July 2006

Brendan Bell #36.

Jordan has been going to hockey camp this week. Today, Brendan Bell came out and spent some time signing autographs before going out on the ice with the boys.

Brendan Bell #36.
… doing shooting drills. That’s Jordan in the foreground, of course ;)

Brendan Bell #36.
The kids lined up on either side as Brendan demonstrated different kinds of shots. The main point here was to show the power and speed behind an NHL player’s shot. All the kids were duly impressed ;)
I wasn’t able to show the slap shot in spite of the fact that I have a good camera and had it set to capture action because the stick was moving so fast that you can’t even see it in the shot.

Brendan Bell #36.

Jordan is having a good time. He’s so tired at the end of the day. And hungry. I can hardly keep him fed. Three hours of ice time, plus two hours of dry-land training each day will do that to you.


Project Carbon-Neutral: Reel Mower.

In my on-going quest to reduce our ecological footprint, I have annoyed my husband by insisting he trudge through four feet of snow to put the kitchen scraps into the composter*, I’m usually the only person stopped at the railroad crossing with my engine off and I’ve gained a reputation for keeping my house uncomfortably cold in winter**, but as is the case with any on-going project, I can become weary of the details (and the complaining) and things start to slide. But after seeing An Inconvenient Truth last week, the motivation is fresh and the desire is strong. Look out world husband! ;)

This has lead to the creation of our own family quest: [echo-y voice] Project Carbon-Neutral.

Ok… we’re still working on the name… But game is ON!

Our My first step toward fufilling this quest was to purchase a reel mower. This was a no-brainer, since I’ve been wanting to replace our gas-powered mower with a push mower, so it was a matter of just getting up off my butt and doing it. I got this one: Lee Valley 20-inch Reel Mower.
It’s easy to use – not difficult to push at all. As you can see in the photo, our lawn was *really* long, but the mower did pretty well, considering. I must confess that Mark did use the gas mower to get the last bits of really tall grass that the reel mower couldn’t cut. So, for regular mowing, it does a beautiful job, but it’s not so great for clearing brush :P

Totally carbon-neutral? I don’t know. And I don’t have enough information at this point to have any idea of how hard that would be. But I’ve started gathering that information and wondering where all my untility bills are and hopefully, I’ll have a better idea soon.

In the meantime, given the current government’s talk of pulling out of the Kyoto Protocol, I find it disconcerting that this (cached) Government of Canada Climate Change web site (where “you can learn about the science, impacts and adaptation to climate change…”) is “unavailable”. hmmm…

* I have since come to my senses. Well, sort of ;)
This is Canada: the composter doesn’t work in the winter because it freezes. Luckily, temperatures in the garage are below freezing as well, so we just use a sealed bucket in the garage for kitchen scraps. Whenever there is a thaw, we just dump the contents of the bucket into the composter and then it all goes right again in the Spring.

** Seriously. Warm socks and a sweater and you’re all cozy and happy. Socks and a sweater and you’re saving the world, Bay-bee!

Mounted archery at Samurai camp.
Mounted Archery at Samurai Stables.

This week has flown by.
Jordan is at karate camp again this week. *grin* He had such a good time at Samurai Camp that he signed up for “Weapons- Leadership of the Warrior” camp this week. In spite of a cold and a really, really sore throat, he has refused to miss a day and has loved every minute. Extra vitamin C and regular gargling with salt water is taking care of all that and he’s feeling much better now. Good thing, because he has hockey camp next week. hehehhe :P

I’ve managed to get the morning lunch-making routine down from almost an hour to about 30 minutes. *whew* And, in spite of big plans for all my “free” time, I haven’t been as productive as I’d have liked. I have a near constant battle with insomnia and this week and last, I’ve taken Jordan to camp and come home, knowing that he is happy and safe, and gone back to bed where I sleep like I’m dead all face down and drooling for another three hours. It sure cuts into your day, but my working vocabulary has near doubled with the extra rest and the few productive hours I have in the day are some of the best I’ve had in a long time. Maybe next week I’ll make a bigger dent in that To Do list. Or maybe I’ll just make a bigger dent in my ongoing sleep debt.

I have been knitting a little more again. Nothing to report yet, though. Maybe all the ‘extra’ sleep has brought back my motivation :)

We went this week to see An Inconvenient Truth. Please, please see this movie. Take your children. It doesn’t matter if Al Gore’s politics are not your politics. This is about science and about our children. The message is frightening, yet very very hopeful.

If I owe you email… soon, I promise.


Last week, the sun was shining brightly and the rain was falling steadily. You know what that means – a double rainbow! The yellow house is ours… which means there was a pot of gold behind it. Oh yes. I got it and I’m keeping it ALL for myself. No sharing! MINE! :D

And when you take the same picture and crank up the saturation… very cool. The bands of colour in the rainbows become clearly visible. Trippy, man!
Trippy rainbow.


I love lichens. Oh shush – it isn’t weird! :D Ever since I learned about them in grade 9 biology (my teacher said “lih chens”, not “like ens”), I’ve loved them. Reindeer eat them. They can live on bare rock (beginning the process of converting it to soil) and … the BEST part: A lichen is actually a symbiosis between fungi and algae. Seriously? How cool is that?

So anyway… When we were at the cottage, there were several wide, short logs with lichen growing on the cut ends. Or, lichenS. And mosses. And a baby tree. In the first photo you can see the baby tree (some kind of fir, I guess) on the right. This log was full of crickets too; they lived in the spaces where the bark was rotting off the sides. They were the soundtrack to the long minutes I spent staring stupidly at this tiny forest.


Macro! Yay!
This is one the lichens, apparently called “British Soldier Lichen”, I assume because of the little red coats. The stamen is the fungus and the red cap is the algae. Behind this red and green lichen is another: the lacy grey fungus with algal tops.


And another. They look like smokestacks, don’t they? Maybe they are Fairy Cup Lichen. I’m not convinced, though.
In fibre arts circles, lichens are making a comeback as a dye-source. But many lichens are rare now (loss of habitat, obviously, but also climate change and some are extremely sensitive to air pollution) so there is a big push for collectors to educate themselves and only pick commonly-found lichens and always leave enough behind for regrowth.
And because I know you want to know more about the kinds of lichens, their habitat and traditional uses: lichen.com.

Ok… so I’m going to go now and uh.. try to act normal.

Oh wait! I have this:

I think she likes me :D
She might be psychotic, but she loves me just the same :)

Ok… NOW I’m going to try to act normal.

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