Saturday, April 30, 2022


       We had an excellent bird walk this morning. It was plus 12 C, calm and partly cloudy. 

     We went to a place called Heritage Ranch which was set aside for parkland and developed in the 1970's . Part of it was farmed and used to raise cattle. A large part of it was taken for gravel pits. Trees shrubs and grass have come back to these areas and it makes for some good birding habitat. 

     We had 16 spotters of various ages, shapes and sizes.

 We saw 22 species. More of the spring migrants are starting to show up. 

Protocol: Traveling5.416 kilometer(s)Checklist Comments:     RDRN Bird Focus Group outing22 speciesCanada Goose (Branta canadensis)  5Mallard (Anas platyrhynchos)  10Common Goldeneye (Bucephala clangula)  1Common Merganser (Mergus merganser)  2Franklin's Gull (Leucophaeus pipixcan)  5Osprey (Pandion haliaetus)  2Belted Kingfisher (Megaceryle alcyon)  1Downy Woodpecker (Dryobates pubescens)  2Hairy Woodpecker (Dryobates villosus)  1American Kestrel (Falco sparverius)  1Merlin (Falco columbarius)  1Peregrine Falcon (Falco peregrinus)  2American Crow (Corvus brachyrhynchos)  4Common Raven (Corvus corax)  1Black-capped Chickadee (Poecile atricapillus)  55Boreal Chickadee (Poecile hudsonicus)  3Ruby-crowned Kinglet (Corthylio calendula)  1Red-breasted Nuthatch (Sitta canadensis)  2American Robin (Turdus migratorius)  4Dark-eyed Junco (Junco hyemalis)  1Song Sparrow (Melospiza melodia)  2Yellow-rumped Warbler (Setophaga coronata)  4View this checklist online at report was generated automatically by eBird v3 (

     Now I am not a bird photographer. I may be able to give some links tomorrow for photos. 

     But to show you my lack of skill here are my two bird shots. Nuff said!


Tuesday, April 26, 2022


        Sometimes small unexpected things surprise me. Maybe it's not so much surprise but something I hadn't thought about.

        This morning we went to look at another seniors living facility. We've been looking at places for the last three months. No, we're not moving. Looking , just in case.

        No doubt about it the people who show you around are sales people. The more they know about you , the more successful their pitch can be.

       So they want to know what some of my interests are. I told him I blogged. He seemed surprised. He said, "I've never met anybody who writes a blog.

       I was surprised. I guess if you're in the blog world you think blogging is common. I talk to my friends about my blog and they know about writing blogs. They read me sometimes and are quick to make a comment. 

     I also look at blogs and see that they have many followers. Some blogs have thousands of followers. 

     So I was a little surprised to meet someone who wasn't very familiar with blogging.

     Do you find that people are familiar with blogging? 

Saturday, April 23, 2022


     We were  out at a location called Nova Nature Trails. It's about 300 acres of  fairly good native habitat. 

    I didn't get any bird photos. I wanted some scenery shots and birder shots.

    The snow is the left over from Monday. 

     The first photo is a wasp nest from last summer. 

Wednesday, April 20, 2022


       So on April 19 we had a major snow storm . Yesterday was very dull. Visibility was low. It snowed all day and quit around 3:00 AM.

       Spring storms like this are not unusual. However, people always look back at the records. 

       So this post is just for William from Ottawa Daily Photo. William loves snow!

        You know I got thinking and I wouldn't have had to work so hard and get these photos. I've got lots from other years that I could use!

Tuesday, April 19, 2022


    I started teaching in this small city in 1969. So some quick arithmetic puts that at 54 years ago. 

 Once in a while the way back machine kicks in.  This week I ran into some ancient history from 1969. 

    I had one gr. seven class that I taught math and science to in 1969. Okay, some more arithmetic. Those students were eleven years old in 1969 which will make them 65 right now. 

    The other morning at birding somebody asked which school I taught in. Another birder was listening and she said , "What years did you teach there?" My answer 1969 to1997. She said that she had gone to the school during that time specifically 1969. 

    She told me her maiden name and I immediately supplied her first name. 

    Here's someone I had not seen for close to 54 years. It was a treat to meet her and go over so many things. She had lived in the U.K. for 10 years. 

    She had been coming to the birding group for four weeks before we made the connection. 

    It's always very interesting to meet former students even after 54  years. 

Monday, April 18, 2022


       Every Easter,  by Good Sunday, the Micro Manager has a few Easter decorations scattered around. These decorations are few and quite ancient. They come from the time our children were little. 

      So these decorations have to be quite old because  my kids are in their fifties. 

        You can see from the photos that we have a real flair for decorating.

        Now my brother emailed back and said, "are those the Easter bunnies that Grandma Peake ( my Grandma) made? The Micro Manager said, "Your Mom gave them to me and said she didn't make them but she didn't say who did make them."

      I'm not sure what generation the bunnies were made for but I'm sure my brother will give us the correct information.

      So some simple decorations have raised some historical questions. 

Friday, April 15, 2022


       Yesterday I went to start lunch. Yes, I always have soup for lunch. I automatically went to where the can opener is stored and what? There was no can opener there. I stared stupidly at the place where the can opener was to be. Well, maybe it was mistakenly put in the next drawer. It wasn't in the second drawer. 

     Well, I'll go back to the drawer where it's always kept. I moved a few things around to make sure it wasn't under something. I looked on the counter top. Maybe it was on the counter and I just wasn't seeing it. No, it wasn't on the counter top. Back to the second drawer and by this time I'm really throwing things around looking for that darn can opener. 

     Well, I'll take a short cut here and ask the Micro Manager if she put it somewhere. She came to my rescue and looked in the same places I looked and questioned me about where I might have put it. She looked in all the places I had looked and then she got the bright idea that I may have thrown it in the garbage. Again, I stupidly looked in the garbage.

     The search widened to other cupboards and then, there it was. The micro Manager had found the can opener beside the cloth I use to clean off the can opener!  The cloth is stored under the sink but the can opener is supposed to go in a drawer. 

     Now some people would say my can opener was lost. I would say I just couldn't find it.

    This is a common happening for people as they can't find something . Sometimes it's a very insignificant article and sometimes it's something important. Each time we can't find something it brings about a certain amount of stress. 


Wednesday, April 13, 2022


         It's income tax time and I can hear everybody cheering with great joy!

         In the good old days income tax was simple to file. All we did was add up our income. Everybody got the first $1000.00  tax free before calculating the tax. We did not get a bazillion slips reporting our income . We added up our income, took off the $1000.00 and calculated the tax manually. Finished! Done! 

     The first time I filed an income tax form was 1957. I worked on the railroad for 10 weeks and made 400.00. I didn't have to pay income tax. I just had to make sure that I filed a return. 

       Now every dollar we receive in income must be reported to the government and of course to the tax payer. We have some rinky dink things like age amount, care of children blah , blah blah. We get a wopping 10% of this for a tax reduction. Then they make us jump through many hopes taking things off an putting things on. And don't forget the instalment payments you made. I used to do my own income tax return. It just got too complicated and laborious. I finally went to a professional to fill out and file my return. 

      Well, yesterday was the appointed day for me to receive my assessment notice. The assessment notice from the tax dept. tells me if what I filed was correct. When I filled out my own tax it was either exactly correct or off by a few bucks. I knew this year that I was getting some money returned. When I got my assessment notice I saw that I was receiving much more money back than had been calculated.

     I  could not think of why this change had been made. Finally, I phoned the guy who filled out my tax return. It was easy. I pay instalments . That is I pay a certain amount each quarter so that I'm not hit with a big bill in April. The bank had put my instalment payment as paying my income tax. The income tax dept was just giving my money back . So my bank was in big trouble. My money had gone to paying my tax instead of the instalment. 

    Usually the income tax dept. can mess things up. This time it was the bank.

    There was no joy in getting extra money back because it wasn't mine. If I kept it I would have had to pay interest on it. 

     So income tax reporting isn't simple anymore

Sunday, April 10, 2022


     Today is National Siblings day in Canada and in some parts of the United States. It's a day for siblings to say publicly that they care  for each other. 

     I have three living siblings who are brothers. I have always lived away from my brothers but I still enjoy their companionship and when we get together we have a good time. We've been known as Emil's boys and I think the photo was taken at Dad's 80th birthday. 

   I also have a sibling who left us far too soon. Doreen passed away in February of 1953. She is still missed. One wonders what the family would have been like if she had lived . Doreen has been gone for 70 years and one wonders what the family would have been like with her presence. 

Wednesday, April 6, 2022


      Everybody likes a good speeding ticket! NOT!

      I confess to being a life long speeder. It's a record that I'm not proud of. I realize that it is very dangerous. I realize that it's against the law. I realize that it puts others in danger. 

      I started driving illegally when I was 11. We lived in the country. There weren't very many people living in the area and very little traffic on any road. I drove my Dad' new 1951 chevy truck. He would need somebody to pick him up out of the field or bring something out to the field so I was given the job. He also had a 1929 chev car which I also drive for him. I didn't have any accidents but it was very risky. 

    As I got a little older speeding became a very interesting objective. All the little farm boys had stories and we seemed to have to out do one another. I was also sent to town to deliver grain to the elevator. All these things were considered normal. I thought I was a good driver and I probably was. 

     As farm kids we took Dad's car to the neighbors. Sometimes we went a lot further than the neighbors. Sometimes we got home at 4:00 AM. To be honest , we were up to no good. 

    When I got my own car the pattern of speeding had been set. As I got older I slowed down a bit. Did I get speeding tickets? Well, no. Not until I was 75! 

     I got my first speeding ticket from photo radar. Most people dislike this type of enforcement as you don't know that you've got a ticket for about 8 to 10 weeks when you get a letter in the mail. Well, okay pay the ticket. It also doesn't go on your record. 

   A couple of years later I got another photo radar  ticket but got off. They have a limited time to give you the ticket. They were late so my ticket was cancelled. 

   Well, I didn't learn. I got my third photo radar ticket when I was 82 years old! Worse than that it was in the local school zone. 

    I know I'm going to get some lectures here and so I should. I don't have any excuse whatsoever to speed. I certainly hope that I do not get any more speeding tickets. 

Monday, April 4, 2022


        Yesterday I started my spring yard work. No, I'm not stiff and sore today. 

        Here the first order of business is to clean off the lawn from winter debris. About the end of October the grass has been frozen so many times that it's  not green any more ,  just brown. Yardwork is finished for the season except for some shrub and tree pruning. Through the winter dust, dirt, leaves and assorted junk finds it's way on the grass.

       So as soon as it's ready we begin cleaning up the grass. There are four choices of how to do this job. You can ignore it and not do anything. You can hire a contractor who cleans yards. You can attach a dethatcher to your lawn mower and this acts like a rake. Or you can get out your grass rake and rake by hand!

      Well, of these four , you know the one I choose. Yes, rake the whole thing by hand. It usually involves three or four times over the grass. 

      We can't get started at this job until things dry up. I rake the parts that dry up first. Work on flower beds won't start until later as the soil is far too wet. 

     The photos show that there are areas of the yard that are still snow covered.  I rake the dry areas first and then the other areas will be dry by the time I'm finished. 

     It's late before our snow has melted but the days are long and plants soon grow very  quickly. 

Saturday, April 2, 2022


      Today was the first time I went birding with the group since Nov. of 2020. We had 13 birders. It was a treat to get out with people and bird together.

      We went to a site that is very good bird habitat. Half of it is old growth never been logged forest. With so many old trees we find many woodpeckers and one day saw four species.  The black backed woodpecker is very hard to see but we've seen them in this area. The brown creeper is also hard to spot but we were lucky enough to see a pair in breeding season and watch them chase each other around the tree. 

      Today we saw 19 species and 4 other species that we could not identify. A real treat was to have two flocks of swans fly over. Another treat was to see an owl on the nest with owlets. 

     Many species are just beginning to return to the north. Water species like swans, geese and ducks are here. Crows are also back but the song birds have not arrived. We saw one tree sparrow today but they are early migrants. 

     It's good to be birding after two years. So you say, "Where are the photos?" I alternate between field glasses and camera as I don't like to carry very much. So maybe next week end I'll have a few photos.