Jack’s Walk

©voyager, all rights reserved

! Jack and I are on the lam. We wanted to see how much flooding there was over the weekend and when we arrived, we found both trails closed – due to flooding. Jack was the first to cross the barrier, and he quickly trotted off toward the river.

“Hey, Bubba. Come back here. You can’t go there, the sign says it’s closed.” I called out, adding “Hey, wait up.”

“Silly Mummy,” he replied, “Dog’s can’t read.”

First, that’s an outright lie. Most dogs read very well, and many are multi-lingual, but they don’t want people to know because they’re afraid someone will make it a job for them to do.

Secondly, he wasn’t waiting up for me. By the time I’d adjusted my scarf to protect my camera from the mizzle, Jack was already in the water and out far enough to be in the current, which frightened me, so I called him to come to shore.

“Don’t worry Mummy, the water isn’t too fast for me.”

“Yeah, yeah, You’re super-dog. Now come here,” but as I got closer to the river, I saw that Jack’s assessment of this situation was accurate. The current wasn’t very energetic, and the banks were only mildly flooded. We’d seen much worse earlier in the month, after the first January thaw. I told Jack he could stay in for a few minutes and stood at the edge of the water, watching him swim upstream and away, then relax and float back downstream for a bit. His sister taught him this “surfing” method at the beach, but Jack doesn’t have the drive that Lucy did, and he soon tires of the upstream work part of the equation, and sure enough, he came into shore after only a few minutes.

“I don’t know how you can swim in such cold water. I don’t know why you’d want to either.” I told him.

“Mummy, it’s invigorating and much healthier for you than that heated therapy pool that you use.”

“I’m not so sure about that, Bubbs. That river water doesn’t look too clean to me.” I said as he shook the water out of his coat and onto mine.

He harumphed and padded off down the path farther away from the car. I almost called him back but decided that the mizzle wasn’t that bad, and the fish police weren’t too likely to be waiting for us back at the car, and I was right on both counts. The walk may have even been a bit sweeter than usual because of the rebelliousness of crossing that barrier, to which I say,

“Take that Mr. Conservation Officer. I fart in your general direction. Your mother was a hamster.”

How Many ‘ologies’ do you Know


I often listen to podcasts when I walk Jack, and I’ve found a new one that I think you’d really like, too. It’s called ‘Ologies’ and the host Ali Ward is an Emmy award-winning science journalist. She’s worked on such shows as ‘Brainchild’ (Netflix), ‘How to Build Everything’ (Science Channel) and ‘In The Wild’ with co-host Adam Savage of Mythbusters.
Alie Ward is a charming and humorous host, and every week, she interviews a scientist from a different ‘Ology’ or specialty area, and questions them on what their field is all about. She approaches each subject with a genuine sense of curiosity and wonder. What you hear as the end product is a bunch of scientists who are passionate about their work telling stories and talking about what they love. Each interview ends with a lightning round of questions sent in by her patrons. One of her mottos is, “Never be afraid to ask a smart person a stupid question.” Or a smart one, either – Alie, herself, has a science background and prepares well for each interview, so the conversations are compelling and intelligent with a pleasant touch of humour. As an interviewer, she allows each guest space and time to tell their best stories in that passionate way of nerds.

‘ Ologies’ is Alie’s own brainchild, something that she thought about doing for many years before finally putting it together. There are currently over a hundred ‘Ologies’ available and Alie intends to keep going. She also makes a donation on each show to the charity of the Ologists choice and then features the charity on her website.  I’ve been binging on it for about 2 weeks, and I’m hooked. Give it a listen. This is the website for the show, and you should be able to find it via most podcast players.

YouTube Video: If Jewelry Commercials Were Honest

It says it all, really. Why use diamond if glass can be made such that an amateur canot distinguish it at all and a professional needs a microscope? Why pay exorbitant prices for rocks laboriously extracted from ground when they can be synthesised at a fracture of those costs?

It also sums up my feelings about using rare and exotic tropical hardwoods for woodwork.

Jack’s Walk

Drucilla the Prepared, ©voyager, all rights reserved

Murray the Inappropriate, ©voyager, all rights reserved

Jack and I had an interesting walk in the woods in the woods today. We ran into two young people from the Stone Tribe – that’s how they introduced themselves. The eldest is Drucilla the Prepared and she has lovely orange eyes and spots. The youngest is Murray the Inappropriate and he couldn’t stop giggling and the whole time his red and white spots kept jiggling as he wiggled and laughed. Drucilla says they are a long, long way from home and have been brought here by Pikes to act as sentinels.

I asked the obvious question. “How did pikes carry you here?”

Murray finally stops giggling and shouts out, “in their hands of course,” to which I reply “fish don’t have hands.”

“Of course they don’t, but what do fish have to do with it.”

“Well, you told me that you were brought here by pikes.”

“Not the fish Pikes,” says Murray. “The Palmerston Pikes, down near Punkydoodle Corner.” Then he starts to laugh again only this time he’s guffawing which makes him start to fart and that makes Jack start to giggle.

“You’d best be on your way now,” says Drucilla. “No more questions. I’ve said far too much already.”

“But, there’s so much more I want to know,” I said.

“Of course there is, but you’ll not hear it from me.”

“Please,” I pleaded.

“Off you go now. Don’t make call for aid.” Drucilla said finally.

I could hear hard steel in her voice and, since I don’t know what “aid” means to someone from the Stone Tribe, Jack and I sensibly, but reluctantly walked away. For now.

I have many questions.


Jack’s Walk

Forest Rooster greets us at the entrance to the trail. ©voyager, all rights reserved

This morning Jack and I went to a forest trail a few miles outside of town to the east. We don’t come here often because it’s full of mosquitoes, but it’s still early in the season so I thought we’d take the chance. We did see a few mosquitoes, but we didn’t run into any swarms and neither of us got a single bite. This trail is a lot different than our familiar wee forest path. It’s a mixture of conifer and hardwood with several large open areas and a big pond covered in lily pads. It’s also protected by a large, aggressive forest rooster who did not like the looks of Jack.

[Read more…]

Jack’s Walk

Mammoth tusks? ©voyager, all rights reserved

Our polar exploration has finally found success. This morning the normally low-key Jack Brown returned to camp in a state of total excitement. His face and beard were full of frost and his cheeks were pale with cold, but he was highly animated and his words came out in a breathless flurry. “North, near, big” were all that we could make out at first, but as Jack began to warm-up in the relative comfort of our hut his tale took on more sense. North of camp and a mile or so past the temporary weather station that we’d cobbled together, Jack had sighted what appeared to be 2 large tusks almost completely free of ice and above the snow line. The news quickly generated much excitement and in a matter of minutes the ennui that has plagued this mission had lifted totally and a happy buzz of commotion took over. Maps suddenly found their way to our makeshift table and everyone began to ready themselves for the march out to Jack’s discovery. Scientific instruments of all sorts were located, checked and packed on our smallest sledge. There was a small area of deep sastrugi between our camp and the site and I thought that the small sledge would best traverse the accursed peaks and dips. The day was dull, but thankfully polar night is still ahead of us and Jack’s tracks made navigation to the site easy. Within an hour the team was ready to go and we set out into the day full of happy anticipation. It was a short march and within 3 hours we could see the tusks from the eastern cliffs. When the tusks were first sighted Ned Barkley let out a whoop of excitement and the entire team became re-energized. A few hours of difficult descent later and we were all standing gaping in awe at Jack’s find. The tusks are massive and confirm my hypothesis that woolly mammoths did indeed migrate this far north. The head of the beast is partially exposed and should not be difficult to excavate. I ordered that a temporary camp be erected and sent Jason Digger and Ned back to our permanent camp with orders to pack up as much equipment and food as possible and relocate it to this new site. The hut and a supply of food will be left behind for our return journey, but the ponies are to be used to drag the sledges as far as possible and are then to be slaughtered and butchered. The men will then don the harnesses and drag the sledges the rest of the way. The find is so exhilarating that the entire team seems barely aware of the deep exhaustion that will set in soon. I have already begun taking measurements and am quite excited to begin the process of documenting this find for the Royal Society.

(With a nod to Sir Ernest Shackleton, the greatest polar explorer of all time.)

Get Ready to Rumble

From Avalus, some action photos and a bit of humour to get the week started.

Hey folks, I just found this gem from 2017.

*read in a actionfilmtrailervoice*
Butterfly and Bumblebee Actionsequence! Rumble around a thristleflower!
Airing next Spring in a Field near You (again)!

©Avalus, all rights reserved

©Avalus, all rights reserved

©Avalus, all rights reserved

Thanks, Avalus. That was fun.

Jack’s Walk

Jack is not ready to go home. ©voyager, all rights reserved.

Here are some things I’ve learned from Jack.

  1. Winter is the most wonderful time of the year, especially if there’s lots of snow.
  2. Cold weather gives you energy and calls for prancing and pouncing.
  3. Chasing invisible mice through the snow is great fun.
  4. Smells are more interesting in the snow.
  5. Yellow snow is especially interesting and requires long and careful sniffing.
  6. You need to leave p-mail in more places when there’s snow, so tank up.
  7. A walk around the neighbourhood will take 50% longer because of all the above.
  8. Scooting in the snow feels nice and is a great way to wipe your bum.
  9. Lying down in the snow is fun and makes your belly go bright red.
  10. Lying down in the snow is also a great way to make your walk last even longer, so stop and drop often.

Jack’s Walk

Blondie, ©voyager, all rights reserved

One of my neighbours has this small pink glass flamingo in their front garden that I am absolutely smitten with. I call her Blondie because she has a Heart of Glass and she lives on one of our evening walking routes so we see her often. Usually, Blondie’s taken in over the winter, but this year the poor wee thing has been left out all alone to fend with our Canadian winter. She seems to be holding together well enough in the cold, but I don’t think she’s happy. Flamingos need sunshine (we haven’t had any for weeks) and warmth (we’ve had none of that either) and poor Blondie is probably dreaming about warm, shallow waters on tropical beaches and wading with friends. We have that in common. Anyway, Jack likes to gives her a good nosing and I always say hello with the hope that we send a bit of warmth into that cold heart of glass.