Tuesday 31 December 2013

Look who is at the *bird* feeder

I think she was looking for a cat.
Their thick fur looks warms and cozy. Their big brown eyes stare intently, watching my every move.

furry beast
I bundled up to go out and fill up the bird feeders. Instead, I had 4-footed friends.

They were hoping for a handout.
I disappointed them! I only had bird seed!
None of the does (doh - a deer?) have brought their young 'uns out to see us that past summer, not until winter arrived. Although, we did see them by the side of the road in summer. We have
A drive-by shooting!
regularly had two cautious adult females and one yearling all fall. They have been around quite a bit.
They wander about, nipping at my lilac tree buds, grazing in my garden, and picking at the wild grapes branches in the ditch.

Suddenly, with winter here, there have been 7 - 9 of them hanging about. They keep their distance.  Wary when I go out to feed my birds. Until today.

They must be Liberals, or Senators, with a sense of entitlement. I owe them. They expect handouts. Hand them over!

They can be wicked with each other, as they move about, whacking away with those strong legs at wee ones in their way.

I'm not afraid, as they are wary of people. They even seem to know the difference between me, riding my lawn mower down the driveway in summer (they just stare at me) and a stranger, let alone a stranger's car in the driveway.

Tigger got himself a hurt early in his first year (2011)

Likely a piece of fence
Truthfully, Tigger was the only one we could really tell apart from the others by his behaviour. Most of the fawns are about the same size at this time of year. Except for one wee runt, actually. A late birth. Most of the females are about the same size. There was one mother who would only let her twins feed at the feeder while she was there. She's whack away at the others, with another 5 waiting their turn. They had some great food fights. They seldom draw blood, and all agree on the winner! 

We can tell them by their groups. Deer winter in a yard together. All summer I've only seen one doe. I'd walk the cats around the frog pond, and she'd bound up out and away! Scaring both of us!
This afternoon, near dusk, lo, and behold, but there were both my boys! In the past few days we have noticed Tigger, and his brother. They are turning into fine young bucks! Someone asked why we didn't name his sibling, but that really is a bad thing to do, or so they say in all the wildlife rehabilitation facilities. You shouldn't get that attached, but it is fun figuring out who was visiting. I never even thought of naming Tigger's twin. 
Jolanta Kowalski (MNR) estimates there are 400,000 deer in Ontario. Many are congregated in winter yards, like ours. We have many corridors, where people simply must be vigilant and low dow to avoid injuries and incidents.
We've seen many carcasses on the side of the road. The story doesn't always end well for the driver.
Airborne deer hits car, kills man on Christmas Day (2013)
There were 6 incidents in Leeds County. In November, 2011, there were 10 collisions in 24 hours.

December precipitation

We've had enough snow to require a bit of brushing, rather than shovelling over many days.
The temperatures have fluctuated widely, with Frost Quakes shaking the ground. The extremes are terrible for humans and beasts.
Dec. 24th we have about 30 cm of snow on the ground. This lasted until the end of the month.
The poor deer are cracking their shins in it, since there is about an inch of ice on the surface.
Dec. 21st the freezing rains came. The worst seems to be across the province, near Lake Ontario.

The ice storm was terrible all across southern Ontario, as well as spots in the eastern US. They are recovering, with only a few left by Dec. 29th.

Ice Storm 2013 –much anger and vitriol

DEC cm
2-Dec 2  rain, melt
11-Dec 4 snow
12-Dec 2
17-Dec 5
18-Dec 5
19-Dec 5
20-Dec 5
21-Dec 5  ice rain

Trying to feed the birds, the deer came instead!

Deer searching for bird food from Jennifer Jilks on Vimeo.
I was trying to fill up the bird feeder but my deer friends were hoping for a hand-out. They'd already had some in the morning.

Monday 30 December 2013

Even the frost is quaking now: a cryoseism!

A cryoseism, also known as a frost quake, may be caused by a sudden cracking action in frozen soil or rock saturated with water or ice. As water seeps down into the rock, it freezes and expands, putting stress on surrounding rock. This builds up until it is relieved explosively in a cryoseism.

There was one on Christmas Day.

I heard some. Rather weird.

Were you one of the people who heard a loud boom on Christmas Eve? If so, you may have heard a rare frost quake.

Also, this morning.

In the meantime, this was the damage on Christmas Day in New Brunswick

Alexander Cheney Alexander Cheney on YouTube

Snowshoeing on the wetland

The walking isn't as good as it could be in the wetland. Even snowshoes do not help out there. Mind you, it is a good workout!

I managed a great walk with Daisy yesterday, but I was exhausted. She just toodled across the top of the ice. She's a trooper.

I can see where the poor deer sink up to their knees. The wetland is wet, still! Even our lakes are not firm. Under the frozen layer of snow form the ice storm, there is a gap, and then some warm snow. You can see in the deer tracks, at the bottom, the dark wet snow. The Ontario Snowmobile Association warns folks not to go off of the prepared trail: see the trail map. Many are still closed.

It is far easier under the forest canopy, where the trees took up some of the ice rain. But out backyard, with its open spaces is treacherous for the deer, and for us, as we walk. It is very peaceful and beautiful, however!

Snowshoe on the bog from Jennifer Jilks on Vimeo.
It's a terribly difficult walk. The critters must be facing challenges. You can see where they fall through the ice to the bog below. The lower part of the snow cover has melted in the recent warmth.

Daisy and I went forest walkies

Yes, I stayed off of the wetland, though. It isn't frozen and it is really bad walking. I had gone alone the day before, whilst Daisy was sleeping off her Christmas visitors. Daisy had to stop to climb a tree.

She climbs a tree from Jennifer Jilks on Vimeo.
♪♫ ♬ She climbs a tree and scrapes her knee, her dress has got a tear! She wanted to come with me for a snowshoe in the forest. She is a trooper. She can trot across the scary ice crust, while I sink with a jerk and a bit of effort. Once she made it to the top, she was a bit flummoxed on how to get down.
Daisy in the snow in the forest from Jennifer Jilks on Vimeo.
She's a trooper. She followed me on my snowshoe walk.

Poor Bambi: harding walking on that icy snow

The poor deer in our backyard, this is how they walk on the crusty from the ice rain. Several inches of ice, over 30 cm of snow. It is not a good mix.

Deer in the icy snow from Jennifer Jilks on Vimeo.
It's a terribly difficult to walk out in the open. Poor Bambi breaks suddenly through the snow. I fear we'll have some injured deer if this doesn't melt. Maybe we can hope for some snow on top, but the lower sections have melted.

We had a deer in our yard in April, 2011, with a broken leg. There was nothing we could do about it. Don't watch if you are squeamish.

Sunday 29 December 2013

That was the best birthday ever!

I cannot remember when
my 3 children and I were in one place at the same time!
I remember when I was taller, too!
My eldest son, and his fiancé, share a
birthday in May. Quite unusual, methinks!  Both are actors, and they moved from Toronto, to Vancouver, nearer to Stacie's family and to explore the acting market. I'm sure many of you can understand how far away that is for us!

When we lived in Muskoka, it was much easier for Jesse and Stacie to visit, being located in Toronto at the time. We would drive to where the kids were performing, as well, and we visited Jess at the Shaw Festival several times.

A first happened this past year, as Caitlin and I had never been on a mother/daughter trip like this: Caitlin and I visited Jesse and Stacie in Chemainus, in June 2010, where they were both performing in Singin' in the Rain!

Another coincidence, my birthday and Stacie's mom's birthday are on the same day, Boxing Day, Dec. 26th. What is up with that? Caitlin hosted her father and step-mother, as well as her brothers, on Christmas Day. They came to visit us on December 26th. We celebrated Christmas that day. My birthday, the next day.

Josephine is a darling!
We share December -as a birthday month.
It makes it tough for the kids to visit, between family Christmases and birthdays, but it seems it was our turn this year!

Undaunted, one of the best tools we have is Skype. We have Skyped with our grandkids since they were babies, 2008. We made a video of it, too! Grampa learned the Mickey Mouse song, and sang it for them via Skype! (Grandparenting from afar).

What a difference to hold a baby up to the videocam and see how they move, talk, and directly interact. Eventually, you can talk and sing songs together! The first visits were brief, but as their attention spans increased, our conversations deepened. I often have chatted with Jesse on Skype after he moved out west.

It's been awhile since I've Skyped,
now that the grandkids are closer!
It was time to upgrade my Skype application, though. I hadn't realized how spoiled I have been, living only an hour's drive away from grandkids. We swam every Monday in July, having long picnics at the beach. That was a blast for this gramma.

I have spent many lonely Christmases, when the kids were at their dad's house, and I was a single parent. It builds character. There are many who have never lived alone, others who are always alone. You just have to come to terms with your situation. One of hubby's clients lost his wife after 70 years of marriage. He has never lived alone. That is a tough one. He hasn't adjusted.

We spent 10 days without power during Ice Storm '98. This, too, builds character. But building relationships is much more fun when family can get together. They are only dates on a calendar. The important thing is to make time for family, to love them and embrace them in person, or as best you can.

Everyone crowds in!

Stacie's mom and granddaughter talk to our girls.

Stacie showing her mom in Vancouver
 our backyard deer
How many families can get together like this?
Stacie's mom asked Isabelle a numerical question!
Izzy show the answer on her fingers!
What does the elf say?
Bambi and the fox.
I bought the book What Does the Fox Say?,
and the stuffed toy,
for the girls. It's a fun book.
Stacie and Isabelle drew a picture.

Skypeing Jofee & Isabelle meet Stacie's
niece and nephew!
Isabelle loved our cake (carrot cake!)
What a laugh she has!

Train, bubbly, much fun!

What a great time!
Christmas fun from Jennifer Jilks on Vimeo.
Grampa set up the train. Josephine was watching. Jesse popped the cork. Jean-Luc was making coffee!

The mouse that got away

Yep. Just as I turned on the video, it flew the coop. It had been hiding in the wagon.
Buster, Daisy, Dorah, 1 mouse got away from Jennifer Jilks on Vimeo.
Buster had trapped one in the wagon. It ran away just as I put on the videocam. All 3 were on the lookout!

Saturday 28 December 2013

Ice Storm 2013 –much anger and vitriol

They are making progress. Here is the latest, Dec 29th. The news is full of complaints, rather than the heroes, and the hard-working helpers out there.

CBC is happy to interview Deputy Mayor Kelly and blame him, grilling him on communication and failures, r
ather than highlighting accomplishments; what they did, what they learned, and what they could do better.

Toronto Hydro is making much progress, as well. There are issues with individual home whose piping is broken, people may not be home, and individual home owners will have to hire electricians to fix the pipes that house the wiring.

The latest tallies show power is still out for about 6,000 customers in Toronto, just under 7,000 in New Brunswick, and 7,600 in Quebec. 

Our pipes are buried from the poles to the house, but we live in the country.

Ice storm recovery expected to cost Toronto Hydro more than $8-million

Some call for the burying of wires, but this requires much in the way of city and concrete.
They are promising to compensate those who lost food. That will be interesting! I recall, living in Osgoode, some residents were crowing about how they went to the municipality and were given $200 for lost food, but they'd had generators the whole time. Besides, if you freezer was in a cold house, most of the food was OK!

Cathy Crowe, RN and activist, a street nurse with credentials, has come out hard, complaining about the city's response to the Toronto Ice Storm 2013. Toronto residents are shrill, screaming about the city's reaction to the storm. Most have not realized the extent of the damage, nor how difficult it is.

Power outages from west to east
Crowe is getting great media coverage on CBC, and said there was a "dismal response," which was harmful to citizens. At this point, the only deaths were due to carbon monoxide poisoning, days after the ice hit.
She is not talking about the hydro and tree work, she said, but those stuck in apartment buildings should have had some help. However, just as with the damage after a hurricane or tornado, the big problem arises from the debris in the streets. Trees were down everywhere.
Look for the helpers:

Tales of frustration, benevolence in wake of ice storm outages 

Many people are frustrated. About 26,000 Toronto households and other power customers remained without power Friday, six days after rain turned to freezing ice. Another 8,000 were still in the dark elsewhere in the province. At the height of the blackout, about 600,000 Ontario customers were without power.
Staff and volunteers with the Red Cross have been working around the clock, distributing cots, blankets and bottled water to makeshift shelters. Many hotels offered discounts to guests fleeing their frigid homes. Restaurants donated food. Power workers travelled to Ontario from Manitoba to help reconnect homes to the electrical grid.
Not only that, but citizens were warned to stay off of the streets, as downed power lines, underneath branches, could electrocute people. Why would they risk workers out on the streets at this time?
How difficult is this? Photo from TO Hydro

 Everyone was at-risk

"This is a people, and a social welfare emergency," she added. "Serious things are happening to people." Seniors, pregnant woman, those with health conditions, families with small children, and people who are isolated are most at-risk. That said, the first day there were 600,000 without power across the region.
I know when my son-in-law was on the stump, he was exhausted going door-to-door, and you cannot visit many homes per day. The crisis extended from the southern portions of the province, well across to Kingston! Where were these workers going to come from?
Mayor Susan Fennell, Brampton

What more could have been done?

A better community communication plan, perhaps in some of the hubs, in the warming centres, Riverdale, Lesleyville, East York and West York, said Crowe. The debris is all over the place, on the roads, on private property, it will take weeks to get it all picked up. Yes, communication when you don't have hydro! It's tough!

An emergency door-to-door plan, to ID vulnerable people, with social workers and nurses from the city within the first 24 hours. She said there should have been a recall of vulnerable health staff. (In 2011, there were over 95,000 seniors living alone in Toronto. How would they contact these
Many do this dangerous work.
My father-in-law died in an
industrial accident.

"They should have asked reservists and army personnel to come." Even the supply crews who came from Sudbury, Ottawa, Manitoba, and Michigan.

My question: how would those without the power have been contacted by employers?
They should have known how to recognize those who had hypothermia. They should have had information on how they were keeping warm, and how were they heating their place. This might have prevented the 5 deaths from those who brought generators into garages, and BBQs into their homes, where they died of carbon monoxide poisoning.

Some had gotten power back day 3 or 4, and didn't know that there were emergency warming stations. How would these people she mentioned (nurses, social workers, military) have known that to begin action? Many of these people live in neighbouring commuter towns. There was no GO Train to get them into work. Without power, gas stations wouldn't have been able to put gas in their cars. The roads filled with debris from west to east, Kingston.

There are still people without power in city housing, this, on day 7. These are the people who need to be contacted. Those with money went to hotels. There would have been a lot of time wasted trying to figure out who was still home, and who had left.

Extended: Mayor Ford has warning for residents

Toronto Mayor Rob Ford has the latest on the ice storm recovery, and warns residents of the dangers of melting ice and falling trees. (Dec. 28)

In fact, the Toronto mayor asked folks to check in on one another from day 1. That would mean that those with power would talk to those without. This is what we did in Osgoode in Ice Storm '98. By the 2nd week, we had community shelters, where army personnel were located to help those with many branches. This wasn't the case in Toronto. Many communities came up or down, over the days following.
Today, Toronto was down to outages for ~15,000, then went back up over 25,000 overnight with the warmer temperatures.
Dangerous work

Ice is falling everywhere, with a worker getting konked on the helmet.

There are still 8,000 in Quebec without power.
Eastern NB 11,000 without. (3 more days)
Manitoba has a freezing cold warning, with blizzards, 10 - 15 cm last night, and high winds today.
It's a mess everywhere, one way or another.
Alberta now has an H1N1 breakout.

IceStorm98 Study - A recorded history
This Queen’s study examined local response to the ice storm in the area from Kingston to Brockville. Included in the study were the Cities of Kingston and Brockville, the Town of Gananoque, the Village of Athens, and the Townships of Frontenac Islands (Wolfe Island in particular), Front of Leeds and Lansdowne, Front of Escott, Front of Yonge, Elizabethtown and Rear of Yonge and Escott.
Represented are a variety of municipalities ranging from Kingston, the second largest city in Eastern Ontario (population: 110,000), to the Townships which, typical of many Eastern Ontario Municipalities, are largely rural and sparsely populated.