Thursday, November 28, 2019


     Building a house the way ours was built certainly led to some chaos. Not everything could be under control. 

    Some of the things that happened were very funny and remained family stories. 

     Some how or other,we came into possession of a little billy goat. In 1947 our grandparents had retired into the little village. In those days there weren't coolers or freezers and you couldn't buy milk. Some of the villagers had a cows and sometimes you could buy milk from them. Some how or other, Grandpa came into possession of a nanny goat that he thought would give him enough milk. Surprise , surprise , the nanny promptly had 3 kids. Just what grandpa wanted! But wait . Grandpa had three sons so each son got a little goat. Grandpa thought his grandchildren would like a goat for a pet. We did.

    Our goat was Billy. Billy thought he was a little kid ...I mean a little human kid. Billy played with us all day. Billy was smarter than all four of us put together. Billy got his way. Billy was a nuisance

    We moved into the house as soon as it was closed in but not finished. There was a plank ramp up into the kitchen. Some how or other Mom was distracted and had left all the breakfast dishes on the table  and was out in the yard. The kitchen door had not been closed. From a distance someone noticed billy going up the ramp. No one was in the house. By the time we got in the house Billy was on top of the breakfast table. Billy had already cleaned out the butter dish! We were surprised.

    Shortly after that Billy disappeared. Dad had had enough of poor Billy. I think Billy was passed on to someone who needed some meat. That's one thing Dad never ever told us.


Tuesday, November 26, 2019


     Comments on my last post caused a flood of memories to come back about our old house.

     As I said , my folks didn't have enough money to build a house on the farm. A house was badly needed because the old house was far too small and it was in very poor condition. My Dad was great at putting things together that would work. Sometimes things he made didn't have much quality but the house was well built except for the foundation.

     The house was moved in from another farm . Some of the old house had to be torn down so that there was space to work on the new house. So 2/3 s of the old house was torn down . The one third of the old house that was left was used for Mom and Dad's bedroom and to store all of our clothes.

    Okay here's where it gets tricky. There were going to be quite a few workers over the summer and they had to be fed. So all the kitchen stuff was moved into a granary. This would be a 12' by 15' wooden structure that was used for storing grain. So all summer my Mom cooked and served meals in the little building. Now remember , this place did not have running water or electricity. The running water came when I was sent to the well to get water. It was our kitchen and living room for the summer. Sometimes we were stuck in it for a few days when it rained. Part of one wall was taken out so that there was enough light for Mom to work. 

     Okay , with most of the old house torn down and the kitchen and living room in a small wooden building. What happened to the kids? Of course, Dad had a good plan to get a bedroom for his kids. Yes, you know the little wooden granary. We had our beds out in a grain bin all summer  and loved it. We were a rough bunch of kids so some very basic shelter was fine by us.

      Many neighbors helped Dad do the work to build the house . The house was ready to move in about Sept . before it got cold. It was nice to have space for everybody. When the furnace was lit on one of the first cold evenings it was very comfortable.

     For a ten year old kid it was a very exciting summer.

Sunday, November 24, 2019


     Not surprising but there was  fire in my childhood home and it was quite badly damaged. The house had been vacant for five to ten years. A sister-in-law had been using it to cater.

     We can get sentimental about houses if they are in the family for a long time.

    This house was finished in about 1947.

    My Mom and Dad had four little kids and their house was terrible. It was small...14 x 24 , old and poorly built. There was no insulation. There was no electricity . My Mom labored under horrible conditions.

    They had talked about getting a better house but the problem was they didn't have any money. Finally, they found a piece of land with a house. They moved the house to their farm yard and the project started. They tore part of the house down and put on an addition. When it was finished they had a fairly large story and a half  house that was insulated and had electricity.

      This is a very poor photo of the house but it's the only one I have.

    They had something that they liked. It had space for their kids. Some of us had separate beds and there was lots of room for kids to play when it was cold. They would also be able to have guests and have friends come to visit.

   I lived in the house from 1948 to 1957. It was long enough to become attached to the place. Mom and Dad lived in it to about 1969. During those times it was vacant from time to time. My brother and sister-in-law moved in and lived in it from 1973 to about 2010. My brother did some renovations from time to time.

    With family farms , there comes a time when there's no more family to take over. My brother left for more comfortable lodging. My youngest brother bought the land but didn't need the house so the house  remained empty.

   Now sometime in the spring the house will be torn down.

   So the old house served it's purpose but it left us with many good memories.

Friday, November 22, 2019


     Well, you're going to get the third post.

     You will remember that I did a lot of cycling. I rode 47 000 km from 1984 to 2019. All the riding was done on the trail system in this city. Starting in 1984 trails were put in . The original trails have aged and a lot of shrubbery and trees have grown up along the edge of the trails. There are sharp turns and with the shrubbery growth visibility is limited in some places.

     You will know that from time to time we have moose in the city. Sometimes lots of moose. Now moose don't give anybody consideration. They do what they want. Moose have found that it is very comfortable to stand on the paved trail and stick their head in the shrubbery and eat until their belly is full. Then they come back the next day and do the same thing.

No photo description available.

    Okay. in my cycling prime I kept up a steady pace of at least 20 kph. Most of the time it was above 20 kph except on the hills .

    Well you know where this story is going.

    Twice I came around a sharp turn to find a moose with his/her head well in the shrubbery and the whole rear end out on the trail. If I put the breaks on I may disturb the moose. Worse yet I may bash into the moose. Both times I swerved to miss the moose and went within arm's length of the back side. All you can think of is those long back legs kicking out behind him/her

    When you get by sigh of relief would be an understatement.

     I'm not sure if the moose  knew I had ridden by them. I'm not sure if they even cared.

Wednesday, November 20, 2019


     Just when I thought it couldn't get any better with moose stories it did.

     Lynette was out with her trusty camera and was most fortunate to find two bull moose sparring to find out who was the best. I have spent more time in the bush than most people and I have never witnessed two bull moose in conflict.
Image may contain: tree, outdoor and nature

Image may contain: tree, outdoor and nature

Image may contain: outdoor and nature

     This is the time of year for moose to breed. Males compete with some major fights to claim a number of females that they get to breed. 

    Most times of the year we have moose in our city of 100000. Sometimes there are quite a few. I think these moose are just across the river from where they saw the cow and two calves. 

    On several occasions I've had moose in my small urban yard . On one occasion I got up in the morning and looked out my front window and there they were...a mama with two calves about 4 m from me. Moose browse.  They eat the ends of shrubs and some trees. They were doing a good job of trimming my birch tree. It's fascinating to watch them eat. They take in an enormous amount of food. They don't do much chewing just a little so they can swallow the material. 

   They're very interesting animals. Thanks to Lynette for being on the spot and getting such excellent photos and thanks for letting me use them on my blog.

Saturday, November 16, 2019


     Okay, some of you wanted to see photos of the moose the birders saw  on Nov.9. So here are three photos. They are very healthy looking animals. I think this is the same moose in all photos.

 You can see the gate behind the moose. This was where the birders were supposed to hit the road. Instead they had to turn around and go back 1.5 km.

     All photos are courtesy of Lynnette. 

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Wednesday, November 13, 2019


      We have had lots of snow falls but none of them have been heavy deep snows. We've had some heavy wet snow which is difficult to shovel as it is very heavy. Then it doesn't fall off your shovel like it should. I don't mind shoveling light dry snow. It's light and you can easily move it away from walks or drive ways.

      Now I can handle snow shoveling. I might be  bit slow but I get there. Yesterday we were lucky and looked out the window to find Brandie, from across the street,  shoveling our side walk.

     Now from time to time the micro manager says she would like to get some fresh air and she goes out to shovel snow. She does an excellent job and the walks are clean after she's finished.

      Now the micro snow shoveller doesn't like photos taken of her. This photo is not flattering. However. she does very well at 4' 10" and more than 80 to shovel all the snow sometimes.

      She has had the winter cap for about 25 years. She got it in her cross country ski days. 

Sunday, November 10, 2019


     Some of you know that I lead a bird watching group every Saturday morning.

     Yesterday was our final day for this year. There comes a time when it's too cold for binoculars, cameras and fingers. We start to see very few birds as we don't have many winter birds.

     Yesterday was dull and cold . I didn't think we'd see much. However , our list included:Canada geese, black-billed magpie, common raven, downy woodpecker, black-capped chickadee, boreal chickadee, red-breasted nuthatch, white breasted nuthatch  and northern flicker.

     I sent the group around a 1.5 km loop and I went back to the nature center to get coffee and cake ready. Yes, we have coffee and cake on the last day. They were supposed to be back before three and they weren't back. So they had a story. They had almost got all the way around when they encountered a mother moose with two calves on the trail. When she lowered her head they cleared out as fast as possible and had to walk all the way back around the trail. They were excited about their experience.

   Birding has changed a bit. Camera optics are better than binocular optics. Many times someone gets a good photo and we use that to identify a bird. The camera has a photo and it doesn't matter if the bird flies away.

   So we had our cake and coffee and talked about what we'd seen over the summer and look forward to next year. This year we saw about 90 species. There are a little over 200 species in this area.

Image may contain: plant, tree, outdoor and nature

    One of Lynette's photos that brings in the detail.

Friday, November 8, 2019


    My post from Nov. 5 is in need of some refinement.

    One thing that would have made things easier to understand is that the sun set at 4:52 PM . So at 6:00 Pm when I took the photos it was basically dark. There were just some great colors showing and I wanted to try and pick them up. 

   I received some good advice. It's too late to look through your camera for the right settings. By the time you find info on your camera the scene is gone. But I get it that I have to look these things up  and learn them before the scene presents itself. 

    I hate to admit it but I took these photos out of my window. Since I live in an urban area, if I went outside at ground level I would not see any of this. I  know that there are great places in the country that would give me a good view.

    A tripod. Yes, a tripod would be very helpful instead of leaning up against a wall, fence or car.

   So I will continue trying things and I hope you continue with pointers and advice.

Did I ever say I liked clouds?

Wednesday, November 6, 2019


    About 6:00 Pm out of the corner of my eye I noticed that the sun had set and it was almost dark and continued on my way. Then I stopped ans said," I think there's something out there. So why not try a photos.

     Well I figured out one thing that it's hard to focus in that light. I also found out that I'm pretty wiggly and things get blurry.

     So it was minus 8 C and about 6:00 PM.

    The white strip is the neighbors fence which was lit by the street light. The things that look lights on the left are where snow is piled up on the mountain ash berries.

     I think I need more practice on sunsets!

Sunday, November 3, 2019


    I know I've told you several times that I hate shopping. Once in a while I just have to shop and I whine all over again.

    It got down to the point where I had only one pair of jeans without holes and they were becoming very close to having a hole. Now on the yard I always wear jeans with holes ...lots of holes. But I never go off the yard with a pair of jeans that have holes.

    So the Micro manager took me off to the best jean buying place. Oh no. The jeans I bought the last time  ( five years ago) are not sold anymore. The other jeans cost 70 bucks a pair and I'm not paying 70 bucks for a pair of jeans. 

    What to do? I finally settled on jeans of less quality and less price. It didn't seem right but that was all there was. So after an hour I walked out of the store with something I really didn't want.

    By accident we stopped in another store because the Micro Manager wanted something. As we were walking through the store, what did we find but the exact jeans I wanted at a good price...40 bucks!

    So I ended up going home with four pairs of jeans. Now I'm not buying four pairs of jeans at this stage in my life. I might not wear all of them out!

    So today was one more day of shopping. First we took back the jeans we didn't want and then we stopped at the mall again to look for what the Micro Manager wanted.

   Now that was two days of shopping in a row!

   That was painful.

Friday, November 1, 2019


    Halloween here means that 20 to 25 kids show up at your door to receive candy.

    However, I started to think about Halloween. I went to Wikapedia and found more than I ever wanted to know. I was aware that Halloween was the celebration on the evening before All Saint's day. It is thought that it originated in Celtic times. The changes in Halloween over time are interesting. They go into great detail about various religions and people. Each group had their own way of celebrating.

    What I as really thinking about was how Halloween has changed over my life time.

    On the farm we didn't do Halloween at all. In school we did something which I don't remember. It was probably to color a witch or pumpkin.

    During the 60's in the Arctic we didn't observe the evening.

    When I came to Red Deer in 1969, I moved to a fairly new area of town. Most residents were young and had kids so there were many kids around. You had over 100 kids visit your house. There was also some damage done. Some things were turned over. A few eggs were thrown. Gradually the evening became only the receiving of treats. Now malls have events for kids so fewer kids than ever tour the neighborhood.

    When my kids were little in the early 70's we took them out "door knocking" They were crazy about this. I remember taking them one cold and windy night. I wanted to go home but they wanted to keep going. One of them was still a preschooler.

The sad little boy won best costume at the school dance with this costume.

     A very large scary ghost.

      Somebody who wanted to collect for UNICEF one year.

     When my son was about 14 one Halloween he wanted to go to his friends place about 8 Halloween evening. They were just going to fool around in the house? But he asked me if he could take my bike. He came back in about an hour. The next spring when I got my bike out it was covered with egg. He and his friends had been out riding bike and throwing eggs at each other and I only found out about it in the spring.

   So Halloween used to be a bit of a wild affair in the early 70's but has become a very tame affair.

   That's a big change for 50 years.