Friday, June 9, 2023


      Electica   wrote about the first time she bought a car. 

       This reminded me of a first for me when I was quite old.

        I was 80 years old the first time  bought groceries. Yes, I went with the Micro manager for years as the cart pusher, but I never actually shopped and bought the groceries.

       No mother of a farm boy was going to send her son to town to get groceries . So I didn't buy groceries while I lived at home.  At the time I was growing up we did not buy very many groceries as we prepared our own food. We had all our own meat from the farm. Our vegetables were limited by the time we could store them. 

      When I left home to go to school, I boarded so I did not have to buy groceries. One land lady I had would phone her order into the store and I would pick it up for her. 

     Then when I went to the Arctic we were given rations. In other words we were given enough food to last us a year. These rations were prepared for someone who didn't have a store that they could buy groceries from. I remember my rations came in two huge boxes that would fill the back of a pick up truck. 

     So recently it was taking the Micro Manger a long time and much effort to buy groceries. One day I finally said , "You're not buying anymore groceries. " 

    And that's it. I bought all the groceries from then on. The Micro Manager makes a list and I shop. 

   How do I like buying groceries? It's great. It was a learning experience that was good for me. 

Wednesday, June 7, 2023


       This week I had the pleasure of having an ultra sound. I know that you can tell by my sarcasm that I don't like ultra sounds. However, I do have a bit of common sense and realize the value of ultra sounds. 

     I have two ultra sounds a year to check on a little bulge on my aorta that leads to my lower body. Now I keep razzing my Doctor and tell him to look on the outside of me. It's all bulges , blemishes and wrinkles. Why is he worried about a little bulge on my insides. Doesn't he know my insides will be the same as my outside? 

    So I was ordered to be at the clinic at 7:45 Am. There were some new procedures this time. 1: There was a six hour fasting. 2: No urination after 6:00 AM. 3: drink 2 glasses of water at 7:00 AM. 

    And as some of you may have had this procedure more than I have, you know the drill. Some round headed devise is pressed into my abdomen and they run it around searching for things. Sometimes they press very hard looking for some hidden part. When they find it "click"  and a picture is taken. Then "take a deep breath and hold it". I'm like leaky balloon and can't hold my breath for very long. It seems like a long time before they say let go. A new one this time is to extend your stomach. 

    So in about 15 or 20 minutes she said it's done and she would check with the radiologist to see if the results were acceptable. She threw me a towel and told me to wipe that horrible icky stuff they use to lubricate your skin so that the "whatever" they use to press very hard" on your abdomen will slide easily .

   So it's over for another 6 months. If there's something wrong my doctor will call. If nothing has changed I don't get a phone call. 

Sunday, June 4, 2023


        I confess that my weakness is for native plants. I don't recognize many plants but I do go out on field trips to find plants.

      Here we have bush and all kinds of plants that grow in the under bush. With deciduous trees we have a very lush undergrowth. I like prairie flowers best , but since I don't live on the prairie I don't see the prairie flowers. 

     Yesterday I was birding in the morning. Birds and plants were at their peak. We identified 39 species of birds. I tried getting some flower photos but since I'm not that steady anymore the camera is continually refocusing .

     We started at a foot bridge across the Red Deer River. There were hundreds of cliff swallows nesting under the bridge. 

            Then we walked along the escarpment of the river so it's a challenging walk . It's set up for cross country skiing but it goes through heavy bush.

     So here are some of the flowers I found. 

Friday, June 2, 2023


       We had a very short spring this year. April was cold and frosty. When May  got hot and we had a couple of very hot spells. It was dry last summer and also the winter. So with very dry conditions you know what happened. We had some major forest fires. You know because many people suffered with the smoke from our fires. We still have about 60 wildfires and 10000 people away from their homes and farms. 

      Today's sunrise was 5:19 AM and sunset at 9:48 PM That means we had 16 hours and 29 minutes of daylight. With the long days our plants advance and mature quickly. My blue bells matured and now are going into dormancy. The bleeding heart is almost finished blooming. Some peonies are blooming. Irises are just ready to pop open. My tiger lilies are ready to burst into bloom. 

     So spring weather may have been  rather short but I'll take May's fine weather. So far June has been nice but not too hot. I've got my tomatoes planted so I'm ready for summer. 

Sunday, May 28, 2023


          While doing the last post on Clara, I was reminded of one of the worst kids I ever had and he was in Clara's class.

          He was called Clubber and the name suited. Clubber was a mean, sneaky, bully to the kids in his class. It was hard to nail Clubber and catch him in the act but I had many kids who were complaining. Clubber was just miserable. He would poke kids with a pencil or pen. He would put his foot on another kids desk. He took things from kids. He could think of many things to irritate other kids. He seemed to pick on the girls and leave the boys alone.

       Many days I would keep Clubber after school. When I was ready to leave I would have a discussion with Clubber about the issue of the day. I'd get to a point where Clubber's lower lip would start to quiver . That was my sign to quit. I didn't want to get this guy to cry and then he could have an excuse to do something bigger and better.

     Clubber was also a town nuisance. Clubber was a confirmed smoker at age 13. He also didn't have any money. So he was a nuisance in the stores as he was stealing cigarettes. 

       Clubber also knew every lock in town that wasn't locked. In those days Pool rooms were closed on Sundays. The pool room manager happened to go in the pool room for something on a Sunday afternoon. He found Clubber in the pool room all by himself playing pool. In a quiet town the pool room back door was never locked. 

     If there was a way to be miserable , Clubber knew about it. 

     I'm not a negative person when it comes to people but today's negative post gives you some idea of what we had to deal with. 

Friday, May 26, 2023


        In 1960 I went to teach in a small town 60 miles east of Estevan Sask. There were 12 teachers on staff and I had the gr. eight class. Clara was in that class. When I left 3 years later, Clara was entering gr. 11.

      I lost all contact with my students there and didn't hear anything about Clara until about 2000 when I was looking at a sight that gave all kinds of history for the town. From that I found out that Clara was in Lethbridge , Alberta teaching math in the college there. Okay , that's nice. 

    Well a few years later one of my former students stopped at the house for a visit. Lewis was teaching math at the Lethbridge College. I mentioned my former student from 1960. Lewis had taken over Clara's position!

    So that's quite a leap! My little town east of Estevan is about 450 miles   from Lethbridge. I taught Clara in 1960 and Lewis about 1980. 

    So it was a great coincidence that two of my students took the same job. 

Wednesday, May 24, 2023


       I eat at the Casino two or three times a week. The food is great. The price is the best part. Breakfast is 5 bucks with 6 choices. Wednesday is 2 for one for seniors. We get 2 meals of $26.00 for the price of one $13.00. 

      Now I've told you before that we don't gamble. We just eat there. There is a senior draw on Wednesday and I've won that twice.

     Now you do get a sales pitch from the Casino to gamble so you can get a "wonderful " card. The card gives you so much off on the buffet. 

    Well a few weeks ago 20000 points ($20.00) was  put on my card . So I could go and gamble. You could not redeem the card for cash. 

    So if you're given $20.00 you might as well try your luck. Well, I have no idea how the machines work. I have no idea where to put my card. I have no idea what to press to play the game.

    So I asked somebody. I found the button to make my play. 

    Well, in less than 5 minutes my $20.00 was gone.

    As I left, my thought was that I feel really stupid for letting a machine take all my money. In this case it wasn't my money.

     Needless to say, "I'm still not a gambler." I know that they'll send me more points. I'll take them and goof off again.

     I cannot believe that people use their own money to let a machine take it away from them. 

Sunday, May 21, 2023


      Yes folks, today is our 57th anniversary. 

      The very poor quality photos are from Nov of 1965 when the great decision was made that we would marry. We were married May 21 1966. 

      My Mom always bugged us about the date of May 22 because her birthday was May 20 so why didn't we get married on her birthday? Anyway Mom would have been 109 yesterday. 

Wednesday, May 17, 2023


        Alberta , Canada , has had, and is having a very serious wildfire season.  

       Today, there are about 130 fires burning and about 30 of them out of control. 

      We've had hot dry windy weather which makes great conditions for the fires to burn and very hard to fight the fires. The wild fires are large and very fast moving. The fires are more intense than in previous years. 

     These fires have started earlier in the season than usual. The spring fire season is usually short if we have lots of winter snow and a wet spring. Then the vegetation leafs out and is hard to burn.

      The nearest fire is about 150 km from me. Many people have had to leave towns and farms.

      The area is mixed with heavy forest, ranching, farming and undeveloped poor land. It seems like the fire likes these areas and can rip through it very quickly. 

    We were not bothered with smoke until two days ago. The fire has been burning for three weeks but the smoke has moved  across Canada to Ontario and then south. My daughter, who lives in the Chicago area reports that they have smoke from the fires and that we have made the news there. 

     It seems that the government is very slow to bring in extra equipment and crews to fight the fire.

    All we can hope for is some substantial rain. 

Monday, May 15, 2023


        I have thought about this topic from time to time. Today I heard a half hour radio show on the topic. 

      Usually they are dealing with the detrimental effects of noise. They deal with the lack of quiet spaces.

     I started to think about noise and lack if noise in my life.  Since I spend  good portion of my life outdoors walking in natural areas I thought I could find lots of quiet space.

     Not so! I thought of all the places I go and none of them lack noise. I couldn't think of a place that is very quiet. 

    Heritage ranch is a three hundred acre parcel where some land is native and other parts have been disturbed. So there are many heavily treed areas. However, this land is beside a very busy four lane highway. It's just a very noisy area. And a very busy railroad runs along the highway.

    Then I thought, well Nova Natural area should be quiet. It's 30 km out in the country. This area is more than 300 acres with some native habitat and some recovered land. You are really out in the country. Then I thought that a huge world class petrochemical plant is beside the natural area. Also rail cars are being shunted back and forth 24 hours a day. 

   Well, where else do I go? I can't think of a quiet place without noise. 

   If I go back to the farm where I was born and raised there would be less noise but not entirely quiet. There is a busy railroad about 4 km from the farm. Farms aren't exactly quiet as there are chickens  and other animals and machinery that make noise. 

    It must be difficult to find places without noise. 

    Can you think of areas without noise? When they do a hearing test I'm in a booth that almost lacks noise. 


Saturday, May 13, 2023


      A few things have to be made clearer from my last post. 

      First, some of you have the mistaken idea that I was a wonderful teacher. Well, I was a so so middle of the road teacher. I had good days and bad days. I had good years and bad years. 

      Another comment that catches my eye is that it was something wonderful to be teaching before my 19th birthday. During the war and after the war to the 1960's teachers were in short supply in the western Canadian provinces. They hired many people who did not have any training whatsoever and some had not finished high school. For my second part of grade one I had a guy who had just finished high school. So to be a 19 year old teacher, while  not a good idea ,  was better than some one without training. 

     I did like what I did and would do it over again in a heartbeat.

    At times educators have been too quick and narrow minded to challenge kids to become good citizens. The system concentrated on "learning" information which was soon forgotten and rarely ever used. I know that it was a good thing for kids to learn skills of evaluation of information and relationships. 

     I have asked the Micro Manager who is a bright woman, to divide fractions. She doesn't know how to divide fractions which was a basic operation. She never had to use it in life . I'm not sure if it was valuable as a skill for any deduction. I've asked about nouns and verbs? No answer. I think most people would be the same.

    What I do think is that more emphasis should be put on young people replacing us. Yes, high school students will be directed to some further education and training. But replacing us in society should be worked on. It's not automatic that people get together and make a successful community. We need people to grow up and have a sense of community and citizenship. 

Thursday, May 11, 2023


       I have not complained about winter weather or a cold spring for a few weeks. 

      We had a week of above average high temperatures in the high 20's.

      As a result spring events are or have happened. Some early flowers are blooming like my blue bells. The native crocus is in bloom. Trees started to leaf out this week. 

     My furnace has quit running so the house temperature is staying above 20 C. 

     This morning I noticed that my Nanking cherries were in bloom. I don't think I've ever seen these bushes in such full bloom. 

    Grass is greening up in town but native grass is still dormant. 

    So here are my Nanking cherries and some new leaves and green grass.

      Today the sun rose at 5:46 and set at 9:17 for a total daylight of 15 hours and 30 minutes. So with long days spring develops very rapidly. 


Tuesday, May 9, 2023


      This morning while shopping for groceries I met one of our former school district superintendents. 

     That immediately  started the way back machine. 

     When I was a child in that rickety old one room country school, there was a school inspector who visited about once a year. The inspector was feared by teacher and students because he had power and tended to be miserable. They would drill us on arithmetic and listen to us read and if we made errors they shouted at us. It was also rumored that they strapped kids. It was not a pleasant or positive situation.

     So you know that I started teaching before my 19th birthday. At teacher's college we were given more scary stories about the superintendent.

    So I merrily started teaching in September and told myself the superintendent wouldn't visit for a while. One fine September day about half an hour before school ended I heard a car come on the school yard. No worries. Parents came to pick up their kids. All of a sudden I noticed a well dressed man looking in the back door of the classroom. I had no idea who he was. He looked around and  beckoned for me to come out of the classroom. He was the superintendent. We went outside and sat on the steps. He wanted to know how things were going and he went over some administrative business to help me. I remember it as a very pleasant visit on a beautiful fall day. I remember how supportive this visit was. He visited two more times with more encouragement and assistance. 

    Fast forward a bit to the end of my career. We didn't get superintendent's reports anymore but we had many classroom visits. I was a department head and had to visit department teachers twice a year. I took duplicate notes and gave the teacher a copy before I left the classroom. The principal and vice principal visited each classroom at least once a year. Each teacher had to find a teacher in another school that they could observe for one period. This program was to keep teachers constantly upgrading and learning knew skills. The system was based on supportive and positive relationships. 

    So over my career there was a major change in educational supervision for the better. 

    I will always remember my first superintendent, Harry Smith, and how he encouraged me.

    I will always remember Dave who had a vision for the school district and ably lead us to achieve those goals. 

Sunday, May 7, 2023


       I follow the Catalyst for his humor and variety of material.

       I knew that he originated in North Dakota. I was born and raised in Saskatchewan so we lived about 300 miles from each other. So we experienced many similar things like the wide open prairie, harsh winter storms and a pattern of leaving the area for other places to live. 

      Catalyst said that he was 13  in 1953 and that he listened to the Coronation of Queen Elizabeth in 1953. The key word here is listened.

     We lived in a area that didn't have television coverage. We would have to travel to the nearest city with a TV station to watch the coronation on snowy TV reception. I'll bet most of you have never heard of snowy TV!

    There were some very skilled broadcasters at the time who could ably describe an event so that you felt you were right there. We also had to work with the broadcaster and use some imagination.

   I was probably about 15 years old when I saw my first hockey game on TV. All those years I remember listening to hockey games and knowing exactly what was going on in the game. 

    Some people wondered how I could just listen to a coronation and get anything out of it. Yes, we enjoyed radio and were glued to it for drama, sports and mega events like the Coronation of Queen Elizabeth II.


Friday, May 5, 2023


       Well, tomorrow is the big day when Charles is crowned king. I admit that I'm not interested in all the pomp and ceremony. I've got other things that I would rather do than watch all kinds of people dressed up in fancy clothes, hundreds of horses with fancy harness, many bands and many military dressed in their finest. 

     Sorry folks but I'm not interested in this stuff. 

    I do know and understand the role of the monarchy in the parliamentary system of government. I do understand the history of the monarchy.

    One of my favorite movies was Henry the VIII. At least I think it was Henry the VIII. They would load up the wagons and go tearing across the countryside to a place where they would camp for a time. 

    My Mom was very interested in the monarchy and followed their activities.

    I remember Queen Elizabeth's Coronation. We didn't have television in 1953 so listened to the coronation on the radio. It was a long drawn out procedure. The radio crew was very skilled in describing and we really could imagine what was going on. I remember the sounds of horses, bands and the church ceremony. 

    All school kids received a copper coin marking the Queen's coronation. The coin had no monetary value . Mine was probably in the family home until Mom died and then who knows what happened to it. 

    There was also a fireworks display in town and I had never seen fireworks before.

    So there you have it. I'm not keen enough about royalty to watch all the ceremonies. 

Thursday, May 4, 2023


        It was a sad  week for many Canadians as Gordon Lightfoot passed away. 

       We were proud of Gordon Lightfoot as he stayed here for his professional career. Yes, he sometimes performed in other countries but mostly he wrote and sang songs that  Canadians could love. 

     So I went to you tube to listen to some of Gordon's tunes. I would say , "Oh this my favorite." Then I'd listen to another tune and say the same thing. They were all my favorites. 

     He wrote about Canadian history as in the Railroad Trylogy. I think it's one of the songs he liked performing more that others. Then there's the Wreck of the Edmund Fitzgerald. His voice is cold and hard just like the conditions on the ship. 

     Then for variety there's Sundown and Every Highway.

     So thanks Gordon for the memories and  music you left us. 

Sunday, April 30, 2023

Jaaka Jaaka Huckabuck

     Once again we are in downsizing mode. My kids have kindly requested to take a few things but very few.

    So I have some goodies set aside for them to pick up this summer. They need some information about said objects. Right? Well, whether they want information or not they are going to get it.

    That sent us back to our beloved North. And of course we got side tracked. Who made this? Who was she or he? And in no time we were a way off the agenda. 

   So since we were looking for names of people we got off on names. We find that after 54 years we have forgotten an awful lot. We wrote down first names but neglected to use surnames. We also neglected to use disc numbers. 

    So one story. The teacher read the story of the Huckabuck family to the kids. One little boy was called Jaaka Jaaka ( pronounced Yaka) . That's right!  His surname and given name were the same. When the kids came out of school that afternoon all you could hear was Jaaka Jaaka Huckabuck. They had taken this from Pony Pony Huckabuck. And from that time on that's what he was called. 

    Another name variation happened to our Hudson Bay Post manager. His name was Sidney Goodyear. He was a 19 year old kid in northern isolation. Most 19 year olds still live with Mom. Sydney was a most  capable manager and to top that he was Mr. Personality. The kids in the settlement loved him. What did they call him? Sidney Very Goodyear!

     Okay back to downsizing. 

Wednesday, April 26, 2023


      I was very sorry to hear about Harry Belafonte's passing yesterday. I went to my old LPs and I couldn't find the Harry Belafonte LP. Then I remembered that the Belafonte music I was thinking about  was on some reel to reel tapes that I disposed of. So now I will have to comfort myself by going to You Tube and listen to some songs. 

    Belafonte was most popular when I started listening to my own music.  I listened to much of his great music. 

     Belafonte was a great artist and human being. He helped to keep some of the wheels on the bus. We need many more Harry Belafontes. 


Sunday, April 23, 2023


     Four strong winds that blow lonely. 

     Spring on the Canadian prairies is about wind. Constant steady wind that continues for days on end. I will always remember spring winds. There were many experiences in the wind.

    As little farm boys in the forties we were very free range kids. We didn't have TV so there was no sense staying in the house. We had very few toys. 

    So what did we do? We made kites and flew them. We had seen pictures of kites so made our own. After a few experiments we had  kites that would fly. We used heavy brown paper to make the kite and chopped off about 500 feet of dad's binder twine. We went out in a wide open space( it was all open space) and let our kites go. As little boys not very much held our attention for very long. Soon we would tie our kites to a fence post and leave. Remember that strong steady wind. Your kite flew by itself all day. 

     With the high winds it was very peaceful to get out of the wind. We would find  patch of badger brush and crawl in out of the wind. Badger brush is a shrub that grows from 40 cm (18 in ) to 100 cm(3 ft) tall. It was thick and was a good shelter from the wind. We pretended we were coyotes and looked out for people with guns. 

   So as usual our short span attention moved us on. So you spread out your arms and coat and felt the force of the wind push you along.

    Today was one of those spring days when the wind blew all day so I was reminded of the fun we had as kids being outdoors. 

    Oh ya? the kites. The wind usually went down in the evening and so did your kite. 

Friday, April 21, 2023


      Yesterday morning's local paper had an item about the school I taught in here. They had received an award for a special program they had participated in.

     This item started numbers running through my head. I taught in the school for 28 years. It was a very good school as the district was supportive of education and most kids came to school with the right attitude. Over the years we had 400 to 550 students. Sometimes we were a very good school and other times not. It depended on stars to align like administration, students, teachers and program. 

    I had no intention of staying in one school that long. I applied for transfers but didn't get anything nearly as good as what I had. So 28 years rolled by before I knew it.

    The next number was 26. That's the number of years I've been retired. My retirement time is almost as long as the time I taught in the school.

    The next number is37. That's the number of years I taught. 

    So the numbers have rolled along very quickly.

    I enjoyed my teaching time. Who would have a sad  time in retirement. If things go a little faster, my retirement will be as long as my teaching time. 

                                The beginning
                        First  class 1958
Towards the end

Wednesday, April 19, 2023


      The headline is right. The Micro Manager gambled at the Casino today.

     Now I've never said that the micro Manager is not a gambler but those who've followed me for a while know that she is probably the last person to ever gamble. 

     So what happened?

     Well in this province there is a card called Winner's Edge. The government controls gaming and issues the Winner's Edge card which is something like a loyalty card. You can build up points on your card and redeem your points for meals, draws and gambling.

    The other day The Micro Manager got a card in the mail that they had put $20.00 on her card. So there's only one way to get your twenty bucks. You have to gamble. The worst that can happen is that you lose the twenty bucks. 

    The Micro Manager has absolutely no idea how any gambling machine works so one of the staff helped her. Of course it didn't take very many minutes and the $20.00 was gone except for a nickel and that was too little to continue. She took the coupon and got her nickel. That's it for her gambling experience.  I wish I'd taken my camera to show you all the fun the Micro Manager had. 

     While I was out for my walk today , I found a nickel on the road so between the two of us we made 10 cents today!

   It was fun while it lasted. 

Monday, April 17, 2023


       Six months ago I did not know that you could check for comments that were spam. I had no idea what spam comments would be. 

      So for blogger if you go to comments , you will find a small triangle to the center left above comments. Click on that and you will find a list of spam. 

      Now the spam comes in many different colors, sizes and shapes. 

     For some reason other bloggers comments are sometimes judged to be spam. These you can identify and click on publish and the comment will be published. 

   Much of the spam is made up of my comments and replies to other blogger comments. 

    Then there are just plane unwelcome comments as some jerk who thinks that all old people should be put to death as they are a menace to the planet.

    I had not looked at older spams until this week. It seems that some comments made by new readers are identified as spam. This bothers me as I don't want to be considered rude as if I'm not publishing a comment. It also seems that some of my followers are quite often identified as spam. For example the blogs by Bill and Jenn are quite often flagged as spam. So for a long time their comments were not published on my blog. 

    So I would suggest that bloggers check the spam file often and keep it up to date. Comments are a very important part of blogging and we want all comments to be published. 

Saturday, April 15, 2023


      The last post with the plumber leaving his money on the table was  a  funny situation  in my mind. Okay, I'm not bragging about my humor. 

     However, some readers saw some great problems with the situation as I told it. I never thought that some people would see some very serious problems arise out of that situation.

     Maybe I should have said that the plumber gave me an invoice that said "Paid in full". Maybe I should have said that there was a GST number on the invoice. These were issues that I did not have concerns about in the post. It was humorous that the hard working guy left his money on the table. His fees were high, but he could have billed us for more.

    One thing was different was that all transactions were by phone. He printed the invoice and sent it to me by email as he was standing there. If I had a phone, I would have had the invoice paid in full in my hand as he was taking his money. 

     Then I started to think that there are situations where people are at risk in any situation where an unfair advantage can be taken. I never thought that some people could take advantage of this situation by having an opportunity to lie. It's sad that some people have to live with and deal with scumbags that would take advantage of you and cheat you. 

    Here, there are acceptable methods of doing business. Most of us follow the rules. It works well for all concerned. 

Wednesday, April 12, 2023


     I recently had some plumbing done at my house. I replaced the bathtub taps and put a new sink in the half bath along with new faucets and drain. Plumbing in older houses can present a problem and this house was no different. 

    The resident do it yourselfer plumber has retired here. Plumbing and other tradesmen rates are too high for me but I have officially retired. A plumber was recommended and he gave me a solid estimate. In other words there would be no surprise additional fees. He came and did what he said he would do and did it well.

    We had asked before how he wanted to be paid. He didn't accept checks. He didn't accept credit cards. He would take etransfers or cash. So our only option was to pay him in cash.

     We got the $1156.00 cash. The Micro Manger had the cash in an envelope. The micro Manager counted out the cash and the plumber checked the cash. All was good. The plumber left. In about thirty seconds the door burst open again and the plumber said, "I forgot my money." The envelope was still on the table. We hadn't noticed that he left his money on the table.

    It seemed like a deal that was too good to be true and it was. 


Sunday, April 9, 2023


       I received a request. I've never had a request before so this is too good to miss. 

       Debbie asked how I spent Easter when I was young. Here's where all your predictions will fall apart. Some of it doesn't make sense.

      My parents belonged to a denomination that did not celebrate the sacred part of the Easter story. Why? Since the actual crucifixion date of Christ was not known, their denomination thought that it was not "right" to celebrate if the date wasn't accurate. They did remember the death and resurrection of Jesus in their daily devotions.  So there. That's the sacred part of my Easter celebration. 

    However, the non religious part of Easter took place. 

    When we were very little in the early years , the war was on so some of the good stuff (chocolate) was not available but the meal was a big deal. We had turkey and all the trimming that were available. Since we lived on a farm the turkey and ham was readily available. After that there were many other dishes. However, cranberries were not available.

    We would celebrate with my Mom's cousins. They had four boys and our family consisted of three boys and a girl. It was quite a gang. It was an all day affair. The big meal was at noon. The afternoon consisted of visiting for the men and hard work for our Moms. For kids, we had a ball. Lots of playing with cousins even though we only lived one mile apart. 

    After the war candy became available. I'm not sure when the bunny rabbit arrived. Our Grandma sent very nice chocolate cream Easter eggs. I will never forget them. Many goodies were produced by our Moms to go along with the meal. 

    This went on all day. We had a warm up meal about 6:00 PM. Just before going home at midnight we had a cold plate.

   It was a long enjoyable day.

   So I hope everybody has a happy Easter no matter how it is observed. 

Saturday, April 8, 2023


       Now my last post was to set you up for this post. 

      I hope that somewhere in my last post you got the idea that in the rural areas curling was not very highly organized. Curling was only in the evening unless it was a bonspiel. So sometimes when kids got bored we would enter the curling rink, which was never locked and throw a few rocks. If somebody caught us we got kicked out.

     I came to Red Deer in 1969 and taught in a middle school of about 500 students. There were two other middle schools in the city. One was smaller and had just opened in 1969. The other school was not highly organized in  athletic activities. Our school had basket ball, volley ball and badminton and not too much opportunity for competition.

    So in 1970 I got it in my head to start after school curling for kids. Still being this naive country boy, I phoned the local curling rink and asked if kids could play after school. Did I get a surprise. In a city this size curling was highly organized. They had just never thought of kids curling.

    After a little discussion they agreed to let kids curl after school for free. So I had some great kids who either wanted to curl or learn to curl. The next year another teacher joined me and his idea was to teach curling and he was very good at it. 

    Curling continued for three or four years. I didn't have the time to give to it any more so I did not carry on with curling. . 

    However, there was something that happened that I had never dreamed about. This naive little farm boy had never heard of high school nationals in curling. You guessed it. One of my little guys continued with curling in high school and went to the Canadian National high school competition.

    Now I worked with Doug's Mom and see her since we've retired. She always reminds me of Doug and curling and you can tell that she's very proud of him. I see Doug about every 15 years and he always talks about learning to curl when he was a kid.


Wednesday, April 5, 2023


      I have to write about the sport of curling before I do my next post.

       It's spring and I'm a little late with a post on curling. Okay , for those who know much more about curling than I do, you can stop reading.

       Curling is a game played on ice with 40 lb granite rocks that are very carefully shaped. There are four players to a team and each player has two rocks to throw in turn with the other team. The objective is to see who can get the most rocks closer to the center. If you have two rocks closer to the center and your oppositions rock is the third closest, you get two points. 

     Curling is a game that requires great skill and there's much strategy involved. It's an interesting game to play and now it's a big hit on TV. 

    This is a brief outline and I'm sure that Jen , who watches a lot of curling will correct things for me. 

    Now , when I was a kid in the 40's and 50's every little village and town had a curling rink. They did not have artificial ice. After it froze and stayed frozen they hauled tanks of water to make the ice. For the rest of the winter these people curled. They had men's league, women's league and mixed league. They had bonspiels which was like a curling tournament. 

    The skip, the team captain told the players where to throw the rock. The player had to throw the right "weight" so that the rock would stop where they wanted it to stop. There was also the little thing of a turn and out turn. Out turn would give the rock a counter clockwise turn and in turn would give the rock a clockwise turn. The curling or turning of the rock allowed the rock to bend or move sideways and a rock could get behind the opposition's rock. It was all fun. They also have brooms and for various situations sweep like mad. They sweep to make the rock move further before it stops. They sweep to help it bend more or less.

     For the time I'm talking about it was a very social game and activity for the rural people on the Canadian Prairies. They wore special sweaters which they called curling sweaters. Women  knitted these sweaters. These old rinks were unheated and just as cold as the outside. Everybody had a special sweater. I still have my curling sweater. Mom knitted it and sent it to me in Inuvik in 1964. 


Monday, April 3, 2023


         Today I had the pleasure of receiving my electricity bill. Like you, the cost of electricity has gone up very much. I happen to have signed a contract a few years ago but contracts come to an end and I don't like the options I see.

       Without contracts energy is 18 cents a kilowatt. I would think that most people are on the 18 cent a kilowatt rate.

      So lets go back a few years. About 30 to 35 years ago we had a politician and government that thought that utilities should be owned and run by private companies. Their  belief was that with private companies could do things more efficiently and with competition, energy rates would decrease. It hasn't happened yet. In fact, rates have actually gone up.

    It wasn't long before the companies approached the government to see if they could charge a separate  administration fee. Of course, the government said yes. Then the companies were back to have a special billing fee. Of course, you can have a special billing fee. This went on until we have seven added charges. The extra charges are more than we pay for electricity. 

    So in these days of inflation the very kind government is bending over backwards to "help" us with electrical payments. Last month they gave me $75.00 to help me pay my electrical bill.  This month it's only $25.00 and I don't know why it's only $25.00..Could it be that we have an election in May?

       In the good old days there was some stability to electrical charges. The province produced and sold the electrical energy. People knew what the price was and could live accordingly. Yes, the government assisted consumers regularly with this system. 

     This system has opened the door to abuses of the system that hurt the consumer. 



Friday, March 31, 2023


             The behavior of many of our politicians could be described by many different words. All of them bad. 

           Before I go on I must say that there are many honorable politicians. The idiots get the publicity. Hard working politicians do not get the credit and notice they deserve. 

         If I was a politician, I'd find it very hard to lose an election. It would crush my fragile self image. As a result I have not run for any kind of position which requires an election. 

       Many politicians seem to be interested in only one thing and that is to get elected. As a result they spend all their time and money for the purpose of getting elected. No stunt is too wild to gain attention. Twist their words and other politicians words. Truth goes out the window. Defend all the looney ideas (oops, they don't have any ideas)  antics they come up with. The wacky behavior is to try and get elected. 

     Our premier has recently been caught contacting the justice system regarding certain people who are facing criminal charges. The justice system is not to be influenced by politicians. There's a separation between the two for good reason. Politicians would make very poor judges. 

      So I think that many of these people are terrified to lose an election. Their egos are fragile. That's all they have to offer. They don't have ideas. They've never heard of the government setting up systems to help people. 

Tuesday, March 28, 2023


       Most of the houses here still have snow on the roof. 

           A snowy roof from a few days ago.

      To me snow on the roof of houses indicates that very little spring thawing has occurred. Yes, the snow is gone from some of the roofs that may face south  or the house may not have much insulation. 

      I don't know if this is scientific or just the deductions of an elderly man. First, the snow melts off the roof and then snow starts to melt a little faster on the land. Snow can be found in the bush for quite a while after snow in the open has melted. 

     The low temperature last night was minus 18 C. That means that it doesn't warm up much in the daytime so very little snow melting takes place. Today our high was minus 2 C with some wind so it wasn't  very pleasant day. 

     To make me feel bluer, there is not much spring warmth in the seven day forecast. We get a couple of days with highs of plus 5 C and then the highs are below 0 C.

     When spring does come here it will be fast. This morning the sun rose at 7:19 and sets tonight at 8:02 for 12 hours and 43  minutes of sun. This means that when it does decide to warm up it will happen rapidly. 

      So I may be a bit blue with this cold spring, but I know that spring will be here sooner than later. 

Sunday, March 26, 2023


        I feel like crap today and I'll tell you why I think I feel like crap. 

        I had my sixth covid shot yesterday. It was pfizer with the two parts. So I think I'm under the weather from the results of my covid shot. None of the previous shots bothered me in the least. The Micro Manager had no problems before. But this shot has both of us feeling pretty miserable.  We are fatigued and very irritable. However, I guess it doesn't last long and it's much better than getting covid. We still have about 2000 new cases a week and around 25 deaths a week. 

      Today I had two grocery stores to visit. I needed seven items at one grocery. I got the wrong brand of one item and then bought an item that was past it's best before date. I was just not sharp at all. The next store  I needed three items and missed two of them altogether. I  seemed to be fighting to stay focused and follow the regular shopping routine.

    How many people have had a sixth covid shot? Is the  sixth shot the one that makes us miserable. 

Thursday, March 23, 2023


       We eat out several times a week. Most of the time we go to the same restaurant. They cater to seniors. They have a $4.99 breakfast. Construction workers order ahead and have two breakfasts.

      We have their breakfast schedule at least once a week. As in many restaurants many things, such as salt and pepper, are on the table most of the time.

     For breakfast there is usually jam in a basket.

     Yesterday someone came to our table. The micro Manager heard it as "Where is Jim?" I just heard Jim. The Micro manager replied that she didn't know any Jim in the restaurant. The lady went away to another table. The people at the second table were a little brighter. They gave the lady the basket of jam.

     So the lady had an accent and was actually asking us for jam. 

     I'm sure that when she went away she thought that those two old people were very miserable not to give her any "Jim." 

Monday, March 20, 2023


      Well, the first day of spring is usually Mar. 21. I thought I'd show you what Mar. 21 looks like here today. I went out about 10:30 AM and got some photos in very bright sunshine. It was made brighter by all the snow. 

      Just to clear a few things up, some Mar. 21's we may not have any snow.  And some Mar.21's may have more snow. Today's high was plus 2 C or about 35 F. 
      Don't worry. Spring is coming here. 

Sunday, March 19, 2023


     So what did my first post look like? Well, here it is. I was anxious to get something posted. It was kind of an introduction. I had no readers and comments. I just wasn't out there so that I could e recognized. Back to blogging for dummies. I finally found out how to post my blog where it might be seen. For many posts I had no readers and of course no comments. 

     It was a challenge and I was determined to win. After I had things set up my intention was to quit. So here I am 15 years later. This post was made on Aug. 27, 2008.

     The next post was on Sept. 23 , 2008. I think I only made 2 posts in 2008. 

     So many people have given me pleasure during my blog journey . I've learned so much from the people who follow and comment. 


     So my 2008 blog post starts here. 

     What does one say when one starts a blog ? Obviously something must be on my mind . I'm interested in the environment , music, reading, Xcountry skiing , cycling , issues of health and education ... So from time to time I will leave comments on these topics and other related issues . I hope that you find something of value ...informative, interesting or something which you wish to comment on.

     I look forward to coming up with topics and putting them together for others to think about .

Friday, March 17, 2023


      Very quietly and all alone my blog counter passed the one million mark today.  I told my son in law last weekend that this milestone was about to happen and he said go ahead and tell the blogging world about my number. 

      I started blogging in 2008. I had no idea what I was doing so for the first six months I was reading blogging for dummies. I didn't post very many times. I had no idea what comments were about. The first person who commented on my blog was Connie from  Far Side of Fifty. Maybe she was the millionth customer this afternoon as she still follows my blog. That's quite a record for Connie. 

      I'm not a prolific poster but do from 110 to 150 posts a year. 

      What's so fantastic about blogging? The people you meet and make friends with in blog land. 

    Thanks , my friends , for visiting me and making blogging fun. 

Thursday, March 16, 2023


      Our income tax dead line in Canada is April 30. So income tax is on my mind. I wonder how many countries in the world have an income tax system.  I wonder what are the tax  filing deadlines in other countries?

     I did my own income tax until 2018 when I decided that for my skills it took too much time. I knew what was going on but it was hard work. I now have someone do my tax. However, now I don't really know what is going on. You can't have it both ways.

      I filed  my first tax return in 1958. It was one page both sides. I put in my income . Everybody was given a thousand dollar deduction. So fill it out and pay the tax man. Simple. I wish the tax system could have remained simple. So various governments tinkered with the system trying to raise more tax income and then make things more palatable by giving some benefits. So they take with one hand and give with the other. They also think we don't know what they're doing.

     I taught for two years in a small isolated Inuit settlement. Usually 6 to 10 of the men got work at a nearby mine for a few months. These people did not read or write. However, the mining company had to send these men T-4 slips. When the men got these slips they would come to me and ask for money. I had to explain to them that we had to fill out a form and send it to the government and then they would get money. They had no other income except from the mine. So I ended up filling out a few tax returns. The were happy to get the income tax return. 

     So my return is done and filed. How about you? Have you found out how much money the tax man wants? 

Monday, March 13, 2023


      A couple of posts ago I admitted my passion for the history of western Canada. This includes the provinces of Manitoba, Saskatchewan and Alberta. It's a huge area made up of plains and forest. The southern parts are grasslands and the northern parts are dense forests. 

     In the 1800's this area was almost vacant. The Canadian government wanted people to live in this huge area. If that was going to happen the land had to be surveyed so people could identify the land they wanted.

     Did I tell you that free land was available? Yes, for $10.00 and meeting some obligations you could get 160 acres. 

    Now here's where my son in law comes in as he asked me about how the land was divided. 

     The land was to be surveyed in blocks so that identification was made for each parcel of land and it could not be mistaken for another property.

    An artificial line was established so that all measurement could start from the same place. There were township lines running north and south and range lines running east and west. These lines were 6 miles apart giving  piece of land 36 sections. One section was 640 acres. These lines were all numbered. The final description was east or west of the first meridian. They established more meridians as the moved west. 

      The surveys happened around 1880 and took quite a few years before it was complete. The technology of the time was simple. Survey crews spent from early spring to late fall. The crewmen were paid $1.00 per day. 

    So a piece of land would be described as SW-20-rge 21-twp 32 -  west of the second. No other piece of land has this designation. 

    This survey was not really used for another 20 years before people started coming to the area. Stakes were used to show the corners and the wooden stakes were marked , but a little problem happened. Wooden stakes rotted and the first nations people found that the stakes made a good wood supply. Some areas had to be resurveyed.

    Now there was another little problem. The roads were supposed to be one mile apart. Because of the curvature of the earth, the roads would get closer together as  they went north. To make amends for this they invented correction lines. Every 24 or 30 miles the roads would take a sharp jog of about 100 ft so that they would continue to be one mile apart. 

    Millions of people came to the area looking for free land and using this system of survey to identify the land they wanted. My grandparents came in 1905 and located land and farmed for close to 50 years. . 

Thursday, March 9, 2023


       I have a fantastic Christmas cactus. It is blooming for the fourth time this year. 

        It bloomed in November. It bloomed for Christmas . It bloomed in January and now it's full of buds and ready to bloom in March. 

      What's been happening is when the last couple of blooms are ready to fall off, new buds are being set. 

     It was a slow bloomer because it took about six years before it bloomed. But that could be because of the poor care I took of it. 

     I wrote about my Christmas cactus on Jan. 28.