DOCTYPE html PUBLIC "-//W3C//DTD XHTML 1.0 Strict//EN" ""> Tossing Pebbles in the Stream: 12/01/2006 - 01/01/2007 .comment-link {margin-left:.6em;}

Tossing Pebbles in the Stream

This blog is my place to sit and toss pebbles into the stream. The stream of Life relentlessly passing before us. We can affect it little. For the most part I just watch it passing and follow the flow. Occasionally, I need to comment on its passing, tossing a pebble at it to enjoy the ripple affect upon Life's surface.

Saturday, December 30, 2006


No one should take a delight in the execution of Sadaam Hussein, particularly among Americans. There is no doubt that his rule of Iraq was a self serving and cruel one that saw privilege for some Iraqis and exploitation of others, mainly Kurds and Shia Muslims. HE WAS THROUGHOUT HIS CAREER AMERICA'S MAN. He was supported with CIA help in gaining power and remained in power with the support of the US government over the years. He served US interests as a secure source of oil and as a bastion against Communism over the years. Historian,Juan Cole summarizes this sad history in his blog entry for today

His fate was sealed from the moment of his capture. His trial for war crimes should have been at an international tribunal but the US hostility to the International Criminal Court prevented him being sent there. US politician have reason to fear that they may find themselves tried for war crimes before this court, justifiably so. For the rest of their lives members of the Bush administration will be fearful of any travel abroad as they may be subject to arrest. The Americans allowed a kangeroo court with dubious legal procedures to be given the task of legitimating his murder. The US assured this by making the death penalty part of the political system they set up in Iraq to join the few counties in the World that still have the death penalty as part of their judical system. No one should mistake the death of this unpeasant man with Justice. It was vengence for some Iraqi's and the hypocrical disposal of "their man" who had become an embarassment and threat to the security of US oil interests in the middle east.

Journalist Robert Fisk, who has reported on the Middle East for years writes more poignantly than I of the meaning of the death of Saddam Hussein and the culpability of others in the West, who have gotten away with it"

The death of any person is a sad day not only for the loss of a life but also for what is says about those who tolerate state sanctioned murder. We all stand accused!

"No man is an island, entire of itself...any man's death diminishes me, because I am involved in mankind; and therefore never send to know for whom the bell tolls; it tolls for thee." (John Donne)

Tuesday, December 26, 2006


The weather continues to be strangely mild. Even the moose seem a little strange and bewildered.

Sunday, December 24, 2006


This is the day Christians celebrate the possibility of "new being". The infant Jesus, the Christ, is seen as the fulfillment of the possibilities for all of us. We see it repeated every time we look upon any new born child.

But "new being" is not just for new life but a possibility for us all. We can remake ourselves at any point in our life. We can seek to become the fulfillment of our greater Self. We only need to attend, obey and submit to the mystery with us. This is the essence of all religion. All other aspects are merely the vessel which contains this mystical moral reality within us which is our participation in the Divine.

At Christmas we are reminded that we are called to become new beings daily. I ask for each of us on this special day, we find a moment in all the festivities to acknowledge this imperative which is our humanity.

Here is a prayer which is approriate for this day. The anonymous Native North American who wrote it in the 18th Century, addresses it to "Grandfather" but it could well be addressed to , Christ, God, Buddha, Allah, All that is Holy, etc. The Mystical Moral center belongs not to one religion but to all Humanity. To be fully human is to know this in ourselves.

In the spirit of this prayer let us commit ourselves to struggling for peace and justice: healing within the human community.

Ojibway Prayer

Look at our brokenness.
We know that in all creation
Only the human family
Has strayed from the Sacred Way.
We know that we are the ones
Who are divided
And we are the ones
Who must come back together
To walk the Sacred Way.
Sacred One,
Teach us love, compassion, and honour
That we may heal the earth
And heal each other.


Thursday, December 21, 2006

Wood and More Wood

With the mild weather there is an opportunity to get more wood to be piled in the basement.
With two wood burning stove you can never have enough wood.

This pile includes poplar, birch, maple and red oak. This lot cut, split and piled in the basement should do it for this Winter.

Soon it will be time to start cutting it for next Winter. This chore I like to think of as the "Zen of Wood". It is a physical task one can do to whatever level of pain one can tolerate. It is ongoing.
I do this task in the spirit of the Christian Mystic, Evelyn Underhill, "work is a form of prayer." Amen!. . . . .Pray I don't injure myself.

Wood and More Wood

Wednesday, December 20, 2006

"It's Starting to look a lot like. . . . . . . . . .Spring!"

Now my computer is working again, here are some photos of the lack of snow this year just before Christmas. There is even less than the little shown in this pictures. Normally, there is a foot or more of snow on the ground at this time. We had that a couple of weeks ago but since then the temperatures have been consistently above 0C. Peggy, in North Carolina will have to wait for me to send her some snow! We are having a North Carolinian kind of Christmas.

Perhaps, when Winter does come it will come with a vengence, ie a big snow storm and the temperture dropping below -20C and staying there for two months.

I couldn't resist getting Paulo, the peacock in a picture. He thinks he is a chicken and often displays his growing tail to attracted some hen. How I sympathize with the frustration of fruitless romance!

Thursday, December 14, 2006

Did I Sleep Through Winter?

I wish I had some pictures to post but my computer crashed and I am writing this on my old laptop with the OS of Windows 95, which cannot handle photos.

A couple of weeks ago it seemed Winter had begun. We had a couple of nice snow storms which left a foot of snow on the ground. We were all prepared to settle into Winter routines and looking forward to Winter activities of snowmobiling, ice fishing, skiing, snowshowing, Winter camping, etc.

Well! It is all gone. After several days of warm weather and rain the snow is gone, the mud is back and we are tempted to go outside without being properly dressed. And we are facing a green Christmas, almost unheard of here. Not long ago, I read that in 50 years the climate here may be like it is in Tennessee. This must be a little foretaste. It feels like Spring! Who know the bears may crawl out of their dens before long.

I am sure some Winter will finally come. For use, in the southern most part of the North, it is an inconvenience , or even a relief, but in the far North on the James Bay coast it is a major disruption of their life style. The temperature there is as much as 16C degrees above normal. They need it to be cold enough to build Winter roads across the tundra in order to get a years supply of food and equipment shipped in. It also makes it difficult to get on the land for hunting and trapping.

Maybe I should go back to bed and when I wake up Winter may be here for real!

Saturday, December 09, 2006

I'll Have a "double-double" and a Bagel

Like colonialist before them the occupy forces in Afghanistan have recreated the important institutions of "home" in the foreign land. The British elite in Colonial India has their high tea while the Canadian military in Kandahar, Afghanistan has Tim Horton's Donut shop on their base.

Canadian and other military's soldiers can indulge in the very Canadian tradition of coffee and snack food daily at Tim Hortons. Here using the unique lingo associated with this franchise business named after a famous and much beloved hockey player (appropriately) who started the business and later died tragically) one can order a double-double and a box of 20 Tim bits. That translates a regular coffee with double portions of cream and sugar and a box of round donuts made from the punched out holes of the regular donuts.

In a recent article, an employee claimed she could tell from what military a soldier is from by how he orders at Tim Horton, even if they have begun to use the Hortonese lingo or Canada speak. Tim Hortons Coffee Lingo Hard to Master

Canadians order a coffee and a bagel while Americans order coffee and regular donuts . . .five dozen at a time! Could this be Amercian "supersize me" or do they always take some away with then to share with buddies later.

Even more telling of subtle differences between Canadians and Americans is that when confronted with the bilingual signs the Canadians order in one language or the other and not both as posted on the sign .

"We have gentlemen come up and ask for an apple fritter/beignes aux pommes, or an icecap/glace. It's pretty funny - they're pretty funny."

We can always count on our American cousins and their reaction to things beyond the American cultural experience, to bring a smile to our lips. We really are two peoples sharing one continent shaped by our unique histories and experiences in the World.

Wednesday, December 06, 2006


Today is the anniversary of the massacre of the female students at Ecole Polytechnique in Montreal in 1989.

This is the National Day of Remembrance and Action On Violence Against Women.

On that dreadful day Mark Lepine entered the school with an automatic weapon and a list of young women to kill and murdered fourteen female engineering students. He died that day also.

We remember this group of women

Geneviève Bergeron (b. 1968), civil engineering student.
Hélène Colgan (b. 1966), mechanical engineering student.
Nathalie Croteau (b. 1966), mechanical engineering student.
Barbara Daigneault (b. 1967) mechanical engineering student.
Anne-Marie Edward (b. 1968), chemical engineering student.
Maud Haviernick (b. 1960), materials engineering student.
Maryse Laganière (b. 1964), budget clerk in the École Polytechnique's finance department.
Maryse Leclair (b. 1966), materials engineering student.
Anne-Marie Lemay (b. 1967), mechanical engineering student.
Sonia Pelletier (b. 1961), mechanical engineering student.
Michèle Richard (b. 1968), materials engineering student.
Annie St-Arneault (b. 1966), mechanical engineering student.
Annie Turcotte (b. 1969), materials engineering student.
Barbara Klucznik-Widajewicz (b. 1958), nursing student

This event is celebrated each year by women and men in Canada to remember and reenergize their resolve to end violence against women.

Canada has been changed by this event. Gun control and the issues around violence against women became issues that have not gone away. It was through these efforts that gun registration and continuing efforts to restrict guns in Canada became a persistent reality for us all.

Moon Rising

The moon was coming up like a big orange disk: a harvest moon. I thought I could capture its grandeur. The snapshot camera was not up to the task. To the naked eye the moon seemed large and very orange as it slowly appeared from behind some clouds on the eastern horizon.

All the same, the picture turned out rather interesting. (ClICK ON THE PICTURE.) The other disks in the sky were not present for the eye to see. I am not sure what caused them. Hmmm!

Here is a similar picture moments later and their are no other disks in the sky other than the moon. The small dots are snowflakes falling.

It was one of those mysterious nights when you can snowshoe by the light of the moon and feel alone in the Universe. Or you lie down in the snow and make a snow angel all the while staring into the depths of the heaven with so many dots of light: stars, comets, planets, man made space junk (sadly) to find endlessly fascinating.

What hubris to think we are alone and unique in the vastness of the Universe. Any yet our "universal neighbours" are so far away we shall never meet.

Tuesday, December 05, 2006

Finding a Warm Spot

My two little kittens have staked out a place to keep warm this Winter. Yes, there are two kittens in the pile of puss. They moved out of my bedroom and onto the top of the firewood box as close as they could get to the wood cookstove.

Here they are out of the way of the comings and goings in the kitchen. When not sleeping they watch, me, Ben, the dog and the other cats. I feel a little hurt that they have abandonned me in my bedroom. Perhaps, they know something i don't know, like it is going to be a really cold Winter. (This morning it is -22C at my back door. Harbingers of things to come.) I think they just realized they are not people and should step out in the World(the kitchen, at least!)

Monday, December 04, 2006

Winter Arrives

I think Winter has finally arrived. The storm last week dropped the first covering of snow that will last. It came with a stiff wind so it drifted a little. Sadly it was not the foot of snow promised. We were on the edge of a severe storm coming out of the US mid-west. Southern Ontario and Quebec got harder hit with downed trees some freezing rain and the loss of power. Some places are still without electricity. After the severe ice storm a few years ago , when the power was lost for weeks, lots of people now have back up generators which lesson the discomfort of power outages. When I read of the problems loss of power brings to the urban areas i am glad I live in the country with wood heat, water I can haul if necessary, ( I have even melted snow at times) and light from lanterns and/or candles. Now if i can only find a way to run my computer on candle power!!! I can always read a book or write a letter when the computer is down.

Here is my shed with the chicken house with the picture window. I have done a lot to secure it for the Winter and make it comfortable for the animals. There is still some things to do. I wish i had a few more cows to help heat the shed with their body heat. The hay bales give a little more protection for the rabbitry on the other side of the wall.

This morning after a clear night with a full moon the temperature is -15C. This temperature is such that you dress properly if you spend time outside.

Looking east up the road toward my neighbour, Leo's farm.