This popped up on Stingray Music station I am listening to, and I was certain someone was now employing cats to do data entry:
DuckDuckGo helped me find this fantastic person, iskwē, who has a new album, acākosīk, coming out in November. Her website helpfully explains that “she has adopted Standard Roman Orthography to write her name.” Seems the line over some of the letters in her name and album title are called a macron, but in Shaw Direct’s system, the macron just works to make the letter under it disappear. Too bad we can’t manage to honour Indigenous artists by at least being able to use their preferred spelling.
When we first moved into our house in 2002, and for a few years after, we were lucky to get 5 or 6 trick or treaters on Halloween, mostly neighbours and cousins. Our 1,000 foot lane is often muddy this time of year, and children in the country have to be driven from house to house, so you go where you are taken!
One Halloween in the mid-2000s, I was doing the morning milking with my friend and neighbour, Jonathan, at his uncle’s dairy farm, and we were comparing notes about how many children we were expecting that night. Jonathan lives less than a kilometre from our house and he was getting 20 and 30 kids a year! His secret wasn’t much of a secret: better treats!
So, we upped our game, and the numbers started to rise. By 2010, we had moved into the double digits, and last year we had 20! I love watching the tiny shy toddlers turning into teenagers taller than me. I beg them to keep coming back even after they can drive!
The most heart warming, and perhaps surprising thing in this world of stranger danger and store-bought everything, is that every child who has been here on this rainy, windy evening has been looking forward to one thing only: my mother’s homemade sugar cookies. She baked and decorated five dozen cookies this year, with two-packs to give out tonight, and the leftovers will go to her church Sunday School this weekend.
Her 97-year-old hands don’t work as well as they once did, and she is never really pleased with the decorating job, but she says a prayer as she works that each child who receives them will live in peace and happiness. Nothing I can buy at a store will ever compare to this, and she will be remembered by children born in this decade long into the late part of this century as that nice lady who made the cookies on Halloween.
The great minds at The Ocean Cleanup have been secretly working on a companion project that was revealed this evening in Rotterdam, The Interceptor. The reveal video on their YouTube channel shows the system already at work in Malaysia and Indonesia. I wonder if some of that plastic will make it into Dave Hakken’s open source Precious Plastic machines?
My friend, Peter, spent election day stopping a phone scammer, knocking on endless doors, and watching a ballot count as Canada peacefully elected its 44rd federal parliament yesterday. His excellent storytelling turned what I had always imagined to be a thankless job seem like fun.
Hummingbird season here was May 12 to September 19. I still think of them making their way south after their first big task of crossing the Northumberland Strait in one go. I’ve read they end up in Mexico or Costa Rica for the winter, then make their way back here, year after year.
We used small feeders that stuck to our windows with suction cups for a few years, but switched to larger ones as the little ones needed daily refilling. The year after we switched, a couple of hummingbirds flew to each of the three locations where the smaller feeders had been the previous year, clearly showing that they were returning friends.
I joined Bumble Bee Watch in August after hearing Victoria MacPhail on CBC PEI encouraging Islanders to submit sightings. My guesses as to which bees I was seeing were way off, so I loved having my sightings confirmed by an expert (Victoria herself!). So far, I’ve recorded these two lovelies:
I bought swamp milkweed seeds from Hope Seeds in 2016 and planted them in a few spots on our property. Last year they finally flowered, and this year we had our first monarch butterfly caterpillars!
I found one chrysalis, and it was fine for a few days, but I think a chicken also discovered it and gave it a peck, so that was that. Our milkweed patches are not large enough and that meant some caterpillars could’t get enough to eat, so I’ll plant more next year. Happily, I did see two monarchs, a male and a female, which is two more than I remember seeing in many years. I hope to register with Monarch Watch in the future.
In August, as I puttered in the garden, I heard what I thought was a hummingbird, and then this bizarre beast buzzed by. It’s a hummingbird moth, and it was hard to figure out at first if I was looking at an insect or a bird, which made it a bit creepy in a fascinating way! I’ve never seen one before, so perhaps my semi-wilding experiment is working…maybe too well!
Stoic Week 2019 begins tomorrow, and it’s not too late to sign up. It’s a free program and I’ve taken part for the last few years.
I enjoy all the readings and self-reflection that are built into the program, and I think I am generally happier because of it. I know that I like myself much more as I age, and this is due in no small part to not trying to control every situation, which is sort of Stoicism 101:
“One of the main strategies that runs through both Stoicism and this handbook is that of distinguishing between things that are under your control and things that are not. The Stoics believed that this takes training to do well but that it’s the key to self-discipline and overcoming emotional disturbances. Maintaining this distinction between what is and isn’t under your control requires continual attention to your own thoughts and judgements. We can describe this as a kind of ‘mindfulness’ practice. You’ll build upon this foundation by exploring different Stoic concepts and techniques each day throughout the course of the week.” Excerpt From: Modern Stoicism. “Stoic Week 2019 Handbook”. Apple Books.
My life as a carer means I need to also take care of myself, but that’s not something I or most other carers do well. Stoic Week is a short burst of study and practice that helps me build resilience and critical thinking. Tell Seneca I sent you.
Just found notes I made while we waited for our power to be restored after Post-Tropical Storm Dorian (PTSD, which is what I had for a bit!). September flew by in a series of post-summer board meetings, keeping me from posting, so I shall post this post-haste!
Power out from Saturday, September 7, 17:10 to Friday, September 13, 20:30.
Internet outages: Saturday, September 7 ,17:10 to Tuesday, September 10 19:15, and Wednesday, September 11 09:00-20:00.
I missed the Internet more than electricity.
Our average electricity costs to this point in 2019 is $3.84/24-hour-day or 16 cents an hour. We ran our generator for a total 30 hours for those six days and we used 40 litres of gasoline, so that works out to .75 litres/hour. At a cost of $1.14/litre, our generator cost was about 85 cents/hour or (if we had run the generator 24 hours a day) $20.40 a day. Electricity is a really great deal!
Plug-in carbon monoxide detectors with replaceable 9v battery backups are cheaper to purchase, but they eat batteries like crazy, so I will replace these units with a type with a 10-year non-replaceable battery.
A chainsaw with a dull chain is almost worse that not having a chainsaw at all.
After 15 years of faithfully putting on chainsaw chaps, even when I’m just doing a quick job, I found out they work incredibly well (see little white cut in photo below).
Rainfall amounts Saturday, September 7 = 76 mm, Sunday, September 8 = 26 mm
Asparagus ferns are the only wind-proof residents of my vegetable garden, even though they look the most fragile. Dahlias and sunflowers collapsed in the first hour of the high winds, even though they look the strongest. Lesson there to be more flexible in challenging conditions.
It’s still very dark outside when all the orange and bright white street lights that have been plonked in the middle of the country are doused.
A landline will not always work, despite the promises. This was a big surprise after hearing the message for years that retaining a landline in addition to a mobile telephone is important in case of emergencies as it will always work.
Landline outage: Sunday, September 8 from approximately 09:30-14:00; Monday, September 9 from at least 05:30-14:30; Tuesday, September 10 from at least 05:00 – 10:45.
Chicken eggs laid during outage = 24 (no electricity necessary!)
Canadian Tire in Summerside sold an emergency order of 70 generators that arrived on the morning of September 9 by noon that day. Centennial Honda only had three chainsaws left on September 10, and were out of many parts. To make a fortune, corner the generator and chainsaw market before storms.
CBC Maritime Noon should always be 2 hours, just like it used to be.
Media people, including power company spokespeople, say “check our website for more information” a lot. It’s a reflex now, and one I don’t usually notice, except when I can’t access the Internet. Internet-connected devices and service are not affordable by everyone, nor can everyone navigate a computer, so they are left behind even when the power is on.
Never seen before: round bale of straw floating down the river, bleach bottle that blew into our yard from somewhere.
Injuries = 0. Trees on house = 0. Trees on power line to house = 1 huge spruce, still very much alive. Trees down in our forest = a lot more than at any other time in my lifetime, possibly because much of our forest grew up after the 1960 forest fire and isn’t that diverse (a lot of white spruce, poplar, and white birch). What looks to us like a big mess is the forest canopy opening up naturally to allow the next generation to thrive.
I thought very little about the current US president, nor anything else, really. The world kept turning, I just worried about feeding my family, getting water, cleaning up the mess in the yard.