DOCTYPE html PUBLIC "-//W3C//DTD XHTML 1.0 Strict//EN" ""> Tossing Pebbles in the Stream: 11/01/2007 - 12/01/2007 .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.

Thursday, November 29, 2007

The Wedding

This past week I officiated at the wedding of a friend, Emilio Arturi.

Here Emilio if pleading with Helene to marry him.

Gosh! she said yes.

They tried to practice the kiss before the ceremony. Emilio sees eager but Helene is a little reluctant.

Well I think they are ready. Can't say I like the tie but I am not there as a fashion consultant.

I have know Emilio for about 20 years. He is a charming and witty fellow with a fairly pronounced accent. I used to do the electrical work on the house in built in the North Bay area.
He always called me a "wiseguy". (He also pointed out the head of the Mafia in North Bay, for whom I later came to do some work. Well, that is another story.) Emilio always teased me about the romantic relationship he thought I had for my guard goat, Bernadette.

Emilio was a cabinet maker in Italy and when he came to Canada he worked hard for many years as a framing carpenter. Eventually, he formed his own small business with which he built custom houses.

He knows how to make money. He would buy an odd fill-in lot cheap from the city and from a small assortment of plans he would select a house design that would fit the lot that worked around the defect in the property, often an outcropping of rock. He built these houses by himself with a trainee student from the Youth Employment Center, which paid the students wages. He came to master all trades except mine, electrical.

All his houses were distinctive as they would have an arch somewhere which gave them a hint of Italy. I got so I could drive around town and spot the houses he had built.

Besides building houses he bought some larger properties in which he built small apartments. Eventually he had about 25 small apartments in three building he owned which he rented out.

Emilio's real passion was music. He had a disc jockey business, Arturi, The Music Man, which played records at private and public occasions. He loved to entertain.

I first met Helene when I was working on one of Emilio houses in which he also installed a beauty salon in the basement.

I became aware that Helene was more than a client. She was in fact his paramour!

Emilio was married and had two children. He built this house only a couple of blocks from his wife's house. How continental! Just like a French politician.

The wife is now gone and after being together for 20 years, Emilio and Helene are married. It seems patience pays off for Helene. They are both about to retire, sell all his property, buy a condo, in North Bay and spend half the year here and half in Rome, Italy.

Life seems to have worked out for the two of them. La dolce vita! (the sweet life)

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Wednesday, November 28, 2007

I did it again

I wounded myself again! I dropped the head of a maul on my big toe. After a day it turned black and blue.. After the initial, OUCH! Damn! It didn't hurt as much as I thought it should.

Sorry for the poor quality picture. When I zoom in it looses some focus . It is the little toe that Babe, the sow stepped on and crushed that is still really sore and inflammed (see photo above). What next! I am doing some carpentry work so don't be surprised if I bash myself with the hammer.
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Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Five Facts About Me Meme

I have been tagged by Raindrops to reveal five things about myself.

Here are the rules: (i) Link to your tagger and post these rules on your blog. (ii) Share 5 facts about yourself on your blog, some random, some weird. (iii) Tag 3 people at the end of your post by leaving their names as well as links to their blogs. Let them know they are TAGGED by leaving a comment on their blog.

1. I am a compulsive researcher. In BC (before computer) I spent a lot of time looking through my library to discover information and confirm facts I had heard. I actually spent time reading encyclopaedia.

2. I have not been able to master talking French. I formally studied French from Grade 7 through to my first year of University. I have lived 25 years in a French speaking part of Ontario. Still I have no courage to use the French I do know. Perhaps i should have taken the advice to take a French lover!!! I can read French and subscribe to a French periodical and often read the French side on products at the store. I view this as one of my greatest failures. I am very pleased that my three grandchildren are bilingual and take their schooling in French. I love languages and think everyone should learn to speak at least two.

I am currently trying to learn a little Spanish. I don't seem to know when to quit.

3. I am interested in erotica written by women. I am trying to figure out how it differs from erotica written by men.

4. In spite of my intellectual interest in religion and my social activism, I discovered my greatest strength was that of as a "pastor" being supportive of people in distress and holding little old ladies hands. I always looked forward to attending the ladies meeting of my church. particularly when the served pecan pie. I became very skilled at balancing a tea cup, a pie plate and still have a free hand to touch and greet people. (The things they don't teach in seminary)

5. I am personally very conventional in my life but I am often drawn to people living very unconventional lives. I have enjoyed the company of lesbian couples, transexuals, members of the black Panther Party, Marxists, Marijuana growers, member of the Chamber of

Commerce, Harvard and Yale students, tradeschool apprentices, illiterate bush workers etc. to name a few. Life is a rich mixture of people.

I am to tag three people. Because I would like to know more about them I tag Rebecca, Alyssa and Lizzi.

Monday, November 26, 2007

Cougars are "Back"

In the latest copy of Canadian Geographic Magazine, there is an article reporting DNA confirmation of an Eastern Cougar (Puma Concolor Courguar) in Ontario. Surprisingly, it was near Port Colbourne, in the south.

It was 1938, that the last confirmed case of a cougar being know to be in Ontario. Over the years, there have been many tantalizing reports of cougars, many by knowledgeable people but no widely accepted hard evidence. This is not only true of Ontario but also Eastern Canada and the Eastern United States bordering on the Appalachian Mountains as far south as the Carolinas.
There numbers are very low, some feel they are in fact extinct.

Sightings are often thought to be escaped animals from private game farms or zoos.

Recently, around North Bay Ontario there have been sightings of a dark cat. One explanation it is really a panther escaped from a private owner or one that has cross breed with a wild cougar.
Without any firm evidence it remains conjecture and adds to the mystery of this animal.

If the cougar is making a modest comeback, after being hunted to near extinction, one of the reasons my be the abundance of deer, a major food source.

I have long been interested in the restoratation of the Eastern Cougar and read with interest accounts of sightings, particularly here in Northern Ontario. It would be thrilling to see this top predator join the other big cats in Ontario, the Lynx and the Bob Cat. There should be a place for this wonderful animal in our environment.

Friday, November 23, 2007

My American Accent

What American accent do you have?
Your Result: The Midland

"You have a Midland accent" is just another way of saying "you don't have an accent." You probably are from the Midland (Pennsylvania, southern Ohio, southern Indiana, southern Illinois, and Missouri) but then for all we know you could be from Florida or Charleston or one of those big southern cities like Atlanta or Dallas. You have a good voice for TV and radio.

North Central
The West
The South
The Inland North
The Northeast
What American accent do you have?
Quiz Created on GoToQuiz

Very Interesting!. Above is the result of what I got the second time I did this test. Apparently, I had a change of heart on a couple of the questions. The first time I did this test it indicated I had a North Central accent like people in Minnestota. "I could be mistaken for a Canadian."

Below is what I wrote the first time around.

"My cousin suggested I do this little test. It turned out that in the United States I could be thought to be a Canadian. Well! I am.
When I lived in New England I was often identified as a Canadian by my accent. I might have thought my stay in the US would change my accent somewhat. Even more so my living in a French Canadian community might alter my accent somewhat. French words do slip into my speech, I risk being accused of speaking
Quebec English. But this test was not testing for that.
My mother insisted we speak the
Queen'e English so some effort was made to have me speak "correctly" (proper pronounciation). We were instructed insuch things as never dropping the "g" on the end of words ending in "ing". Of course, even more characteristic is being encouraged to pronounce "been'" to sound like "seen" rather than "bin".

I never could hear the distinctive Canadian sounding "ou" in words such as "house" and "about". (The
Canadian raising diphthong) This gave me away as a Canadian in the US every time

Accents and local word usages interest me. I have recently been reading about
Southern Appalachian speech. ( Listen to the audio files on this site to hear some colourful Smokey Mountain speech. )

Sadly, I think TV and travel and more education tends to weaken some of the more interesting and colourful ways of speaking. The TV standard for news readers is much like the Canadian accent, which is why so many Canadian broadcasters find careers in the US."

I guess my years in the US did alter my accent somewhat. I have never spent much time in any of the States where the Midland Accent is widely heard. Perhaps, I watched too much TV when I lived in the US! I would have thought I'd have had elements of the Northeast accent. I do know when we lived in Boston and named our son Parker, we knew we could not stay,. . . for in a Boston accent he would have been "Parka". Unacceptable!

Accents, regional and foreign, are interesting and culturally enriching.

Thursday, November 22, 2007

Happy Thanksgiving Day

I wish family and friends in the United States a wonderful Thanksgiving Day. I trust you will be sharing this holiday with family and friends over a delectable traditional meal. We all have much for which to be thankful both materially and socially. This is worthy of celebration but there are also those who do not share in good fortune, perhaps beginning with native North Americans. We all need to think of them also.
I shall be dusting off my copy of Bradford's Journal and reading once again his account of the first Thanksgiving. The roll of Chief Massasoit, his tribe, which brought much game to the feast, and the English speaking Squanto, who was so helpful to the strangers, always interested me.
The other amasing element of the story is the faith of the Pilgrims. They were ready to give thanks for what they had in spite of living with the reality of what they had lost, only 50% of there colony that left Europe had survived. God's blessing of friends, food and hope did not come without a deep sadness.Posted by Picasa

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

(This blog entry will remain at the top until Thanksgivng)

Looking Forward to Thanksgiving

In anticipation of the American Thanksgiving I invite you to click on the picture below and enjoy one of Jacquie Lawson's animated cards. I don't know if anyone other than myself notices her link in my sidebar. It automatically changed each month with another delightful animation. I hope you will visit her website and linger for a couple of hours and enjoy her cards and the story of her life and her dog, often included in her animations. For some reason she has a lot of Americana type cards.

If you are not a cheap bugger like myself you might even subscribe and then you can send her cards to friends.

In short, I really like her cards. So go ahead and click on the one below.

Jacquie Lawson e-cards

A Thanksgiving Card for You

I remember all the hubbub in the week before Thanksgiving when I lived in the US. Calm down and take it easy.

Some of my most memorable Thanksgivings were celebrated in the US when my American friend included us in their celebrations. They were great times with wonderful friends.

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

We Are Moved In

I have been busy trying to make my shed/barn more weathertight for Winter. In the North, housing has to withstand cold temperatures so all leaks have to be patched and insulation has to be installed. The water enters the shed underground into a cabinet heated with a light bulb so it will not freeze.

Usually, cows supply the heat (The rumin the first of four stomachs produces lot of heat. A cow's normal temperature is 103F.) but I only have two so I installed a woodstove to make up the difference.

After trying to decide where I would put my 22 rabbits I ended up installing their cages in the shed with the other animals.

I also have pens for my two pregnant sows that will be delivering little ones in the depth of the Winter.

Here are some of the tenants.

This is my buck rabbit. He is a nice size and quite handsome.

Here is three of the young ones. They always appear at the door together when I open it.

This is Daisy . She is an experienced milk cow and is quite calm and comfortable tied in her cow chains. Lucy the beef cow is that dark spot you see behind. She isn't quite as comfortable in her place yet. The cows will get turned out on nice sunny days and brought in at night.

Here is Henny Penny my "flock of one". She has been living in a rabbit cage afterI three times tried to introduce her to the hen house with the other birds. They gave her a difficult time and started cannibalizing her. I now have another larger cage for her in the henhouse out of reach of the others.

She thinks I am her mother. She likes to come out of her cage and sit on my hand or shoulder. I would let her free in the shed except for the fact Ruby, my red Duroc pig has acquired a taste for chicken and is quite skilled at grabbing them.

If the shed improvements make it as cosy as I imagine, I look forward to just sitting there with the animals as listening to the radio. Thye are good company: listen to all I say, don't interrupt and never try to change the station on the radio!

Bring on the Winter cold.!!!
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A Pussy Pile

I got up from my favourite place to sit on the couch in the kitchen to put some more wood in the stove and a pride of pussy took over.
They look so comfortable but I may have to rattle the bin in which I keep your food to get my seat back. Sometimes you just have to be smarter than the animals!!! Posted by Picasa

Sunday, November 18, 2007

The Santa Claus Parade

Can Christmas be far behind? Today is the Santa Claus Parade in Toronto. It is one of the great parades, started in 1905 and going strong.

Toronto, Ontario - The annual Santa Claus Parade is enjoyed by television viewing families from Norway to New Zealand. It was started in 1905 as a publicity stunt by the Timothy Eaton Department store. The first year Santa arrived on foot, but by 1910 he was in a carriage was drawn by 8 reindeer imported from Labrador. With funding by Eaton's for 77 years, the parade continued to grow in popularity and size, adding floats with nursery rhyme characters, bands, etc. Today it's a not-for-profit organization, which receives funding from Canadian Corporations, including 100 executives who contribute $1000 each year to dress as 'celebrity' clowns. About 1500 volunteers man elaborate floats, march in bands, and participate as clowns and costumed characters. They lead Santa past about a half-million people who line the streets of Toronto for the annual mid-November event. Each year, 13,000 volunteers at Canada Post help with the more than one million children from around the world who write to: Santa Claus North Pole, Canada, H0H 0H0.

Three generations of our family have enjoyed the Santa Claus parade.

Here is a photo the the parade as my mother and father might have enjoyed it.

One of my memories of ther Santa Claus Parade was the introduction of the character, Punkinhead. Does anyone else remember Punkkinhead? Sadly, it did not endure as a Christmas icon like Rudolf the Red Nose Reindeer.

One of my lasting memories of the parades of my youth was the behaviour of my mother. She was always very determined to make sure we got a good view of the parade. Sometimes, this meant I got to sit on my father's shoulders. But I remember once when we were several rows back on the crowded sidewalk (havinf arrived a little late) and the parade was about to pass in front of us.

"Mom, I can't see!" "Mom, the parade is coming." We are going to miss Santa!"
(panicky sobs and tears begin).

My mild mannered mother was energized. Bold as brass she went into action. Like Moses parting the Red Sea she cleared a path for us to the front row.
"Let the little children through!!" " The parade is for children." "Coming through!" Suddenly, we were at the very front and my sister, brother and I watched the parade sitting on the curb.

[ It wasn't until I was a parent that I understood this behaviour. I am so mellow sometimes I have to injure myself to let me know I am alive .(LOL) Twice I have lost my cool in defense of my son: once with a teacher that had the audacity to discipline Parker unfairly (I told her she had no right to discipline him without my permission) and once when a doctor made him (at 13) cry for taking him to task for not coming to the emergency room earlier in the day (I stormed back in and tore a piece off that jerk.)]

This is float at a parade to which I took my son after we returned to the Toronto area to live.
We stood with our parents and my sister and her family on St Clair Ave W at Christies Pits, a place were my father played as a child. We then got on the subway and traveled to University Avenue and watch the parade all over again.

Around the Northeast Ontario there are parades in Timmins, North Bay and Sudbury. We used to have one here in River Valley. It was a modest affair which included about four floats , (including the firetruck loaned to our volunteer company by the Ontario government) and a marching group for the school. And , Santa of course.!

It is always a joy to take young children to a parade. Toronto's Santa Claus Parade is a great one, very much one of the many wonderful parades in that city during the year.

Almost time to start greeting people with a "Merry Christmas!"

"Merry Christmas to All!"

Note: For more imformation on the parade and to see some historic photos visit this site on the Santa Clause Parade becoming 100 years old

Saturday, November 17, 2007

American War Resisters in Canada

A number of American military deserters have come to Canada for refuge. This option under the current rules is very difficult. After making their case in an Immigration hearing and exhausting appeals through the courts there is a good chance they will be sent back to the US.

This week the Supreme Court of Canada has refused to hear appeals by two former soldiers and their families. They do not want to hear cases on the basis that the war in Iraq is illegal and to participate in it is a possible war crime. I think this is regretable for the Canadian government officially views the war in Iraq as illegal.

After the Supreme Court rules a war resister can appeal to Parliament for special refuge in Canada on humanitarian grounds.

Canada needs to offer American deserters refuge. We need to welcome and support those who out of conscience have decided they cannot participate in an illegal war.

Offering refuge to Americans who feel they can no longer tolerate a condition in their country is part of Canada's tradition. Large parts of Eastern and Central Canada were settle by United Empire Loyalists, who remained loyal to the Crown after the American Revolution. Canada took in fugative slaves as the terminus of the Underground Railroad, and offered they legal protection and citizenship. During the Vietnam War, Canada took in American Draft Dodgers and Deserters, some 50, 000, in all. Overwelmingly, these refugees found acceptance among us, found they shared our Canadian values and culture and made lives for themselves here contibuting to Canadian society. The current few American Deserters who decided to try to come to Canada, in spite of the difficulty of our Immigration system deserve our welcome. our support and our respect for their decision of conscience.

During the years of the Vietnam War American could easily get into Canada by applying at the border. This made it possible for thousands of American young men to come. ( If you want to watch the CBC's many programs on them go to the archives

In spite of the high number of deserters from the American (voluntary) military only a few hundred felt Canada might be an option. Unlike these Vietnam Era refugees the current group have served in the military and even spent time in Iraq or Afghanistan. It is out of their experiences they have come to the conclusion they cannot participate. The Amercian military defines "conscientious objector" so narrowly that acquiring that status for a particular war is not possible. Hence, to avoid participating in an illegal war many soldiers have deserted, a few to Canada.

Each one of these former soldiers and his family have made an agonizing decision. It is not easy to decide your beloved country has wrongly gone to war, and, to turn one's back on one's country to try to begin over in another. Their stories are worth reading.

Here is the story of a veteran of the Iraq War and a member of the famous 101st Airborne Army unit. Patrick Hart and his wife Jill are nothing you would imagine a deserter to be. I would hope for them and the others that Canadians will put political pressure on the current Conservative Government ( which sadly seems to try to engratiate itself to the Bush Administration) to honour our tradition of offering refuge to Americans, and make it possible for them to stay.

Sunday, November 11, 2007

Armistice Day

Today is Remembrance Day in Canada. We remember with reverence and thanks for the ultimate sacrifices our citizen soldiers who answer the call in defence of our Nation or that of another, an ally, when asked.

For reasons, I don't understand, I get quite weepy on such remembrances and yet feel compelled to each year try to understand more of the meaning of this day.

I shall always prefer calling it Armistice Day for it is the day of the Armistice to end the first World War at the eleventh hour of the eleventh day of the eleventh month, 1918. The was the Great War, the "war to end all wars", perhaps the most miserable war for the average soldier to fight., often dying in trenches and being sucked down to their grave in the mud of the battle field. Such was the case of the Battle for the Passchendaele Ridge where 15,000 Canadian soldiers died , in a few days, on the muddy fields . By remembering in this way, we are reminded at how mankind has failed at ending war and establishing an enduring peace, herein lies the tragedy for which I weep each year.

A grave of an Unknown Soldier at Flanders France

This year I have been remembering , in particular, two special military institutions of the Second World War, which required extraordinary effort and guile. Both involved both Canadians and Americans. Both, in their way, have change the way wars are fought. Both have not been remembered by most for their extraordinary contribution.

They are popularly known as Camp X and The Devil Brigade.

The Badge of STS 103 Camp X (Special Training School)

Camp X was the training camp of unorthodox warfare. It was a place where spies, intelligence officers and others were prepared to be dropped behind the enemy lines to do their mischief and help the resistence where they found it.

I grew up in the Toronto area and know nothing of the existence of Camp X just east of Toronto between Whitby and Oshawa on the shore of Lake Ontario. Here a joint effort by Britain , Canada and the US trained individuals to do extrodinary things for silently killing to explosives and decifering codes.

Early on a friend of both Churchill and Roosevelt, William Stephenson, (The man called Intepid),a Canadian, was chosen to head of the Intelligence efforts for the war, of which the establishment of Camp X was part.

At Camp X the seed idea of the Intelligence Agency was first sown to later become in the US, The Central Intelligence Agency and in Britain, MI 6.

One of the trivial facts is the Ian Fleming spent time here. He later went on to write the James Bond stories.

I first had my curiosity about Camp X tweaked when I was was reading about Igor Gouzenko, the Russian Embassy clerk who defected in Canada, with documentation of Russian spies in North America. In my youth he was a mysterous figure who occasionally appeared in public with a bag over his head to hide his identity. He actually lived in my home down under an alias.
When he first defected he was hidden at the site of Camp X while being debriefed by the Royal Camadian Mounted Police.

There is now a quite extensive website on Camp X, Camp X Official Site, in an effort to maintain a memory of this wartime institution. The sacrifices and contributions of it's graduates have been under recognized and appreciated. Appropriate for a secret spy training agency, I suppose.

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

The second wartime effort I am thinking about this year is The Devil Brigade. It was a joint US and Canada Special Forces military unit. It earned it's popular name by a German Officer, in response to their blackening their faces and creeping out at night quietly killing soldiers behind the German lines in an effort to make the enemy think there were more of them than there were. This was just one of their imaginative and innovative fighting exploits.

The shoulder patch of the Devil Brigade.

This highly trained 1800 man commando force,, founght with the Americans (1/3 were Canadian soldiers) had an extraordinary history of soldiering in the Second World War. It was decommissioned at the end of the war but soon it inspired the creation of the Green Berets, Delta Force and Navy Seals of the US military and JTF2, Canada's secretive commando unit.

The famous Candian soldier, Tommy Prince, the highest decorated Native (Ojibway) Canadian, about whom my mother used to tell me. Sadly, he had a hard life struggling with all the social ills of the life of First Nations Canadians, to our shame. This too is in need of remembrance.

I trust we all will stop for two minutes of silent reflection at eleven o'clock, to remember, to give thanks and to promise to do better to achieve the goal of every Veteran I have ever heard speak, "Never Again!".

We Shall Keep the Faith

by Moina Michael, November 1918

Oh! you who sleep in Flanders Fields,
Sleep sweet - to rise anew!
We caught the torch you threw
And holding high, we keep the Faith
With All who died.
We cherish, too, the poppy red
That grows on fields where valor led;

It seems to signal to the skies
That blood of heroes never dies,
But lends a lustre to the red
Of the flower that blooms above the dead
In Flanders Fields.

And now the Torch and Poppy Red
We wear in honor of our dead.
Fear not that ye have died for naught;
We'll teach the lesson that ye wrought
In Flanders Fields.

(The is an American woman's response to John McCrae's, In Flander's Fields)

Thursday, November 08, 2007

Let it snow! Let it snow! Let it snow!

Look what we got!!! Snow.

This snow is coming down in big wet flakes which stick to the brush across the road. The snow just got going good like someone shook the "snow globe" in which we live, when the lumber yard delivered the shingles and wood to repair the front porch.! Hummmm.

This snow won't last. That snow is about a month away. The temperature is going to rise until it is 7C on Tuesday, with rain. Between now and them I may get the porch roof done. . . . touch wood!

Looking across the side 20 acre pasture toward the river, we are socked in with low snow cloud cover.

My lilac bush settling in for a long Winter. I already yearn for the Spring Lilac blooms already.

Down in the yard. I have been working on improvements to my shed. The wheel barrow in the yard is full of pig manure. Dave spent yesterday flipping the droppings into the barrow with a shovel. The pigs have been wandering around carefreely dropping wherever. Between efforts Dave sits on his walker and surveys the scene, and I think he enjoys the animals. I hope we might get a horse which I know he would enjoy. Posted by Picasa

Tuesday, November 06, 2007


The above figure was the value of the Canadian Loonie against the American Greenback.

You have to love a people that don't take money too seriously and call their basic coin a Loonie with the image of a duck on it. How different that the sombre paper Greenback with the image of noble Presidents on it and the words, "In God We Trust". Wow, how serious that is! Does this say anything about the nature of our two countries? I wonder!

(When they came out with the two dollar coin it got named a Toonie (even more ridiculous than Loonie). Canadians actually talk seriously about their money using these silly nicknames. In fact, the Loonie has found a place in Canadian mythology when one made it into the Hockey Hall of Fame. ( For those of you who don't know the story it was secretly imbedded in the ice at the Winter Olympics in Salt Lake City by the Canadian who was in charge of the ice surface. The Canadian Men and Women's hockey teams won the gold metal. Hence, the elevated status of the Loonie.)

Outside Echo Bay, Ontario the Loonie is raised proundly displayed for the designer of the coin Robert-Ralph Carmichael, was from that community.

I am not sure why the Loonie has become so valuable. I remember long ago in the '50's when it was $1.05. But just three or four years ago it touched $0.61. So its value rise has been dramatic.

Apparently, the rising value of oil, which we export , and base metals of which we have plenty has something to do with it. The fact that the Canadian economy is sound and that for at least the last dozen years Canada has not had a federal deficit, in fact surpluses seem to always be bigger than predicted. Canada is in the process of reducing its National debt. We are the best economic performers among the G8 countries. Given Canada's stable government and society Canada has to be viewed as a good place to invest. I am no economist. There are other reasons I am sure.

How the mighty has fallen

The biggest reason for the rise in the value of the Canadian dollar in my opinion is the decline in the value of the American dollar. Once the standard currency of the World the US currency is being challenged by others, like the Euro. I noticed this morning some fashion model wants to be paid in Euros rather than US dollars. This is an indicator of the dropping confidence in the US dollar and economy. The day oil producing countries start to demand payment in Euos rather than US dollars, ( as Venezuela and Iraq, before the invasion, threatened to do) the US dollar will drop dramatically in value.I read of muttering of a worldwide recession triggered by the US economy.Time will tell.

The legacy of the Bush administration will include the devaluation of the US dollar. It has paid for a war on borrowed money, run up a staggering deficit, while cutting taxes for the wealthy few. Now the US is indebted to the World's rival nation and potential enemy, China! Seems to this simple soul that you don't want your enemies holding the mortgage on your house and your loans. The day may come when they demand payment.

Of course, in currency exchange there are always winners and loosers. Canada is winning in selling some resources to the US and it is easier to travel to the US and gret bargains. Canadian NHL hockey teams pay less to travel in the US as that league functions on US dollars. But it is also harder to sell manufactured goods into the US. And, Americans are reluctant to visit Caanda after being spoiled by our traditionally lower dollar. The US will do better selling goods abroad. But American will find imported good expensive and travel abroad to Europe costing more. Since the US has to purchase oil on the open market it will be a drain on the economy.

They say Canada's dollar is over valued these days. It may go up to $1.10 US before it settles in at $0.95. I don't know most of this is a mystery to me. It the meantime I am enjoying the thought the the lowly loonie has risen above the US Greenback.

Monday, November 05, 2007

Cats and Rabbits that Live in the House

This little kitten has staked out a claim on this spot on the wood box as close as possible to the fire box of the stove. I think it plans to be here all Winter.

The rest of the cats sleep in this pussy pile in a corner the other side of the wood stove out of any possible drafts. They have an old shirt of Veronica to sleep on. I guess they like her smell.
As I remember, I did! (Funny the thing you remember and cherish about people.) i think I have 12 cats.

I made this collage of June's pet rabbits. She has four. The two large ones I gave her from my rabbitry and the small ones are minitures she purchased. They have their own fancy cages in her sitting room and sem to give her much pleasure. hey certainly are much pampered compared to my 22 rabbits in the shed, which I view as livestock.

Now that I have firgured out how to make a collage I will use it more.

Saturday, November 03, 2007

Damn! I Wounded Myself Again

Just the other day a friend said I was due to hurt myself again!

Here it is.

Damn it is sore!! One of the sows managed to step on my toe. Actually, I had rubber boots on.

She shall go nameless. With her cloven hoof she ground it about a little as I tried to push the 500 pound hog off. She didn't move until she was ready.

Pigs are not always cute. When the pain goes away all will be forgiven. I know better than to slop around in rubber boot without even socks (The feet are dirty as I go barefoot most of the time these days. Now it is too painful to wash). You should wear safety boots around a farm there are lots of hazhards! You have been warned

A couple of years ago I managed to walk into something and cause the scrap, a minor encounter.

About a year ago, as some of you might remember I did this! I managed to get a hook under the eyelid and when I jerked back it tore the lid across leaving it attached just by one corner. Damn! that really hurt. (Damn! is the worse swearing I was allowed to use as a child). I don't look too happy in this picture! I was alone and remember saying out loud, "Ohh! I have hurt myself." as I clamped my hand over my bleeding eye.

Did I tell you I can't stand pain! It is a family joke. Out of necessity I held it together enough to get to the house and call for an ambulance and then calmly wait the half hour for it to arrive.

I used to be such a pretty fellow

I actually have managed to stay out the hospital all my life since I had polio at age 5. I also have never had surgery, except when they had to sew my big toe together after I nearly cut it off with a chain saw through my safety boots.

The accidents that ended my logging adventures were the two times I managed to drop a tree I was cutting on myself. Both times they struck the side of my hard hat. The worse time it also struck my shoulder requiring 10 months of physio therapy to get the use of my arm back. After this I began to think logging will kill me if I don't get out of it. Not that death is so bad but there might be pain!!!

All in all I am a lucky fellow although some days I think I am an accident waiting to happen.Posted by Picasa

Friday, November 02, 2007

Water Wars!

It is unsettling at times for me living in Canada next to an aggressive, avarice, arrogant and autocratic country, the United States. One wonders how long it will be before our friendly neighbour turns on us.

Canada has in abundance of two things the US needs desperately, oil and water. They already largely control the oil resource through corporate ownership. Canada owns little of this resouce, now. (I for one think for Canada's national security it should be nationalized with controlled extraction for Canadians use. ) My views are not widely held and if Canada did claim ownership of this dwindling resource, as Hugo Chavez did in Venezuela, it would not be long before our friendly neighbour would invade and take it.Our political leaders know this in there souls so not even the New Democrats,( timid socialist that they are,) speak of nationalizing anything as they once did.

Water is another story. Canada has stood strong against large schemes for diverting water to the US, so far. The clarrion call will be that North American should be considered one watershed . Water should become part of free trade. There have already been some dreams and schemes of reversing rivers to flow south,(most of our rivers flow North to the arctic.) pipelines to carry water from Canada to the southern US, hipping tankers of water on the high seas to any number of places in the world, and so the list goes.

To date, Canada has stood firm that water is a natural resource unlike any other, it is not for exploitation for profit.

This year. we have become acutely aware of the US need for water. With the drought across the southern United States water has become a precious resource that could actually run out at some times of year. Tennesee Town Runs Out of Water - AOL News People continue to flock to the sun belt to live and expect water to be available is wasteful quantities for all manner of things including daily showers, swimming pools, automatic watering of lawns and golf courses. The city of Las Vegas has aready tried to get a 500 mile pipeline to bring water from the North West. Proposed water diversion to Las Vegas protested They have been piping water around California for years to not only supply water for people but to turn deserts into market gardens.

We are beginning to read about lawmakers eyeing the prospect of piping water from the Great Lakes. Great Lakes Key Front in Water Wars - How long the Great Lake States and Ontario and Quebec in Canada can resist a US federal government quick fix for water by tapping into this ecosystem, one wonders. Even now these lakes have lower than normal quantities of water. Water diversions out of this watershed will be ecologically disasterous.

We have been warned of the results of massive water diversions. Read about the destruction of the Aral Sea in Central Asia. Ecocide: The Murder of the Aral Sea The Distributed Republic (Just take a moment and look at the pictures) Water was diverted from it to create a great cash crop in cotton. It is one of Russia's great ecological disasters (and they have many). Russia isn't alone in their contempt for the environment. Canada' tar sands is an ecological disaster in strip mining Wired 12.07: The Trillion-Barrel Tar Pit and the American equivalent to the Aral Sea disaster is the mining of the mountains of Appalachia, A Report from the Appalachian Coalfields Mountaintop Removal and Kitty Genovese -

Already the US gets great benefits from Canadians water. To extract oil in Alberta from the tar sands and aging wells vast quantities of water are used. (four barrels of water for one barrel of oil.) In Alberta, more water is used in oil than in agriculture.

Canada is very wasteful of its water. We take it for granted and use too much of it, pollute it, destroy the ecological system that protects and supplies it. Like Americans, we are destroyers of the very substance of life, Water.

I am not opposed to helping a neighbour who is in dire conditions when I have plenty. There is a moral imperative to willingly help if at all possible. BUT, first the neighbour must do everything possible to help himself. I do not hear the voices in the US about conserving water, decreasing drastically the useage and limiting movement of people to areas short of water.There are many solutions that need to be accomplished before asking to share your neighbour's resource at the cost of harming the environment.

The day may come when our friendly neighbour decides, "We don't need to pay the price of doing with less water, we just need to go and get water from our neighbour with or without their approval. It seems this is how the aggressive parasitic Nation to our south thinks it has a right to behave. It certainly is the way it behaves over oil in the Middle East. One only hopes lessons have been learned.

I still hope we all learn the Biblical lesson of being good stewarts of the Natural World so that all may live with adequate and necessary sustenance, beginning with Water. I wish for everyone the privilege I have of drinking cool, tasteful water directly from a pristine river, untreated.