Saturday, December 24, 2011

Frozen S*** Happens

After a complete melt down of my old (15 busy years) computer , I am back. At least until I can get my files transferred over . That's the trick. A new system to learn as well. Not liking it so far.

So until all is set , organized and learned there will be no photos for now.

But here is a Canadian 'folk' poem  that I could not resist sharing with you.  The information on where to find it will follow.

It's winter in Canada!
And the gentle breezes blow,
Seventy kilometres an hour
At thirty-five below.

Oh, how I love Canada,
When the snow's up to your butt.
You take a breath of winter,
And your nose gets frozen shut.

Yes, the weather here is wonderful,
So I guess I'll hang around.
I could never leave Canada.
I'm frozen to the bloody ground.

This poem was taken from the Facebook page called " Shit Happens " from The Entertainer . My apologies to the sensitive. This may not be the page for you. It contains adult ( yes, that is questionable) and at times vulgar ( that is not questionable) humour . Occasionally , there is a little gem like this poem found among the debris. If you can keep the bile down visit the page, if only to read the info page . It explains it all.

Caution: Do not 'LIKE' the page if you don't want to be haunted forever.

Wednesday, December 14, 2011


I just could not resist posting this video from a friend from facebook .

This doesn't look like one of the seven deadly sins to me.

They will be featured on Animal Planet on December 17. I am watching.

Monday, December 12, 2011

An Early Winter Classic

Gordon Lightfoot , a Canadian singer and songwriter for close to 50 years. often captured historical events in folk ballad form. This one gives a sense of the power of Lake Superior as the winter winds begin to churn the water...and man is caught in its grasp.

As winter closes in, this powerful lake has a great effect on the weather. So do all the Great Lakes. The combination of the five lakes can be felt at all times of the year , but the winter is most spectacular in form.

ice volcano

Another formation seen on Lake Michigan are ice volcanoes caused by wave activity breaking through the ice pack at the edge of the lake. Cones form and increase in size over time. Some have been measured up to 15 or more feet in height. Amazing!

Ice balls in Lake Michigan

I have been thinking about how ice will begin to form on lakes and rivers now that the weather is getting cold. Depending on the conditions ice can give you the opportunity to see some spectacular forms. Frazil ice is rolled by strong winds into balls and washed up on shore.

Sunday, December 11, 2011

Far North and Winter

I follow two blogs from two people living in the far north of Canada. Now there is where one can really experience winter.

Ron Wassink is a photographer living in Iqualuit , Nunavut in the north east of Canada. He presents the most excellent photos and interesting glimpses into life in the Arctic.

Drop by at :

Karen McColl is a freelance writer who has lived in many locations around the world. Right now she is posting great photos and stories from Fort Simpson , North West Territories in Canada.  She spends a great deal of time outside in the cold giving readers a taste of life way up north where winter is long and beautiful.

Go exploring in the far reaches of Canada . Enjoy.

Thursday, December 8, 2011

Winter Blahs: The Canadian Encyclopedia

I thought you might like to check in with the Canadian Encyclopedia Blog for a little look at winter reaction from other Canadians besides me.

TCE Blog

Winter Blahs

But there is much more than winter in Canada. Have a look around the site.

Saturday, December 3, 2011

She's Alive... Beautiful... Finite... Hurting... Worth Dying for.

Thank you Bob and Barb at their Springfield Plateau Blog for sharing this find. I hope everyone takes the time to view and do.

Monday, November 28, 2011

Twelve Days in a Year: Weather Prediction

It is widely known that Canadians are always concerned...some say obsessed... with the weather . Why not ?! We have a lot of it.  This post may confirm that opinion.

You may have heard of the Twelve Days of Christmas . But golden rings, calling birds and the upper class cavorting in splendor have little to do with weather prediction.

The Twelve Days of Christmas are not the shopping days prior to the Day of gift giving. I am referring to the 12 days from Christmas Day (12:00am) until Little Christmas (12:00am)- December 25 until January 6 . The ancients of folklore used these days to determine planting , hunting and fishing times for the coming year.

For purists who want to leave religion and celebrations out of things , and probably more to right , start those twelve days at a natural beginning to the new year - The Winter Solstice , December 22. It is the shortest day ( mostly night ) . From that point on , the seconds and minutes of sunlight begin to increase. There are only a few minutes difference between Dec.22 and 25.

More than likely, the really,really ancient used that point in time . As is often the case , religion co-opted ancient ceremonies and habits to their own use.

Whichever you choose...for whatever reason.., have your brand new calender ready to record some observations. Each of the twelve days corresponds to one month of the year. 1st day=January; 2nd day =February etc. Simply write what you see happening at the head of each month page during each of the predictor days.

What you can do is compare to what is normal. Feel free to consult the weather person or website for your area if you don't have records for the past. Tut , tut ! Doesn't everyone have these? ;)

Record the weather every day: temperatures , precipitation and any outstanding conditions. If you are ambitious, divide each day into four parts to determine when during the month , temperature/precipitation changes will occur: 12:00am-6:00am; 6:00am-12:00pm; 12:00pm-6:00pm; 6:00pm-11:59pm.
The weather department will tell you what you missed while you were sleeping.

A little comparison of these more detailed observations might prove interesting in relationship to the full moon - another ancient time monitor for living schedules.

Have some fun with it. Get your family/friends involved . Remember that this will be very specific to your area. Weather persons and almanacs talk of broader regions . They can't get as close up and personal as the Twelve Days where you live.

Next year , after you have tested the accuracy of this prediction method , come back to this post and leave us a comment .

Sunday, November 27, 2011

What I Have Been Told About This Winter

As I explained in the post " It Came At Last " The first full snow fall , not dustings or flurries that never reach the ground , were used to predict winter.

Ours stayed on the ground for two and a half days before it was taken by unusually warm temperatures. That means , if folklore is correct , that we will have only two major winter storms this winter. Warmer temperatures will prevail.

The Woolly Bears around here this year had very wide brown stripes. That should mean very a mild winter compared to the norm.

This past summer the hornet nests were built as high as 8-10 feet from the ground. That is supposed to indicate a mild winter with plenty of deep snow.

I really don't put too much stock in that predictor .Hornet/wasps in these parts have been long gone or died in the first cold snap. They are not even around here in the cold months so are more likely building for the weather while they are living in the nest.

I guess only time will tell who is right  ...or wrong. We'll have to wait for the bear to turn ...or for the February groundhog -to find out for sure.

Saturday, November 26, 2011

Woolly Bears

Since my Dad showed me the woolly bear- a popular name for the caterpillar of the Isabella Moth- or pyrrharctia isabella- , it has always been my predictor for the winter ahead.

The early fall is full of woolly bears . That's a good thing when you want a hint of the coming winter. Is it coincidence that there is a hint of 'arctic' in its name ? I don't really know for sure . But it seems so.

The prediction , as folklore would have us believe, is in the brown stripe around its middle. I thought only a few people used this delightful little creature to divine winter foresight . I was wrong...which isn't too unusual. Thanks to the Internet , I found out that there is a Woolly Bear Festival in Vermilion, Ohio, USA celebrating this fuzzy little caterpillar .

What they celebrate most is the pre-warning it gives about the winter ahead .They even have an official chart explaining how to read that stripe.

Give it a try with the woolly bears you see around your area.

Warning! Please examine the stripe before touching the caterpillar for an accurate reading. You know he will curl into a tight little ball and stretch that brown stripe a little wider. That won't make winter any milder. Ha ha!

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

It Came at Last

I slept in this morning a little. All was quiet when I awoke ... just muffled sounds of distant , very light traffic . It came at last. I jumped from bed and threw open the curtains. Our first snow. Everything was covered and it was still falling.
Still in my flannelet PJ's - which by the way happened to be printed with polar bears- I threw on my winter coat and slipped on my husband's winter gum boots.

Just as I have always done for who knows how many years , I needed to put my footprints in the fresh , new snow. There is something about being first.

It felt so good to press my mark into the First Snow . And it was perfect first snow . Thick , heavy and slightly wet.

How many kids today would be rolling their first snowman ?...or having their first snowball fight? ...or building their first snow fort in anticipation of future battles ?

Of course I wasn't the first one out as I had slept in .The usual morning sounds weren't there to get me out of bed. The alarm clock didn't penetrate the deep sleep of winter that I was in.

While I filled the bird feeder with seed , one chickadee appeared immediately . From the tree just inches away ,it chipped out an excited greeting .
I am sure it said " Where have you been? Don't you know that everything is covered and I couldn't find seed easily this morning? Thank you." I imagine that I speak chickadee very well.
I knew that the blue jays would be hot on their heels as they keep close watch on little birds who have that knack for finding a stash first.

I knew there was plenty of food still around the yard to feed ever-hungry birds .

 But , it is an annual thing with me to share a feast of celebration for the first snow with the birds that are so delightful to watch during the long months of winter.

When I walked around to the front of the house a reminder that winter would be long ,stood silently in the driveway.

How much snow would fall this winter and how often would we have to shovel?

The answer was laying on the ground. You see , the special thing about the first snow is that it will tell you how bad/good the snowfall will be during the winter. A predictor.

The first snow usually never stays long . Temperatures warm up and it melts away.

How long it remains on the ground is a vital clue . Each day counts as one full storm - the big storms that change life.

One day= one huge storm ; two days= two huge storms ...and so on.

If it doesn't leave , keep the snowshoes handy.
If the rain takes it away , the winter will be mild and wet. No winter fun for you.
 Yes , some of you are probably right. There are few scientific studies that lift folklore into the realm of perfect accuracy. But I'll take 80 % and any 'heads up' that I can get.

I am curious , what are your winter predictors that help you get ready for the long haul?

Is it the wasp nests?

...or the woolly bears?

Thursday, November 17, 2011

It Makes My Heart Ache

November 17 and the snows made an appearance . A little later this year than the norm . Climate change is definitely being felt as old patterns are disrupted more and more.

Finally , snow flurried around the skies today as the temperature dropped to near freezing during the afternoon where I currently live. It dusted things for a while but didn't cover the ground. In my book , that doesn't count as 'The First Snow' .

It must stay on the ground for at least a day.

It must collect deep enough to cover the ground.

It must be wet enough to roll the year's first snowman.

It must supply enough ammunition for the first snowball battle.

It must muffle the sounds of a busy world.

Alas , we didn't get The First Snow today but we did see the potential for it to happen very soon .

 However , just a few hours northeast of me , they got their First Snow.

Lenny Mannela took this beautiful picture of Herridge Lake this morning.

It captures that feeling that only this moment can give.

The powerful silence that descends over everything . My heart aches to be there...standing , watching and listening to all things living being quiet. No birds flying and calling. No movement on the water. No wind waking the world. Just that peace as the world accepts the blanket of snow and the change it brings.

Thank you Lenny for letting me share this photo.

For those not familiar with the coniferous forests in the north , as the weather cools and days shorten , the trees lose the green-ness and turn dark in colour. Under the blanket of snow ,the trees appear almost black. The dark waters of northern lakes become mirrors . Since this is an overcast day , there is no blue sky to reflect so the scene appears to be in black and white. Truly a breathtaking sight.

Amazing Nature: Frost Flowers

While I was viewing blogs I follow this morning , trying to catch up from my long absences , I came across this gem.

 Frost Flowers is about ice ribbons. Does that tempt your curiosity?

I had never seen or heard of such a thing. I wonder how many of you have.

Check out Bob and Barb's Blog : Springfield Plateau for a view of this amazing curiosity and great pics.

Their website

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

This is what moose do in the summer occasionally. Thanks to the Ice Cream Lady's photo , wee get to see it too.

Not a bit of damage to the pool...amazing!

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

A Fall and Hungry Visitor

Just moments ago this end of season visitor landed on the window ledge. Posing perfectly as only a Praying Mantis can. I wonder what he/she is praying ( since pickings are slim right now )...or warmth ( since it is a little cool for moving around ).

We know that this mantis religiosa is probably a female as most males have been eaten by their mate by this time of year.

We know that they are predators of opportunity and will grab anything that comes within range of their claws. Take a look at one or two of the videos in the video bar to get a sense of this hunter. 

Monday, October 17, 2011

Autumn Busy-ness

The world here is rapidly attending to preparations for the coming winter . So far , these major events have happened around my house.

- The robins gathered two weeks ago in the backyard . Close to 30 were frantically scouring for worms brought to the surface by recent rains. Among them, I'm sure, were the new ones who hatched outside my computer room window. The next day , there was not a robin in sight. Well , I'll look for them in early spring .

- The annual starling flock landed this past weekend. So impressive is a flock of several hundred birds that my teenager stopped to take a picture on his cell phone. I see these birds twice a year usually in such large numbers...when they gather to leave in October...and when they return in May.

- Over the last two weeks , Canada Geese have been gathering in harvested corn fields gobbling down corn kernels voraciously to fuel up for the long journey ahead .Occasionally , a small group will take to the air , anxious to move to the instinct that calls them south. But these well begun attempts end in a flurry of confusion above the field. And the over-anxious young land again to wait. A leader is what's needed .
 Each day , the grounded flocks become larger . It reminds me of an airport . All gathering at the correct gate to wait for the right departure time. I hope that when it happens this year , I will be on hand to view the first flock that forms up . When it leaves , it will start a determined take off of individual flocks from the field. Within minutes , the field will be empty. The geese will be gone. Then I will reassemble my winter bed . And there , I'll wait until the waterways free themselves of winter ice to welcome the geese back in April.

- Eighty percent of the leaves have fallen from the hardwood trees. Still the white poplars hold on ...and the sugar maples in all their orange glory. Come March , I'll be there to drink the first water that rises in the Maples and begin the syruping as winter creeps away.

- Then there is the deer mouse , who always manages to find the trail into my home left by past generations. One that I never manage to find. There is only one visitor each fall . I am waiting to nab him early and release him in enough time to find a bed outside for the winter. I am saying 'he' in optimistic fantasy.

- The ladybugs have swarmed. Not the Japanese species that was introduced 15 years ago to support local agriculture. I only see them during the summer. These are the paler orange , native species . Every year , they swarm in the last hot days before the north winds take over . Last week when ladybugs covered the front of my house ,I knew these sunny over-20C-hours were the last traces of summer .

Now I wait for two more things. The killing frost that wipes away all thoughts of green . And the final flight of the whiteflies that rise from the ground for their last hoorah , the day before the snow-that-stays.

Meanwhile I have a lot of work to do. Time to initiate my vacuum-and-release ladybug program. There are 37 on the livingroom ceiling.

Friday, September 30, 2011

Campaign for The Land that Gives Life: Pimachiowin Aki: A Proposed UNESC...

Fly Over the Boreal Forest of Manitoba-Ontario: A Proposed UNESCO World ...

If you look on a map of Canada and locate Manitoba ; then find the largest lake which is named Lake Winnipeg ; and follow the eastern shore going north ; you will find the Poplar River . Where the river empties into Lake Winnipeg , there is a small Ojibwe community of about 1500 people .

My very dear friend , Sophia , who visited us for a week along with her husband Ray during the Spencerville Fair , comes from Poplar River , Manitoba.

I can't begin to explain how valuable this woman is to her people , community and the land from which she comes. I do know how precious she is to me as only few people can nest so gently in my heart.

I am so proud of this woman for standing up for the Land- the Boreal Forest- the traditional territory of her people.

She is internationally known as a 2007 recipient ( one of six) of the Goldman Environmental Prize that is given to "Grassroots Environmental Heroes".

She was inducted into the Order of Manitoba in 2008.

She was chosen to be spokesperson for the Pimachiowin Aki World Heritage Project . Five communities from Manitoba and Northwestern Ontario are working to create a UNESCO World Hertitage Site straddling the Manitoba and Ontario borders. This area includes the traditional territory of the five First Nations below:
1 Bloodvein River
2 Little Grand Rapids
3 Pauingassi
4 Pikangikum (Ontario)
5 Poplar River

It is their hope to preserve and protect their land so it can continue to give life to future generations.

Drop by their website. It is a pleasure to explore and holds a wealth of information to share.

Thursday, September 22, 2011

Now You See Him- Now You Don't

We rarely see moose as full silhouette.
Usually only a portion is backlit.

Unless you see an eye reflection in the distance
you may not have the contrast needed to recognize
a moose easily...even with headlights.
More often than not , all you see are legs on the road
for a brief moment.

The Last Day of Summer

Today is officially the last day of summer in these parts of the world. It promises to leave with a day of rain and thunderstorms...a grand exit.

Tomorrow at 5:00am , the first official day of Fall begins. It promises to be sunny , mostly clear and room temperature. Perfect weather to be outside enjoying the new sky , new light , new clouds , new air ...the second most wonderful time of year in my opinion.

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Signs of Moose

All roads in Canada pass through Moose country. Watch for the signs. They come in all shapes and sizes.                                 

                                     Moose come in only one size...

                        HUGE !

Remember: Moose can't read . They cross wherever they want .


My brother tangled with a moose a few years ago .

It is his destiny never to forget or be allowed to forget just what it can mean to hit an immensely , huge animal .

caps of all sorts

t-shirts of all sorts

He bought a camp on a northern lake , fully furnished . This was on the wall.

He entered his name in a draw for one of several pieces of art on the table. This is the one he won.

I added another to his growing collection. This is it.

What most reminds him to watch for moose can be seen in the car photo. The steering wheel is folded down onto the dash of the car . His hands were pinned under the moose who ended up sitting on top of his hands. A year of physical therapy saved his career where fine muscle control is essential .

The moose was not as lucky.

For your sake and the moose's , observe the roadsides carefully when you drive the roads of moose country.

Transport narrowly misses hitting a giant moose on the highway

This gives you an indication just how quickly a moose can be in front of your vehicle. A truck driver has a higher clearer view than a car ...and this is daylight hours. Moose are virtually invisible at night . Pay attention on the roads of moose country.

A Great Big Moose In The Middle of The Road

This moose is viewed from the front seat of a car. It gives you some perspective as to just how big these herbivores are. More about moose later.

Friday, September 16, 2011

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

All About the Fair

Friday at the fair is Kids Day. A way for every one of the children to have the opportunity to explore their community in a different way . The schools empty out in the afternoon.

" We're going to the fair!" is on the air.

A juggler attracts some fans...
Pull up a bale of hay and sit yourself down. Enjoy the show!

156 years ago , at the first fair , this steam tractor was showing it's power ...A Modern Age.

There is all kinds of food to contemplate. Mm-mm! Not the type of food we're allowed to eat at home. " But it's only once a year!"

I'm in for ribs.

Then a stop and wash.
 Okay ! It's all fun and games for the next two days.