Friday, June 30, 2017


     Yes, tomorrow is Canada's 150th birthday. There will be many celebrations and most will be different. I would like some day to attend festivities in Ottawa, the nation's capital.

     We now call the day Canada Day , but at one time it was called Dominion Day as we were the Dominion of Canada. Canada Day sounds much better.

    We are a young country as far as ages go. We were formed in 1867 by the joining of 4 areas:Ontario. Quebec, Nov Scotia, and New Brunswick. Shortly after that Prince Edward Island became a province. Then British Columbia, Manitoba, Saskatchewan , Alberta and Newfoundland. Newfoundland entered confederation in 1949. So you see it took over 100 years for the country to form and we still have three territories which may some day become provinces.

     The other thing I found interesting is that some of the provinces were very small at the beginning and took in more territory . Ontario was only a third the size it is now.

    So we've grown physically and population wise. The population was less than ten million when I was ten years old. I liked the small population.

    The world considers us to be nice. We are pleased to be considered nice.

     We are fairly tolerant. I'm proud of that. We accept diversity fairly well but I think we could do better.

      Canada is the best country for me to live in.

    So here we are marking a happy milestone and looking forward to more.

Wednesday, June 28, 2017


       Now before you get too carried away, I did not have a baby!

        I was not admitted because my wife had a baby. 

       There was no monstrous mistake.

       It was not some grand practical joke.

       But I swear I was genuinely admitted to a maternity ward.

       It has to do with health authorities wanting to make a health buck go as far as possible. Their creative ideas put me in the maternity ward.

       A few years ago my family doc decided that I should have sleep tests. A  sleep test to determine if I had sleep apnea.

       The good old health system had a plan. Since sleep tests are done at night and apparently babies come in the daytime , why not use the maternity ward for sleep tests. You stay over night and leave in the morning.

      So there I was checking into the maternity ward at 8:00 PM. 
       I was expecting to find all kinds of new mothers inhabiting the ward. I wasn't sure I was going to like this.

      The maternity ward was like a ghost town. They had no patients except on the second night there was one couple there in the evening.

      So the sleep test people were wired up to the test apparatus and tucked into bed by 10:00 PM. Hoping people would sleep with wires attached from top to bottom  was completely irrational. but I did stay in bed for the eight hour test. 

      I can't say that I had a good sleep but it was very quiet.

Monday, June 26, 2017


     Well, apologies to Hawaii for stealing a little of their song. Apologies to Webley Edwards for borrowing from his song. 

     But I just started thinking about "Blue Skies " as song titles or "blue skies" in the lyrics.

     Ella Fitzgerald did a super job on "Blue skies Smiling at Me" Many other people sang "blue skies smiling at me"

    Many other songs have a blue something or other in them such as "Blue suede Shoes", "Blue Moon in Kentucky"

    Well, today I'm not blue. I just happen to have got some photos of our blue skies. We are an oil producing area and our sky can get pretty grungy. Sometimes we get a big wind and there is a complete air change and we end up with blue skies. I happened to stop and get some blue skies on my camera.

     Now can you think of a song with "Blue Skies" in it.

Saturday, June 24, 2017


    Well, at least most North Americans like hot dogs!

    I had planned to have a wind up for my spring birdwatching group. The plan was hot dogs, squares and coffee. It wasn't to be. The windstorm we had closed the location I had chosen. Even plan B was not available because the area was closed.

   So I got thinking about hot dogs and school. When I was little in the one room country school we would have a wiener roast on the last afternoon of school. We were wound up as it was because it was the end of the year so hot dogs really hyped us up.

   These events were carefully planned. The teacher had some money from the trustees for this event. Plans were made well ahead of time. We were all asked how many hot dogs we wanted. I think three was the limit. Wieners were sold in bulk so the exact number could be purchased. We were also given a choice of the kind of pop we wanted. Oh ya, there were usually marsh mellows. On the appointed day, off we went (running) to a convenient bluff where we could get wood. Yes, these hot dogs were done over a campfire. None of these store bought forks for roasting. We looked around in the bush to find a suitable stick to use for roasting. We all had knives to cut the stick and sharpen an end to attach the hot dog. Much comparison of sticks took place before the fire was ready for roasting. some of the sticks were broken before they could be used. You get the drift. It was wild. How any of us came out of it with two eyes is a  wonder.

    Well it was a very exciting afternoon with kids full of food that spun them right out of control. Some wieners dropped off the young cook's sticks. Somebody always got bumped and lost a wiener. We usually fished the lost wiener out of the fire. Some kids like a lot of burn on the wiener. Each had their own preference.

   So while I was preparing a hot dog barbecue for my quiet birders, I thought back to the excitement we had as kids in school.

Thursday, June 22, 2017


     I had planned to do a post on summer solstice. I like special days and to me the summer solstice is a special day. I planned to get some photos to show our long day. I'm always impressed when the sun sets after 10 PM. Today the sun rose at 5:13 Am and sets at 10:00PM for a total of 16 hours and 47 minutes of sun.

    However my special post on summer solstice was not to be.

    Tuesday evening a vicious windstorm hit us again with gusts to 112 kph (70 mph) . Again there was damage done in my city. Many trees were blown down and this time buildings were damaged and about 5% of the city still does not have power. Windows were blown out in a few buildings and roof damage occurred . Some roofs were blown right off.

    Fortunately I did not have any damage. Across the street a large spruce came down and landed on a house. A large poplar branch 25 cm (10 in) diameter fell at the school and the same thing happened half a block away. Most schools were closed yesterday. 

   So this is the second major clean up this spring.

Monday, June 19, 2017


     For many, Father's Day has a tradition of a special breakfast, lunch or dinner. They are good times and traditional celebrations.  It's been interesting reading blogs and seeing what people did to celebrate Father's Day.

     Well, what did I do. I'm not big on going out to restaurants to celebrate. There are many more things I would rather do. Both my kids live very far away. I got a phone call from one and an email from the other. The phone call came just a few minutes before I was leaving.

    Yes, I was going out to one of the local parks that has natural habitat. I was actually going to one of the larger sanctuaries. Yes, this is what I would rather do. Surprise! Surprise! The Micro manager came with me. The Micro manager has not been feeling well at all so I as surprised she came.

   So in two hours I got my fix of flowers birds and critters. I didn't get a photo of a Richardson's ground squirrel (gopher) . It would have been easy but they entertained me and I forgot about a photo.


Saturday, June 17, 2017


     I live in a small city of 100000 people. Like any other modern city the downtown is much different than it used to be. there are very few stand alone stores. There are the banks, a few restaurants and offices. After hours the downtown is vacant and disreputable character take over the streets. I would not go there.

    Now I'm not an urban person. I could stay away from cities forever. I like the wind , clouds, smells, birds, trees, animals and quiet. I'm attuned to these things. 

    Now I have to go downtown often enough so that I know what's going on. Our main library is downtown. So is city hall and the court house.

    This spring I noticed a jack rabbit in the middle of the busy street in front of the library. Other people had noticed this critter and had seen it many times. They thought there were two of them. The large City Hall Park and court house grounds gave them some good habitat. However, I'd seen this rabbit going down paved city alleys. What a lonely pathetic sight for such an interesting animal. The rabbit I'm talking about is much bigger than any cat.

    Many of the wild critters seem to be able to navigate city traffic. I've seen deer waiting on the road side for a chance to cross.

    Yesterday as I was going down the main thoroughfare I noticed my poor jack rabbit lying dead on the road. Yes, it's dangerous downtown.

Friday, June 16, 2017


     I am enjoying computer problems! When I took the tower out I discovered it was manufactured on 2006. Could that be the problem? It doesn't want to start up when I put it on sleep. Getting it started seems to take a long reboot.
     I'm reading some blogs but I'm not getting at comments. I'm busy with a few things as well as computer shopping.

    So I won't be around too much.

    I hope to get things back to normal quickly, but that might not happen.

Tuesday, June 13, 2017


        I follow Mr Pudding on Yorkshire Pudding. Lately Mr Pudding has been reflecting on how much repetition is on his blog. He said that there's a link at the top left hand side of the page and you could easily find old blogs .

        Well, I just had to try it. I put in schools since I was a teacher for 37 years and had written about schools. bingo. I found all the posts on schools. First, too many of them started out with"I was a teacher for 37 years" 

       One post caught my eye. It contained a poem I had written and I'd forgotten all about it. It was a poem meant to go along with the placing of a marker for the school building that had been closed long ago.

       Now, I went to the school for nine years and this blog takes it's name from the school. 

       So here's the poem I'd forgotten about. The names are of the people who lived in the area 


Quiet earth lay covered by prairie grass and buckbrush ,
Meadowlarks,crows and hunting coyotes occasionally passed by,
Briefly visited by many spring blooms ,
And ancient quiet people who scanned the willows for big brown bulks ,
Of many life sustaining energies.

Dustyhorn, Bitternose, Whitefeather, Asqpace...

Suddenly, settlers appear to till the land
And put down roots of settlement
Which spawned wire fences , trails ,roads
And dwellings to house their families
And patient beasts of burden.
King, Clark, Minnings, Paul...

Then their children required an education
So a school house was  patiently planned
By careful applications to the powers of the land
Who controlled the many details of
Official school district formation.
Hawes, Weurfel, Winks, Rathwell...

So with patient effort acceptance was gained
To build a school with gifted labor
Borrowed money and volunteers who
Undertook the time consuming supervision
Which produced a shining building for the children.
Ingelton, Bushell, Taylor, Wildeman...

Years of care to run the school
Find and pay a teacher
Repair the roof and walls
Fill out the required forms and reports
For the privilege of keeping kids in school.
Barber, Johnson, Langille, Stevenson...

Quiet Christians gathered there
In the name of the Lord to sing
And pray and study God's word
Which supported their souls
And daily trials and tribulations.
Mehaffey, Ronald , Kline, Muir...

Years ground by with depression
Drought ,war and changes slowly
Came to settlers and their way of life
As some moved on to other grounds
To find an easier success.
Manke, Brust, Kabernick, Leggott...

The silent end quickly appeared
When only six lonely scholars filled the desks
And sad decisions were made
To close the Hiawatha learning center
Which had faithfully served quiet locals
Epp, Kreiger, Enns, Freisen...

Now, the ground sleeps deeply once again
Visited by passing hawks and goldfinch
Covered by annual snows
While the joyous shouts of children
And devoted settlers are no longer heard .
Red tailed hawks, ground squirrels, butterflies...

Saturday, June 10, 2017


     Starting early in the year...February, March , people start showing what is in their gardens. They are very ready to show off lilacs,peonies, bleeding hearts, daffodils, tulips...and many more. Now from my perspective, I enjoy the photos of spring flowers. In February , March I still have serious snow and frigid temperatures. It will be a long time until things start to turn green and longer yet until things bloom.

    Well, I finally caught up to ya! Yes, I may be last but I still get to post photos and brag...if anybody's listening.

    I keep telling people that our plants develop rapidly once we get the long days. The sun rose at 5:14 this morning and sets at 9:55 tonight so that means we get 16 hours an 41 minutes of sunlight. That's a lot of time for plants to make chlorophyll.

     My lilac has a purple tinge to it rather than a pale pink.
    we had another windstorm so many of the lilac petals have been blown off providing me with some lilac carpeting.
     I like irises.
  Now the light wasn't difficult here but the photographer failed to notice the situation.
     I have some showy peonies.

Thursday, June 8, 2017


I admit that the topic well has been a little dry this last while. I've had other things on my mind. I tend to have topics arrive when I'm busy with something else. I make a list. Lately my mind has been taken up with other things and I don't come up with topics.

    Well, there are a couple of things on my mind... Trump and terrorism. I don't put the two topics together. However, I'm not sure what to say about either of these topics so it's hard to write about them.

    I'll start with Trump. I do not agree with  his agenda. I find his personality most unlikeable. Trump is completely unreliable. Now I'd like to comment on these issues and more but I can't. Why? There is no reliable information. Fake news! False news. Now it's not only Trump who plays fast and loose with the truth. The other guys bend things out of proportion. Who ya gonna believe? I like to be able to discuss and have  more than reasonable assurance that the information I have is accurate. 

    So we sit here listening to all the various side shows and meanwhile nothing of substance takes place.

    How can one address an issue when accurate information is not available?

    Terrorism has rocked our world too many times in the recent past.  It's okay for me to sit smugly in a very safe location. There seems to be many ways to react to terrorism. Like the British..keep a stiff upper lip. We'll beat the terrorists. What makes a terrorist?  Is anybody responsible for causing people to be terrorists? We have all kinds of people wringing their hands and talking about terrorism. What can they do? It seems like all that is done is talk.

    So there are topics that are important. Discussion must take place if improvements are to be made. For the Trump presidency to accomplish anything , people have to begin talking to each other. Playing politics 100% of the time gets nothing done. It doesn't even get you elected all the time. Terrorists build up tremendous hate so that they will kill innocent people. Once the terror is committed the law takes control. Before there is terror some good dialog may help. Keeping separate and yelling at each other does no good. 

    I wish I knew what to say that would do any good. I'm sure there are many others who wish something could be said to bring about positive change.

Monday, June 5, 2017


    I've had a small nest box in my backyard for years. I think this may be the third or fourth rendition of the box. It's a small box suited to small birds. The entrance is high up in the box and is a small diameter to let in only little birds.

    Over the years I've had many residents that have raised families. It's fascinating to first watch for nest competition , nest building, egg incubation, young birds and then leaving the nest. I've had Red breasted nuthatches, Tree swallows, Black-capped chickadees, Boreal chickadees and House sparrows. Several nests were abandoned.

    Now bout a week ago I noticed a small gray bird quickly enter and leave the box. It was so fast I couldn't identify the bird. I have no idea how long the birds were at the nest before I saw them. After a few days I could see that they were Boreal chickadees. Great! I get a bird family this summer.

    Well, not so fast Red. Today house sparrows showed up. Actually quite a few House sparrows were at the nest. Then I noted House sparrows carrying nest material to the box. So the Boreal chickadees had to abandon their new nest.

     It's sad to see bird's nests be destroyed . but I realize it is the order of the day in the wild. However, I will harass those dirty rotten House sparrows so that they will wish they'd never met me.

      A great photo of a boreal chickadee by Angela  Maclean

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Thursday, June 1, 2017


     Last summer I enjoyed a large beaver pond. I usually road my bike by this pond and visited with many others who had the same idea I had. There were always many things going on at the pond. There were quite a few duck species and Canada geese. The Red-wing blackbirds thought this was a good place for them. There were sparrows, swallows, woodpeckers, warblers and chickadees. The Great blue heron was a special treat.

    The beavers had worked hard on their dam and cut down many trees to store for winter food.

    The first time I went back this spring to check on the pond, I was most disappointed. the pond was no more and the stream ran in it's original banks.

    Well, the beavers didn't move very far. they found another place about 500m further down with luscious young poplar trees which were right beside the bank.

    They have also been working to control the water in the stream. They have built at least three small dams that I can see. They are going to get into trouble with one of their dams as it's under a footbridge.