Wednesday 30 November 2016

Still, another foggy day: barred owls update

UPDATE: I found where the pair had been sitting and hooting in the night! Their spots I'd found in summer, while they were nesting. Some owl poop underneath, no pellets. I don't think they found many mice.
Poppa owl

It was a long day, Tuesday, Nov. 29th.

It's miserable out: slushy snow on the ground, rainy, and the temperature inversion makes the fog palpable.

The new carpet is installed, the sectional couch covers have been washed, and recovered. Hubby did Meals on Wheels. I sat with my client in the afternoon. More on this later. The place is a mess!

In the meantime, I stepped onto the back deck just before bedtime. The fog was heavy. You could see it wafting in the breeze. In the back 40 I could hear my owls. Two, at least. It was lovely. It was dark, too!

Momma owl in summer
Fledged chick in July
I went to bed, wishing I could leave the window open, but it's too cold! I loved hearing them in the summer, in the night.

Daisy and I have been doing walkies, I've been out almost daily, and still I can't find them in the day. I'm sure they travel to the depths of the forest, where I can't find them.

Here they are from the summer, as I look back six months to June, 2016.
What a gift, watching our Barred owl having a bath in the wetland. He knew I was there, I've been watching him for more than a month. In the background you can hear the rose-breasted grosbeak, blue jay, grey tree frog, etc.! Just before he went for a swim, a chickadee was trying to talking him into taking off. I thought I heard the owl chick, but I'm not sure. The siren at about 2:00 startled him. He sat a long time grooming.

By July, the chicks had fledged and Momma was out hunting all day and night for food.
I haven't seen momma and chicks, she's still feeding them. First, she is calling, watching, while you can hear the chicks cheeping. Then the robin family started harassing her. Robins must have brood #2 nearby.

Tuesday 29 November 2016

Foggy, foggy day trip

I had a big trip planned: Perth, to the drug store for happy pills; Carleton Place, for some amaryllis bulbs; Smiths Falls, for new boots and a jacket.

Home Depot had some bulbs. They are planted. When I was teaching elementary school I would divvy the class into groups. Each group would grow some bulbs. They would plan, pot, water, photograph and measure their growth. Much fun!

These photos are from 2005!

It was also a PD Day here! Things were pretty quiet.
There is some development near the Home Depot, apparently there is some giant hogweed.

Off we went... next stop Smiths Falls.

Originally named Smyth's Falls in 1784, after Thomas Smyth who died in 1831, the little village began to take shape by 1840. It was a railway hub, after the canal was no longer used for defense or transportation. Lots of families had men who worked on the railroad.

About 1880 Smith's Falls started being written as Smiths Falls without the apostrophe. (I know, I shudder.) It was on April 11, 1968, that the name Smiths Falls became official. It took an Act of the Ontario Legislature to officially remove the apostrophe. Most locals call it Smith Falls when they use it in conversation!

Smiths Falls 1910
We had lunch at the Fort Hemlock pub, we are frequent flyers! The owner was walking by as we were looking at his framed photos. He is a 7th generation Smiths Falls man. He knows his history. The pub was flooded in 1904, when the river flooded. The river originally flowed across the parking lot, where the building with the graffiti now stands.

They rebuilt the pub, including the corner stone from the original building. The mill is now a museum, and the falls have been rebuilt to harness water power.

Crews are rebuilding the bridge.

After lunch, I bought my new boots. The Smiths Falls store, a chain, had a Black Friday sale. This is becoming more usual in Canada, it follows Yanksgiving. I was spray painting outside, and they already have yellow paint on them, but they are work boots! Annie likes them. A nice felt lining and no holes like my old pair!

Monday 28 November 2016

The Great Brockville Bank Robbery – 1958

While in Brockville, getting an estimate on my old clock (Decisions about our mantel clock!), we visited the Keystorm Pub, for an early munch. Decorating the walls are newspaper articles about the older history of the pub, when it was a bank! They had a major, news-capturing heist. It was a massive $10 million job.

It was quite the event. The newspaper articles are interesting, and they were framed and placed in the pub.

Brockville has recorded its history.
Let me sum it up.
Brockville News

No guns, no hold-up; they used picks and drills in the dead of the night. The walls were two feet thick, and they broke through the ceiling, and into the steel wall of the vault. Then, using Acetylene torches, and prying open the safety deposit boxes where they stole bonds, cash, and jewellery. They left behind their equipment! With time to wash up, they left behind a wristwatch, a raincoat and a woman's scarf. One robber dropped a receipt.

They arrested Rene Martin, in Montreal 28 hours later. He said there were five people involved in the heist, but he wouldn't name them. Apparently, even up to 1981 the bearer bonds were being sold around the world: Switzerland, Central and South America, and in New York, Miami and Toronto.

Sunday 27 November 2016

Acrylic fingernails – seriously!

My penultimate trip to Toronto, I went to Nails on Yonge. Most of the staff (if not all) were from  Cambodia, I think. I forget. They were having lots of fun, and they were efficient.

It was a good time for my nails, they were nice and long. They applied the base clear coat, then two coats of polish, and a finishing clear coat. They lasted a long time.

I was in Toronto, again, for a meeting in October. What the heck. I was alone and had lots of time.
They were too short to look any good in October, and they first glued a small extension on. (I swear it was crazy glue!) Then the woman applied a liquid, dipped into the acrylic powder, applied to the nail.  It took an hour and a half. I had my black dress, with reds, golds and yellows, and chose a red base, with a yellow/gold glitter on top. They looked fabulous. My client, who encouraged me to have it done, was most excited! I had to have something excellent to show her. She has glaucoma, and cannot see all that well.

This was a Thursday night, just before Thanksgiving. The thing about the nail stores is they are run by folks who don't speak the clearest English. Their accents were very heavy and I found it hard to communicate with my young lady. Plus, they wear masks, to prevent the inhalation of their work. The place was full, there was lots of laughter, and  it was quite busy. I found it hard to ask questions, which I should have.  I know what I was thinking... just for fun. 
You can see the before and after. 

I was unsure of the process, but now I know! They looked and felt wonderful. For a week. Quite long for me, it was rather difficult typing on the computer after a week. I did some research.

The problem with acrylic nails is they have to be sanded or filed off, after soaking them for 30 minutes to get off the 4 coats of nail polish! They were too long, by this point, and so I clipped them with the toe nail clippers. The snap is harsh. What a dumb thing to do for someone who is active outside.

Lesson learned!

Finally, I pried them all off. I reapplied polish, to give them some strength. I chose a soft pink. Then, spray painting something, I added some silver to them. They don't look so bad now! They are quite weak, however, and uneven. The nails are growing, about halfway down the nail bed, now.
I had no idea. I will never do this again. Lesson learned. They drove me nuts, and it's not a long drive!

Saturday 26 November 2016

Right-Wing Extremism and Racism, what can I do?

There is a cult of ignorance in the United States, and there always has been. The strain of anti-intellectualism has been a constant thread winding its way through our political and cultural life, nurtured by the false notion that democracy means that "my ignorance is just as good as your knowledge." 
-Isaac Asimov, scientist and writer (1920-1992) 

Reports of racist incidents, and vulgar, open indications of intolerance have been on the increase. No more covert racism, which pervades North American society, but public, overt, loudly stated words, calling upon the strength of Trumpistic bombastic words. It's not just teenagers, but adults on social media, and on public transportation, as well.

I wondered what I could do, other than rant. I don't hear this kind of thing amongst my friends, yet I know it exists. I've culled a few ideas, having done some research,  and found that there are many anti-hate groups in both the US and Canada, despite many of us being immigrants.

What Can I Do?

  • Listen, validate and honour the feelings of those who suffer racism
  • Ask questions
  • Celebrate diversity
  • Report hate crimes: there are laws against hate crimes all around the world
  • Educate yourself about different cultures
  • Learn how to pronounce your friend's difficult names
  • Clarify issues, read and learn
  • Challenge racists around you, if you are comfortable doing so 
  • See something, say something
  • Correct your mistakes
  • Respect people as individuals, not as representatives of a specific group
  • Refuse to listen to racist or stereotypical jokes
  • Contribute to anti-hate, advocacy groups, e.g., Canada: Stop Racism and Hate Canada or the USA: Southern Poverty Law Center.
  • Laud the great stories of those who care about one another.

Share Positive Change-making Stories

Individuals are making a difference. This story has made the news. Basically, a group of immigrants, and visible minorities, helped a young man on the TTC his way to a job interview. Total strangers.
Salma Hamidi
This morning while waiting for the subway to leave Finch station, a Latino guy entered the train looking very angry and irritated. Sitting down in front of me, head in hands...
See more
This was posted on Facebook:

 on Kingston Transit:

Tommy Vallier feeling frustrated.
A man, on Kingston Transit, witnessing two young, white men harassing a young black teen, simply went and sat beside her on the bus, ensuring their angry, racist words stopped.

Montreal Gazette, Nov. 15/16

Southern Poverty Law Center: 
hate group map