Thursday, 31 October 2013

It's that time of year. Are they driving you batty?

Bats range in size from the world’s smallest mammal, the
bumblebee bat, to the 6-foot wingspans of the flying fox. Our native bats in this area are small, most weighing about the same as a few pennies.

The thousands of insects they eat each night save farmers millions of dollars on insect control and crop damage. That makes bats the most organic form of insect control you can get. 

The US Wildlife services want us to remember that bats are not to be feared, and that they are in danger die to White Nose Syndrome: 

What should we fear this Halloween instead of bats? Their extinction. The deadly white-nose syndrome (WNS) disease is devastating our hibernating bats. Named for the white fungus that appears on bats, WNS has killed more than 5.7 million bats in eastern North America. It’s even led to a 99-percent drop in northern long-eared bats in the Northeast, which is why we proposed to protect them as endangered just earlier this month. (In fact, WNS was discovered in New York in 2006.)
Here is the last bat I captured!
From August:
Bats in my belfry? Nope. Bedroom - just 1 bat
This one flew from the chimney opening downstairs, upstairs into the living room, and then into the bedroom, where it was circling the fan.
See the previous post for THAT video!


 I'm happy to share it, since they featured Canada on their infograph map!!

Bedroom bat!

Wednesday, 30 October 2013

Jack Frost came by for a visit!

First frost Oct. 8th, last year.

Our first frost, at -6 C. yesterday, was brisk.
Much later than other years, it seemed to take us by surprise.
I was bad and hadn't emptied the garden hoses. Me bad.
I put the hose in the sun
and the ice melted enough to drain.

Frost on the wooden deck

Tuesday, 29 October 2013

The poor bean plant –more frosty woes

Poor bean plant! Frozen...
I have enjoyed my castor bean, bean plant. It grew so large for me. Over 3 m. Peculiarly enough, last year it flowered mid-August, and set seeds in the drought.

This year, despite perfect conditions, it flowered a bit late.
Yesterday it was a tall giant. This morning it drooped.
By the afternoon, it looked as bad as the skeleton!
By the afternoon, they drooped.
I don't think I'm getting seeds
this year!

The flowers and leaves
were so beautiful
-just last week!

Catalpa leaves fall in frozen shock

Catalpa leaves fall from Jennifer Jilks on Vimeo.
After a -6 C. night, the leaves gave up the biscuit.

Mummy, make it warmer outside!

We came home from a day trip and both girls wanted out. With this morning's -6 C. temperatures, Dorah and Buster have been in and out. Daisy has been out for a couple of hours. She's a tough one.
Buster came in at 1:30 a.m., went back out at 4:11, then returned at 4:48 a.m., happy to get warm. He's been out for an hour again after we had our coffee. Daisy is still out in Oliver's Lot, looking for mice friends.
I want out!

All the other cats are outdoors playing!
Pretty small landing!
They are often together

Dorah's last tick
Terrible little blood suckers!

Monday, 28 October 2013

Tigger came by for a visit!

2013 Peek!
Well, I think it was Tigger.
My faithful readers will appreciate how much we adored our buddy Tigger. He followed Oliver cat when Ollie and I went walkies. Tigger's brother would keep a distance away. A noisy ghost in the forest, shuffling leaves as we walked.

Close-up 2013
Tigger was a character. He'd bounce around, brave with us 4-legged ones, with the other deer hovering in the distance. I came upon him once, in Oliver's Lot. His antler's were just growing. He didn't flinch. You could tell who it was by his behaviour.

I always talk to them. They know the difference between us and anyone else, running away if we have visitors. They know that the neighbours hunt them with their baited tree stands. It sounded like they were target shooting this morning. It does frighten me. We paid $600 to have our property surveyed and marked, as they were hunting on our property. I was afraid of a bullet whizzing by, as has happened to our friends in Bala. The bullet embedded itself in his wall. He was lucky.

Young Tigger summer 2011
I think I saw Tigger today (above right). It could have been his brother. It's hard to say. It could be another deer totally, but I am a romantic!

Tigger and his female relatives
You can tell by their rack. It grows the same each year. I didn't get a good look. I even got dressed and went out with the camera, but he was gone. Deer shed hunting for Family Day

I'd like to think it was Tigger, or his brother. It is comforting.

They were born in 2010. These critters only last 3 - 5 years. And I heard guns in the forest this morning. What can I say?

Tigger is unusual, since he'll visit with, I think, his female relatives, as well as his brother. Usually the males and females hang out in gender-based packs.

He is the one deer who wasn't afraid of us. I'd meet him on Oliver's Lot and he'd pop up his head, then ignore me. He wasn't like this with everyone. He couldn't be, as our neighbours hunt in their forest adjacent to ours. he's doing well to last this long.

Tigger and Ollie 2011
Wait for me! Tigger and Ollie
Tigger and his brother last year
Here is Tigger another year. note the 3-point rack.

Sunday, 27 October 2013

Illegal Muskoka boathouse called an aircraft hangar to duck environmental rules

And still he continues. The photos are a hoot! He pretends it is an aerodrome to get around the rules. On Oct. 2nd, he was ordered to take it down in 90 days. I wrote about it before, but I really believe that these people like to flaunt the laws. It is a game. (See my previous post: not only Paul Bak, but former Red Leaves owner, Ken Fowler, appeals zoning by-laws.)

Illegal Muskoka boathouse called an aircraft hangar to duck environmental rules | Toronto Star 
 A judge has ordered the owner of an illegal Muskoka boathouse to tear it down after trying to skirt environmental laws, claiming it was an aircraft hangar.

After the 'boathouse' was ruled illegal, here is the decision, he still has a video marketing it. In fact, the video flaunts it.

The video flogs the illegal boathouse. The house itself is huge.
He fully intended to build another structure, which would add to the value of the property, that he clearly intended to sell.

With only 849 views since posting.
He mistakenly refers to 'The Muskokas', when that is the wrong term. There is only one Muskoka. It is a region, the region of Muskoka, or Muskoka Lakes.
It shows a sumptuous lakeside manor, complete with several shots of the tree-lined vista and a floating structure referred to as the “boathouse.”
Subsequent advertisements for the property labelled it an “aerodrome” and “float plane hangar.”
Tis beyond me why he would need to add bedrooms and living areas, with the house well back from the shore, as required.

59a Burgess Rd. -- Rosseau, Muskoka from ICONICA on Vimeo.

The timelines are ridiculous, as Paul Bak tries to get away with disrespecting municipal laws and the environment. Time after time he was told it was illegal. He applied in 2008, only to have it refused. He did not take 'illegal' for an answer.
Planner, Robert List (R.G. Planning Ltd.), suggests they call it an aerodrome in May 2009, despite the owner not having a pilot's licence or an airplane.

Bak's withdrawal of an appeal to the OMB was done in Jan. 2010. I wonder why?
It is shameful to me that the design drawing were commissioned from David Smith in 2010, despite the illegality of it all.
Dan Duke (Duke Engineering -Huntsville) does drawings in 2010. Dan Duke has been in the news before. More G8 malarky.

And what builder in good conscience could begin construction (2011) when they should well be aware of the environmental laws? David Denstedt does. He's with Muskoka Barging.
What builder ignores a stop work order (July, 2011)?

  • April 10, 2011 - The sales document from Harvey Kalles Real Estate Ltd dated April 10, 2011 referred to a newly constructed cottage and added that a “floatplane hangar/aerodrome will be constructed with 2 bedrooms and over 1000 sq. ft of living space.”

Wouldn't the real estate agent know this is illegal? Muskoka is littered with boathouses on shorelines, ruining the fragile ecosystem, such as riparian zones.
Too many places exist on the waterfront, grandfathered from current laws protecting the environment and its wildlife, demonstrating a lack of concern for this earth.
These people all colluded, ignoring the municipal zoning by-laws, those in Seguin Townshipby-laws that prohibited this building from being built in the first place.
I'm just saying that we rant and rave over the ridiculous backstabbing, nepotism and back door deals in the government, but it exists everywhere. In boardrooms, on public boards of directors, in municipal, provincial and federal places of business.

Do you know what time of year it is?

Tick engorged (left) and ready to latch (right).
I put them on a piece of tape, throw them away,
having removed them with the tiny, pointed tweezers.
Once engorged, they look like a
fat, brown pea.
We're back to tick time!

Yes, its tick season.
For those living in the fringes of potential tick territory, you best watch out.
All it takes is vigilance.
By June 21st we had found and removed 76 ticks. By July 10th we were up to 80. Things slowed down in the summer. We were only finding one or two a week. Late August, they picked up again and we are up to about 85. Read the full story here!

Daisy loves the forest.
In the past week, just when we thought things had calmed down, we've found two ticks on Buster and FOUR on Dorah.
They are easy to find. It takes 24 hours or so for anything like Lyme Disease to go from the black-legged ticks digestive system into the host.
Buster grooms his sister, Dorah
If you pet the animals, you can feel a partly-engorged tick and then remove it.

Now, most of our ticks are likely brown ticks or dog ticks, not the black-legged kind. But you cannot be too careful. All I do is shout "BUG!" and hubby grabs the tweezers, a piece of tape, ad the sucker is toast.
They are very tiny.
Here is one on Dorah.

Dorah is the cat, much like Sady (the queen), who spend the least amount of time outdoors. Dorah, while almost as big as Buster, and such a lovely white, has been in and out 6 or 7 times since dawn!
So why Dorah has more than the others, I do not know.

Buster usually goes out in the wee hours (3:00 - 7:00 a.m. today). Buster, despite being alpha male –the only male, defers to Dorah and lets her eat, she nudges him out.
Grumpy Sadie, tick removed!

Daisy has been outside since 7:00 a.m., I saw her off in the back 40, waved, she meowed, hopped up on the bench, and then went back to her mouse patrol.
Sadie watched carefully by Dorah,
enjoying the last warm days
More Camera Critters

Friday, 25 October 2013

Environmental concerns – fracking or hydraulic fracturing

I know how much we worry about our well water. The drought last year (2012) was frightening. We watched our trees wilt. Several near-by suburban communities and farmers had water issues. We ended up being fine. We have a deep well.

The news has been full of protests lately. They are many. We move so quickly ahead in all areas of science, whether healthcare, the government or big business has data or not. What is of utmost concern are the reports and data that are not made public.

The Canadian government, AKA PM Harper's PMO, has been clear on muzzling public sector scientists, who are not permitted to speak to media. Many complain about this issue.

Stop muzzling scientists, protesters tell Tories

Sep 16, 2013 - Hundreds of frustrated scientists descended on Parliament Hill Monday to demand that the Tories stop muzzling scientists and cutting research funding.

First Nations protested the intention of a company to begin fracking in New Brunswick. Police cars were fire bombed following months of peaceful protests. The N.B. government will not discuss this issue nation to nation.
Alward defended the RCMP’s actions that sparked violence, saying the encampment at the side of a highway leading into the village of Rexton was not a 'safe and secure place.' The police moved in to ensure the safety of the public, he said. Alward also called on native leaders across the province to…

It is no wonder they are worried with Environment Canada reports like this:

Chinook Fuels Ltd. Sentenced to Pay $60,000 for Offences under the Canadian Environmental Protection Act, 1999

FORT McMURRAY, Alta. – October 24, 2013 – Chinook Fuels Ltd, of Fort McMurray, Alberta, was sentenced on Friday, October 18, to pay $60,000 in Alberta Provincial Court to the Environmental Damages Fund for offences under the Canadian Environmental Protection Act, 1999. The company pleaded guilty to the transfer of petroleum products into unregistered tanks, failure to register tanks with Environment Canada, and failure to have tanks installed by a party approved to do so in the Province of Alberta.

[Download the
full report here (PDF).] 
Then there is Jessica Ernst. She can light her well water on fire after fracking. Her water has methane and ethane. 
She is a scientist, 30-years employed in the industry, ironically enough.

She went through all the proper channels, finally writing a detailed report.  Her well water burned her skin until she figured it out. She now has to travel to get water. She questioned what was going on.
The report details one explosion.
An incident in which Mr. Jack was injured.
She states:
But, what I thought was discouraging, is…in me posing that question, I was called an environmental extremist both by Tom Flanagan on a CBC show and the National Post and I think that was a reflection of some of the bullying – unfortunately – that some environmental groups experienced in asking basic questions about what is the state of Canada’s environment. ... 
Hydraulic fracturing involves pumping water, nitrogen, sand and chemicals at high pressure
to fracture rock and allow natural gas or oil to flow through wells to the surface. 

Ernst attempted to sue the province for being in bed with the energy companies, as well as the energy companies themselves. The issue of Crown Land has been a difficult one.

 You'd think the provincial agencies were there to protect citizens, and the environment, but it hasn't proven to be the case. In listening to a CBC The Current report, she tells us that she has been unable to hold anyone accountable. She believes that her neighbours are afraid to speak out, and she believes many have been muzzled by non-disclosure agreements, having been bought out by the industry. She is standing firm, having seen what fracking has done to her water.
Jessica Ernst says she could light her water on fire as it came out of the tap from her well
ROSEBUD, Alta. - An Alberta woman has lost a round in her legal battle against the contentious process of hydraulic fracturing.Jessica Ernst launched a $33-million lawsuit against the Alberta government, the province's energy regulator and energy company Encana. She claims gas wells fracked around he...