Thursday, September 29, 2016


     When I talk about gardening it's vegetables. We do talk about a flower garden but that's only a small part of the complete yard.

     Yes my gardening is finished except for the big fall job of cleanup. I still have carrots and parsnips to take out yet. I like to leave them as long as possible...end of October. Carrots don't keep that long. At least I haven't found a way to keep them over 6 weeks. I process the parsnips for the freezer by cutting them in French fry size. I like to fry my parsnips and they have a rich nutty flavor. I took the last 6 cobs of corn in to store in my refrigerator.

     So once all vegetables have been harvested it's time to look after the soil.

     My vegetable garden is quite small. I started it in 1970 when I as a much younger man. Now you know where I'm going with this. I dug the garden by hand both fall and spring. It was a piece of cake. The soil was the best loam they could find.

     Now from 1970 to 2016 , two things have been happening. I've been getting old!!! The soil has changed with some help. In 1997 I had to replace my sewer line. Of course, the dumb thing had to run right under my garden! And when the trench was filled in lots of clay got mixed in with my awesome loam garden soil. This has turned the nice loam into a heavy clay. It still grows a great garden but it is a challenge to dig the soil.

    Weather conditions this summer made things worse. We had more than average rainfall. Rain packs down the soil. with all the rain I couldn't keep the soil loose between the rows. The soil comes out in large chunks and it sticks together. So I'm not satisfied to have soil with lumps larger than two bricks.

    So I will be getting some physical conditioning. From digging the whole plot in an afternoon when  I was young., I will be digging the plot over 5 or 6 days depending on the weather

    In spite of the challenges , I would not miss growing a vegetable garden.

Monday, September 26, 2016


     What's that you say? Barbecue season is never over.

     I know you can barbecue all year including where I live. I barbecued a Christmas turkey with my daughter one year. It was great.

      Well barbecue season is over and I'll tell you why. I have the cleanest barbecue in North America! The micro manager is meticulous about cleaning the barbecue. You clean your barbecue?  Yes we do.  Every last surface is cleaned of grease and grime. The briquettes are taken out and wiped off! The whole barbecue is dusted. The racks are soaked in the house so all buildup is removed.

     Now if you're going to do this much cleaning it has to be warm. Today was a warm day and it might be the last so the barbecue was cleaned today.

    So what did we barbecue yesterday?  Well steak! (Not one of my favorites.) But we did have one of my all time favorites which I will never get tired of. I like sliced potatoes, carrots and onions with margarine wrapped in tinfoil. Throw in a little salt and pepper and you have some tasty eats. If it browns a little on the bottom so much the better. You can also put in tomato slices if you like.

    Now another one of my favorites is to have sliced onions, grated carrot and hamburger. Don't forget the salt and pepper. Wrap it in tinfoil and away we go. I first had this at a large cub camp. The kids came through a line and took as much of each item as they wanted. They wrapped it in tinfoil. Their initials were put on their  package. An adult did the barbecuing. This was a big hit with the cubs and me!

    So my barbecue has been put to bed for another winter!

     How about your barbecue? Does it get scrubbed? Do you barbecue all year? How's winter barbecuing with you?

Thursday, September 22, 2016


     About 1/3 of you are saying , "What's he talking about?" A 1/3 are saying, "Oh yes ! That's an awful test." And 1/3 of you are saying, "I just don't care!"

     Well, you know that I'm going to tell you about this test since I don't have to do it any more.

      Occult blood is blood in your stools that can only be seen by using a microscope. What's so awfully important about blood in your stools? It could be a sign of cancer in the colon. The sooner cancer is diagnosed , the better chances you have to survive the cancer.

     Now I've done the occult blood test for about 40 years. I hate it and I'm going to tell you why in a minute. I have had annual check ups since my mid forties. For every annual check up I've been given the occult blood test.

    Okay, here we go.  Samples of the stool (feces) must be taken for the lab to have a look at. Okay with that? You can quit any time as there are more details. So you must some how or other catch the stool before it hits the water as that is a no no. You can let your imagination run wild on this one. Usually a sheet of plastic is put across the toilet bowl. You have a kit. Yes, a nice little kit. You have a nice little stick that you use to take a small sample of the stool and smear it on a little square in the kit. You take three samples . Oh yes you have to carefully date them and give the precise time. You must do this procedure three days in a row so you have nine little smears in the kit. Now you can rush down to the lab with your precious little samples.

    I hope you understand why I hated this test.

     The other day when I had my annual check up, just before I was leaving, my Doc said, "We don't have to do occult blood tests anymore." I didn't ask why? I guess he thought I would worry about it and so he informed me that I didn't have to do the test. I think there was a smirk on his face.

     Now I'll bet 1/3 of you have had to endure this test! I don't know if they've completely stopped using the test or if it's just my Doc who's not using it.

    ....and somebody wants to know why I don't have freakin photos on this post?

Monday, September 19, 2016


      Just east of my town is one of the world's largest chemical manufacturing plants ...Nova Chemicals. It produces ethylene and polyethylene which are products used to make any number of  specific productsused in manufacturing. The first section of the plant was built in the 1970's and it's been added to 4 times since the original plant was built. The actual plant covers about 900 acres and then there is a huge rail yard where rail cars are loaded with the product. They still have much more land for future expansion.Oh yes,the product comes in the form of little balls. Ethylene and polyethylene are produced from ethane and natural gas.

      It's a large employer and taxpayer in this area which contributes to the area's prosperity.

      Now that I've got all that out of the way I can say what a wanted to say.

     Saturday morning I took my birding group to the Nova Nature Trail. This is a 280 acre area on the north side of the plant. Jones Creek runs through the middle of the property so there are some excellent wetlands helped out by some major beaver dams. The property is made up of riparian plants, brush, grassland and small trees. At one time it was used as pasture land. This area was opened 2 years ago. This area will be excellent bird and animal habitat. The brush, grass and trees make excellent habitat for nesting. There are many excellent boardwalks over the wetlands which provide great viewing.

     On Sat. we saw 19 bird species and a couple that we couldn't identify. 

     Now on Sat. decided to take photos instead of use my field glasses for close observation of birds. It was a very bright fall day and was diappointing for photographs. get some shots of the plant and the trail area to show a bit of what it looks like. The plant is more than a mile away in these photos.

Friday, September 16, 2016


      A few  posts ago I tried to write about national Daughter's week. I had noticed a reference to national Daughter's week on line somewhere and the idea sounded interesting. I researched and met with confusion. I could find only one reference to national Daughter's week. I found a couple of sites on national Daughter's day and most sites were on National son and daughter's day.  There were many different dates for the celebration.

     I featured my daughter on the previous post as I thought the main idea was National Daughter's day. I planned to feature my son later on National son's week.

     Now I thought researching National son's week would be a piece of cake. Was I surprised when I found no site on National son's week.

     In my last post I stressed my firm belief to treat all children equally. So there is no National Son's day but I do have a son.

     Growing up , my son was energetic and humorous and had many friends. He was artistic and spent many hours at his desk drawing. He is very bright and did well in school and always liked school.

   His life has taken many twists and turns but it's always been interesting. He came home the last day of Gr. 12 and told us that he joined the army! It was surprising news to us. What he had done is enter a summer training program with the reserve armed forces which paid the handsome sum of $1600.00. He loved the activities that summer and stayed in the reserves. He continued and completed officer training. He stuck with the reserves for about 7 years and made many good friends. After that he has remained in high tech sales and service. Three times the company he worked for has been bought out.

     So after the confusion about National sons and daughter's day I've decided to do what I always do. I recognize the importance of my son and daughter for many reasons. They both have many different talents. They are extremely hard workers. If something needs to be done they pitch in without hesitation. That's a quality I really like about them.

    So I think the most important thing is to recognize our children on a daily basis rather than just one occasion per year!

Sunday, September 11, 2016

Getting Old Has Some Funny Parts

     Most of the time we hear complaints about getting old. "Getting old ain't for sissies." I can't do this anymore or I can't do that anymore. This doesn't work. That doesn't work. My ears don't work very much anymore!

     Now some of the complaints about aging are very real and serious. Strokes, heart attacks, cancer. The medical establishment seems to have a bucket of pills to throw at us for every ailment. It's debatable how much good the medication actually does.

      Some people worry about their health. We can't help it. Some people worry about their end.

     Seniors tend to associate with seniors so much of the news isn't good. My 87 year old friend had a bike accident this summer and broke his right femur. He's doing okay and is ready to come back birding with me.

     However from time to time I experience things that just crack me up. This morning I was putting my underwear on when I noticed I still had the pajamas on!!! I wish I could have seen the look in my face. I had a little chuckle. I sometimes look for 10 when I'm doing a Sudoku. I have a silver car. My friend caught me trying to unlock her silver car. Did she razz me about it! That one really catches your attention.

    Now some people really worry that they are losing it when small things like this  happens. You're only losing it when you have the underwear in your hand and don't know what to do with it. We have some mental lapses when we age. I have trouble remembering things in a conversation. I cannot remember a book title or author at the time of the discussion. These things, although frustrating , are not serious.

      Now I have one medication that's really worth it. I have senior epilepsy. What's that you say? Google it. You'll be surprised.  I had spells of not making new memories. It's common to many seniors  and many times they land in the nursing home or worse. If diagnosed properly , you live a healthy normal life. 

    This week was my annual medical check up. I like my physician. He does a thorough check and explains what he's doing as he goes a long. At the end he gives a summary. So I'm in great condition right now. I also visited my optometrist this week. Yes , I have  few issues but they are not serious.

     So I try to keep aging in perspective. I have to keep in mind what territory I'm in.  Seniors are fragile. things can change very quickly even though we look after ourselves well. 

     I hope all the senior bloggers are doing well in mind and body.

Thursday, September 8, 2016


      I've noticed on the blog and face book lots of the traditional start of the year photos. This got me thinking! It looks like the school photo was traditional far and wide. I've seen some European (Dutch) examples. There are many American examples. 

      I also wondered how far back this tradition goes. My Mom took our first school day photos when I started school in 1945. Mom had a camera, but many people at that time did not have cameras.

      I think the school photo gave a message to kids that school was important and that parents supported them. First day of school was an occasion to observe. 

      Now I'm not sure how many years Mom took our pictures. I can only find photos from about gr. four or five. I guess when I started high school it wasn't cool the have a picture taken.

       It seems like the tradition carries on. My grand children had first day of school photos. 

        Now I'm so proud of my photos that I just had to show them to you.

Right to left: Brother gr.2, sister gr 1, me gr 3 Somehow Rex  got to be a major part of the picture.

My brother and I . Brother starting gr. one and I in gr. 2. New lunch boxes. I'm the one with the spiffy bib overalls.

       I also have to show my own kids on school starting day.

The start of Middle School

     How about you?  Did you get your picture taken on the first day of school?

Monday, September 5, 2016


  Sunday was one of those cool, dark, damp days. It was suggested that we go for a walk as we couldn't do anything else. 

      We have a fine nature sanctuary here. Part of it was farmed but most of it has never been logged. It consists of two oxbow lakes, heavily wooded escarpment and valley floor.  It's been a sanctuary for over 100 years, It's a good habitat for many critters. 

       One critter I found there I will never forget. I saw a large reed shaking vigorously while all the other reeds were still. I watched and soon saw a mouse climbing up the reed. Now the reed was in about 70-80 cm  (14-15 in.) of water. All of a sudden the reed broke off and I heard plop. So I said, " Goodbye mousey. " No sooner I had said goodbye and another reed started shaking. 

      Now when I got back the the nature center they looked it up and found that it was a western meadow jumping mouse. I'd never seen one before.

     So with camera around my neck we set out to do the 4 km (2 1/2 mi) trail around the sanctuary. The camera batteries went dead before I made it half way around.

Yellow aspen from the north

Same grove of aspen from the south

A gray day when it's difficult to see sky

Hangin out on a beaver lodge

A few ducks were feeding.

Now my camera batteries went dead.

Saturday, September 3, 2016

A Little Confusion!

      For the last week or ten days I've been noticing something come up about daughter's week. Now I saw it several times so I got curious. Curious enough to look it up.

      I found many widely different pieces of information.  So what did I find?

      I had a hard time to track down daughter's week. There was information but nothing definite.

       Some sites suggest Son and Daughter day. This makes sense to me. I feel that in a family if you honor one child the other says, "Hey, what about me?"

      However there was lots of information on National daughter's day. Now the dates for national daughter's day was all over the year. One site was very specific...the fourth Sunday of September. Other's said August 11. there were dates in April May and June. It looks like whoever declares national daughter's day gets to say when the date is.

     What is National daughter's day for? Well, this makes some sense. It's to honor our daughters! So there are cards and suggested gifts for the occasion. It's starting to sound like this is commercialized.

     However, since we're on the topic, I can certainly take the opportunity to tell you that I have a great daughter. I have a great son but I'll have to leave that to National son's day.

    My daughter is a very lively energetic full of life character. She's always ready for a challenge. She's also very quick to challenge anybody else. House renovation is her passion. A do it yourselfer yet! When she lived here, Dad was her assistant. 

    Bright,  smart, ambitious. She finished two degrees and has worked in different fields. She worked in human resources for an oil company, taught high school (in French!) and now is back in human resources. She works in a group that develops programs for a large company.  She's in Australia for this week introducing training packages. Last week she was in Cleveland and next week she's back in Cleveland. Busy!

    After all that she has time to keep up talking to Dad.

    I always tell her , "She's the best daughter I could ever have." I tell my son the same thing. Keep things even!

      Now I don't need a special day to think about my daughter . I can do that all year.