Jack’s Walk


Green! ©voyager, all rights reserved

More green! ©voyager, all rights reserved

Ha! The forecast was wrong. It’s a beautiful sunny day with blue skies and the air is filled with that earthy scent of spring. I can hear birds singing and the neighbourhood is full of busy squirrels running here and there doing all the things that squirrels do in the spring. Jack was feeling energetic today, too, and he pranced and wagged for most of the walk stopping often to follow a scent or leave a splash of pee. We went past the high school just as the kids were going for lunch and Jack schmoozed with a few gaggles of teens and left happiness in his wake. Best of all today, green is back. The grass is turning a lovely kelly green and there are bunches of fresh green tulips and hyacinths and daffodils getting ready to flower. I can hardly wait.

Jack’s Walk

A cloudy day in early spring. This photo is in full colour. ©voyager, all rights reserved

Well, it’s rain, rain, rain around here for the next 6 days if you believe the forecast. I don’t usually believe the forecast when the weather is supposed to be good, so why should I believe it when the weather’s supposed to be bad. That might make me an optimist and a pessimist which likely equals out to being a realist, which sounds about right. I’m being stiff upper-lipped about the weather, though. I keep telling myself that April Showers bring May Flowers and that it’s like this every year. Spring is wet, but at least this week it’s rain and not snow and the temps are steadily rising and the sun and the flowers and the birds and the bees will be here soon. Hmm… might be an optimist after all.

Tree Tuesday

I love to see the bright, fresh blossoms on flowering trees in early spring, but around here the show hasn’t started yet and the trees seem to be waking up very, very slowly. In Germany, though, the cherry trees are in full bloom and Avalus has taken some gorgeous photographs to share with us.

©Avalus, all rights reserved

[Read more…]

Jack’s Walk

I am a rock. Really. Now go away. ©voyager, all rights reserved

You heard the lady, er I mean rock, now get lost you great slobbering git of a dog! ©voyager, all rights reserved

It’s nesting season at the duck pond, which actually has more geese than ducks. Around the pond proper there are several nesting groups, but this couple wanted a bit more privacy and are nesting at the far end of the creek by themselves. Last year there was a small nesting group here so perhaps these two are waiting for the neighbours to arrive. The male was very protective and drew Jack away from the nesting site and gave him quite a verbal drubbing. Honk, honk, honk is obviously a 4 letter goose word for fuck off, buddy.

Barberry Flowers for Caine

Something very special from Nightjar.

The Barberry shrub I planted last year in Caine’s memory (https://freethoughtblogs.com/affinity/2018/08/22/a-living-remembrance/) is blooming right now and the bees have been visiting it. This Sunday I was finally able to take a few photos and I thought I should share.

©Nightjar, all rights reserved

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Jack’s Walk

Hello, my pretties. ©voyager, all rights reserved

Today is one of those ‘April Showers’ kind of days, but Jack and I got our timing right for a change and managed to stay dry for our whole trip around the duck pond.  It’s still blustery, but yesterday’s -4º has given way to today’s +13º and the change is quite pleasant. It’s also pleasant to look around and see signs of spring everywhere. Daffodils and tulips have sprouted, the swans are outdoors at the park again and the trees get slightly fuzzier everyday. Even the lawns are starting to green up. A bit of sunshine would help, but with or without it Spring will keep inching forward. I’d like to poke it with a broom to make it hurry up.

You’re a sight for sore eyes. ©voyager, all rights reserved

Full Fish Ahead: Part 4

It’s time to check in with Avalus to see what’s up in the new aquarium.

Part 4 – Technically Challenged

You could see it in the last part of Full Fish ahead: I modified the filter inlet tubing. Today I want to talk about what I did and why.

A word of warning: When playing around with water, make sure you have no non-water safe electrical McGuffins running in the splash zone and test, extensively, if your seals are really waterproof (for example overnight in a box).

As you can see, I have a darker background. It is an old towel and will be replaced later on by paper. ©Avalus, all rights reserved

A darker background helps to calm shyer fish and lets their colours stand out. I also cut some of the plants in the middle (Didiplis diandra) to give the other plants between space and light (Hygrophilia Araguaia and cryptocoryne wenditii).

The filter comes with 16 mm hose and an inlet piece that fits the hose. The Problem with this is threefold. One, the Inlet has few large openings, small fish and especially shrimp will get sucked in the filter. It also congests really quickly. Then, just behind the inlet, the water flow is choked and because of the small diameter there is much resistance from the walls, resulting in higher strain in the pump. Also the hose really quickly plugs up from particles sticking to the walls and bacterial mats that will grow. [Read more…]

Wednesday Wings: The Birds of Spring III

An old German children’s song is about the joys of spring, when “all the birds are here already”.

From the list of “blackbird, thrush, finch and starling” you can assume that those birds used to be more migratory or simply tried their luck in the woods back in those days.

There are different thrushes living here, but they are rare visitors to the garden, but can be found in the woods.

©Giliell, all rights reserved

©Giliell, all rights reserved


Jack’s Walk

On Guard, ©voyager, all rights reserved

It’s a cold, blustery day here with overcast skies and the threat of rain. I’m trying to stay zen about it, but I’m disappointed. We had three warmish days in a row and I was feeling all springy and cheerful. Now, my cute straw hat with the ribbon is stuck in the closet again and my black, utilitarian tuque is back on my head. Jack is disappointed today, too. We went to the civic center pond this morning and found it occupied by a small flotilla of Canada Geese who did not like the look of Jack at all. As soon as we got near the water they swam quite aggressively toward him and made it perfectly clear that he was not allowed to swim today.  This is the first time we’ve seen geese at this pond, but I know that the two larger ponds nearby are both crowded with geese right now so I think this bunch wanted someplace quieter for nesting season. Jack barked at them a few times, but they didn’t give an inch and he finally walked away. Poor boy. We walked around the soccer fields instead, but the weather was grim and neither of us felt like wagging a tail.

Tree Tuesday

The Tree of Life in Bahrain, Alawadhi 3000, Wikipedia.org

In a remote part of the Arabian desert in Bahrain sits a lone Ghaf tree (Prosopis cinerariathat has mysteriously survived for over 400 years. It’s known as The Sharajat-al-Hayat or The Tree of Life.

Lacking any visible source of water, the 32-foot mesquite tree has baffled visitors and scientists alike for its entire life as it has continued to grow. Although the mesquite tree is known for holding a great deal of water in its massive root system, there is still no source of water in sight. Even arid vegetation needs water to survive, which makes Bahrain’s Tree of Life even more mysterious.

The mystery of the tree’s survival has led to a lot of speculation.

Without a rational explanation for the tree’s biological success, many have turned to mythology and religion for answers. Some assert that Enki, an ancient god of water in Babylonian and Sumerian mythology, protects the tree. Others still believe the site is the historical location of the Garden of Eden.

Whatever the source of life is for this tree it has inspired millions of people and attracts upwards of 50,000 visitors a year from around the world.


Via Atlas Obscura