him.

WHAT'S GOING ON?

       A few days ago In my reading list a blog seemed to have dumped all their posts at one time.

     I wanted to read and comment on some of the blogs I follow. They were not in the usual place. I had to go to my reading list and pick one blog at a time and see if they had posted. Then I could read ti post and comment.

     Did anyone else have this experience?

   

Wednesday, September 25, 2019

MORE SINGERS

    Sometimes a post just keeps carrying on. One thing leads to another. Your comments certainly bring up more info. How could I ever forget folk music. Folk music is worth a post or two.

     What was rolling around in my head when I did the Perry Como post were two other popular singers at the same time. I thought of one of them but cannot think of the third singer.

    So how could you forget Johnny Ray? Johnny Ray was a popular singer but a little over the top. It was in the days before rock and roll when singers were more like Perry Como or Frank Sinatra. Ray has been given some credit for influencing the origin of rock and roll. Ray was very popular through part of the fifties and then his career fell apart. Who can forget Cry or A Little White Cloud That Cried. Have a listen to them. Ray was a very heavy drinker and died from liver failure.

    There was a Swift's breakfast show from Chicago that Ray used to sing on. The third guy I'm thinking of also sang on the Swift's Breakfast club show. It seems to me that they alternated days when they performed. Of course , this was back in the days of live performance.

    Now some day I'm going tho think of the third singer who was popular about the time of Como and Ray.

Sunday, September 22, 2019

PERRY COMO

     With my discovery of You Tube a couple of years ago , I've been able to revisit some music that I used to listen to at one time.

    My music tastes and listening have certainly changed over the years. When I was young. When I was very, very young we did not listen to much radio. Much of radio was programs rather than the station playing music. Some of the programs were country and western music. Other programs were like Lux Presents Hollywood. Fibber Magee and Molly and many more.

    Anyway when I was younger I listened to country and western music. But in there somehow I listened to singers like Perry Como . Perry Como popped into my brain the other  day and I checked you tube. I listened to his songs for a couple of hours. I'd forgotten how good the guy was. Perry Como picked good songs. He sang with a full  orchestra. No wonder I like the guy. I put this on face book and was surprised how many friends had their memories of Perry Como.

     Like any teenager in the fifties I was attracted the rock music. Elvis and many more performers caught my attention. At the same time I found some classical music that I liked to listen to. 

    One day as I was leaving the local library with a fist full of CD's someone said, " you have an eclectic taste in music." I had to come home and look up the meaning of eclectic. 

    Mr C started singing in the mid thirties . He had a long and varied career with bands , radio and television.

   I enjoyed listening to him the other evening.

   So do you remember Perry Como? Did you like him?

Wednesday, September 18, 2019

PAY FOR AIR?

    For a long time compressed air has been used in a variety of ways, Compressed air drives some tools. It's used in tires and many more ways that I don't know.

    A special pump fills a tank with air. There are valves that let the air out to run things. The tanks and pumps can develop a very high pressure. It used to be that there were corner garages. For courtesy they always had a line outside that their customers could use. Now we don't have corner garages but just gas stations and they don't need compressors. So they charge for the air.

    Now I happen to need air pressure from time to time to fill up my bike tires. Bike tires work best with  pressure of around 40 psi. I bought a small pump to pump up my bike tires. However, the pump got old and I had to go somewhere  you could get your bike tires filled with air.

    Since I hadn't done this for some time I was very surprised to find that you had to put coins in a slot to make the pump work. I hadn't taken any money and had to ride back home. This situation irked me to some degree.

    Three days ago I had to fill trailer tires with air. I got to the place that sells air and found out that they don't accept coins anymore but only cards. You had to tap your card on a screen. Guess what? I didn't have a card. I was about to go back home when a guy driving a motorcycle showed up. He said, " Don't worry . I'll use my card." Now that is a supper gesture. The air costs $1.50 for three or four minutes. Between the two of us it cost $3.00. I offered him money but no way was he accepting money.

    Now my faith in humanity was strengthened when I was helped by a stranger.

   But what about selling air? That seems a little funny to me.

   

   

Sunday, September 15, 2019

INCIDENTAL SKY SHOTS

    The last few days I got some incidental sky shots while I was trying to take a picture of something else. 

    OK , I'll back up  bit. My ability in photography is limited at best. I had forgotten how to use my camera telephoto. I have a 34 zoom so not much. I wanted to take some shots of the harvest moon. Another problem I have is to keep the camera still. When you're 80 , it's a big problem.

    So Friday evening I went out on my step and leaned against the house wall for support and tried to get moon shots. So what ? Skies get dark!



     Into every life a little cloud must come. There were thin clouds going across the moon.


    Did I say I hadn't found my zoom for a while. The zoom taught me that it focuses on what's closer.
  I couldn't quite get the people in the balloon.


This time the camera picked up the yellow and black sign and almost ignored the tree branch