Sunday 30 April 2017

Another Demented Robin

    Early in the morning I kept hearing a tapping sound.  I couldn’t figure out what was causing it, until I saw a robin slamming and pecking at the upstairs window.  “Oh no,” I thought, “another demented robin.”    
    This is the third one I have experienced.  My first was up in BC, the second was at my mother’s house in Indiana, and now another one in BC.  
    Here’s what happens.  A male robin sees its reflection in a window, then full of male ego, it pursues the reflection to drive the perceived interloper away.  Over and over they fly at the glass, banging and pecking in their futile attempt, but of course they can’t drive their own reflection away.
    After weeks of battling the window, the first robin ended up finally killing itself by slamming too hard into the glass.  I tried to stop it by taping white paper on the inside of the window to lessen the reflection, but I guess the robin could still see himself.
    This time I taped some foamy packing material on the outside of the window, and that worked for a day.  The next morning, however I was awakened at 5:00 AM by another constant scraping sound.  With the reflected robin in the window now gone, the demented robin moved over and started going after its reflection in the door window.  It couldn’t really attack its reflection in the glass because of the screen door, but it kept trying by slamming and hanging on the screen.  That’s what the above photo shows.
    I still had some sheets of plastic that we used to cover up things during our painting, and so I hung some over the door to stop the reflection (Photo below).  So far that has been working, and I haven’t seen the robin for a day.  I have my fingers crossed that the robin doesn’t notice any of the many other windows we have on our house.
    Sometimes I think it would be better just to let the robin keep slamming into the window glass, until it takes itself out of the gene pool, at least then the stupidity would be bred out of future generations.

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Saturday 29 April 2017

Fog on the Water

    I was a bit surprised to wake up to fog this morning, but it did set up some photo opportunities that I took advantage of.  This is how the pond looked after breakfast when Skye and I walked around the pond.

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Friday 28 April 2017

I Finally Did It, Warren

    Back in the early 1980’s I took a photography workshop.  One of the activities included in the workshop was to go out and take some photos to then be developed.  The doors of the classroom were flung open and we all rushed out, cameras in hand, and spread out across little McBride eagerly looking for something to photograph.
    I luckily, stumbled across Warren in his pickup truck.  Warren is one of our local characters that always adds interest to our lives.  When I think of the word “Cowboy,” its Warren that always comes to mind.  Anyway, I explained to Warren about our photo assignment, and he consented to be the subject of my camera.  He did ask me to give him copies of some of the photos, and I said I would, but in the hustle and bustle of life, the photos got buried among all the other stuff I saved.
    Well, thirty-some years have passed, and every I see Warren in town, I cringe with guilt because I never gave him copies of the photos.  My intentions were honorable, but in my defense I have two excuses:
  1. The photos were black and white slides, and back when I took them, I didn’t really have any means of getting prints made.
  2.   I lost track of where they were.

    Recently, I did come across them when we were moving things around to get some drywalling done, and now with all this computerization, I have the means to print the slides for Warren.  I did that yesterday and took them down to the post office so that he gets them.  Its a big and very old weight finally off of my shoulders.
    Here are a couple of those photos I took of Warren so long ago.

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Thursday 27 April 2017

Determined Plant

    This photo might be a bit confusing, but it is an image of two Horsetails pushing up through the asphalt on the side of the road.  I think it’s incredible that these fragile looking plants have enough power to push up through something a hard as the pavement on the edge of a road.  I doubt that I have enough strength in my fingers to do that.

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Wednesday 26 April 2017


    I have been so bummed out lately about the fact that it seemed that I had a fish die-off in my pond over the winter.  Generally I see the small fish swimming around after the ice melts, but this year I saw none.  Every day I looked, without seeing even one.  I kept saying to myself, surely a few must have survived, surely not every single fish is gone, but I didn’t see any evidence that that was the case.
    It made me feel bad every time we took a walk around the pond, but yesterday I saw finally some fish darting around.  What a relief I felt.
    I don’t know why they weren’t around earlier.  Maybe they were just happy hiding in the aquatic plants away for shore, but it is really good to see they are still there.

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Tuesday 25 April 2017

The First Bear

    This time of year one of the most popular conversation starters is, “Have you seen any bears yet?”  Up until yesterday, my answer to that question would have been “No,” but then I went driving down the road to get some firewood, and on the way back I saw this black bear eating newly greening grass along the road.
    I stopped and drove slowly up toward it, and managed to get a couple of photos before it turned and headed back to the woods. 
    We haven’t seen any bears around our house yet, but the other day when we were walking around the pond, we heard a crashing sound down in the woods, that Joan figured must have been caused by a bear, but it may have just been a tree falling during the wind.

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Monday 24 April 2017

Canada Geese

    Very early on a couple of mornings when I was still in bed, I heard the honking of some Canada Geese.  In my half-asleep state, my brain did managed to wondered if they were on my pond, but I was too tired to get out of bed to check.  I have had Canada Geese in previous years, but not in the last couple of years. 
    When we did do our regular after breakfast morning walk around the pond, there were no Canada Geese present, and all I could see was the resident male mallard (the female is off somewhere nesting).  Then yesterday when Skye and I went out to do our walk, the honking began and increased in intensity as we approached the pond; there was a pair of geese out on the water making their presence known.
    We both stopped, watched the geese, and I took a photo, but we then turned and walked back to the house, not wanting to scare them away.  Later in the morning, they had flown off, and we did get our pond walk done.  Today there was no sign of them.
    Canada Geese are very common, but at the low level of excitement I operate at, seeing any wildlife is a treat.
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Sunday 23 April 2017

Peas Popping Up

    Lately I have been worrying about the peas I planted.  Years ago I read in a gardening article that peas could be planted as soon as the soil can be worked.  Despite the fact that there is still a lot of cold weather and some frosts ahead, peas are tough, so always followed that advice and I do plant them as soon as my soil is plantable, which a whole lot earlier than most people dare, and I have never had any trouble, but this year I was worried after I planted them.
    In my rush to get them into the ground, I grabbed the bag of my saved seeds.  It had the date 2014 on the bag, which is the date I saved the seeds, but I couldn’t find the peas I saved last year.  Since that was the only peas I could find, I planted them, then waited.  In my impatience to see them pop up, I began to doubt if the pea seeds I planted were still viable.  
    A week later, when I was putting my down coat away for the winter, I opened the cabinet where I store it and found last year’s pea seeds.  I thought that if the one’s I planted failed to come up I could always replant with the newer ones.
    Fortunately, yesterday I noticed that the peas were starting to poke their heads out of the soil, so I guess I can put all that pea worrying away and start worrying about something else.

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Saturday 22 April 2017

Earth Day, 2017

    I have no religion, but I have an immense reverence for Earth and all the lifeforms that depend on it.  That being said, one might think that Earth Day would be a great day of celebration for me, but I find it more and more depressing as the years go by, as I see the additional degradation that each year brings to those things that gives us life.
    I find this year’s Earth Day is worse by a huge gradient because of what happened last year in the US election.  A man-baby billionaire was put in charge of the country that uses the most resources per capita than the rest of the world.  He has never shown any concern for anything beyond his own avarice, and has filled his government with people with the same values who will work to destroy science and the information it provides.  They will advance the power of those whose only goal is more wealth no matter what the cost to the Earth that sustains every living thing, including human beings.
    I once heard that the Earth’s ecosystems are like the thousands of rivets that hold an airplane together.  As you fly, you can start pulling rivets out of the aircraft’s body without any noticeable effect, but eventually you will pull out one too many rivets and the whole thing will come crashing down.  The rate at which the rivets are being pulled will begin to rapidly increase as environmental laws and science are diminished.  It does not bode well for life on this planet.  To quote the man-baby, “Sad”, “Very, Very Sad.”

Friday 21 April 2017

Thinking About Next Winter

    I’ve heard it said that Canadians are defined by winter, and I think that might be true.  Here the snow in my yard has just melted and instead of kicking back and enjoying the warmer weather, I am already out working to gather firewood for next winter.  I am not the only one keeping an eye out for possible sources of wood to burn.  Its always a competition.  You might find a potential source, then a couple of days later when you got out to saw it up, you find it gone--someone has already taken it.  
     Luckily, I do own some forested property and I found a couple of trees on it that were showing signs of decline and they will be the first ones I will saw up.  The sawing is always the easy part.  Its the hauling, splitting, and stacking that take all the work.
    There are of course always slackers who wait for fall then scramble around trying to find wood.  I always like to get that job done in the spring so the wood has time to dry out before it goes in the stove.  Well, enough said, I’ve got to get my chainsaw sharpened up for the tree that I saw leaning low.

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Thursday 20 April 2017

My Instant Pot

    I don’t have any paid advertising on my blog, but every once and a while, I like to comment on things that I really like.  This is one of them.
    About a month or so ago, they did a story on the CBC news about a group of engineers that had been laid off at Nortel, when the company went bust.  They started thinking about inventing something useful so they could make a living.  They came up with the Instant Pot, an automated pressure cooker, rice steamer, yogurt maker, slow cooker, etc. etc.  and from the news report, it sounded like it had really become an runaway success with consumers.
    I was intrigued and googled it and saw hundreds of video recipes for Instant Pot that people were posting.  Watching the videos convinced me to buy one, so I ordered one online and once I got it, I really fell in love with it.
    We already had a pressure cooker, but we didn’t use it much because it always seemed a bit dangerous.  Because the Instant Pot is automated, plugs in, and can be programmed, I have no fear in using it.  I make a lot of soup and that used to mean spending a lot of time at the stove, rejuvenating dry beans, cooking, watching that it didn’t boil over, and waiting around.  With this thing, I just put all the ingredients I want in the soup in the pot, set the time, and walk away.  
    Because it is a pressure cooker, things get done really quickly, usually in minutes rather than hours.  The timer shuts the pot off after it is cooked and continues to keep the food warm after it is done.  The pressure goes back to normal and all you have to do is open the lid and start eating.  It also has a delay timer, so you can put everything into the Instant Pot in the morning, be gone all day, and it will start up cooking at the hour you set the timer for and be ready for you when you return.
    So far we have used it for soups, rice and beans, homemade dog for Skye, making chicken broth from leftover bones, and a few other things.  It is fun and very efficient, and a space saver, because we were able to get rid of a couple of other items of cookware that it replaces.  I read an article in either Mother Jones or Salon about how it had become very popular with East Indian cooks because it allows them to make some of their cuisine that were difficult because they required some kind of fermentation that was difficult.  I can see where it would be very useful for working people who want to throw something together in the morning and have it warm and ready when they come home from work.
    Anyway, I really like it and think we will using it more and more as we try new recipes.  You might want to watch some of the videos about it if you are interested.  

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Wednesday 19 April 2017

A Once Upon A Time Garden

    Forty years ago when we bought our place, their was a bit of a yard feature in one spot.  It had a decorative(?) “wishing well” made out of 2 x 4’s, surrounded by some flowers.  We hated the “wishing well” and quickly got rid of it and didn’t really pay any particular attention to the flowers.  The area became just part of our yard.  However, I guess I didn’t inform the hyacinths and crocuses about the change in status of that area, and so every spring, they pop up.  
    They are the first flowers we see, and I am always happy to see them and I appreciate their beauty and stubbornness.  By the time I have to begin mowing the lawn, the flowers are gone, but I always avoid mowing over that spot for about a month, just to make sure that the remaining leaves of the flowers get enough time to generate enough energy to get them through the winter, so they will again pop up next spring.

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Tuesday 18 April 2017

April Snow

    I guess I shouldn’t complain too much, I keep hearing weather reports from the Maritimes about snowfalls of 1 foot (30cm) and what we got over night was just a dusting in comparison, but still Spring does seem to be taking her time arriving this year.  An April snowfall is not that usual in the Robson Valley.   In the past I have taken photographs of snow covered daffodils (this year’s crop have yet to flower), and a hummingbird sitting on a snow-covered feeder (the hummers haven’t arrived yet).
    Knowing all about April snow, I have resisted the urge to put away my snowblower, but fortunately last night’s snow is not deep enough to have to use it.  While I am hungry to see some green, I guess I will just have to be patient.

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Monday 17 April 2017

Skinless Branches

    This tree blew down last fall in a wind storm and I guess it’s bark had enough nutrients in it to attract animals that stripped the branches bare.  Winter is a time when there isn’t a lot of food available for wildlife so I guess they were happy to have the bark.  I assume it was deer that did the gnawing on this poplar, although mice, spending the winter under the snow also like to eat bark, especially the bark of young fruit trees, much to the annoyance of orchardist.  If they girdle the tree it will die.

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Sunday 16 April 2017

The Sign of the Pizza

    Today is Easter, a very religious day to many.  Last night we invited some friends over for pizza and conversation.  In our conversations we discussed a wide range of topics including religion (although not in a very positive way), then settled down to eat pizza.
    Having eaten our way through the first pizza, I went to the oven and brought out the second.  As the pieces disappeared haphazardly from the second pan of pizza, I was suddenly struck by the shape the remaining pieces formed--it was a cross.
    Was this a message from the “Almighty”?  If it was, the message didn’t take.  Soon someone grabbed another slice, and the “sign” disappeared.
    I am always fascinated by the constant flow of news stories about people seeing the face of Jesus or Mary in pieces of toast, flaking paint on a wall, or stains on a drain pipe.  These sightings cause religious pilgrims to flock to the site of the image, but just so everyone out there knows, don’t flock to our house, the cross we saw has disappeared into the gullet of our friends--Sorry.

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Saturday 15 April 2017

The Lieutenant by Kate Grenville

       This month the McBride Library Book Club theme was Australian authors.  I chose The Lieutenant by Kate Grenville.
                This novel follows the life of Daniel Rooke, beginning on his fifth birthday in 1767 in Plymouth, England.  Even as a small child Rooke had extraordinary mathematical abilities which luckily were recognized and fostered. He was sent to an elite school; one generally just attended by children of the privileged classes, and there he was introduced and nurtured by a leading astronomer of the day along with his formal educated. 
      Once his schooling was over he failed to get one of the few available jobs as a scientist or astronomer, because those were rare and reserved for the privileged class.  He did however join the Navy and rose to the rank of lieutenant while serving in the war against the American colonies.  Returning back to England after the war, he finally got a dream job as the astronomer on the first voyage to take prisoners to Australia.
      After a nine month voyage to the opposite side of the world, he finally landed in the totally unique land of Australia, with its strange varieties of flora and fauna, and aboriginal people, who shunned the white strangers.  As the rest of the crew oversaw the prisoners as they worked clearing the land for the penal colony, Rooke was able to work independently to set up his observatory on a high bluff by the sea above the camp. 
      While loving his independence, he was also fascinated by the governor's attempt to capture a couple of Aborigines in hopes that they could learn their language and teach them English so they could communicate.
       The reason Rooke was sent to Australia as an astronomer was to view the predicated return of Halley's Comet that was supposed to reappear.  Rooke became terribly frustrated when that appearance failed to materialize, but he soon put his intellect to the job of learning the incomprehensible language of the small group of Aborigines, who had begun to periodically visit his observatory.  Cracking the language started to become the focus of his life.  
       Among the small group of local Aborigines was a young girl who seems to be as interested in English as Rooke was of her language.  It was through her that Rooke began  to make headway in understanding the language and their culture.  He began to see how cruel and violent his own British culture was in comparison, and he began to become  conflicted in his role as a British soldier and his job as a scientist and fellow human being, co-existing with a different culture. 
       After a brutish prisoner, who has been appointed hunter for the pineal colony, returned to the colony with an Aborigines spear embedded in his side, Rooke and 30 other military men are sent out to capture the killer and six other natives for punishment.  If the capture failed, the sailors were to bring 6 severed heads of the natives.  This order appalled Rooke and he refused to be a part of it and as a result he was subsequently sent back to England for a court martial, thus leaving the land and people he had begun to love. 
      As I read, I kept waiting for more information about why he never saw Halley's Comet, but was never given an explanation.  I was surprised by the turn of direction in the novel from Rooke being an astronomer and then suddenly he was a researcher of Aboriginal language and culture.  Later I read in the Afterward that the novel was based on the life of a real British astronomer, and his life had taken this unexpected turn.  I found the ending weak, and unsatisfying largely I guess because it was firmly based on a real life and and the novel seemed not to vary from that story.

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Friday 14 April 2017

The Beaver Mountain Beaver

    Yesterday we were over on Hinkelman Road and I once again noticed “The Beaver” of Beaver Mountain.  For the first decade or so living in the Robson Valley, we were quite aware of Beaver Mountain, were puzzled  because we could see no obvious reason for the name.  Then one time we were visiting the Milnes over on Hinkelman, I noticed that from that angle you could see a rock formation up on the mountain’s horizon that had the shape of a beaver, or maybe a chipmunk clinging to the mountains edge.  
    It suddenly hit me that that was probably the reason for the mountain’s name.  I wonder how many local people have noticed “the beaver”, since the mountain is normally viewed from Highway 16, and from that aspect there is no beaver to be seen.  Below is a photo of the way Beaver Mountain is normally viewed. 
    One of the things I like about living in the mountains is the way they change shape as you view them from different parts of the valley.  

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Thursday 13 April 2017

Skye and Lucifer

    From the photo of our pets, you might get the impression that they are good pals, but believe me, that is not the case.  In fact, the reason I took the picture was that it was so unusual to see them together.  Lucifer, the cat can be pretty erratic, and through experience, Skye has learned not to trust her.  At times, it seems that she wants to be friends with Skye and get close, but Skye generally is quick to move away because she just doesn’t trust the cat.
    It was so nice to see the two of them sitting on the mat on the front porch together, surveying the yard.  I wish it would happen more often.

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Wednesday 12 April 2017

Bees Are A-Buzzin'

    Whenever we walk down Horseshoe Lake road, when we get back to the car, Skye likes to sniff around the grassy parking area.  She’s a stubborn dog and will not be rushed, so yesterday while Joan and I were waiting for her to thoroughly check out the smells, we sat down on the concrete parking barriers.  As we sat there, I thought I heard a hum in the air, and started to look around for the source.  
    The sound was made by hundreds of bees zooming around a nearby willow tree that was filled with large pussy willows.  This was a surprise, because I had assumed it was way to early for seeing (or hearing) bees.  The grasses are still brown and there are no flowers to be seen.  I guess it is a good strategy for the willows to be the only game in town.  The bees sure seemed happy about it.

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Tuesday 11 April 2017

Sunbeam Creek Still Icy

    In the early spring when the snow starts melting, a lot of tree needles, and other bits of small organic matter begins to come down Sunbeam Creek, where we get out water.  This causes the screen on our intake to clog up and so my neighbor and I have to go up to Sunbeam Falls and replace the screen.  
    We did that yesterday and I was surprised to see how much ice was still covering the falls.  If you look carefully toward the middle of the falls, you can see our water-collecting culvert with a nice drape of water flowing over the top.  To give you some sense of size that culvert is just over 4 foot wide (1.2m) across. 
    We had to break off some of the ice that was hovering over our culvert in order to drain it and replace the screen.  Since our culvert is sitting in the middle of a tall waterfall it is a treacherous place to work, and the ice made it even more so.  Fortunately, we got the job done without incident and our water is flowing again.
    I think it is interesting that whenever we have to stop our waterline flow to work on our intake, that when we start it up again we have “Sparkling” water, full of tiny bubbles, coming out of our taps for a while.  I think it is because so much air gets into the water as it tumbles down the falls. 
    You can see the sparkling water on my old blog:

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Monday 10 April 2017

Leaky Boots

    I really hate getting my socks wet.  That was happening to me a lot lately because I had a hole in the bottom of my fancy neoprene boots and so whenever I put them on and walked out into our puddle-filled yard, my socks instantly got wet. 
    A few weeks ago, I realized that it was my right boot that was doing most of the leaking, and I remembered that when a previous pair of neoprene boots had sprung a leak, I had saved the good boot and threw the leaky one away.   With my fingers crossed, I went out to the shop and found the single boot I had saved, and luckily it was the right side boot, so I was reprieved and wouldn’t have to buy a new pair.  
    Then this week when I was putting the boots on, my finger went right through the side of the left boot I realized then that Fate was sending me a message and it was time to throw both boots away.  And although I hate to trash things, always thinking that maybe they could still be used for something, when Fate speaks to me, I listen.  I opened the garbage can and threw the neoprene boots in.
     Luckily, my shop is full of items I had saved and I still had a pair of old rubber boots that I wore before I went high tech with neoprene boots.  Hornets had built a nest in them while they were in storage in the shop, but the nest had long been destroyed and no hornets were around, it being early spring, so I cleaned them out and what do you know, they still fit and are water-tight.

    So I can once again walk through our yard, confident that my socks will stay dry.  While I hate seeing all the things l have saved cluttering up my shop, every once and a while I am glad that I did save some  of those things.

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Sunday 9 April 2017

Winter Die-Off?

    My pond is now almost entirely ice free.  I always enjoy gazing down into the clear water, but this year it has also been disturbing.  Where are all the little fish?  Normally when the ice melts I see lots of tiny fish darting around, but so far this year I have yet to see even one.  I am wondering if I have experienced a winter die-off in my pond.
    What can happen is this:  If there is a lot of dead plant debris under water (my pond does) and the ice forms over the top of the pond over a long winter (it did), when the plant detritus begins to decay, the process takes the oxygen out of the water, and the fish can suffocate.  
    I thought I had fresh water from our waterline flowing into the lake over the winter, but now that I think back, there wasn’t an area of open water forming over the section of inflow like there normally is, so maybe not enough fresh oxygen-rich water got into the pond.
    I guess sometime this spring I will have to take my minnow net and try to catch some tiny fish in some of the natural lakes around here, so I can restock my pond.  This is the first time since I built the pond that this has happened, and its depressing to think maybe I failed to have enough fresh water flowing into the pond.

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Saturday 8 April 2017

Need Insect Control in Riyadh?

    I always post the same blog on two sites; (my personal website) and also  (a Google blogging site).  On the google site there is section for readers to respond and comment.  Every once and a while someone actually does leave a comment there.  I was notified the other day that someone had commented on my Google site and when I went to see what it was, I discovered that it was all in Arabic.
    Fortunately language is no longer a barrier thanks to the Google Translate.  I copied the comment then pasted it into Google Translate, and learned that the comment was really a spam from a pest control company in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia.
    Isn’t the world of commerce amazing?  Here some pest control company on the other side of the world paid someone some money so that an add was put on my blog disguised as a comment.
    No doubt the tens of thousands of readers I have in Riyadh that need pest control in their bathrooms, will swamp the Taslik Company with requests for help.  I just hope the Taslik company has installed more phone lines to deal with the deluge of calls which will result from their spam on my blog.

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Thursday 6 April 2017

Sunset on Ice

    Last night was one of those rare evenings with beautiful light.  When I saw the sky, I right away thought that it might cause some interesting color effects on my half-melted pond.  I grabbed my camera and walked down to the pond and wasn’t disappointed.  Here are a couple of shots.

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Wednesday 5 April 2017

Ice Jam

    It was very windy yesterday, and when it came time for going for our walk, we didn’t really think it would be very pleasant walking at any of our usual places because they are so open and subject to the wind, so instead we decided to try the trail that goes along the Holmes (Beaver) River.  When we got there we were surprised at what we saw.
    There had been a big ice jam and the river was full of big chunks of ice instead of the normal smooth ice, covered with snow.  I don’t know when it happened, but it must have happened with some force, because among the ice chunks were uprooted trees and other debris that had been washed down with the ice.  The level of the ice was actually higher than the road in some places and the trail we were going to walk on was covered with ice like it had been flooded.  It must have been quite an event, but we had heard nothing about it.

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Tuesday 4 April 2017

Two Horses

    I saw these two horses peacefully grazing, dwarfed by the Cariboo Mountains yesterday when we were out walking the dog.  I’ve mentioned this before, but at a distance, the zoom lens really changes the dynamic of a scene and gives you a sense of how big the mountains are.  Without the zoom, this would have been a very lackluster landscape shot with lots of sky, a long low range of mountains, and you probably wouldn’t even notice the two horses.  Since I know what the zoom will do, I  am in the habit of noticing things that ordinarily would be passed by without a second look.

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Monday 3 April 2017

Watching Ice Melt

    It does seem to take forever for the ice on my pond to melt, but I do enjoy watching the process as the ice slowly turns rotten and degrades.  Daily as I walk Skye on the path around the pond, I look for possible photos.  Here are a couple that I really like.

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Saturday 1 April 2017

Unorthodox by Deborah Feldman, A Book Review

      Deborah Feldman grew up in a strict sect of Hasidic Jews in the New York City household of her grandparents. Like most fundamentalist religions there were very restrictive rules, especially for women.  It was her grandfather who made all of the decisions and the women were to submit and spend their time cleaning house, cooking, and having babies. 
       I always find the rules of strict fundamentalist religions interesting, they usually include something about female hair and keeping it hidden from view. In this Hasidic sect it was decreed that husbands should make their wives shave their heads, although for some reason they could wear wigs over their shaved heads. 
       As Deborah began to reach puberty she began to privately question the things she had always been told, and she had enough spirit to secretly read classic novels and other books that her religion banned. Even an English version of the Torah, was off limits, both because it was in English, not Yiddish, and that religious texts were only the domain of men, but Deborah secretly bought a copy and read it.  The novels she got at the public library, where she is forbidden by her religion to enter. 
       Her life was so insulated from the outside world, that even though she lived in New York City, she wasn't aware of the 911 attacks until after her school was let out early on that afternoon and she went home.  Her grandfather told her about it when he got home.  She was mostly insulated from normal North American culture particularly sex education. 
         At 17 she became a bride in an arranged marriage.  Her total lack of sexual knowledge, and the fact that she was starting to question her expected role as a Hasidic woman got the marriage off to a rocky start. I found the Hasidic pre-marriage customs both extremely strange and interesting.  
         Both she and her husband sought to distance themselves somewhat from their parents and the tight-knit confines of Williamsburg, a Hasidic section of New York City and moved to another area where the sect was a bit looser, but it was still not enough for Deborah who began a secret life during her marriage and the birth of her son. When her husband was absent from their house, she ventured out to explore the world of modern society. She even enrolled in Sarah Lawrence University, unbeknownst to her husband, to take classes in literature. 
      An automobile accident finally caused her to "out" herself, leaving her husband and the restrictive religion.  She and her son finally began living the life of freedom she sought. 
       I knew that Unorthodox was about a woman questioning and leaving the religion she grew up in and for me that was what made me choose the book to read, but despite all the interesting facts disclosed about this secretive sect, I was disappointed in Deborah's reason for leaving it.  
        I assumed it would be for intellectual reasons, like seeing that the beliefs they held were a lot of ancient malarkey, but instead Deborah left because she wanted more personal "freedom" which is understandable, but she seemed more interested in the material things leaving could allow her--she could wear jeans and modern fashions, smoke cigarettes, and eat all the types of food she was previously denied. 

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