Surprise photo sighting…

Last night, I took my mother out to dinner at the Marlborough Pub and Eatery, in North Gower.

As we followed the waitress into the dining room, I passed a series of photos on the wall over the bus area. I was rather surprised to see a photo which looked rather familiar. Actually, it wasn;t the photo but the subject that looked familiar.

One of my favorite old abandoned buildings was the subject. I was taken aback because it looked so like one of my own photos of it. If it wasn;t taken the same day, it was taken within a day or so of one I took!…. and from almost exactly the same angle!

It really isn’t surprising, though, that the building might have been shot by someone else in the area. It is only a couple of miles from North Gower.

The White House

The White House

The Water of Life (via Cherie’s Place)

Via: Cherie’s Place

Vodpod videos no longer available.

PhotoHunter: “Garbage”

gar·bage // <![CDATA[// (gärbj)



a. Food wastes, as from a kitchen.
b. Refuse; trash.
2. A place or receptacle where rubbish is discarded: tossed the apple core into the garbage.
a. Worthless or nonsensical matter; rubbish: Their advice turned out to be nothing but garbage.
b. Inferior or offensive literary or artistic material.
4. Computer Science Incorrect, meaningless, or unwanted data.

Garbage is a relative term.

In many countries, garbage is scavenged for anything usable, every piece of recyclable and reusable, resalable and marketable scrap is gleaned out and sold. People make their livings scrambling through stinking garbage heaps to find anything they can that will make them some much-needed money, usually not enough to make a living wage.

In fact, it wasn’t so long ago that “dust yards” were seen all over London, England. Carts went door to door collecting the ashes and dust swept from floors and hearths and all the household scraps that hadn’t been sold to the “Rag and Bone men” (who collected rags and kitchen waste –including bones, hooves, and fat to be rendered into soap and glue). Ever wondered why British garbage men are called “dust-men”? Wonder no more.

Dustmen and their cart

Dustmen and their cart

This “dust” as well as that swept from the streets went to the dust-yards where many of the city’s working poor spent their days working through the huge heaps of dust removing what was large enough to pick out by hand and sifting through sieves the rest. Metal, wood, bone, pieces of jewellery, cutlery, dead cats (for their pelts!), bits of coal, potash… a limitless list of things could and were gleaned from the Victorian dust heap.

Even the dust, itself had value.

“These Dust-heaps are a wonderful compound of things. A banker’s cheque for a considerable sum was found in one of them. It was on Merries & Farquhar, in 1847. But bankers’ cheques, or gold and silver articles, are the least valuable of their ingredients. Among other things, a variety of useful chemicals are extracted. Their chief value, however, is for the making of bricks. The fine cinder-dust and ashes are used in the clay of the bricks, both for the red and gray stacks. Ashes are also used as fuel between the layers of the clump of bricks, which could not be burned in that position without them. The ashes burn away, and keep the bricks open. Enormous quantities are used. In the brickfields at Uxbridge, near the Drayton Station, one of the brickmakers alone will frequently contract for fifteen or sixteen thousand chaldrons of this cinder-dust, in one order. Fine coke, or coke-dust, affects the market at times as a rival; but fine coal, or coal-dust, never, because it would spoil the bricks.” “Dust; or Ugliness Redeemed” Household Words, 13 July 1850

Dust heaps were such a money-maker that men could sell their heaps for thousands of pounds. Of course, they only made money for their owners. The workers still made starvation wages. Caught stealing anything of value lost you your job and could get you transported to Australia.

Dust-sifters “London Labour and the London Poor” Henry Mayhew

Even dog shit (called “pure”), night soil and urine had its buyers in old London. Used by leather tanners in their trade, they were commodities and was sold out the back door of homes, wealthy and not so.

For more information about Victorian London than you might ever need to know, check out the Victorian Dictionary, and immense glossary of all things Victorian London!

According to an article called “19th century London dust-yards: A case study in closed-loop resource efficiency”, by Costas A. Velis, David C. Wilson and Christopher R. Cheeseman:

“The emergence of lucrative markets for ‘soil’ and ‘breeze’ products encouraged dust-contractors to recover effectively 100% of the residual wastes remaining after readily saleable items and materials had been removed by the thriving informal sector. Contracting dust collection to the private sector allowed parishes to keep the streets relatively clean, without the need to develop institutional capacity, and for a period this also generated useful income. The dust-yard system is, therefore, an early example of organised, municipal-wide solid waste management, and also of public–private sector participation. The dust-yard system had been working successfully for more than 50 years before the Public Health Acts of 1848 and 1875, and was thus important in facilitating a relatively smooth transition to an institutionalised, municipally-run solid waste management system in England…. In addition, there are analogies between dust-yards and informal sector recycling systems currently operating in many developing countries.”

In India, recycling or materials of all sorts is a growing and lucrative business for some. Whole streets have become devoted to the sale, recycling and resale of materials from cardboard, to plastics to metals to glass.

Many cities have, in the past, used garbage to create artificial shorelines for their cities. When I lived in New York City, I lived on City Island in the Bronx. Much of the island’s shoreline was expanded using the detritus from Manhattan and the Bronx. When I used to walk on the little beach at the end of my street, I used to come up with all sorts of treasures from the past. Shards of broken pottery and glass, porcelain door-knobs  and dolls, and glass bottle-stoppers were just a few of the things I would find.

More recently, I would beach-comb up along the Upper Ottawa River where I would find arrowheads and sherds (well, one, anyway) from Indian pottery.

Pot Sherd, arrowheads and flakes

Pot Sherd (l), arrowheads (near l), scrapers (c), and flakes (r)

photohunter7iq1At the point in front of the old Hudson’s Bay post, I found pieces of broken pottery from both the old post, as well as the nearby former hotel, and pieces of old clay trading pipes, buttons, knife handles worn smooth from the waves…. and more… All someone’s long-forgotten garbage.

Bits and pieces
Bits and pieces

It makes me wonder if all the little treasures I possess will one day end up in someone else’s collection and they will wonder about who made them, who owned them, and how they came to be in the garbage…

Bits and pieces
Bits and pieces
More relics
More relics

More Ospreys, great videos and a rescued Painted Turtle

I took the Parental Unit out for a drive, today.

This time I had the foresight to bring along my REAL video camera, my Sony Handi-Cam. I wanted to see if I could get better video of the Ospreys than I have been getting on my little Canon digital. AND HOW! I can’t get as close up as I would like with the camera before it gets blurry but I am very pleased with the resolution.

I can’t get any closer to the nests without risking a poo shower (you’ll see why from one of the videos!)

The young are getting much bigger and are really stretching their wings. It won’t be long before they start practicing and exercising their wings for the day when they leave the nests for the first time.

We were adding up the nests that we know of and have figured that we know of 8 nests. Each nest has two adults and two young, which means that there are 32 Ospreys that we visit each time. And every time we go out, we discover another nest (or two, even!).

What I can tell you about Ospreys is that:

  • The female is generally larger than the male
  • It is difficult to tell the sex of an adult unless you see them together
  • They eat mostly fish, caught live.
  • The Osprey has four toes, unlike other raptors
  • They both sit on the nest, the female doing most of the sitting and the male taking over when the female wants to go off and feed
  • When the young come along, they take turns on the nest. When the young get bigger, one sits nearby and watches the nest while the other is off feeding or hunting.

I filmed 5(?) of the nests today. One is too far off the road to see much even with binoculars. You can just barely distinguish the young in that nest. In the other nests, the young are very visible and active. The only problem in seeing much is that the poles on which the nests sit are so tall. If you are too close, you can’t see the action and too far way… well, the action is too small to see.

As mentioned, the trip also involved the rescue of a Painted Turtle.

Unlike last week, I managed to avoid killing any wildlife and it more or less made up for killing the woodpecker that we were able to rescue a Painted Turtle from the middle of the highway. He was pretty fortunate because he was right in the middle of the oncoming lane when I spotted him and he narrowly missed getting crushed by one car. I managed to get a (very) short video and a couple of photos of him before I took him down to the swampy area near Nicholson’s Locks to release him.

Painted Turtle

Painted Turtle

Two years ago, we “sort of” rescued a HUGE Snapping Turtle from the middle of another highway. “Sort of” because all we could do was force it off the road by bulldozing it with a large piece of plywood. It was two feet long and about a foot high and by extending it’s neck, it could reach out almost another foot. Snappers have formidable beaks that can sever fingers and even a hand.

Without losing any appendages, we got it into the ditch but there wasn’t any real water about for it to head to on either side of the road. If it went back on the road, it wasn’t as much a danger to itself as any car coming along could have been badly damaged hitting a turtle of that size. It probably wasn’t going to do the turtle any good getting hit but it could also have killed or severely injured an unwary motorist hitting it.

Had I had anyone with me strong enough, I might have tried the old method the Indians used for capturing Snapping Turtles. They would take a sturdy tree branch or axe handle and make it bite it. Once it has it’s jaws clamped shut, it won’t generally let go and they would carry it hanging from the branch. At least that it the theory. It would have been worth a try. Of course, as I say, there wasn’t anyplace nearby to properly release it, I had no one with me to help me carry it, and I had no tree branch or axe handle….

PhotoHunter: “Pink”

I posted one of these plus the link to the original photos on an earlier blog post but I just like them too damn much. I am going to include them for this week’s PhotoHunter Challenge.











My new t-shirt…

Mom and I drove out to Vankleek Hill last week to visit the Beau’s Brewery.

You will recall that I happen to LOVE Beau’s Lug*Tread lagered ale. Well, actually, maybe you don’t. I did post a photo in one of my PhotoHunter postings a few weeks back.Here is a link to the original photos).

Beau's "Lug*Tred" Lagered Ale

Beau's "Lug*Tred" Lagered Ale

So, we made the pilgrimage our to visit the brewery and to pick up some loot, including a couple of bottles of Lug*Tread. They sell it by the jug and by the stoneware bottle.

Beaus Fancy-Schmancy Bottles

Beaus' Fancy-Schmancy Bottles (via GCPB blog)

I also bought some glasses (which have an etched (I think it is etched…) tractor at the bottom of the glass and the tractor logo (as seen above), and a really nice t-shirt.

My Lug*Tread T

My Lug*Tread T

It was drying, otherwise I would have been wearing it.

On a side note, on the way back, we took the scenic route home (the “scenic route” usually entails letting the car decide what route to follow. It is ALWAYS an adventure and we never know what we are going to discover) and near Carsonby, a baby Downy Woodpecker flew into the grille. Poor thing didn’t have a chance. It was NOT pretty.

Downy Woodpecker (via Animal Discovery)

Downy Woodpecker (via Animal Discovery)

I hate Canada Day…



Okay… I don’t hate Canada Day…. What I hate is having to drag my ass down town on the bus and wade through 1/2 a million people hoping to actually enjoy myself…. which I invariably don’t.

Yesterday, my mother wanted to go to see the festivities. I had been hoping to go and meet up with my sister, wander about, have a meal, and come home. I didn’t want to leave Mom at home but I knew Mom wouldn’t be up to the amount of walking required. So we decided on a modified plan. Shirin and Gabby were going to eat and meet us and just sit at the War Memorial and watch the crowds walk by.

You can’t park anywhere even remotely close to the activity so it required taking the bus at least part of the way.

My niece, Ange, had asked if she could borrow some camping chairs for the day so I decided that we would go to her place, drop off the chairs and park near there and take the bus. We left for Ange’s. Ange wasn’t home… Luckily, when we left home, the bus was just leaving so I anticipated that we would be able to park along the route it takes, get the bus, and then pick up the car on the way home.

While we were waiting for the bus, I discover that Mom has removed the bus tickets that she keeps in her wallet and we have no tickets. Since I hadn’t been to the back, planning on going to the bank machine right near the bus stop right down town, I had a $5 bill and no change on me.

Right. The bus comes and we have to let it pass. Just as well, because Mom also took her pain pills out of her fanny pack and put them in the glove compartment of the car…. Why? I don’t know…

So…. we head back home, get the bus tickets and the pain pills and take the bus from near the house.

The bus we had planned to take was nearly empty. The one we ended up taking was jam-packed and I gave my seat up for an elderly woman who spent the entire ride glaring at me. My arm was aching from hanging on for dear life on the twisting route. We arrive down town and I mistakenly got off one stop too early which put an extra 4 blocks on our walk to the War Memorial which is where I normally meet my sister. This means an extra several stops for my Mom to sit for her hip to stop hurting.

While my Mom took a breather across from my bank, I went in to go to the cash machine. Long line, of course.

My sister called and said that she and Gabby would walk over to where we were sitting and I knew that would give Mom a little extra recovery time.

Shirin and Gabby arrived and moments later, Mom said…. “I’m feeling dizzy”… which is ALWAYS a sign that she is about to pass out.

With the help of a very nice young man selling t-shirts, we got her lying down with her feet up, gave her some water and, thank GOD, she did not actually pass out because that would have meant a trip to the hospital. Finally, after about 10 minutes, she was feeling back to normal and I decided that we should go back home.

Luckily, it is just two short blocks to the bus stop and we were able to walk down there without incident.

Shirin and Gabby left and I took Mom in to the bus shelter where there was a single seat left on a bench but just as we get there, another woman took the seat. Both were seniors but both were much more able than my Mom and I asked “Would it be possible for my Mom to sit?”. The woman who had grabbed the seat before we got there ignored us and the woman who was already sitting glared at us, looked my mother up and down and said “I’m probably as old as your mother is…”. She did get up but she was loudly remarking about “what nerve” I had in “expecting” her to give up her seat to someone.

I said “Oh Heavens! I wouldn’t want to deprive you of your seat!” and we turned away. Meanwhile, she was loudly informing all her friends about how rude I was and how my mother shouldn’t expect to get “special treatment” (what “special treatment” this was, I don’t know. I simply asked if she could sit in one of the only four available seats).

When we turned away, two ladies on the other bench gave up their seats quite cheerfully. I sat Mom down and went back to the woman who was still ranting on to her friends and said “My mother is 85 and recovering from a broken hip. But thank you so very much for feeling it necessary to be so rude”. She was still standing and you could see that she was perfectly fit. She had runners calves for Pete’s sake! She was surrounded by a group of women and it appeared that she was obviously the “leader of the pack”.

How is it that someone who is a senior, herself, could not understand when another senior isn’t as well as herself? She should thank her lucky stars that she has her health and has the luxury of being fit at whatever age she is. Many seniors aren’t so lucky. I could have pointed out that Mom had nearly passed out barely 15 minutes before… I could have pointed out that she has dementia… I could have pointed out that she was just lucky that she wasn’t in my mother’s shoes. Instead, I waited until our bus came and went over to her and said “Thanks for being so fucking rude!”

Not my finest hour but it was better than punching her which was what I felt like doing. She must be some prize at the seniors home.

We are buying a wheelchair.

When we got home, I was still seething so we took the car, Mom, and Mom’s friend, Selene out for a drive to Kemptville.

We had a terrific time.

We stopped for hot dogs at the chip truck/ice cream place we love, and then stopped to see how some of the Osprey nests were doing.

The first one, the adult was out of the nest preening on a nearby pole, allowing me to get a number of really good photos.

Adult Osprey at Nicholson's Locks

Adult Osprey at Nicholson's Locks

Then, instead of going back along the main highway to Kemptville, we took the River Road and found another Osprey nest that I didn’t know about. An adult and two babies on the nest!

New Osprey nest, River Road

New Osprey nest, River Road

We stopped in Kemptville to get gas before heading home and I spotted a large moth lying on the cement at the pumps. I thought it was dead but it was barely hanging on to life. I put it over in the brush on the toher side of the parking lot. It is a Pachysphinx modesta or Modest Sphinx or Modest Sphinx moth. So beautiful!

Modest Sphinx moth (Pachysphinx modesta)

Modest Sphinx moth (Pachysphinx modesta)

Then we headed home, after stopping to check on the Osprey nest on the East shore of the Rideau River. Parent, and two young actively bobbing about the nest.

We went out to the Rideau Falls to watch the fireworks and it was a terrific show. I managed to get the entire thing in photos, as well as one short video. 500 or so photos!

Fireworks By Moonlight

And that fricking bird is out there AGAIN today chip, chip, chipping!

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