Saturday, April 30, 2016

Apology From Hiawatha House

      This morning when I was publishing comments I hit delete by mistake. I'm sorry that I deleted nine comments. 

      So if you don't see your comment you will know what happened to it.

Friday, April 29, 2016

Dorothy's Story

      Dorothy is a very feisty, energetic independent 89 year old who lives in her own house by herself. Three times a week she drives her little truck 30 miles return to visit her husband who is on personal care.

       Dorothy is a fierce defender of parks and land set aside for natural areas. Her knowledge of native plants and animals is vast. There's very little she hasn't seen or done. She's been a great mentor for me.

       The other night we were at a naturalist meeting and she said, "I've just got to tell you this story. Only a group like this would appreciate it."

      Tuesday was garbage day and at 9:30 AM Dorothy set out the garbage. She left her kitchen and went out the passage door of the garage. Of course, she left both doors open. Her neighbors have been complaining about mice. As Dorothy entered her kitchen she saw something flash and thought "Oh boy, I've got a mouse." A second look showed her that the flash in her house was a least weasel. These are little guys about 4 in long.

Image result for least weasel photo

      The weasel scampered into her bedroom. Dorothy quickly closed the door to isolate him while she thought of something to do.

      She had an appointment right away so decided to leave the weasel locked in the bedroom , so she thought, while away on her appointment.

      When Dorothy came back she peaked in the bedroom to see if her visitor was still there. Well, yes he was , curled up in her blankets and looking out at her. So the door was closed again for Dorothy to think some more.

     A few hours later , she thought she'd look again. This time the weasel scampered off the bed into the closet. Dorothy grabbed all the bedding and took it outside hoping the weasel was in the bedding and would stay outside. No way.

      Well, maybe the weasel could be chased out. In her words. "The darn thing would come in and out of the closet." Dorothy sat on the bed to think. The cheeky little beggar jumped up on the bed and came over beside her and looked up at her. The weasel would actually sit on her lap. Every time Dorothy moved the weasel took off. This plan was going nowhere.

      Dorothy decided to get a bag and her leg brace. The curious weasel inspected the bag and finally went in whereupon Dorothy quickly stamped on the bag opening trapping the weasel inside. The knee brace was to secure the top of the bag and off she went outside with her little friend. It was midnight and Dorothy started at nine.

     Dorothy could hardly tell her story as she was so amused by what had happened with the little weasel.

      Now weasels have a bit of a reputation. They are fierce with their prey and people are afraid of them. With humans they are very curious and do no harm. I'm afraid I could not do what dorothy did even if I know the weasel is friendly

Tuesday, April 26, 2016

It's Party Time Tonight on the House!

     Yes, this is the first party at Hiawatha House! Everybody is invited. See the big crowd behind me? They all have their hands raised and are clapping!

      I wish!

       But there is a milestone of sorts on Hiawatha house tonight.

      This is my one thousandth post! How about that?

       I started Hiawatha House in 2008. I think I wrote two posts.

      In 2009 I wrote about 50 posts, but most of my time was taken in discovering how blogger worked. I wore out a copy of "Blogging for Dummies."

      I don't remember 100 posts of 500 posts. I do remember looking at 880 and thinking,"This is getting close to 1000 posts.

     When I started in 2008 I had no idea what was involved in writing a blog. I only knew that I wanted to write and keep up some writing skills.

     I think it was about 30 or 40 posts before I got a comment. I was surprised by the notification as I didn't know that's how you got a comment. The comment really excited me. Jen at Cottage Country Reflections was the first blogger to make a comment. Connie at Far Side of Fifty was the next to visit and make a comment. These two will never know how much encouragement was  given just because of the comments.

     The 1000 posts have been a lot of fun. I've met many fantastic people through the blog. Relationships developed through blogging have been quite unbelievable.

    I never ever thought that I would write 1000 posts!

    So tonight is a happy time.

Sunday, April 24, 2016

It Was a Cold and Nasty Day

      We've been cruising along through March and April with above average temperatures. It's been downright pleasant. It's a long time since we had overnight frost. It's been windy from time to time but overall very pleasant. It's been so pleasant that I've ridden 100 km (62 mi) on my bike. One day we had a high of 27C (83 F) .

     So this was not normal April weather. We usually get snow and lots of overnight frost. We can also get very nasty blizzards. 

     Well, it had to end. It cooled off Friday. Yesterday morning when I went birding it was miserable 4 C(37 F). In the afternoon it started to rain and about 6:00 Pm snow started and turned to huge wet flakes. Most of the snow melted as it hit the ground. We did accumulate about 2.5 Cm (1 in).

     So it was just a matter of time before we got some cold and nasty weather in April. ...and we could still get more.
      Now it got to 0 C. As you can see the bleeding heart is developing quickly. If it cools off slowly these hardy plants can withstand lots of frost as most the moisture leaves the plant cells so the cell doesn't expand and break.

Friday, April 22, 2016

The Loon

     I have been silent for a few days as a topic wasn't coming to me. I wanted to continue with another bird topic. I couldn't find what I wanted.

    So in my research I happened to find a couple of things that I had forgotten. The common loon is being considered for becoming Canada's national bird. The loon is a fascinating creature with it's captivating call. I have camped by lakes with some resident loons. They start early in the morning and it's hard to ignore them. Many times they call is in the night. However, the call is haunting and well known and remembered by those who hear it.

     The loon is also a distinctive shape and does the disappearing act by diving and staying under water and then quietly surfacing in another area. The coloration is as well known as it's call.

     Our one dollar coin has a loon  on it and we love to call the coin a looney. Have you got a looney? Now I should have remembered that the loon on our one dollar coin and is one of our favorite birds and one of the birds being considered for our national bird.

     Loon also stands for some derogatory meaning. Crazy as a loon. Looney.

     So I hope that the loon gets chosen for our national bird. We're one of the few countries without a national bird.

     Alberta' provincial bird is the great horned owl. I remember the process of making that choice. They wanted children to make the choice so programs were set up in the school for kids to make the choice.

     Now our national mammal is well known and has been for a long time.

Sunday, April 17, 2016

Formal or Informal

     Yesterday I took a birding group out for two hours on very beautiful day. We found lots of birds : black capped chickadee, crow, magpie, robin, cedar waxwing, downy woodpecker, red breasted nuthatch, white breasted nuthatch, mallards, red tailed hawk, house sparrow and an unidentified gull. The gull was about 2000 ft above us. 

      Now somebody gave us a bit of a lesson as some of us , including me, usually say seagull instead of gull! So smarty pants told us that there's no sea around us and to remember it that way.

      If you look this up you find that seagull is informal and gull is the proper term as there are many species of gull. So there!

      As a little guy I spelled seagull as "seagle" as in eagle. Now that goes too far and is just plain wrong even if you are in gr. two.

      There are many other situations where we have a formal usage and an informal usage. So if we are writing in a formal style we would use the formal term.

       So do you have examples of formal and informal terms?


Wednesday, April 13, 2016

Our town Has an Anti-bullying Bylaw

        Our town has an anti-bullying bylaw and yesterday someone was convicted and fined $500.00 under this bylaw. The person convicted? A 79 year old senior who uses a cane for walking!

        I know this senior well as he lives two blocks from me. He constantly complains about the neighbors around him. (They're all idiots!) He complains about the police. (They're all real idiots.) He complains about local politicians.(They're all total idiots.) His complaints have escalated over the 15 years since he has been retired.

       Now this guy would complain about his neighbors over many things: parking in front of his place, noise, neighbor's trees, neighbor's  kids playing. He would yell at kids going by. He walked into a neighbor's house without permission. He also walked into my house without being asked in. 

       Now he constantly called police and bylaw officers to make complaints.  As far as I know none of his neighbors were ever charged. He wormed his way into top police officers to complain about his neighbors and that nothing was done about it. He talked to city officials and local politicians. No charges were laid and officials tried to reason with this man about how the situation should be handled.

      In the last two years he made 23 complaints to bylaw officers. Of course these complaints have to be investigated.

      The 23rd time bylaw officers were called was because a car was blocking his driveway. When the officer arrived there was no car blocking the driveway. That's when the officer laid the bullying charge. This man constantly used officers to harass and bully his neighbors. None of us appreciate a visit from a bylaw officer about a complaint. When the complaint is without merit we really get upset.  People were really being bullied by his use of city officials. Officers time was taken from other work. 

      Now his behaviour could have been handled under more serious charges. The whole episode is very sad. Somehow, I don't think the $500.00 fine is going to solve anything. I would think he will probably become a bigger nuisance. Some people won't allow themselves to be helped. Living in urban areas we have to be flexible and have a little give and take and common sense. Common sense was lacking in this case.

City Hall Park

Monday, April 11, 2016

More Sound

      While I'm on the topic of sound or no sound, I should touch base with one of my original topics to post on.  On my very first post I listed some of the things I was interested in and would post on them from time to time.

      One of the topics was music. Pleasant sound! I don't think I've made very many posts about music. 

      My association with music is very limited. I'm not musical. I don't play any instruments and I can't sing. However, I do enjoy listening to music. My choice of music is very wide. In other words I listen to many different genres of music. That variety changes from time to time as new areas of music are discovered and once enjoyed music is forgotten.

     I like listening to radio where information is given about the music...lots of information...history, performers, techniques, how the music is put together, basic music. Music is much more meaningful when you know more about it. I like listening to Randy Bachman on CBC. He calls his show"Randy's Vinyl Tap." He plays good old rock and roll and has tons of obscure information and stories.

    Now I admit that I don't listen to modern commercial music at all. I am a way behind. I have excuses. Much of today's music is aimed at teens or young people. There's too much music to keep up in all genres. Some music I don't listen to such as modern country or rap. So I listen to radio stations that specialize in providing a wide variety of music and all kinds of background information. I started listening to much more jazz and blues. I like old time country and rock and roll. I like classical music. I've discovered classical religious music. Now I need a lot of help- to understand what's going on there

     I like to listen to music that doesn't have commercial success but it's out there and is played. There are many good local bands and singer/ songwriters. There are some odd ball music shows like Roy's Record Room which airs on CKUA. Roy plays music that was recorded on old discs. You never know if you're going to get country and western, blues jazz or anything else.

     So I'm not entirely about silence as I covered in my last post. I can listen to a lot of music in a day. I haven't downloaded much music but I realize there's lots out there to choose from.

     Now how about you? Do you have special musical talent?  Do you have just one variety of music that you follow? Any hints about some good music to listen to?

Saturday, April 9, 2016

I Love the Quiet

      The most peaceful moments for me are when it's quiet. Yes, I know I enjoy being by myself for long periods of time. I can go without talking so that when I talk again I can hardly recognize my voice. Ever hear a mouse rusting under the leaf litter? It has to be quiet to hear the mouse. Have you ever heard the little noises a nuthatch or woodpecker makes when it's within arm's length?  There are many sounds we never hear because it's too noisy.

       I turn my furnace off over night so that the furnace fan doesn't wake me up. I'd turn the fridge off if I could get away with it.

      Quiet times for me go back to growing up on prairie farm. We didn't have electricity. Just think of all the noise that would be absent if you didn't have electricity. The cook stove fire whispered quietly. The house creaked occasionally. That was it . It was quiet. Yes, we had a radio that used very sparingly. It was only noisy when kids played in the house.

    I had the backwoods cabin once! Then I moved and had to give it up. That cabin was quiet. Again, the only thing that made a whisper was the fire in the cook stove.

    When the power goes off in my house there is a pleasant peaceful feeling. Once in awhile the power went off at school and all the air conditioning stopped. The kids would stop talking. The quietness was beautiful.

     Large commercial buildings are incredibly noisy. Commercial buildings have huge echo power. Hospitals are terribly noisy. These building have nothing that will muffle sound.

    Airport terminals have thousands of people, air conditioning and many conveyor belt. T
here's also that PA system that is constantly giving messages. It's nerve wracking and confusing. Now I learned a big lesson when I left the Calgary airport and arrived in Lahue in Maui. There were thousands of people around me in the terminal but it was quiet. Machinery wasn't running. The terminal was open to the outside. People did not have to yell at each other and were very calm. I couldn't believe how quiet it was.
     Now I don't get to enjoy quietness very often but I always long for it.

    How about you? Do you enjoy the quiet or do you need  some noise around you to make you fell comfortable?

Thursday, April 7, 2016

The Ugliness Of Political Name Calling.

       Be it resolved that all politicians be prevented from name calling, and making any other untrue statements or depictions as in cartoons or photoshopping.

      Okay that's a rather rambling pie in the sky kind of resolution.

     I saw a cartoon on facebook that got me thinking about the issue of politicians slinging mud at each other.

     Now at the risk of roiling up one of my "rellies"
I will describe what I saw.

     The cartoon was produced around April 1. It showed our Prime Minister and April Fool written over him. This cartoon wasn't one of the more obnoxious ones but I thought , "How small does one have to be to create something insulting." Of course, the idea was to insult. 

     Political parties or their agents produce a steady stream of this crap. They put it out there and people copy it on their facebook page and in so doing the idea is promoted and distributed for free whether it is right or wrong. We are promoting this nonsense when we put it on our facebook page. If they didn't have free publicity there might be less negativity.

    Now the defence for the cartoon is that the Prime Minister's party does the same thing and started it. That's may true, but it's not a reason to carry on. No political party should indulge in such immature behaviour. School boys use the same excuse to keep wailing on each other. "He hit me first!" You have to separate them and send them packing in opposite directions and they forget about it in a few seconds. It's too bad we could not separate our politicians and send them in different directions for them to cool off.

    Just think how nice the world would be if we didn't have these buffoons calling each other names.
We might get something done in our country.

Tuesday, April 5, 2016

I'm Losin It OR I've Lost It!

    At lunch time the other day. I was doing the sudoku puzzle, listening to the noon radio show, drinking my coffee, discussing what groceries were needed and writing the grocery list. 

    Now it was discovered in my grocery list that I had spelled milk "mik" and chunky "junky". How could I do this when I had just done a post on spelling? I guess the spell check was not there to remind me.

     So my multitasking skills were not up to the usual standard. Maybe I'm losing it?

     I have noticed lately that some senior people get very anxious when they make a few errors , can't think of something or forget something easy. The stress level goes up and they immediately feel that they are descending into senior chaos.

     Don't be so fast. It is common for seniors to make momentary lapses. Stress makes it har
der for people to function.

    I have a better excuse. In 2008 I had an incident where I did not make any new memories for two hours. An investigation was made and no cause could be found for my global amnesia. 

    Two years later it happened again. One more test was given. It showed that I was having seizures. I doubted this very much. I'd had kids in school every year with seizures and what was happening to me was not a seizure, so I thought. I went home right after this diagnosis and checked on the internet. It took less then 30 seconds to find out that what I had was senior epilepsy. Much research has been done on this topic and many times senior moments are due to small seizures.

     I was put on medication and haven't had a problem since.

    So don't beat yourself up when you have momentary lapses. If it's a big lapse, then it's a major problem

    Keep on multitasking.

Saturday, April 2, 2016

I Found Another Treasure to Part With

      From time to time the Micro Manager and I talk about what's next to be included in the marathon of downsizing.

     The other day the poor old backpack bit the dust. I haven't used the backpack for 15  years and I'm never going to use it again. So easy decision. Somebody else might as well make use of it. The backpack was a good quality and large...90 liters! We carried food, clothing, cooking equipment, sleeping bag and a tent. We usually shared all equipment. It made sense to divide the tent up as well as food and cooking equipment. This bag had a large capacity and it got heavy. In my previous post, I'm leading the scouts and you see my nice red and blue backpack in action.

     So a couple of pictures for Kijiji and I'm in business.

     Now in posing for a photo I made a couple of discoveries. Either I lent the bag to some skinny guy or my pot has enlarged. Now I'm absolutely sure I didn't lend the bag to anybody. I also discovered I'm a little stiff in the shoulders as it was tough to get the backpack on. 

    So as well as getting rid of a treasure I discovered that I've changed a bit or maybe quite a bit.