Saturday, July 25, 2009


     Alf and his Dad were away for three weeks . When they got back a wasp colony had firmly established itself under their back step . Gord (Dad) and Alf were trying to get rid of them as it made the back entrance of the house somewhat risky . The wasps came up out of the ground beside the steps so it was assumed they were a type of ground wasp . A system of spray and killing wasps with a trowel was used . Alf was collecting the wasps and put them in water to drown them.

      This morning Gord came out the back door to find the ground dug up beside the step. A wasp nest was lying beside the step. No wasps were around. I guess the skunk had a huge evening meal with all the adult wasps and larvae in the nest . Alf's eyes were as big as saucers . His Dad was not aware that skunks ate insects . Now the back step is safe from nasty surprises .

     Skunks main diet is from insect material .We often see little digs or scrapes were skunks have retrieved insects or larvae from just under the soil surface . There are more skunks around our yards than we are aware of unless we take note of the places the dig or scrape to uncover food .
photo by Judy Boyd

Thursday, July 23, 2009


     I've told stories before about Alf, my 5 year old neighbor.

      Two evenings ago the doorbell went bing,bing, bing,bing !!!! When that happens we know it's Alf . My wife was the only one home and Alf had found a screwdriver in the alley and was wondering if it was mine . Of course, my wife wouldn't know if it was my screw driver or not, but since she knew I hadn't been working in the alley she told him it likely wasn't mine.

    I have a brick house . Alf was outlining a brick with his finger and he said, "You know this is just like a cookie!" My wife asked him why he thought it was like a cookie . He said it's like a cookie but it doesn't have the pink or brown stripes . She still couldn't get the drift of what he was trying to say . He finally said it's like those cookies you gave me one time . Do you have any ? Now she caught on . She had given him cream wafers about a year ago .

     So his method of asking for a cookie was most skillful and crafty . He didn't get any cookies , but the next day my wife gave him an ice cream cone . Now I suppose he'll be asking for ice cream . He's an amusing kid to have for a neighbor.

Wednesday, July 15, 2009


Beaver photos by Judy Boyd

      Eager beaver ? I don't think so . Work like a beaver ? I can buy that .

      Since 1970 I have watched the Sunnybrook beaver pond. The dam across the creek has been active about 50% of the time . Beavers would operate the dam for three or four yours and then move to another area ...sometimes only 200 or 300 meters up or down stream .

      The Sunnybrook pond ,as usual , is in a very well chosen location . A seasonal drainage comes in from the left but it is deep and fairly wide so the beavers get two streams and banks with one dam. Water backs up in the main stream for about 400 meters and in the drainage channel about 200 meters. This gives the beavers a rather large area from which to gather food .

     The beavers work at the dam from mid summer to mid fall . Old dead tree trunks are put in the dam along with smaller brushy sized pieces . Much mud is also deposited in the dam . What we don't see are the many boulders which are in the dam . The boulders are noticed when the dam is abandoned and washed out . We start to wonder were did they find all the boulders as well as marvel at the strength they have to more the rocks .

      There is also evidence of tremendous effort in taking down very large aspens . Once the trees are felled they are cut up and moved to an under water storage area where the bark can be stripped and consumed over the winter.

      In this pond they never build a lodge but prefer to burrow into the bank to make a residence . As you can see the banks are well treed with spruce . The roots make a roof which doesn't cave in .

      So the beavers work hard to make a dam , lodge and plentiful supply of food . They tend to calmly go about their business with little excitement or fanfare . So they log many hours of work in building maintaining and repairing the dam , Many more hours are spent building up a year's supply of food . So I admire the beaver for not only his work ethic but his great ingenuity .

Saturday, July 4, 2009


     For quite some time justice has been a constant topic in Alberta . There is a frustration with justice from several angles. In the two large cities gang violence has been a big concern . In other areas the public feels that they are not served adequately as far as safety and security are concerned . I certainly understand people's concerns .

     Where the wheels fall off the bus for me is how our politicians deal with the situation . I really object to politicians and the public harping about judges and the granting of bail to accused . The justice minister says that, "Regulations need to be altered and judges need to tighten up." It's not he judges who are at fault . Judges need the full support of politicians and the public . The reason judges grant so many people bail is that there is no place to put people . The politicians for the last 20 years have not been building infrastructure . Remand space and prison space has not been built while our population has gone from one million to three million . Remand prisoners are double and triple bunked . Judges have reservations about putting people in these conditions.

     The truth must be told by politicians about the lack if infrastructure when it comes to prison space . Judges are forced to show mercy when it comes to holding prisoners in unsafe conditions .

    Bad guys know when judges and the justice system are not supported and like this situation because their likely hood of being caught and dealt with is much less . If we want the bad guys to be dealt with so that there is less crime they have to be caught and kept instead of being allowed freedom while they easily delay the resolution of their case because the courts are clogged and can not keep up with the responsibilities . The bad guys do not want to be busted . Now they are not busted even if they are caught.

     Politicians have to quit political speak and speak about concrete solutions in solving the problem . Political speak is only to the public for the purpose of being reelected . Political speak does nothing to deal with the bad guys . The justice department is not directing the agenda so that crime is curtailed .