Tuesday, December 06, 2011

Death of America

In pursuit of the lowest prices, the American consumer has driven manufacturing out of their country, as well as all the jobs that go with it.

No wonder the US is having such a rough time...

Walmart Infographic

Source: http://frugaldad.com

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Natural Law and Disorder

In the dog owner community, there are two separate yet equally important groups. The people who love dogs and take them into their homes, and their dogs who make life interesting. These are their stories.

(da dum) [sound effect] *

Sunday, November 23, 2008

The day dawned brisk and cold. Half of the lake had been frozen over for a couple of weeks, but the chilly overnight air had caused a skim of ice to form on the entire lake. That morning we had walked around the lake because we had seen a deer sitting in the water at the opposite shoreline with a couple of wolves sitting on the beach watching it. When we got near the deer we realized that it had broken its right front leg when it fell through the ice. The wolves would have made short work of it, unfortunately.

After we got back from a neighbour's granddaughter's christening, Freda decided to take the dogs out for a walk.

Taz's story

It was a chilly day and it was fun running and playing with Tawny and Freda. Then Max came out and we had a lot of fun playing. Then Emma took me up to the house and Mark was upset.

Tawny's story

It was a nice day, a bit chilly, but just exactly like the way I like it. I was playing with my mummy and then there were all these big birds, flapping their wings and it was all exciting, and like, it was so fun, so I started to chase them and it was so fun, I was running and running and it was so fun and and then all of a sudden I was swimming and it was cold and it made me frightened. But mummy came to help me get out of the water, but she went swimming too although she helped me get out of the water after a few tries but she didn't get out of the water. I was scared and mummy was scared too and I went up to lick her face to help mummy but she yelled at me to get away. I didn't understand why she didn't want me to kiss her.

Emma's story

I was visiting my friends next door to Freda's and Mark's and I looked out the window and saw Freda with Tawny and Taz. So I went out with Max because my mom was going to come to pick me up very soon. I was talking with Freda and then Tawny took off to chase some Canada Geese on the other side of the lake. Tawny broke through the ice and was swimming and frightened. Freda went to help her and asked me to go up and get Mark. I ran up the hill to the house and when Mark answered the door, he said "Where is Freda?" and we looked out and could only see her head sticking out of the water.

Mark's story

We came back from Lisa's baby's christening and Freda wanted to take the dogs out by herself. A little while later, the doorbell is ringing and there's knocking on the door and it's Emma. I open the door and Emma says Tawny has fallen through the ice and Freda needs help to get her out. I said "Where is she?" and we looked but all we could see was Freda's head sticking out of the water. I grabbed a coat and some shoes and started to get a step ladder to put in the car trunk to go down to the lake. I was almost ready to go when I heard a commotion at the front door and I looked out to see Steve's new truck on the front lawn and Colleen helping a very very cold Freda into the house. Freda was dripping wet, so I ran and grabbed some towels while Freda stripped off her ice cold coat and clothes. I helped Freda into the bath tub to warm up and cleaned up the puddles in the foyer. I have no idea what happened with the dogs but I think Emma must have put them in the back yard or brought them in or something.

Colleen's story

Steve had just got his new F-150 King Ranch truck and I was driving this pretty truck down to pick up Emma who was visiting Freda and Mark's neighbour at Jiulia Lake. As I was approaching their house, I saw Freda in the middle of the lake and - boom - I saw her fall through the ice as I was watching. I immediately drove down to the edge of the shore and ran out to see what I could do. Freda said the ice was thick there but not to come too close and throw the end of the dog leash to her. It was an extendable leash so I extended it out and threw it to Freda. She caught it after a few tries but I couldn't pull her out because her shoulders were at the water level. Eventually Freda managed to get part of her over the edge of the ice and I pulled her towards the shore. Steve Kayser, the neighbour, had run down to the lake at this time and picked Freda up and put her in the truck. I jumped in the truck and drove up to Freda's house, right over the front lawn and parked in front of the front door.

Freda's story

I took the dogs out after the christening for a play. Dear Emma was visiting the neighbour girls and saw me and the dogs and came out to say hi. A few minutes later, Tawny took off across the lake to chase some Canada Geese and fell through the ice. I could see she was scared and was going to need help to get out, so I asked Emma to go and get Mark and I started to go out to try to rescue Tawny. I was on my hands and knees to distribute my weight on the ice and I was doing well but then the ice broke and I fell into the water. That was cold. That was very cold. That was very very cold. That was very very very very very cold!!!! Then Colleen appeared with her stiletto boots but there were no ropes or sticks or anything. Then I saw the leash laying on the ice where I dropped it when I went onto my hands and knees. I told Colleen to extend it out and and throw it to me which she did. Eventually I was able to catch it but I couldn't get out of the water, even though Colleen was pulling because my shoulders were at the water level. Somehow I got partly out of the water and Colleen started pulling me across the ice towards the shore. I lost my mitten and I was so very cold. Steve Kayser picked me up and carried me to the front seat of Steve's new truck and plopped me in there, even though I was soaking wet. Colleen drove me up to the house and on the front lawn and helped me up into the house.

Those were the events of November 23, 2008 - three years ago. This is the photo of the lake on November 26, a few days later. You can read my original (very short) blog posting here.

Freda lost a mitten when she fell in, and it marks the place where she fell in -- this photo shows that location. You can also see the trail on the ice where Colleen dragged Freda to the shore.

These are the stories but these were all written by me (Mark). I do have notes that I made at the time, but I didn't have them with me as I wrote these stories, so there may be minor errors in detail.

Needless to say, I am forever grateful to Colleen and Emma for their part that day in pulling Freda out of the lake. If they hadn't been there, I dread to think what might have happened.

In 2009, I was reading some of the stories of the new winners of the Governor General's awards for Bravery. As I read those stories, I thought that I should look into nominating Colleen for her selfless actions that saved Freda's life. I submitted a nomination and am very glad to say that Colleen was informed that she will be the recipient of a Governor General Award for Bravery.

You can read about the October 2011 awards here.

* Apologies to Dick Wolf, the creator of Law & Order, for taking creative license with the introductory commentary to his show.

Thursday, October 27, 2011

Updates soon

Sorry, I haven't had time to post anything for quite a while. I will try to do something in the near future.

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Friday, August 19, 2011

Torrential train

We had torrential rain here today, for about 20 minutes. Look how much water is in the wheelbarrow! Wow!

Monday, August 15, 2011

Yummy pie and yummy dirt!

We bought this raspberry pie from the Metcalfe Bakery at a local deli. It was really good - lots of berries. It was light on the sugar so was a bit tart, but it made it perfect with ice cream! Yumm!

We had 4 cubic yards of garden soil delivered. 4 yds is the same price as 3 yds. We are making a bed for peonies here (for transplant) and also plan on top dressing the front lawn and the back lawn also.

Thursday, August 11, 2011

Pretty flowers

I love that bi-coloured gerbera!

Wednesday, August 03, 2011

Busy day

August 3rd was a busy day.

The guy came back from the tree service that we use with the stump grinder - a beast of a machine that grinds stumps.

This is what the front yard looks like with the stumps ground up.

The painter came also. This is his son sitting on the steps.

Do you like the new colour of our front door? The back door is the same colour.

Sunday, July 31, 2011

Morris Island Conservation Area

Om July 31st, we went to Morris Island Conservation area.

It is about 40 minutes from our house and is quiet and beautiful. And the dogs can swim there. We met four people and and saw four other people and four dogs.

The wind storm that blew through recently uprooted this tree. You can see that the root mass and the soil it was on was just sitting on top of this big rock.

Tawny really enjoyed her swimming.

It was a beautiful place to be on a hot Hot HOT summer day!

Playing with the neighbours

There was a dog in the neighbour's yard that was barking for hours. We took the dogs over to see why and saw that nobody was home and they had left the dog tied up to a tree. Although the dog was in the shade, it had got all tangled around the tree and it couldn't reach the water bowl. So we untangled the little dog so it could reach the water bowl, let Tawny and Taz play with it for a few minutes and then we continued on our walk.

Monday, July 25, 2011

Backyard panorama

This is a BEFORE panorama of our back yard taken with my iPhone using a free app called PhotoSynth from Microsoft. I expect that it uses the same photo stitching algorithm used in the ICE software (also from Microsoft) that I run on my PC.

Tawny was walking around, as you can tell because she's there and not there at the same time.

It looks like it was a hot day, but it was actually a perfect temperature with a nice light breeze. It was very hot in the sun, of course, so it was best to avoid the sun.

Friday, July 22, 2011

Too hot!

It have been very hot lately. Too hot, in my opinion, and the flowers don't like it either. This is a photo that I took back on July 7th. I am posting it now because it has been a while since I posted anything. Hope you like it.

Saturday, July 16, 2011

Air conditioner installation

I had to prepare the location for the air conditioner by building up the pad where the a/c unit will sit. I calculated that I needed almost a cubic yard of gravel, so I got four containers of 2 cubic feet of gravel.

Here is the air conditioner after installation.

Monday, July 04, 2011

Tree removal

Tree removal

We had a big maple tree in the back yard that we had to take down because it was too close to the power line. This is the before picture, obviously.

Partly cut down.

Cutting down the main part of the trunk.

Taking off a piece of the trunk.

Another action shot.

Just a pile of logs. Some friends came a few weeks later and picked up all the logs - it took two trips.

Now there is clear air where the wire is.

This is the stump grinder. The operator is driving the machine over to grind down another stump. We had about five stumps ground down.

This is the stump grinder in action. The machine had a little diesel engine that drove a hydraulic pump that spun the grinding blade as well as driving the wheels.

Sorry to see you go, Mr. Maple.

Sunday, June 26, 2011

More pretty flowers

Sorry I haven't updated the blog for a bit. I hope you enjoy these pretty flowers.

Most of these flower photos were taken on June 17th, 2011.

The roses are in the front flower bed, in front of the living room window.

These are the peonies in the back yard - that is a mock orange behind it that is rather overgrown.

We had a torrential rain storm on June 24th.

Friday, June 24, 2011

Accidental trap

No photo today, as you will understand why.

We had a lot of rain overnight on Wednesday night, but needed to water the plants under the house overhang. Freda picked up the half full watering can and then noticed that there was something in it. It was a chipmunk that had obviously gone into the watering can to get a drink, but then couldn't get out and drowned.

I used to leave the watering cans full so they were ready to use and won't blow around. I think I will either have to leave them very full or almost empty to avoid situations like this.

Sorry, little chipmunk!

Thursday, June 16, 2011

Beautiful roses!

June 14th, 2011

This rose bush has a profusion of these pretty yellow flowers.

A pretty bud! Next time I will have to make sure that my reflection is not in the picture! haha

June 16th, 2011

These roses seem to last a long time!

The white rose bud has popped open with all its gloriousness.

This was a bud yesterday and is now partly open.

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Peonies popped!

Wow - amazing what a difference one day can make!

These photos were all taken on June 14th.

This is the same peony as above, but the flower is a little bit younger. The pink seems to fade quickly in the sunlight.

The pink is so vibrant that it overwhelms the sensors in the digital camera. If I desaturate teh image so the flower looks normal then the foliage doesn't look right.

A view of the row of peonies beside the carport. All of these will have to be relocated or else they will die.

The beautiful white peony.

Monday, June 13, 2011

Birthday Peonies

These photos were all taken on June 13th, 2011. The title of this blog post is Birthday Peonies because June 13th was my dad's birthday, and his sister's birthday too!

We had a lot of rain and wind, and it resulted in these peonies getting mostly bent over.

The peonies are loaded with buds. It is nice to see that there a few varieties.

Snow white.

There are more of these deep pink ones than any other colour.