Friday, October 31, 2008

Happy New Year

It's Samhain tonight. The veil between the worlds is at its thinnest.
How you observe it, if you do at all, is entirely your business. I'll be setting an extra spot at the table and probably digging out my ouija board. I don't use it that often anymore, but I like to fire it up now and again.
We've also had the sense to stock up on fun-size chocolate bars and we've got some suckers to hand out, too. May as well cover both sides of the evening.
Whatever you do, I wish you well and hope you have fun at it. Happy New Year.
I took the photo a few weeks ago. I swear I see a tree couple in it and it looks for all the world like they're giving their kids a stern talking to, complete with branch - waving for emphasis.

Mom and Pop Poplar warn the saplings to be careful out in the woods tonight.

Thursday, October 30, 2008

Gates Night

WatchPuss is on the job.

Tonight is "Gates Night." It's a local tradition in which the trick portion of trick or treating is the focus.
It got its name in the years gone by when farm gates were opened so the livestock could get out.
On one such night in the early 1990s car windshields were egged. I was lucky enough to benefit from these antics. It snowed afterward so I didn't know it until I got in my car. It was very difficult to clean.
We've been lucky. Most years we've been left alone.
Anything can happen, of course, but with the neighbor's kitty visiting at random times and taking such a good security perch I think we'll be fine.

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

NightShade Express- The Movie

Last year I posted my recipe for Nightshade Casserole and I've had two requests about it again this Samhain season.
I consider it quite a compliment and I'm happy to link to it for your creating and eating pleasure.
But first, here's my movie about it. I didn't do a great job, but it's my first time playing with the program and I thought I'd have a bit of fun.

Because you've all been so kind and patient, here's the linky to the recipe


Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Squirrelly Nut-Nut

We put out peanuts and peanut butter for the birds in the winter. Woodpeckers love it, so do chickadees and nuthatches.
And so do squirrels. They have yet to score a nut from the feeder but still give it a go from time to time, irrespective of how frustrating it must be for them.
I suppose we should applaud the little guys for their determination.

Here's what happens when one tries:

I'm-Cute-For-A-Rodent features presents Squirrelly Nut-Nut in "I Give Up"

Meanwhile, it's new moon today. Don't give up on writing abundance cheques.

Monday, October 27, 2008

Gratitude Monday - 'Tis The Season

All Hallows Even will soon be up on us. Just a few more days until the veil between the worlds is at its thinnest.
Dig out the divination tools and set an extra place at the table Friday for guests from the Great Beyond. I've been observing Samhain for years and it has been wonderful.
I'm grateful for this chance to remember what the holiday really means and to know that even if it's for only one night of the year even the most skeptical of folk will at least try to get into the spirit.
I'm also grateful that this very thoughtful black kitty looked down on us from or shed recently to remind us of the sacred evening coming soon.

Friday, October 24, 2008

Wild Chickens

“A time to kill, and time to heal; a time to break down, a time to build up;”
(Ecclesiastes 3:3)

Farm kids learn some things quickly, if they’re paying any sort of attention at all. One of the things we learn is everything is cyclic. Granted, you don’t have to live on a farm to get that. Nature makes it pretty obvious.
But I’ll say that when your livelihood is at the mercy of the seasons, then you have a much tenderer understanding.
Certain aspects like the four seasons: planting, growing, harvesting, and chopping hole in the ice on water trough, are obvious.
Other cycles within nature take a bit more observing.
Some years are good for growing, others for hunting. Berries can be abundant one year and scarce the next.
Our farm was carved out of the bush. Wild critters loved it. Bears wandered through the yard, coyotes yowled on the edge of the forest, timber wolves loped by. Sometimes a cougar came for a calf, bunnies bounded by in the spring, and owls hooted through the cold February nights for a mate.
Dad hunted prairie chicken in the fall. He and I would go out at dusk and drive along the edge of the grain fields by the trees. Grouse, partridge, and spruce (or fool) hens came out of the trees then to peck for the grain that fell during harvest.
Dad would shoot a few in the head with the old family .22
and I’d go collect them. He tried to teach me to snap their heads off with a quick flick of the wrist. I was never able to do it.
He’d get enough for a meal or two. Chickens are small and tasty and there were four of us. He cleaned them and fried them for us too. Wild chicken and fish we his responsibilities.
When I was about nine or so we had a lot of wild chickens about in October. The following year we had even more.
My mom’s cousin and his wife came up to go hunting every year. The year I was 10, I think, he I were looking for chickens along the east barley fields and there were so many feeding that we could walk right up to them. He reached out and gave one a little nudge so it would fly away. He said he wanted to put some sport in it.
But then they dropped off.
Chicken populations don’t dwindle slowly. They peak one year and are gone the next.
Eventually they build back up. We used to say it was a seven year cycle. I have no way of knowing if that’s accurate, but let’s go with it. I like the sound of a seven- year cycle.
The wild chickens in the oil market peaked at about $140 a bbl earlier. This was the top of cycle. We’ve shot and eaten quite a few already.
Shouldn’t we leave some for breeding so the cycle can come back to the top?

Thursday, October 23, 2008

A Warm Reminder

High summer in the blue Canadian Rockies.

Summer's are short enough here, and they seem even shorter in the mountains.
Last week I noticed some fresh snow on the first peaks out west. It's not here yet, but it will be soon enough.

I write better when it's cold and dark so I am looking forward to that part of it. For now, I wanted to put up a warm summer photo to remember the living season by.

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

As Above, So Below

Fall has comes to Crimson Lake and to the rest of us.
The beauty and mood of the changing season is reflected in the clear, cold water.
The stillness of the day and the brisk air brings a peaceful clarity found only in this quieting season.

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Education, Not Legislation

Jasper townsite from Whistler's Mountain.

Sometimes you've got to step away and take an overview of the situation.

We’ve got some great laws here. In fact, in the years after the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms was proclaimed back in the 1980s, politicians made some spectacular hay with its provisions.
At least one Alberta MLA suggested that some groups (specifically gay people) had “too many rights.”
The saddest part was the applause she drew.
The way I see it, we’re on the right track if we’re upsetting conservatives.
That aside, among the freedoms guaranteed in the charter is that of speech.
Section 2.b sets it out as

“…freedom of thought, belief, opinion and expression, including freedom of the press and other media of communication;”

However, we also have this in the above-linked Charter:
“1. The Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms guarantees the rights and freedoms set out in it subject only to such reasonable limits prescribed by law as can be demonstrably justified in a free and democratic society.” (Bolding mine.)
Now that sounds pretty good. Most folk could do with being on a bit of a leash. After all, we’ve got to get along.
What it really means is anyone who puts up enough of a fuss can get a fundamental right kicked to the curb if doing so is alleged to be for the common good.
I can even be okay with that to a degree.
But here’s the galling part.
We have Hate Crime legislation here, and I have concluded this not a good thing.
I don’t approve of spreading hate. I would rather such awfulness didn’t exist, but it does. Making it a Criminal Code offence is not the way to rid ourselves of it.
I sure don’t want it encouraged, but making it a crime forces it underground, or makes the perpetrators of the crime lie about why it was committed.
Telling the truth gets things out in the open. More importantly,
letting people spew their hatred in public gets the real cause of the hate out in the open.
I believe the root cause of hate is fear.
Hiding feeds it.
Bring it out to the light and let it starve in the face of reason, truth, compassion, and reality.
When we’re afraid to speak out about our prejudices we whisper about them instead. Rumors go around those who perpetuate these myths are never confronted. They’re not taken to task. They are not given the chance to grow and change.
On occasion a hate-monger goes to trial and gets to be a martyr for his or her despicable belief structure. This feeds the whisper campaign even more.
Education, not a criminal record, is the best way to tackle the problem. We can’t force people to change their prejudices. We can only show them why they are wrong.
Among the problems we have is we’ve taken “equal” and equated it with “the same.”
This is wrong and stupid.
No one is the same as anyone else.
Hell, yes.
The same?
Hell, no.
Hatred stems from fearing our differences. Forcing hate down to a whisper stifles discussion and understanding in favor of rumors, half-truths, and blatant lies.
How are you ever going to know you’re wrong if you can’t make your mistakes in public without fear of going to jail for something you believe?

The above is a touchy subject.
The effects of spreading lies and hate, commonly violent acts, is already a crime.
But what do you think about spreading the lies and hate?
Should that be a crime, too?
I think it should be eradicated with education, not legislation. Laws do not change minds. If they did, then we would have long since eliminated drinking and driving, murder, and just about everything else.
What do you think?

Monday, October 20, 2008

Gratitude Monday – Someone Else’s Problem

Sometimes we're here for reasons other than our own.

Have you ever had to stop and think about gratitude and what there is to be grateful for? Did you ever set out to list all things, even one thing, for which you should be thankful, and drawn a complete blank?
Ask yourself: is it that I’ve got nothing to be grateful for, or is it because I’ve got too much?
The former is fundamentally absurd. The latter is, too.
Everyone had something to be thankful for, even if it is the simple fact of being alive. As long as you’re alive you’ve got the chance to change your life.
If you’ve got too much, then it’s all the more reason to say thanks because if you lose sight of that, then greed sets in.
We’ve all seen it. Misers who can’t bear to part with a penny. The rich who give nothing back to a world that’s given them more than they could ever use. These sad people have lost perspective.
Let’s forget about the rich and poor ends of the spectrum for now. Most of us are somewhere in the middle and can manage on what we have.
We are alive. We’re breathing, and very likely doing it all on our own. If not, then perhaps you’re using portable oxygen. Are your grateful such technology exists that allows you to keep on breathing?
Why not give that some thought. You can get about in some manner, I’ll assume you have friends and family and something to occupy your time each day whether it’s reading, talking, or your own thoughts. You can communicate and be entertained.
And even if you have no one, then you are still here and you have a chance to change the circumstances of your life. You’re being given every possible chance, by virtue of waking up in the morning, to do something.
Perhaps it’s not you, but someone in your personal circle who needs the chance to grow and change and that’s why you’re still here. That’s very thoughtful of you.
Someone close to you, be it an obvious closeness or not, can improve his or her life with your help. If that gets done now, then next time around the two of you will have one less thing to do.
And for that, why wouldn’t you be grateful?

Friday, October 17, 2008

I Suppose This Fits - Quiz.

You Are Easter

You are an optimistic, hopeful, and genuinely sweet person.
Sensitive and affectionate, you are easily touched.
You love nature, animals, and anything cute or cuddly.
For you, every day is a new chance - no matter what happened yesterday.

What makes you celebrate: Almost anything. You love most holidays and celebrations.

At holiday get togethers, you do best as: The peacemaker. You can prevent any squabbles that might break out.

On a holiday, you're the one most likely to: Remember to include everyone

What Holiday Are You?

Thanks, Missicat.

Thursday, October 16, 2008

Signs of Life

Green is still out there though less and less of it is apparent.
I've seen a few smaller fields of it here and there the past few days. It's kind of startling to see green against the dried yellows of fall.
This bit of rose bush stood out against the dead leaves on the ground at Crimson Lake on Sunday.
Good to see life hanging on as best it can for as long as it can.
Nature is a fighter. She's a good role model for us.

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Oooohh, Canada

Another federal election is behind us.
Let's take a quiet moment and reflect on what we've done.
Have we turned a corner, or simply gone 'round the bend?

ETA: We've got another Conservative minority, but a fatter one than last time. Harper has 144 seats, but needed 155 for a majority.
Conservatives have to bamboozle, seduce, and/or browbeat only nine other MPs in order to have their way with us.
We really haven't turned any corners, but neither have we gone around any bends.
It's business as usual until Harper smells more blood and figures out a way to dissolve the government and have another election before his four-year due date.

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Full Moon and Federal Election

Full Harvest Moon over the first range of hills in the West Country.

It's Election Day here in Canada and anything can happen. It could be a Conservative majority. It could be a Conservative minority in which case it'll fall in a year or so and we'll have another election.
Or it could be a Liberal win. A minority would mean the government will fall in a year or two and we'd have an election. A majority is unlikely but would bring stability.
Or it could be a Coalition government with the NDP and Liberals. That won't last long and we'll have another election.
Unless there's a majority win we're off to the polls in a few years instead of the four years entrenched in law by the Harper government and then broken.
I'm not sick of voting. I'm glad to do it. I think we ought to have an election every two years so we can turf the government out at our pleasure, not its, and if these minority governments keep getting in, then that wish just might come true.
There's a full moon today. Anything can happen.
Get out and vote. Give our leaders something to howl about.

Monday, October 13, 2008

Gratitude Monday - Truth in Advertising?

I’m glad I have a sense of humor. It helps me to see the funny side of things and that always makes for a better day.

I prefer to laugh with people rather than at them. The former is gentle and helps us to get along. The latter is small and mean-spirited. I still do it sometimes, but I know it’s wrong.

We went for a drive north of town yesterday and found this sign at the turnoff to a community hall:

I wonder how it went?

Friday, October 10, 2008

Clenching My Jaw For Democracy

These mountains along the David Thompson Highway are called Ex Coelis, "Out of the Clouds." They were named for the 1st Canadian Parachute Battalion of the 3rd Brigade of the British 6th Airborne Division. These men jumped out of an airplane into a war zone so we could vote. I wonder how they'd feel knowing so many of us don't care?

Tuesday we take another trip to the ballot box to select our federal representatives for another few years.
I’m glad to do it. Too many people fought and died so I could take a few minutes to let the government know what I think of it.
Voting is a privilege and an obligation. It offends me how many of us are too lazy and too apathetic to care how we are governed.
I’ve have written in the past about how voting ought to be mandatory. I’ve given it a second thought. I am forced to clench my jaws and admit that as reprehensible as this is within the right to vote is the right to not vote.
We ignore the ballot at our peril, but we are free to do so.
I say to the non-voter that your choice is wrong. Apathy gives us the leadership we deserve.
You think your vote doesn’t count? If 40 percent of voters turn out, then it means that 60 per cent of us didn’t.
If those 60 percent made their mark, then the election would have a different outcome.
Maybe the governing party would be the same, but it might have a stronger majority. Or maybe the Opposition would be stronger and better equipped to keep the governing party in line.
Voter apathy disgusts me. It’s a slap in face to every man, woman, and child affected by the wars that were fought to ensure our right to cast a ballot for whomever we please.
Do you think you’re taking a stand by not voting?
You are not.
If we had mandatory voting and you refused, then you’d be making a statement. I could muster up some grudging respect for you.
As it is, all you’re doing is exercising your right in a free country to ignore how your country is run. You take no interest in it; therefore you have no right to complain.
I want nothing to do with you.
Non-voters disgust me.
No matter what the choices are in the voting booth, there is a choice. This is a democracy. Here’s what democracy means. I think many of us have forgotten.
The current government brought in a law calling for fixed election dates. Prime Minister Stephen Harper broke his own law to hold this election. He argued Parliament was stymied due to the antics of the Opposition.
I think he smelled blood in the water and proceeded to ensure matters stalled so he could call this election and win a majority.
If he’s willing to break his own law with a minority government, what fun will he have with a majority?
On Tuesday I will set my jaw, hold my nose, gird my loins, and mark my ballot for the party that’ll do the least damage to my country.
What will you do?

Thursday, October 9, 2008

The Cycle Ends

The branches speak of the end of life while behind them soft-focus living leaves remind us rebirth waits in the background.

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

A Moment Please

Let's go down this road instead.

May I ask that we take a moment from our busy day, cast our eyes and minds outward and upward, and ask the Big Being of our choice that this remain a matter of history and not become a current event?

Tuesday, October 7, 2008



The mountains are our guardians of eternity, keeping watch over the plants and the soil. I like to think they’re keeping watch over us, too.

What can we do to repay them?

Monday, October 6, 2008

Gratitude Monday – Just One of Me

I am very grateful to say there’s only one of me about and Dog willing it’ll remain that way.
Back in August I sent a cheque along to the power company to pay the bill. I pay bills by cheque posted in the old way, via Canada Post, and I feel good doing it.
Time passed and I got the September bill which noted I still owed for August.
I called and made the power company check all their records. No trace of my payment.
In early September a postal worker in Edmonton, where my cheque went, was arrested for stealing mail.
Oh, goody.
My first thought was he had my cheque. That’s okay if he hadn’t opened it, but if he did, then he’d have my name, address, phone number, and legal signature.
But what if he didn’t steal it? Then where is it? Did someone else take it?
So I waited and tried not to worry and wondered if the daily mail would bring me a bill for, say, a new charge card already used to the hilt.
The amount of the cheque, less than $75, was nothing to worry about. Only the power co. could cash it so putting a stop payment on it wasn’t worth the $20 fee. And a stop payment doesn’t stop anyone from stealing personal info.
Then last Wednesday I got my bank statement and there was the cheque. It looks like the power co. got it the day after I spoke with them.
I’ve got a credit now with the power company— I confirmed this would be the case if the cheque showed up-and my identity is, to the best of my knowledge, my own.
I’m out a bit of pocket change for late payment charge on the power bill.
I do not care.

Friday, October 3, 2008

Against the Sky

A fleeting moment of golden autumn, captured.

It's a much better day.
I've caught up on many things and even managed to bake an apple pie in honour of the season.
Time was found for writing this morning.
I am no longer railing against the sky.

Wednesday, October 1, 2008

Quiet Moment

The monument at Abraham Lake.

I need a quiet moment.
The vegetables need attention and errands must be run. The days are shorter of light and I think they’re even shorter of hours.
Writing has been shunted to the side for the past few days. That’s not good.
Quiet moments for meditation are scarce, too. I thought if I did a post with a quiet, meditative photo in it, then it would serve both purposes.
What do you think?