Friday, June 29, 2012

Photo-Finish Friday -- Tangle Falls

Between rain and the melting snowpack the water rushes off the mountains.

Tangle Falls, Jasper National Park.

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Never Do This. Ever. I'm Not Kidding. Don't.

Dear Blog Readers,

When you see a bear by the side of the road stay in your vehicle.
Take a few quick photos.

What not to do when you see a bear.

We see tourists get near bears this all the time, especially along the Icefields Parkway. It makes us shudder.
Years ago  at Mt. Robson we saw tourists all but posing with a bear that had wandered into the campground.
We tried to tell them to stay away, but they did not listen.
In fairness, most people live so far from nature and are so infected by the Disneyfication of the wild world they plain don't know better.
It is frustrating to try to set them straight, but we did try.
My husband will get out of the car for photos. I've done it myself.
Not practicing what I preach?
Glad you brought it up!
My husband is more familiar with the forest than most. He knows what to do, what not to do, and what to look for when with a wild animal.
So do I.
This bear was minding his own business and at no point did either of us try to get his attention, offer food, or molest him in any way. We kept a respectful distance and watched for any sign of agitation.We took a few pics and left.

This is with a good zoom lens. I am not stupid.
As for me, I commonly make sure there's someone else between the bear and me. Survival is paramount to all species.
It appalls me no end we've gotten so out of tune with the natural world that we think it's okay to approach wildlife. We even expect them to pose nice to us.
Later, when they get used to us and wander into a town, we kill them and tell ourselves it's their fault, not ours.
Take your pictures quickly and at a distance. If you get hurt I have no sympathy for you.
Wildlife has a right to protect itself.

 Aww, thanks, Hilary.

Monday, June 25, 2012

Gratitude Monday -- Standing Tall

This was a welcome sight. We don't see grain elevators much anymore, at least in Alberta. They used to be everywhere. Ever town, large and small, had an elevator or five. They stood tall and announced our pride in the land and what it gives us.

They've fallen out of favour over the years. They've been replaced, or outgrown, or are simply no longer needed here.
It is sad.

Iwas so pleased to see this tall guardian of the crops in St. Walburg, Saskatchewan, and for that I am grateful.

This was the first picture I took of the elevator. It's through the truck windshield and not very good, but I added it here for perspective. Grain elevators loom large over the prairie landscape and I wanted my readers to see it for themselves.

Thursday, June 21, 2012

Photo-Finish Friday --Making Their Fun

These Guatemalan children took advantage of a downpour in their village. When we drove by they were splashing in the running water and thoroughly enjoying themselves, except for the standing boy.

I regret the reflection from the bus window.
We went by slowly enough that when they saw the busload of snapping tourists they stood up and posed.

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Shameless Blog Plugging

I've been playing around with some of the blog pages lately. If you look across the top you'll see a some new links.
Under "Bunnies and Otherwise" I've got some stories posted and will be adding a few more. If that sort of thing appeals to you, then please have a gander at them.

"Wee Bits" is where I post excerpts from my works in progress. I've got one up so far with more on the way.

"Please Come In" has been around a while. It is my way of inviting you to see what I've done.

You're under no obligation to click on any of them and no salesman will call.

Make yourself comfortable.
Thank you for reading me.

Monday, June 18, 2012

Gratitude Monday -- County Creatures

I live close to the wilderness. It's being built up, torn down, clearcut, and drilled, but it is still there.
Going out for a drive usually means spotting someone or something from the bush or the air.
Last week we went on two long drives and were treated to wildlife during both.
The first one gave us this fine fellow.

He (or she) has an ear tag on the left. I'm not sure why. Mike suggested it was a problem bear. Whatever the reason for the tag, this black bear was minding its own business on a lovely June morning along the David Thompson Highway near the Banff Park border.

On Saturday we checked out the south end of the county. This glorious great gray owl was sitting on a fence post when we went by.  We backed up for a photo, but it wasn't having any of it and took off. This was the best I could do.

Later on along a back road we saw this woodchuck enjoying a moment of not chucking wood. 

I am so grateful to live in an area where I can see these creatures, and grateful that they've let me photograph them.

Thursday, June 14, 2012

Photo-Finish Friday -- My Back Yard

Along Highway 11 about a half hour east of the Banff National Park gate.

The Blue Canadian Rockies run through Clearwater County, the rural area around Rocky Mountain House.
When we go for drives out west we get to see sights like this.
I've seen them many times.
I've seen their many moods.
I hope to see them many times again.

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Leaving A Mark

We made a road trip to Jasper the other day. I was looking for pictures.
My intentions were to photograph bluebirds along the Kootenay Plains and goats along the Jasper-Banff Highway The bluebirds were most accommodating while the goats had other plans.
We saw other creatures as well, but what struck me was the human creatures. We need to leave a mark along our trails. So many of us are compelled to say were here, we exist, this is what we think.
We do it in our own way, but one of the more common ways is bathroom graffiti. I found these samples in an outhouse near Jasper. While many chose to etch their moments in the wood, I chose to take photos of it.
I hope they had fun. I'm sure it is a wonderful memory.

It appears Jeremy and Melissa appreciated their visit to the mountains.

Heather and Jay got married in Jasper in June of '09. There's also a note about a road trip in August of '08. I wonder if they liked the visit so much they decided to get married there?

Whatever else it was, it is a memory.
Several other messages were scratched or inked on the walls. Most were about the beauty of the area.
I would prefer there not be any messages, but that's unlikely to change.
At least they are good messages from happy people who've had the opportunity to get away from their routine for a look around at the beauty of the world.
Those I am happy to see.

Monday, June 11, 2012

Gratitude Monday -- Wrenters

The wren couple came back last week and are nesting.
They're the busiest in the early mornings though I see them collecting building materials throughout the day.
We have a bird house on the back deck near the clothes tree. They will often perch on the tree to assess the situation.
Eventually they get used to me and will bop around while I sit outside on the deck a scant few feet away.
We only have them for a few weeks, June - August, but for their visit I am grateful.

Friday, June 8, 2012

Photo-Finish Friday -- Prairie Sunset

Dying light at Brightsands Lake, Saskatchewan

Sunsets are beautiful wherever we go.
They change moment to moment making it difficult to decide which is the most compelling sight.
One time I might think the thinning rays of the sun giving a final warm touch to the lake or land is best. Another time it is a sinking sun not yet touching the horizon.
Yet another time is is this, the cool, last light after the sun is gone.

Wednesday, June 6, 2012

My Dough Unpricked

Spelt dough ready to rise.
Today is rainy and cool. The perfect day to bake. I decided to make pita bread and wondered what would happen if I ignored the step about pricking the dough before baking.
Thus intellectually engaged, I set about the mixing and kneading and all the other fun stuff.

It has risen.
Beaten back to submission and ready to roll.
Rolled in barley flour and unpricked. Let the rebellion begin.
Here they are, baked.
Pricked and baked for comparison.
A second batch baked unpricked and rolled smaller and thicker. The things I do for science.

They're all baked and resting comfortably in a towel. Some will be frozen while others will be served with tonight's turkey-corn soup.
What more could a flatbread ask?

Tuesday, June 5, 2012

Sound Advice

"Shut up and eat your heart attack in a bag."

--overheard at the movie theatre.


This made me laugh.
I have nothing to add.

Monday, June 4, 2012

Gratitude Monday --Tomatoes

Tomato-Onion Salad my way.

It's almost summer and that means tomatoes. Sure, it means a great many other things, but today it means locally grown, damned good tomatoes.
They're toothsome and firm without being veritable baseballs and they're packed with flavour. Hot house grown, they're allowed to ripen on the vine. I know this for a fact because years ago I did a story on the growers, Hilltop Berry Farm.

I am grateful for fresh produce and especially for tomatoes   as they go in salads and sandwiches and anything else one cares to try, and they are great on their own with a bit of salt.

This time of year I am especially grateful as I can make fresh pico de gallo or dishes like the one above. It's a South American Tomato Onion Salad to which I've added corn.
Chop equal amounts onion and tomatoes, add olive oil and red wine vinegar, salt, fresh chopped jalapeno or crushed chilies, and allow to chill for an hour. I throw in a cup or so of corn, and add black pepper and basil as well.

 It's tasty, refreshing, and healthy. For that, as well as tomatoes, I am grateful.

Friday, June 1, 2012

Photo-Finish Friday --Meanwhile, Back at the Pyramids

Egypt's Pyramids are a busy place. Tourists everywhere. Police officers watching from camelback  such as the gentleman in the foreground, and locals looking to make some quick cash off the guests.
One of the top scams going is to tell tourists they can sit on a camel for free.
Camel kneels.
Tourist gets on.
Camel stands up.
You want down?
We were warned about this so we were okay, but I suspect these men and their fair steeds make enough in a day to get by.
That aside, it is all part of the atmosphere.