Saturday, July 31, 2010

Long Lost

About six or seven years ago, I started corresponding with my dad's youngest brother, my Uncle Ed. I am sure the last time I saw him was in the early sixties. He is a retired medical doctor and has been living in Montreal for quite a few years now. We 'hit it off' immediately and have been exchanging emails regularly, on almost every topic imaginable. We are on the same wavelength on most things and I find him fascinating in that he is family, grew up with my dad, and yet is so very different from my dad. He is a highly entertaining fellow and has a marvelous sense of humour. We had the honour of having him and his wife, my Aunt Amy, and their daughter Jackie in for dinner last Sunday. We did not need to break the ice as we know each other from so much emailing, but we still had so much to talk about. Pictured above is busylizzy, Aunt  Amy, and Jackie, my truly long lost cousin who I had never seen or met before. Such delightful people, all of them. 
Here is me with my Uncle Ed and his family, grinning from ear to ear, just so pleased to finally get to see him. He specialised in restoring sight to people who were losing their vision, and what irony that now he himself is blind from macular degeneration. He carries his digital camera, his lap top with 'Zoomtext', and his magnifying glass with light, and some how manages to see enough to get by but for all intents and purposes is blind. He is very articulate, well read, well cultured, and informed on any and all topics. I hope we see each other again soon.

Friday, July 30, 2010

I Love a Road Trip

I can think of few things in life more enjoyable than a beautiful sunny day and a long road to drive. I have always loved driving. I think it started when I first learned to ride a bicycle and discovered the exhilarating feeling of freedom and a better, faster way to go places. With a dependable vehicle and a good road, beautiful scenery and a good stereo system, I can leave the cares of the world behind, forget about the daily grind, and simply live in the moment. When I took my recent trip to Saskatchewan, I left home at 5 am and basked in the spectacular light of a sunrise over Mt. Cheam. The valley was bathed in warm light and yet the early morning was cool and fresh. My destination was Edmonton and even though I knew I would be driving for 12 hours straight, I was energised by the thought and felt young and strong. There are many more road trips in my future, God willing, and I hope I never lose the excitement of heading out on one of them.
Jasper Alberta

Thursday, July 29, 2010

Introducing My New Friend

It took a full day but I was determined to replace my truck so I could get my work life back under control. I purchased a new 2010 Mazda B2300 truck like the one in the photo above except mine will have a custom canopy on the box in about a month. It is on order now. I know the owner of VIP Mazda and in fact went to school with him. I have been treated so well there and given such great deals that this is the sixth new vehicle I have purchased there over the years. Now I await the verdict from the insurance company as to how much they are going to assist me in my purchase. I do not expect much, but the adjuster said that I may be pleasantly surprised.
This new truck has everything my old one did plus a/c, 4 air bags, four wheel ABS disc brakes, a great stereo system, and much more power (which means less fuel economy) The one downside is the smaller box, but there is nothing on the market anymore with a 'long box'. We will have to adjust our tool selection with this new reality. I certainly hope that over the next few years I can say that Mazda Quality which was there when they built my old '93, has returned to their line of trucks.    

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Goodbye My Trusty Friend

Today I got the news from the Insurance Corp. that I will have to say goodbye to my trusty little friend. We have a history starting in 1994 when I was in the market for a new truck. This was one of six 1993 Mazda B2200 trucks that the dealer had on his lot. They were the last of the trucks made by Mazda in Japan. Henceforth, Mazda and Ford would make a hybrid and immediately the quality declined. These were eventually recognised as the most reliable trucks on the road. The dealer was anxious to get rid of these six trucks so he put mag wheels on them for no extra charge. Then he gave me an amazing trade-in value for my old truck and I walked away with a new truck for just over $10,000.00! I put on the canopy, attached the boat rack (for canoe or ladders) and installed a bed mat and I had exactly what I wanted and what I needed. I soon learned that this truck only needed oil changes at regular intervals. After seventeen years and only 160,000 km. it has its original clutch and only its second set of brakes. I got as much as 46 miles per gallon on the highway and around town 34. 
And then last Saturday I forced her into a duel with a city bus. It was like hitting a brick wall. Besides all the body damage you can see in the previous post, she suffered internal injuries that were just too expensive to repair, including a bent frame. She is irreplaceable in terms of meeting my exact needs as a work truck, a roomy box, reliability, economy of operation and durability. She was going to last me well into retirement. My accountant would comment every year about that amazing truck I was using for work. "You never have to spend any money on her." And it was true.  
Of course, I need wheels to continue with my business, so tomorrow I go shopping. I already know 'what is out there' and I do not like any of it. I just want my baby back.   

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Random Photos from the Gathering

My Aunt Kathy, mother to the two brothers, Garry and Bruce, who operate the farm. She is a historian and is a wealth of information about our family. She was a wonderful co-host for the weekend reunion. She still lives on the farm that she raised her family on, Garry, Bruce, Laura, and Howard.  
This is Aunt Kathy when I first knew her as a young mom.
Cousin Garry Boldt and cousin Betty Reimer (nee Boldt)
Young Betty
Very young Garry
Kim Boldt
Brothers Gerald and Kim Boldt long ago.
Gerald Boldt today 
Bruce Boldt
Bruce caught a rabbit (early sixties)  
Garry and Bruce, brothers, lived on the farm with Gerald and Kim, brothers. Their fathers, Jake and Leonard Boldt owned and operated the farm that our grandfather, Jacob B. Boldt raised his eight children on. Today Bruce and Howard still live on the same farm, and Garry lives just down the road. Garry and Bruce operate the original farm as partners, just as their fathers did. In their father's day, it was mixed farming. Today it is a grain farm, working 33 quarter sections of land. That is more than 8 sq. miles.  

Monday, July 26, 2010

The Ugly

Nobody reads this blog on Mondays so here goes with the "ugly". I pulled into Edmonton around 6 pm on Thursday evening and booked a room at the Holiday Inn Express. After 12 hours on the road and hardly a break, I wanted to grab a quick bite and hit the bed. There was only one restaurant within walking distance and that was a Swiss Chalet, right next door. The minute they brought me the 'Hot Chicken Sandwich', I had a feeling. It tasted really awful and I only ate part of it, I suppose, the part with the poison in it. Flash forward 24 hours.
After arriving in Saskatoon early afternoon the next day, I was offered some fruit by Aunt Anne who was the first person I visited. She had a bowl of cherries there and I was thinking that I had never before in my life felt like turning down fresh cherries but ate three or four anyway. Later that afternoon I went to the BBQ and as everyone was eager to get to the food, I held back, wondering where my appetite had gone. I was the last in line and even then took very little. I was feeling 'off'. Less than an hour later, I excused myself and went to the washroom, feeling very hot, nauseous, and perspiring like the temperature had just shot up to the thirties. I came back out later and excused myself from the party, feeling rather disoriented and not at all like speaking to anyone. I drove home and that is when the thunderstorm broke out that I wrote about earlier. I made it home without incident, but just barely. Thus began the ugliest 24 hours in recent memory. It had been at least 15 - 20 years since the last time I had thrown up anything, but that night I made up for lost time. I was in the bathroom more often than not and when I was in bed I dare not sleep lest I have an accident. I tried to keep hydrated but nothing would stay down. I lost the desire to do anything but run from the bed to the toilet. I told you it was ugly. No more detail here. Most of you have been there, done that.
And so is the saga of the missing Saturday, the full day of the cousin gathering when there was brunches, farm tours, and all sorts of visiting and catching up with the cousins. I missed it all. Finally, at around 4 pm. I made a decision to get out of bed, shower and shave, and go to the evening dinner whether I was sick or not. By this time I was rid of everything in my body except my spleen so surely I would be OK. As I was driving to Osler and looking for the church hall where they were gathering, I almost turned back. But, I had come all this way and I was not going to be cheated. I got there just as they were starting. I had a spoon full of mixed fruit and lots of Sprite and I slowly started feeling normal. I expected the fatigue and the weakness but lasted the evening and was so glad I had made the decision to be there. There was a tribute to all the Aunts, Uncles, and grandparents who had gone before, as well as to the ones who still remained. Each family tree branch gave a pictorial or written report on those that did not make it to the gathering, and then there was an auction of family memorabilia to raise funds to defray costs of the food and church rental. It was a whole lot of fun and we had a lot of laughs. My queasiness lasted through to the following day and I did not eat a full meal until Monday, but only had the odd snack with plenty of water.
I am trying to prevent this episode from turning my time in Osler into a bad memory. There was more than enough happiness and joy to outlast the illness, and in time I will remember only the 'good'.
As for missing out on the Saturday activities, I must say that brothers Garry and Bruce spent all Sunday afternoon with me, even though the gathering was officially over, and did the whole farm tour with me. It was great. I still missed out on a lot of visiting with the others, but then I made up for it by getting to spend some really quality time with these guys. 

Sunday, July 25, 2010

It Was Overdue .... I Think

A beautiful Saturday morning can suddenly turn into something nasty. When following a bus, one must be constantly aware that the bus could, at any moment, stop to pick up riders. Of course, I know this, but momentarily reaching into my shirt pocket for my sunglasses clip-ons is all it takes for the distance between me and the bus to  minimize rapidly. Traffic on my left prevented me from quickly changing lanes so I bore down on the brakes and braced myself. There was some satisfaction in noting that the bus was disabled and had to be towed as it was leaking coolant. My little truck was still quite drivable. Monday will determine if it is a 'write-off'. If it is, I will be paid out for the book value and off I go to shop for new wheels. If not, it will get repaired with insurance money. This truck is worth way more to me than book value. It is a low mileage economical vehicle with an eight foot long box, somewhat of a rarity and I will not be able to replace it. I will pay for the repair out of my own pocket if need be. I just last week spent $700 on all sorts of maintenance and tune-ups and it was in top form, running better than ever and getting better fuel economy than ever. What a crying shame to have to scrap it.
It is 17 years old and still sparkles. As for "overdue"? It was 1969 when I had my first accident. Not a one since then, until yesterday.  

Prairie Scenes

Mid July is the time when the Canola crops are either beginning to bloom or are in full bloom. The rain everywhere this year makes everything lush and green, like I have never seen it in the prairie provinces before, but after a few hours of driving on the flat one's eye is attracted to more colour than green.
There are very few grain elevators of the old style left anywhere in Alberta or Saskatchewan. I took photos of the few that I saw. This one was actually a private one on a farmer's property and was not full size but you cannot tell in the photo.
There is plenty of water standing everywhere and ducks in almost every low lying area. The Canola fields remind me of the massive colour overload one experiences at tulip time in the fields of  La Connor.

A prairie sunset just outside of Saskatoon. The sun is reflecting off the water standing in the field from the downpour the night before. The crops in this area are devastated and there will be only crop insurance for the farmers this year.
Big sky country. Here you can see the dark sky in the west as another weather system moves toward the Saskatoon area.

Saturday, July 24, 2010

"The Bad"

Yes, there were mosquitoes. The part of Saskatchewan where my cousins farm is, has had over 20 inches of rain in June and July and normally they get around 12 inches per year. As a result, there is standing water ever where, which is a perfect breeding ground for these nasty critters. They are large and the air is vibrating with their numbers, but I did not find them too aggressive. I used to be so envious of those whose blood was rejected by the mosquitoes, and it seems that this time around, I was one of them. I only got one or two bites and did not even use the Off  Deepwoods Sportsman repellent I researched and bought for the trip. Interestingly, of all the places I stopped, it was only in Saskatoon and area where I found there were any of these bugs at all. 
Another 'bad' thing were the roads in Saskatoon and the outlying areas. The asphalt was heaved, broken, and ridgy everywhere and I was especially cautious as I had low clearance with my car. I am totally spoilt coming from an area of the country that has such good roads. Mind you, they have to contend with vicious frost heaves in the winter and this year too much rain, which softens the ground, will also result in worse heaves this coming winter when the freeze  comes up. 
The weather was not 'bad', but could have been better at times. I drove through a lot of rain during the entire trip but the worst was my trip back to my room in Saskatoon on Friday night after the opening night. There was threat of a storm coming with severe areas predicted. As I drove to the city, the sky got progressively darker even though it was not yet sunset. Suddenly, the lightening started and I drove into a wall of water and wind. I thought I would be blown off the road. The outdoor temp plunged and the windshield instantly fogged up. Before I knew what was happening, I was driving through several inches of rain on the road, obscuring the lines and curbs. The gust of winds were hurricane force and I was so afraid that something was going to come flying at me and damage my precious transportation. It was not my car, but entrusted to me. I somehow managed to get to the place where I was staying and just sat in the car, waiting for the lightening and downpour to subside. It left as suddenly as it appeared and there were the remains of the sunset. The extremes in Saskatchewan can be bad, and they were that night.
 I also had a scary incident with weather on Monday night between Edson and Hinton on the Yellowhead Highway. I stopped the car to take a photo of what I saw in the distance, wondering if the road would lead me to it. 
I did not have to wait long to find out. I could see the curtain of water as I approached and was curious to see just how bad it would be. It hit viciously and without mercy. My first thought was hydroplaning so I made sure the cruise control was off and I eased back on my speed. The big rigs on my tail had no such worries and bore down on my position very quickly with great plumes of road spray flying out beside and behind them. I knew if I was caught between them, my visibility would go from bad to disastrous. I stayed ahead of the trucks just enough to keep them from passing me, even though it was a four lane divided highway. The water was inches deep on the road and getting deeper. Were it not for my pursuers, I would have pulled over and waited it out. About two miles down the road, it subsided almost as quickly as it had started and I pulled away from the trucks rapidly. It was the weight of the car, the traction control, and God's hand that preserved me. It was truly scary.
I drove through a lot of rain on the trip home including this big shower on the Coquihalla Highway. (Below)
 I thought that one good result would be that the bugs smashed against the front of the car would wash off. Not to be. The legs and wings were gone, but their red and yellow pigmentation were embedded into the Corvette's paint job. It would take a lot of warm soapy water and elbow grease to get rid of that stuff when I got home. 
Tomorrow is Sunday so I will not get into the "Ugly" part of the trilogy. We do not want to spoil our day of rest.    

Friday, July 23, 2010

The Good, The Bad, And the Ugly .. or My Trip to Saskatchewan

One cannot have an adventure without  .... well, adventure, and that always includes good stuff, bad stuff, and ugly stuff. My trip was like that. There is too much to much to tell in one post so I will start with the 'good', and there was lots of that.
I alluded to my mode of transportation in some of my previous posts so I will explain how I came about driving a Corvette to Saskatchewan, for starters.
About a month before the trip, busylizzy announced that she would not be coming with me, due to various reasons. That left us with a transportation dilemma. I could not leave her stranded without her car and my work truck was being used daily by my partner in crime so I needed wheels. I considered renting wheels and then considered renting something exotic, a chance of a lifetime, so to speak. I made some inquiries and was blown away by the cost, even though I knew it would not be cheap. I then got a brain wave and gave it a try. A friend of mine owns a Corvette and perhaps he would rent it to me. I tentatively asked him, never dreaming he would even consider it. He told me he would not rent it to me but he would give it to me. I was dumbfounded. A week later I asked him again and his answer was the same. Surely he would want something, but he assured me that if the tank was full of gas when I returned, and I paid for the next oil change, I could have it. When he confirmed it a third time a week before my trip, I got so excited I could hardly sleep at night. 
I picked it up on the Tuesday before I left and drove it a bit to familiarize myself with the bells and whistles and the unique experience of driving a high performance sports car. I took to it instantly and there was no turning back. Here I am on Wednesday night before the trip, still in the Fraser Valley. Driving this car was truly a thrill of a lifetime for me because I have always greatly admired the Corvette and have always wanted to own one, but knew that I was too practical a person to ever own one. I have now experienced the thrill and I will never forget it. I will write much more about my amazing driving experience with this beauty in later posts. For now, let us say it belongs in the 'good'  of my trilogy post.

The whole purpose of the trip was the cousin gathering on my mother's side of the family, her maiden name being Boldt. It was planned and organised by my Aunt Kathy Boldt and her sons Garry and Bruce. It was hosted by them on the original Boldt farm, the farm I went to as a kid for many an extended summer vacation during the years 1956 to 1964. About 40 people showed up on Friday night for registration and the opening BBQ and 'get aquainted' evening. Some of these fine folks were children of cousins and various spouses etc. but not all cousins were there. There are 28 of us cousins in the family altogether and had all been there, it would have been a much larger gathering. There were many introductions and plenty of good conversation and funny stories revolving around the memories each of us had. 
This is a random photo of people's backs as they were too intent on lining up at the outdoor buffet tables to face the camera.
The next few days were a feast of memories, laughter, and bonding. I discovered that these are good people, just as I had remembered them from my childhood. More on some of our activities in later posts. This is just an overview for now and tomorrow I write about some of the 'bad' experiences during my trip to Saskatchewan.  

Thursday, July 22, 2010

If You See This, I am Still Catching Up

Yes, another summer flower, not a prairie flower, but a July 11th lily, the first of many by now. The last large batch of flower photos was taken on a rather windy afternoon and I am surprised that I did not get many blurred images. I used a fast shutter speed and a tripod which helped. Here is another one.

This was my mother's favourite flower and they grew very well in Saskatchewan. I remember hers being a lighter pink.
And, finally, a cluster of Yellow Loose Strife on a bed of soft and downy Lamb's Ear. Yes, living with an avid gardener is rubbing off on me. If busylizzy were not a flower person, I would be posting a lot of photos of grass, bark mulch, concrete, weeds, etc.
I have added a new feature at the bottom of each post. Most of you do not leave a comment so now you can just click a box to give me just a wee bit of feedback. Try it out. Oh, and here is a sneak prview of the land with no mountains, one of the first photos I took when I hit the flat country. 

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Should be Home Today

Click on this photo and see the tiny round house in the centre of the blossom, surrounded by trees. Nature is full of mini versions of large things, and larger versions of tiny things. God's design follows patterns and templates but within the design work is infinitesimal variety. Like people. We are all the same, yet no two of us are identical. 
As always happens when I return from a trip, there are a thousand things to do to catch up, both in my personal affairs, but even more so in my business. There will be many phone calls to make, paperwork and mail to go through, and a lot of 'splainin' to do to the three customers whose job I am supposed to be on today. One day I will be retired, or dead, and I will not have all this catching up to do that always spoils the return home. What I am trying to say is that I will post photos when I get to it and not any sooner. It will have to be low priority for a few days. Remember, I am writing this on July 11th. The future is now! Or something like that.   

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Heading Home

I am getting a lot tired of eating 'out'. By now I am finding fresh fruit and stuff like that. This happens when I travel. I will be half way home today and will start thinking about all the work I have lined up for the rest of the summer and the fall. I know I will still be enjoying the drive. I am not sure which route I am taking , probably the Transcanada highway 1.

Monday, July 19, 2010

Free to Roam

Today I may just be headed to my boyhood stomping ground of Lanigan Saskatchewan. I think I have only been back there once since I left in 1964. It was changed tremendously at that time already, unlike most sleepy prairies towns. I will be stopping often to photograph gophers, meadowlarks, wheat, oats, barley, flat land, big skies, and anything else that gets in the way of my Nikon. I have my tripos along so I may be in a few of these shots. What's a flat prairie road without an old guy standing on the yellow line beside his fancy car. (Oops, that is still a secret)  

Sunday, July 18, 2010

Last Day with the Rellies

Last night we had an auction of family memorabilia. I better talk about this one after the fact as I have no idea what I bought. My contribution was a framed portrait of my Grandma that I took in the mid seventies. I hope somebody enjoyed it. I think we went to church today, the very one that my parents got married in back in the forties. Next door is a cemetery where my deceased relatives, that never came to BC, are buried.  

Saturday, July 17, 2010

Cousins Everywhere

Last night we had a western BBQ and I think it was really good. Remember, I am writing this on July 11th. Today the schedule is to do a farm tour, crop tour, machinery tour, RJC tour, (the private School I attended for one year in '63 -'64) and then another big family feed at the farm. I think I have gained some weigth already. I am taking many, many photos as I do not know when I will ever see some these dudes again.

Friday, July 16, 2010

While I'm Away

This morning, if all has gone well, I will have left Edmonton for Saskatoon. I decided to take the northern route (Yellowhead Highway #16) because it is supposed to be almost two hours shorter in duration, even though it is about 100 km. further to drive. With summer holidayers on the #1 it would have been a slow go from Golden through to Banff, and then Calgary has the Stampede this week so there would have been traffic everywhere. My goal is to reach Saskatoon by late afternoon. I thought that while I was gone I would post my latest floral offerings, all taken on July 11, right here on my ranch. (That would be my 6000 sq. ft. city lot to you)  

Thursday, July 15, 2010

Reinventing the Wheel

If all went according to plan, I left on my little trip at 6 am this morning. I am already having the time of my life. More about this later.

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

I May Never Know

I am getting more calls every day for hanging wallpaper in high end homes. There are very few tradesmen who know the ins and outs of installing most of the modern wallpapers and vinyls. I learned the trade well, in the eighties, when everyone was using wallpaper. I learned all the tricks and was the "go to guy". Today, there are not many left who cut their teeth on the glory days of wallpaper. It was a well known designer from White Rock who called and asked if I could work in this house. Yes, it is all one house. I hung some very exotic black material in the powder room and a more mundane product in the en suite.
There was a very large and expensive pedestal legged soaker tub in one corner of the room and I had to somehow work around it to hang the final pieces of wallpaper. I was leaning and stretching when a tool slipped out of my hand and landed on the top edge of the acrylic tub. A neat button sized chip flew off the tub and landed about 10 feet away. My heart sunk. I retrieved the chip and placed it in the divot and it became invisible. But, true to my ethics, I immediately went to the lady of the house and explained to, and then showed her, what had happened. "No problem" said she, "we will look after it." I knew that acrylic could be repaired but if not, then I would owe her a new tub. When I got home at the end of the day, I 'googled' the tub and discovered it was a $3500.00 item. I got on the phone and insisted that I pay for the repair, in fact, I suggested that they take the cost of the repair off of my invoice for hanging the paper. I also inquired at a local supplier how much a typical repair would be. He said it would not be more that $150.00 and was actually quite simple to do. I was relieved and waited for the result. Nothing. I called back several months later and was put on hold and never did speak to the man of the house. I called a few days later and he told me he would get back to me. I called yet again and no response. My invoice was for over $500.00 and surely I would have some  money coming. Or, perhaps they had to replace the tub and they really did take care of it like his wife said. I have not pursued it since. "Leave sleeping dogs lie", I say.

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

The Difference

It was late in the evening when I spotted this beauty in the garden. I was surprised he let me get this close and in fact flew off just after I took his picture. Evening light is cool light and on the blue side. As much as I tried, I could not get the warm rich colours that the Tiger Swallow Tail Butterfly is known for. My Photo shop would not let me get any closer than this.
Enter the RAW file. I shoot most of my photos in JPEG and RAW format for just such occasions. RAW files have a lot more information than JPEG so can be manipulated to a larger degree as you can see below.
Now, that's more like it!

Monday, July 12, 2010

A Milestone

This is a storm brewing on Sumas Prairie but it has nothing to do with today's topic. My humble little blog has reached a milestone. Sometime in the last few hours the 20,000th visitor logged onto 'terryography'.  I would like to think that I had twenty thousand readers but what probably happened is that the same two people 'hit' my blog ten thousand times. :)  I am still enjoying the experience and will keep it up for a while yet. I am looking forward to blogging about my upcoming trip to Saskatchewan. Expect to see some prairie photos, you know, a sky above, a horizon, and some wheat in the foreground. Or maybe they will look more like ocean scenes if the rains come back. Either way, you will know soon enough. I leave Thursday (July 15) morning. My trip will have an interesting twist to it. Stay tuned.  

Wake up and Smell the Coffee

We are watching, before our very eyes, the demise of the great nation of the USA. I could write extensively about the deterioration of the ideals of the founding fathers, but I came across this bit of information that shows just how far down the road to bankruptcy the once great nation has come. Here is a quote from financial reporter Joel Bowman who is based in Shanghai, China.
"While the developed world spent the better part of the last two decades buying knick-knacks they did not need with money they did not have, China Inc. got busy both producing those same products and lending the world's consumers the money with which to buy them. The result is one of the world's largest trade imbalances in modern economic history. At a staggering $2.4 trillion the middle Kingdom's foreign reserve stockpile is by far the largest in the world."
Contrast that with this paragraph from the Washington Times this week.
"The one day federal deficit increase for June 30 totaled $165,931,038,264.30 - bigger than the entire annual deficit for fiscal year 2007 and larger the $140 billion in savings that the new Health Care Bill will produce over its first ten years! The figure works out to nearly $1500.00 for every US household, or more than ten times the median daily household income." 
Anybody who draws breath knows that this cannot go on. The commonly used term is 'unsustainable'. And yet the economic gurus (Geitner, Bernanke, Obama) of the nation insist that deficit spending will help in the recovery. What recovery? There is no recovery from this. When will the leadership (what leadership?) wake up and smell the coffee?           

Sunday, July 11, 2010

Repeat Business

Most people do not realise that doing their house all at one time is much less expensive than doing it in bits and pieces. It is mostly about the efficient use of time. I cannot count the number of small projects we have done in this house over the years. There are still areas that remain undone, but they are few. The lady of the house had to clear every one of our projects with her husband who was on the verge of retirement and was not sure how much money he needed to live after he stopped working. She would eventually pay us from her meagre day care wages. She wanted desperately to do the whole house but her thinking was that her husband would not object to small amounts but would 'freak out' at the price of doing the whole project at once. He is now retired and my work there has come to an end. Oh well, it was a very long drive.

Saturday, July 10, 2010

Photographing Birds

I am sure you have seen them, those bird photographs that are so sharp and clear that you can see every feather and hair on the bird's body. Those shots do not happen by accident. It takes rather good equipment and a whole lot of patience to get a shot like that. My lens is not nearly 'long' enough to do bird photography. I have to get really close with my 200 mm lens to do anything serious and because most birds are rather skittish, that is not likely to happen. One could always build a blind, but I am not serious enough to do that. And here is another thing. I do not know my birds very well so when I take a photo like the one above, I do not even know what its name is!
But I do know that the one below is an American Goldfinch.