Monday 31 May 2010

Moon River and Bala Falls

Moon River is a beautiful part of Muskoka.

Bala Falls is a dangerous part of Muskoka.
 This is a dam, intended to hold back water and regulate water depths, as in spring and winter water can be high. The most recent storm raised our water depth by about 6" in a matter of hours.

Drowning statistics 2009

Drowning is something that affects of of society. Some engage in dangerous behaviour around water, with little regard for the dangers.

    The reasons for drownings?
  •  water skiing without a spotter
  • children swimming alone, or in dangerous water
  • young males swimming in dangerous places (three in 2009)
  • seniors swimming alone (a sector that is increasing due to demographics, and a stubborn independence!)
  • inexperienced canoeists (two in 2008)
  • inexperienced swimmers near a dam (one in 2008, two in 2009)
  • Personal Watercraft (PWC) operators speeding or driving dangerously
  • people unfamiliar with boats (bad enough)
  • too many boats in a small area
  • fishing drunk (even worse)
  • boating drunk (the worst)
EMS crews and Volunteer Services were called for 9 drownings in summer 2008. In 2009 we had 11 drownings.

Water Safety is a basic issue of importance at the cottage.

I am continually amazed at people who insist on their right to swim in Bala Falls. It is dangerous for many, especially strangers who do not know its history.

They ignore signs warning of fast water. Last year two men drowned trying to rescue a young girl swept away by the current.

Moon River is a beautiful spot to visit, but a dangerous one, too. The swift running water sweeps souls away in an instant. The undertow is powerful.

This dad was visiting the falls with his two preschoolers and a dog. It appeared that Grandma and Grandpa were up top with another dog.

Perhaps there should be a sign or a memorial to those who drowned there. The basic 'DANGER' signs are ignored.

All it would take is one little slip. Having had three kids, I know how quick they are!

We debated interfering, but they left shortly after. We were both relieved.

We welcome our tourists, and seasonal residents, but this is an accident waiting to happen.

Tourist bring much-needed business to this small town. For that we are all grateful.

Sunday 30 May 2010

SEOs leap on the Muskoka/G8 bandwagon

There are folks out there trying to make a buck by creating a web presence, raising page rankings, and generate web traffic. Muskoka is a beautiful place to live, work and play, many search for accommodation and festival to visit.

Many groups are hijacking the Muskoka name for their own purposes, some even steal local photographer's photos to enhance their information. Unethical, and shameful.

Folks like Nancy Tapley, shown teaching a riding class at her 600-acre resort, is going to find a challenge keeping up with her chickens, horses, clients, and her business during G8, with her needs for many employees.  She is one of the business owners who add to the economy of her town. In keeping her clients and animals happy healthy and fed, she will be challenged to manage the week of June 21st. (I plan a longer post on her later!)

I posted on my non-Muskoka page:

Blogging, SEOs

You'd think that if you had Muskoka in your name, you'd either have lived or cottaged there. Not so.
Some marketing geniuses, and I use the term loosely, have figured out that the word
Muskoka garners a lot of web hits, as GTA- Toronto folks tend to visit Muskoka on the weekends, many from all parts of the world visit us. We can tolerate 100,00 summer guests, and hunker down to winter with 50,000 residents.

One group, 5fish, does integrates web content automatically. Taking bandwidth from legitimate Muskoka companies who advertise, and have created terrific websites, blogs, and twitter updates (like Nancy!). They use search engine optimization (SEO) techniques to make a buck off of the Muskoka name and the ubiquitous Google ads. (Do you know anyone who clicks on them?!)

Like the placemat-sized snapping turtle at the side of the road, I watch the (web) traffic in horror!

There doesn't seem to be a person who oversees the 5fish sites (they cover all the small towns in Muskoka), or they wouldn't be including webnews from Bracebridge, UK! I contacted the little weasels, perhaps a year ago, since they were providing a live feed of my blog, without even talking to me about it. Then the site changed as G8 approached.

Currently, 5fish uses their bandwidth to launch their G8 protests. Who knew?  Some of us are hiding in our shells, in denial, hoping to make it through the G8, bringing in groceries, defending territory. This painted turtle, spotted crossing Medora Lake Road, has the right idea.

There is an underground, or cyberground movement, hidden in cyberspace by a shell that purports to markets Muskoka, then exploits our good name, knowing that you have to create web traffic to make money. Some of us are happy to live in Muskoka, and need not look for business, it comes to many by word of mouth. Others vie for bandwidth, trying to market their legitimate businesses. So much for progress!

The beauty of Muskoka is further enhanced by the wireless Internet found at many establishments. I am happy as a clam on a patio, on my computer! This is The Moose Cafe, where life is good!

I simply have fun with my blog; sharing news, photographing, and presenting views of things I see in Muskoka. I want people to know what is going on in Muskoka Lakes. Our economy depends upon our seasonal tourists, as well as residents, contractors, and health, education and service industries. It depends upon the natural beauty of this region as evidenced by its wildlife.
Here are our first ducklings (8!) of the season.

G8's impact to Muskoka have been posting info about G8, for example, and its impact on us. We have some nice, new signs, new buildings, a new fence in Hunstville (to be used for off-leash dog walkers when G8 is over?). For example, Most of the security and police officers will be staying at White's Pit, a 24-hectare quarry that has been filled with rows and rows of portable trailers. Brian Tapley's photos are shocking to me. As a local resort owner, one wonders the impact on them, for example.

They cannot complain, being local business owners. The giant sink hole that is G8. Billions of bucks sunk and flowing out to some, but not all.

The warning signs were there. 'Hidden entrance'!
I am deeply suspicious, too, that G8 / G20 protestors have become involved in the great SEO marketing ploy, by including bizarre ads on this page. I'm not sure that Muskoka knew what it was in for when Mr. Harper signed us up for the G8. I'm sure Mr. Clement knew! He is having a great time with photo-ops, opening new buildings and infrastructure, and appearing everywhere.

I loathe the spending. But I do not have a say in the whole deal! In fact, neither do the Huntsville residents who must register friends and foes in order for them to visit their establishments.

The additional costs revealed this week include more than $1 million to ensure the food for world leaders is safe. What? Food tasters?! Feed it to the 300 security folks housed in the quarry!

The money is being snapped up like nothing I've seen. Toronto's mayor is using the opportunity to snap at the federal government for this spending. Everyone wants a sound byte.

It is the residents, those who depend upon hourly wages, or local business, who are going to suffer. The webhosting company,, is using the G20 to broadcast propaganda for protesters. It is bad enough that local residents are going to be impacted financially, physically, but this usury seems wrong to me. Not-so-subtle messages about Genetically Modified Organisms. Really.

Then, there is the normal issue of driving in Ontario, with a deer killed on the road, the OPP (Bless them!) were sitting in front so that we wouldn't all hit it again.

And, yes, that is bug juice on the window. Welcome to Muskoka!

Then there are the tourists who are driving crazy on a 'normal' Saturday. The guy behind us was driving up our rear, trying to pass as the lane went down to from one to two.

Then, the guys in front didn't have a clue about signaling and actually merging.

There was talk of businesses in the G20 inner security ring being compensated for loss of business. I would hope that the benefits of the G8 in in Huntsville outweigh the costs for all stakeholders from local businesses, to salaried employees who cannot work for the week that the troops descend upon their town.

Saturday 29 May 2010

G8 Fencing in Huntsville

You heard it here first, there are some strange people in the world. OK, not the first, but I warned you.

I sent a message to Ted Fish, who runs the 5fish website that uses the Muskoka Lakes regional name, and runs websites of individual towns in our region. I noticed him awhile ago, as he was stealing my blog feed for use on his site. With no credit. That has stopped.

I was given a heads-up by a faithful Muskoka reader and visited the site.
Then I went to, and I was shocked and appalled.

I was mystified about this 'alternative'?
Now, I am not a trail blazer, but I do like to pose questions. OK, answer them, too. But with 54 years experience, three degrees in people, and experience teaching kids from JK to gr. 8, and at uOttawa, and leading workshops in the leading edge of the 'net in web page, blogging, and integrating technology in work and play, I figure I have enough critical thinking skills to provide food for thought.

This all started about a year ago. These guys are building up to this event, and it scares me. We have a democratic right to protest, but we have an obligation to promote that with which we are familiar and spread truths, not rumours, innuendo and lies.

One of my regular blog readers pointed it out to me. She thought a G8 protest group has hacked in. Not true. It is a G8 protester using Muskoka Lakes to promote their cause. Now, if I had the ear of RCMP or CSIS, I would protest this protester! (Hubby commented that I'm already likely on their hit list for taking photos of the fencing—but I was curious as a taxpayer and resident of Muskoka!)

Huntsville residents are pretty creeped out with all the G8 stuff going on. Some plan on hunkering down, and sitting indoors for the week. Their lives are going to be pretty topsy turvy as it is. The photos of the mail boxes, surrounded be fencing pretty much summarizes the whole scene.

Some are going to fear damage to their businesses, others fear having to call a vet, for example, to their farms, but not being able to get them in as the inner and outer perimeters will restrict such access. Business owners are afraid, and want to be in their establishments in order to prevent damage. But if there is an incident, how quickly will the OPP get there, especially with all the barriers?

I was pretty worried with what I spotted on the Internet. I sent a message to the website owner, Ted Fish. I was concerned, as we in Muskoka are not radical, and while the G8 might bring us fame and fortune, we do not want to be associated with radicals. Yes, we are in a democracy, but this is crazy talk.

The message from the founder of this webpage to me reads so:

The ads point to - which provides day to day news on what is transpiring in our world currently.
The events / tragedies / etc / must be exposed ... because you need to know.
Muskoka should be freaked out.  I am a G8 protest group.  I also protest the Bilderbergs, the NWO, chemtrails (where I started), vaccination hoaxes, HAARP, global warming hoaxes. the take down of the Polish Gov't, the blasting of the Deep Horizon oil rig, Palestine Apartheid, Occultism ... I have a huge list - OPEN YOUR EYES - latest news down right side panel.

You won't find the info on main stream news.  They are controlled.

OK. I'm creeped out. Not by his insinuations, but that he is one of the people responsible for our government having to pay $3.9 million in fencing. 'Latest news'? Not sure, as he is not a reputable news source. I don't want nameless, faceless people giving me 'information'.

I think that local councillors, and our Federal MP ought to be giving some thought to checking out this webwork and shutting them down. Fish gives all of us a bad name. In fact, a fishy name.
Read more at:

G8 brings trepidation in Huntsville

Once-in-a-lifetime summit generates curious gawkers, nervous rumours — and fresh opportunities

Friday 28 May 2010

Blogging bandwagon

After my rant the other day, this I read on a blog post:

Outsource your blog content

You can outsource your blog content and automate the entire process of establishing yourself as an expert. Honestly you do not need to do anything other than find the right person to handle your entire blog for you. The right person or company can design the blog, write the content, upload the content, and do the things needed to get traffic to your blog.
Getting traffic to your blog will ultimately get traffic to your business.


Why You Need  a Blog
As a brick and mortar business you need a blog. Blogs are great, dynamic content that the search engines love. Search engines need regularly updated content that they can search and people need great, dynamic content that is useful to them.

 You are wise to sift the wheat from the chaff when reading blogs. This nameless, faceless self-described blog expert gives neither name of face to his/her business. S/he'll help you promote your business, without your putting any effort in! You cannot contact them directly, though. What a creepy thing!

My advice would be to check out a few blogs and note the ones you like. I spent an hour with a friend, in exchange for a lovely lunch, teaching her some fine points.

Muskoka storm

I was sitting quietly on my deck, having just taken a bit of a dunk in the lake. With 30-degree C. temperatures, and a lake at about 23 degrees, it was a soothing break.

Working on my computer, I noticed that the wind had suddenly ceased. Not only that, but the heat had dissipated, and several little blackflies had suddenly attacked my legs. They hadn't been around in the heat lately.

Then, the rumbles...

The clouds were beautiful. Huge white anvils that rolled in. I knew we were in for something. I ran around securing everything I could think of. The angels were bowling and there would be hell to pay.

The poor geese and goslings looking like death was imminent. They hunkered down in the clover, under the tree that had lost a huge limb. Then, after the worst passed, they moved into the garden. The lawn was flooded.

I watched a neighbour rescue his raft. My trusty canoe, bought used when I was 15-years old, was full of water. They don't make them like that anymore!

This wee tree was sent a-tipping. Must take care of that later, but the mosquitoes are quite happy that now their little reservoirs are full, and swamps topped up. Blackflies require running water, but mosquitoes will benefit from the still water the storm has created.
Poor hosta plants. Pea-sized hail have rendered them rather sad-looking. Weary, shredded leaves will come back, but like life's pot holes which make you fight harder, they will fight for their lives.

My poor cucumbers. I wasn't totally convinced that they would survive the geese or Merry Muskrat, but they took some damage, too.

There is a hole in the forest canopy. One branch gone. It could have been much worse. Where has that saw gone?!

This morning I took my coffee and camera down to the lakefront. (Can't live without either!) The sun rose, as always.  Mosquitoes were mercilessly attacking. I took a few photos and retreated. Damage control will take place in full sun, when mosquitoes are taking their afternoon naps.

Bulletin re: G8 and Algonquin Park

I know it is a favourite place for many. The campers in early May were numerous. BUT...think it through! You can't get there from here!

Interesting as the news unfolds of more restrictions, with no recourse for those who must earn a living in the area. As with war, some benefit and others lose out! Think of contractors who only earn what they can bill, other salaried employees, or those who only get paid for services rendered, as you can read in the comments on the previous post. Politicians are getting their 15 minutes of fame, but those who live, work and play in the area will face huge transportation issues.
The Friends of Algonquin Park 
G8 Summit Travel Restrictions - Travel on Highway 60 between Huntsville and Dwight (near Deerhurst Resort) will be restricted. Visitors heading to Algonquin Park through Huntsville must seek an alternate route. At this time, no closures or restrictions within Algonquin Park are expected -- it is business as normal. See below for more details.
On June 25 - 26, 2010, the G8 Summit comes to the Algonquin Park Area. Leaders from Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, Russia, the United Kingdom and the United States will be meeting at Deerhurst Resort in Huntsville, Ontario.

Thursday 27 May 2010

G8 news, photos, and views

I am convinced that the every day citizen will not benefit from the ramifications of the G8 being in Huntsville. Think about full-time residents, seasonal residents, summer visitors, businesses => from restaurants to motels, B and B's, to their artisans shops who rely on tourists), to who provide services.
Or emergency workers,  and those who work with children.

Think about the local infrastructure: hydro, sewers, people trying to do personal or employer banking, municipal workers who must get to town, those looking to have variances, permits bought and issued, hospital workers, those employed by resorts, or service industries. One issue: Huntsville's 60 volunteer firefighters! It is a huge week for all.

The ISU has developed a traffic management plan to manage possible congestion on Huntsville and Muskoka area roads- gee, It is a town situated around a lake. With two major highways that intersect, and limited roads.The Revised alternate routes map and information now available - April 2010 (PDF).

The latest slap in the face is the lack of accreditation for residents until June 21st. I know the peeps in Toronto are busy, but people have to do business, and cannot afford to wait in line.

Residents Will Have to Wait for Accreditation Papers

The Integrated Security Unit (ISU) has been informed by the Summits Management Office (SMO) that accreditations for residents and those who work in the security zones in Huntsville will be available the week of June 21.

There is win and lose. The company that was paid $6 million to install fencing, is a prime example. The trees that were cut to reduce highway shoulder blockage is another issue. Employment, yes, but at what cost to humans, flora and fauna? Our signage is fabulous. It gave work to many, too.

The Canada Summit Centre, paid for by the feds, built a terrific place for Huntsville residents. Two pools, a hockey rink, Tony Clement had his 15 minutes in the spotlight. He must be happy as a pig, clover!

My dear friend, Nancy Tapley, blogger extraordinairre with a witty and droll writing style, has written about the events in her town. (E.g.,  Call Wading!)
She is a fine example of great blogging; she lauds nature, educates her readers, know her animals, and markets her fine resort with dignity and presence. Their photos are phenomenal.

These G8 photos are by @Brian Tapley, used by permission, he has many fine photos of their family's 600 acre resort. They illustrate what is going on up at G8 headquarters!

As she write, good thing the heat killed many of the blackflies. The mosquitoes arise mid-morning, then disappear in the heat of the day, when the deer flies and horseflies appear. I pity those who must provide security and live in this camp. The towns are fine in the heat of the day.
The income for businesses is another matter, but for some it may not be worth it.

I am trying to think about those who are running resorts, who will have some well-paying customers, but who will need these dastardly accreditations that will not arrive until June 21st. That was the latest news.

Those in Toronto have no idea about our three-season economy and the importance of employees getting through the OPP's outer security ring, and entering the inner RCMP ring to get to work.

Thank goodness they are changing exams so the high school kids are not affected.

Elementary kids luck out, as their busses are cancelled. Schools are open, but who wants to drive through security zones, some kids spend an hour on the bus every day.  The teachers will have to show up, poor dears. Just like a 'Snow Day', a few kids, unable to really teach curriculum. Ah, the good old days!

Head for the Haliburton Highlands, methinks. Me, I'm going to be far, far from the madding crowd. Sitting reading by the lake, water gun in hand in case those dang protesters get lost!
More reading, for those keen!
  • Residents, G8 Summit 2010  The Summit Management Office has determined that official delegations, media and support staff will not be lodged in individual homes and cottages. 
  • Elite Insecurity  VANCOUVER—The buzzword at the upcoming G8 and G20 summits ... in Huntsville “will be facing a $6 million galvanized metal fence that will ...
G8 Traffic Measures: The holding of the G8 summit at Huntsville's Deerhurst Resort on June 25 will mean security restrictions on many of the roads in the ...