Wednesday 31 July 2013

July rainfall total in Lanark County

  • July rainfall  131.5 mm

Daisy and a disappointing day

Daisy captured a grasshopper from the flowers.
She took it in her mouth,
and put it on the cement step.
Daisy loves the grasshoppers.
It hopped across, into the garden.
She was sad when it got away.

She was hunting chickadees in the trees.
Can you spot her?
Pretty futile endeavour.
The chickadees were after the bugs in the
dead Elm tree.
I called her. "Who, me?"
It began raining and she ran to the house.

They were tired,
rested under the tree in the heat.
I was gardening.
They stick together sometimes.
Later, Sady was after the dratted chipmunk. She sits beside the garage, or on the fence, waiting oh- so-patiently. 
Up on the railing, Daisy is fascinated with her and follows her. Sady wants no part of Daisy.
Sady, the queen, is 8 years old. Daisy will be a year in August. Still a wee girl, she has inner bigness! Sady usually whacks her upside the head if she gets close.

Tuesday 30 July 2013

Geraldine the bullfrog in the goldfish pond

 In the goldfish pond.
Daisy spotted Jeremiah Geraldine–in the flower pot
I went to the experts. My 'Jeremiah', whom Jesse named, a friend cleverly renamed Geraldine.

The Reptile and Amphibian group explained how to sex them: the size of their ear drums!
A biggie - 12" ruler of my Dad's
officially they measure them snout to vent!
I think she has grown wider! (3 1/2")

Daisy likes her walks down to the frog pond, too. We spot many tadpoles.

It is hard to spot the tadpoles. They sit in the sunshine, far from the shore. Without wading into the water, which disturbs them, it is difficult getting a great shot!

The issue with amphibians is how sensitive they are to the environment. The breathe through their skin, and I am careful to have clean hands when I touch them. I do not handle Geraldine any more than to get her photo.
That said, she seems to understand that I mean her no harm. I can touch her, walk by and she sits like a statue.
I set her on the large, flat rock after her photo shoot, and measurement, and she sat there for a time.
Daisy and Geraldine

While she wintered in the goldfish pond, she left in spring, presumably to lay eggs in the frog pond. She returned, and sits in the plant pot most of the day.
Tadpole in July –hard to spot!
They hover near the surface of the large frog pond.
hiding under the leaves when predators come by.
We don't have any predatorial heron or egrets, 
but there are raccoons, snakes, and turtles about.

AFter her photo shoot, she posed for me!

Daisy gives her a kiss sniff

Grips my ruler
North American bullfrog
She'll lay 20,000 eggs in one go, with usually one male fertilizing the lot.
They have to be 3 - 5 years old to reproduce. This is why many reptile and amphibian species are at-risk, such as turtles. It takes time to mature.

"Bullfrogs also have a longer breeding season and a higher rate of “pre-metamorphic survivorship” (tadpoles), which also allows them to be more successful than other frogs."
They are worried in some US states about them being an invasive species. The male bullfrogs can be territorial, and fight for shore line space with other frogs.

The eggs gestate about 4 days.
We have a vernal frog pond on the property where they reproduce. Thing is, some bullfrog tadpoles take 2 - 3 years to mature and metamorphose into adult frogs. When the pond dries the tadpoles die.

Geraldine can live from 7 to 9 years in the wild. Gerry has been with us for two.
She hunkered down in the frog pond during the winter. I could spot her swimming around under the ice. It was spooky.

Geraldine watched the goldfish.
So far they haven't disappeared, 
don't know why she doesn't eat them,
but they are procreating like mad.
They eat almost anything, even other frogs.
Bullfrogs are predators. They usually eat snakeswormsinsectscrustaceansfrogs, tadpoles, and aquatic eggs of fish, frogs, insects, or salamanders. They are cannibalistic and will not hesitate to eat their own kind. There have also been a few cases reported of bullfrogs eating bats. Bullfrog tadpoles mostly graze on aquatic plants.

They have a reputation for just sitting and waiting for prey. I saw this with my own eyes as a leopard frog leaped and Gerry launched herself at it, quite sprightly for a large girl, and ate it up.

Scientific name: Rana catesbeiana, an amphibian.

 Daisy likes her new friend, Geraldine. She gave her a wee kiss. Gerry is as big as Daisy's head! Daisy should be a year old in August. We're not sure, as she and twin, Dorah, were rescue kittens.
Tadpole close-up

Last year she was hefty!
Daisy hunting tadpoles. 
She gets right in!
She is my shadow!

tadpole in May

Monday 29 July 2013

The secret life of Bears!

What a terrific research project. We have a neighbour with a trail cam, but he puts bait down. This one, in a park, is amazing. It seems as if its the best itch-scratching tree in the forest!
Not just bears, either!

Published on 25 Jul 2013
Ever wonder what bears do when we're not looking? These bears were caught on camera in Kananaskis Country. These images were taken during May and June 2013. Wildlife cameras are part of a research project throughout Kananaskis Country.

By studying wildlife in Alberta's provincial parks, we can better identify population distribution, animal activity and key biodiversity hotspots. Learn more about human/wildlife conflict prevention at For more information about our research, visit Alberta Parks

Sunday 28 July 2013

Quebec’s Sylvain Laquerre Farm Wins the Dairy Farm Sustainability Award

I take a lot of Daycation photos. I happen to have several of Ontario farms!

Here is a great story about Canadian farmers-
From their publicist...
Too often farmers get a bad rap from environmentalists. They are blamed for runoff water contamination and increasing carbon emissions. But many of today's farmers have become some of Canada's leading sustainability activists and experts.
Farmers Feed Cities

 This year's winner of the Dairy Farm Sustainability Award, Sylvain Laquerre and his family have
farmed their land for over 200 years. Given this connection to their land they have recognized the importance of creating sustainable business practices to ensure their family farm is around for hundreds of years to come. For instance, instead of tilling, which is a timely process that can damage the soil; Sylvain took his farming back to basics and uses worms. Sylvain's worms do in one winter, what would take a tiller almost 5 years to do.

They are also conscious of the watershed and have taken a leadership role in their community to preserve and clean up local waterways. These types of practices not only sustain the farm and save the environment, but they also save money which makes for a more profitable business.

Toronto, July 24, 2013 – Today, Sylvain Laquerre, Noëlline Dusablon and their son Benoit accepted the Dairy Farm Sustainability Award from Wally Smith, President of the Dairy Farmers of Canada (DFC) and Andrew Ritchie, Managing Director, DeLaval Inc.- DeLaval. This year, these sixth- and seventh-generation farmers are celebrating the 200th anniversary of their family farm in Saint-Casimir (Quebec).

The finalists' profiles and a video of the winners’ farm are available on the DFC website.

Prairie farm, 2007
The selection committee, consisting of nine sustainability expertswas particularly impressed with the winners’ efforts in protecting the watershed and with their involvement in habitat conservation projects and their contribution to the advancement of new practices. The Sylvain Laquerre farm adopted these practices with the aim of reducing their environmental footprint.

The other two finalists, namely Terryland Farms Inc. (Ontario) and Rimrose Dairy Ltd. (Alberta), will also receive a trophy and a $1,000 prize during the annual general meeting of their respective provinces within the next few months.

For more information:
Thérèse Beaulieu
Assistant Director, Strategic Communications
Dairy Farmers of Canada

Childhood memories of the cottage

There were so many. At the time, it was heaven. From 1960 until I moved to Ottawa in 1981.
For only $2000 Mom and Dad bought our swamp-ridden lot.

I spent entire summers at the cottage. All of July and August. Long, lazy days filled with reading, swimming, hanging out. Then there was the boredom and loneliness!

While my mother worked the other three seasons, she took summers off to stay in her beloved Muskoka. My aunt and uncle, and another uncle and aunt, both had cottages a several of doors down. Dad commuted every Friday and Monday morning went back to work in Toronto.
It wasn't until I was older that I realized how much I missed by not going to camp. I realize how much the solitude shaped my personality. My brother went off to Air Cadet camp. I did not! I have never been camping.
Dad built a dike

Still not great in large groups, I prefer socializing in small numbers.

I just listened to This American Life:

109: Notes on Camp

JUL 26, 2013
Stories of summer camp. People who love camp say that non-camp people simply don't understand what's so amazing about camp. In this program, we attempt to bridge the gap of misunderstanding between camp people and non-camp people.

Ira Glass is right. It is a different summer experience. My kids attended camp. Jesse went to Scout camp, and later he worked as a camp counselor. He took kids for two-week canoe trips in Algonquin Park.
We couldn't afford a deck in the first years (1960-62)
Mom, myself, my brother and Aunt Adie

My cousin taking us canoeing
Eventually, Mom and Dad added sand 
to fill in the swamp.
It would be highly illegal these days.
We are losing precious shorelines, 
habitat upon which critters depend.
Dad in his beloved sailboat!
When I was a young child, it was a grand time. My cousins would turn up on weekends. They would take me boating. I remember water skiing behind their boat, using my great grandmother's wooden ironing board on which to kneel. Sadly, I am no longer in touch with my cousins, who are 20 years older than I am. We had some differences of opinion and they no longer speak to me.
Dad loved having a flag. You can see what was swamp.
It was the least amenable lot at the time. Dad worked hard on it.
The bullfrogs were huge and plentiful

The days were spent longing for friends, watching the frog pond, catching snakes, watching tadpoles. The flora and fauna were much more plentiful. I remember all the blood suckers. There were so many in those days that we kept a jar of table salt down be the lake shore. A bit of salt on the sucker and that sucker was a goner!
Jeremiah lives in my goldfish pond

Daisy is fascinated

Catfish by the shoreline

In the 'good old days' days water snakes were common. As were all of the other critters that depend upon the shoreline for habitat. With giant boat waves, common on Ontario lakes, and folks getting rid of the lake weed, prime habitat for the yearlings, habitat loss is a huge issue for fauna.

One of my favourite memories as a child, summering in Muskoka in the 60s, was of the huge catfish. The parent would take the babies in its mouth if I scared them.

Hubby and I went for a Daycation trip. At the lake shore I spotted a school.
I love watching the wee critters. They stay together in their school! I little black cloud moving as if with one mind. Staying in a group for safety, they all move into the sun, and move back into the weeds.
Catfish babies from Jennifer Jilks on Vimeo.
Swimming around the shoreline, they stick together for safety! Hubby sneezed and they took off back into the safety of the flora.  Camera Critters #277

Saturday 27 July 2013

The case for an Advance Care Directive –dying with dignity

Jenn and Michele
–she is so proud that I wrote about her in my book!
We created a Celebration of Life for her!
Many know how long and hard I advocate for clients. We need to know their stories. We need to know how to help ourselves, as well.
Many, in cottage country, desire to die at home, in dignity. This is a personal choice. One best made by the entire family. Not all can manage the care of a palliative patient. It is emotionally, physically, mentally draining. My mother died at home. Dad died in long-term care.

There are three parts to Advance Care Planning to ensure that you die with dignity (see below). While Margot Bentley created an Advance Care Plan, the long-term care believed that her signed plan was precluded by their need to care for their resident. This is wrong on such a basic level.

This is a terrible situation in B.C., where they have one of the best hospice programs in Canada. This only works if you are sentient, do not have dementia, and are able to access hospice care.
Margot Bentley was adamant, in 1991, writing up her Advance Care Plan. She did not want extreme measures. Her daughter, as duly appointed decision-maker, respected her mother's right to dignity. The LTC insists on spoon-feeding her; her Advance Care Directive says she did not want this to happen.

Have the conversation members and supporters have been incensed about the case of Margot Bentley, a woman in BC who has dementia and is now in an advanced state of extreme disability. Despite having taking pains to prepare a living will in which she deliberately rejected "nourishment and liquids" she is being kept alive by staff at the Maplewood Care Facility in Abbotsford who are prodding her mouth with a spoon and feeding her pureed foods in a bid to prolong her days.

 I have had several occasions when I have helped a resident, or their families, self-advocate. It is easier at home, where you can control what occurs. The issue, then, is accessing Primary Care (doctors, nurses, pain medications) when you need it. House calls tends to be a thing of the past. Nurses, hired by RFP by the CCAC, are working for for-profit agencies, and have their own protocols. If you have money, you can buy or rent equipment and supplies. If not, you are at the whim of the agency.

Michele has a 'secret admirer!'
The problem with long-term care is that all staff are trained to manage each person the same way, following the same direction. This is right, to prevent abuse, but not if special circumstances. My paraplegic friend, in pain 24/7, wanted to have dinner in her room.

Staff believed that Ministry of Health and Long-term Care policy and procedures precluded this. It is not so. The Ministry inspector, whom I phoned, and requested she visit my friend, managed an intervention, changed their policy, and Michele no longer has to eat P.B & J sandwiches alone in her room at dinner time. She experiences extreme pain when placed in a mechanical lift. She was forced up for breakfast and lunch, and preferred to stay in bed for dinner. There isn't enough staff to put her back into her bed when she needs it, and would stay in her reclining wheelchair until two staff could accommodate her.

The shame is that Margot Bentley made a conscious decision, legally, in writing, and her daughter was trying to enforce it. The Fraser Valley Health Authority ignored her directive.

I cannot tell you the number of people I have seen spoon fed, while in a coma. This is a personal
A mechanical lift requires 2 to operate it,
to put the resident in and out of bed.
decision, and one that must be made individually.
We regularly went in and fed my father either breakfast or dinner, when he no longer could manage to use a fork or knife. I have done the same for several clients over the years.

It broke my heart when one man, without teeth to chew, complained to me he was hungry while waiting for his lunch. The retirement home where he lived was unable to provide staff to feed him at lunchtime when the others were eating. They pureed the regular meals, and, after all were fed, brought his 'meal' and I fed this to him. I bought Ensure, something he could drink, as no one had brought such in for him. After this he regained some strength, and rallied for a couple of months.

Here is what you should know, from Wanda Morris. Visit for more information

1. Create an advance care plan
2. Appoint a substitute decision maker
3. Review and update it annually.

Friday 26 July 2013

Sphinx on phlox, not in sox

I find it hard to let go and worry that I have not done something today. But, then, getting up and out in the dawn has led to some amazing sights. Two days ago it was something that looked like a long, black mink or weasel. Buster was busy defending his property against a calico cat that appeared on our back deck. You know that cat howl in the dark!
I'm glad he didn't go after it, whatever it was.
White-lined sphinx on phlox

You take the opportunities.
I do adore getting up in the night, having had a date with Mr. Insomnia, and going outside to take a photo in the dark. I now see insomnia as an opportunity, rather than a burden. I have no alarm clock that controls my life. I can be sick and read or watch TV all day, should I wish. Theoretically, guilt-free.

They couldn't fathom Buster, in the dark,
on the cement steps rolling around,
while they were kept indoors.
I slept in until 9:30 this morning. Very strange. Hubby tiptoed about in the kitchen. I've just begun processing my photos of last night's shoot. With the cold and dark, the mosquitoes were few and far between, and the deerflies prefer the hot sun. The daytime dragonflies were sleeping.

An elusive moth I've been trying to capture, a large White-lined sphinx, has been appearing in the night. Not really elusive, but too fast for these eyes framed in graduated lenses. They are tricky when trying to see the critter through the view finder. With many clients who have developed glaucoma, I do not complain. Each life passage is an adjustment, mostly to my prescriptions!

This spider was eating dinner on the
living room window.
I've been trying to photograph the sphinx on my phlox. There has to be a poem there! (I'll work on that!)

Sphinx on phlox, not in sox
Slippers sure, cold feet cure
Lens in hand, please please land
Cats they peer, eyes of fear
Mum does what? she's a nut
Cold night quest, much success!

Like the Underwing family, there are colours hidden
when they sit with folded wing

You can see its proboscus

Wee little legs!

They flit, buzz, hover, like hummingbirds. Buster took a whack at one but, thankfully, missed.

White-lined sphinx on phlox

Sphinx moth in the dark from Jennifer Jilks on Vimeo.
A sphinx moth, difficult to photograph, sucking up the nectar. Buster was nearby, rolling on the cool cement steps. Kittens were supportive in the window!
Last year I managed a photo of other sphinx. They are the size of hummers!
Sphinx chersis
Great ash sphinx

Sphinx chersis
Great ash sphinx
Xylophanes tersa Tersa Sphinx

Paonias excaecata
Blinded sphinx