Wednesday, August 31, 2016

I Got One!

      I like blogs with good photography. I particularly like photos of birds, animals, plants, insects ,scenery and lots more.

     Now I try to take pictures of  things from the list above. Well , I've not been very successful. I'm too impatient. I don't want to sit quietly and wait for the subject to pose for me.

    Now the other day a golden opportunity came my way. It was a cool day and I found a dragonfly on my shed door. I raced in for my camera. Yep, he was still there when I got back. I took some quick photos and took my camera back in the house. When I came back out the dragonfly was gone, so I took a photo of a living dragonfly.

    Now here's where I really suck. I'm not able to identify and dragonflies. I'm looking for people who will identify my dragonfly.

Saturday, August 27, 2016

My Zinnias Perform Well

    Well, I think they're Zinnias. I could stand to be corrected. If I'm wrong, I know people will very kindly correct me.

    This is the first year I grew zinnias. Gardens and plants around here are short in variety. How come I grew zinnias?

     Well, I've only grown white petunias in my carport planter and this year I planned to grow petunias in the carport planter. In fact, I bought some petunias as bedding plants.

     One day in the spring my neighbor came over and asked me if I wanted some seeds. His sister is a seed distributor and had given him some out of date seeds. Neighbor didn't have any use for him. These were the type of seeds that are implanted on a piece of fabric and all you had to do was lay the strip on the ground and carefully cover it with the correct depth of soil. He gave me Alyssum and another variety of seed. I planted all the seeds in the one variety and threw the package away. I didn't expect any of them to grow. I watered the carport planter very well. I didn't water the Alyssum that much. The seeds I didn't know the name of germinated and grew well. None of the Alyssum germinated. They have been blooming for three weeks and they are zinnias. 

     Now the big surprise is that the micro manager really likes the variety of colors of the zinnias.  Now she wants to plant zinnias again next year. Fine by me.

    But the next time somebody gives me some seeds to plant , I'll keep the package.

Thursday, August 25, 2016

Do Your Research , Red

      In my previous post about the fish, I was missing some information. That information was supplied very quickly after I posted  My former colleague, Rae informed me that this was a combination art and science project. It's called artist in residence. For the whole week this artist takes over the art and science classes. At the end of the week they have many colorful fish and have learned about water and fish.

     Schools here are on a school based budget.They have money for special projects so they bring people or groups in for  week for a special project.

     My son's very best girl told me there was one of these projects at a school she is familiar with and another person reported seeing a streams mural on a school fence.

     So the next time I had better do more research when I post on one of my discoveries or I could just say that I learned much more by doing the post.

    Now do some of you have a Streams mural at your school?

Tuesday, August 23, 2016

Surprising What is There When You Look

      A few weeks ago someone posted about a mural on a fence. Aha, I said. I know where there's something similar beside me.

       About 3 or 4 years ago an interesting art piece was placed on my neighborhood school fence. For about a 100 m a pattern of fish were attached to the fence. I thought, "Well, that looks nice but I wonder what it is." Well, I kept driving by the school 5 or 6 times a week. I always noticed the fish.

       Now the fish were bright colors and many shapes. From the road it looked like they were ceramics. I was impressed.

      I could only think that it was a very interesting school art project. So with the post a few weeks ago I decided I had to take a look at the fence mural. One afternoon I took my camera to take a look.

      I was impressed. It was a project to teach kids about fish conservation. I'm sure the kids learned about different kinds of fish and fish habitat. They probably learned about fish anatomy. And the art project was a big part. I'm sure the kids will remember what they learned for a long, long time.

      Someone cut out basic fish shapes from plywood. It looks like there were 5 or 6 different shapes and I'm sure each kid would get one of each pattern to paint. Some kids tried to paint a realistic fish such as speckled trout. Some were very, very good. Others had some very imaginary patterns.

      So I've been driving by an interesting project for three or four years missing out on it's significance. How many other people have been passing by and not investigated?

       So hats off the the kids, teachers and school for creating a very interesting project.


Saturday, August 20, 2016

Tell Tale Signs

     I had a couple of mysterious callers at my place the last few weeks. They both left evidence that explained what was going on.

     I live on a corner. It's a handy shortcut for all kinds of reasons.  Kids cut across with their bikes. The odd car has cut across. I'm sure many people walk across and I never see them. Then all kinds of critters take advantage of a good short cut.

     A couple of weeks ago we had one of those nights with lots of thunder, lightning and rain. I went for the paper early in the morning. I noticed there was black material on my drive way right by the corner of the house. I thought it was mud but didn't know why it would be there. I went out. Yes, it was mud. Somebody was going across my yard and accidentally stepped in the flower bed. There was a petunia thrown on the grass. I wondered where it came from. I couldn't see any petunias that were missing. After a long time it hit me. It came from a hanging pot.

     Yesterday I looked out the front window and there was more black stuff. This time it was lighter and I was sure the stuff was deer poop.    So I went out to check and sure enough some deer was crossing my yard in the night and just had to leave a deposit at that place.
    So no problem. somebody took a shortcut across my yard. What got into his head to pull the petunia  out, I don't know. Many deer are in the area in the winter. I was surprised the deer were around in the summer. The sneaky devils always prowl around at night.

    So I had two unseen visitors that left some evidence to tell a story.

Photo by Bonnie Mullin

Thursday, August 18, 2016

Some Touch up on My House

      I have lived in my house since 1970. The house was built in 1963 so it's been around a while.

      I've been able to work at maintenance and keep it in good condition.

      The house is brick with wood trim. I've been able to paint the trim and keep it in good condition. However, the time has come to stay off ladders as much as possible. The wood and eave troughs have lived their life and it was time something major was done.

      We decided to replace the eave troughs cover the gable ends and  fascia with aluminum. We had the roof redone several months ago.

      So it's done and we are quite happy with it. We wish we'd done it ten years ago when we talked about it. It really improves the look of the house.

The eave trough guys were fast

A 65 ish Clifford was very slow but careful and thorough. He did a fine job.

Tuesday, August 16, 2016

Super Paper Delivery

     Ron has delivered my daily paper for at least 10 years. I couldn't have had better delivery even if I delivered them myself. 

     Ron has some challenges in this life. Physically his walking is labored and his strength is limited. That doesn't stop Ron. 

     Ron has done 3 or 4 routes at a time. With his short slow steps this takes a long time. Rain or shine my paper is delivered. At times it's not delivered on time because he has so many papers to deliver.

     Over the years Ron has always used a shopping cart to haul his papers. Papers are very heavy . The shopping cart is very hard to push through snow and is awkward to maneuver around driveway approaches. Sometimes he puts maximum effort into pushing through snow. Sometimes people steal his shopping cart.

     When Ron first started delivering my house number was on my paper. Ron's wife would go through each route and write the house number on the paper. This way papers were delivered accurately . Now he remembers all places to deliver. You get notes everyday as to new drops , cancelled subscriptions or people being away.

      To add to Ron's challenge, he packs groceries at one of the grocery stores. That's how he gets the shopping cart.

      Now Ron has fun doing papers. He likes to dress up for special days. So for most of Dec. he wears a Santa Claus hat. Have any of your paper boys worn a Santa Claus hat? So St. Patrick's he finds a green hat. Sometimes it's a flamboyant scarf!

      Ron likes a visit and is always sharp with a kibitz. He tells me when the deer visit my house.

      A few years ago the paper went to a night or early morning delivery where the routes would be much longer and vehicles would be used. Delivery people would pick their papers up from a central point. Good bye Ron. Ron doesn't have a car. However , Ron protested and insisted he be given a route. Well, they couldn't deny Ron. He picks papers up about 1:00AM. He delivers to my house around 2:00Am. Now that's a challenge. He has a short sleep and then he's off to pack groceries.

     How do I know all this stuff about papers? I delivered papers for a couple of years in my retirement. It was a fun job...lots of good visits.

     So , for somebody with handicaps. Ron does a super job. If more people were as persistent as Ron they'd be better off.

Saturday, August 13, 2016

Some People are Huge Influences in Your Life

      A fellow died this week who was a very major influence in my life. I only saw Roy 4 or 5 times in my life but one of his decisions changed my life forever. I always knew where Roy was but I did not have any contact with him. I taught his two boys and a few years ago bumped into his wife on the bike trails.

     In 1969 we applied for adoption. At that time the province handled all adoptions under the social development Dept. They had very strict protocol to follow in assessing if a couple would be suitable parents for adoption.

     Roy was our guy. He had to go through the procedure and make sure that all information was collected. In our application we had to include the usual information on date and place of birth and much more. We had to give our family background. My wife's family was anything but normal. We had to provide a number of references. We had just moved to a new town and didn't know anybody so references had to be from people who were far away. My wife was born in England but had become a Canadian citizen. We worried about these things. Rumors abounded about how tough it was to be accepted as a parent for adoption.

     Then came the big interview and home inspection. The interview was relaxed and informal but took about 2 hours and a few cups of coffee. They really looked through your house. You had to provide financial information.

     After all that he said it would be about 2 months before we would hear yes or no. We were on edge for the two months but we were accepted.

     So having children and parenting  has been one of the most rewarding  parts of my life. It  also changed my whole life. From that time on someone depended on me and I had to be a responsible provider.

    Now I know that more than just Roy was involved in the decision to accept us as parents who were suitable to adopt children, but I like to think that Roy had a large part in the decision.

   So with Roy's passing this week it was one more time for reflection on my life.

Wednesday, August 10, 2016

A Pleasant Surprise

     First, I'm easily surprised. Second, I like a surprise.

     I've know Patsy , who lives one street over, for many years. Her husband was a teacher and I taught all three of her kids. Patsy does a lot of walking and usually has a little dasch hound or two. We wave and every two years or so I stop and visit. Patsy usually has the same friend , Carrie,  walking with her. So this is all very normal stuff.

     Carrie is on a naturalist facebook page that I administer. Carrie comments on my photos and posts. Carrie also contributes some awesome photos.  So I had a last name for Carrie. It didn't ring a bell as it is a married name

    Now the micro manager walks a bit. The micro manager also knows Patsy. The micro manager is a champion visitor so when she meets Patsy there's a big visit. On one of those sidewalk visits it came out that Carrie was Patsy's daughter! 

   What a pleasant surprise!

   I was not thinking daughter at all. Usually there is some resemblance from a middle school student in the adult. Carrie obviously knew who I was but didn't identify herself and probably thought I knew her or should have known her.

    So the next time I saw Carrie out for her walk I stopped for a visit. She was waiting for me to stop.

    Now I meet many former students. They have some reservations. The biggest reservation is that I will not remember them. It would hurt a former student if you had no recollection of them. Another reservation is that some former students hesitant because of their perception of their own behaviour. Former students quite often think that they were poorly behaved. I looked beyond the poor behaviour . Yes, I had to deal with misbehaviour but I rarely let that be the defining characteristic of the person.

    Now I hope I'll meet a few more former students. It's always a pleasant surprise.

Monday, August 8, 2016

I Like the Power in Clouds

        We had a hot and cloudy afternoon. It was one of those afternoons where it looked like a good thunderstorm could happen any minute.

         Around 6:30 PM a thunder cell formed and grew rapidly. It disappeared just as rapidly an hour later without one drop of rain.

        When I see the cloud build up I think of the tremendous energy that it takes to build the cloud and pile it up. I also like the beauty and movement as things build up.

      You really need a horizon to show off a cloud. My neighbor's trailer isn't a pretty horizon.

Friday, August 5, 2016


      I was in a classroom teaching before my 19th birthday. I remember very clearly being in a teacher seminar when they were discussing retirement and what the requirements were for full retirement. 

      Now an 18 year old is not going to be able to get his head around retirement. Apparently they were showing teachers a formula that would give them the time when they could retire on full pension. I remember the numbers I got when I used the formula. It was 1958 and I would qualify for full retirement in 1995. Now for an 18 year old kid  in 1958 , 1995 was an impossibly long way off. It was something I could not wrap my head around. I was too busy having fun at the moment.

     Well, time moved on. In fact, time moved on very quickly and 1995 did occur. As time was moving on I seldom thought about retirement. I was too busy. The teaching load was heavy. I was involved with professional development for teachers. I went to every conference I could find. I even went to a conference in Washington D.C. in 1992.

    I did not qualify for full retirement in 1995 but finally retired in 1997. 

    Now time really flies! I've been retired for 19 years. Looking back to the start of retirement seems like yesterday. Looking back to when I was 18 seems like an unbelievably long time ago. It was. It was a very different time. 

     Who could have imagined that when I retired the world would be so much different. Technology changed things. The economy changed our economic status. I taught through the best of times as far as the economy was concerned. 

     I've been fortunate to have a pension and to have defined benefits. What did I know about this as an 18 year old? 

     I  wish that 18 year olds today could look ahead and see the same opportunities that I had.

    So perspectives give one a different point of view.

    Here I am as an 18 year old with my first class. 

    Here I am in the summer of 2016 ...58 years apart.

Wednesday, August 3, 2016

Where Should We go to Eat?

     When I was a child eating in a restaurant only happened when we went to a distant town (30 mi) for a day's shopping. Sometimes we took sandwiches and ate in the car. So it was a big treat to eat in a restaurant.

     As a young person I had a few bucks of extra money. You know how teen agers can eat. So it didn't matter what time of day you could always tuck away a hamburger. I remember eating in mid afternoon and later in the evenings. In those days most places were closed by 10:00 PM.

    As a young broke couple we rarely ate out. By that time the chains had been established. We had fast food such as A&W. 

    With young kids there was another challenge. It was easier to eat at home.

    With older children we ate out once a week and everybody had a week for their choice of restaurant.

    Now my kids are gone many years ago. We didn't eat out much.

    Now that we're older we,ve got tired of cooking and so eat out more often. However, I still prefer home cooked meals even if they are very simple.

    So this post has got to where I planned. We have an awful time to decide where to go to eat. One of will say I like Chinese food. The other doesn't like Chinese food. One of us likes Mexican. The other doesn't . So for starters we agree on very little as far as food is concerned. 

    So the discussion goes on and then out come the coupons and that complicates things again. In our town there is a shortage of good restaurants. There are a couple of fancy places. These days most other restaurants are chains. There are a few Vietnamese that are private. 

    So sometimes we find a place that will have enough choices that we both find something we like. For example, one place has a great soup and salad bar and also great steak sandwiches. Sometimes we can make a compromise. 

   So for eating out there's more pleasure than just the eating out. There's lots of fun to decide where you will eat.

    How about you? Is it easy to find a place to eat?

At the Ranch House with the eboys.