Wednesday, January 31, 2024


      Well guess who's looking forward to longer warmer days. Who's counting down the minutes. January, the toughest winter month is behind us. We've had an excellent mild winter except for about ten days in January. I can't complain.

      We are in the middle of an incredibly mild spell. 

      So things are moving towards spring.

Dec.21 Sun rose at 8:42   

            Sunset 4:24

           Day length 7:41:45

          Change  Minus 0.05

Jan.31  Sun rose at 8:42 

            Sunset 5:19

            Day length 9:01:54 

            Change plus 3:23

Day length is starting to increase rapidly. 

Monday, January 29, 2024


     I taught with a woman for around 20 years. We'll call her Sharon. Sharon was a physed. teacher and a good one. Sharon coached all girls teams at the school .

    For all those 20 years she never taught anything else. Sharon  didn't teach any options. The only time I know that she spent time in another field is when she came with us on an outdoor education   field trip. We were probably short a female supervisor so Sharon  was conscripted. 

    Sharon's been retired for about 15 years and I've only seen her once. I met her in the library when we were both getting books. 

    Lately one of my friends was asking if I knew Sharon. She told me that Sharon sings in a ladies singing group and is a great singer. Not in my wildest dreams did I think Sharon was a singer. 

    My friend went on to tell me that Sharon paints...watercolors. Sharon put on a show of her own in a local art gallery. Again, I had no idea that Sharon had talents in art. 

    So there I was thinking that Sharon was a one trick pony and could only teach physed. It would have been interesting to have seen Sharon in a music class or art class. 

    Some people really surprise you. 

Saturday, January 27, 2024


      Well, here I go, down the rabbit hole of hearing aids.

       I was surprised in the last post how quickly the topic turned to the performance of hearing aids. So in this post I will comment on the function of my hearing aids and I, and some of my readers may get some good tips.

      I've had problems wearing masks during covid. The hearing aids have popped out when I'm taking the mask off and on.

      Hearing aids are good for some things but they aren't a complete solution. Hearing aids make all sound louder including what you're trying to hear. In noisy places like restaurants hearing is very difficult. 

     Partners quite often have difficulty with the hearing aids. They are disappointed with the performance. The MM thinks I'm ignoring her and asks me to turn up the hearing aids. There are some frequencies where we don't hear well. Sometimes much of the partner's voice is at the frequency that you don't hear well .

    I use batteries. The batteries die in about 4 to 6 days. So you go with one aid working for a while before you get a chance to change them. 

   Changing some of the wax protection devices can be a challenge.

    So I would like to hear some advice to get more out of hearing aids. I hope readers will pick up tips as well as give tips.

Thursday, January 25, 2024


         I wrote a series of posts in the last two months about a jack rabbit. It started out when I thought that the  color had not all changed to winter white. He/She then kept coming back. This was a surprise as I didn't think they stayed in the one shelter for very long. 

       So Jan. 10 was the last time I had a visit from Spencer.

      Today I look out and there's Spencer back in the same place.

      I think it would be the same animal as it's back to the exact place as before. I don't think another animal would take over another rabbit's shelter. 

     And this animal still has a noticeable amount of it's coat that hasn't turned white.

Wednesday, January 24, 2024


     What a difference a day makes!

     The first photo is the sunrise of Jan. 22 and the second is of the Jan 23 sunrise. On the 22nd there were cloud formations catching the sun's rays from below which gives the color. Yesterday,  it was perfectly clear.


Sunday, January 21, 2024


      One thing that got me going on my last post was hearing aids.

      I was wondering if I had any time left on my warranty. I looked at all the paper work I had with the hearing aids. The first hurdle was to find the actual purchase date. You get to test them for a week and dates and info are confusing. Well it's the same with the warranty. Some things are 3 years and some are 5 years. I wanted to cover my bases and know for sure what was what. We finally phoned the local office. The person had to take several runs at it and finally sorted it out for us.

    Then I got thinking about buying the hearing aids. To my way of thinking quite a few people were paid for the hearing aids. The total price was $6500.00. Govt aid to seniors paid roughly $1800. My pension plan paid some. For some reason the AMA(( Alberta Automobile association ) paid $2000.00. I paid the remainder of $1800.00. All this was meant to make me feel good about buying hearing aids as if I got a good deal. 

   To me it looks like games are being played. Somehow the price appears to be raised unnecessarily. Rumor has it that the physical aids cost less than $100.00 to make. 

    I wonder how many people would not be able to afford hearing aids if they had to pay for them on their own? 

Friday, January 19, 2024


      I've been wanting to make a few comments on the economy for a while. It's been on my topic list . I just hadn't sorted things out in my head as to what I wanted to say. 

    This morning I was listening to a radio interview about people working more than one job. Historically we can look back.

    At one time there was only one wage earner per household and he/she usually worked at one job. 

    Today we have two wage earners in a family and in some cases both of them are working two jobs. 

    The economy has a number of tricks that keep people on a tread mill. A treadmill that keeps them purchasing more product. Build in obsolescence as in appliances that don't run very long. Same situation with cars. And while we're at it sell insurance on the poor appliance so they get to sell insurance as well as a product.  

    The way the economy is set up now it has to grow. So more product has to be made and sold. It's a vicious circle. Get more workers to work in factories to make things. More workers means more customers. 

    So people are caught with a huge amount of product to buy and they do buy too much. Customers must pay for the goods. You can use a credit card but that soon gets you into more trouble. So this morning they were talking about proceedings to help the poor folks who've come to the end of the rope with their money. 

  Families working more than two jobs started appearing before I retired from teaching. They wanted to do the right thing but didn't have time or money. They wanted to support their kids but didn't have time. It was sad. 

    The last few years prices have been rising very noticeably. Wages have not risen noticeably . So the economy goes into recession because it's not growing. The government pours money into the pot so people start buying things.

    I realize this is oversimplified. I'm not an economist. I took a political economy class in 1958. That doesn't do me much good.

    I am upset with the path the economy is on in the last few years. How long will many people have to work two or more jobs? 

Saturday, January 13, 2024


      These photos were taken around 9:15 AM from my house. I didn't feel like going outside as it was minus 42 C. . War vapor freezes in the air so we have the hazy conditions. 

        A few deer wandered through the yard last night. Rabbits had also been in the yard. Today I saw one chickadee, one house sparrow and numerous bohemian waxwings. 

Friday, January 12, 2024


     Some readers, from the Spencer the Jack Rabbit post, rightly wondered about survival. It will be dropping down to minus 45 C tonight so people would think more than ever about survival of the critters. 

     Critters are extremely well adapted for survival. Human interference is the greatest challenge critters have. Humans have destroyed much of the earth's natural areas. Critters have had to adapt and find other habitat which may not be as suitable.

    All critters have their own survival mechanisms. For Spencer, he's active at night feeding on plant material that he likes. In the daytime he rests all day and digests food. At night there are fewer predators active and in the daytime he blends in with the environment. They have an incredible coat that keeps them warm and they find shelter. There's very little wind at ground level. Their survival rate is high until disease strikes. Many aboriginal groups used rabbit skins to wrap their infants in for winter. 

    Young of the year have a challenge for survival. Deer fawns, that are born later in the spring and early summer, will have trouble to survive. 

    Some critters have population cycles. The population of snow shoe hares increases enormously and then their predators do well until the food from snow shoe hares is less. 

      Here, many of our domestic animals have adapted. Horses and cattle grow a very heavy coat. Cattle and horses stay out all winter.

    Birds are a little more fragile when it comes to surviving in winter. They do molt and grow heavy down against the skin and new outer feathers. They seem to be able to find protected areas. They also become less active in the cold so use less energy. Sometimes a few chickadees will pile into a whole in a tree and nestle together for warmth. 

     Then there are the critters who hibernate. Bears for example. Frogs bury into the mud and are not active in the cold winter. Hey, we've even got snakes here. 

    Yes there will be losses in very severe weather but they have adaptations for the habitat they are suited for. 


Wednesday, January 10, 2024


        Back on Dec. 10 posted about a jack rabbit that hadn't turned completely white. I went down a rabbit hole and started to keep track of this animal. 

         It started coming to my yard on a regular basis and I have a photo of each visit. Around visit 8 He/she received the name Spencer. 

        I told you before that jack rabbits make a scrape to sit in during the day. Spencer made a scrape in my raspberry patch. They make sure that their behind is covered so a predator can not see or sneak up on the rabbit. If the rabbit  sees something coming from the front they have escape routes. 

      Spencer stayed in my yard 13 times. Spencer usually came every 3 or 4 days. On Jan. 6 we had snow and Spencer's scrape was covered with snow and Spencer did not return.

       Now I'll give you the first and last photo and you can decide if there was much change in the coat

      They sit in the scrape all day. The occasionally stretch. They also spend a lot of time grooming. Spencer was spooked and left the scrape once but returned 30 min

                        First visit Nov. 25

                   Dec 27 so about the middle of the visit  

                         Last day Spencer visited

Monday, January 8, 2024


       My son in law has become very interested in genealogy. He's a hard worker, meticulous and knows the rules. When his mother died he looked around and discovered that he knew or knew of very few family members. 

      There are websites that give you much information on your family. Be careful. Not all of it is correct. This is where my sil gets to work. He likes to show that information he finds is correct so it has to coincide with other information. I am interested in genealogy but am not dedicated enough to do the research.

    The sil put out a news letter and used the term second cousin and second cousin removed. I thought ah ha. I've heard these terms all my life but don't really know what they mean. What I did know is that there were many different definitions for "second cousin." People seemed to follow their own rules. The sil laughed and said that he got the labels off a genealogy site.

    Then my daughter, who was siting beside him, got her phone out and had information on any kind of cousin you imagine. There are charts that help you go through the cousin maze. 

    Cousin definitions and labels go in two directions. There's vertical which goes by age and horizontal which shows the distance from a common grandparent.

    I will go no further. You can get out of your depth in a hurry when it comes to labeling cousins. 

   Check the internet and you will easily find charts.

   Another snag with cousins is that various cultures have different labels for cousins. 

    I think some of you will take the bait here and try and label cousins.

    Have fun. 

Friday, January 5, 2024


       I was a boy in the mid 40's to 50's . We lived in a rural community that didn't have very many amenities. For example, our roads were very poor. We didn't have electricity. We didn't have TV. We didn't have running water. We didn't buy much from the store.

      More than half our neighbors were Mennonites. The other half were English of some kind. Half the kids in school were Mennonite. It was an excellent community to live in. We learned many things from each other. So our neighbors were Epps, Friesens, Dicks, Bergens, Wiens, Neufeld, Siemens and Funk. 

    Now as little boys we had many activities to keep us occupied . We threw stones, climbed trees, wandered through the brush and if our dad's caught us we had some work to do. One day we left the school yard. We were allowed to leave the school yard at noon. There were no teachers doing noon supervision. We were to eat our lunch and then play out side. This system worked very well. 

    One day we were throwing rocks. We would see how far we could throw and there was always debate about who's rock went the farthest. We would see how high we could throw. This caused many arguments. We would try to hit telephone poles. With all this practice our aim was not very good and there were some errant shots. 

    So we were by the preacher's house one day and he came out and was very, very angry. One of our rocks must have landed in his yard or hit his house or car. We were some very quiet and subdued boys who quietly walked back to school. Since throwing stones must be in little boys DNA we continued throwing stones but in some other place. 

    We were very worried that our parents would find out and then we would be in big trouble.

    So at the time I was a boy , people didn't hesitate to get after other people's kids. I was not a Mennonite but I got it and so I should have. 

   Today people just do not reprimand other people's kids. It would be too risky. Some wild eyed parent may become totally unhinged. 

Wednesday, January 3, 2024


     Yes that's right , I've been promoted! 

     I've been promoted to be the head vacuum cleaner operator here. As a result , from now on I do all the vacuuming in this house.  That means all floors. All furniture. All stuff on walls. I do work under a supervisor and the supervisor tells me if I've done a good job or missed anything. 

      I don't really mind this promotion. The Micro Manger at one time did all the vacuuming. I wasn't even in training. Gradually, I've taken over the vacuuming. 

      The micro Manager has been suffering increasing physical problems which make operating the vacuum cleaner a bit of a challenge and in fact would do harm. 

      The Micro Manager has a torn rotator cuff which causes a lot of pain and loss of strength.

    So I will do my best to keep all those dust bunnies on the run.