Tuesday, 17 August 2010

Inner Turmoil

Yesterday I had the misfortune to be confronted with a scene outside my own front door which I knew at some point was likely but nonetheless it upset me deeply.  I had been for coffee at my new neighbor's house and was returning home just as the guys across the street returned from a hunting trip.  In the back of their truck lay a black bear.  My eyes were drawn to the pitiful corpse and instantly averted.  I rushed indoors, and to be totally honest, I thought my heart would break.  Now please, don't for one minute think I am going to be one of those 'townies' who move to the countryside and then complain about the noises and smells of the cattle, or the fox hunting or any other country pursuit and demand it be stopped.  Neither am I in the business of passing judgement on the people who hunt.

What it did do was cause me to reflect and question many things, and at this point in time, I haven't been able to reach much of a conclusion.  There are so many sides of the argument.  In the past hunting was a way of life.  Our First Nation peoples hunted to survive.  No part of the animal was wasted.  It provided food and the skins were traded to make a living or provided clothing.  The people gave thanks to their God in the belief that the animal had sacrificed itself so that they might survive.  Indeed, many hunters today still eat the meat and use the skin.  But I have to question is that a good reason, given that they can go to a supermarket and buy their food?  Is it really a sporting trophy justified by the fact that the meat is eaten? And therein lies another question.  The meat in the supermarket roamed the earth as a living creature, just as the bear did.  So is it any different?  Have I chosen to forget that fact because it is convenient to do so?

I have to confess that I am a meat eater and generally I don't question where it comes from. Does that make me a hypocrite?  If so, should I put my money where my mouth is and stop eating meat? The sight of that poor bear was so painful for me. Perhaps it was knowing that the bear had been deliberately enticed with food each day for a week prior to the hunt, taking his mind off the game. Or because it was actually quite a small bear, possibly a juvenile. I since learned that the bear in question was shot a few miles away from the trap but that hasn't made me feel differently. Perhaps it is that I associate them with childhood comfort and sentimentality?  Although I feel the same when I see whales being culled and I certainly never had a cuddly whale.  Is it just that they are such big magnificent creatures I am in awe of them?

Having spent the last evening and most of today deliberating I still cannot reconcile my feelings on this.  My conclusion thus far is that whilst my spiritual beliefs lead me not to judge the hunters in anyway, there is a very powerful feeling deep within my soul that morns the death of these magnificent animals. A small voice screaming out for their salvation. In the meantime I can only try to have an attitude of of Live and Let Live toward those who hunt in the hope that someday they, in turn, may adopt the same attitude toward the bear and other animals in the forest.

For anyone who has read my previous post and seen this picture before, please be tolerant. I make no apology for posting the same photograph as I feel it is a fitting tribute and something I just had to do.

Saturday, 14 August 2010

I have the nicest friends

Today I went along to the post office to collect the mail as usual.  I had been waiting for some much needed ink pens to arrive and they had come yesterday so I really wasn't expecting to find much in the box today.  To my surprise there was a card in my box telling me there was a parcel behind the desk. Sure enough a brown package from the UK had arrived!  I instantly recognised the handwriting as my best friend Jan's. I had a few groceries to pick up so I tucked it in my bag and decided to open it when I got home.

Well! As soon as I got in the door I just had to open it, thankfully there was nothing for the freezer because if there had been it certainly would have wasted!  In the parcel was the September issue of Woman and Home, a tin of watercolor Pencils and a pad of watercolor paper with a little note that read "something to read and something to do until your stuff arrives".  I really do have the best 'best friend'. Jan has this wonderful gift of knowing just what to get, or do, or say just when it's needed the most. So Jan 'Thank you'. For the surprise parcel and for being my best friend.

This evening I experimented with the goodies.  I copied a sketch that I had done a few nights ago but gave it color using the pencils and my new ink pens.  The design inspiration was a mixture of a memory of a mirror my mum had hanging at the bottom of the stairs when I was small. I don't know what bought that to mind but it just sort of popped into my head the other day and ended up on paper! The choice of color was inspired by a painting called Tropical Fun produced by my good friend Lorrie Whittington who has been, and will continue to be, my mentor in all things arty and techy!

Wednesday, 11 August 2010

If you go down to the woods today...

or the good old Landfill! 

Yes Lovely Man, as good as his word, was up with the sparrows this morning. By 8.30 he was out there, digging and weeding!  By 2 p.m. we had a car full of garden waste just begging to be taken to the landfill.  So off we went camera at the ready.  As we approached the site we passed the Garbage Collection Vehicle on it's way back downtown.  Lovely Man looked pleased with himself.  "There" he said "I bet there'll be bears today. Guaranteed! Do I pick a good time or do I pick a good time?"  And he wasn't wrong.  As we turned into the site there were five bears that we could see, all having a fabulous time picking over the latest delivery of goodies.  We parked up and dumped our rubbish and drove back down to the entrance, parking in a suitable place to get some pictures.  By this time unfortunately most of them had disappeared all except for this one.  Obviously had his fill and just needed a wee rest.  He just looked so gorgeous sitting there!

Tuesday, 10 August 2010

A project completed...

Well, almost!  The last three days have been SO hot we have migrated to the basement!  And that is not a bad thing because we have finished, all but the skirting, the family room! YAY!

Now all we need to do is paint the far end, put together the desks, fix the ceiling and we will have an office/workshop.  This is where my TWO, yes I have TWO, sewing machines will live and hopefully when my things arrive I will be able to make lovely bags and hand-made photo albums/journals!  We also have a small woodwork room down here too, and I have plans to make garden furniture if I can get the hang of this sawing business!  I could, of course, get Lovely Man involved in a joint venture but I probably need to work on that one.  I am determined to be my own boss and work from home!

I wish I could be more entertaining today but we haven't really  had any exciting adventures this weekend, hard to believe I know.  However it is garbage day tomorrow.  Lovely Man has set the alarm for 6 a.m.  He says if we get up early and do some gardening before it gets hot we can go to the landfill again and with it being garbage day there's sure to be a few bears about!

Friday, 6 August 2010

It's a different language!

Just a short post today as we are busy gardening and laying laminate flooring (if Lovely Man ever gets back from across the street).  He's gone to borrow a spanner which usually takes at least half an hour as it usually comes with a free bottle of beer!  Anyway I've been meaning to share something that really did tickle my sense of humour.  I've really been doing my best to speak the language over here.  You know the sort of thing.  You say "boot" we say "Trunk", you say "bonnet" we say "hood" and so on. Well the other day I bought a pork joint already marinated and ready to cook. When I checked the instructions I couldn't help but laugh. They read:- Set the oven at 425 F, place the pork in a roast pan, cook for 15 minutes and then reduce the oven to 375 F.  Cook for a further 50 minutes or until cooked to the required doneness! 

Thursday, 5 August 2010

We're going on a bear hunt....

We're going to catch a big one. We're Not scared!  My nephew, Daniel, simply loves this book.  I wonder what he would make of this!  

After a relaxing morning making Strawberry Jam we decided to take some garden rubbish and the debris from Lovely Man's excavations in the basement to the landfill.  Just as we emptied the last bucket of rubble and turned to get in the car we realised we had company!  I'm not sure whether bears can climb 5ft high chain fencing but I know they climb trees.  Anyhow he looked somewhat disappointed when he saw we only had old grass cuttings and lumps of cement.  He gave us a rather disdainful look and plonked himself down for a rest.  Thinking we'd got off quite lightly for having the nerve to turn up at the picnic site with such unappetizing contributions we thought it best to get in the car!

Wednesday, 4 August 2010

Sorry couldn't resist

I know that you're probably all bored with Chipmunk pictures.  Move onto something else for God's Sake!  But I apologise I just had to post these two pics of Stumpy and I promise I'll try hard to find something else to waffle on about for a few days!  So yes this is Stumpy.  He has found a place in both our hearts.  He comes every day and now is happy to climb all over us.  His confidence in us means that he no longer feels the need to snatch our offerings sometime nipping our fingers by mistake.  He also lets us stroke him.  Just so cute.  Chippie it seems may have, unfortunately, met his demise. He hasn't been around for at least 4-5 days and I'm told there was a hawk spotted in the vicinity preying on smaller birds and mammals.  Having said that I am hopeful that this may not be the case as Stumpy did lie low for a couple of days and we started to worry but he's back now and boy do we know it.  I'm sure he knows our voices because even if we visit a neighbour he appears and follows us patiently waiting for a peanut, which by the way I now have in my pocket ready.

Come to think of it how dumb!  Of course I have something else to waffle on about!  Last night, around 11pm, Jim from across the street hammered on our door to tell us he could see the Northern Lights in the sky!  Now, I have always been fascinated by this and have wanted to see them for myself for so long.  People told me we may see them from here but I was not convinced, I thought we'd have to go further North to the Yukon or somewhere.  But no, there they were right above our back yard!  Well that was it, no bed for me!  We started out on the deck in the dark until Lovely Man said "Do you think this is wise? It's so dark we'd never see a bear coming"  no sooner said than done.  We were inside, lights out peering from the bedroom window!  and there I stayed until well past 1 a.m.  Every now and then I'd do the "OH WOW!" thing.  Like you do at a firework display, which really upset Lovely Man who, by this time, had given up and was trying to go to sleep!  But it was truly awesome!  Remember there is nothing but forest for absolutely MILES out the back of our house and yet there was so much light coming from behind the mountain you'd swear there was a town full of street lamps there.  And when the shafts of coloured light appeared and moved it was like all the animals in the forest had been given huge flashlights which they were pointing towards the heavens.  The Cree call it Dance of the Spirits, they believe that when the aurora happens the spirits dance and light the way to the heavens. Apparently they are forecast again tonight. I just wish I was better at night photography so I could get some photos!

Below is a picture of Lovely Man, proud 'Dad" sharing a nut or two!

Proud Dad with Stumpy

Tuesday, 3 August 2010

Another new visitor

Well what a productive day!  It started early, for a change, with my clattering around in the kitchen at 7 a.m. trying to get a batch of jam made before it got too hot.  I bought several pints of raspberries and strawberries locally at a good price and decided to try my hand a making cooked Jam.  However, it has been SO hot (30 degrees in the shade) I have been unable to face slaving over a hot pan but I was concerned that my lovely berries would go moldy before too long.  And so that in mind I trundled off to bed by about 10 p.m. and set the alarm for 7!  It all started off quite well except I was just one cup of raspberries short.  So as the doors of the local supermarket opened I was in like a shot.  Eventually by about eleven I was very hot and slightly concerned that a section of my non stick pan seemed to be minus it's non stick coating!  But I did have five large jars of jam and so that made it all worthwhile, hopefully any grey bits in it can be passed off as pips!

Feeling very contented with the morning's work I made a cup of my favorite Tim Horton's French Vanilla Coffee, grabbed a couple of chocolate chips cookies, my journal and camera and headed for the garden.  Immediately one of the chipmunks from next door was at my feet.  After feeding him I settled to write my journal.  This didn't suit him at all and he proceeded to sit on my lap, get on the table, sit on my journal - anything to get my attention!  So journal abandoned I set the camera up on top of an empty ice cream tub which serves as a monopod (my tripod being still somewhere mid Atlantic), and waited.  Sure enough a loud humming noise and there she was.  At least I think this is the female as, although she has a red chest it's not as bright as it should be.  Either that or this is a very subtle male!  I think I made need to brush up on my bird knowledge!

Sunday, 1 August 2010

Lovely Man disappears!

This is the corner of the basement where the oil tank lives, along with the furnace, washer and dryer.  When we moved in the heating engineer informed us that as the concrete floor was broken and uneven under the oil tank it could not be certified.  Without this we would not be able to get any oil for the coming winter!  So this weekend he arrived emptied the tank and moved it out of the way.

Now lovely Man thought all his christmas's had come at once!  Within minutes of the engineer's departure he was off like a shot next door to his new found friend Marcel.  Marcel is a bit of hit on account of his workshop full of super duper tools which Lovely Man covets passionately!  There was then a flurry of activity and they both disappeared into the basement with a big machine.  Marcel then retired to a safe distance - back nextdoor- leaving L.M. to get on.  For the next two hours or so the whole house shook and the noise that rattled around was quite deafening.  No wonder Marcel took off, I was starting to wish I'd done the same!

At last the noise stopped so I ventured down stairs.  The whole of the basement appeared to be in a fog, everything was covered in white cement dust and you could hardly breath.  I turned the corner into the laundry/furnace room.  Now please picture if you will.....there in the corner under the stairs sat Lovely Man, wearing a full face mask, covered in cement dust, wielding an air-chisel beaming from ear to ear!  He looked a bit like one of the people who cover themselves in silver paint or chalk and stand on a box in the high street pretending to be a statue! He said now he knew what is was like to be down't pit with nothing but dust, a shovel and a bare light bulb!

Anyway the next day he disappeared again, this time with a bucket, trowel and three bags of cement.  He got twice as dirty but still wore a grin like a cheshire cat!  And the basement floor?  It's now as good as new, the engineer is coming back to put the tank back midweek and we will be assured of a warm house this winter!