Sunday 28 February 2010

Dorset puddlejumpers

What do you suppose this does to the quality of water?

Instead of having pollutants decay on the land, being filtered on official OFSC land trails, they are directly dumped in the water.

Dorset puddlejumpers, about a month ago...

this is what happens when it all goes wrong...

They're trying to say it's all because he lost a suspension rod...

Thanks to Nancy for sending the link.
(Warning: The language is rather coarse!)

Again, if you watch them on YouTube, they give you all sorts of links!

Jeremy Van Dolder missed his landing and ending up taking out the fence. He popped his hip out and had some internal bleeding.
Then, there is this one.


"Nathan Reid was a little tipsy" No qualms about celebrating drinking and driving, as well as no helmet!

Full names, too!

I suppose to reduces the gene pool.

Saturday 27 February 2010

Drip, drip, drop...

 No April showers, especially not in our house. Our hot water tank has succumbed to old age - it leaks from an internal orifice, and from a week of only tepid water, showers are now 'manly', as hubby said. I did a great work out, and then leapt into the tub, only to find that our tepid water is now cool. 

Our high speed has been wonky, too.  I am so behind in my blogging world. My little link to the bigger world around me.

But I cannot complain. No earthquakes. Deep infrastructure. Many, many people who make this place a grand place to live, work and play. In ALL seasons! Dark clouds, with sunshine peeking through.
 I love the melting water on the Precambrian Shield.

In Gravenhurst they are repairing culverts just in time for spring, and the Ontario Winter Games. Last year this spot flooded, as it does every year - right beside the Muskoka Wharf.

I went for a walkabout on the lake. Stepping gingerly, I could see a wet spot ahead.

The island looks so pretty in close up.
The darkness on top of the water is a bit disconcerting. I took a photo of my footsteps, you can see how they filled with water!

The sledders better be careful. You can see where THEIR tracks filled with water, in shallower parts of the lake, especially where it moves: between islands, or where it drains in and out of the body of water.
And in a close-up look what I spotted as a bit of foreshadowing of things to come!  Here, let me get closer:

This video falls into the 'driving at the speed of stupid' category, my friend, Cindy Smith, likes to mention. If you watch it on YouTube, you'll find a LOT of related videos of those who like to celebrate this type of drive. Me, I'd be so embarrassed! Of course, it it were the family sled, the kid would be grounded till doomsday!

Friday 26 February 2010

Watch your step!

My hubby just did a walkabout on the lake on snowshoes. It is quite slushy, and the extra snow last night (13 cm Thursday, plus 7 from the previous day) haven't helped matters. The snow insulates the ice, and the lake water (at 4º C.) helps the ice melt underneath.
You cannot see the sky, but this adds to the experience. You cannot appreciate the deep, blue sky without the cloudy ones!

The tricky parts continue to be the bubblers, designed to keep the ice from knocking out docks. The snowmobiles continue to wend their way across the open spaces.

Not much sanctuary here! The snow piles up.

Driving has been treacherous, with snowy highways travelled by those without snow tires.
Add to this the people working hard, and the only spot of colour are the Hydro crews!
Not only did our recycling NOT get collected (the street was blocked) but the power was out for a few hours while they did these regular repairs. 
The birds carry  one, digging for gold!
I am so behind with my blogging: volunteer work, long drives in snow and THE OLYMPICS!!! Here is my Skywatch post!

Thursday 25 February 2010

Olympics - is it worth it?

I really do not know.

I think that we should limit that age to 16 to 25-year olds. That would limit countries who pay their athletes to train. It would, hopefully, allow universities to train athletes, in a spirit of amateur competition. It would eliminate professionals who spend 10 - 15 years as adults learning, living, breathing their sport.

The politics of the whole enterprise defeat the purpose. This has been a topic well-documented.

The negative comments about one thing and another are truly sad. The 'Own the podium' Canadian campaign has resulted in injuries and athletes pushing themselves beyond their limits. Instead of honouring excellence, we are rewarding large populations, with large GNPs, to afford to send athletes to training centres overseas.  Once the USSR changed to Russia, they lost a large pool from which to draw athletes. In 1991 the USSR had a population of 255 million. ('Russians' constituted 50% of the country at the time.)The US, with a population of 308 million, have dominated on this, Day 14 of 17 days. The only anomaly is China, with a HUGE population of 1,136,000,000.

"Winter" countries, in which they dominate, like Norway with only 5 million people, shows such excellence.

The Canadian skiing injuries leading up to the event, and the death of the Georgian athlete, on a track that far exceeds the ability of many amateurs, also makes me wonder.

The controversy regarding the lopsided scores in women's hockey, for example, totally defeat the spirit of the games. You send a team, they learn from playing and the experience, and everyone ought to be happy. The concern about women's events not being included, isn't fair, either.

The issues around competition and bias in figure skating, or DQs of Koreans in oval skating with pushing, are more food for thought.

Then, reading about the fuss being made about the next Winter Olympics in Russia (already!), will be even more fun! This is a good read (below). BUT I THINK I WILL HAVE TO GO INTO TRAINING MUCH SOONER FOR NEXT WINTER OLYMPICS! I can hardly keep up now.

Russia whines about 'cowardly' Canada 
     The next Winter Olympics is shaping up as a Cold War-style battle between Canada and Russia after a blistering editorial in Pravda labeled us as a nation of cowardly, incompetent war criminals.
     The editorial, entitled Vancouver: Mutton Dressed as Lamb, goes straight for the eyes from the outset. “Vancouver is not fit to hold the Winter Olympics,” it declares in the opening paragraph.
     And that was before Canada whipped Russia in the hockey quarter finals. Today, the site was less expansive.
      “The Red Machine Runs into a Maple Tree,” was Pravda’s headline. Other newspaper banners across Russia included “Nightmare in Vancouver” and “Down and Out.”

Muskoka Snowfall 2010

DATE               snowfall amounts

Feb. 25                         12 cm       Feb. = 48 cm,  Grand total   2010 = 90 cm
Feb. 23                           7 cm
Feb. 15                           5 cm
Feb. 10                           4 cm
FEB. 2nd                      10 cm                 
FEB. 1st                       10 cm

Jan. 31st                       25 cm        Jan. = 42 cm
Jan. 28, 2010                17 cm
                                  = 69 cm

I have decided to keep track of our snowfall. We live in a region with isolated Lake Effect snow squalls; Bracebridge, Port Carling and Gravenhurst could all have different amounts of snow. This is true, too, of all kinds of precipitation year-round. While the official 'Muskoka' equipment is located near Bracebridge's highway #118, at the airport, this amount doesn't reflect actuals in other parts of Muskoka. We could see this from that big storm in Dec., 2009, when snowfall ranged widely, depending upon locations. (Dec. 10/11, 2009    =    60 cm  fell here!)

Western Lake Ontario- Regional Summary

Not much data for January. 

 A rather terrific interactive map, but no snow totals, local data taken at the Muskoka Airport
 Map of Great Lakes - Lake Huron marine weather areas

The Weather Network keeps Historical Muskoka Data from a 30-year average, but I am interested in real data!  Most places I have looked keep track of 'seasonal average' snowfall. Not totals. This US-based site has permission to use Canadian stats and logos! "Reproduced with the permission of the Minister of Public Works and Government Services Canada, 2010."

weather Links

The Weather Network - Muskoka Area
 Slow Eddy- he was so fun on a snowy day...

You can check out Road Conditions here across the province. That is not a bad idea.
I have found that another Muskoka blogger, Gord has decided, for the sake of his resort customers, to post his own information about Muskoka weather. He runs a great site, and has done us all a service.

The Accu-Window-Weather site (click on logo - right) has links to various webcams across the province. The map (left) shows the numerous webcams local business owners have put up on Gord's site. A fabulous site. View the Port Carling webcam, for example, or Parry Sound, or Huntsville.

Southern Ontario Severe Storms Page

Jan. 31, 2010
By the afternoon, 25 cm and counting. Everyone is out shovelling!

Snowfall Jan. 28, 2010: 
17 cm on the deck. I had a phone call from Bracebridge, and they had sunny skies one day, while Port Carling had snow falling merrily, with winds causing the snow to dance across lake ice.

Lots of snow, and snow squalls. But with temperatures of -30, the warm-up to -20 is quite welcome!

For the most part, January consisted of 5 - 10 cm of snow almost every day. We 36", about 3' remaining from the December snowfall, and a nice powdery snow on top of some ice. There is a solid base.

Wednesday 24 February 2010

Who goes there?

Things are melting around Muskoka. It is very lovely.

The massive trees, roots upturned, punctuate the lowlands. Topped with a layer of snow, it is easy to see where the wind has lifted and toppled them over.

The rivers carry meltwater into the lakes.

"Go to the winter woods: listen there, look, watch, and “the dead months” will give you a subtler secret than any you have yet found in the forest."
-   Fiona Macleod, Where the Forest Murmurs
Quiet walks, through the green bowers of pines will cease when the bugs arrive again!

"There is a privacy about winter which no other season gives you … Only in winter…can you have longer,
quiet stretches when you can savor belonging to yourself."
-   Ruth Stout,  How to Have a Green Thumb without an Aching Back

by: Robert Frost (1874-1963)
WO roads diverged in a yellow wood,
And sorry I could not travel both
And be one traveler, long I stood
And looked down one as far as I could
To where it bent in the undergrowth; 

I frequently tramped eight or ten miles through the deepest snow
to keep an appointment with a beech-tree,
or a yellow birch, or an old acquaintance among the pines.
-  Henry David Thoreau,  1817 - 1862

Soon, the snow, and the evidence of creatures unseen, will disappear.
I have no idea what these tracks are. (But now I do, thanks to several photogalleries!) Something round, dragged through the snow, landing with two paws beside each other.

UPDATE: Wayne, my friend and former N. Ontario teacher, tells me these are otter tracks! What a hoot! Here is more photographic evidence. I think of the Disney movies of otters frolicking on hills.

I've seen the muskrat around here. We were sitting at the lakeshore, and at edge of the ice floe (the shore was about 3' open) and it popped its little head up!

Life is a mystery.

They are everywhere in the deep peace of the forest.  
"Still lie the sheltering snows, undimmed and white;
And reigns the winter's pregnant silence still;
No sign of spring, save that the catkins fill,
And willow stems grow daily red and bright.
These are days when ancients held a rite
Of expiation for the old year's ill,
And prayer to purify the new year's will."
-  Helen Hunt Jackson