Friday, June 29, 2012

Woodland Flowers

      I went for a walk in the woods yesterday to find some flowers. Well, it actually wasn't a walk. I have a piece of recreational property and very little of it has been developed so there are quite a few wild flowers that show up over the summer. The property has old growth poplar trees. A poplar forest has a heavy undergrowth which by itself is an interesting level of the forest. I have cleared a minimal amount so there are areas where it is open. So yesterday my walk was really mowing grass. However, over the years I have noticed the various plants. This is my first time photographing some and I find that I don't know many names. 

This is the Twin Flower. It likes moist mossy woods. It grows very thickly and is a bout 3-4 in high.

The bell like flowers have a vivid pink center.
Ordinarily the twin flowers hang down
A faded rose with a visitor. It is now the end of season for roses so they look a little the worse for wear.
Lily of the Valley (Maianthemum canadense)

Twinning Honeysuckle (Lonicera dioica)   This is quite common in open woodlands
       So my grass cutting was done in between much flower watching. I was watching for the Round Leafed Orchid. I found two of them but before I could stop my mower I ran over them. I looked for others but couldn't find any.

       I've always been interested in native plants . This has made me put some effort into identifying and  learning about them.

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

3000 meters(10000 ft) of Clouds Above me Tonight

       About 4:30 PM today it got dark enough  in the house to turn the lights on. Clouds built up steadily all day and it began to rain about 4:30 PM.

       We didn't have cumulus clouds today but layer after layer of clouds.

       Our forecast predicted rain for this afternoon , evening , night and tomorrow. So you know that a major system is moving into the area. The radar map show a large cloud system slowly moving north from Montana and curving in toward the Rocky Mountains. This is when we get a major rainfall. As I said in a post before, the air mass has to rise when it hits the Rockies and when it rises it cools and  dumps the rain on us. This system has come over the mountains of the north western states. Somehow much of the moisture remained in the system and it is released over us.

      When we get west winds we don't get rain. The air moves over the Rockies and all the moisture falls on the west slopes of the Rockies. 

      So you see at 4:30 PM this afternoon we had a huge build up of cloud which was full of moisture and some of it fell on us. With a very thick cloud layer much sunlight is blocked so we have to sit in the dark or turn the lights on.

      Since I like rain I'm fine. I like going out for a long walk in the rain. I think I'll have a good chance to walk in the rain tomorrow.

Monday, June 25, 2012

National Aboriginal Day

        June 21 was National Aboriginal Day in Canada. I wanted to post on June 21 but a number of other posts got in the way. June 21 st was summer solstice. I had written a post  about Brenda's blog and wanted that to be out. So here it is , better late than never, National Aboriginal Day.

       National Aboriginal Day is meant to celebrate Aboriginal culture. For a culture to survive it has to be practiced, appreciated and grow. That can be done when people get together and show off aspects of culture.

       I hope that sometime this year you will take some time to look at some aboriginal art. There's much to choose from. I particularly like bead work. Bead work was done long before the white man came and cheated aboriginals out of their furs for a few beads. They used cut up porcupine quills. Many aboriginals are fantastic artists using modern media. One of my favorite painters is Allen Sapp. Take a good look at some of his work.

      I hope you will take time to look at some aboriginal Dance. With colorful costumes and movement it becomes a ballet.

       I hope you will take some time and listen to aboriginal music. They had many songs that told stories. Each person had songs for various occasions. Drums were used to emphasize parts of the song. None of the original songs were written down . They were passed on orally. Today , many of those songs have been written down and will become permanent. Songs are still being made today and fortunately by young people. Many aboriginals have been able to do well in modern music. I particularly like Kashtin

      I hope you will listen to the aboriginal language. We still have areas where Cree is mainly spoken. Now young people are trying to learn Cree and keep the language active and living.

     We all must celebrate National Aboriginal Day. We learn something. Aboriginals  gain some self confidence so that they can  proud of their culture.

Friday, June 22, 2012

Introducing: A New Blog and Blogger

      Ordinarily new bloggers don't have an introduction by another blogger. But this time it's special so I'm proud to push a new blog.

      In Sept of 2011 my neighbor , Brenda, fell from a second story deck and suffered a spinal injury. She has been fighting back ever since. 
A special tricycle which gives more therapy and pleasure.

     Brenda has recently started a blog to publicize her condition and ask for support. I'm sure you will be impressed if you visit Brenda's blog. So go to her blog and she will describe what has happened and how she is succeeding. 

      I first met Brenda when she was a preschooler. She walked by my house everyday to elementary school. I taught her in middle school. Then I lost contact with her for a few years. About ten years ago she moved back into my neighborhood about three houses from me. I've enjoyed having Brenda as a neighbor and watching her two sons grow up. They are really neat kids. 

      So what I'd really like you to do is hop over to Brenda's blog and take a look. Any support would be most appreciated. After I visit Brenda I come away feeling much better as Brenda's great determination to get back to normal has really influenced me. 

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Yahoo! It's the First Day of Summer

     The little kid in me says yipee it's the first day of summer. The older person in me thinks once again what the first day of summer really means. For a little kid summer means long , warm , sunny days when you can play outside. For adults we may also look at pleasant summer activities but also the changes in many things that go along with this time.

      For someone who lives on the land the solstice has very real meaning. I'm not sure how important the solstice is for urban dwellers or if they even are aware of the event.

      I was raise on a farm so the long days were very important. As a little guy I wanted to play more and work less. Success on a farm was closely controlled by the weather. Each activity was dictated by weather. Starting field work before dawn and watching the sunrise as a treat. On the other end I watched many colorful sunsets.

    I also spent five years in the Arctic and that was a much more significant solstice. There was much more celebration of the solstice as we would find a high point and watch the sun. Of course, the sun didn't set. It just went lower in the sky and then climbed back .

    Ancient peoples who were nomadic or those earlier people who were agricultural societies had there own solstice celebrations. It's interesting to know how the different cultures celebrated. 

     In Red Deer , Alberta today the sun rose at 5:14 AM and sets at 10:01 PM. I will try to stay up past my bed time to get a shot of 10:00 PM daylight.
North side of house 9:29 PM
Looking south 9:45 PM
Just before sunset 9:50 PM
Just before sunset
Directly west at 9:55PM
In my yard at 10:00 PM

    So here's to all of you! Have a great summer!

Monday, June 18, 2012

Monday Morning Clouds.

    This morning there was much activity in the atmosphere. We had rain over night and so the humidity was very high. With a little day time heating there was lots of activity with the formation of clouds. So I thought I'll try some shots of clouds. The title should be something like learning to take pictures of clouds or something.

    The cloud formations were beautiful but the photography was elementary.

       In November of 1958 I missed my bus. My only option was to get out and hitch hike. I had hitch hiked a lot so was very comfortable to be out in the November cold. I had faith that I would be picked up. Sure enough in a few minutes I was picked up by a young family with two young kids. They were travelling from Winnipeg to Edmonton so had been on the road a long time and the kids were bored. I road with them for about 160km (100mi). To keep the kids occupied they had them look at clouds and say what shape they saw in the clouds. So there were bears, horses, lions tigers and many more creatures. They also had my attention as I would be watching to which cloud they were referring.

     So I had a very enjoyable ride with this family and was entertained by all sorts of cloud  shapes the kids saw.

     Today I was entertained by the changing morning clouds.

Saturday, June 16, 2012

Yes, I Had Another Garage Sale

       Today I had another garage sale as I was trying to get rid of some of my treasures. For those who have followed me for a while you know that I hate garage sales. I'm not going to go on another big whine session about garage sales.

      We prepared a number of items that we could handle without too much difficulty. So things were lined up in the living room and carefully priced. We listened to the forecast. In fact we looked at four different forecasts. It sounded like a decent day. Things were out and we were organized. Half an hour after we started it started to rain. We had about an hour of drizzle. So do I close my sale down or tough it out. We toughed it out. The weather improved and we had lots of visitors and sold a ton of stuff.

     Now you also know that one of the things I like about garage sales are the characters who come by. Today a four year old and his Dad paid us a visit. When the kid got out of the SUV I noticed that he had what looked like a sock with a weight in it. He would swing it around and I wondered what kind of toy he had. His Dad bought a couple of things. The little guy wanted to buy a board game set. By this time he had told me there was money in his sock. He also told me that he had three other socks with money in. So he made his purchase with his Dad's help to sort the money out. So it looks like it pays to "keep your money in a sock."

     There's always an interesting garage sale customer and this little guy was the winner today.

      Now my apologies for no picture. I'm not in the habit of carrying a camera with me. I'm too active and would probably go through a few cameras. Anyway that's my excuse for the missing picture.

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

A Rose in the Woods

      I went for a short walk in the woods this weekend and found two things I was looking for.

       First, I found the Common Wild Rose (Rosa woodsii). This plant grows abundantly around the edges of native habitat. It blooms in early June . These flowers certainly brighten up the woods. Going for a walk can make you very cheerful and hopeful.

      The second plant I was looking for was the Yellow lady slipper (Cypripedium calceolus). They grow widely here and appear to like areas of soil that have been disturbed as they like to grow in ditches. The ones I was looking for had been planted in a sanctuary. We took them from an area that was to be developed
Apologies for not having a photograph . I took pictures and when I came home I deleted pictures  that didn't turnout well. Only now did I notice that I deleted all Yellow Lady Slippers.

     Blooms are coming quickly now so the next flowers I will make sure that I keep some photos

Saturday, June 9, 2012

Jack Rabbit Rock and Roll

      Two days ago there were five Jack rabbits in my yard. Three of them were fighting and chasing one another. the other two were quite satisfied to be still. The other three didn't bother the first two.

     So what was going on? 

     Well a very interesting event was taking place. The two quiet rabbits wee does that were very close to giving birth. The other three were very over anxious males who didn't want to miss out on the action. No they weren't interested in seeing the new babies. 
This little bunny is probably 5 or 6 days old.
                   Photo submitted by Duane Christianson

      When a Jack rabbit gives birth she is ready in a few hours to bred again. That's why the three males were quite agitated and fighting with each other. They growl at one another and cuff each other. We usually think of a rabbit being rather quiet and docile. At this time in their life they can be vicious fighters. So the male rabbits want to remain close so that when the female is ready to breed they will have their position established.

       I few years ago a doe gave birth in my back yard. My wife accidentally looked out the window when the birth was in progress. Since my wife has a nursing background she was not only interested but had a much greater understanding as to what was going on. Four bunnies were born. The doe licked them off and then away she went. She was ready to breed gain. The four little bunnies disappeared within and hour. My wife was quite concerned as she thought that the bunnies had been abandoned. Even thought the bunnies are scattered the doe will come back and find them and nurse them. 

      So now you may think of rock n roll as music but before rock n roll music rock n roll meant sexual activity and still does. You may have also heard "breed like rabbits" and thought that they just produced a lot of offspring but it also meant that they would breed right after giving birth.

Tuesday, June 5, 2012

Peregrine Falcon Eggs Begin to Hatch

       The Peregrine Falcon eggs con the Telus Tower in Red Deer have begun to hatch. The first one hatched two days ago. Since Peregrine Falcons lay eggs several days apart the eggs hatch one at a time.

      This bird laid three eggs about the first of May and has been incubating for about a month. Now you will gradually start to see some action. As the birds develop their appetite also grows. You will begin seeing the remains of ducks, pigeon,s gulls and anything else they can capture.

     I have had a link at the beginning of my blog. Some readers have been using it . So if you're interested click on the link and it will take you to the webcam. Watching the Peregrine Falcons grow up is an interesting learning experience. I hope you enjoy what you see.

Monday, June 4, 2012

Crossword Puzzles are Awesome.

    Yes, I do really like crossword puzzles. When it comes to crossword puzzles you're either a rabid fan or you hate them. No inbetweeners. 

    I started with crossword puzzles after I finished high school. I could take them or leave them. Later on it became absolutely necessary to do the daily crossword puzzle. I've also been know to do a crossword puzzle book or two. 

     Crossword puzzles give many benefits. First I find crossword puzzles very relaxing. You have to concentrate so your mind leaves the things that stress you out. You have to have some basic knowledge of definitions, general knowledge, history, art, performing arts and more. Most puzzles throw in something from another language so if you have a background in another language it comes in handy. 

     I like a crossword puzzle that is of medium difficulty. Too easy..I don't do them. Too hard and I'm not that patient. I don't like mammoth puzzles. I like something that is short enough to finish in 20 minutes or so. I sometimes will come back and finish later.

    There are many varieties of puzzles to keep everybody's interest. Some topics can be very obscure as in plants.

    I have tried online crosswords but haven't got to like them. You can't work at it for awhile and then drop it. only to pick it up later. 

    On some occasions I used crossword puzzles with my middle school students. I had a book of easy crossword puzzles. We would do one as a class with everybody hollering out answers. Then they got to work in partners to do a second crossword puzzle. So some of the kids really liked the puzzles and others hated them just the same as adults. 

     So at this stage of my life you will find me doing the crossword puzzle right after breakfast since we get our paper in the morning. You have to get your day off to a good start. 

Saturday, June 2, 2012

Crime Update

     My last post was about a break in three doors from my house. There has been some development in the case since then.

     The two dirt bikes were found in another subdivision. A woman was checking her garage and found two dirt bikes  that didn't belong to her. She asked her son if he knew anything about them. He said he was keeping them for a friend for a little while. His mother pressed him for more details and finally said that she wanted more info or she would phone the police. So she phoned the police. Meanwhile the kid took the bikes to a school yard and ditched them. 

    The police picked up the bikes and asked my neighbor to come and identify them.

     The police told my neighbor that they know who the guy is who stole the bikes and that they have a description of him.

    So progress has been made. Hopefully the shock of such an event will fade.