Saturday, 30 April 2016

Saturday Critters abound

What a day it was Thursday. Hubby had eye surgery on his lower eyelid. He's doing well. He looks like I hit him, though, with a good old bruise. It was to remove a lump. He is much better, and the day was a long one.

We left the house at 9:45, for an 11:30 appointment, surgery after 12:30, into the car by 2:00 p.m., and home. I didn't get 'lunch' until 5:00 after taking in his prescription.

Back to my critters.
I was on my way to the pond when I spotted two whitetail deer.

Down at the pond, a song sparrow (you can tell by the black spot), and the wood duck swims to the end of the pond to avoid my camera.

This is silly to show you, but this is how hard it is to take photos of the ducks. This one saw us coming (Daisy and I) and took off. This is why I depend on the Trailcam so much.

Daisy was konked out whilst waiting for Dratted Red Squirrel. She usually awakes quite suddenly, but I managed not to wake her lying in the garden.

Into town for errands, I spotted Annabelle's distant cousin (I presume)! She lives at Canadian Tire, her name is Paulie and she is 7 years there. Paulie is an excellent mouser! Annie, the vet thinks, is about 3 years old.

The highway is a busy with traffic, but the road work: new culverts and eventually new asphalt and a shoulder, will be wonderful. It is necessary, as we have quite a few potholes where the road is worn out with heavy trucks.

Back home, spring flowers and a caterpillar!

This morning, it is zero C. (32 F.) and there was a Northern flicker on the front lawn. Yes, I should wash windows, I know!

Friday, 29 April 2016

Book Review: Harriet Quimby; Flying Fair Lady

Harriet Quimby

By Leslie Kerr
We hear so little about many of the women of history. Women
July 1st, 1912
who broke ground for us in a time of much sexism, and many barriers to achievement. She remained single in a time when women were to be barefoot and pregnant.

It's a well-written book, and the photos from the archives are fascinating. Kerr has done a great job in her research. I really enjoyed this book, while sadly reflecting on the sexism of the times.

Whilst waiting for hubby to have some eye surgery done (to remove a small tumour), I read this book. It's not a long book, 112 pages, but it is filled with amazing photographs. You can view some on the web page. It was a riveting read.

Quimby moved to New York City in 1903 to work as a theatre critic for Leslie's Illustrated Weekly, eventually writing more than 250 articles over 9 years, establishing herself as a journalist. She was an quite an adventurer, covering important issues such as women's rights, minority and other social justice issues.

She was also a script writer for silent films, in the early stages of the times. She was a model/spokesperson for Vin Fiz, after becoming the first female aviator in the USA. She was fearless. These early planes, hers a new Blériot XI monoplane, was made of light, simple materials. She and her passenger were ejected from the plane, since there were no seatbelts. Her flight instructor, and the plane designer, Louis Blériot, helped recover her body after the incident.

The Wright Brothers didn't want to teach women to fly, but she managed to find a teacher. She had to take aviation lessons at 4:30 in the morning to avoid controversy. She even had to fight to earn her pilot's licence, as the Aero Club didn't think women should fly and didn't want to test her. She was the second woman in the world to earn her licence. She designed her own flight suit, since women were still frowned upon if they wore pants. It's hard to believe how far we've had to come in this day and age.

She has her own Wiki page:
On April 16, 1912, Quimby took off from Dover, England, en route to Calais, France and made the flight in 59 minutes, landing about 25 miles (40 km) from Calais on a beach inÉquihen-PlagePas-de-Calais. She became the first woman to pilot an aircraft across the English Channel.[6] Her accomplishment received little media attention, however, as the sinking of the RMS Titanic the day before consumed the interest of the public and filled newspapers.[7]

Harriet Quimby: Flying Fair Lady

One of the first women to fly, the fashionable Harriet Quimby (1875–1912) came of age in the fading years of a gilded era, determined to have more than the life of a farmer’s wife. Beautiful, intelligent, and forever seeking the next adventure when her life ended tragically at age 37, this extraordinary pioneer had accomplished what most—women or men—only dream about. 

“I think I shall do something someday,” she once remarked. This recognition of her legacy is long overdue.

Thursday, 28 April 2016

NaPoWriMo Day 28 – walkies

Another beautiful cold day in the forest
Overnight the pond edge froze
Reminding that nature is fickle
Wood ducks eye me warily
Fleeing in fear in a quick uplift of feather
Trailcam rig waits for customers
Lessons in McGyver modifications
Pileated woodpecker bashing away at the trees
Holy evidence of their search for sustenance
A Compton's Tortoiseshell flutters about rustling leaves
Teases the slow-witted photographer
At night the owl seeks its mice friends
Hungrily perched in the dark in the sweet cedar
White bull's eyes evidence of its success
Spewing mice pellets in the dark
Leaving behind a lone feather
Evidence of his night's work
Shadows in the forest keeping silent tales
Broken arms like Disney characters
Cats go on a walkabout jealous of the other
Happy to rub cheeks on warm rocks
Delighted the cold snow is gone


Wednesday, 27 April 2016

Book Review: Curious Critters & Salamander Dance

My faithful readers know how much I adore my critters in my forest, frog pond and wetland. I was sent these marvellous books for review. I was grandsitting this month, and needed a picture book for bedtime.

I read them two of them to my granddaughter, Isabelle, age 5. Iz wasn't quite ready for sleep. She loved the pictures and went through them on her own.
Salamander Dance and Curious Critters.

These are lovely books, and fit in with our attempts to create curious young botanists in our grandchildren. My daughter, with her M.Sc., has always been a curious person. I've learned a lot from her!

What is fun is that his list of 10 can be found in  my blog posts.
My faithful readers know that we go and play in the vernal ponds, frog pond, wetland and forest! Salamander Dance illustrates the cycle of a pond and salamanders, very well. It would be a great teaching tool.

Curious Critters has amazing macrophotos of critters photographed in the wild, at education, conservation and rehabilitation centres.

I think he is 'preaching to the choir' amongst many of my retired (teacher) blog buddies, who similarly go out and play in nature just for fun. The photos are amazing, and the artwork is excellent.

Award-Winning Nature Photographer Offers Ten Wonderful Ways to Connect Children and Nature  

Environmental writer and photographer David FitzSimmons is on a mission to connect children with nature. With his naturalist wife and three children of their own—not to mention a job that gets him into the wild frequently—he’s an expert on immersing kids in the natural world. You can view some sample pages here.
1.   Take a walk. 
2.   Birdwatching. 
3.   Visit a nature center. 
4.   Explore a wetland. 
5.   Plant something. 
6.   Visit a park.
7.   Go creek stompin’.
8.   Go geocaching. 
9.   Read a book about nature. 
10. Take pictures of nature and share them! 

So, what are you waiting for? Take your kids outside to explore. And don’t forget to grab a few photos along the way—You’ll treasure how you captured their giant smiles as they got good and dirty and get well-connected with nature.

For more information, visit

NaPoWriMo Day 18 – Sounds of Home

Day 18 <= prompt

If I've told you once
I've told you a thousand times
This is for your own good

for a long time I'd hear 'JEEEENNNNIFFFEER'
then 'MMMmmmmmoooooonnnnnnnn'
the years have passed

 Today, I’d like to challenge you to write a poem that incorporates “the sound of home.” Think back to your childhood, and the figures of speech and particular ways of talking that the people around you used, and which you may not hear anymore. 

NaPoWriMo Day 26 - snowy day

April showers bring may flowers
but April snow's begun to blow
Mr. Sun came out to play
snow it did just melt away
as I lay my head to sleep
mother nature's snow you keep