Thursday, 26 March 2015

Hydro crews

On a bitterly cold day, a week ago, they came to replace something. I love work, I could watch it for hours! I like having hydro. It makes life easier...

hydro work from Jennifer Jilks on Vimeo.

Wednesday, 25 March 2015

Book Review: One of Everything

I was sent another book for review. It was a shocker. It's an intriguing journey, an autobiography, about the author's dysfunctional family and her eventual salvation from joining a Mormon society.

Now, I'm not into organised religion any more, let alone bible-based Fundamentalism, but it was a riveting story. I had my doubts, at first, but as each chapter of her life unfolded, I was shocked with her exploits and curious as to how she dug herself out from the bottom of this well.

 Voss writes well, and has done her work learning how to write. Unlike myself (I co-published) she battered down walls until she managed to find a publisher. This alone shows strength and courage!

Voss begins near the end of the story, a portent of doom avoided, otherwise, I might not pick up such a defeating story. She tells her story honestly, with no holds barred. There are many facets to the story, from hitting bottom, after a life of abusing herself and her body, to abuse, an abortion, to adoption and racism.

Of 9/11 she writes:
"I need to be with Gregg and Koni, need to sit on their blue corduroy couch all day, watching the same footage all over, saying the same things to each other over and over, ritualistically grinding the shock into manageable bits."
There are many lessons in this book, for parents, children, and the rest of us in society. Excellent read.

one-of-everything-author-donna-carol-vossOne of Everything (narrative non-fiction by Donna Carol Voss)

Is it possible to overdose on life? What is recipe for happily-ever-after? How do you balance and overcome the insecurities, missteps, and explorations of youth to have a healthy adulthood? How do you proudly associate with a religion that conflicts with some of your personal views?

From shame to self-acceptance, from sexual ambiguity to definitive choice, from skepticism to belief, Donna Carol Voss’s journey from childhood through marriage and motherhood is both unique and universal, a story that will resonate long after the last page is read.

Frozen forest bathing

porcupine last year
We eagerly anticipate Spring hereabouts, but it is nowhere near arriving. Climate Change is a bad thing, if that is what it is. We should be having 10 C. in the day, but we seldom make it to 1 C.
The sap producers are chewing their fingernails. Not so good.

I've been deer shed hunting, as we've lost about half of our snow cover, and I thought it might be a good time to spot them poking out of the snow, before the critters steal them away. I saw nothing.

I was following some deer tracks, obviously made on a warmer day. They sunk through the soft snow. I was walking in -15 C. weather, and walking along the top layer, for the most part. I did not need snowshoes, despite the snow cover.

It's funny how it works, you head out for one thing and find another.

porcupine in summer
I was not disappointed, since it's wonderful to be outdoors and walking, but I spotted a porcupine's site. They tell me that in winter they don't hibernate so much as estivate (sort of doze). In addition, they wake up, from time-to-time, to eat within 100m of their burrows. I found such a site. Lots of trees with bark nicely peeled off. It's a big forest, and it won't harm the forest integrity. It might even do some pruning, allowing smaller trees to get more sun.

I found some neat cave-like shelters under the sedimentary limestone in the area. We have very shallow soil, and shallow lakes, as well.

The porcupines are as big as our raccoons, eating like mad all summer to carry them through the winter. They are often roadkill, however, these docile, slow-moving creatures are often on the road.

The only critter I saw was a pileated woodpecker flying on the opposite side of the wetland.

Daisy and I took a walk on the wetland in the morning, and I could see where the ice is melting. Can you see her in the 2nd photo? We were checking the trailcam, which had NOTHING on it!
She is in the upper right, checking things out. She likes to lead me across the wetland. Daisy was out this morning for an hour in the -15C. morning temperatures. She's a trooper!

Basically, I did a circle around the wetland, cutting across it where it narrowed. The walking was fine. The penultimate photo shows the roof of our house, the final one a close up.

Tuesday, 24 March 2015

Dratted Red Squirrel figured out the peanut feeder!

And I figured out the log splitter.

Red squirrels are everywhere! They are in mating mode, at this time of year. Annabelle was exhausted, however. Photos were taken with the Videocam, hence they aren't quite excellent. The sun was shining, at least, and that makes for a better photo.

Whilst the other cats slept, Daisy and I figured out how to work the electric log splitter. I cannot lift it, but it has wheels. I dragged it out from the garage, where it has been sitting for the 5 years we have lived here. Time to make it work. The wood we bought has some big pieces that do not fit into the wood insert. This was the case last year, with a different supplier. sigh. What do these men think? 
Some I can barely lift!

My friend, Jean, offered to have her hubby help if I sent photos, but the directions were pretty clear. Thank you internet buddy!

Hubby returned from delivering Meals on Wheels and he found the manual for me, after I searched online. They don't make my brand any more. "Be careful!" he says. No guff.
With our cold spell, I've been keeping it warm indoors. It has a 6-ton capacity and works quite nicely, once I read the manual. I'm startled by loud noise, but it just gently pushes the wood into the splitter. With great force, I might add. My 8-lb. maul didn't work on a couple of pieces. 

Buster, Dratted Red Squirrels, Annabelle

Poor Buster is cold and preferred watching Dratted red squirrels from inside the front window. Annabelle was just too tired to care. We're still -15 C. ovenight, with daytime temps above 0.

Buster is cold from Jennifer Jilks on Vimeo.

I peeked out the window, and there were 5 of them. It's taken them about a month to figure out the new peanut feeder. Then, they have to fight over it. Only a couple of Blue jays have it figured out. The trick is to simply yank the peanut out between the coil.
Dratted Red Squirrel video #4.

DRS #4 from Jennifer Jilks on Vimeo.

Monday, 23 March 2015

Crowdfunding Opportunity: Drones Stop Elephant and Rhino Poaching

When Elephants Weep
What a brilliant idea! I am often asked to post ads for businesses. So far, I have refused. This is a great idea, by a non-profit–working overseas.

This is a terrific crowdfunding project: using Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAV’s) or drones, to prevent poachers from killing animals. In my mind, I think of drones, which at their worst destroy the privacy of individuals, could cause air incidents, or are part of a killing machine. This project makes good use of these drones, to hunt down poachers and prevent the killing of innocent animals, for trinkets.

Air Shepherd, a new initiative of the  Lindbergh Foundation  is bringing together Peace Parks Foundation, UAV and Drone Solutions (UDS) and the University of Maryland, in an innovative new partnership to increase the effectiveness of anti-poaching efforts aimed at elephants and rhinos.

I am reading a book, When Elephants Weep: The Emotional Lives of Animals, and this initiative hits home. We know that elephants grieve.
Mobile command
all photos used with ©permission

Throughout Africa, over 100,000 elephants were killed between 2010 and the end of 2012 – 40,000 in 2013 alone.  They estimate that they will be extinct in 10 years.

You can view the 8:20 minute Air Shepherd PSA:

Air Shepherd aims to raise $500,000 via their crowdfunding page to fully implement the program for one year at Kruger National Park with expansion planned over the next year to seven additional African countries.

For decades The Lindbergh Foundation has been a leader in encouraging the use of technology to protect the environment. 

amazing technology 
[A 501(c)(3) non-profit organization, The Charles A. and Anne Morrow Lindbergh Foundation is supported by contributions from individuals, companies, foundations, and other organizations. ]

Air Shepherd is using sophisticated technology to protect the environment. They are deployed with advanced infrared surveillance systems and supercomputer-based predictive analytic technology developed at the University of Maryland.
  • This innovative combination of algorithms and aviation predicts where poaching is likely to happen with 93% accuracy, apprehending poachers before they can kill. Tested on private reserves in southern Africa for two years, in over 650 missions, no animals were killed while Air Shepherd drones were in flight.
  •  SANParks (South African National Parks)  announced that these UAV solutions are an integral part of the current strategy to combat rhino poaching in the Kruger National Park, and that SANParks is in process of evaluating the program over the next year.
Amazing UAVs!

Fascinating technology!


Sunday, 22 March 2015

Out for lunch... yes, again!

After visiting LAWS on Friday, for hubby's donation in honour of his Sady,
I was treated to yet another lunch out.
East Meets West, in Perth. We were there last week, too. Yes, I'm spoiled rotten!
Renovated bakery, love that brick

Staff are wonderful –no dairy, yeast or eggs...

Chef Ram greets his guests

I had Jambalaya Rice, and hubby's Naan

Daisy dances on the birdbath

Indoors Dorah and Annabelle were at peace, for now. Annabelle likes to mush on Daddy's slippers while he is out. Duchess Dorah still isn't sure about Lady Annabelle of Ashton.

Hubby and I went to LAWS, our local animal shelter, to donate some money in memory of Sady. It was lovely. She has a shelf in her honour in his office, where she spent most of her time.

The other cats have stopped looking for her and Dorah has been sleeping in her spot in the office. Daisy is getting jealous of Annabelle, because Annabelle spend so much time snuggling with me. I've been taking Daisy on good walks outdoors.

 Later, I went out to watch birds and fill the feeders. Daisy was dancing around the bird bath. Just because she can! I'd put in a teeny aquarium pump, which she heard tinkling, and needed to inspect. This was on a cool sunny day.

Saturday, 21 March 2015

Who goes there in the night?

Trailcam #11 from Jennifer Jilks on Vimeo.
Lots of critters on the trailcam: deer, wild turkey, Butch raccoon, red squirrels chasing each other, lots of fun!

A wild goose chase...

That was the case on Wednesday in Carleton Place. However, following another lead, we went to Chaffey's Lock. They are closing the bridge for repairs soon.

There were several birds, including a Great blue heron, looking freezing cold!
Looks freezing!

Some sort of meeting in the community centre.

Canada goose, American crow.

More critters #66