Sunday, January 26, 2020


      Yesterday (Jan. 25) we had a fine winter day with a high of 4 C and clear.  What better thing to do than to do a little bird watching.

      At 4 above C it's reasonable to use field glasses and cameras.

      I had put this on my bird watching call list Fri. night so had 2 people show up to go with me. I also persuaded the Micro Manager that it would be very good for her to go with me. She enjoyed herself.

    One of my favorite winter birding sites is Mackenzie Trails. It's an area of old growth forest. It has never been logged. It's a mixture of aspen and spruce. We are fortunate to have this right inside the city.

     Here the birds we will see in the winter is quite predictable. So yesterday we saw: black-capped chickadees, red-breasted nuthatch, white breasted nuthatch, pine siskin, common raven, downy woodpecker, hairy woodpecker, pileated woodpecker and a blue jay. Possible sightings could have been: boreal chickadee, black-backed wood pecker, great horned owl, brown creeper.

               A look toward the forest.

      I can't understand why birders would go the wrong way. But this shows the dense forest.

       I look at a bit of a clearing caused by a viscous wind storm five years ago.

       Bird nests are easy to find in winter when the leaves are gone.


Friday, January 24, 2020


    I think I've written about my dislike for shopping many times. I've written more times about snow but not about disliking snow. In fact, I like snow. I don't even mind shoveling snow.

    So every once in  a while things happen and it sends me over the edge as far as shopping tolerance is concerned. 

    First of all, this week had too many shopping trips in it. 

    Then some of these shopping trips had just too much of trickery involved.

    Other trips were combined with shopping. 

   Okay Mon Morning we went to the walk in clinic. A prescription was given which we decided to fill after lunch and wouldn't it be a good idea to call at the bank while we waited for the prescription to be filled. 

   Wednesday was a physio therapy and lab appointment . And after that wouldn't it be great to have lunch at the casino. Then let's call at Canadian tire and get a sand bag for the car. And wouldn't you know it somebody decided to look at CO 2 detectors and if that wasn't enough a huge amount of time was spent looking at air fryers. I'd never heard of air fryers. Thur after lunch at Wendy's, we just had to go the Jysk because certain sheets were on sale and it was a good buy. And guess what?  It would be good to go and have a coffee with the skaters.

    Well, Friday was a plane old grocery run.

    I don't really mind some moderate shopping but this is way too much for me!  Poor me!

Sunday, January 19, 2020


      It's still cold here so I'll carry on with an example of vintage winter wear.

      How many people remember felt boots? Yes, a boot that was made completely of felt...soles and uppers  and laced up. Not the big boots we have now with a heavy felt liner.

    Since I lived on a farm we wore leather boots in the summer so naturally felt boots in the winter.

    This footwear was very warm. We had an outer shell called an overshoe that we put on to go outside in the snow. This kept the felt dry and added some more protection from the cold.

     The old houses we had on the prairie were notorious for having very cold floors. The felt boots meant that your feet were warm in the house as well.

    These shoes did not wear well. Every fall Mom would order all of us felt boots for the winter. At a certain time all of us put on our felt boots and wore them until spring.

    I looked to see if I could find felt boots on line. No such luck. I think they may have been a western Canadian type of shoe.

   I still fondly remember the felt boot and how comfortable and warm they were. I wish I could still buy them. I remember my paternal grandmother wearing her felt boots. Women and girls usually did not wear them.

Thursday, January 16, 2020


      So how many of my followers know what long Johns are? Don't worry. I'm gong to tell you what they are

      For those who know what long Johns are, they will be saying., "What ever next is he going to talk about?

     Well , it's been very cold here for about a week. We've had lows of minus 37 38 C ( minus 40 F). It warms up very little in the daytime

     I still have to go out. I can't stay in the house until it warms up. I had a medical appt. The Micro Manger had a physiotherapy appt. We had to get groceries and oh ya we had to go out for lunch. I just have to dress properly and I will be fine.

    One thing I did put on one day this week were my long Johns. So long Johns are a type of combination underwear made of fleece or today more modern fabrics. Sometimes this underwear comes in a separate top and bottom. So what you have is a complete suit that you wear under your clothes of course. Over top of the long Johns you wear your regular pants and shirt. Now over your shirt you can put a heavy sweater and then your parka . This will keep you warm.

     The long Johns aren't  worn much an more. We tend to use wind pants. Some of the better wind pants have a liner of heavier clothe.

     Now I talk about playing in the snow as little kids and we didn't get cold. This is what we wore plus a snow suit. Yes, another piece of combination clothing which went over everything.

     We had enough clothes on to live outside all day.

Monday, January 13, 2020


        The winter! the brightness that blinds you,
        The white land locked tight as a drum,
        The cold fears that follows and finds you,
        The silence that bludgeons you dumb,
                                        Robert Service
                                        The Spell of the Yukon

      On a Christmas day we were mushing our way over the Dawson trail.
      Talk of your cold!through the parka's fold it stabbed like a driven nail.
      If our eyes we'd close , then the lashes froze till sometimes we couldn't see.
     It wasn't much fun , but the only one to whimper was Sam Magee.
                                           Robert Service
                                           The Cremation of Sam Magee

      We are in a severe cold spell so I thought I would use some poetry to provide some color. The high today was minus 26 C ( minus 12 F) . Tonight's low will be minus 36 (minus 37 F). To make things worse there has been some wind. I'm warm when I'm outside except for my face. I had a lab appointment at 8:30 this morning and in the two block walk it was cold on the face .

    Now Canada claims Robert Service as our poet. Robert Service was born in England and came to North America  and lived from Mexico the Vancouver Island. Service began working in a bank on Vancouver Island and went from Whitehorse to Dawson City. They had to make their own entertainment and Service wrote a poem each week and recited it at their weekly concerts. These poems were a great hit.

    About 1912 Service left Canada, went to France and lived there for much of the rest of his life. He wrote much poetry. He also spent some time in Hollywood during the second World war and entertained troops.

   What I like about Service is that Canadians claim him as their poet but he lived in Canada for less than ten years. Many Canadians think that Service lived his whole life in the little log cabin in Dawson City. This cabin is a tourist attraction that is very popular.

Robert Service Cabin in Dawson City

    So no matter if one of our favorite poets didn't live here, it's still cold. Check out Robert Service. He wrote some neat poems.

Saturday, January 11, 2020


     I have been trying to sell my skates and skis on Kijiji. People reply to my adds. I give them my phone number to contact me. Most of the time they don't contact me.

     We also get very many telemarketer calls. We have call identification so if we don't recognize who's calling we don't answer. If there's a message being left and we know who it is we can quickly pick up the receiver and answer. If it's somebody who really wants us , they can phone back.

    So the other day we got a call and I did not recognize the caller. A few days later I suddenly thought that the caller could be someone replying to my add so the Micro Manager called the number.

    The person who answered was confused because she hadn't called and didn't want any of my stuff. She had been away in Mexico. Some how the Micro manager started chatting with this lady. The Micro manager had given our name. 
The lady suddenly asked if I was the teacher who taught at Eastview. Well yes. She said he was my teacher in 1972!

     So I got on the line and had a very delightful conversation with a student from 1972. She'd lead an interesting life. At about age 30 she had gone to University and got her teaching degree. She'd taught music in the system when I was still teaching but we didn't make contact.

     So sometimes if enough dumb mistakes are made  we end up with an interesting discovery. However, I don't recommend using this method.

Wednesday, January 8, 2020


     Many people do not get to return to a childhood home because people move very often.  The home that I lived in from 8 to 17 is still standing but will be destroyed this spring. The old home has meaning to me and brings back many memories.

     I've lived in my house since 1970. My kids were brought up in the house. We bring back memories when we talk about what happened when the kids still lived here. My son left at age 17 and came back a few times and lived while he was at school. Since that time he has rarely been back.

    A couple of months ago he came back for a day. It was interesting to watch him go through the house. I caught a few unfocused photos of him as he checked out his old room. Now how many of you can go back to your old room?

    So this was his five minute tour.

  This was an age when he had his room the way he wanted it.

    Looking out the window to the once familiar back yard.

   Thinking about what was in that corner when he was a kid!

   The room looked big when he was little but now he fills it.

      My son was small as he was growing. He always said he'd sue God if he didn't grow as tall as Dad. His growth was funny. He grew an inch when he was 21. He's now 6' 1" and as he says getting shorter,

     I enjoyed his visit and lunch even though his visit was short.