Dec 27, 2007
Dec 24, 2007
Dec 6, 2007
Dec 3, 2007
Dec 2, 2007
I walked the main trail and boardwalk at Cold Creek Forest & Wildlife Area this morning. Everything was covered with 5" of new snow and quite pretty (see photo below). The other photo, below, was taken just two months ago in approximately the same spot. What a contrast! I saw a Pileated Woodpecker at Cold Creek, but no deer, unfortunately. Lots of fresh tracks... but no deer. The operation of Cold Creek has recently been taken over by The Township of King, from The Toronto Region Conservation Authority. King Township has made several long-needed improvements already but it appears now that several kilometres of mountain bike trails are to be introduced, for which I have grave reservations. I see a fight looming if this goes ahead. Stay tuned
Nov 9, 2007
Nov 8, 2007
Oct 21, 2007
Oct 12, 2007
Oct 5, 2007
Have a great Thanksgiving. BtheB
Oct 2, 2007
Sep 21, 2007
Sep 8, 2007
Linda and I revisited Kettleby Fair for the first time in many, many years today. The weather was perfect, everybody and his or her brother were there, and Linda and I arrived just as the parade was starting. We walked into Kettleby alongside the Newmarket Citizens Band and it felt like we were marchers too. Great fun!Walking through Kettleby is like stepping through a time-warp. The hamlet is a throw-back to the 1800s. We met old friends and new (see my new buddy in the photo above). Linda and I agreed it would have been twice as much fun if we had had our grandchildren with us. We'll take them next year when they'll both be just over 2 years...perfect. The picture below was taken from the footbridge above the Kettleby Creek which runs through the wonderful little Tyrwhitt Park. There were kids using the rope swing all day during the fair. It reminded Linda and me of our childhoods. We ended the day by going out for Thai food which was great. What a neat day. Hope you had one also. BtheB
Aug 28, 2007
Aug 12, 2007
Today, I was out in my garden, standing near some tall Obedient Plants, when I suddenly saw, on the flowers, something I'd never seen before. It was a large, green-backed flying insect, with rapidly beating wings, which was flitting from flower to flower, just like a humming bird, gathering nectar. I called Linda to come and see my discovery. We stood bewildered. We able to get to very close to it even though it was constantly on the move. It was smaller than a hummingbird - but not by much.
I had told Linda about Auralee's sighting earlier in the week and now concluded that we were seeing the same amazing creature. After a minute or so, it flew off leaving us very puzzled. I told Linda I would try to find something about it on the Internet. I typed in "Hummingbird Insect". Shazam!!! There it was: Hummingbird Clearwing Moth. Who knew? Well, lots of people, it seems. The Hummingbird Clearwing Moth (Hermaris thysbe) is fairly common in eastern Canada and the U.S.A., during the summer months. It is a day-flying, nectar-sipping moth with a 2" wingspan, a green furry back, and burgundy wing scales, suggesting a Ruby-throated Hummingbird. It has two antennae plus a long curling probocis to suck nectar. This moth is frequently mistaken for 'baby' or 'little' hummingbirds. If you see one, and if you're like me, for a moment you'll hardly believe your eyes. I just love moments like this, when my aged, tired, skeptical self is treated to a hitherto undiscovered wonder of nature.
Aug 8, 2007
Jul 2, 2007
Jun 24, 2007
Ndidi Onukwulu and Madagasgar Slim, on the KingFest Main Stage, warmed up festival-goers with a blues set, prior to Sarah Harmer and Bruce Cockburn. The highlight of Sarah Harmer's set occured when she invited folks to dance, while she was performing a romantic waltz number called "Oleander". A couple down in front stood up to dance but the guy dropped to one knee, held out a ring box and proposed to his lady. They got one of the biggest ovations of the evening.
Jun 8, 2007
May 25, 2007
May 13, 2007
(1.) a number of people from the Prime Minister's Office were at the door to inform me I had been qualified as a Stephan Harper resembler! Not literally, of course, but more figuratively. In the PM's ongoing attempt to make a break-through with the Canadian voter, his acolytes at my door had been told that: (a.) I stood up to pee; (b.) I knew that Canadian Forces had introduced hockey to Afghanastan; (c.) I had declined to be a franchisee for a new chain of coffee shops in Kandahar, called Afghan Stan's, which was to complete directly with Tim Horton's. I knew I would feign interest as long as there was a possibility of them giving me one of those cool Stephan Harper safari vests, for free, before telling them to take a hike.
(2). the annual spring-time team of teenage door-to-door marketers had arrived to save me, for another five years, from paying outrageously high gas prices to heat my home. They always have a huge clipboard with important records about me, none of which point out that I am not connected to the gas main. When this fails to dissuade them, I immediately point out that my home is one the lucky few, situated on the Oak Ridges Moraine, that is heated geo-thermally with hot water and steam from beneath the earth. I say it is free, requires no maintenance and has no odour. Some start to laugh, but I stay perfectly calm and in control. Others...their eyes glaze over. Some are speechless. I always thank them profusely while shutting the door.
(3.) Lastly, 'all the devils of hell' could mean that my grandchildren have arrived for a visit.
I only have two grandchildren and they're both barely a year old, but I don't think you can start too early to impress them with how important they are to you. I therefore resolve, from this day forward, to greet their arrival, each and every time, with a wicked, but loving, "Tis all the devils of hell come for a visit".
What Linda was referring to, when she made her pronouncement about the devils of hell visiting, was our collective health. She's just getting over some surgery and I've had a brush with pneumonia. Hacking, coughing and sneezing has kept me from the grandkids for a week now and I desperately, desperately, miss them.
May 6, 2007
Does it manifest only
When acted upon?
May 2, 2007
Crooked Little House Luncheon ~ May, 2007
Today was one of those occasions when former members of an old and noble social club, called the Crooked Little House, met for their spring luncheon at King Henry's Arms Pub in Aurora, Ontario. I took the opportunity of asking some of the Crooked Little House members, who also happened to be groomsmen at my wedding to Linda 40 years ago, to pose with me for an 'after' picture. Pictured immediately above, left to right, are Ted Bird, me (BarrytheBirder), Donald 'Doc' Gordon, and John Dew. In the top photo we are pictured, in the same order, in 1967. Migawd!...where did those years go? I may look and feel like Methuselah on many days, but I sure don't act like I'm 969 years old when I lunch with these and the other Crooked Little House guys. What a hoot! I laughed until it hurt.
Apr 29, 2007
Apr 27, 2007
Yet I am walking about
Amazing no one
Apr 21, 2007
Apr 15, 2007
Apr 10, 2007
I couldn't resist emailing Dreamscapes Editor, Donna Vieira, to ask her for an exact definition of a 'penile colony'. I anticipated Donna's informed reply, by offering her my own suggestions. Perhaps a penile colony was: (A) a Viagra testing ground, (B) a gay male commune, or (C) a prison for male sex offenders. I praised her good work and told her to "keep it up".
I received Ms. Vieira's reply a mere 15 minutes later. She had received my email in the spirit with which I had intended. She commented on the unfortunate error regarding the misspelling of 'penal', the magazine's high standards in striving for excellence, and how four pairs of eye's proof every issue of Dreamscapes. She also thanked me for my light-hearted approach and encouragement.
Apparently, a correction has been made to the website versions of the article, thanks to my alertness in spotting the spelling mistake. Too bad, as I feel guilty now for denying other readers the chance to discover this delightful typo.
Here's hoping you have a bright spot in your day also. Please comment if you wish.
Apr 9, 2007
Those Yankees seek him everywhere.
Is he in heaven? Is he in hell?
That damned, Osama Pimpernel."
-- with apologies to Baroness Emmuska Orczy and her character Sir Percy Blakeney
Canada's real reason for being in Afghanistan is to find Osama Bin Laden and hand his sorry ass over to George Bush and his buddies Cheney and Rove. Never mind that the U.S.'s rapacious imperialism brought on 9-11, or that it inexplicably didn't happen much earlier than it did. Canada is paying a price now, with its soldiers' blood, because of those unwitting Canadians who were blind-sided in the twin-towers tragedy. The U.S. was doing the job, of chasing Osama around the mountains of Afghanistan, pretty well I thought, until George diverted himself onto the Iraq side-track. Forget the rhetoric about our improving the lot of Afghans. We're way ahead of ourselves - and the Afghans. They are not ready to be 'saved' yet.
Our major contribution to Afghanistan, so far, has been to improve the country's infrastructure which in turn vastly improves and protects the growing of poppies and the production of heroin. This part of the Afghan economy is booming and helping the Taliban cause greatly. And the reward for Canada? There is none. And George Bush will forget us the day he walks out of the White House for the last time.
How long will we be there? Not when my one-year-old grandson turns 19, I hope, and preferably not long enough for one more 20-year-old, innocent Canadian to get blown to smithereens.
Please comment if you wish.
Apr 6, 2007
Please comment if you wish. BarrytheBirder
Apr 3, 2007
While I was there, I took the opportunity to put numbers on 12 new birdboxes and re-erect one birdhouse that had fallen to the ground last fall, when an old fence post toppled over. There are now 45 birdboxes at Cold Creek awaiting the spring migration. Last year every box was occupied, mostly by Tree Swallows and House Wrens, but also by a pair of bluebirds. Hopefully the bluebird count will increase this year.
The beauty of bluebirds is exceeded only by their instinctive intrepidity to get to nest sites on the breeding grounds early. Their delicate blue appearance seems to belie their ability to withstand cold, wet, early spring weather. The truth is that their first brood of babies often succumb to the elements, but later broods succeed. Nature often demands fearlessness from all of its creatures and doesn't make exceptions, not even for its prettiest jewels, such as the Eastern Bluebird.
Anyone attending Cold Creek Day on Sat., June 9th, may get to see one of these feathered treasures...details at www.coldcreekca.ca.
Mar 27, 2007
Seneca College's King Campus will, for the first time, be hosting the 3rd Annual Kingfest Music Festival on June 23 and 24. Word is spreading that a 3rd day will be added to the outdoor weekend event. Headliners include Bruce Cockburn and Prairie Oyster. It will be a homecoming for Prairie Oyster founders, Keith Glass and Russ De Carle, who are King City natives. My younger brother Bob played and sang with Keith and Russ in their early days as the Humber Creek Boys and the King City Slickers. Kingfest will no doubt attract hundreds, perhaps thousands, who will get to see, for the first time, the former Eaton Family estate, which has become under the auspices of Seneca College, an ever-increasing ecological gem in King Township.
Please comment if you wish.
It was sunny and 18degreesC. today. In a few weeks, I'll be looking for the return of a pair of Ospreys (Fish Hawks, as oldtimers call them) over Lake Jonda. They nest on a very tall, large, metal light standard in the main Seneca parking lot, and do their fishing in the adjacent lake, which is full of Carp. In a few weeks, the Carp also will be thrashing about in the shallows of Lake Jonda, in response to the mating urge.
So plentiful and tame are the Carp, that my daughters, years ago when they were small children, would hand-feed scraps of bread and popcorn to the big fat fish from the shore of the lake...great fun! Below, left, are Wood Ducks and on the right is a Ring-necked Duck (Internet photos -not mine, unfortunately).
Well, I had a really nice day, today. I sincerely hope you did too.
Mar 23, 2007
Maybe you've noticed my photo, to the right of this piece. I shaved off my beard this week. I could say it was spring-cleaning, or I lost a bet, or my wife hates beards, but actually, I had promised my wife recently that I would try to mend my wicked ways and to prove I was sincere, I shaved off my beard as an act of good faith. I only draw your attention to the new photo, so that if we bump into each other in the street, you won't mistake me for some panhandler looking for change.
Please comment if you wish.
Mar 21, 2007
Mar 20, 2007
Mar 16, 2007
I got lucky a short time ago when I discovered a branch of my wife's family that goes back 20 generations to the early 1400s. The ancient ancestor was named Richard Kingsnorth and he lived from 1434 to 1494. He was also known as Richard of Pluckley. Pluckley is a small village in Kent, England.
Now that I've almost finished my family history book, I've decided I should do some bonfide genealogy research so that I have some claim to credibility. I just hope the facts don't get in the way of a good story.