Thursday, 8 October 2015

Book Review: History of the Muslims of Regina, Saskatchewan, and Their Organizations

Habib & Habib
I was excited to receive this book. I have worked with a fair number of Muslim students during my career. I did some research into the tenets of Islam, as it interested me and I wanted to better understand this religion. We always shared our December celebrations with one another in the classroom community. Many have the same symbols of light, including candles, food, music. This is how we did it: Holiday Celebrations.

It is timely, what with the fearmongering by the Conservative party in our Canadian federal election. It is shameful. Many do not understand Islam or Muslim ideals, except as broadcast by Loon Wolves, who think they understand it, or the extremist fringe. It breaks my heart.

Our 2005 research
Canada is a multi-cultural, diverse country
The book is a documentary of the development of an organization called Muslims For Peace and Justice, established after 9/11. All of the newspaper articles are reprinted, but in mice type, and I had issues reading it. There are meeting reports, and reports of interviews, conducted by the group after, for example, the Gulf War and Bosnian Crises. It was an onerous read.

This hard-working, well-educated couple, immigrated to Canada in 1973.  Both of them have graduate degrees: Dr. Habib was a practicing doctor, and a professor. Mrs. Habib earned her Masters in Political Science. There are brief, skeletal paragraphs about their wonderful education and
volunteer services. I anxiously await their auto-biographies, which are hinted for in another book. That said, I was somewhat disappointed that the book contained mostly facts, reports, newspaper articles, and meeting minutes.
Celebrating our diversity
My student created the Eid poster

The book is well-edited, even if some of the phrasing and syntax is awkward, but it is a very difficult read to get to the meat of it, to find the humanity in those who have given up their homeland to come to the cold, Canadian west.

Both authors were born in India, just prior to The Partition of India and Pakistan. Essentially, they immigrated what with battles over political issues involving many religious groups: Hindu, Buddhist, Jainists and Sikhs. Add in Jews, Christians, and Islamists, who arrived in the 1st millennium of the Common Era (CE), and you can understand how difficult it was for our authors to remain in this part of the world.

We celebrated many traditions,
and respected our differences
The reason I wanted to dig into this 641-page book, is to read about issues with integrating, and how they managed. I did watch the sticom Little Mosque on the Prairie, and wondered if it was all fun and fiction. There is a section of the book which refers to this subject, but I was interested in how Muslims on the Prairies managed to practice their faith.

I wanted to understand how many Muslims immigrated to the west.
Classroom poster
What were the communities like? How did they access buildings for Eid celebrations, subsequent to fasting? What were the issues the children faced in schools and how do you balance their spiritual beliefs and achieve their integration and acceptance into their new society?

"Ignorance is the biggest disease of the human being." --M. Naushaba Habib

Some of the issues we had to deal with when I taught: kids fasting while others students were eating, missing school days for religious celebrations, girls playing sports wearing a hijab, finding places to pray, all of which have been sorted out since. Mrs. Habib tells us that they were well into their way amalgamating into the region, but they wanted to blend their elements of their Indian culture, as well. Unfortunately, 9/11 convinced many people that all Muslims are extremists, and this breaks my heart.

Further research & my rant

ISLAM - The Meaning Of Islam

Islam is derived from the Arabic root "Salema": peace, purity, submission and obedience. In the religious sense, Islam means submission to the will of God...

I did read an article, which shocks, but does not surprise me, about racism in Alberta. I didn't know. I grew up in Toronto, where my birthday parties were a rainbow of faces.

The real election issues

The incredible lightness of
being Canadian
Then there was an Oct. 7th article, precipitated by our Prime Minister and his boys in short pants. It is a wedge issue in our federal election, taking away from more important topics including 1300 missing Aboriginal women, healthcare, poverty, free trade and the TPP deal, climate change, child care, Medical Marijuana, our Veterans, refugees, muzzled scientists, Senate reform, election reform, and the destruction of our libraries.

The Conservatives are racist, anti-muslims, and I am so ashamed. They were of no help to Canadian Mr. Fahmy, incarcerated for 400 days in Egypt, on trumped up charges.
We need more immigrants, like the Habibs, to tell us their stories of their past, their life in Canada, and what they hope for for the future.
How badly I feel about this

Wednesday, 7 October 2015

The goldfishies are in!

60-gal. fish tank
My contact dermatitis is still healing. Thanks those who asked. I think it was on my clothes –unworn since the cooler weather. I washed them in Ecru (from MEC), and then washed them again. Crikey, it's awful. I put on my cream, then realized the stuff on my inner arm was rubbing off on the bed sheet. Anyway, we'll see how it goes.

My fishy tale

Last winter, the small goldpond froze and thawed, froze again, and I had quite a few frog deaths in spring, as well as a few goldfish deaths -those who refused to come inside. It was gruesome and stunk so badly as I cleared it out. I couldn't get the smell out of my head for days.

Contemplating this over the summer, I figured out that when I removed the goldfish, I might as well remove the frogs and take them down to the pond. It took me hours to drain.

Daisy helper!
I had helpers. Daisy was fascinated with the frogs in the bucket.

Hubby helped, as I was hovering around the pond all afternoon, looking for rebel fish. He made two trips with a total of five frogs, talking to them all the way, assuring them that they would be happier in the big pond! It was so cute.

I removed 18 frogs, 6 still remained. Sigh.
Two toe biters, one small leech, similarly removed.
On Tuesday, I couldn't see any. I hope they abandoned ship!

Down to the pond we went. They gave a giant leap, and jumped for joy!

Back at the goldfish pond. Daisy was still looking for the frogs. Annie was supervising.

Ten fish recovered: Shirley IV (she's gone all white, tho), 5 orange/white ones, and 4 all-orange fish. Shirley is a Shubunkin, although she doesn't have the black.
I bought 3 of the orange/white fish in the spring to add to their numbers. They don't have Shirley's fancy tail. They could be Ryukin Goldfish. Who knows? Here is a list of goldfish species.
They are a hardier species than the feeder goldfish I'd had for a time. They didn't reproduce this year. I'm not sure why.

A couple of older goldfish
now gone!

Tuesday, 6 October 2015

What is the story here?

I truly don't know. He raised his middle finger to a truck that honked as it went by. It's a short story, for those with some time to do a bit of writing!

I was doing a property walkabout, on my front lawn. Of course, anyone in trouble on the highways gets my attention. One time it was a deer hit by a car. A police officer came and she shot the doe, since it was dying. Another man, in a truck, took the body away.

Anyway, I asked if they were OK and the woman nodded yes. She picked up the package on the ground, and off they went.

Videos this week: croaking plant, Daisy froggin'

I brought this plant in, it had a tree frog in it. I couldn't find the frog. Days later I still don't know where the frog is...

Croaking plant from Jennifer Jilks on Vimeo.

Clearing out the goldfish pond, I was taking frogs out, putting them in the frog pond by the meadow. I gathered 18, but 6 remain. Then, trying to catch the goldfish to bring them in for winter. Daisy was helping. More photos tomorrow!

Frogin' from Jennifer Jilks on Vimeo.

Monday, 5 October 2015

They're back: Ticks

Poor Dorah!
May is Lyme Disease Awareness Month however, they are back up and running, as always, in the fall.

The ticks had slowed down in the summer heat. They are back. Daisy has brought one home every day for three days. We just grab a piece of tape, and stick it on, lifting the tick away.

In 2014 there were 145 confirmed cases of Lyme disease reported in Ontario, 628 in Canada in 2013
It is best, of course, to remove them before they become attached and engorged. Lots of neighbours have been successfully treated for Lyme Disease.

We use tweezers to remove them if they are NOT attached, including the proboscis.


I've been keeping specific statistics of them for two years. In 2015, TOTAL 72, and we have another 2 months to go! In 2014, we harvested 78, but that went right up to November, when we must have had snow and frost. In 2013, TOTAL 89.



Lyme disease
 numbers ticking upward
In the past five years, reported cases of Lyme disease in Canada have jumped nearly 400 %, increasing to 628 in 2013 from 128 in 2009, according to the Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care.

A tick survey in Huron County turned up three blacklegged ticks with the bacteria that causes Lyme disease. Huron County Public Health Inspector Keshia Hackett says in all, 69 of the 170 ticks collected were of the blacklegged variety.

Sunday, 4 October 2015

That was a busy day!

Buster was reluctant to start his day.
I was a cold morning (3 C.!)
Friday, hubby had to drive himself to have his eye checked after his laser surgery. I was waiting for a delivery and could not go. We spent the family fortune and bought a new tractor. With Line of Credit interest rates so low, and the frustration with the stupid 10-year-old tractor konking out...

 My old lawn tractor wouldn't keep its charge, and the piece were wearing out slowly. ["Don't criticise the coffee, you'll be old and weak one day!"] With end-of-season sales, we couldn't go wrong.

It arrived! Not too much to putting it together, just had to connect the battery.

Working it is a bit of a old dog, new tricks thing. There is a brake on the left, and the right pedal is for forward or backwards. It used to be that the right pedal was the brake, with a gear shift for speed.
You cannot imagine the trials and errors with this, as I gave myself whiplash a couple of times. Don't laugh. OK, feel free, but with empathy!

Next project, changing the flag. Hubby was given a HUGE 4' x 6' flag last year, by a clerk in the grocery store (they love him!) but it had worn out. It was her dad's but they didn't have a place for it. Isn't that sweet?

The old one was hooking itself with the ratty ends. Daisy helped me install the new one. The flag pole is heavy, tricky to lower! There are two bolts you have to remove, then SLOWLY lower the pole. It's heavy 6 x 6 and tends to drop like a bomb!

Sure, two already
 in the cupboard.
Next project, I've been wrestling with a new aquarium pump installation. The old one was leaking and I could have replaced just the connector, the O-rings wear out, but the tubes were covered in algae, and it was wearing out, too.
I thought I needed more batting, the filter medium you change monthly. I thought I had some, but wasn't sure. When I got home, I realized I did this last year, too. I now have 3 full batts. They last a year. Sigh. Don't tell the kids. I'm failing... my parents, when they were ill, hoarded freezer food, afraid they'd run out.

While at Big Al's, hubby insisted he buy me a long cleaning tool. He's always afraid I'll fall in, standing on my chair! It's a deep aquarium.

I couldn't get the tubes onto the connectors. One of the guys, who delivered my tractor, suggested a blow dryer! It worked. I needed a wrench to snap the other pieces on. I record this for posterity and hopefully I'll remember this trick another time!

The pump is working! 

Today, Sunday, I shall have to drain the pond somewhat and try to catch some fishies. Only one came in yesterday, Saturday. It was a fluke I caught it! ('scuse the pun.) The buckets are out and ready. I've cleaned the pond pump in vinegar and water, which I used to clean the windows and saved for this task.

In the meantime, I don't know where I contracted it, but I have another bought with contact dermatitis. Some on my chest bone and my left wrist. I haven't a clue where it came from unless it was some clothing I haven't worn since my bout in the early summer. Crikey, it hurts. I'm using my salve, and it helps.