Jack’s Walk

Fishing at the Creek, ©voyager, all rights reserved

What do you do when the creek is full and flowing and there’s not a speck of ice in sight? You go fishing, of course. That’s what Jack is doing in this photo in case it’s not immediately obvious. He’s still hoping to repeat his lucky catch of a few years ago. Meanwhile, I stand onshore explaining to curious onlookers why my dog is standing up to his chest in cold water, not moving a muscle and staring at something that no-one else sees.

Tree Tuesday

Last week we looked at the oldest living clonal tree Old Tjikko in Sweden. This week we’re featuring the world’s oldest living individual tree, a 4,850 year old Bristlecone pine in California named Methuselah.

Named, obviously, after the Biblical figure that lived for 969 years, the Methuselah Tree grows in the Methuselah Grove, which is in Inyo National Forest’s “Forest of Ancients,” where it is surrounded by other ancient trees. The exact location of the tree, though, is kept secret to protect it against vandalism.

Methuselah has an estimated germination date of 2832 BCE, making it older than the pyramids of Egypt. The tree doesn’t exactly live under ideal conditions either. Bristlecone Pines live at high elevation with minimal soil and harsh winds, but they are perfectly suited for survival in this unwelcoming environment. Photos of the Methuselah Pine are not published and its location is kept a closely guarded secret due to concerns about possible damage by humans. The photo above is of a 3,500 year old specimen, just a youngster by comparison. There was an even older Bristlecone Pine named Prometheus that was accidentally destroyed by a grad student in 1964 while taking a core sample. That is a very big OOPS!

The story and more photos can be found at Atlas Obscura.


January Light

Nightjar has been stalking the light with her camera again and here is her feature for the month of January.

January Light can be as bright as it gets when the sun is shining and dew is reflecting sunlight in all directions. The first three photos show this very well and illustrate what sunny January mornings are like here. But January can be rainy and cloudy too, with the subdued light and soaked forest producing a very different mood. On rainy days colours aren’t bright, but they are quite saturated and rich as the last three photos show. Whatever version of January Light we get, green is ubiquitous and irresistible.

©Nightjar, all rights reserved

[Read more…]

Jack’s Walk

©voyager, all rights reserved

As expected, we’ve had several days of temps well above zero. Today it’s 9º C and almost all of our snow has melted away. The creek at the park is running high, everything is boggy and the season of mud has set in early. Oh. joy. The weather forecast is looking pretty strange, too. Today and tomorrow it’s expected to be about 10º C then on Wednesday we go down to -2º C with snow and then Thursday and Friday up to 12º C with rain. About a week ago I said it felt like the month of March had come early, but already this week it feels more like the month of April.

Some Bullfinches

On Tuesday I will get the stitches out, and hopefully I will be able to write again without constantly tripping over my fingers. But I had some luck at the feeder finally, maybe because we have plenty of snow and it stays on for a month by now. So here are some dapper pictures from this week.

© Charly, all rights reserved. Click for full size.

Harakka in Autumn: Chapter 1

It’s time to go for a walk with Ice Swimmer in the latest chapter of his series.

Chapter 1 – Rocks in the South on Saturday

The Path on the Rocks in the South. ©Ice Swimmer, all rights reserved

On Harakka, humans are supposed to be restricted to the roads, paths and other designated areas. On the rocks, stones or painted triangles mark the paths. [Read more…]

Urban Rainbow

I had slightly different plans, but what with the news and all, I think we can all use some rainbows instead.

If things get any worse, I will start posting picture of (one of) my cat(s).

©rq, all rights reserved.

©rq, all rights reserved.

Edited to add this, decidedly not my photo, but amazing rainbows nonetheless:

This is in Iceland, apparently.


Jack’s Walk

The Thames River, ©voyager, all rights reserved

It’s a beautiful, sunny winter day and the temp has climbed to -14 C which feels downright balmy compared to the minus thirties of the past few days. We took a slow, longish walk down by the river and didn’t stray from the path today. I’m pretty sure I know about where the beavers are, but there’s so much snow that getting there would be difficult and dangerous. I’m not sure you could even see very much because of the deep snow cover. Instead, we sang a few of Jack’s favourite songs, did a bit of dancing and pounced and frolicked our way around the park.

Better Examples

That poor Gillette ad got a lot of comments of all kinds. This morning I read another commentary, mostly due to the title – Why The Gillette Ad Isn’t Just About Boys and Men – It’s About My Three Daughters, Too:

When it comes to female characters, our daughters (three of them: ages 7, 5 and 2) have much more choice than when I was growing up in the ’80s. They are fans of Merida from Brave and Moana from, well, Moana, both girls who push back on what their societies expect of them. They just discovered the newly re-launched Carmen Sandiego with its kick-ass female lead, and Doc McStuffins is always a solid choice.

But when it comes to male characters, most of them consist of lightly camouflaged stereotypes of the “strong man” trope. Both Moana and Merida’s fathers are large, physically strong and are chiefs of their tribe. They only reluctantly give up their conservative views about their daughters by the end of the movies. Merida’s brothers (triplets) are always portrayed as fighting or eating, a classic example of the “boys will be boys” trope called out in the Gillette spot.

And good luck with anything from the past. Our daughters recently watched the Christmas classic Home Alone, where Kevin McCallister takes his queues from the male characters he sees on TV in gangster and western movies. “It’s my house and I have to defend it,” he concludes, setting the stage for the violence to come.

I know this is something that our very own Giliell has been saying from time to time, and I can only agree, so it was nice to see it in writing: choices for girls have broadened into the traditionally ‘masculine’, but boys have not seen that same expansion into the traditionally ‘feminine’ space.

But that article pointed me towards another mencare (I did, I really did!) product company out there, with a much better ad: Harry’s.

Harry’s, another razor company, has an ad I really like but hasn’t seen nearly as much fanfare as the Gillette ad. In fact, I believe it works better in actually changing our views of men.

… Says Joseph Wilson at the CBC.

Is he right? Well, the ad features Ludacris (of Fast and Furious fame, there he is in the back!):

A very masculine set of movies, I’ll tell you, and I’ve seen them all. But Ludacris, one among the manly men, does things a little differently in the short video. I think I like it:

Whether you prefer Harry’s method or Gillette’s, both are much-needed in the dialogue about masculinity. One for calling out the bad behaviour, the other for just plain showing the better example. More, please.

(No song today. I had some ideas, but I think this time I will leave it at that.)