Tuesday, May 31, 2022


      The events of the Texas school shooting are nothing less than horrific. One only has to think about the loss of young children to realize the horror. 

       I have opinions and things I would like to say. I am not an American. I am North American...Canadian. How much right does that give me to comment? Sometimes it's difficult to accept what others say about you and you can make the situation worse. On the other hand I have things I would like to say. 

      I would hope that everybody sees the horror of young children and adults being mowed down in a mass shooting. I would hope that people see the need for this carnage to stop. 

     After mass shooting events we have the same expressions. Some ideas are positive and would bring about some change. Other ideas are as irrational as ever. Politicians cannot seem to get together and agree on some basic laws to pass that may prevent some of the mass shooting. And then again some people want to keep laws the same as before. Don't change anything. They want to keep  guns even if they are easily stolen by bad guys. 

      After this it gets complicated. Mental health plays a part. How much is mental health a factor? They don't know. I'm alarmed to find out that there are many games which involve shooting and killing people. When does this help someone to cross over into delusion? 

     Law enforcement agencies do not have an answer in any part of this complicated sick activity. 

     Some people always have mass shootings on their radar. Other people only think about mass shootings when it happens. 

    Some how all people have to put aside differences and look at a plan that will prevent the mass killing. Some may have to agree to things that they strongly disagree with but it has to be done to bring about some basic safety. 

Friday, May 27, 2022


      Tomorrow and Sunday we have the spring bird count or it's sometimes called the breeding bird count. This count is not done in all areas and is sometimes sporadic. That is at times , there's no one interested in doing the count. 

       Our count area is the Red Deer River watershed so it's huge. Only a very small part of it is covered for the count. In the spring count we have all the summer birds so we see colorful warblers and many sparrows that are difficult to identify. 

      I moved here in 1969. I have done about 75% of counts from 1969 to 2021. For most of that time I have counted in the same area. Sometimes I've been asked to cover an area that they want someone to take a look at. 

      Most of the time I do the count by myself. With last year's count I found that I was not a reliable bird identifier. My cataracts have developed to a point where  I  have difficulty seeing color. 

      So last year might have been my last count. However there is a chance that with cataract surgery I many be back in business. 

      So if any of you ae doing the spring count, good luck. 

Wednesday, May 25, 2022


      I don't hate. I might get mildly upset. Most things I can overlook. 

      I'm sure that there are many things that I do that upset people. I certainly upset the Micro Manager from time to time. 

      I received a comment on my last blog post that has got me very curious. I would very much like to know who this person is. Some anonymous comments leave some clue as to who they are. One of my former students usually says "Grandpa" It's the familiarity with this comment that drives me nuts. We both have connections to Yellowknife and the north. We both like gardening and we both live in Red Deer.  So you see the comment below and my reply. 

AnonymousSaturday, May 21, 2022

Talking about growing seasons and the amount of sunlight, the two years that I spent living in Yellowknife it was absolutely all inspiring how much light was lost and gained at the change of season. I am not sure but I think that the differences in the days were about 20 to 40 minute increments either way depending on what time of year it was. To my sensibilities have been growing up in Red Deer, it seemed to me that there was about three weeks of spring and then boom it was summer LOL. As for planting I did some last Saturday and we'll do the rest today. Just crossing my fingers and hoping for the best as I learn about this a novice gardener.

  1. Now your story and "anonymous make me very , very curious.

     And another thing, Doesn't it bother you when a regular comment goes dark. Several bloggers I follow live in Ontario where there was a vicious storm and the power was off. This I understand. 

     However sometimes the commenter just disappears for a while.

     So I'm about to make and apology as my commenting has sometimes been sporadic and sometimes missing. But I have an excuse! I find myself busier than I want to be lately. The iliotibia syndrome has really slowed me down. I don't get much sleep at night.

     There will be better days and I will get to the point where I make the number comments I want to make. 

Friday, May 20, 2022


       It's May 20 and it's time to start planting around here. Tonight it will freeze (minus 2) . Most nights now are 2 or 3 above zero. So we can start to plant and by the time the plants come up there will be little risk of frost. 

      I have seeded radish, lettuce , chard and carrots. When it dries up I will seed the remainder of my garden. I will have to wait before I put out bedding plants. Petunias are tough and they could go in now because they will tolerate some frost. I plant my corn in pots so that they get a head start. If I plant them in the garden as seed they probably wouldn't mature. Tomatoes will go in after June 1. 

     Now in many areas the crops are quite mature. I see some people picking beans. 

     So how is late planting done here so that plants will mature? Plants have been developed specifically for this area. So the plants mature or ripen in less time. 

    Second , mother nature plays some tricks. Now we have a very long day so the plants grow rapidly and mature.

    Today the sun rose at 5:32 AM and sets at 9:31 PM. This means we have 15 hours and 59 min of sun. We have long sunsets and long sunrise this also adds to the light our plants can use. 

    When I was in the Arctic from 63 to 66 the priest at the mission grew some garden plants. The cabbages at that time were the biggest I had ever seen. Of course he started all his plants in the house and put them out when there was less risk of frost. And there were times when he covered his plants to protect them from frost. His biggest problem was to get good soil for gardening. 

    So I'm on a bit of the extreme for gardening but I thought it would be interesting to share. 

Monday, May 16, 2022


       Have you ever heard of iliotibial bands? No, I'd never heard of them either.

       Do you have iliotibial bands? I didn't know I had any until today. 

       Iliotibial bands are huge tissue bands that run from the outside of the pelvis , over the hip and knee and attach just below the knee. It's one of the bigger tissues in the body and keeps your knee in alignment. 

       I found out that I have one of these, well, actually two as you have a band on both legs. I began having pain in my hip, knee and the muscles from my hip to the knee. At first the pain was intermittent and not too severe. It's worse at night and is not very noticeable in the day time. 

      Iliotibial syndrome is caused by overuse of the tissue. Many athletes and runners have iliotibial syndrome. 

     So to treat this syndrome you have to give it some rest. There are many stretches that can be used. Google iliotibial stretch and you'll find many websites with recommended stretches. treatment takes a long time and you have to be patient. 

     I got my problem when I first raked  grass this spring. I could feel the discomfort that day. I rake my grass twice so that I get rid of the thatch and then the grass has a better chance to start growing. I then proceeded to dig my garden by hand with the fork. By the time I'd finished these projects, I was in trouble. 

     So I will be on good behavior for the next while trying to rest and stretch so the the iliotibial band recovers. 

Friday, May 13, 2022


        I've had a good string of luck lately. If I talk about it will the run end? 

        Well I've just got to tell you my luck anyway.

        A few months ago the bank made a boo boo which didn't  lose us any money but created a headache for more than just me. My tax man had to find out why I got several thousand more of a refund from income tax. The tax dept. had to discover what was wrong and how to fix it. So the bank came up with several treats for inconveniencing me.

      Then I told you abut my find of  wheel chair and walker. That makes three instances of good fortune.

     Well it went on to four pieces of good luck. When I was on my way to the birding walk last Sat . morning, I found a nice crisp 20 dollar bill on the curb. I looked around there was no one in the area. So I guess the 20 dollar bill is mine!

     So onward and no issues of superstition of talking about good luck. 

    Funny how luck runs in streaks. 

Saturday, May 7, 2022


       Our birding group met promptly at 10:00 AM and spent 2 1/2 hours in an area called Bower Woods. It's essentially a creek with a width of 2 or 3 hundred meters. However , it's heavily forested with mostly spruce and some poplar. It's just an excellent habitat for boreal birds.

      The pioneering Bower family gave this land to the city for parkland. The city has put in an excellent trail system

      My house is about 500 meters away from this stream . I've lived in this area since 1970 and have made great use of the area. Many photos I show have been taken in this area. 

      So here is the description of what we saw today. 

Bower Woods, Red Deer CA-AB 52.25039, -113.80132, Red Deer, Alberta, CA7-May-2022 9:49 AM - 12:17 PMProtocol: Traveling4.138 kilometer(s)17 species
14 observers
Canada Goose (Branta canadensis)  2Mallard (Anas platyrhynchos)  4Franklin's Gull (Leucophaeus pipixcan)  10Northern Flicker (Colaptes auratus)  4Black-billed Magpie (Pica hudsonia)  1American Crow (Corvus brachyrhynchos)  8Common Raven (Corvus corax)  2Black-capped Chickadee (Poecile atricapillus)  18Boreal Chickadee (Poecile hudsonicus)  8     Excavating a nest near the top of a 2 m poplar snagRuby-crowned Kinglet (Corthylio calendula)  2Red-breasted Nuthatch (Sitta canadensis)  6White-breasted Nuthatch (Sitta carolinensis)  7American Robin (Turdus migratorius)  4House Sparrow (Passer domesticus)  6House Finch (Haemorhous mexicanus)  4Chipping Sparrow (Spizella passerina)  7Yellow-rumped Warbler (Setophaga coronata)  2I did get one bird photo and a few of the birders.


Thursday, May 5, 2022


      The other day the Micro Manager came running out of the house in a state of high anxiety and yelled, "Red it looks like there is a wheel chair and a walker on the other side of the street by the curb and I think it says FREE on them!" 

     Well, finally I was persuaded to peak through the fence and yes the  said items were out there. I couldn't see if it said free. The Micro Manager said, "Well , hurry up let's get over there."

     Over we went and yes they were free. She said, "Hurry up some one might come along and take them," as we stood there with our hands on the said items. 

    She said let's take them. You might need them.

    So off we went for home with one of us pushing the wheel chair and one the walker. Fortunately, no one came by to see us and we got the two items into the back yard.

    We took a minute to inspect our treasure. The walker looked as if it just needed to be wiped off. Guess who got that job because "you might need it." The wheel chair was in good condition but was quite dirty. It had been kept in the garage so there was dust, leaves, saw dust and other dirt and stains. 

    So the wheel chair will be cleaned up because, "You might need it. "

    Thinking a little more seriously you see people every day on the street and in stores and they are using a walker. In senior residences a large percentage of people use wheel chairs. 

     So as one of my friends commented, " I'm glad you have them but I hope you don't have to use them. "

Monday, May 2, 2022


       Saturday morning we went to a 300 acre area that was at one time farmed. The farmer ran some cattle and had about 90 acres cropped and also sold some timber. In the end he sold gravel, so much of the property had been dug up for gravel.  A  large part of the property is river escarpment. Then there's valley floor and there are a few acres above the escarpment. The valley floor has been flooded many times so there are many types of soil. Therefore there are many types of plants. You see very large spruce and poplar. Then you see areas of scrubby trees and brush. So there's a variety of habitat so we end up seeing a number of bird species. 

       Messy little spruce trees that barely survive.

                An old road used to mine gravel.

             The 90 acres that was crop land and has been sown to grass.

              Horse trail for wagons and sleighs

                 Mixed spruce and poplar.

                      Good bike trail

          Good bench with some tired birders.

     The province took this property and set it aside for park space. Very little has been done to change the property except to put in some excellent trails and a few benches. There is a pond that has been stocked with trout. The Red Deer River Winds along the property so there's more fishing and bird watching activity.

     One thing that was emphasized is that the area have an equestrian presence. 

     There's a large corral and stable for horses. You can rent horses to ride or get rides in various horse drawn vehicles. Some wedding parties get pulled down into the valley and have their outdoor wedding ceremony and reception.