Thursday 30 June 2022

Environmental issues

 We watched a couple of episodes of Spooks. I went to bed to read, Beastly Things, book #21 by Donna Leon in the Inspector Commissario series. It does make me feel better about Canadian government! As I read, I could hear a cat murping. Not Cinnamon, he doesn't murp but meows. I heard JB laughing in the living room. Of course I had to get up. So much for sleep hygiene! 

Here was Nutmeg, proudly celebrating the mouse she killed. She'd dropped it right in front of him on the carpet. She was quite happy to share her treasure. I suspect it was in the basement. I find that the adult mice know that there are cats in the house, but the young ones don't quite get this. Or don't run fast enough. We seldom see signs of them.

Outside it is a different tale. The lilies are growing like mad. The hostas... not so much. Our one regular doe has trimmed them. Grrrr! Actually, she's a thin one, and I don't mind. It happens every year.

These two are nicely trimmed. Normally deer begin at the outside hosta, then a day later move to the other. Maybe I just didn't notice!

The fence works for some of the flowers.

We've been a bit dry. I watered the Canna. It was happier and stood up tall.

My orchid is finally showing signs of blooming. I've put some of my indoor plants on the back deck. The orchid gets morning sunshine, the other plants are hidden by the BBQ. A perfect spot! I accidentally broke off the previous bud branch. 

Provincial Politics

And in provincial news, our re-elected premier is trying to build a new highway, #413. It is, many believe, unnecessary. We should simply open up the toll highway, #407, to ease traffic. It makes me so angry. Highway 413 route threatens 11 at-risk species, provincial government documents reveal — Toronto Star (@TorontoStar) June 29, 2022.

We are hoping that the feds are going to get involved: 

"the highway could harm three species at risk that were protected federally but not provincially: the western chorus frog, the red-headed woodpecker, and a rare dragonfly called a rapids clubtail."

You'll recall that I have participated in Western Chorus Frog surveys, as they are at risk, and the ministry is seeking to establish an idea of their population numbers.

What else did Doug Ford do? Ontario's new minister of natural resources faces environmental charges

Smith is charged with harming or harassing Blanding's turtles, designated by Ontario as a threatened species, and with damaging or endangering the habitat of the turtles. The Town of Bracebridge itself and two senior municipal officials also face identical charges.

Premier Ford announced his new cabinet ministers. There are a couple of surprises. There is a new Minister of Red Tape. (I kid you not!) You know what this means: someone dedicated to reducing oversight, ignoring the environmental issues, and giving free reign to developers.

He chose Graydon Smith to be his environmental minister. This is the former mayor of Bracebridge, who is charged with paving over the endangered Blandings Turtle habitat in Muskoka, despite environmentalists making presentations to inform his council of the egregiousness of this act. They went ahead anyway. 

I leave you with this:
One must remember there are good people in the world. I watched the Canadian Indspire Awards the other day. They gave an award to a First Nations entrepreneur who has created this ethical company. Cheekbone Beauty is amazing. They give back so much and inspire! Rich white men build an empire. First Nations women take care of themselves, one another, their community, and the earth. They believe in sustainability

Wednesday 29 June 2022

Time for critters

Walkies have been a bit sketchy lately. The bugs are horrid. Mosquitoes, blackflies, deerflies, and horseflies. Our Jesse is coming from Vancouver next week with his family. I think we'll have to stick to the back deck. I'll fill the kiddie pool, as well. 

Enough worrying about the world. Here are some critters. 

Even Cinnamon doesn't want walkies much. Mind you, he spotted his dratted red squirrel and was distracted. That's OK. There were sparrows, red-eyed vireo, and robins. 

 2 bucks from Jennifer Jilks on Vimeo:

Of course he has a pee! coyote from Jennifer Jilks on Vimeo:

butch with fur from Jennifer Jilks on Vimeo. She needs a good brushing!

Robin frenzy from Jennifer Jilks on Vimeo. There must be a nest nearby or fledglings hanging about that they are guarding! Robins can do up to 3 broods a year. 

Tuesday 28 June 2022

Spammers, Magas and Convoys

I take great enjoyment in finding out what my blog friends are up to. I live life vicariously through others, and enjoy their travels. Aside from that, I like to read their thoughts and opinions, especially if it makes me think. Some bloggers don't allow one to disagree, that is a shame. I appreciate the value in gathering thoughts, digesting what has happened, and organizing one's thinking. Too many people are influenced by confirmation bias, whereby they only accept that which confirms their opinion.

Then there are the crazies

I read some things about MAGAs that explains some of their behaviour. When you have no capital, no assets and no status, the only thing you have left is your status in society by being white. Trump spits on various minority groups, women, the disabled, and BIPOC groups. That makes his MAGAs feel better. Martha Acuna: social capital is all MAGAs have. Poor white people buy into this rhetoric. They believe the conspiracy theories, and the ignorance and lies.

There is a deep-seated, racist, misogynistic, attitude in the courts, as well. Blaming the victim, charging women with having an abortion, even after they miscarry. These aren't rich white people, they are victims of incest and abuse, in poverty, who receive judgements by the upper class judiciary who do not understand their lives. There are 400,000 children in foster care in the US.

Women don't even know they are pregnant until about 6 weeks. Even if the pregnancy isn't viable, and if the mother's life is at stake, many religions see this act as positive. 

Rep. Mary Miller actually stated, after Roe V. Wade was overturned, 'the historic victory for white life in the Supreme Court'. This is the truth those without funds, those who most need this healthcare, those with ectopic pregnancies, women carrying a dead fetus, or  raped by someone and do not have healthcare. I listened to a podcast at 3 a.m., and I was shocked. 

Canada Day is July 1st!

Talk about crazies! We are anticipating potential chaos on Canada Day in Ottawa. Traditionally it is a fun concert with bands, speeches, celebrations. 

JB went into town and spotted this. It was parked in town. The drag on your car is enormous, costing you precious gas money. 

flagged car from Jennifer Jilks on Vimeo.

OK, thanks for reading and letting me rant and vent! I feel better. I know nothing changes, but we should be so grateful living on this continent. 

The distance between rich and poor widens. Be kind. Listen. 

Monday 27 June 2022

Critters & live trapping

 Firstly, let me give a Shout Out to all the wildlife rescues and rehabbers out there. And the people who volunteer or donate. They make my heart happy. We donate to Rideau Valley Wildlife Sanctuary monthly. It is a good feeling. We've taken several critters there over the 12 years we've been here. It is orphan season and people are finding lots of critters that need a helping hand.  They sent out a newsletter. It had some good advice for those dealing with critter babies. 

Why Live Trapping in Not Humane

Here are some reasons why trapping and relocating wildlife is not a solution. Call a rehabber for more information.

  • in Ontario, it is illegal to relocate wildlife more than 1 km,
  • trapping and relocating adults may leave babies behind to die from starvation and dehydration, 
  • relocated wildlife may not survive because of competition with native wildlife and the inability to find appropriate nesting places, food and water, 
  • animals can suffer stress, injuries and even death trying to escape from traps baited traps can attract domestic pets or untargeted wildlife (skunks!), 
  • relocated wildlife can spread diseases and parasites to other areas, 
  • removing animals will just create vacant territory for other wildlife to move in. 

Critters Galore

We let the cats out first thing. They have a run, and a pee. I'll walk Cinnamon, if I can (barring bugs and heat). The robins are nesting and dive bomb Cinnamon. Then, the cats get hungry and are in for the day. Friday, there was a confident red squirrel eating something beside the driveway. Cinn knew it was there, and knew he couldn't catch it. He didn't even bother.

The Hops vine is climbing, and hosting critters. I spotted two dreadful Spongy Moth caterpillars, and managed to pluck one off the leaf. I never did find the second one again.

Gray Tree Frogs continue to sit in and around the Hops. I talk to it. There are two of them.

The lady beetles have been visiting, as well.

I have hurt my right foot somehow. A recurring injury. I mistakenly wore my brace outside in the grass I'd just cut. I'm experimenting with the back lawn here. My veggies didn't thrive. 

I saw an interesting cloud, with a strange long line. AFter this, I was out back reading, and it clouded over. The rain began to fall, such a relief. I began to gather my things, hustling them indoors, and Nutmeg escaped. I warned her that it was raining, but she didn't listen. She came in when it poured down. I told her!
It was a wonderful rain last night, nearly 10 mm (0.38").  

I have a mystery. The eavestrough installers set my up second water barrel, with the flexible hose going into it. I went to put the garbage out and found that someone had pulled the entire hose out of the water barrel. HHhhhmmmmmm... 

We had a doe amble by just at dusk. She did this two nights in a row! 

I caught her on the trailcam.

doe from Jennifer Jilks on Vimeo.

Sunday 26 June 2022

Birds, butterflies, Bugloss and Bambi

UPDATE: Burlington is still fighting naturalization. 

‘You want to fine them $10,000 a day?’ The City of Burlington fought this family’s natural garden — and then razed it anyway June, 2023 

 "As a penalty, the city had threatened an astonishing $10,000-a-day fine until the yard was remedied to their standards — a notice the city also sent to the Barneses’ mortgage company." 

 "Donnelly also represented landscape ecologist Nina-Marie Lister and her husband, Jeremy Guth, in 2020 when the City of Toronto said the front-yard meadow of their sprawling Wychwood-area home needed to be cut back. "

  ‘What kind of barbarian would mow buttercups?’: The city tried to rip up a local ecologist’s natural garden. Now she’s fighting back – Oct., 2020

"Nina-Marie Lister and her husband Jeremy Guth turned their lawn into a wildlife and pollinator paradise. But complaints from neighbours led them to lawyer up and ask the city to rethink its rules for gardens."

🥀 🥀 🥀 🥀 🥀 🥀 🥀 🥀 🥀 🥀 🥀

 I had a man visit us, asking if our house was for sale. His wife drives into Perth for work, and she  notices a lot of deer roadkill. I explained that the deer have a large range, and wander a lot. It's safer if predators don't know where they are! Deer are crepuscular, and move around dawn and dusk.

backyard doe from Jennifer Jilks on Vimeo.

Said stranger also wondered why we aren't cutting the lawn. I love the wildflowers, and cut them down judiciously after they bloom. It isn't cool to have a natural lawn in many areas. A Toronto resident fought and won in 1996. Smiths Falls, for example: Couple's win forces Smiths Falls to revisit approach to 'naturalized' lawns. Where they are from, in Seattle, it is common. You see them from time-to-time in cities, but not often. They had a neighbour report them:

Last October, the couple noticed their yard was an item on the council agenda, accompanied by a 17-page report that detailed neighbours' complaints and recommended they be required to tame their yard. Council agreed, and an order was issued.

Many people have a war with dandelions. Not us! There are lots of lovely 'weeds' that bring the critters.

Viper's Bugloss (Echium vulgare) – many insects like it, even Monarchs! They consume lots of varieties of pollen, but only lay their eggs on Milkweed. The Bugloss buds are pink, then lavender-coloured. 

I was sitting on the back deck and noticed a butterfly. 

question mark butterfly from Jennifer Jilks on Vimeo.

Eastern Comma vs. Question Mark you can tell them apart from the three dots and a dash on the Question Mark. When the wings are closed, there is a question mark.
They love our Hops vine, and often lay eggs on it. The Hops are climbing up to the roof.


Don't forget the birds!

There was wild splashing in the bird bath!

bird bath splash from Jennifer Jilks on Vimeo.

tree sparrows from Jennifer Jilks on Vimeo.

Saturday 25 June 2022

Turtle mitigation barriers

We've been worried about turtles for a long time in Ontario. We've often stopped to help them cross the road. This was our 2019 trip to Muskoka. We spotted 22 turtles seeking habitat crossing the highway. Many people help turtles across the road. You have to send them along in the direction they were headed. 

I read an article online: Victory for Eastern Ontario's Freshwater Turtles. We'd see these new barriers all over the place. That was where we first spotted the barriers on our local travels. 

Wonderful volunteers watch for nesting sites, and cover the nests. Raccoons are notorious for uncovering snapping turtles eggs and eating them, as well as other predators. 
People are protecting nests (FB)

 The big problem is that they get run over by cars. We were traveling in a high-risk area for turtles, Highway # 62. Their council came up with an idea for mitigation, we spoke to a local man who was out working on his lawn. It was $192,000 for his section of turtle fencing. The homeowner said they'd seen more on the road than ever before the barriers were put in. He even had a mix of turtles on his front lawn. The turtles go around the fence, and end up in a u-shaped ending. There are culverts under the highways at certain spots, as well, I wonder if they actually review the results.

You'll note the various styles of fencing. 

Highway #7 Sept. 20/21.

Turtle fences on Moodie Dr., Ottawa.

We spotted some more on Highway #15 out of Beckwith, June 11th, 2022.

Turtles are nesting in different habitats from where they hibernate in winter. I found what I think was a turtle nest uncovered by a critters on the path down to the meadow. I'm fairly certain it was a turtle nest! JB found a shell like this on the driveway. I am not certain they survived. It will remain a mystery. The raccoons... ???

We have a variety of turtles here. Most of our 8 species of turtles in Ontario are at risk on the continuum: special concern, threatened, or endangered. The 9th, eastern box turtle, is considered extirpated in Canada. 
There are videos to help you do this safely with snappers!

There are lots of reasons they are at risk: habitat loss, pollution, poisons (mercury, DDTs), road mortality from humans, natural predators hunting them, slow maturation rate (i.e., snappers can't lay eggs until ), plus illegal human activities. 

Blandings Oct. 26, 2012

While a lot of try to avoid them on the highway, sometimes it isn't possible. Snappers are 'special concern'. Snappers can live to be 100 years old.
Snapping turtle laying eggs. They bite! 
The reason they bite is because they cannot pull their heads in, unlike other turtles.

Painted Turtles

Northern Map Turtle
I leave you with the mother of all turtles. She's been a favourite of mine after discovering her in our former Bala lake. She was the size of a coffee table, and I canoed around her. It was quite eerie. She totally ignored me, sunning herself on a Monday after a busy Bala tourist weekend.