Monday, June 27, 2011

A Collection of Bears

White Onyx bear carved by request of the last full
class I taught in 1985 as a farewell gift . This is the bear that started it all .

Alabaster bear carved by Metis friend.

Coast Salish carving of grizzly bear and salmon

An Anishinabe friend made this birchbark basket
which she covered with porcupine quill work and edged
in sweetgrass as a gift to our home .
 I really love carvings and cultural representation of bears . I thought I would show our little collection.

A young Inuit Artist carved this polar bear using a local greenstone . He was new to carving and has taken up the art for which his people are well known .

This  polar bear pin is a carving in walrus bone from Nunavut . I wear it in winter .(Inuit)

This is a very small carving done by my great nephew from a chip of red pipestone when he was four years old . It is my most treasured bear and the tiniest . (Mohawk)

There are more around the house which I will gather and photograph sometime in the future for your viewing pleasure - I hope .

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Half Way to Winter

Mr.D's birthday is half way to the shortest day of the year and the official start of winter in these parts . Right now we've passed the shortest night and are 30 seconds closer .

But today , it is summer . Family , friends and co-workers took a moment from their busy lives to be sure Mr. D. felt their good wishes . And he did .

Monday, June 20, 2011

Blame It On God

The thunder and lightning has scared the centre of every human from the very beginnings of human time . Who 's to blame ?  Well God of course !

Zeus (aka Jupiter)
Science name a few

Saturday, June 18, 2011

Thursday, June 16, 2011

Lightening Bugs aka Fireflies aka Fairies will teach you about many fascinating things .

Natural Fireworks

Last week , after a few days of high heat with high humidity , a huge thunderstorm system passed through our area . The winds and intense rains put out the electricity for almost 24 hours .

This proved to have a positive outcome . Besides the humidity and temperature abating somewhat , it was a perfect set of circumstances for the best light show nature can produce . Warm evening. High humidity. No electric lights. No electronic distraction . Remnants of a thunder system slowly moving through . Quiet ( of man-made sound ).

As soon as darkness set in , the heat lightning that flashes from cloud to cloud became clearly visible . Thunder was gentle and distant , a soothing ballad about the storm that was .
 Slowly at first , the little blinks ........

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Hudson Bay Blankets

Remmington an illustrator for Harper's weekly of New York
did this illustration for Nov.1888 issue. He did the article
'Antoines Mooseyard' about Mattawa two years later . In that
article there is a self portrait of the artist in a capote(blanket coat)
made from a Hudson Bay Point Blanket . The blanket came from the
HBC post in Mattawa at that time .
The Hudson Bay Company was given all lands that were drained by rivers and their tributaries into Hudson Bay , by Charles II of England in 1670. This was done arbitrarily with no discussion or treaty with Aboriginal Nations who lived on that land. They simply became another resource as was the beaver and other fur bearing animals in Canada .

Sunday, June 12, 2011

Salty Water Taffy Experiment Concluded

June 11- The syrup hardened. Occasional ant patrol . Ants are walking over the surface now . By early evening , many ants working on dike . Weather must be changing as I have learned previously in this experiment .

Friday, June 10, 2011

Peony Nursemaids

 Three feet south of the science experiment is one of the peony bushes that was planted by the original owner of my home in 1955 . It is a delicate pink almost white , old-fashioned peony .

Each year when I see the hard green buds swell with potential flowers , I thank life for ants .  Every bud ball getting constant monitoring for size by scout ants . When the balls reach about one inch in diameter , a group of worker ants are called to service .
The ball becomes a globe of activity with ants carefully feeding- or should I more realistically say 'processing'- each seam of overlaping cover leaves . I used to think that they were eating my flowers but examination revealed absolutely no damage to the plant itself .

What I did discover was that they were actually dissolving the sticky seal that keeps the flower-to-be encased in protection until the right time . The ants know that time . The signal is unknown to me . They carefully remove the sealant which allows the densely packed blossom to explode from the capsule . Ants work on the blossom until every leaf edge is clean . During the heat of midday , the plant is swarming with ants collectively working on every bud . Without them , the flowers would fail to free themselves . I would surely suffer for the lack of beautiful , fragrant peonies scenting  the tiny zephyrs that pass through my open windows .

Ants Abandon Task

  • June 10-
  • Only one ant patrolling perimetre of salt water taffy syrup . Sryup sticky from humidity but drying in the sun . 
  • Dike well sealed . Wind does not move any part . Patrol ant occasionally places a grain of sand into a miniscule space . The only thing that will change this picture is water . I've promised myself not to get a bucket of water to clean the spot and sweep away the dike that saved Ant City . Relying totally on nature for this one . I will see it through.
  • Thinking the 'eating' that ants were doing during the panic was more processing than eating . The processed taffy was used as mortar for the dike . Perhaps the taffy that ended up in the hole was used to solidify sand tunnels where collapses are common observes husband ( He's involved again.)...I am not going to rip apart the front step to find out .

Thursday, June 9, 2011

Sci-ants Experiment Continued

  • Click on each photo to enlarge.
  • June 8 -12:00pm
  • Oppressive heat and high humidity have put ants into frenzied activity. Eaters are arranged on northeast side of blob. Most ants are shoring up the slope to ant hole with stones . Frantic . Something is up. Spotters ants are examining the streams on the west very carefully . Hm-mmm?
  • 12:30 pm- Ants in eating position along edge from south east to west . Few spotters ants(engineers-management?) watching west side . Consuming in full operation.

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Experiment In Opportunity

Sci-ants at work , more like it .

To see how long it takes for a half-chewed piece of candy to disappear off the front step of your house.


  • one piece of Salt Water Taffy of unpopular flavour
  • one front step
  • one inconsiderate,self-absorbed teenage boy
  • ant hill in close proximity
  • one curious 8 year old from next door
  • one warning sign
  • weather
  • time