Thursday, August 30, 2012

Tomorrow Dad Would Be 100 Years Old

      My Dad was born August 31,1912 and died Feb. 8, 2008. So he was a little over 95 when he died. He was a large strong healthy man but Parkinson's took its toll towards the end of his life.
Dad with some of his grandchildren and great grandchildren. Parkinson's had taken away all facial expression.

     A couple of funny things happened with Dad's age throughout his life. I have to work backwards on this one.

      When Dad turned 65 he very proudly applied for his old age pension. The government department wrote him back and said , "Mr. Kline, we have never heard of you." This really shocked my Dad. His birth had been registered . He'd gotten married and he paid income tax from the time he started earning money. 

     So you don't argue with  the government. He found the necessary documents to prove how old he was. He found an old school register which had his date of birth. He found his baptismal certificate and something else that proved he was born in Canada on Aug. 31,1912. In due time he received his pension.

     Now Dad thought that his Dad had forgotten to register him at the local office. He thought his Dad was busy with harvesting and just forgot.

     In 1939 when WWW II started most young men in Canada received a form letter inviting them to join the armed forces. Dad never got  a letter and when the pension issue occurred he just thought that since the govt. didn't know he existed they didn't send him a letter inviting him to join the armed forces.

     When Dad told me his story I came across some information on the registration of births , deaths and marriages in Saskatchewan in 1912. Apparently all marriages and deaths were recorded accurately. Some how the births were not recorded for two years. So this is why the Govt. did not know that Mr Kline  existed. It was the government's fault. It wasn't because Grandpa forgot to register him.

Monday, August 27, 2012

Bike Lanes

    Our small city (100 000) has just set up a major system of bike lanes. So bike lanes are a system which puts in a special part of the road for bicycles. Various forms of bike lanes are set up in many cities.
Start of a bike lane

    The purpose of bike lanes is to allow people to ride downtown to their work. The idea is to get people to exercise more and to cut down on the number of cars polluting the atmosphere. They would also like to save some money on roads because with less cars there would be less upkeep for roads. With less vehicles there could be fewer big roads needed.
Typical bike lane

    There was some discussion about the bike lanes. Avid cyclists were involved in setting up the system. I paid some attention but not much because I don't intend to use bike lanes. I use bike trails which take you from one park location to another.

    When the city actually started painting the lines on the roads many people said, "Whoa! Wait a minute! What's going on here?" 

    Major traffic changes were taking place. Four lane roads were becoming two lane roads. Bike lanes started and ended no where. Some bike lanes were on the left of parked cars and squeezed in beside the traffic. Most of the bike lanes are one meter wide. Some bike lanes were put in rather puzzling places. My question is what happens in the winter when snow and ice cover most of the lane markers?  People do ride bikes in the winter with the new technology .

    So I wish I had paid more attention to the bike lane proposals. I want to see more safety and space for bikes. On the other hand vehicle traffic seems to be altered so that it may create traffic jams. 

    We will just have to wait and see how things turn out. There are many cities with a similar system that works well. I hope ours works well.

Friday, August 24, 2012

Technology Sometimes Tricks You.

     Three years ago we bought a fancy schmancy top load clothes washer. We had mixed feelings about the purchase as the previous washer was bought in 1970 so lasted almost 40 years. We are some what technically challenged so you want to keep it simple.

     We read the manual very carefully and got comfortable with the new machine. It was a water saver and supposed to clean clothes better with less wear and tear on the clothes. It did these things.

    One thing my wife washed once a year was all winter jackets. This was highly successful in the two previous years. Now I'm going to remind you that she has read the manual over and over again. This year she thought there was something different. The amber lights on the options did not come on. She checked the book and sure enough there is a diagram showing that amber lights should come on. She was puzzled as she couldn't remember clearly from the last year. She tried to set the washer and it wouldn't go. She read the manual again and found the same thing. 

     So it's it's under warranty and she phoned the company. She told them the problem and they read the book and they said , "Yes, the circuit board is shot."  They would call a repairman to replace the circuit board. 

    Today the technician arrived. He checked the washer. He said I don't think there are amber lights at all and he explained the process. However, he said I have the part so let's put it in and see what happens. Of course, you guessed it , "No amber lights with the new circuit board. "

    What my wife found is that there were two completely different sets of instructions in two different places in the manual. Therefore she was right to look for amber lights even though there weren't any. She was also correct in starting the machine by the instructions and it wouldn't go.

    So maybe it wasn't technology that did the trick to us but it sure fooled the people who wrote the manual.

    We were a little embarrassed when we called a technician and there was nothing wrong. The technician could see how we got into the problem and was not at all perturbed that he had been called.

   Our manual has now been corrected so that mix up doesn't happen again.. 

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

I Think the Birch Will Win.

       I made a rather rash post a little while ago. I described taking down my birch tree and that my wife had asked that the stump be left long. She wanted to do something with the stump which I thought was carving. Now I had the sneaking suspicion that I would be ordered to do the job. I know that my talent in this area is completely lacking.
The stump was a meter and a half or five feet.

      The first thing I was requested to do is trim the top of the stump in a vee shape. Now chain saws are not at all precise ...especially in my hands. That worked out not too badly and after 4 hours of sanding it looks pretty good.
Not bad for angle but a little rough.

      The next request was to peel the bark off at the top of the stump. Where I started taking off bark I had a surprise as the bark did not come off like it was supposed to. I found out that over half of the tree was dead at that level. Where the tree was living , the bark pealed off nicely.
Peeling the bark took some time.

    Now when I got the bark off and looked I found a surprise. There was a face that had been hiding under the bark for about 40 years. What luck! Maybe I won't have to carve it after all. 
Now I swear that I see a face. Too bad I took the guy's fore head off.

   I showed the face to my wife but she wasn't impressed. Now I found out that her idea was to paint the outline of a house on the stump. I had to sand  the side of the stump as some of the bark had stayed on. Then she prepared a stencil and put it on the tree and said, "Paint this." She gave me brown paint. After some very careful painting when I looked up and the thing was a total disaster. I called my wife to look at the output and she was disappointed too. 

    So I think the birch won on this go round. I might have to crawl on my hands and knees to my friend Bob or maybe talk to Far Side about this project!

Friday, August 17, 2012

Another Great One Falls

     A few days ago my mother in law passed away at age ninety six. She was a woman who was hard working, determined, wise, cheerful, and a people person. She was a very good teacher as she taught her children life skills that were most practical and helpful through out their lives. 

    I first met her in 1965 when my wife took me there for a first official visit so I've known her a long time.

   She lived through the best of times and the worst of times. She was born in a homesteader's log cabin. She lived through the roaring twenties when her family built a huge three story house. She spent her late teens and early twenties suffering through the great depression. She married in the early forties and their farm did not prosper until the fifties. She raised her four children and two cousins who had lost their parents. One of the cousins was my wife so my mother in law was actually my wife's cousin. 

     She had many interests to keep her occupied. She did various crafts and was quite a good painter. She loved gardening and had a keen interest in birds. She faithfully supported her church until the end.

    She was a tall, large,lean, strong woman all her life. She lived in her own home on the farm until a year ago. She drove her own car until three years ago. This past year her health faded quickly. 

   So through a long life she influenced many people by her strong characteristics and will be missed by many.

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Demise of My Friend the Birch

    A few days ago I had to do the honorable thing and cut down my friend the paper birch. I moved to this place in 1970 and the birch was a nicely established young tree. Over the years I have enjoyed it's color , shade, shelter and company. Birch have very bright yellow fall leaves and a good pleasant summer green leaf. Birch have dense branches and leaves so provide excellent shade. Shelter from winds and rain have been provided by my birch. The company of my birch has been enjoyed for 42 years. Whenever I came home the birch was standing tall to welcome me.

     Over the years the birch has fought off  leaf miners and gone through a few droughts. Birch do not have a long life span and this one had lived past its normal life span. In other words it was a very elderly tree. Lastly the birch leaf borer attached the tree and this time the tree did not have the strength to fight off the infestation. Bit by bit , branch by branch the birch lurched into a decrepit state until it was time to take it down. This is the tree that had a branch break off and break my car window and trunk.
Last minutes of a long life

    So recently my friend David came over to take down the birch. David was supposed to get the wood but he declined as he didn't want to get the birch borer in his tree. Fortunately neighbors across the street came to my rescue and took the wood and most of the bigger branches for their outside stove. They were extremely helpful and helped in the total clean up of the tree,
More branches to clean up

    So there we are cleaning up the branches and wood.
Branches to be cleaned up

    The tall stump is left so that we can carve a simple sculpture on it and put our house number on it. 
Good neighbor Barb and the stump

    So another old friend has passed and gone.


Monday, August 13, 2012

Summer Has Been a Drag

    I don't know about you but this summer is starting to seem like it's been terribly long. Why? They haven't changed the number of days. So I started to look for some reasons  why the summer seems so long. Usually summers are too short.

   We've had some odd weather here. We had a cold spring with lots of cloud and wind. Our summer has been a mixture of hot and really hot. Along with the heat we've had rain and thunder showers. 

   Now I like a good old 20 C (70 F) summer...something that is reliable. None of all this variety. With a good steady temperature you can get into the flow of things with work and play.

    But what I really think has made this summer seem long is some out of the ordinary weather in late winter early spring. Some of the blogs I follow were reporting temperatures which were far from the ordinary. The hot spell people had was very early in spring.   People were not only showing plants growing but blooming. People were remarking about the unusual weather. Now there was a cool spell after this early warm weather but it didn't slow things down.. 

    I think the early warm weather that other bloggers reported in the east got me thinking about summer much before summer arrived here. I had it in my head that summer was here but it was not. 

   So sorry folks, I'm blaming you for me thinking that summer is really dragging by. 

   I know how I'll get even. I'll start talking about winter. I hope it comes early so that I can really have some effect. 

   But first , let's all enjoy what's left of summer.

Friday, August 10, 2012

My Rabbits Are Gone !

     Today when I checked to see if my family was still here,  I could find nothing. Now everybody knew this was going to happen but I have to tell you anyway.

    Rhubarb boy disappeared about 8 days ago. Whenever I walked by the rhubarb patch, Rhubarb Boy would pop out and look at me.  Now I didn't clean up my rhubarb patch because I didn't want to disturb him.

    Bleeding Heart girl disappeared about 3 days ago. She was not in her usual place and I couldn't find her. 

   Tomato Boy was here yesterday but he was pretty antsy. He moved back and forth in the tomato patch and he had not done this before so I knew something was up. This morning I couldn't find Tomato Boy. I watered my tomatoes thoroughly but nobody went skittering down the row to get away from the water.

   Now these little guys did no damage.  Many of you were worried about this. The mother has probably taken them to another quiet place and hidden them. When they leave their mother they will probably move out of the area.

    I have been trying to get pictures to show the size after 18 days but I did not get a good shot. What I did get was a good example of how they can find cover to hide from everybody else.
Young jack rabbit at 17 days old.

    I learned much by watching these characters. I had many misconceptions about how they behaved when they were young. The material you read varies wildly. I'm also quite sure that the behavior of each litter is somewhat different.

   So I enjoyed my visitors and was finally able to cut my grass, clean the rhubarb patch and really soak the tomatoes.

Saturday, August 4, 2012

Bunny #3 is Discovered

      I found bunny #1 in my tomatoes the day after his birth on July 23rd. I've been trying to avoid watering him when I water tomatoes. This morning I checked tomato patch very carefully. He wasn't in his favorite spot. So I thought he's a big boy I guess he left my yard. I began energetically watering my tomatoes. You guessed it. Bunny # 1 got watered again.

     I accidentally found bunny # 2 when I was cleaning up the rhubarb patch. I see him occasionally as I walk by.

     Today I scared up bunny number 3 and it was a little more violent than the other two. I was cutting grass and got about 2 m from the large bleeding heart and a terrified little bunny left in a hurry. He went about 8 or 9 m  over to the tomatoes and found some cover. What a surprise! I had guessed that all four would be in the yard. I wasn't going to search for them and I'm surprised that I found them.

    These little guys are about four times the size when they were born  and they are now 13 days old. I can't get pictures as they are tightly under cover. I am also surprised that they have stayed in one spot. I always thought they moved around. So these little guys have taught me much about their life stages.

Wednesday, August 1, 2012

The Bunnies are Still Here

     Eight days ago I reported on the birth of four jack rabbits in my Yard. I further posted about one of the liverets (babies) I found in the yard. This little guy is still sitting in my tomatoes and my wife's afraid he's going to die. Don't worry his Mommy knows where he is and comes back every night to feed him. He has tripled his size so he's doing well.

    I had always thought and read that these little guys left the area of their birth. I thought they traveled more  so I'm very surprised to see this guy holding his spot in my tomato patch. I watered him a couple of times and then he found a secure spot. I checked on him several  times a day. I found he was terrified of the garden hose when I tried to fill the bird bath. I'm painting the fascia on the house. I put up a very noisy ladder. When I checked the little guy was gone so I was a little sad that he had disappeared on me. This morning I found him right back in his favorite spot.

    I have a large overgrown rhubarb patch and I started to clean it up this morning and suddenly there was a second bunny. I suspicioned that they would all be in the yard but I wasn't going to search for them. 

    Now Colin in Australia is going to be chortling with glee as he has been forecasting dire problems from these little guys. The jack rabbits that I'm observing are not rabbits but hares. These guys are born fully furred with their eyes open. Rabbits when born are not covered with fur and their eyes are closed. The jack rabbit is fairly large compared to rabbits. 

    So these little guys never cease to surprise me. At about age two weeks they start to move more. Nursing stops at about thirty days.