Thursday 30 June 2011

Summer, land and water play

Lawn tractor momma
'Mishaps'? Try child neglect.

Two children, woman hospitalized in two separate lawnmower mishaps

Woman airlifted to hospital after lawn mower accident -

A woman was airlifted to Toronto and her son was taken to hospital after a lawn tractor accident in Stayner last Sunday afternoon.

This is illegal. They often allow him on the jetski alone
We drove past a place where it looked like a 8-yr-old was driving the lawntractor. At another house we spotted a kid who was on the dad's lap driving. Their property has huge ditches. Pretty scary.

We've also seen youngsters driving jetskiis. The is illegal. These are new summer residents. They also spend hours doing figure 8's in across the frontage, annoying all of the residents, especially their new neighbour who lives in the house my cousin built. Citiots, new to the area, there is not the respect for neighbours that there used to be. The etiquette of cottage life is gone, in favour of speed, parties, illegal bonfires all day, fireworks every night.

They do not know the boating laws.

Jul 04, 2009
In most provinces there is a 10 kph speed limit within 30 metres (100 feet) from shore. Fine is $125. Maximum fine is $500 or six months imprisonment. (Canada Shipping Act: Boating Restriction Regulations)

Unfortunately, when OPP Marine Division is called, by the time they get there, get a boat in the water, either the boaters scatter, some run into bays, or they stop their irritating, illegal, dangerous behaviour. It is a huge issue for those who prefer canoes to powerful machines, the sounds of the loon calling, to the screaming and fireworks.

This youngster was hanging onto the side of the boat while waterskiing.

This is illegal. The child cannot be in front, apparently driving.

Following too closely, with youngster driving.
It is truly frightening, as summer begins. A review of drownings, an annual report, find that youngsters drownings have doubled to 13 last year in Ontario. Thirteen young lives cut off in a minute.

Children's drowning deaths spike in Ontario
3 days ago

A review of drowning deaths in Ontario last summer found a "disturbing" spike in the number of deaths involving young children. (2010 Drowning Review - Office of the Chief Coroner of Ontario)

A total of 90 drownings last year, and 85% were male. They blame alcohol, inexperienced boaters without lifejackets, people not understanding safety around water.
From 2009 drownings:

"A pair of newly released drowning trend reports, compiling 10 years of research by the Canadian Red Cross, show that boating fatalities make up 39 per cent of drowning victims, and alcohol is a factor in about half of the cases."

Checking for alcohol at the beach
I wonder how much we spend on boating safety, boating regulations, education, and enforcement of safe summer activities?

The Bala Falls drowning garnered a lot of attention, and yet they still swim there.

It is comforting to see the officers patrol at the beach on a summer afternoon. We know what the combination of boating, and/or speed, and alcohol does. There are far too many lakes in cottage country to have them monitored. I think it up to others to call them out. Tough love.
When you see someone acting stupidly, you should speak out. It would have saved someone unfamiliar with the inherent dangers. People unfamiliar with swimming below the Bala Falls or jumping off of the train bridge, for example, watch others swim, and do not realize the undertow. My video has had over 2000 hits from around the world, as families members across the ocean seek to understand the deaths. A-News calls it a 'picturesque' place to visit. But it is deadly.

Summer. Be safe. Be careful. Respect wildlife.

Wednesday 29 June 2011

Big storm June 28 causes Kanata housefire

The storm hit us in Lanark County on the way to Ottawa. We simply had our eaves overflow. No trees went down this time. Actually, I haven't walked about yet. Perhaps there are!

This mysterious person videotaped a big fire in Ottawa.
Funny how people don't include their names! I've had several interviews with folks interested in my Muskoka storm, and G8 videos and photos. Lots of people want to see what has gone in in the region.
You can click on the YouTube logo to visit his YouTube page. Very scary to see a house on fire. I have memories of a church burning in the night. I was a kid, perhaps 45 years ago.

Trees fell on our 16 acres from last storm, but in the forest this is normal. It makes way for the saplings to get light.

Tuesday 28 June 2011

Life is Good

This is a photo tribute to life, music, dreams, horses and aging.
Music by Brock Zeman, 'Life is Good' ; Lanark County musician. He wrote it about the house he bought. The photos are mine. The only thing certain is death and taxes! Dream on!
Respect your elders.

Full-day kindergarten in Ontario

Role play and play dough
The costs are enormous. The benefits for the kids are questionable. Many schools are crowded, with portables set up even before a new school opens.

finger puppets
As someone with a B.A. (ECE) I think tax dollars are being wasted on full-day Kindergarten. Kids need more love, nurturing, and play-based learning than regular teachers in a union care to understand.

Kids learn best in an activity-based setting, not a school, but a day care-type setting, in a comfortable environment, in which life isn't controlled by that gawd-awful bell.

Where teachers with more than a 1-year B.Ed., but knowledge of creating playspaces have a holistic understand of of wee ones learn.

I've worked in schools and done my time in day care, and private schools. McGuinty is making a mistake creating a full day school for kindergarten kids who learn by play, by makig choices about sand, water, art, house centre, not sitting at tables colouring pictures..

We need subsidized day care for the kids who need it. The working poor. Schools are too expensive, the infrastructure too onerous. Single parents, kids with disabilities, need licenced day care, not an education. In licenced day care, with registered, trained caregivers kids get the best start. We could help many more children who need early identification of psychosocial, emotional disabilities. We need to ensure they have dental and medical care.

running outside in the forest
outdoor play is a big part of an integrated program
We need subsizided day care places in top notch centres, for children who need day care while parents work. These are children who benefit most from quality, government supported assistance. We know that kids need to develop prereading skills through play.

Early Childhood Education specialists who understand the developmental process, not a teacher slotted into a kindergarten by a principal/manager who similarly may not understand how forcing an education on a child may be a huge mistake.

Playing 'snake' with kittens
running free
We need teachers who integrate crafts with social skills, playtime is learning time. We need kids to be exposed to prereading skills, not to have reading pressure thrown at them. Especially the boys who tend to read later than girls.

Swimming at the beach
Hugs from gramma
The McGuinty government claims they are introducing a 'new' theory, yet when I earned my ECE degree at Ryerson (1979), this is the philosophy of most of the theorists and the philosophy of most of the facilities in Toronto, where I did 900 hours of practicum placements in nursery schools and day care centres. It was not the philosophy of most of the JK, SK, Gr. 1 classes. The school system still fights the play-based learning and integrated programs.
finger puppets

toes in sand
water and sand play
buckets, shovels; playing with others

Monday 27 June 2011

Our Northern Catalpa tree has visitors

The catulpa is a beautiful tree. We have one in our forest that has some issues, but the two near the house are doing well.

Both have lovely blossoms top to bottom. The one had some visitors (see the video)!

peony are almost done!
catulpa, spruce near our well

If you look closely, you can see a catulpa
-growing up in the middle of these fallen cedar.
We shall have to get in with a chainsaw.
Music by Brock Zeman, 'Walking Along the Edge' -just thought it a fitting song!
(used with permission)
Zeman is a Lanark musician who plays every Tuesday at our local favourite pub!

Can you name this bird?

Sady went out for walkies, and I could hear the bird scolding.

Then it began to dive bomb her. Well, it was still quite high up, but once the deer flies settle down, I'm going into the forest to see if I can spot the nest. It has to be nearby!

This is the damage they do, although our Ottawa gardening expert tells us that it is better the birds get the bugs out, rather than the bugs staying in!

ThumbnailWoodpeckers in Muskoka  

Pileated woodpecker in the woods

Sady has a long history of bugging the  birds

Pileated Woodpecker warns the cat
Added: 1 year ago
Views: 155

The aphids were attacking the milkweed, but the ants were attacking the aphids!
It is a busy world.

Saturday 25 June 2011

I love this kind of idea. Ottawa Valley Freecycle didn't work out for us. But I am offering this fridge.

We are near Perth, Ontario. Happily would pass this fridge on to anyone who wants it.

You see, upstairs we have two bar fridges, very European, apparently, and in the basement we have a freezer that works well, and a fridge we would like to pass on.

When our granddaughter first came to our house, I asked her, "Where's Gramma's fridge?"
She looked, and pondered, then loved ours as it is the perfect kid height. She easily helps me get out condiments for lunch, as she can open the door. She's such a pet!

Here are our fridges!
Can you spot them?
Covered in magnets, our granddaughters love rearranging the magnets. Wonderful way to keep them amused.

Heron rookery

I had limited success, but, as serendipity would have it, found a snapping turtle instead!

What I need is one of the paparazzi mother of all zoom lenses, but retirees must be frugal!

Snapping dangers - why did the turtle cross the road?

Camera Critters
Camera Critters #168
Most cross to find suitable places to lay their eggs. They like to dig a hole and bury the eggs.
There are places where you can come across almost a dozen at on time. It happens in spring.

The K & P trail (Kingston & Pembroke) is a good one. Here is a photo of the Old Nipissing Trail. Great places to walk and see Ontario.

Meantime, I was driving east to see if I could snap some photos of our local heron rookery. A bit far off, but some reasonable shots.

mother of all turtles

What was I thinking?

Turtle seasonMy friends warn me: snappers both snap and pee at would-be rescuers. 
This little guy, nothing like the BIG one I found in Long Lake, as big as a coffee table. 

I could see something down the highway

some went into the other lane to avoid her

car after car on a busy cottage country road

Getting closer, I felt sick.

Now what?!

A man stopped, tried to move her with his windshield scraper!

back of its shell was damaged