The years seem to go faster and faster. If I look back things have been great. I look forward to the future and 2020. I have one special story for New Year's Eve and I've written about it before. So look for it 1964: A New Year's Eve to Remember: Happy New Year. All the best in 2020.
Now I'd be the first to admit that my computer skills are some what limited. But every once in a while the Micro Manager fancies a pizza. She's a little discriminating about pizza so it has to come from one place...Papa John's! Now for Papa John's pizza you have to order on line. We haven't tried to order on line for about three years. We looked at the menu and chose a pizza. I was crying that I couldn't figure out how to order on Papa John's system. So the micro Manager got on the phone and phoned Papa John's. She got a very nice lady who walked us through the complete ordering of our pizza . No problem. Now if I had to do it all over again I couldn't. The first problem I get into is that Papa John's is an American company and they ask for zip code and not postal code. Right there I'm finished. This lady had me click on a couple of things and my postal code was accepted. Simple if you know how but there is nothing to point the customer in the direction of postal codes.The on line order is long and convoluted . You have to bounce all over the page. She would say ,"Do you see----? " It would take me a while to find what she was asking for. All the things she asked me to find were spread all over the page...sometimes bottom, sometimes left, sometimes top! You have to anticipate what you are going to be asked. I couldn't anticipate what they wanted on their order form. There has to be a logical sequence in what you do. There's no logical sequence. What I learned that it's pretty slick to order pizza on line if you know how, but I still don't know how. Now am I the only one who would go hungry because I can't order on line?
During the time of Christmas and New Years we give and receive many greetings. Sometimes I think that our greetings are very shallow social things. What do we mean by Merry Christmas? Everybody's Christmas is different. We have different families and our backgrounds indicate what Christmas celebrations we may have. So I'm starting to wonder if my greetings have any meaning at all? Well, maybe I'm taking this to an extreme. Maybe I shouldn't be taking some of the pleasantness of the season away. What got me thinking about this? Well, I went for my regular walk Christmas Eve. As usually no one is out except this time somebody went by. A mule buck had crossed the street in front of me and entered the woods. A minute later someone had ridden their bike out of the dark unlit woods trail. I was startled when someone behind me said Merry Christmas! It was a homeless man going by on his bike with his cart. I knew this man. He is Basil and sometimes stays at a house 5 doors away from me. Basil is an aboriginal and most of his life has been a downer. So a cheerful Christmas greeting from a man who has had nothing but trouble in his life really made me stop and think about the world. I was touched more than any other greeting by the wish I received from Basil. I'll remember it.
I like winter solstice as I watch the days get shorter and shorter. I eagerly wait until the days start to get longer and we move toward spring. I also like the folklore connected to winter solstice. Ancient peoples had a variety of celebrations for the day. They also were fairly exact in pinpointing the time of the solstice. So with all this in mind, I decided to follow the solstice a little closer at my place. I decided to go out and photograph the afternoon every hour to show how the day takes it's course.
The first two photos were taken at 2:00 PM. The first one looking south and the second looking north.
The next tow photos were taken at 3:00 PM. The cloud thickened slightly.
The next two photos were taken at 4:00 PM. The sun sets at 4:26 PM.
This photo shows the west were the sun set at 5;00 PM
The last three photos were taken at 5:00 Pm. It's hard to show darkness with all the street lights. So today the sun rose at 8:42 AM and set at 4:24 PM. It gave us 7 hours, 41 minutes and 47 seconds of the sun being up.
There are certain Christmas events that I like to attend. One of those is a very large display of creches. One of the LDS (Latter Day Saints) churches here puts on a very large display of creches. We visited it last night. They had over three hundred examples of creches on display. You remember that I did a post on this last year. This year the had a different lighting system and it was difficult to take photos. I may end up using some of last year's photos.
There are creches made from many , many materials...wood, plastic, china, paper, fabric, metal. Creches come from all over the world. Quality goes from trash to great handicraft and artistic talent. My favorite is the second photo which is an Inuit print. I think I singled that one out from last year too.
Sometimes we wear funny clothes here. Yes, we wear winter clothing which is much different than what some of you wear. We do have some very stylish winter clothing. I don't wear the stylish stuff. This post is on something else about our clothing. I was at my favorite place for lunch (Wendys) the other day and there were quite a few kids of the 7 -8 year variety. These kids were soccer players. 90% of our soccer is played on outdoors fields. We have some indoor soccer fields suitable for winter play but only the top leagues have enough money to use indoor facilities. So most of the little kids wait for spring to begin their soccer league. Now the other day in Wendys I saw one kid with terrible pink and yellow plastic soccer shoes. Then I noticed something else. He was wearing shorts! It's winter! Then I noticed that other kids were wearing shorts. The shorts just showed below their winter coat. What's more the winter boots came close the the bottom of the shorts. I wish I had a picture of these little guys with their mixture of winter and summer clothing, but I don't have a phone so no photos. Now I thought that was a funny mixture of winter and summer clothing!
Now for an 80 year old guy , I'm not too concerned about the image I have. I'm comfortable in my own skin. I admit that I'm a little rumply. Sometimes it may be borderline unkempt. (My opinion) But when it comes time to present an acceptable look I can get my act together. If I'm around the yard , anything goes. If I have to go out well be decent.
So those shorts and belt just don't cut it compared to my neatly attired brother.
This isn't too bad for being at the barbecue for 200 gr sevens
...and I was pretty neat looking after textbooks for my department. So what am I worried about now? My new neighbors shovel my walks before I can get out there. I live on a corner so there's lots to shovel. I thank them and say that we are both able to shovel. Well, they say we're out here so we might as well do it. I have another neighbor who will also shovel when I'm not looking. What is this? I like it and appreciate it. But am I presenting the image of an old man who needs help shoveling? Have I fallen down in the snow lately? None of these is the case. I just have very nice neighbors. Oh yes I do get a chance to shovel their walks sometimes! It's fun.
November can give us some very nice sunsets. The sun is lower in the sky and there's more time between sunset and dark. These photos were taken just before 5:00 PM.
The white line across the center of the above photo is the top of some one's fence.
There's a bit of snow on the mountain ash berries .
Winter skies can be colorful. When I lived in the Arctic and the sun didn't rise above the horizon for six weeks we had many colorful skies. We had light from around 11:00 AM to 2:00 Pm. It was like a three hour sunset.
I like music. I don't sing or play an instrument. I like listening to a wide variety of music. It would be easier to say what I don't like than what I do like. I don't like rap or modern country. Several bloggers have had some very good pieces on music lately. I have (had) two main sources of music that I go to. I have a favorite radio station that plays a wide variety of music and provides commentary on everything they play. All of their DJs have a tremendous amount of knowledge about the music they play. I love it. Check out CKUA.com Now there used to be a very fine radio program called the Vinyl Cafe hosted by Stuart Mclean. Unfortunately Stuart passed away. Stuart had a one hour radio show every Sunday at noon. He had music , stories, interviews and games. Stuart had his Dave and Morley stories .Dave was a bumbling idiot and Morley kept things together. A favorite Canadian Christmas story is Dave Cooks a Turkey. Stuart always tried to find music from performers who were not well known. So some of the music I like comes from the Vinyl Cafe Three singers stand out for me: Sarah Harmer, little Miss Higgins and Connie Caldor. Sarah Harmer is a singer songwriter. Many of her songs are about the country. Give a listen to Oleander. She sings a song to this tough little plant. Little Miss Higgins is more comedy. She's forceful and lively. One of her songs is about buying underwear in a thrift shop. Connie Caldor sings heavier stuff about women's rights but has a haunting strong voice. Now since I've discovered you tube I can find these performers and listen to them. So if you're interested take a look for these performers and give a listen.
Building a house the way ours was built certainly led to some chaos. Not everything could be under control. Some of the things that happened were very funny and remained family stories. Some how or other,we came into possession of a little billy goat. In 1947 our grandparents had retired into the little village. In those days there weren't coolers or freezers and you couldn't buy milk. Some of the villagers had a cows and sometimes you could buy milk from them. Some how or other, Grandpa came into possession of a nanny goat that he thought would give him enough milk. Surprise , surprise , the nanny promptly had 3 kids. Just what grandpa wanted! But wait . Grandpa had three sons so each son got a little goat. Grandpa thought his grandchildren would like a goat for a pet. We did. Our goat was Billy. Billy thought he was a little kid ...I mean a little human kid. Billy played with us all day. Billy was smarter than all four of us put together. Billy got his way. Billy was a nuisance We moved into the house as soon as it was closed in but not finished. There was a plank ramp up into the kitchen. Some how or other Mom was distracted and had left all the breakfast dishes on the table and was out in the yard. The kitchen door had not been closed. From a distance someone noticed billy going up the ramp. No one was in the house. By the time we got in the house Billy was on top of the breakfast table. Billy had already cleaned out the butter dish! We were surprised. Shortly after that Billy disappeared. Dad had had enough of poor Billy. I think Billy was passed on to someone who needed some meat. That's one thing Dad never ever told us.
Comments on my last post caused a flood of memories to come back about our old house. As I said , my folks didn't have enough money to build a house on the farm. A house was badly needed because the old house was far too small and it was in very poor condition. My Dad was great at putting things together that would work. Sometimes things he made didn't have much quality but the house was well built except for the foundation. The house was moved in from another farm . Some of the old house had to be torn down so that there was space to work on the new house. So 2/3 s of the old house was torn down . The one third of the old house that was left was used for Mom and Dad's bedroom and to store all of our clothes. Okay here's where it gets tricky. There were going to be quite a few workers over the summer and they had to be fed. So all the kitchen stuff was moved into a granary. This would be a 12' by 15' wooden structure that was used for storing grain. So all summer my Mom cooked and served meals in the little building. Now remember , this place did not have running water or electricity. The running water came when I was sent to the well to get water. It was our kitchen and living room for the summer. Sometimes we were stuck in it for a few days when it rained. Part of one wall was taken out so that there was enough light for Mom to work. Okay , with most of the old house torn down and the kitchen and living room in a small wooden building. What happened to the kids? Of course, Dad had a good plan to get a bedroom for his kids. Yes, you know the little wooden granary. We had our beds out in a grain bin all summer and loved it. We were a rough bunch of kids so some very basic shelter was fine by us. Many neighbors helped Dad do the work to build the house . The house was ready to move in about Sept . before it got cold. It was nice to have space for everybody. When the furnace was lit on one of the first cold evenings it was very comfortable. For a ten year old kid it was a very exciting summer.
Not surprising but there was fire in my childhood home and it was quite badly damaged. The house had been vacant for five to ten years. A sister-in-law had been using it to cater. We can get sentimental about houses if they are in the family for a long time. This house was finished in about 1947. My Mom and Dad had four little kids and their house was terrible. It was small...14 x 24 , old and poorly built. There was no insulation. There was no electricity . My Mom labored under horrible conditions. They had talked about getting a better house but the problem was they didn't have any money. Finally, they found a piece of land with a house. They moved the house to their farm yard and the project started. They tore part of the house down and put on an addition. When it was finished they had a fairly large story and a half house that was insulated and had electricity.
This is a very poor photo of the house but it's the only one I have. They had something that they liked. It had space for their kids. Some of us had separate beds and there was lots of room for kids to play when it was cold. They would also be able to have guests and have friends come to visit. I lived in the house from 1948 to 1957. It was long enough to become attached to the place. Mom and Dad lived in it to about 1969. During those times it was vacant from time to time. My brother and sister-in-law moved in and lived in it from 1973 to about 2010. My brother did some renovations from time to time. With family farms , there comes a time when there's no more family to take over. My brother left for more comfortable lodging. My youngest brother bought the land but didn't need the house so the house remained empty. Now sometime in the spring the house will be torn down. So the old house served it's purpose but it left us with many good memories.
Well, you're going to get the third post. You will remember that I did a lot of cycling. I rode 47 000 km from 1984 to 2019. All the riding was done on the trail system in this city. Starting in 1984 trails were put in . The original trails have aged and a lot of shrubbery and trees have grown up along the edge of the trails. There are sharp turns and with the shrubbery growth visibility is limited in some places. You will know that from time to time we have moose in the city. Sometimes lots of moose. Now moose don't give anybody consideration. They do what they want. Moose have found that it is very comfortable to stand on the paved trail and stick their head in the shrubbery and eat until their belly is full. Then they come back the next day and do the same thing. Okay. in my cycling prime I kept up a steady pace of at least 20 kph. Most of the time it was above 20 kph except on the hills . Well you know where this story is going. Twice I came around a sharp turn to find a moose with his/her head well in the shrubbery and the whole rear end out on the trail. If I put the breaks on I may disturb the moose. Worse yet I may bash into the moose. Both times I swerved to miss the moose and went within arm's length of the back side. All you can think of is those long back legs kicking out behind him/her When you get by sigh of relief would be an understatement. I'm not sure if the moose knew I had ridden by them. I'm not sure if they even cared.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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. One of Lynette's photos that brings in the detail.
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.
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!
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.
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.