As much as we wanted to travel West to see the total eclipse of the sun it did not quite pan out as we had hoped. A few obstacles presented themselves and then a last-minute 1600 km drive to Nebraska was just too far. Cloud cover did not look good for going too far South either so we decided to stay home and treat our fellow Perthites to a view through the solar scope. Mike’s friend InQ came to help out and they had a great small local crowd.
There was even some nice announcements from the local radio station Lake 88.1
Lots of cell phone shots through the eyepieces and line ups to look! Thanks Pamela Shivak for the solar sunglasses they were a huge hit and so nice to give them out for free!
There were a lot of ooh’s and aah’s going on! Great set of sunspots in the middle, as well as flares and beautiful prominences on the top right! Wonderful time with friends!
Summertime, it conjures up all kinds of images but my favourite is the sun setting lakeside. Sometimes I just glance out the trailer window marveling at the colours and clouds, other times, inspired I grab the camera and run to the water…the moments of colour changing can be spectacular.
Here for a few moments, and then slowly fading to grey. It has been a wet summer. Besieged by thunderstorms most afternoons the forest has been dripping water for weeks. Last year, a drought, this year a deluge. The lake is so high water is starting to cover the docks.
The forest here by Otty Lake is a mix of pines, and cypress, as you get further from the water, maple, ash and birch predominate. The thick layers of leaves on the forest floor are covered with new mushrooms every day! From black coral like formations to bright red Witches Hats and spotted Amanita Muscari as well. Slime molds, delicate little 3/4″ high mini mushrooms and strange plants I’ve never seen before continue to intrigue me as we walk and explore.
I feel for the farmers trying to get their hay cut and dried, so much of it rained on with the seemingly daily shows of thunder and lightning. The fields are soaked, some never dried from the Spring and have been left unplanted. The frogs and snakes are happy though:) We have a daily visitor to the long grass growing in the water by the lake. A beautiful Northern Water Snake stalks frogs, swimming from water-logged branch to branch with usually only his/her head poking up. Beautiful tan/brown colour with red chevrons running down it’s back. It is fascinating to watch snakes swim! A small Eastern Garter Snake has made an appearance as well. At the water’s edge the Leopard frogs leap in when we walk by, I think I’m helping the snake every now and then. Groot has decided that frog hunting could become a hobby so has started to stalk them. I thought they might not taste very good but have seen him delicately carry the about before they leap away when he sets them down.
I’ve been searching for fawns and made Mike come to a screeching, almost, halt and turn around as I caught several out of the corner of my eye but they bounded across the grass and back into the woods with their white tails flying like flags. They’re out there, I’ll be patient! Near Peterborough and the Warsaw Caves we found an amazing baby Porcupine, it glanced down on us uncaring, Mom was in a branch higher up. What a delight to stumble across these creatures.
Last night, it got cool, not that hot humid summer feel, which some say hasn’t come yet but there was just a hint of Fall in the air as the temperatures dropped to the 50’s for you farenheit folks, 14°C for the rest of us. The morning air was cool and I pulled the blanket up. I like these days. I’m not the biggest fan of the hot humid days when the deer flies are eating you alive, I’m waiting for the trees to turn and when a bonfire feels good.
The hordes of damsel and dragonflies continue to provide another source of amusement for Groot. He has stopped eating them thankfully after a few lurps, those beating wings did not agree with his stomach! The varieties seem to differ from back in the hay fields to down at the water’s edge.
I feel like I may finally be getting my hummingbird photography mojo back. A female Ruby Throated has taken over the feeder, chasing away even the nearby Chickadees. I’ve missed my hordes of hummingbirds, but next year there will be flowers planted for them, and herbs in the garden as well as lettuce and tomatoes, a new summer home base in the works:)
The regular cast and crew of birds have been present. Watching the juvenile Red Breasted Nuthatches and Chickadees is always a great form of amusement, youth and bravery, they don’t seem to mind me when the adults fly off, they are quite cheeky! The Hairy Woodpeckers have been silent, raising another brood perhaps. A lone female Downy Woodpecker has arrived and is a regular as well. The Goldfinches have started to return, heading South already I’m guessing. The Loon babies are grown and a family of 12 Mergansers paid me a visit while I was out swimming, what a delight, talk about big families! Photographing while in the water is a new experience. I purchased a small waterproof point and shoot camera and it has been a learning experience!
I hadn’t realized how much time had passed since my last blog in July, I was shocked, where did that month go? By in a flash, a wonderful flash filled with friends, food and small adventures. The pizza oven has had a great deal of use. Fun helping Regan build this and have it in the yard for dinner! Not just for pizza, here Regan is paying homage to Coagula, the goddess of arterial plaque with a bacon wrapped pork loin and potatoes in duck fat, I really shouldn’t have my cholesterol checked for a while;)
Next week, it’s time for me to take you for a visit to the beautiful donkeys and our retired steeds, munching grass all night, sleeping in their stalls all day, now that is retirement, but wait, was that the vet going to visit? oh dear….we four and two-legged creatures abhor those visits don’t we, but that is next weeks adventure!
Stay tuned, saludos amigos and may your mojo remain strong!
Maybe we both needed some time to see, and appreciate the good things in life. The fire in Baja threw me for a loop, realizing there are incredibly stupid jerks, but also really amazing people out there and we sometimes tend to fixate on the negative when we are tired and overwhelmed.
Same with Groot. While I was repairing damage in Baja, Groot got stung by a bumblebee, in the bum…poor monkey. It entailed a trip to the vet, having his temperature taken for the first time, yes, that elicited a hiss, wouldn’t you? Don’t think the vet warmed up that rectal thermometer;)
He went from being an extremely happy, wildly ambitious, tree climbing, chipmunk chasing teenage cat to a quivering recluse, hiding and running away at the simple sound of a buzzing fly. It was heart aching to see the trauma one nasty bite did…but time, the greatest healer of all is coming through for both us. It’s taken a few chipmunk chases and spending hours on the docked pontoon boat, talk about a weird cat, how is it safe out on the pontoon boat and not by the trailer(??)…hahaha…guess that is our boy, and many days of watching Mike fish, trying to show Mike how to fish ( the cat that is, he seems to think he knows better) to slowly get his confidence back. Meanwhile the 17-year-old Burmese Beezil has decided he needs to show Groot it is safe and has taken to wanting to go out several times a day to gallop about and then eat some nice grass, to puke up later, seems I need a hobby, cleaning up cat puke was not one on my list, but..sigh…where are those paper towels?
Has Groot recovered his mojo? Not completely, I can’t help but think he will be a more cautious cat for his experience, he was actually a bit of a sullen spoiled teenager before the bite, he was getting mighty big for his orange and white tabby pants, maybe mother nature took the wind out of his sails for a reason…it can be a big bad world out there, I think I hear a Cat Stevens song coming to mind…”oh baby baby it’s a wild world”:)
Saludos amigos and stay tuned, I think I may have found my mojo as well:)
Groot had quite the surprise yesterday morning, a new visitor to the trailer, not the usual Golden Lab, Lucas, that Regan and Sheila have but…a black one…wait a minute, Groot was pretty sure this was not one of those evil dog things but something completely different so he let us know…meow….!!!
Come and take a look! He was jumping from window to window. Mike said “Bear”…I said, “yeah, right”, I’m not getting up before sunrise…”NO REALLY! BEAR!!!” that did get me up! Holy guacamole….a bear indeed.
He was feasting on the sunflower seeds in the “squirrel” but not bear proof bird feeder. I sent the feeder manufacturer a shot as well, they had a chuckle and hoped my feeder survived, it did! We watched him for 15 minutes as he picked the seeds out of the feeder, finally shaking them out before licking them up off of the ground. He eventually wandered off to the other cottages along the lake, I’m sure he has his routine:)
Another day at Otty Lake, life is an adventure isn’t it! So wonderful to be able to experience nature this close and marvel at the wonder of it.
So until next week amigos. We’re off to do some fishing from the canoe, perfect day. I’ll see if I can contain myself bearly 🙂 I’ll need to get my bearings, oops, after we bearicade the door, or yes, these puns are unbearable;)
I’m not a trusting person, I may have been as a child I think, gregarious, outgoing. It took a lot of years to slowly form my opinions on who could and couldn’t be trusted. My mother never had that filter it seems. We were her filters for years as children and later as teenagers. In 1970 she packed my brother, sister and I into the back of the baby-puke yellow Volvo station wagon and took us on an adventure. We took the ferry to Vancouver Island and then to Washington, she was ever looking over her shoulder, paranoid, someone was following us, coming after us, we eventually landed in a back country town in Idaho, they had goats, they were nice people but we never quite got what was going on. Mom stopped taking her meds and seems she thought some bad crap was going down, when in reality, it was all in her head, turns out she was molested as a child and was somehow reliving it through her kids, it was a bad time and it started our roller coaster ride though life with her. My poor Dad, she turned his world upside down, I’m glad he moved on and found happiness later with a wonderful woman. He never got to know his kids, sadly, that was stolen from both of us, it was her world, and as kids, we just thought it was normal to follow. I don’t follow much of anyone anymore…ever:)
Family thinks I should write a book, sailing around the world for the years and years we did, adventures, misadventures, we sometimes reminisce we are lucky to be alive. The amazing locations we were raised in, the lack of formal education, not thinking that was a bad thing but it still remains such a huge undertaking…all those emotions to deal with, not sure I want to open that can of worms, ever, but every now and then, I think about it.
Looking back at the fire at our ranch in Baja and the moron man baby that started it has had me musing on the why’s and the current political situation in the US. Also the many morons we encountered as kids on boats, sailing, trying to sail, or getting pulled off of reefs because they were just plain stupid, inexperienced or all of the above. Humans…I have a hard time containing my disdain for them at times. Sheeple, going about in their herd like world. They terrify me, no really, they do. I don’t do crowds.
I’m not very PC. I don’t mean to offend but humans really can be stupid, morons at the best of times many of them, not all, but many.
Insurance claim came in for the ranch, will cover a very small portion of the fire damage, but there are those deductibles, you know insurance companies…not covered, flights down there and back, gas, food, labour, mine and our wonderful friends…and no word from man-baby moron that started the fire and ran away, all of this, hiding behind the skirts of a lawyer that asked I return his computer, they would be happy to pay the postage, just not all the damages he caused? Computer is long gone, shouldn’t have left the house open for three days should you have? another case of more stupidity, will it ever end? I think not. If I could bring myself to watch the news, tweets and what ever I only seem to see more man-babies and their female equals…is this really the face of America? Could this become the face of Canada? Such a sad sad place, are they really all now happy with their reality TV president, it seems so. I guess I was not really wrong, for the masses, glued to their glass teats.
I’m glad I have friends, that every day remind me, we are not all alike, television zombies. Many I think, can feel, are capable of compassion for their fellow human beings and would do the right thing regardless with no strings attached.. My friends I’d like to think care not about colour, race, creed or religion but I’m sure I’m wrong, in there, are the climate change deniers, the homophobes, the racists….it saddens me. To live on a planet with so much hate, when there is so much beauty there….
It’s been a long month, and we’re less than three weeks in. Humans are odd creatures. They often profess to have an amazing range of skills that we realize later that for lack of experience, they really know nothing at all, and many are not up to, or able to face sometimes the simplest challenges that others consider nothing more than a simple operation.
Living in the Sierra for eight years we gained skills, we also brought 20 years of farming skills with us that included a lot of self diagnostics before you call in the big guns to repair tractors and various other pieces of machinery or even a simple clogged drain. Farming is a bit like living in the Sierra, it is a sink or swim world, if you do not have a certain mental outlook to try to tackle just about anything the bank will soon own your farm. There is no place for managers or foremen unless you are swimming in cash. Sometimes we forget, not everyone has these skills. We have lived in the wild, but the majority of people currently live in urban areas. Rural areas cover 97 percent of the US land area but contain 19.3 percent of the population. The skill sets necessary for living in rural areas are dying. On the bright side, we’ll survive the zombie apocalypse, many city dwellers will not;)
A great sadness overcomes me when I think 80% of the population does not know where the North Star is in the night sky, as it is so polluted by light they can not make it out, or they have never had the chance to watch the Milky Way rise in a dark sky, our very own Universe, hidden from them in suburbia.
When people struggle most of the time it is a question of common sense, which we have learned is not so common. When the power goes out and a girl sits at the sink and does not understand why there is no water, or why she can’t go to the gas station and pump gas we are in big trouble. The things the populace takes for granted are astounding to me at every turn. It would not have surprised your grandparents I’m sure, but many, right here and right now, yes, are surprised, if they even realize it, at their lack of knowledge for sometimes the simplest things.
When hanging your clothes on a clothesline makes you feel like a pioneer I can’t help but think many have been living in just a bit of a bubble, or is it me? Left behind by all the niceties of civilization? Perhaps it is me that was left behind. No dishwasher, or dryer. No toaster. Limits, that would be the Sierra. I guess that is the word. So many people living with little to no limits is the rest of it. If you want grapes out of season, bang, you go buy them. Want a part for something, damn, it’s a long 15 minute drive to Home Depot…really? I think it is a big part of the instant gratification problems we will experience in the future. I do not think the following generations will enjoy the lifestyle of the previous ones. This generation is clogged by garbage. Everything they eat comes out of a package, can or bag, not a garden or butchers paper. Local is non-existent to many that live out of freezers from CostCo. I’m wondering how long that will all last, that enormous amount of waste and packaging. It scares me. Not the dark of the night, or howl of a coyote, I welcome that, but the nightmare of enormous amounts of garbage:) Maybe I am the weird one. But once removed, no one goes back the same, the Sierra sees to that and yes, that is the good thing. It makes you realize how we take so very much for granted and how we should think and make most of our decisions carefully for the future.
I admire the ones that are trying to get out and stretch their limits. They often arrive with fear in their eyes, just the road is enough to do that for many, but once out, and back in again they often scratch their heads and wonder what all the fuss was about, they have learned…when they want to learn and really try, they will take away from their time in the Sierra, and a foreign country so much. You can communicate without speech, and survive without a giant box store to service your every need. You can grow. This is essential for humanity. Once that stops, we are doomed as a species:) I’m not going to hold my breath for humans, but I am going to hope we can learn different ways of living, and respecting everything around us is a good place to start. perhaps a school for common sense is in order? 🙂
Saludos amigos, keep living, looking and stretching out of your comfort zone!
Sometimes we take for granted where we live and what it has to offer, but once you’ve moved away and then come back so many things become apparent that you might not have even thought of. After 8 years in Baja and the SW, basically high desert where we were the water in Ontario is an amazing sight.
One-fifth of the world’s water can be found in Ontario in over 250,000 lakes, as well as at least a fifth of the worlds mosquitos as well I think;) a big change from the small arroyos and trickling streams of the Baja mountains. There, if I wanted to see nature, I put out a bowl of water and it appeared, here, it sings from the treetops and leaps out of the water at bugs!
We’ve been contemplating finding a piece of land on the water, a place for Mike to unload his telescope for a few months a year, build a small observatory perhaps to house it from the elements but it is becoming clear those spaces that are dark enough might be a bit too far from what we have come to enjoy, Perth. This small town we took for granted so many years ago continues to amaze us. To be able to walk into a grocery store in a town of 6,000 and find just about anything you ever wanted to eat from Indian chapatis to Mexican corn tortillas and everything between is glorious, the amazing choice that is offered here in this small town never cease to astound us. It’s not just the food either but a wonderful diversity that makes us smile on an every day basis.
Life at the lake here has been a small piece of paradise:) especially being so close to Perth, so we may eventually have to compromise on the dark skies, in favour of the ease of every day living! Tough choices, we are so very very spoiled here in Canada:) So, Perthites, enjoy this amazing small town, OK to whine about the weather, that is what we do as Canadians anyway but keep in mind just exactly what you have at your doorstep everyday…those choices, that water, those trees full of birds….life:)
Saludos amigos, enjoying life by the water:)
It’s not for everyone, this small space living. You really have to like who you are living with to begin with;) I am amazed at how many times someone has said, “Oh, I’d kill my husband/wife/boyfriend/girlfriend if we had to live in such a small space”…yikes! Glad Mike likes me, most of the time anyway;)
My guess is after working together, farming together, mucking thousands of stalls together, yelling at machinery together, we pretty much have it figured out:) When I lived on a sailboat for most of my young life I learned to find a quiet spot in my head, could have been a book, or just time spent sitting rolled up in a downed sail listening to birds or the wind, creating my own stories in my head that got me by. I’m not sure as an adult now if much has changed really.
We each find our quiet time in our own way. Sometimes, yes, a lot of the time we spend WAY too much time staring at our computer screens. Sign of out times?
We do need to get out and stretch our legs, a lot. Groot as well, he needs his time outside to blow off kitten steam;) He would go stir crazy locked up, like today, as it is raining…he is staring at me with a melancholic look. Just sitting watching him explore is a smile a secound. Our lives so are so short, and our time limited here. Something we don’t often think about in our day-to-day living. I like to just sit and watch sometimes, the birds at the feeders, wondering at their behaviour, watching them feed their young this last week they have started to bring the little ones out. Little balls of fluff shaped somewhat like a Hairy Woodpecker but rounder:) They wear the same feathers every day…wonderful, no need to worry about what colour shirt we should put on;)
The rest of society around us seems to be flying by, not really noticing what is around them. Always in a hurry. If I could tell anyone anything it would be to slow down, and start to notice, at first anything…All those things we consider crucial to our everyday living and habits can be changed, if we want to. We worry and stress over the smallest things that in the bigger picture really do not matter by the time our lives are done. Whole industries are based on many of these things, our appearance, our clothes, the products we apply to ourselves, the food we eat, what we drive…marketing controls so much of the world around us and dictates what to buy, we really need to take a hard look at that and question why we need things, so many many things. Are they the path to happiness, as so many seem to think they are? It will all end up here perhaps one day, will your kids really want it? 🙂 So what is the answer? I’m sure it is different for everyone:)
Downsizing when we left Canada for Baja felt grand! It was freeing, as if the act of giving things away or selling them was like losing a chunk of responsiblity. When we packed up in Baja eight years later, only taking the items in our lives we felt could not be replaced, heirlooms, photos, books, oh so many wonderful books it was as if we’d become even lighter. Looking at our life possessions in an 8′ x 20′ shipping container…priceless, that feeling of freedom.
Do we miss things, yes, sometimes we do but then it get’s those creative juices flowing, how do you make do without it, what chica nada (jury rig in Baja talk) can you come up with to get by for the time being.
…and yes, we have a fridge and a stove with an oven, also a shower and a toilet. Inquiring minds have asked me about all of these. We have a comfortable bed and even reclining chairs, a fairly large TV, although we did take the one out of the bedroom, never wanted one there:) We are not glued to the glass teat as so many seem to be. We wander through life mostly free of what the marketers want us to believe;) The never-ending stream of what many watch everyday has a horrible impact on them, we see it, as TV’s blare in cafes, bars, stores, seems everywhere you go someone has one on…turn them off, my best words of wisdom for the day…turn off the marketing as best you can. Make your choices carefully every day, put some thought into it, do you really need this, or that. In our throw away world do we really need to contribute anything more to the trash piles and pollution out there?
It’s about choice really. Maybe that is what living in this small space is all about and those choices, they are precious, we can make them, someone is not making them for us, that I guess is what freedom is really all about. We have something here that in so many parts of the world is just a dream.
Think about it.
Saludos amigos #unplug #nature
The forest is rustling, the leaves are out and the newly shaded areas are producing different kinds of life, why, mushrooms! It has been a very wet Spring so far and lot’s of plants are enjoying it to the fullest. These yellow morel mushrooms have popped up near the trailer here at the lake and elsewhere in the forest different varieties are pushing through the layers of fallen leaves.
The fiddleheads are all unfurled and new wildflowers are taking over the shaded areas after the daffodils have faded. Wild Columbines-Aquilegia canadensis-so similar to the one we had in Baja- are beginning to flower and the lilacs and apples are glorious. Sweet scents waft on the breeze, pink and white honeysuckle, but so far, so few bees. Maybe what we are used to in Baja is quite different from here. Perhaps with so much to choose from the bees can be picky, there, when it bloomed, what ever it was it was covered in bees and hummingbirds.
With the flowers the insects have arrived as well. The first dragonflies and damselflies are flitting about, establishing their territories. I had one land on me, parts of its wings still unfurling from its cocoon state, resting, waiting to take flight…que maravilla!
The flying bugs that are up our noses and in our ears, removing copious amounts of blood through our skin are beginning to die back as we welcome the crawling ones. Hordes of tent caterpillars are emerging and consuming small trees in a go…the Blue Jays are doing their best but there are hundreds of them, no wonder it is such a productive time to nest! I have seen the bright red Summer Tananger in the tops of the trees calling to a lady love and the Ruby Throated hummingbirds are starting to use the feeder. Such a wonderful thing this thing they call Spring!
and it has become turtle rescue time! Stopping with Joanne on the sides of the roads on our way to see the horses and carrying small painted and snapping (OK, I push them with my shoes..no carrying!) turtles out of the way of passing cars. Back at the trailer Groot discovered a tiny, inch and a half long Painted Turtle slowly heading towards the lake, I followed him down to the water, making sure he made it! What a precious thing life is!
The fields have gone from looking mown to wild stands of grasses. The deer are skirting the edges, always ready to dive into the bush and disappear. The resident red fox makes her nightly visits to the compost pile, Mike does leave her juicy tidbits every now and then. I’m sure she has cubs somewhere to feed. So far no racoon sightings but a beautiful family of Canada geese came to graze on the lawn, 11 chicks, then they swam off to the island in front. Probably why there are still 11 chicks left. Most of the families I’ve seen are down to three or four by this size, smart parents these:)
The red and black squirrels chastise Groot regularly from the heights of the trees, the Chipmunks have come very close to being Groot food on several occasions but have managed to out climb him when we’ve been too slow to grab the leash. They sit in the back window of the trailer driving him nuts:) I’m sure it is on purpose;)
The sounds of Spring, chirps, squeaks, songbirds, the whippoorwill in the far distance and Loons crying throughout the night. It is glorious to have a window open and to have all that invade our little space. Just a hardship we are going to have to endure;)
Saludos amigos. Until next time…keep your eyes open and soak Spring in, while our times might be troubled and idiots may rule the airways, Mother Nature always has an answer:)
The Royal Astronomical Society of Ottawa does a ton of free public outreach work. Mike is a member and has always loved the interactions with his fellow astronomers as well as the public. It’s time well spent, perhaps to spark the imagination of the next Carl Sagan, or to start someone down as lifelong past of curiosity and love of our universe and all its amazing features, our Cosmos, as a wonderful gentleman remarked, that is what we’re looking at:)
A total of 6 volunteers came out with their telescopes big and small to show the public a view of our sun. Mike Mogdaham from the RASC had a tent sent up with free giveaways, how to buy your first telescopes, planespheres to give you an idea of what you are looking at in the night sky and solar sunglasses. Glad he had the tent set up, we nearly did not drive the hour to Kanata due to the high clouds but Mike made some arrangement with the weather gods it seems and a beautiful blue sky prevailed. The Festival we were at was the 2017 Kanata-Carlton Cultural Festival. It was a wonderful mix of dance, song, poetry and community outreach. How wonderful it is to be in Canada…the security guards stopped by for a few views as well, no guns, just a patrol…how sweet is that!
The different scopes provided different views of the sun depending on their filters, Mike’s is Hydrogen-Alpha, so you can see solar prominences, others were white light filters that enabled you to see sunspot activity.
With the background music (some good, some not so good right Eric;) and the different dancers and costumes about it was a thoroughly enjoyable afternoon! There was a lot of talking and explaining going on, as well as inviting folks out to the Royal Astronomical Society of Canada’s Ottawa chapter’s free meetings, and their free public Star Parties they hold regularly to offer views of the night sky and to help beginners learn how to use their telescopes.
Time well spent in good company on a wonderful Saturday afternoon, we look forward to many more this summer! It is a wonderful group in Ottawa and hopefully a few sparks were started so a career or two in the sciences might be followed and some curiosity stirred up for some young, and older at this wonderful event-Until next time! Saludos amigos and stay tuned!