Sunday 31 October 2010

Mind the gap

Shirley, Calico, and the missing Not Nemo (right).
I'm so sad. I figured out that our cat has been fishing in the aquarium.

It has to be the only solution. Not Nemo was missing.

We could hear a funny noise as someone was ringing my antique bell, which sits beside the tank.

You'd think he was hungry.

Guess who found a snack?
There was a gap between the tank top and the edge. Then, the glass cracked. It was Oliver, I am sure, sitting on top of the tank as he is wont to do.

The little twerp.

He eats the odd chickadee, Sady's vet-prescribed cat food (she has allergies!), as well as Mitzie's food when he can. He is insatiable. A lean, mean hunting machine. He loves his new forest, too.

Mind the Gap!

Shirley is a dime store goldfish. Oops. How demeaning. Shirley, is a Bubble Eye Goldfish.

Happy Shirley and her friend
Calico (and the late Not Nemo) is a new, young Shubutkin. They are cold water fish, meaning we don't need a tank heater.

My mom's pond before its demise
Shirley lost her other sister last month. Poor girl. They used to live in the frog pond in summer. The first summer we had three. A raccoon ate one.

I originally built a pond in Nepean, in 2005, just before we moved to Muskoka. They survived there, coming in for winter. SIGH.
My 2005 pond

R.I.P. 'Not Nemo'!

Friday 29 October 2010

Trip to the city: and what did you see?

Another sleepover with the kids to avoid a long early morning drive to get to the CHPCA conference. I love visiting our children and the city. But it is good to be home.

a bus that kneels

canal drained for winter fun

Chateau Laurier

fields of honking gold

the honkers

closer to home: fields of orange

Why did the turkeys cross the road, just as 3 cars were passing?

Thursday 28 October 2010

Historic Lanark County

We passed this old farm house on our way to vote.

Voting transportation: different in rural Ontario!

Can you believe this?

A long gone building - such history

Lovely sights, right on the river
An antique store - note fencing

Ancient Perth Shoe Factory!

Wednesday 27 October 2010

Volunteers make the world go around

I have lauded those in Muskoka who continue to work hard on behalf of others. Moving closer to Ottawa, I see our citizens who perform these acts in many venues:
    I've been working on the blog for the Habitat for Humanity build site in Bala. It is called the Patty Parsons Project. Read the blog for more information! The semi-detached homes are almost ready, they began in May.

    I have seen their motto "a hand up, not a hand out". Sometimes many hands are necessary to make a project move forward. The planning, preparing, thinking it all out.

    After stuffing for 3 hrs. we stuffed ourselves

    I was happy to help prepare badges and stuff bags for the Canadian Hospice Palliative Care Association Conference in Ottawa this week. Many hands make light work. Most of you know my mother died of cancer, and my father, a brain tumour. This journey is the topic of my book, and Hospice is the focal point of my volunteer work.
    Stuffing bags for conference attendees

    Linda Truglia, in black T, giving us training!
    Last year the Conference was in Winnipeg, a bit far for me, as a volunteer, to travel.Especially since I loathe leaving my family behind.

    After, good conversation with all!
    This year, I will be helping by moderating an interest group session (Long-Term Care), as well as being a room moderator on one afternoon for three sessions. It makes for an joyful time, with a generous spirit of contribution, allowing me to attend sessions in which I am interested.

    Why do these people volunteer? At a conference such as this, there are opportunities for networking. Some are regular Hospice or Palliative Care hospital volunteers.

    Others are looking for work, and to put this opportunity on a resume shows that you are hard-working, and dedicated. You can develop contacts who will give you advice.

    Also, to attend a conference, you can learn a lot about a topic, with front line workers, physicians, nurses, clinicians, and other volunteers who use their time to work well with others! 

    I found that volunteering at educational conferences kept me cutting edge, and up-to-date on current developments.

    At the end of my 'career', if you can call it that, there was much reward in accepting student teachers, mentoring new teachers, and delivering workshops to peers and parents of school-age students. I was just interviewed by a young lady who is writing an article on seniors using technology and social media. This gave me some perspective in that my years in the field have not gone unnoticed.

    All dressed up for shopping,
    waiting in the bum chair
    for mommy and Gamma to get dressed.
    Many men and women my age are using the Internet for good, for fun, and to connect with peers, family and friends. That is the premise of her article, methinks!

    The Internet is, of course, how I heard about this conference. Young people do not realize how involved we were. My mother learned to use a computer at the ripe age of 50, at work, to create office newsletters  in 1975. I was so proud of her! She carried on a long tradition of volunteering in Toronto and Muskoka. I am glad to follow in her footsteps.

    I learned to use computers and piloted the computer-generated report cards a Carleton Board teacher invented in 1991. Time flies!
    Gamma, did you have to bring the camera?
    Where's my lunch?
    You make think me totally altruistic, but after finishing about 8:30 p.m. downtown, I was able to sleep over
    at the kid's house, and visit with them the next morning.
    A shop-till-you-drop at the mall, and lunch out with the 'girls', Caitlin and Isabelle (7 mos.!) was a nice treat.

    Tuesday 26 October 2010

    What fun!

    I joined my local group, at the suggestion of my clever daughter, and have passed on a 14' TV antenna, and a Canon Rebel G camera that requires 35mm film.

    I've been so happy with this site. They write:

    Welcome! The Freecycle Network™ is made up of 4,864 groups with 7,603,875 members around the world. It's a grassroots and entirely nonprofit movement of people who are giving (and getting) stuff for free in their own towns. It's all about reuse and keeping good stuff out of landfills. Each local group is moderated by a local volunteer (them's good people). Membership is free.
    Ever seen so much stuff?

    Having purged our 'stuff' we realized thing we needed and didn't need. We donated a table and chairs to Habitat for Humanity. Gave dressers to granddaughters.

    Eating off of the cardtable was a hoot.For a short period of time.

    Bala Bay Inn
    It was delightful having excuses to go out to dinner, though!

    The Bala Bay Inn is now closed for the season. Never did see its ghost!

    Monday 25 October 2010

    What do you get when you cross an antelope and a giraffe?

    How about: giraffelope?
    How about a giraffelope?

    We saw a man about a fence. He's famous in these parts.
    It is beautiful.

    His work is amazing. In a day we had a fence. I love Scott's work.

    He inspired me to liberate some dead wood from our forest.

    And then I made a deer/giraffe from some wood I found in our forest. I'm looking for a snappy name for it!

    The head is made of cedar, weathered, the body is one piece, from a tree knocked over by lightning, then the branches grew vertically. 

    Sunday 24 October 2010

    Oliver goes deer hunting

    Well, he was bird hunting, but the deer were worried. They stamped their feet in warning. He truly ignored them. He was after the birds.

    Oliver wasn't really deer hunting, he was after his bird friends at his feeder, under his pine tree. He will sleep at the base of the tree, curled up in the pine needles, in the good weather. Today, as I was working out, my attention was drawn to the window. I saw Ollie run west into his forest, and the deer bounding east out of our forest. Grabbing my camera I knew something was up. I wondered how he would react.

    He spotted a bird in the garden and zipped off. He has a short attention span!

    Flora, fauna, geology of Lanark County

    heron rookery
    I like to understand my region. More research on the why and wherefore has demonstrated how much the geology of an area influences the flora and fauna. 

    I was teaching rocks and minerals (Grade 4). I wish I had time then to research it. I was given an assignment of a gr. 4/5 split class


    Grade 4 students review learning about soil, and construct new learning on rocks, the characteristics and causes of erosion, and how to protect against soil erosion. Grade 5 students review learning about the characteristics and causes of erosion, and construct new learning about weather, including how to measure it, predict it, and adapt to it.


    Where farmland exists in Lanark County, whales once swam in arctic waters. Clams lived on the ground we walk. Shallow, with tropical seas, 25-30 m of water covered the land. Fossils are all that is left.

    Sand deposits dot Lanark County, with quarries being a common sight. Sandstone, dolomite and fossiliferous limestone are present, as well. Corals, bivalve brachiopods lived once on this sea floor, giant squid-like cephalopods with conical shells. They all lie silently, waiting to tell their story.

    Ghost Pipe
    Excerpt from:

    A Short Geological History of Lanark County [PDF]

    This short history was inspired by the field trip on October 28, 2007, when members of ...geology of Lanark County with Professors Allan Donaldson.

    The last ice sheet to cover Canada reached its maximum thickness and size about 20 000 years ago. Southern Ontario was buried by ice about 1 kilometre thick, that originated in Quebec and Labrador, until about 12 000 years ago. The tremendous weight of the ice pushed the Earth’s crust down some 400 metres.

    marsh on our back 40
    As the ice sheet melted, great volumes of water rushed to the sea. The level of the Atlantic Ocean rose and salt water flowed up the St. Lawrence and Ottawa valleys, and over the eastern part of Lanark County about 11 000 years ago. The whale skeleton found near Pakenham, when a farm well was being dug, is evidence that marine animals once lived here in the arm of the Atlantic Ocean called the Champlain Sea. The surface of this glacier fed arctic sea would have been at a level just above the present day tip of the flagpole on the Peace Tower of the Parliament Buildings.


     A swamp is a wetland community with little peat development that is dominated by shrubs or trees. A marsh is a wetland without much peat that is dominated by herbaceous plants that are floating, submergent, or emergent. Swamps and marshes are common across the county. Bogs, fens, and poor fens are wetlands underlain by at least 40 cm of peat—and thus, they can also be called peatlands (White, 2010).

    Spring in our old swamp
    We have marshes on our property, as well as a couple of areas of bog. Once the water freezes I'll be able to take a snowshoe around. My chest waders have come in handy, too. But I await my birthday for that GPS I have my eye on, as well as the OPP to finish their target practices!

    Flora and Fauna
    The flora and fauna interests me, heavily influenced, of course by the bedrock. We know so much more now about ecosystems. The Canadian Shield is acidic. However, the glacier deposited acidic glacial till onto the more neutral limestone and sandstones. You can see in the valleys and crevasses boggy wetlands where the bulrushes grow and silt and clay has washed off of the limestone rock up above. Our deer constantly walk through this bog leaving a bit of a trail. The deer quite like our grassy meadow down in the valley, but their feeding trough lulls them in.
    Having just moved here in mid-September, I shall look forward to exploring more of the natural flora  next spring. The 2006 version a list of a full list was made available on the web site.

    Download plant list - Plants of Lanark County Ontario

    by DJ White - 2010 

    The geology of Lanark County is quite complex due to the presence of younger limestones and sandstones in the eastern part of the county, and much older granites, gneisses, and marbles of the Canadian Shield in the western part of the county (Douglas, 1978; Freeman, 1979).

    Some of the Lanark County specimens ... are of interest from a historical point of view. The first known collections (1861-1867) were made by John Kerr McMorine—a clergyman and amateur botanist who lived and collected in Ramsay, west of Almonte (see Ross, 1984). --in White, 2010

    Other resources:

    Friday 22 October 2010

    A day in the country

    Oliver gave up his room for Jesse!

    First: a snack of yogurt with Gampa

    Next, we feed the deer

    Isabelle models her new highchair

    Fun with Uncle Jess

    fun:  sisters in Gampa's chair
     A fun day had by all.

    During 'quiet time', she's got too much to do to 'nap', and we couldn't find the flower book.

    I rushed in to wake her up. She saw Bambi, in the flesh, eating the deer food (special MNR recipe) she'd put out that morning. She was so happy.
    The deer appeared as I was running the lawn tractor and trailer, moving the dead elm tree my famous fence man, Scott Dobson, had chopped down. Jess was going to chop the wood up for me and I was moving it to the back.

    Listen to this: Scott with chainsaw running, 3 of them working away, me on the tractor, and I pulled up to the shed when I looked up and spotted two deer.

    I DID hear shots off in the forest, so perhaps they see our 6 acres as sanctuary.
    I set Jess to work!

    Jofee has to go to the meadow. Hurry!
     We sure do! As Isabelle napped, we hugged some trees, played in the forest, lay down in the leaves, played Queen of the castle on a protruding rock, talked about the moss on the dead branches, and then played 'chase me.'

    Such a blessing to be close to family.

    Glad we traded a property by the lake for a property in a forest.
    First, a sit in 'The Hand of God'

    My tree huggers.

    Queen of the castle.