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Mar 29, 2009

First time in Jamaica

Linda and I spent last week at Runaway Bay in Jamaica. Snorkelling and birdwatching were high on the list of things to do. High winds, all week, kept the snorkelling to a minimum, but I did add 11 birds to my life list, which now sits at 386. Jamaica is a lush, beautiful island. The food, music (reggae) and swimming were great. It doesn't take long to see that the Jamaican people live a hard life by our standards, but everyone seems to be trying their best to get by.
One of the hawkers, on a nearby beach, was an middle-age lady named Gloria. I paid her to sit down with Linda and I, for a few minutes in her little shack, and to briefly tell us her story. It was an eye-opener and I admired her determination to provide for a family of 10 children as a single-parent. It was the best 20 bucks I spent all week.
Two of the 11 'lifer' birds I saw were hummingbirds: the Jamaican Mango and the Vervain Hummingbird. The one hummingbird I especially hoped to see was the Streamer Tail, known locally as the 'Long-tailed Doctor Bird' and, by most estimations, the most spectacular West Indian hummingbird (see attached internet photo below). It's green and black body is only 4.25" long but it has two long, black, streamer feathers which emit a whirring sound in flight. It is the most abundant and widespread bird in Jamaica, and yet, I failed to see it. Oh well, it's just one of a number of reasons to re-visit this lovely island one day, hopefully.

Mar 14, 2009

Horsing around with grandkids

It was a beautiful spring day for Linda and me to take in the Schomberg Agricultural Society's 'David & Goliath' Farm Tour 2009, with our two oldest grandkids, William and Emondine. The 'David & Goliath' theme meant that we would see miniature horses up to giant draft horses. The kids had a great time and so did we. The photo at top, shows a mighty Belgian mare and her 4-day-old son, in a stable at Hugh Haven Farms, just north of Schomberg, in West Gwillimbury Township.
The Hughes farm has been in the family since 1828 (181 years)! They currently have 17 Belgians, including 2 stallions, and expect 6 more foals this year, in addition to the little (??) guy above. William and Emmy found a perch, on top of some hay bales, in the 159-year-old barn, to take in the proceedings. I love this time of year.

Mar 3, 2009

This week's haiku

Kleptomania's bad
But when it gets really bad
Take something for it