Saturday, September 22, 2018

IT'S WHITE AGAIN

      Yes, we had another good dump of snow last night. We got about 7 -8 cm ( 5 in). I got up several times in the night to see heavy snowfall. 

      The snow is quite wet so some large tree branches broke off trees.

       It's been about minus 2 C ( 28 F)  all day .

      So all in all it was a very dull day.

  Lilac leaves holding snow

Lilac bush loaded with snow

  Mountain ash

Car loaded with snow

The large poplar across the street

Friday, September 21, 2018

THE MOUSE

     I wrote my last post because I had just heard an explanation about something I'd been curious about for many years. As I said before, I had listened to a radio interview of Carolyn Anderson , head of African American studies at Emory . She gave information as to how the African American vote has been suppressed.

    Now I hope I didn't come across as a smart ass on the last post. The "mouse" Canada has a few tricks if it's own when it comes to voter suppression. The most common operation is gerrymandering. Our constituency boundaries have to be adjusted governed by terms of the elections act.  That's when the fun begins. Parties know the exact location of where their votes come from. So why not get the new constituency boundary to corral in these votes into one constituency.  The parties have in put into the redrawing of boundaries.

     People can be easily discouraged from voting. All of their reasons are wrong. Some people are convinced that their vote won't count. Well, having worked in elections I know that all votes are counted. People think their vote only counts if the party wins. It doesn't work that way. 2017 was the first time my candidate and party of choice won. I still feel that all my other votes mattered.

    In our last election many people were told to go to the wrong poll. Several of our politicians have done some jail time over this trick when they were caught.

    So the mouse is not innocent of dirty tricks. We just have to keep participating and make sure that elections are fair and just. With the electronic age it's become easier than every for outsiders to influence an election. I think we'll find that many elections have been tampered with by the Russians.

    So let's keep our noses in current affairs and remain well informed so that government will work like it's supposed to work.

    

Tuesday, September 18, 2018

SLEEPING BESIDE AN ELEPHANT

     I live in Canada . You know who my neighbor is. We have a saying that we are like a mouse sleeping beside an elephant. If the elephant rolls the wrong way it's game over for the mouse.

     The U.S. has been a good neighbor since the war of 1812. President Trump has given us cause to worry about our relationship.

     But this isn't where this post was supposed to go. I have always been interested in the American people and their government. I have tried to understand how their system of government works.

    One thing has always puzzled me. Why is the African American vote so low? What exactly does voter suppression mean? Do the African Americans have nothing to gain by voting.? Would they not have some power if they voted as a block?

     Today I found out.

    I have heard all these terms used before but their meaning escaped me until I listened to an interview today.

    There are many laws that have been passed which very efficiently prevent African Americans from registering to vote.  I've heard the term poll tax but had no idea what it meant or what it did. Pay to vote? That was news to me. Of course, many people don't have the money to pay a poll tax and why should you have to pay money to vote ? So many African Americans did not vote. Now here's a kicker. If you didn't pay your poll tax it accumulated. So later on you ended up with a large tax bill because you didn't vote. Nuts!

    Various eligibility laws were passed. African Americans were neatly cut off at the pass because they had the poor schools and school systems so could not pass the eligibility test. 

    Another trick was to demand identification like a drivers licence. Many African Americans didn't have driver's licences. Well, get one you say. Problem? They had to drive 50 miles to a licensing bureau.

    So over the years there has always been roadblocks set up to limit African Americans from registering to vote.

    So today I came to understand why African Americans don't register to vote and then go out and vote. 

Saturday, September 15, 2018

A MATTER OF COMPARISON

    I've been watching the progress and madness  of hurricane Florence. There is a tremendous amount of fear and uncertainty. They're not sure where the storm is going and what it might do next.

    It must be terrifying to go through this ordeal knowing that you are completely out of control. 

    36 inches of rain in three days? Unimaginable! 3 inches of rain per hour? Where would it go? 

     If I make some comparisons of where I live you will understand why it's difficult for me to understand about that much rain.

     Here we have annual precipitation of 12 - 14 inches per year. With the type of crops we grow and the method of farming we use we are a very productive agricultural area. 

    Our subsoil is clay and it goes down a long way before we hit rock. You know that water doesn't go through clay. Very little of our precipitation goes into the subsoil. This area is flat. Water comes down and it can't really go anyplace. Very little drainage takes place and what does take place is very slow. 

     We have had years with more than 20 inches of rain. It gets incredibly wet and in some areas very little crop can be planted.

     So I realize that the people under Florence's grip are suffering and will suffer much hardship. We can only wish that the ordeal comes to an end and that people can then put their lives back together.






Behind the sign you see a lush crop of grain.

Thursday, September 13, 2018

SURPRISE! SURPRISE! I'VE GOT SNOW

     You can't say I wasn't warned. Snow has been in the forecast for a few days.  Last night it snowed and this morning we woke up to 3 -4 cm on the ground. Other places got more snow. It was minus 4 C (24 -25 F).

     It's not unusual for us to get a Sept. snowstorm. It can clear up nicely and we get pleasant fall weather.

     Our gardens and plants? They have been finished for a while . They are still green but are not functioning .  This will fix the green for this year.





          Now I worry about the people facing hurricane Florence. I wish them safety.   I will keep my snow anytime and not complain about it.

Monday, September 10, 2018

SATURDAY MORNING BIRDING

     For six months of the year I lead a Saturday morning bird watching group. We pick a spot in town or a short way out of town and spend two hours seeing what bird life is out there. I have 25 people who participate and from 10  to 15 attend each Saturday.

     The group is mixed with a few elderly and then most others are of working age. It's surprising when new people show up and say they've always birded but wanted to bird with a group. Most of the time they are excellent birders.

      Saturday , Sept 8 we went to a location called Nova Nature Trail.

     We have several large petrochemical plants here , one of them being Nova. Nova was built in the seventies and has expanded several times since. Now when large plants are made they buy a lot of land near them. They rent it back to the farmers.

     That's where the Nova Nature Trail comes in. The 255  acres was probably rented out for pasture. The company decided to make the land into a nature trail. They've done an excellent job. There are 10 to 15 km of trails The habitat varies from grass to brush to trees and  riparian.  There is a sleepy little stream the goes through the property. Beavers like this so the dams make some excellent wetlands.

     Saturday was cloudy, a bit windy and 14 C. Nine of us went out and had a great time. We found 24 bird species The garter snake that one of us nearly stepped on was and extra.

     The following photos were taken by Lynette Asselstine  Braun.
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Off we go

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   Look in there!
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Shoveller
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The great blue heron surprised us and then came back to have a look at us.
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A grove of aspen
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 A general view of the area. The company has build great trails and walk ways near the wetlands.
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   With many sets of eyes and some very competent birders we can find quite a few species

Friday, September 7, 2018

FALL BIRD MIGRATION

     Fall bird migration can be a very active time for birders let alone the birds. We are at 52 degrees latitude so there's a lot of territory north of us. We have one of the largest boreal forests north of us. The Arctic tundra and islands are also north of us, so with our local birds and those passing through, fall migration can be interesting if you're watching.

     What this post is about is the migrating birds in my yard and those in the neighborhood.

      This morning was a busy morning. Robins are in rough flocks. They are crazy. They chase one another at break neck speed. Once in a while one hits my window. Most of these are birds of the year and the red breast is frosted as we say. The red is quite dull and and more gray.

      Also this morning the Brewer's blackbirds were around in abundance. There are large flocks of mixed Brewers, rustys and grackles. This morning they helped themselves to the feeder and bird bath. Blackbirds seem to spend only a few days and then they are gone.

      There were a few chipping sparrows.

      Now I was so busy I didn't notice crows. There are very large flocks of crows...in the 1000's.

      There were smaller birds flying higher...above tree tops and I couldn't recognize them. They may have been vesper sparrows.

      Just when all this activity ended a flock of 11 geese flew over. Migrating geese can go through until Christmas. They just keep coming from the north.

      Now there are resident birds in the yard too. Chickadees, nuthatches woodpeckers, flickers and blue jays also visited this morning. 

     Since I was in the house I didn't take any photos. To be honest, I was so busy I didn't even think of a camera. Here are some photos from other years.