Wednesday, June 26, 2013

Another Walk in the Woods

     Yesterday I went for another walk in the woods. I was still looking for the Wood lily. I didn't find one. I think I'm going to have to look in another area. They need some open woods and where I'm going has really grown in the last ten years.

    However, my walk was not wasted. Last time I forgot to photograph the trail. Birds were very active. So were the mosquitoes. I did pick out three plants that I could not identify and one of my old favorites.

I know I went by a million wild roses so here's just one

Seneca root

Northern bed straw

     I also found a pale comandra but I see I didn't end up with a photo.

Up hill but I'll pass the bench

Continuing up hill.

Ominous storm clouds

The Red Deer River is running very high.

So it was a good afternoon. There were some dark storm clouds. There were a bazillion mosquitoes. I had a good look at the Red Deer River which is in flood stage. We do not have the flooding like Calgary.

Tuesday, June 25, 2013

Baby Red-necked grebes Have Arrived

     Three posts ago I showed you a direct look at Red-necked grebe nest. some of you wee interested in what the hatchlings would look like. I knew I would never get pictures as they don't stay long at the nest.

     People at the Nature Center did get pictures when the eggs hatched. So I'll give you a link that will take you to the baby grebes. My friend Kathryn wrote the blog and my friend Doug Pedersen took the pictures.

      Look hard to see the little guys and I hope you enjoy their post.

Thursday, June 20, 2013

My Picnic Was Cancelled Today

    Today was a nasty, cold, rainy windy day. We had a picnic scheduled for our ice skater's group. Because of the weather the picnic was cancelled.

Long retired skaters like to come back for a visit

More pleasant picnics.

    Now I like picnics so I was disappointed that the picnic was cancelled. It was my favorite kind of picnic where we roast wieners over a fire. 

    My liking for this type of picnic goes back a long way to when I was in early grade  school. On the last day of the school year we would have a wiener roast and it was a big deal. The school trustees supplied the goodies. We had to get our own wiener sticks . There were no fancy metal forks in the days of my youth. This meant we had to go out in the brush and cut a proper stick that would hold a wiener. Some of us got a fancy forked stick. Others found the biggest stick they could cut off with their jack knife. Some wanted willow. Others wanted a curved stick. Everybody bragged that their stick was best. There were play fencing episodes with the newly cut sticks.

    So the time to roast hot dogs  arrived. Some found that the stick they had carefully selected was a failure and the wiener dropped off in the fire. The style of cooking went from totally charred to barely warm. Into the bun went the wiener. Mustard? Oh ya! 

    So as a little eight year old I started enjoying my hot dog. I had the hot dog, my treasured stick and a pop to look after at the same time.  So a little mustard got on my fingers. Another hot dog. More mustard. Now some mustard  is on my shirt. So it was a very exciting time eating, drinking and running around. I would get home with lots of mustard on my shirt and some on my pants.

     Now girls don't behave this way. Girls have things under control and no mustard gets on their clothes. Mothers know about boys and hot dogs. Mothers know how much work it is to clean mustard off a shirt. I remember bringing my son home from cubs. I debated whether he should go in with other gross material that was discarded. However, I didn't have the heart to leave him with the trash.

     Now back to my cancelled picnic and how I got on about school hot dog picnics. On occasion our school outdoor picnic had to be cancelled as we would have a day like today. So the great event was held in the school. The great old Waterman and Waterman heater in the corner of the classroom was lit and functioned as our campfire and all the shenanigans occurred indoors. 

    Now come to think of it, I don't think much has changed. I still get home with mustard on my shirt!

Tuesday, June 18, 2013

A Walk in the Woods

     On Sunday I went for a walk in the woods as I really wanted to see some Wood lilies.

    There are wood lilies here . Sometimes you have to look pretty hard and at other times you get lucky. The time they bloom seems to vary a bit. I came up empty on my wood lily search.

     After I got through the woods trail I walked up a trail which follows the escarpment. It was an old utility road but when the sanctuary was established In the late 1980's it made an excellent trail. The road has grown in and you can find a number of wild flowers at the edge of the trail.

    I was quite surprised to find an abundance of yellow lady slippers.  They have been planted but the area would have had lady slippers. The lady slippers appear to be doing well.

Yellow lady slippers doing well.

    Then I found a blue flower that I had heard people talking about on other field trips. So what I found was blue eyed grass. I see why people rave about it as the blue color is spectacular. The stem is flat like a shoe lace.

Next time remind me to get on my belly to take a photo of blue eyed grass.

    The roses are just stating to bloom. Soon all the edges of woodlands will be decorated with roses.

These are very common at this time of year.
    So I didn't find my wood lily and I will have to go for another walk and I'll probably find a few more things I wasn't expecting.


Saturday, June 15, 2013

Red-necked Grebe Nest

     A pair of Red-necked Grebes has established a nest right beside the viewing platform on West Gaetz Lake. The viewing platform can be busy with people but it doesn't seem to disturb the birds . I fact it almost looks like they are begging.

    Red-necked Grebes are very common here. Usually you see a nest 15-20 m(45-60 ft.) off shore. They are very visible at that distance. For this nest , you are right above them ...about 2 m (6 ft).

   Unless I would be right there when the eggs hatch I would not see the new grebes. The little fellows leave right away and ride on the parent's back even when the parent dives.

This bird was right in the area of the nest ready to trade sitting duties.

Patiently waiting an exchange

Away I go. There was a lot of squawking when the bird came off the nest . The bird coming off the nest left the area immediately.

The usual messy nest just above water level

And finally settling down for brooding duty.

Friday, June 14, 2013

A personal Rant.

    Usually I'm fairly upbeat and see the glass as half full rather than half empty.

    A decision our city council took recently saddens me because it did not support a group of people who not only need support but deserve it.

    For some time native individuals and groups have been talking about establishing a Friendship Center. Many other cities have aboriginal friendship centers and many different groups have established friendship centers. A friendship center sounds like a good deal to me.

    So the group set up a plan as to what the Friendship center would do. They set up a business plan. They researched funding. 

    Next came finding a site for the center. This is where the wheels fell off the bus. 20 sites were considered. Of course, a site was chosen. But could they have chosen any worse site. A site was found in an industrial land which also encroached on some park land. Now this site is away from other groups and transportation would be a problem . Buses don't run to industrial areas in this town. This would be a lose lose situation. 

    So my take on this is that it's the same nonsense as John A. Macdonald practiced when aboriginals were put on reserves. Find the poorest , junkiest land and make it a reserve. If it's got stones...give it to the Indians. Make sure there's lots of bush and sloughs. Throw in a little alkali. So our city is behaving like governments of 150 years ago.

   I believe the Center should be in a main part of the city. It allows easy access for friends to gather and also go to other facilities. Other friendship groups have very suitable sites. Elks, Moose, Foresters, Legion, Masons  all have centers. They earned and deserved good sites and have made good use of them. None of them are put a way in an industrial area. 

   Sometimes there is just a right thing to be done. Forget about all the whiners and NIMBYs. Something needs to be done right. Let's just suck it up and do it. Quit worrying about getting elected to council again . Just do what has to be done.

Wednesday, June 12, 2013

Congratulations to Darlin at: My Life for a Year.

     A blog that I follow is "My Life for a Year" by Darlin. Darlin does a short post most days on what goes on in her life. Today  the topic was walking the dog and whether you walked the dog or the dog walked you. She has excellent photos and can tell things in a positive very perky way. 

  Darlin does give out her age but I can't remember what she said. She's still on the best side of the big 5 0. This year she finished an arts degree at the University of Calgary. Most of it was done on line.  Darlin was excited to go to the convocation and celebrate with her adult children or maybe it was her adult children celebrating with her. Finishing a degree as an adult is a challenge. You've been out of school for a long time. Sometimes your school experience wasn't positive. 

     Darlin was so pumped about her success that she registered in a masters program.

     So this is my opportunity to tell you about a neat blog.

    Now several weeks after the convocation the Metis had their own ceremony for Metis graduates from the University of Calgary. So it's nice to see a special cultural group celebrate the success of their members.

    Darlin was overwhelmed when she was given an award for the student overcoming great difficulties. So congratulations to Darlin. After all that she still has a huge smile on her face.

      So go over to Darlin's blog and look at the colorful symbolic celebration. While you're there look around at other posts. I'm sure you'll find something you like.

Tuesday, June 11, 2013

My First Peony This Year

     A few days ago I noticed somebody commenting that the best of their peony blooms were over.

     So yesterday when  I found one peony bloom completely open, I thought wow! I finally get to enjoy my own peonies. 

     So without any more fanfare here is my first peony bloom of the year!

Rich lush hues of the peony

And it looks like he has a little brother and a whole lot more baby brothers to come.

     This plant is at least 42 years old. I've had to trim it down to size several times and have given parts away for other people to start a peony of their own.

Thursday, June 6, 2013

Ghost # 10 (the last one)

   The last ghost is not downtown but in a park. I was waiting to take a photo until I started riding by ghost # 10. A few nights ago I went by Doris and Mickey.

Doris holding Mickey

     Doris and Mickey are not just a local story but a national story. Doris Forbes and her family lived close to a nearby creek. In the 1930's they found a lost beaver kit and took it home. The beaver kit took to the family and Mickey lived with the Forbes family all his life. He lived in the house like any other pet and went into they yard as he pleased. They had a supply of water for him and found lots for him to eat. Mickey was a tourist attraction.

    Red Deer also had a very prolific writer, Kerry Wood,  who wrote on natural history. Kerry Wood wrote the story of Mickey and the beaver. In the early 1950's a school anthology was put together for gr. 4 or 5 to teach the reading program. In other words the story was included in a "reader" that was used across Canada. So the story of Mickey and Doris was well known all across Canada. Mickey the Beaver was one of my favorite stories and I read it many times when I had finished my work.

     When I took these pictures the other night I continued riding. 3 km further a beaver ran across the trail in front of me. By the time I realized what was happening, stopped my bike, got the camera out, the beaver was gone! So it was almost another good part to the story.

    The statue is located quite close to the area where Doris Forbes lived. 

Tuesday, June 4, 2013


    Sometimes I need a little help with my appreciation of art. Here's an example.

This is Be-bop

Be-bop was done by Richard Tosczak 

This is a playful piece with movement that goes one way and then another.
      This is welded steel and is to indicate strong fluid motion.(I read the book!) 

       It is an attractive piece and if you look at it for a few minutes you will definitely start thinking.

      I hope you enjoy this piece.

Saturday, June 1, 2013

Lilac Time

    Late May and early June can be a peak season for lush fresh green growth. Along with that goes the top of the season for blooms.

Lilacs just coming into bloom

Another pair of beauties.
       When I bought my house in 1970 , there was a straggly little lilac on one corner very close to the house. Even I could tell that a shrub this close to the house wouldn't work. I contemplated throwing it away. I moved it and it has thrived. It has a very dark color and you see very few this shade. 

     The lilac is about 12 ft high so I've been trying to trim it back so the whole bush looks a little rough.

     Since this lilac is right beside the side walk, over the years I have noticed pieces disappear when it's in bloom. I don't mind if someone takes a bouquet. One day one of my neighbors came with her plant shears and told me how much she liked my lilac and could she get a bouquet. Sure! Help yourself. Then she admitted that she had taken bouquets before. She came for quite a few years and got a bouquet. I don't think she's been here for a couple of years so I'm going to have to cut a bouquet and take them to her.