DOCTYPE html PUBLIC "-//W3C//DTD XHTML 1.0 Strict//EN" ""> Tossing Pebbles in the Stream: 08/01/2008 - 09/01/2008 .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.

Sunday, August 31, 2008

The Hog Wars

When I look out and watch the herd of pigs I think. "How peaceful and pastoral. Free range hogs with much to eat and companionship. "

If all came to an end the other day. They clashed with a Great Dane, who didn't like them.

I had just stepped out on the porch with Heidi when she slipped her collar. (I must not have gotten the pin through the hole.) In a shot he was off the porch and had grabbed a young pig by the ear, with me in frantic pursuit.

With the pig screaming for it's dear life, I am struggling to get the leash around the dogs neck so I can get some semblance of control.

By now the whole herd of hogs have shown up mxing for a fight in defense of one of their own.
They begin snapping and the dog and I hit them on the snout to keep them away while at the same time I am trying to get Heidi to release her victim (or at least tear the ear off so the pig could get away). As the pigs are trying to get at the dog the dog refuses to let go she crouches down beside the truck as if she wanted to slide under the truck dragging her victim with her.

About this time, I get knocked down in the scuffle and the pigs start nipping at me. As I struggle to get up I come face to face with the 800 pound pregnant sow who looks like she is about to take a piece out of me. Pow! she gets a punch in the snout and I get back on my feet.

I am exhausted. I feel I will have to give up. But, then I tell myself I can't. Heidi is in mortal danger.

Adenalin must have given me a second wind so I entered the fray again. This time I got a secure leash around Heidi's neck. The large sow tries hard to bit her elegant tail and missed.

Mercifly, Heidi finally lets go to probably get a better bite. I pull her back and she only get a little bit in the flack of the pig which I manage to get her to release .

With me controlling the dog, the pigs retreat a little and I move with the dog toward the porch so we can get back into the house.

We are inI I am exhausted. Huffing and puffing. Heidi is once again calm and lays down on the couch while I struggle to recover.

It turns out I am not without some wounds. My hand is bleeding. I think a young pig might have nipped me. I have a sore shoulder that prevents me from raising it fully. And that is my good shoulder: the other one, is chronically painful from when I had a tree I was felling land on it.
The worst injury proved to be a deep bruise in a calf muscle which caused it to tighten up so I could hardly walk.

I thought I had a problem with Heidi and the pig. . . . .now I KNOW I have a problem! I have made inquiries into getting rid of the pigs soon.

In the mean time. I keep Heidi close. I do not leave her with Dave and June for if she accidentally got out neither of them would be able to recover the dog in the midst of another Hog War.

The sweet pup is always trying out weird ways to lie to amuse me.

"I didn't mean to cause so much trouble." I just hate pigs.!

"Are you finished being annoyed with me?"
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Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Four Short Vignettes

(click on photos to enlarge)

The Killer

Now is this the face of a killer? Heidi is the gentlest and most affectionate animal you would want. EXCEPT! When she has a chance to grab a pig. Three times she has managed to grab the Runt, luckily while I had her on the leash. Twice she grabbed him by the ear and the last time Heidi's head shot out the back window of the truck and grabbed the Runt by the snout (fully in his mouth.) It was all I could do to get her to let him go before the whole herd of pigs showed up to join in the commotion.

As I mentioned earlier, Great Danes were bred to hunt Wild Boar in Germany. It seems Heidi has a genetic disposition to attack pigs.

There will be no cute pictures of Heidi and Runt lying together in front of the cook stove or on the love seat.

The Retreat

In order to be able to let Heidi off here leash I take her over to the cabin with me. Here she is resting on the porch while I remove nails from the hardwood flooring my son removed from his house and intends to install in the cabin. The lumber is for some work inside the cabin to close in the gable ends. My neighbour cut the trees and had it sawn into lumber. The porch swing is a donation from my sister. It used to hang on her house in Toronto. It is a nice place to just sit and contemplate the view below.

This is the view in from of the cabin. Table, fire pit and a small patch of lawn (a cabin in no place to spend your time maintaining the landscaping) is the center of activity. We do not cut right to the river to protect the river from erosion and allow a place for frogs, and such, to shelter. There are also several kinds of plants I like that grow their, particularly Wild Iris and Mint The bush in the foreground right is a dogwood.

This berry bush is highbush cranberry. It is not a related to the cranberries found in the bogs.
In recipes it can often replace cranberries. You can make a lovely jelly with them, best picked after the first frost. I have made jelly when the berries were in all three colours, yellow, orange and red (the colour when ripe.) These berries cling to the branches through the winter and are a source of food for the birds.

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The Drama

I had an email from a blogging friend who said she saw an ad for a found dog that looked like Gage! This got me going as I am not absolutely sure my neighbour killed him since I never recovered the body. This dog was found up in the bush about forty miles north of River Valley by a couple going into Yorkston Lake.

I called my daughter in law in Sturgeon and she went over to the store to get the telephone number and the details.

While waited I was wonder if it just could be Gage.???? What would I do with two large dogs? Keep them and love them , of course. How wonderful if it was him and I could have my beloved dog back. Damn! I would have to apologize to my killer of a neighbour. I would have to give up my bed to the dogs and move into the spare room. etc, etc.

I got to call the woman who had the dog and determined it was not Gage. I guess no apology will be coming any time soon. It was very exciting for an afternoon. It was difficult keeping a lid on my emotions.

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

The Garden

David and June have been having fun harvesting some of the raised garden. The beets are a long variety (like a thick carrot) which are quite large and will be good for pickling. The onions are a good size. The large ones will be dried and stored while the small ones will be pickled. The most exciting discovery has been the the potatoes. They are huge. Every plant has large ones under it. Given that the top foot of the garden is well aged manure and we have had lots of rain this year, we should not be surprised. Dave and June sure are excited! They are now talk of making more raised gardens. (What they mean is ME making more raised gardens.)

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Monday, August 25, 2008

Iraq, Afghanistan. . . Despair!

I invite you to watch the three videos. . . no I beseech you to do so. These represent "victory" for the Bush Administration and by extension for John McCain. Don't let anyone tell you the lie that the "Surge" (increased number of troops) was a success. The drop in violence in Bagdhad is the result of moving communities behind blast walls and bribing fomer Sunni militia to "keep the peace". Also, as many as one and a half million Iraqi's have died while four million have fled the country. Who is left worth killing!

The ordinary Iraqi suffers terribly, living day to day.

After all the lies were exposed that justified this war, we now know it was an effort to control Iraqi oil, which has not yet been accomplished thanks to Iraqi nationalism. It has been a criminal war from the beginning. The Americans have long ago outlasted what little welcome they had. Sadly, there is little they can do to repair the damage they have done except leave sooner rather than later.

One despairs knowing there is little difference between Republican and Democrats when it comes to Iraq. Both parties believe that militarism is the way to meeting America needs. Might is right. If you have the power you are obliged to use it to justify your right to have it.

Now, we hear Barak Obama, the advocate for peace, wants to widen the war in Afghanistan with more military muscle and manpower. Even widening the war into Pakistan if necessary.
Surely the Russians demonstrated this is a policy that goes nowhere. It only brings death and suffering on the Afghanis. This only repeats the mistakes of Iraq, in a country where the invasion and occupation is not welcomed.

So view these videos and know that five years from now similar videos could tell the same story in Afghanistan.

Walls, walls and more walls.

Killing Fields

The Legacy

Thursday, August 21, 2008

Heidi Discovers. . . .

. . .the littlest dog in the house, a distant relative. The sublime meets the ridiculous!

. . .the couch is good to fold up on.

. . . the river as a place for adventure. She is learning to swim.

. . . . a silly look while sitting will get her a treat.

Monday, August 18, 2008

Heidi Testing the Bed

(click on photo to enlarge)

"Seems soft enough."

"A little too soft here in the middle."

"Only a double bed? I could fall off and get hurt." Must convince the new guy how much better a King sized bed would be.."

"Ahh! The bed works good for me. I will let the guy sleep at the foot of the bed."
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Our Trip

I got an early start to go and pick up my new dog. I got as far as the first corner only to put on my brakes and discover I had none. Whoo! Immediately, I decided someone had tampered with my brakes. Someone followed through on one of the threats I have received over my disagreement with Denis.

I returned home and went to my new neighbour's place next door, who is a mechanic. My rear brake line was broken. He fixed it right away. No charge! Bless him.

I was a little late picking up Dylan, who wasn't ready. Finally, we headed out.

In an hour we stopped at the French River Trading Post for a break and ice cream

In another hour of traveling I thought we were almost there. When we past the exits for Parry Sound we were both watching for Muskoka Road 5. And watching. . . . .and watching. . . . and watching.

I should have consulted my Ontario road map. I thought our exit was just after Parry Sound. It was taking forever. When I got to Muskoka Road 38, with a start! "Whoo, Oh, No! "I turned off and stopped the first person I saw, a jogger and ask where Muskoka Road 5 was. It turned out to another 10 minutes down the expressway

I should have know it was not near Parry Sound. I have paddle the Severn River and I new roughly where Port Severn was, without consulting a map. The exist turned out to be the one for Honey Harbour where, many years ago, some paddling friends and I landed at the fancy Delawana Inn and partied with the guests for three days before the management figured out we were not paid guest and sent us on our way. It was a nice respite on a canoe trip. Awe memories of a fancy free youth.

We got there having traveled about an hour longer than I had figured.

The dog was tied on the porch and immediately came and greeted me affectionately. Standing by me and leaning on me. "You suckee! Trying to win my heart." And, she did. (The breeder called today and said she was very pleased when I showed up that the dog did not bark a warning but came to greet me instead.)

The people were very nice. The woman was no "Tinkerbell" the name she used in her email address. I tried to get her to tell me the story but she never did. She was very warm and friendly and very family and dog oriented. The substantial tattoos were fascinating and I suspect told another story.

Dylan and I looked at all her dogs. 7 breeding females, a stud, two partially grown dogs and a new litter of 10 puppies. Her young son was carrying around a baby squirrel which Dylan enjoyed seeing up close. Animals have play a big part in this household over the years.

The dogs name was Wolverine, which after a long conversation with Dylan on the way home I decided this name was too butch for my bitch. I wasn't prepared to share my bed with a Wolverine. I have renamed her "Heidi". Ahh! that's better. it honours her German heritage. (The Great Dane was developed from a cross between the Masstif and the Irish Elk Hound to be the perfect dog to hunt wild boar. Wonder how my pigs will feel about that.)

Heidi dreaming of a new beginning in an interesting place.

Heidi was willing to ride in the back seat for most of our ride home with the occasion head nuzzle.
For the last twenty miles she climbed into the front seat and insisted sitting on Dylan's lap as if she was some lap dog.

Here are some of the female dogs greeting us.

A boy and a dog. a perfect relationship.

Sunday, August 17, 2008

A New Companion

I am off today to look for a new dog to help fill the void in my Life from the death of my wonderful companion, Gage.

It is a 2 1/2 hour drive to Port Severn so my 10 year grandson, Dylan, is going to accompany me. This is a special treat. Dylan aspires to be a veternarian. I thought he would enjoy seeing the breeder's home in which she has 10 adult Great Danes, and a recent litter of 10 pups.

This fawn coloured purebred Great Dane is the dog I am going to meet. Short of her biting me on first sight I will be bringing her home with me. I trust she will win my heart immediately and find me acceptable. Arranged relationships can work, you know!

I had decided I wanted a Great Dane but they are very expensive, as I found out prowling the Internet. This is the first dog I will have ever bought. It is also the first purebed dog I have ever considered having.

This dog had previously been sold and the breeder bought her back from an owner who was not feeding it sufficiently. It is nearly 3 years old and needs a loving home where it can get lots of attention. As it did not fit into the breeder's breeding program she is willing to sell it at a very modest price to the right person and home situation. I hope to be the one.

As they say, "News, at eleven." And a few pictures.

Friday, August 15, 2008

Garden Update

One thing about the wet summer weather we have been having is that the garden if growing like topsy without ever having to water it.

Below are some pictures of the raised garden I built David last Spring. It is about 30 inches high so he will not have to bend down to tend it.

Some may remember the pictures I posted which showed it so stark and empty. Well! No more.

(to enlarge the photos click on them.)

These are some of the tomato plant with some tomatoes, ( non ripe yet) and lots of flowers.

We will get a good crop. There is still a month before our first frost date, so there is time for some ripening.

The onions look good. They are ready to harvest and dry for storage.

Here you can see the swiss chard, beets and leeks. We have been using some of the swiss chard and beets. It the background are some potato plants. It is almost time to dig some early potatoes.

We have harvested some broccoli and froze it for the Winter. There will be more as the plant give is a second growth. There are cabbages are growing also. I may make saurkrault again. The plants in the cabbage family can withstand the frost so they will continue to grow into October.

There has been a bumper crop of wild raspberries this year. June has picked quite a number of buckets so there will be jam to make as well as fresh berries on the ice cream. The blueberries were delayed this year so I need to go and see if they are now plentiful to pick. Move over bears I am coming.

With such a good growing season I wish I had planted a larger garden. I must make a bigger effort in picking the wild foods.

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Wednesday, August 13, 2008

The Sudbury Basin

Yesterday, I travelled to the other side of Sudbury, (a two hour drive) to officiate at a wedding. It was to be at the couple's summer camp (in the North they are "camps" in southern Ontario they are "cottages") on Joe lake. I love the opportunity to see another beautiful northern lake so I looked forward to going. I was not disappointed. It was another lovely jewel with only a few camps (cottages) clustered at one end while the rest of the shoreline was crown land or land controlled by the two large mining companies in the area: INCO and Falconbridge.

Being a Tuesday, everything was quiet with no boats out on the water. The water was calm and inviting. The day was sunny and warm, one of the nicest days of the summer which has seen a record amount of rain. A perfect day for an outside wedding.

Oh, the couple were nice too! They were in their mid-fifties, both on their second attempt at marriage. the groom is a geologist and a teacher. My kind of people, I thought. One of the daughter was a graduate student at Yale, so I had a connecion discussing my memories of New Haven.

It was a small group of just family members, sisters of the bride and children of both from previous marriages. A very compatible lot. This extended family had been coming to this lake for three generations. One sister had a place that was a year round home. Given the condition of the road in ,I imagine it could be a challenge to travel it in the Winter.I later found out they opened about a mile of road themselves for a number of years before the city agreed to do the plowing.

The marriage couple had a very summer cottage like place. It brought backs memories of the cottage life of my youth. I felt quite nostalgic. I would have like to have plopped down in a chair on the screened porch and read a book with a refreshing swim to follow in a couple of hours. They even had a couple of canoes. How perfect could that be.

I stayed for lunch at the sister's place just a short distance around the end of the lake . It was a lovely spot with a lovely garden and a great deck down by the water.
There was a flock of humming birds (about 20) darting about a couple of feeders.
I learned there were a group of loons that congregated on the lake (coming in from other lakes) to fish together and keep up their soulful calls out across the water. The lake also has a heron rookery at the end and their are bald eagles and golden eagles to be seen in the area, enjoying the updraft from the valley to the upland where the lake was. For about a mile before you get to Joe Lake the road climbs. You are climbing out of the Sudbury Basin, the mineral rich area for which Sudbury is famous.

Geologically the Sudbury Basin is a crater from a meteor, the size of Mount Everest smashing into the earth 1.85 billion years ago. This resulted in bringing all the minerals up from depth in the earth. I once heard that the area was a geologist dream. You just have to drive the roads and examine the rock cuts it enjoy the geology.`

The Sudbury Basin was discovered 125 years ago when they put the railroad through the area. It has been mined heavily ever since and is constantly under exploration. It was once know as the Nickel capital of the World. Nickel is still it's most important mineral although copper, iron, gold, platinum and paladium among others are recovered from the granite rock of the Cambrian shield.

Sudbury was once a blue collar mining town where everything took a back seat to mining including the environment. It was famous for it's deforested, denuded rock landscape as a result of the acidic wastes from the smelting of metals. It was notorious for its moonscape. Thousands of lakes were acidified from acid rain. Many no longer supported fish. And this is hunting and fishing country!

This is no longer true. For nearly fifty years efforts by government and the mining companies, have been made to clean up the environment by limiting the amount of sulphuric acid and nitric acid that got into the environment. Lakes were limed to neutralize their PH and most dramically there has been a thirty year ongoing program of reforestation. Seedlings are grown down in one of the old mines. The bare rocks were planted in grasses, some soil was spreads in areas, liming to lower the PH was done and finally millions of trees (8 million so far)have been planted. For the thirty years I have lived here I have watch the slow greening of large areas around Sudbury. You would recognize them as young forests now but to be honest it will take another 30 years before you would call it a forest and 100 years to be restored. Sudbury's efforts have been recognized and rewarded, internationally. And yet, the mining industry is still a major polluter.

While mining is still very important to Sudbury and will be for years to come, there are fewer miners with mechanized mining. The city is now also a very important regional center for government, medicine, education, social service as well as lots of industries which serve the mining industry. It is a small city, prosperous these days, where one has all the advantages of a city plus the delights of the out of doors, very close at hand. You are never far from water with 200 lakes within the boundaries of the city. Fishing, hunting and camping , are popular pass times for many. Winter brings its unique pleasures : ice fishing, snowmobiles, skating, skiing etc. Enough! I am starting to sound like a pamphlet from the chanber of Commerce.

My trip across Sudbury got me to thinking and I thought I would share it.

Sunday, August 10, 2008

We Could have Lost Windsor!

Back in 1966, there was a little nuclear incident (accident) at the Fermi 1 Nuclear Power Station in Munroe County, Michigan. It was little reported. One might even say their was a conspiracy of silence. Makes one wonder how many other nuclear incidents have happened without the public being properly informed.

With the current concern for renewable energy nuclear power is getting another look as the great green, cheap solution in spite of the persistent problems: high capital costs, the inevitable accidents, and what to do with the persistent dangerous waste.

There is a need for public discussion of this energy source and its serious problems as well as the promise .

Only recently did I learn about the Fermi 1 incident. I have been interested in nuclear power all my adult life. My first social protests were about "Ban the Bomb" and the attempted introduction of American BOMARC missles in Canada at North Bay. (An American owned disarmed BOMARC up on a pedestal is one of the sights to see in that city even today. The Americans are supposed to come and take it back soon.)
The reality of the Fermi incident is chilling. If it had been a meltdown and explosion the damage would have been disasterous for the US and Canada. Since then we have had Three Mile Island and Chernobyl, too big to be kept from the public., to help us understand the consequences. Perhaps, a look at the result of Chernobyl, The Dead Zone is the place to start getting yourself worried.

In North Bay every year Ukrainian children affected still from this nuclear disaster come for a visit for the summer to recover from their polluted environment a little in the fresh air, water and safe food. It apparently does them some good and reminds us yearly of the on-going environmental damage of that nuclear incident. If the Fermi 1 incident had gone bad, their reality could be our reality today.

Voices have occasionaly been raised. Below are the lyrics to a song written by Gil Scott- Heron. in protest of the incident at Fermi 1.

We Almost Lost Detroit

It stands on a highway
like a Creature from another time.
It inspires the babies' questions,
"What's that?"
For their mothers as they ride.
But no one stopped to think about the babies
or how they would survive,
and we almost lost Detroit
this time.
How would we ever get over
loosing our minds?
Just thirty miles from Detroit
stands a giant power station.
It ticks each night as the city sleeps
seconds from anniahlation.
But no one stopped to think about the people
or how they would survive,
and we almost lost Detroit
this time.
How would we ever get over
over loosing our minds?
The sherrif of Monroe county had,
sure enough disasters on his mind,
and what would karen Silkwood say
if she was still alive?
That when it comes to people's safety
money wins out every time.
and we almost lost Detroit
this time, this time.
How would we ever get over
over loosing our minds?
You see, we almost lost Detroit
that time.
Almost lost Detroit
that time.
And how would we ever get over...
Cause odds are,
we gonna loose somewhere, one time.
Odds are
we gonna loose somewhere sometime.
And how would we ever get over
loosing our minds?
And how would we ever get over
loosing our minds? Didn't they, didn't they decide?
Almost lost Detroit
that time.
Damn near totally destroyed,
one time.
Didn't all of the world know?
Say didn't you know?
Didn't all of the world know?
Say didn't you know?
We almost lost detroit...
There are those who might think the loss of Detroit in its present sad state of repair and governance is not a wholly bad thing. Such disasters know no borders. As a Canadian, I do think the loss of Windsor, and all of Southwestern Ontario, where so much of our food is grown, and the damage to the Great Lakes as well as the loss of life and health is worth raising our voices in protest and some sober second thought on nuclear power. It is not a quick fix to the environmental problems of energy sources.

Friday, August 08, 2008

Happy Birthday, Parker

Today is my son Parker's birthday. He is 39 years old. Could this be the last year of his youth?

It was so nice of them to stage the Olympics in honour of his day. Sports buff that he is I imagine he will be watching a lot of it this coming week.

Parker is married to his high school girl friend, Sandra and they have three lovely children, Dylan, Olivia and Travis. (10,9,8)

After five years in the United States living near his mother, they returned home where he has become a teacher in the local high school. They are living the middle class town life I have tried to get away from. It seems we have less influence on our children that we think. Parker seems happy and successful which make me satisfied and proud of him and of myself for my efforts at parenting seem to have paid off.

Parker at this past Spring's Family Reunion

He was a big baby at 10 pounds, 2 oz. So he never was a wee lad you had to be so careful in handling. His mother delivered him in just a few hours. She could have been a breeder but in the end she had no more children. It was an exciting day for us and our small circle of friends in Boston.

Parker was a regular tow head, like myself, when he was young. I like this picture not only because he is so darn cute, the other love in my life, my canoe, is also in the picture. This was when we lived on Long Island Sound in East Haven, Connecticut.
Parker's mother moved on to another life, which didn't include us, when Parker was 2 1/2. So over the years it was just him and me. He became the sole reason for my life and I regret none of it.
Thanks you the years of joy you have brought me, Parker. Enjoy this year for the next one is the big 40!
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Thursday, August 07, 2008

Finally, A Therapist in the Family

I just got a notice from my niece, Heather of her graduation from Valdosta State University in Georgia with a Master's Degree in Clinical/Counseling Psychology. Congratulations Heather! You make us all proud.

I find this none too soon for we sure could use a therapist in the family. Perhaps, she can figure out what makes her quirky uncle, moi, tick. I just hope she has survived this training without always opening conversations with "Tell me how you feel. No, how do you really feel!" After just a summer training at Boston State Hospital I found myself talking like this. Thankfully, I got over it.

This is a photo of Heather and her Rottweiler, which she sent me a while back to tell me, when the two of them had qualified as a therapist team to visit people in nursing homes. I have been too polite to ask if people find the dog a little scary. Perhaps, their method is "Good therapist. . .Bad therapist"!

Heather is the middle daughter of my brother, who lives in Charlotte, NC. She is the one without red hair. I am not sure if this get her more attention of less. I do know what a burden it is to be a middle child.

The three girls are lovely people and much accomplished in their young lives. Laura the oldest is the lawyer now living in Australia ( I must ask her if she is know as a barrister there). It is Laura who will be getting married in Charotte in October. Andrea is still a student. She is in graduate school at the College of Wlliam and Mary, studying toward a University teaching career in psychology. All three girls are graduates of the University of North Carolina . Andrea has been a competative swimmer during her University career.

Over the years and distance, I have come to know the girls as" Laura, the serious and responsible; Heather, the sensitive, and Andrea, the funny one. I am not sure this is totally accurate. I do remember a very sensitive note Heather sent me at a time I was crazy-depressed.
And Andrea, when young use to speak to me on the telephone in a thick North Carolina affected dialect and ask me if I know what she was talking about. These moments no doubt have coloured my view of them. I wish I had seen more of them over the years for a fuller understanding of them. They are distinct personalities and have become wonderful successful adults.

Perhaps, if I find my way to Charlotte for Laura's wedding I can corner Heather and have her help me explore my psyche. There could be a long line of family members behind me. Oh! she may come to regret her career choice.

May Life continue to bring you much joy and success, Heather.

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Wednesday, August 06, 2008

August 6, 1945, A Day of Shame

Today is the anniversary of the dropping of the Atomic Bomb on Hiroshima. This war crime was to the shame of us all. Three days later, the Allies did it again by dropping the bomb on Nagasaki.

Throughout most of my life I accepted the explanation that it was a necessary act to shorten the war with Japan and save possibly 100's of thousands of lives, particularly American lives.

Like most explanations for military actions. this was a lie, a big lie. We now know that the Japanese were trying to negotiate a surrender. They knew they had lost the war. Their navy and air force were destroyed . Their cities were suffering terrible damage through conventional bombing. The necessity of the A bomb cannot be justified.

The military leadership of the United States was almost to a man opposed to using this new and dreadful weapon.

Why then, was the Atomic Bomb used? President Harry Truman made the decision. It most likely was used because the US had it and it needed to be tested in action. This decision was made easier because the "Japs" had been demonized as little yellow fanatical men whose lives were less valuable than Westerners. In short, racism made it an easier decision.

The bomb worked even "better" than expected. The cold war race to have this technology in military arsenals began. I have lived most of my life under the threat and fear of the Atomic bomb. It continues with even more nations playing the dangerous threatening game..

We have become somewhat used to living with the bomb. So much so, with limited protest we find the US using depeted uranium on bombs and they talk of using small nuclear weapons. The question is not if the Atomic Bomb will be used again but when it will be used. The time has long passed when the nuclear weapons should be destroyed. They are the only true weapons of mass destruction.

Today is a day to remember and think what threat we live under.

Tuesday, August 05, 2008

A Day Around the Cabin

Yesterday was a lovely day, with the rain shower holding off until the end of the day, so I spent some time at the cabin for some quiet time. I did some swimming, picked some berries and tried to obeserve the flora and fauna as closely as possible. I find it is in the small things, the details, in which the little mysteries and joys are revealed.

I took a few pictures too.

I like this picture of the cabin framed by the foliage. I have my back to the river. In front on me is the place where we pass through the grass and other plants to go to swim.

This is the full frontal view of the cabin. It is lovely to sit on the porch swing and watch the river and listen to the birds.

The "guest house". If a camp had inside plumbing it would just be another suburban house.

The outhouse is a good place to sit and ponder the meaning of life in all it's ordinariness.

This a view from the top of the trail down to the river. The fire pit and the picnic table is the center of a lot of activity for the young at least. I prefer to sit on the verandah where I can see what is going on around the river. This year as usual there is a family of American Merganser ducks who often swim buy. Occasionally, canoeist slip past and we exchange waves.

If you enlarge this photo by clicking on it you will see my house about 1/4 mile away across the field. From the cabin, you are not aware of any other homes. Occasionally, you can hear a vehicle pass along the road in front of the house to let you know you are not far off the beaten path.

We have had record rainfall this summer so the river remains swollen with water. Perhaps, the Great Lakes will recover a little this year, filling up with water. After several years of some drought, summer and winter, the Great Lakes have suffered from lower water levels.

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Sunday, August 03, 2008

Reaching my Limit

I pride myself in being patient and understanding in relationships. I am quick to give a person the "shadow of a doubt" or forgive an act of bad behaviour which has caused me personal harm or anquish. In short, I am long suffering.

Years ago, I took in a troubled youth that had been a ward of the Province for many years after he became too much for his parents to handle. When no one else would step forward to take him in, I did. He was the brother of a girlfriend of mine. I was determined to not be another person to give up on him. Well, in the end I did.

In the end, he declared he was going to find the mother who threw him away when he was three come Monday. This was an excuse not to participate in our family life. I had reached my limit. "No, surprise,! you are going today, pack your stuff."

Years later he came to see me and recounted that day and said, "I really let you down didn't I."

"Yes you did." was my only reply. After he said that I was less critical of myself, for I felt I had let him down.

During the seven years I was a single foster father, I had many times when I felt I had reached my limit of understanding with a young foster child. Twice, I had foster children removed from my home when they threated me with violence or mischief (making up stories about me). At least with the Children's Aid Society they were able to ease the transition.

In romantic relationship, (yes! I have had a few,) I have ended only one, not because of the quality of the relatiohsip but because the woman and her psychiatrist husband fought over the children.

It was too painful to watch. He took the two biological children and she got the two adopted ones, one of which was an African child, they brought back from Kenya, like one more of their many African artifacts.

I have just had an experience with my friend, Denis, which saw mew reach my limit. He occasionally lives with me between periods of work. in the North on the tundra, drilling for minerals.

Denis and I have been friends for about ten years. We even worked together for a while. He is a heavy drinker and marijana user. He does much that tests one's patience but like most people he has some admirable qualities.

This last incident occured about a month ago. Since he came out of the Bush he has been beguiled with a woman in Thunder Bay.

After he finishes a stint at work he often goes to a nearby city to party. He spends several thousand dollars on his vices and "working girls".

He fell for one of these part-time working girls and was trying to get her to come to visit him here. I tried to tell him , "you are not supposed to fall in love with the "party girls.", which he often refers to a crack whores. (His attitude toward women in not one of his admirable qualities.)

He took it upon himself to take my truck and drive to Thunder Bay (1000 miles away) to see her. Denis lost his license years ago by driving impaired. He was there before I knew where he had disappeared. On the phone, he said he would be back in a few days. I should have called the police but that would have required me to take an $800 plane ride and a two day drive to retrieve the truck. So I impatiently waited.

Ten days, later, he tried it again. This time he was stopped by the police two hours up the road for driving impaired, plus, more that the limit of marijuana for personal use and lots of cash. He got several charges including "Intent to sell the marijuana." I had to go and retrieve the truck.

He then paid his ladyfriend's transportation to come and visit him, to help him get over his depression for the trouble he got himself in. This required special arrangements for her to get her methadone shots daily in North Bay. He used the truck with her driving most of the time.

I don't think the visit went as well as he had expected. The day he had a neighbour drive them to see her off, my truck was not returned. He went on a drunk. I was starting to think he had decided to drive her home to Thunder Bay. After a day of looking around town I found the truck at the neighbour's as if was being hidden from me. I retrieved it.

For a number of reasons, two of which were I could not keep Denis out of the truck and I thought he was playing me for a fool, I decided to ask him to move out.

He came home druck, of course. "Denis, you cannot live here anymore.." "I know " he relied, I screwed up. I am drunk now I will talk to you in the morning." Later he accused me of abandoning him in his hour of need.

I thought Denis had gone to sleep, While I was starting to feel sorry for him, I saw the truck was gone again. I had reached my limit. I called the police. Denis had taken the truck and tried to sell it to one of his friends.

The police finally arrested him and charged him with theft of the truck.

I feel badly for Denis but he was clearly out of control. putting me and other people at risk. I prized our "odd couple" friendship. I often defended him to others for I knew him well enough to know his good qualities and vulnerabilites.. Unfortunately, our friendship is the price we have paid for his bad behaviour and my willingness to say, "No, more.!"

Sometimes my Life feels like a soap opera.