Saturday, August 30, 2008

Fog and Foliage

So.. my plan had been to hike out towards the airport and take some pictures of the inukshuk - but about halfway there I got rained out and decided to try again on a day where it wasn't raining. Still.. the colours were intense as the plants are starting to turn red, yellow and burgandy. Its chilly too. The sun actually has come out a bit now, but not enough to tempt me to try again yet.
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Due South

Sign of winter, methinks.
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I'm really trying to pick and choose

Okay. I'm off to get some more pictures - but here is one last shot of the sky last Sunday evening and excellent news a wash of solar wind is due to hit us from a large coronal hole sometime between the 3rd-6th of September... so look up and hopefully I can swing some decent northern lights pictures.
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Dramatic Skies

The sky was pretty crazy with a diagonal slash of pink againsts a gold background.
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Crazy Skies

For some reason the colour of the sky this night reminded me of my little pony's. I think I had one that was steel grey and pink.
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Gothic Skies

Very cool time of day to be here. I'm not exactly sure where the sun sets here... it almost seems te rise and set in the same spot right now. I guess I'll learn as we go along.
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Pea Family Leaves

Without more information, I can't identify this to the species... But I'm guessing that its milk vetch or licorish root - definately a pea family plant - but there were no flowers and I didn't have a field guide when I was there.
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On the shores of Baker Lake

I'm just outside of town, in a boggy, hummocky bit looking towards the lake - I'm sure that right now, after all that rain - this area is probably significantly wetter. There it is.. a thin layer of human habitation clinging to the shore surrounded by miles of wilds.
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Friday, August 29, 2008

Fade to Purple

I'm still excited that my jacket matches the local flora :D
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Water, water everywhere and not a drop to drink

Well, I'm having my first water crisis. I guess we are lucky to know that we are low, so we are at the drinking only stage of no water. Rumour is that one of the local trucks is on the fritz - but all I know is that our light is out and our pressure is low. Actually, I should pop out and see if its back on...

This lovely image is just outside of town, if I turned my body about 45 degrees - you'd be seeing houses.
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Sunset beyond the ridge

We don't have the topography that those of you living in the Baffin have - but we do have a number of the coastal communities beat around here - we at least have hills and some very decent sunsets.
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Cotton in the Wind

Some of my homework this weekend is cramming as much knowledge into my head about the ecology and geology of the region for next week. Hopefully, the weather will give me a bit of a hand so that I might actually be able to get some time outside.
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Sunset Beyond the hills

This was the best i could do at getting the sun to backlight the arctic cotton, although it was much more amazing in real life.
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Clinging to the lea of the stone

I was amazed by the terrain. As I hiked up the hill from town it shifted from quite boggy to rocky to bare rock and back again as I approached the lake on the other side (the lake possibly being where we treat our sewage - this is yet to be ascertained though. We've had a cold wet week - totalling 46.4 mm of rain in the last 3 days. This has rendered the streets muddy and the sky a steely grey and whipped the lake into decen looking white caps. Its a long weekend, but sadly there isn't a whit of sun forecast (and we haven't seen any in some time). So no garuntee of more pictures. Maybe Tuesday - maybe the forecast will change. I still haven't seen the pictures of my garden back home. I'm hoping that the echinacaea are florishing and that the purple asters are making a decent counter point and that someone carefully waters my african violet very occasionally without getting water on the leaves. (:D)

Two weeks of school have whipped by so fast and I don't even know where they've gone. I feel like I've been here at least months even though there are still parts of town I've never seen. I think I've found one of the good places in the world.

Now I just have to wait for the falling temperature to turn everything red and go to town with the pictures. Its amazing how much more intense the colours are after the rain has washed all the dust from the plants and how much cooler the tempertures have gotten. Between the clouds and the the 2 weeks, I feel that I can see a noticable difference in the number of hours of sunlight we are getting as we head towards the winter solstice - but I haven't seen the northern lights in a bit and again the sun is playing possum - hopefully it'll start producing sunspots like it was saving them for a dramatic enterance.
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Thursday, August 28, 2008

Little furry leaves

I haven't had a chance to learn the name of this one yet, but my books came - so hopefully I can soon. I'm glad I went, it really has been raing ever since and it looks like it'll keep up the wet weather for a while. We got 31 mm of rain yestersday and another 12 + mm the day before and more that fell last night after midnight.... I think that puts us at around 80 mm for August. (If we got 10 mm last night)
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Monday, August 25, 2008

Subtle Beauty

Well, I guess I'm making up for that gap in my blogging as I slowly sift through my pictures. I haven't had much luck posting them elsewhere - so I guess whipping them up on my blog is as good as anywhere. The only weird thing about today is that I saw almost no animals, save a few birds and on fast moving small mammal from a distance. Maybe next weekend I'll find something big.
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Feather in the Field

Stray feather whispers
Warnings of frost on grass blades
Fluttering, tangled

Suddenly swept loose
On summer's last breath of wind
Like a lost snowflake

I noted that the next 5 days are forecast as cold and rainy - so I made myself take an hour or so to play outside. We actually have snow forecast for Thursday.

I saw the northern lights a second time this week and I did try to photograph them, but to no avail. The next days currently scheduled (you can read that as forecast by University of Alaska aurora site) are Sept. 6th and Sept. 14th. In other sky news - there was a small, short lived sunspot (after a month of spotlessness) and there is also a possibility that it is a cycle 24 spot.

Sunday, August 24, 2008

The Snow Fence

This is a shot of the snow fence - it is actually tall enough that I can nearly walk under it without ducking and I believe it is about 30 ft high. In the winter, the snow is said to pile up over the top of it (previous to its construction it could have done the same to our building leaving us to literally have to tunnel out the front door after a blizzard - truth or northern legend I suppose I'll never know - unless I see pictures.) Right now it marks the northwestern boundry of town - beyond which is 1000's of km2 of tundra, lakes, rivers and wilderness. I can close my eyes and picture Benton Fraser carrying a crook fireman style - marching across the snow....

I haven't really followed the news since I left the busy part of the world where the newspaper was always on the kitchen table. I've missed all but snippets of the Olympics (having been at camp almost every other summer during the Olympics this is hardly a new experience - but I'm a bit sorry to have missed seeing the opening and closing ceremonies - the Chinese really have a knack for pomp and celebration.) I have also apparently missed the Russia-Georgia conflict, the usual depressing list of murders and MVA's in the GTA and more jockeying towards a federal election. How do I feel? Shockingly calm and a bit relieved not to start each day reading depressing news about the economy and gang violence. I liked to be informed, but maybe scaling it back to the odd peak once a week will do my mind a bit of good. However, I did find my horoscope frighteningly in line with my life again...

A real chance to prosper lies before you. Much effort over time will be required, but it offers the potential for creative fulfilment and satisfaction, as well as some financial enrichment.

The part that touches home though is that it is indeed a beginning for me - with lots of opportunity to be sucessful and most certainly I am in a field that should be creatively fulfilling and satisfying. At the Grad dinner last night, they did toasts and I was actually surprised that they included so many directed at the teachers. Even though I had never taught any of the students graduating it gave me hope. I'm a hard worker and I'm here because I care about kids, not because I'm looking for a pat on the back. But, it is nice to know that community supports its educators and it is a nice way to start the the year - seeing the student's who have worked so hard cross the finish line and celebrate - it makes the purpose of the teachers a bit more concrete - take them from where they are and give them a hand to get to that very same finish line. Definately a goal worth putting in "much effort over time".
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I've been remiss in introducing my southern readers to this charming critter - the siksik. Unlike red and grey squirrels, they have a charming and friendly disposition and generally ignore me and carry on with frantic eating at the summer draws to a close up here.
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Weasel - pre-launch phase

Okay... it was another picture of my charming ermine friend or more fireweed. I figure I should keep myself to one of each per day. I so need to go for a hike tomorrow morning if it isn't raining.
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Mouth to Mouth Regurgitation

Well... yeah for zoom lenses - here is a touching mother-daughter moment for the local bird population.
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I miss my garden but...

This is more or less what my backyard looks like - green, brushy and trundraful! Apparently, come the winter, there will be tonnes of wildlife wandering through here - caribou in particular. I've also heard rumours that there are muskox about nearby. I don't think I've ever seen one, save maybe at the zoo.
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Saturday, August 23, 2008

Waiting by the docks

Here is one of the most important parts of town - at least at sporadic points of time. I'm quickly learning my first lesson about living in the north... be patient - it will arrive when it gets here and no worrying will hurry it along. This is the barge docks. Earlier this summer I was worried that our barge order would get to town before we I'm worrying that it may not make it to town before the shipping season is over.... It is supposed to get in sometime in early September. The best I could pick out from local gossip is that that there was some mechanical problems with the boat my stuff should be on - what I don't know is if they fixed the boat or just loaded it up onto a later one. Who knows? The rest of my stuff seems to have entered some kind of black hole in Manitoba along with most everyone else's belongings. We were of coursed warned that this was likely, but its hard not anticipating the arrival my large pot and some plastic containers as I'd really like to make some stew and I'm not sure how I'll freeze it give that we have 3 rubbermaid containers for the 3 of us... I'm sure I'll figure something out. I do have some ziplock bags. Still, I think this is a good lesson in patience - its going to be really fun by the time any of it arrives here - because I won't remember at all what I'm getting.
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The Colour Purple

Well, it seems that this year is going to be a year of purple.... My coat is actually a pretty close match to the fireweed above - and my classroom is purple and my water bottle (well, one of them anyways) is purple... I've always liked the colour purple... maybe it goes back to the days of Yamma Aight (can I nominate Fireweed as our second favourite flower?) It matches the colour scheme and the triangle theme. Anywho.... Tomorrow I'm going to work like a whirling dervish so that I might take a few evenings next week to get out and photograph the fireweed before the first frost.
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I see a bad moon arising...

Actually, its yet anouther really cool moon just above the horizon. The evenings here are beautiful, but its definitely starting to be chilly in the evenings - enough to warrent hats and mitts.

I really should get outside more - but there is, as always, too much to do inside. I think though - that in a week or two I'll have my head around everything and hopefully that'll make time for me to do more outside stuff. Assuming I don't get roped in to girl guides....

Anywho... one step at a time and tonight is graduation for last years kids. The whole event has totally left me amazed.
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Friday, August 22, 2008

Are these bearberries?

I'm still working on my identification skills for northern plants, but I think this is what these are. I got some more books from chapters though. My first taste of the randomness of northern mail as they've beaten a number of items I've been expecting for a while in spite of being ordered only a few days ago.... craziness.
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I test tasted them too.... they are small but delicious!

Tonight is graduation here for the students who completed school last year. We are lucky to have a pretty big class for the north and there is a tonne of events going on in town as a result. From the sounds of it, they are a pretty neat group of kids and well deserving of the attention. My hats off to them.
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Lying Low

The tundra is amazing. I'm sure as fall approaches and it gains more reds and yellows it'll be even more beautiful. Most plants are tiny versions of ones I know or just plants that are tiny to begin with. I think this is a heather, but I'm not sure.
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The Far Side of Town

I guess you can't beat whatever light I was working with that morning. Its really this beautiful when the sun is shining and even sometimes when it is overcast. I really need to get more hiking in before it gets much colder.
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I guess someone didn't stop in time, or more likely the plough took out this sign. I was a little disappointed that almost all the stopsigns look like this although there is a bilingual one down by the school.
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Helicopter in Bubble Wrap

This is really a helicopter wrapped in bubble wrap - talk about brand new!
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Thursday, August 21, 2008


There are lots of berries out behind our place. I believe these are crowberries, but we have also seen blueberries and bearberries.
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Along the lakeshore, looking towards the oean

Well, we are some ways for the ocean here, but the lake is pretty impressively large. There is a landford accross from town that looks a lot like the sleeping giant.
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Fireweed View of the Lake

The past week it has been everything thing from dead calm to windy enough to make the house shake. The other day I could all but lean into the wind without falling over. We've had a mix of sun and rain and cloudiness too. I'm learning quickly that in the north - things are what they are and happen when they do, but people have been fantastic about making me feel welcome. And as you can see - the view is not too shabby. Its actually quite a bit hillier than I expected. The western sky seems to stay a little light all night long, but I'm sure that won't stay that way for long.
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Land almost ho

Here is a shot of the watery coast from the plane
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Faster than a speeding weasel

I haven't had a chance to officially identify this little guy, but I did manage to take a picture of him in one of the rare moments that he was not in motion. I've also had the pleasure of meeting quite a few siksik, although they've been hiding since the temperatures dropped the last week. However, I can't complain because I could be having an early preview of a blizzard had I been in Arctic Bay... How many cm did you actually end up with, Kennie?

Given that the sun is still spotless, the solar wind is pretty slow and the kp is nothing to write home about - its pretty cool that I managed to see what I'd call okay northern lights. Not good enough to wake people up for, but worth taking the time to enjoy. I can't even imagine what they'd look like with a kp of 5..... bring on the sunspots!
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This is me on the Tundra!

Proof that I've made it. I wasn't going to post tonight - the first I've had access to the internet - but I saw the northern lights on the way home and they kindled my blogging spirit.
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Thursday, August 14, 2008

Due North

I read over the entry that I’d been working on sporadically since I’ve left and decided that it needed to much work to post as a blog – so here is a paraphrased version of the highlights.

To start off with Geoff wins mega-amazing best brother points for being a superhero - including getting up early, being patient and sending me of on my journey with a very delicious piece of cake – the likes of which I won’t see for a while. Everything went smoothly en-route and the numerous ups and downs didn’t bother my ears nearly as much as I expected. I had a couple of those gasping moments when I suddenly I realized I’d forgotten something – but for the most part I didn’t let it get to me. I did fail to unplug and pack my alarm clock, but in the end that worked out for the best as it gave me a reason to tackle the bus system in Winnipeg and find a replacement – which I like better than the one I left behind. The overhead baggage compartments on the smaller planes really are small though. After a night of packing and unpacking and hopping on and off the bathroom scale, I ended up about about 8 lbs over and Calm Air does seem to include your carry-on in their total – so, actually it was 28 lbs meaning that I just managed to squeeze under the limit.

The weather once we got north of Winnipeg was amazing and I could see the ground the entire way prompting me to take tonnes of relatively awful pictures from the plane window. The coast is really wet – even the land part seems more than half water. We actually were ahead of schedule and kept our stops en route fairly short. It was 29 C in Churchill – hotter than I’ve really seen it at home even lately and fairly warm when we got here. The first night we mostly got settled and chatted and tried to figure out if we had enough kitchen stuff to limp along until our stuff gets here – I think we’ll manage give or take a can opener –depending if I packed one in the bags I haven’t gotten yet. I tried writing a bit the first night, but mostly I couldn’t keep my eyes open.

The next day we all woke up early. I spent a good chunk of the morning walking around town and taking a bunch of photos (probably most of the ones included in this blog). I’m absolutely in love with the fireweed here. In general – everything is amazingly beautiful. I spent the rest of the day in my classroom hunting down curriculum documents and textbooks for my class and doing all that thinking stuff, list making and planning. Apparently, my roommates and I have brought the rainy season here from Ontario – as the sky opened up shortly after lunch and it poured for nearly 3 hours (only 8.4 in the end). Today I finally braved the store to get food (i.e. I ran out of the meagre bits I’d packed in my bag and was craving something healthy enough to make shopping a priority. I was actually pleasantly surprised that the prices were not that different from Kashechewan and that the store actually had a surprising amount of selection. I enjoyed my omelette for brunch too. Much better than what I’d been eating. I gather that the barge will arrive when it gets here – no sooner and no later and hopefully before the lake freezes. Hopefully, we’ll get organized to figure out the food mail thing soon – but in the meantime eating is good. Speaking of which – I think I should go organize myself some dinner.

So I haven't quite got the knack of transferring my photos over to this computer - so you only get one for now. Soon though - and I really will have to take my camera with me more - although the next few days are going to be super busy. Thanks for everyones best wishes - its good to know that I have such good friends believing in me... I promise - lots of stories and picutures at Christmas.

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Due North

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Arrivals and Departures

Yeah!! I'm finally officially in the North! So far it has been an amazing experience and I do actually have some nice pictures, but I'll have to sort out some logistics before I can post them. Ditto for the post that I've been working on for the last few days. I'll try to get it up shortly, but it'll be tomorrow night at the earliest.

A couple quick thoughts about things that have amazed me so far...

  1. The cookies on the Calm Air Flight.
  2. The fact that the shore of the Arctic Coast is less defined than I expected - it seems to go from being all water to a lacey matrix of islands, lakes, and sand bars. Even tiny islands often had pools or small lakes on them.
  3. The fireweed.... its just amazing
  4. The 3 hour downpour with thunder and lightening this afternoon.
  5. The size of the sky and the strength of the wind.
  6. The colours - all day I've been dying to dig out my (currently in Winnepeg) watercolours and try to paint them all.
  7. The kindness of all the people I've met so far.

I'm glad I stepped of the edge of the world I thought was normal and came back to the awesomeness of the north. I'm sure the next few weeks are going to be intense and crazy, but I have a good feeling that they are going to be amazing too.

I promise to post some pictures as soon as I figure out how. In the mean time, I've arrived safe and sound and I'm feeling excited about attacking my next set of challanges.


Sunday, August 10, 2008

Murphy is out to get me

LOL... today whatever can go wrong - will it seems. At least on some level.

The highway is usually great on Sunday morning... today it was catastrophically closed... 1 point Murphy

I almost never get sick - today my head, stomach and throat are subpar - but only 1/2 a pont to Murphy because I'm still functioning.. just slower

The dog is always slow, but today she was glacial 1 more point for murphy

I went to my favourite restaurant for supper - as planned - where they usually have wonderful fast service.. today they were a bit slow getting started and it took them almost an hour to get me my bill.... sigh... I think Murphy gets 2 pts.

On the other hand... I had a nice day and ran into lots of kind helpful people....and the traffic could have been far worse and I could have had more troubles with my errands.. so away I go.... to finish the last steps before my sleepiness catches up with me.
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Queen Victoria Lobelia

I didn't actually get a very good shot of the open flower as it was facing towards the other plants in the bed rather than me - so I had to try and lean around.
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Queen Victoria Lobelia

Here is the scenic shot of the last plant to flower for me.... the reddish one on the left side of the photo.
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Martha Washington's Bloomers

Well, this is one of my overwintered geraniums which just finally got over the abuse of winter and burst into flower...
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Surprise Flower with a Capitol Bee

lol... well I said I was posting 1 picture of the last new flower of the year (that I will see in my garden), but it turns out that there are 3 new flowers. I nearly overlooked the purple asters (from last year) that are just starting to flower. However, this furry bee pointed their existance out to me.
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Reflections and Refractions

I've posted this picture before... just with an aweful lot more snow. Here is the Credit before the rain yesterday.

Thoughts for today:

1. Well, I had 2 quick visits to make that were complicated by the fact that the 401 was closed between here and there owing to an explosion of propane depot. Here is the link to the Star story. So far, the only death appears to be that of a firefighter - although it may be natural causes or semi-natural causes. They haven't said what the cause was, but it sounds like it could be a health thing. Luckily for me, I discovered this before I left and was able to warn my first visit folk about the problem and arrange to meet slightly later... then I drove a long way on city streets to get there, which fortunately weren't too busy. Then I went to visit my Grandparents - no road problems there - but I took the 407 back - so I saw more of the city streets of the big city... Ironically - I made a big fuss about meeting near the highway to avoid driving in the city - all to no avail. The visits were nice, although, but I think I"m running a bit behind schedule now.

2. This is my last post as a psuedo-northern blogger... tomorrow... I will be in the north (knock on wood). I'm sure the next few days are going to be mind bogglingly busy and full of new experiences. I am nervous in an excited sort of way. Its going to be a big change, but I think a good one.

3. I'd better get myself in gear and see about cramming socks into the corner of my second bag and all the assorted cleaning I need to do before I run out of steam... I do have one last plant to post from the garden.. so hopefully I can snag the picture now and post it once I'm done everything.


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Saturday, August 09, 2008

One Last Post for Today: Aurora Watch is On!

Just for those of you who like the northern lights - the kp has hit 5 in the last few hours and there is a good chance of seeing them tonight... even in say Ottawa or Edmonton... so look up - but not here - because even if they are super-active... all you will see is clouds.
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Asters and Spotted Joe-Pye Weed

The purple plant in the back is a common one at my old camp. The aster in the front is being refered to as an aster because I actually don't know at all what it is.... but really you can't beat purple and yellow together.
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Menyanthes trifoliata

One of my favourite water plants - I finally got a picture of it in flower. I think the common name is bogbean or buckbean.
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Oakville Creek

Here is the creek that I've been posting hydrographs for.... the current one doesn't say much is up, but this is the highest I've seen it outside of the spring - so I'll keep an eye on it. Besides... Its not even finished raining. For reference, that second channel is not usually wet.
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Forks of the Credit?

I think these were the Forks of the Credit. Its hard to say because it started a second round of downpour, so I grabbed the shot while leaning over my camera - quickly. I would say we've had a lot of rain. Driving back through Terra Cotta - the river was near or over its banks and red with clay.
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Escape from my own backyard

Although it wasn't the road trip I'd dreamed up, it was a nice drive to some old favourite places. This morning between my sore throat, the threat of all-day rain and the failure of my potential navigator to report for duty or at least report that they were bailing - I decided to nix the trip. It was of a scale that required being on the road by 9 or 10 and it just wasn't going to happen. So I attacked the kitchen and cleaned the neglected corners and generally didn't feel too bad about passing up the trip. However, my friend finally showed up around 3 and we headed to my favourite field site and a provincial park that I'd been wondering about for some time. And it rained... and it rained some more... until I was drenched to the bone. But now I'm warm and dry and wearing fuzzy socks - so hopefully it won't be a problem for my throat. I'm kind of glad I made it back to my old stomping grounds to drive on my favourite back roads and hike in the rain.

Here is a jewelwing at Cataract.
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Friday, August 08, 2008


Not that long ago this was a mess of weeds, then it was a dug bed with decent soil, then it had some small new plants and now they were bigger.. but what is really exciting is to picture this down the road after say 2-3 years when each of those plants are huge and will create this awesome drift of yellow and purple in July-Sept....

Today was a productive day... dropped off my cargo boxes at the airport - hung out with the amusing folk at the Cargo warehouse - they thought I was cool, not because I was going north, but because I spent upwards of 30 minutes carefully applying duct tape to my boxes. Next to the spot where I was working, there was a rejected live cargo consisting of mama cat and at least three very young kittens (the kittens were too young to fly)... who provided adorable entertainment. Next - a few boring odds and ends and finally a visit to the MOH to drop off the "I'm leaving the province for a while paperwork".... I guess I should be glad that there were only 50 people queued ahead of me there... so I finally escaped, did some last minute shopping and then headed to my bros for quality family time. The kid did infant things mostly.. like cry... but watching my brother and wife parent was cute... That's one lucky kid. I guess.. he'll be doing some growing in the next 2-3 years too... so... potential there too. and his parents are good cooks... I'm going to miss dinner at their place :D and for the relatively sane and wise company too...

yawn... well, time to finish up the tasks for today and get some sleep... tomorrow my goal is to take pictures of things that aren't growing in my garden.... and spend some quality time with trees since I may not see too many for the next couple of months.. :D

A few more notes:

Walking the dog nearly ended in tragedy. I'm not sure if it was a subtle shift in her stance from docile to slightly predatory or just the way its tail was backlit (so it looked like a small dancing alien) but suddenly, the tree blocked the light from my eyes and there was a very nervous skunk backing up and ready to spray.... and me and my dog ran, ran away.. and still smell like a girl and a dog... thank goodness. Tonight.. for those farther north than here have a decent chance of seeing northern lights.. but none here yet.
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Today is the.....

Well, today was filled with odd beautiful and entertaining moments. I'm currently sucking on one last zinc lozenge before heading to sleep - by the end of tomorrow I should have everything short of getting on a plane done for heading up north - I even managed to buy some glide wax (my favourite ski and bike store has some squirrelled away in the back, although it did take a while for him to find it... great people). So, no worries about me sticking to the snow... He asked me what temperatures I needed it for... and I said... "ummmm... cold" then explained where I was going and why I needed it in August. So, while winter boots are hard to buy in August - glide wax... no problem.

I took the back roads back from Guelph and enjoyed some wicked-crazy clouds. I stopped for an awesome butter tart and a throat soothing diet coke at a place I've passed a zillion times and never stopped at... its a good thing that I didn't discover their butter tarts before now.... they were delicious. I cleaned out my office at school... my key ring feels oddly light with one less key - most of what was there was junk..... pencils, journal articles, random pamphlets from the student center and old assignments - but I did find 2 fleece blankets, a bright yellow frisbee and my good rain pants (which I've been desperately searching for since the winter..... and while I have an old pair that works okay... they are too long in the legs, so I constantly trip over them and they are made of something that I'm sure makes annoying noises at -30 C.)

Well, I"m out of lozenge so its time to try some of this sleep stuff and see if I can get away without actually getting sick.

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Thursday, August 07, 2008

The Final Sprint

I fear the rain wasn't worth it - as I seem to be perilously close to developing strep throat and I don't have time to rest or to be sick. So, lots of green tea, cranberry juice, zinc losenges, water, vitamin C and echinacaea in hopes that one of the above will help ward off a rather unpleasant afflication for someone who needs to be standing in front of people and talking in just over a week. Wow - so much to do. I have the theme music from Run Lola Run going on in the back of my head - hopefully, that'll keep me moving faster than I thought possible. So... remembering to breathe, believing in the impossible and adding some lemon to my tea.....and thanking my friends for being supportive.
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Wednesday, August 06, 2008

Down Came the Rain

I was all excited about the rain about 2 weeks ago when I posted this hydrograph from a local creek - you'll note that the stage (water surface elevation) nearly reaches 2 m. This after some clearly serious rain.

Here is a longer view of the water surface elevationin the same creek. Even though yesterdays rain didn't seem that heavy - clearly there was a lot of water dumped in this watershed - because the level peaked at over 2.5 m - which is a big deal for a little creek.

I almost didn't bother to go out because the rain didn't seem that great - in fact I was surprised at the amount of water streaming down my driveway given that it didn't seem to be raining that hard. I mean it was raining hard - just not the kind of sheets of rain that I would call a downpour. So, here is my little water resource lesson. Rain events are often plotted on an IDF curve - Intensity (how hard it rains in mm/unit time), Duration (the length of time that it rains) and Frequency (the statistical likiness of it raining that hard for that long - usually in terms of a return period). So, water resource engineers often talk about a 5 year storm or a 100 years storm when planning city works - particularly those related to storm water management and flood policy. So, a short light rain may occur several times a year, where a storm that dumps 50 mm/hr for 45 minutes might only happen - once every so many years. If I were going to build a big, expensive highway bridge - I might be interested in making sure that even a catastrophic storm event (the dreaded 100 yr storm say) would not cause my highway to fall into the river, on the other hand - I probably don't care if my baseball diamond gets a little soggy every spring - so I'm not going to spend a fortune to keep it dry. So that is the basics. What I don't know, and I wish I could find it - is how much rain fell here yesterday - because I'm going to say that it was a whole lot more than 11.2 mm. Hamilton did record almost 50 mm - but its a long way away and no one else has a value for yesterday yet. I think if I wasn't leaving - I might just install a rain gage for my own curiousity. There is a lot more rain on the way it looks like - which means less time spent watering the garden and more for blogging and packing....


3 new day lillies

I think this is the last of the day lillies in the day lily bed.

Flowering currently - Day Lillies, Nasturtium, Mallow, Coreopsis, Pansy, Tomato, Hosta, Geranium, Echinacea, Brown-Eyed Susan, Lobelia, Chamomile, Portuluca, penstemon, Fern-Leaved Bleeding Heart, Jacob's Ladder, Heuchara, Strawberry, Raspberry, Campanula, Forget-Me-Not, Fucshia, Impatiens, Begonia, Snap-Dragon, Blanket Flower, Mullein, Mimulus, Showy Evening Primrose, Lithodora, Catmint, Beebalm, Lemon Balm, Johnson's Blue Geranium, Coleous, and a few others I'm sure.

Today - after all the rain - everything is bright and sunny and warm and green - the perfect breezy summer day... and I'm enjoying it thoroughly, knowing it may be one of my last for a long while.
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Singing in the Rain

Well, I'm getting down to the wire... I did go puddle jumping and I'm hoping the sore throat I have is temporary and doesn't turn an innocent bit of puddle jumping into strep throat because I don't have time to be sick in the next month, never mind the next week. That said, there really are not too many activities that make you feel as alive as getting rained on... so, as long as I don't end up sick - it was worth it.

Its starting to set in that not only am I moving to a remote place, I'm about to go from temperature I normally associate with midsummer to temperatures I normally associate with early fall - well maybe a touch warmer - but anything much below 20 C and I'm wearing at least a long sleeved t-shirt - maybe even a sweater. So I guess I should enjoy my last few days of wearing shorts and sandals because come September - temperatures above 10 C are going to become rare and that is jacket and hat territory - and well, its winter by October.

I can relate to this a bit. When I did my education year - I did each of my placements in a different location and I was living in Thunder Bay to begin with - so in November I moved south for my first placement near here and went from early winter to late fall then back to full winter when I got to Thunder Bay. In March, the day I left for my last placement, in Nunavut, I was wearing jeans and a t-shirt and feeling uncomfortable warm carting an armload of boxes to be mailed home from the post office - the next day well - it was Parkas and seeing my first parking lot full of Skidoos in Rankin. I think the toughest was when we headed back south in early May and it was 30 C in Winnepeg and the bunch of us were all standing there in the airport dying with our parkas over our arms in our winter boots (and probably looking foolish too.) So, according to the weather network, the day before I leave the temperature is supposed to be between 11 C (low) and 23 C (high) which isn't all that different from this week here - but that is fairly unusual I gather since the average max temp for this time of year is only 16 C and the average min temp is a chilly 5 C. Note to self... move mittens and hat into carry on bag.

Packing has been an adventure - It looks like it should work out okay, but I've been given a few different versions of what I can actually get on calm air. It sounds to me that your total weight includes your carry-on luggage (but not your camera, purse, or coat or reasonable reading material.) If anyone has recent experience about whether the 70 lbs limit applies to 2 pieces of checked luggage + carry on bag or if the 70 lbs is just the checked luggage and there is another 20 lbs allowed for the carry on - I'd love to know. But, I am going to give them a call anyways.

The photograph was taken on the Credit River near Cataract late last fall.... well on the up side I won't have to wait too long before ski season starts...or worry about if the snow is going to melt or if it is going to rain in January. I think it won't. Now... panicky thought... did I pack my glide wax...where would it be if I didn't - does anyone carry glide wax in August? Sigh. There still isn't anyone with the boots I want in stock either. Ah well, I'm sure I'll have a few more of these moments in the next few days. Its kind of scary moving somewhere where even if you were willing to put out obscene amounts of money - there are simply things that are not available to buy and I suspect that glide wax is probably on the list...
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Tuesday, August 05, 2008

Darkskies Descend

Judging by the sky and the radar we are in for a doozy of a thunder storm - so far its just dark and there is a steady rain, a bit of distant sounding thunder - but the yellow and red dots on the radar are still headed in this direction.

I absolutely love thunder storms. When I used to work at camp, we were just west of the highlands - meaning that when it poured... it did it properly... Even Fredericton knew how to put on a decent thunder storm - and owing to the way the roads downtown were graded - so of the best puddle jumping that I've ever seen. Living in the burbs... all the storm water is quickly marshalled into a highly designed storm water management system.. so the puddles are pretty small. I suppose this speaks well for who ever designed the subdivision (Fredericton is older than suburban design and does have a huge, steep hill playing against the storm water planners) - but really... some days you just want to put on your sandals and go jump in a puddle.

Its weird.... the other day as I was leaving the gym in a rainstorm - I only had my good indoor shoes - which I didn't want to get wet - so having lived so many years in other places I shrugged my shoulders and walked to my car barefoot where I put my sandals back on... What actually surprised me is that it was the first time all summer I've been barefoot outdoors. I haven't even been to the beach. I got a few odd looks - but mostly I think they were wistful looks - wishing that they weren't mom's and dads and that they could do something as crazy and as practical as removing ones good shoes to walk barefoot in the rain....

Perhaps... I should take a break from the list and for old times sake go play in the rain.... even if the puddles are only little...


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Sunday, August 03, 2008

Ostego Michegan

I went to check my site stats and noticed there were an insane number of hits compared to usual. Briefly worried it was some kind of attack by a bot.. I was relieved to find out that they ended up here looking for Ouimet Canyon... so welcome visitor and I hope you enjoyed the pictures :D Please feel free to leave a comment.

In other news... there is a potential new (cycle 24) sunspot in the works ( So, lets cross our collective fingers for the start of the new cycle...
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Another snazzy poppy

This is a second poppy that flowered today - again similar to the really cool, but never photographed one, but again not the same.
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Fancy Poppy

I'm not sure what they did to the genetics of this poppy to make it so frilly - but wow! This is a similar colour to the cool poppy that I've missed photographing twice, but its not the same.
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Nasturtiums Close-up

Here they are again... but closer.
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The Rise of the Nasturtium

Wow... you'd never believe that those giant Nasturtium came from 2 seeds the size of a dried pea. They have actually had a massive growth spurt in the last few days making inroads into other parts of the bed and spilling out onto the lawn. A third plant, on the opposite side of the bed is nearly in flower... its going to be orange rather than yellow.
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Vanilla Sky

"Every passing minute is a chance to turn it all around" Sophia in Vanilla Sky

Here was the sunrise as seen from my window at some hour of the morning when aside from the cool sunrise - I wish I'd been asleep, but for some reason I woke up early enough to see the sunrise which was cool enough to warrent dragging myself from bed to find my camera and snapping a few - somewhat groggy photos before curling back up and trying to eke a bit more sleep out until normal people see fit to get up.

Every sunrise is another step from the past into the future - not nice even steps like those demanded by the building code - but the quirky kind of steps that you find on forest trails that are sometimes wide and deep and other times an awful lot more like a ladder than a staircase - and Heaven help you if you are trying to portage a canoe up one of those! In 8 more sunrises I'm going to take one of those giant steps into my future and I'm not sure what quite it is all going to look like, but its going to be a new postal code, a new set of people, a new job.... and I feel like I should be launching a new version release "Jennith V11.0", compatible with cold temperatures, slow postal service and rubrics. I guess we'll see how many bugs I find in the new version - hopefully less than Vista.

My room is clean, my final packing is nearly done, although I have a short list of little odds and ends (not to mention the still elusive winter boots) to get, but by and large - the practical steps are done and its all a matter of taking a deep breath, walking to the end of the diving board and taking the plunge or in one of my favourite sayings: "When you reach the edge of all you know, hope demands that you believe one of two things - either there will be ground to stand on or that you will grow wings to fly." (its a reasonable paraphrase - I believe I know it from a Madeline D'Engle's books) Cleaning of the moving variety always results in finding weird and forgotten bits of your past. I found some ID badges from Lakehead , my disection kit from Biology, some news paper clippings I'm at a loss as to why I kept them and various rocks and nicknacks and for the most part I packed them away to be refound at some later date - at which point I can scratch my head at why I kept them and then repeat the process.

I think sleep deprivation is making me overly introspective and not very coherant in my expression - so I'm going to throw up a few pictures from the garden and get back to that to do list and check the spaceweather to see if any sunspots have popped up in the last 2 days.


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Friday, August 01, 2008

Chamomile For the Mind

Not very many days left and still a big to do list left to tackle, however, yesterday I did manage to put a fairly big dent in it and still squeezed a trip down to the big city to see the Beautiful Unknown (an indie band (I think they are an indie band) which was unknown to me until yesterday) with an old friend from highschool. Its sort of tradition. I get to play tourist in the city, but its nice to have someone who knows where they are going and all that jazz since I'm totally not a city kid at all. Usually I manage to do something dorky - like where a white t-shirt and light blue jeans when everyone else is wearing black - yesterday I grabbed the wrong pair of shoes. They look okay and they don't have a strap on the back (which I thought was a good idea because I cut the back of my heel yesterday and I didn't want a sandal strap rubbing against a sore spot.), but honestly they are insanely uncomfortable - which I always forget why I never wear them. They bruised the tops of my feets.. and seriously if it hadn't been garbage day and kind of gross in the city... I would have walked barefoot. (next time I'm wearing my hiking boots and forget about trying to blend into habitat other than my own) However, the band was pretty good and gets bonus points for being a good live act in addition to being competent musicians and its fun to do something that I haven't done in years and shocking how little some parts of the world have changed.

As for the flower - its indeed a chamomille flower and just the smell of it is relaxing. I'm going to try and make some tea from it sometime soon - I just have to surf the net to find out how.
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