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Thursday, July 27, 2017

A blog post has presented itself

I'm just back from a trip to British Columbia to visit family and friends, and am delighted to say that a Vancouver Island friend has instantly answered a question Dick and I have had for a while now, about some feathers he found while walking around the nearby coulee with our little dog, Bonnie-Belinda.


Many thanks to my longtime friend Pat for identifying the feathers as coming from a Northern Flicker, or perhaps from more than one Northern Flicker.

Therefore, I no longer have to wonder what I should post today for my long-awaited return to blogging. Thanks again, Pat.

FEMALE NORTHERN FLICKER
(WIKIPEDIA)
MALE NORTHERN FLICKER (WIKIPEDIA)

According to Wikipedia: 

The northern flicker is part of the genus Colaptes,
which encompasses 12 New World woodpeckers. Nine subspecies and an extinct subspecies of C. auratus are recognized. The existing subspecies were at one time considered separate species, but they commonly interbreed where ranges overlap and are now considered one species by the American Ornithologists Union. This is an example of the "species problem".
The northern flicker is protected by the Migratory Bird Treaty Act, which has been ratified by the governments of Mexico, Canada and the United States and prohibits the killing or harming of the northern flicker, including its nests and eggs.
Extinction is always a threat, as seen in this paragraph from Wikipedia:
The Guadalupe flicker (C. a. rufipileus; syn. C. cafer rufipileus) is an extinct subspecies formerly restricted to Guadalupe Island, off the northwest coast of Mexico. Its presence was last recorded in 1906.

Extinction is rampant in today's world. It's just a matter of time... 
K
   Posting, only two days late, for Lady Fi's wonderful meme Our World Tuesday

Friday, July 7, 2017

Ta da! It works!

My computer works!
Hooray!

Some months ago, I took my computer to the store from which I'd purchased it. A big store. Part of a big chain, with hot and cold running techies.
"It doesn't work properly," I told the young men at the Geek Squad desk.
"We'll fix it," they said.
Fast forward a few days:
Incoming phone call...it's the Geek Squad, hooray!
Not hooray.
My computer was worse after they messed with it, and it continued to get worse until I was at my wits' end.
Heartbreaking for a blogger.
Time passes.
Then our son-in-law phones to say he saw, on my Facebook page, that my computer is close to being toast.
"Maybe I can help," he offered. "I'll be over right away."
"Bring the kids," I requested, "I haven't seen them in forever because they're so busy. They haven't even met our new dog."
So we put our little Bonnie-Belinda on a leash and walked one block to the lawn by the swimming pool. We'd arranged to meet Wes and Kayen and Kiana there, rather than have them come right into Bonnie's house. In her mind, she's a guard dog.
This way she'd think of our grandchildren as friends rather than burglars .
We knew she would be happier about meeting in neutral territory because she doesn't worry about people and dogs who aren't in her house or yard, or walking past her, or, worse...on bicycles!
Sure enough, a little bit of sweet talk, a whole lot of petting, and quite a bit of shake-a-paw did the trick, so Dick and the grandkids and I were able to enter the house calmly.
Bonnie was somewhat concerned when Wes came in a few minutes later, having had to move his vehicle, but he has plenty of dog experience, and after he put my newly restored computer on my desk, he had her playing shake-a-paw all over again.
Now, I think we should buy Wes a great, huge, and very big gift for the work he did. Overnight he brought my computer back to life.
Take that, Geek Squad, take that!
And guess how much it cost...a thousand, a hundred, or fifty dollars? It cost Wes just twenty dollars for a part, and it cost us that same twenty dollars to repay Wes.
Then we had some fun talking about the Virtual Reality place in Medicine Hat. Or, rather, Dick and Wes and the grandkids had fun talking about it.

I don't know that I'm ready for Virtual Reality, unless there's one that features me as I used to be. Not a chance.

O well. C'est la vie, as Canada's other official language says. I'm just happy that my computer got rejuvenated, but I must confess I don't know how to say that in French. That probably makes my blog politically incorrect, but my French went the way of all good things, because I'm old.


Monday, July 3, 2017

Nothin' ain't workin' nohow


Before I try to get into the intricacies of my computer's failing health, let it be said that I now find my own silly self on the horns of a dilemma. (I've always wanted an occasion to use that phrase, and here I am at last, with just such an occasion, just when I don't need it.)


Unfortunately, it is not a happy occasion. This dilemma has huge horns.
My computer is getting worse and worse every day. For instance, my husband's cute photo of our Bonnie-Belinda-dog with her nose in a peanut butter jar — I can enlarge it, but then it is fuzzy — even fuzzier than it is here, and yet it is sharp and crisp when my husband enlarges it.

Enlarged only slightly but fuzzy already.
Due to this and many other problems, I definitely need a new computer.
However, we also ( and also definitely) need a new dishwasher. 
What to do? What to buy, and which to buy?
Yes, dilemma. Horns and all.
Sigh.
Part of the problem: I have already booked and paid for a multi-stop hop over to my homeland, British Columbia, plus I've already paid a crew of arborists for topping and trimming our huge poplar trees. Definite deficit in the old bank account.
Re the trip, I am flying from Medicine Hat, Alberta, to Calgary (also Alberta) and then from Calgary to Kamloops, BC, to visit my mother's cousin Ian MacKenzie; from Kamloops to Vancouver to visit my family, from The Wet Coast to Kelowna, BC, to visit my friend Gloria and then, on my last day, from Kelowna back to Calgary, and thence a flight in a very slow teeny-tiny plane to get me home to Medicine Hat.
The very definition of a multi-stop hop.
Air Canada had a seat sale, and I couldn't resist.
Yes, booked and paid for.
Paid, however, before a large branch from one of our huge trees came down, hitting the power line between the garage and the house. The power line by then was hitting the metal frame of the hot tub gazebo, and the big branch was formed a link between the power line, the metal structure, and our house.
I came home to find my husband and a neighbour calmly de-limbing and cutting the fallen branch without a care in the world.
"Did you call someone about it?" I asked, but they hadn't.
I think I lost my temper.
My hysterics resulted in the requisite calls being made, followed almost immediately by the arrival of a firetruck ...siren and all... attracting several of our neighbours.
So, at the suggestion of these authorities, I phoned the tree-toppers, and now find myself in a dilemma indeed, re my upcoming trip to BC.
Since then I've spent a lot of time trying to figure out what to pack so that I can get by with one carry-on bag. Gone is the option of buying something to wear when I get to wherever I'm going. Even if the tree-faller-fellers hadn't cost me all my savings and all my credit, I would still need a new computer. And a new dishwasher.
(I'm waiting to see if my husband will offer to wash all the dishes by hand. I suspect it will be a long wait.)



Every good country has its day...




...and Canada just had its 150th birthday. 150 years since Confederation. 150 years of being our own people.
Oh, sure, Canada was around before that, but had to wait for a bunch (er, a gathering, a committee, or some such) of Brits to declare us a separate country all on our own, with only a formal tie to Britain. (If we get on the list early enough, we can rent one of the Royals for a celebration or a bridge-opening.)
Most importantly, this past year has seen much progress in reconciliation with the original people of this land. It isn't perfect, but it's progress, although long overdue.


Prime Minister Justin Trudeau celebrating.


I bought this marijuana-flag t-shirt for the occasion, but didn't wear it in public...I used it as a nightshirt. Canada seems to be headed for legalization of the used-to-be-wicked weed sometime soon, and it will be interesting to see how our young people (and those not-so-young people who still imbibe) will handle it. I fear that having for sale in special outlets won't completely eradicate illegal buying and selling. (But what do I know? I'm old. Right?)

I remember this man. Lester B. Pearson was Prime Minister of Canada when I was in high school.

LESTER B. PEARSON"It is becoming apparent to the world — at last — that we are not merely an Arctic extension of the United States," the prime minister said then. "A London journalist even went so far as to admit that Canada now existed not merely as a fact but also as an idea and an ideal."


And so we progressed.
"Fifty years later, we bask in the reflected glow of a prime minister's socks. Canada is noted in foreign papers for both our leader's whimsy and our status as a relative paragon of pluralism and moderation in a newly fevered world," said CBC News.

It's a good place, this land of mine. I always wear a Canadian Flag pin when I travel to foreign countries. And I don't really say "aboot" — no matter what Americans might say.

Posting this for Lady Fi's memorable meme Our World Tuesday.

Wednesday, June 14, 2017

Addendum to previous post


If you read my last blog post, which I did for Skywatch Friday, you'll know we have some very wild winds here on the southern Alberta prairie. Add some serious wet to the windstorms and I find myself in considerable pain. 
You might also remember I had to call an arborist to look at our huge prairie poplars which tower over our little hobbit house.


Richard Schear photo
Now, for Lady Fi's memorable meme, Our World Tuesday, I continue the saga...

Not only did last Thursday's storm terrify our darlin' little Bonnie-Belinda dog (pictured above, on a clear day) it also continued, and brought more rain than wind for five days.
I spoke to the arborist today and he says we'll have to wait for the soft ground to dry up because his equipment is huge and very heavy.
The photo below is not of our tree, but it shows how tall the prairie trees can get if left on their own. With a lift truck and skilled operators, almost any tree can be trimmed or removed, as shown below.

Rite Industries photo
Below is a lift truck with a wood-chipper behind.
Branches are fed into it, and become wood chips in no time at all!
Rite Industries photo
Following photo, a stump-grinder awaits its next assignment.
Rite Industries photo
We won't require the big yellow piece of equipment above, but I find stump-grinders fascinating!

Thus I look forward to next Tuesday, when we might (weather permitting) get started on the trimming process.
I hope the noise and (to her) confusion won't scare Bonnie.

Although I am easily frightened now, at one time in my life (long ago and far away) I learned, along with my brother Clint, how to cut down trees — the skinny jack-pines of BC's Okanagan Valley where we grew up.
Dad also taught us how to trim off the branches (even skinnier) and cut the branchless trunk up into sections that would fit in our pot-bellied stove, to keep the family warm in winter. (Electrical service hadn't quite caught up to our location yet, but don't let me get sidetracked into the story of priming the pump, or whitewashing the outhouse, because I don't have photos.)
It was the early 1960s. Dad and Mom had decided we were getting soft living in downtown Kelowna, BC (it was a small city at that time) so they bought six acres on the back side of Knox Mountain and had us help build a house on our property's one flat spot. There, the mountain was rocky, but weather had eroded the rock into a smooth surface which provided a perfect place for our house.
Please don't get me started on more. As an old TV show used to say "there are a million stories"...!

Friday, June 9, 2017

Plenty of skywatching here

There was a wild and woolly prairie windstorm last night, with thunder and lightning and crashing and banging. When I got home from a meeting, my husband and a neighbour had already cut up a branch as thick as a man's arm that had fallen from one of our giant poplars. It hit and bent the electrical wires going from the house to the garage, and left the wires lying across the exposed metal of our hot-tub's gazebo.
They were talking things over when I appeared. I insisted that they call someone, and as soon as they did, a firetruck arrived— with siren screaming and all the attendant drama.
A lot more excitement than I needed, but some of the neighbours enjoyed it.
This branch broke off one of
our huge poplar trees in 2012
and landed right where our
beloved Golden Retriever,
the late and lovely Lindy,
liked to sleep. It wasn't
until a full year later that we
finally called in the arborists.
I thought I'd never get to sleep last night, and I was awake for hours after I went to bed. Our little dog, Bonnie-Belinda, slept happily on my bed as soon as all the men and trucks had left, but the wind was still blowing, the thunder still crashing, and the lightning still showing even past the blinds on my bedroom window. Worrisome. Worry-some!
So, after listening to my husband's side of the story today ("It's okay, the storm is over, and only one branch came down," etc.) I checked to see when we had last had the trees trimmed.
He said it wasn't very long ago.
Turns out it was 2013. I still have photos of it. It was a full year after I started nagging about the branch that came down on our old dog's favourite sleeping place. And we finally got the trees trimmed.
Nagging doesn't always work. Sometimes I have to take matters into my own hands, as I did today.
In one of those things that seems to happen to us, living in a small town,  today I phoned the tree people (arborists, in other words) who had been here in 2013. The owner of the company lives in the nearby city, but just happened to be here in our little town, shopping at the Home Hardware store, when I called.
He was here in ten minutes, recognized our house (okay, our trees) from the previous visit, and discussed the present situation with me. After a while, my husband wandered out to assure us that the problem couldn't really be as bad as I thought. 2013 isn't that long ago, right? But these trees grow very, very quickly.
So, when said husband and the dog left to go for a walk, the arborist and I discussed what could or could not be done, and what should or should not be done.
When he got out his calculator, I came into the house to check my bank balance and decided I would be able to afford the most worry-free (most expensive) solution. Just manage to afford, mind you, by using some fancy footwork. Arborists are expensive, because they have great, huge, and very big equipment to haul around, with which they perform their seemingly impossible branch removal, and it's a great, huge, and very big responsibility.
After they're done will we still have our two big trees left? Yes, we will. They won't be as big as they useta was, will they? No, they won't. Will I sleep better knowing that the work has been done? Yes, oh yes, I will.
Did I take photos of the trees after the arborist left? Oh, yes, too many, so I will never forget how large they were. But my ailing computer seems to have lost them. I hope my cell phone hasn't done the same thing. Sigh.
Thanks to Skywatch Friday for being there. I had eyes to the sky quite a bit today, taking those photos which seem to have disappeared.


Monday, May 22, 2017

So happy to be in Our World

Thank you, Lady Fi, for this timely springtime photo challenge on Our World Tuesday. My husband has just taken some wonderful photos of desert flowers as well as photos of our bonny dog, Bonnie-Belinda.
I was completely unable to get the pictures to open in iPhoto, but eventually my husband managed to get a few of them onto there.
I've mentioned, before, the tediousness of my computer, and it continues to worsen, so I'd better post our photos while I can.
For those of you who were wondering, Bonnie is becoming more and more adventuresome as she realizes she is home to stay. Her life before the SPCA is a mystery except for the obvious fact that she'd been abused. We're thrilled that we were able to adopt her, and more thrilled that she is adapting well.


Photos by Richard Schear

1. DESERT FLOWERS

2. BONNIE WONDERS IF FLOWERS ARE EDIBLE
3. BEWARE OF CACTI HIDING BESIDE THE PATH

Wednesday, May 17, 2017

Photos of our Bonnie Belinda

APOLOGIES TO LADY FI and to anyone else who notices this post came up twice. I'm very sorry, but I'm having trouble with my computer and hence trouble with posting to Our World. —K

It's hard to get portraits of our new little dog, Bonnie-Belinda, because she is always moving. She's like a non-stop wind-up toy. We've been so used to photographing our elderly Golden Retriever, our much-beloved Lindy, who loved to pose for photos when she was younger, and didn't move much when she grew older.
However, here are a few Bonnie shots we've managed to garner during the past month:
My dear friend Judith, now back in Canada (albeit the far east coast) after several years in England, loved this one of Bonnie sleeping on  the couch, all tucked in behind my knee:



My favourite is still this one of her perched on the arm of the couch. She loves perching up on one end or the other, to get the best possible view, I suppose.



Here she is looking for new blades of grass coming up in our back lawn, followed by a photo of her eating the fresh new grass.





Sharing this, albeit a day late, with Lady Fi's popular meme Our World Tuesday.