Sunday, November 20, 2011

Writer's Block

Well, in reality I just don't have much to tell.  This week has been somewhat strange because I was in the office for five days in a row! I don't really remember the last time that happened, with all the traveling, a couple days off and teleworking here and there.  But work is still good, and so much office time resulted in actually getting lots of work done!
This weekend has been pretty quiet as well. We went for an awesome 15k trail run yesterday morning, during which we were almost chased by a buck! There was a picture in the paper a couple of weeks ago of someone feeding a deer in Kanata, and I have a feeling it might have been the same animal. That's why you shouldn't feed wildlife, they become a danger and will get shot.  So much for cute Bambi then.  I guess you can tell that feeding wildlife is a bit of pet peeve of mine. Birds at the bird feeder don't count, obviously...
This coming week I'll be spending some time in North Bay, at the Harnessing Biomass Seminar organized by the Biomass Innovation Centre. Should be very interesting. I'll be moderating the Tuesday and Wednesday morning sessions, so a good reason to pay extra attention :)
Besides that, not much excitement happening here. The birds like our bird feeder, but are still shying away from our new one; hopefully that will end soon. And we're waiting for the first snow fall, but that is still not in the forecast. Winter is late this year!

Friday, November 11, 2011

Life at our bird feeders

I like animals a lot, and for some reason I always get excited when I see new birds visiting our bird feeders. It's something that runs in the family (right mom??). Nolan thinks it's cute, to a certain degree...
We try to be creative in order to keep the squirrels from eating all the food. Squirrels probably don't like climbing spruce trees, or so we thought. Well, it's definitely discouraging them a bit, but not completely:

A grey squirrel is feasting in the exact same bird feeder while I type this...

The benefit of the squirrels, or the blue jays for that matter, is that they are not the cleanest eaters, and lots of the food get spilled on the ground. Which attracts more squirrels, but also other animals like:

A female cardinal

A blue jay

And here a blue jay on a feeder, feeding the grey squirrel...

Blue jays fighting over food. No wonder so much food ends up on the ground...

And some house finches enjoying the feeders once things quiet down. They are quite often joined by dark-eyed juncos (no photo)

Today is November 11, Remembrance Day in Canada (similar to May 4 in the Netherlands). People are quiet for two minutes at 11 o'clock to remember those who gave their lives for this country (WWI and WWII, but more recently Afghanistan).  I did not go downtown today, but watched the ceremony on tv. I always find in impressive to watch; some of those veterans liberated the country I could grow up in without worrying about war or thinking twice about freedom. It was a given, and they made it possible. So thank you!

I also took the opportunity to go for a run before 11am this morning, and since the trails are in good shape, without snow or too wet, I decided to enjoy them while I can!  The sun was shining, the wind cold, so perfect conditions for a good run! I found a new trail, that next time might require actual trail running shoes, but it didn't matter. I was outside, in the bush on a beautiful day doing something I love! If only Nolan could have joined me...

Monday, November 7, 2011


Today I decided to do it fifty-fifty: work half a day, and take half a day off. I needed a mental break to mend my braincells together after last weekend, and some time to just be. The first thing I had to do today though, was return the rental I had for the weekend. Instead of taking the bus home, or catch a ride, I decided to walk home. It's about a 7k walk through the Greenbelt, and definitely a great way to start the day! I was smart enough to bring a camera this time, and was able to take a couple of nice pictures:

Deer season opened today, and I have to admit that I'm glad that there is hunting in the Greenbelt! 
OOPS, that should read: is NO HUNTING!!!

A porcupine up in a large white pine tree

See that little ball on the branch? That's the porcupine...

Hairy woodpecker

Sunday, November 6, 2011

Ontario Woodlot Association - Chapter summit

As you might know, I am a member of the Executive Committee of the Ontario Woodlot Association (OWA), both at a local and provincial level. It's an organization that promotes the sustainable management of privately owned forests, and although I don't own a woodlot, I am still allowed to be a member. That being said, we are keeping an eye open for a woodlot, preferably in Renfrew County, but there is not much available right now. Hopefully at some point...
In the meantime I spend quite a bit of time with the OWA, as a board member, but also as the chair of the Business Development Committee (BDC). Our members are all across Ontario, so we don't have many opportunities to meet face-to-face, but this past weekend the OWA hosted a Chapter Summit. This allowed chapter representatives to get together and discuss topics and issues that other chapters face. Since we were all getting together, the BDC decided to meet in person as well before the summit would actually start. I will spare you the details, but it basically comes down to that I drove almost 4 hours to Port Hope on Friday, had the BDC meeting, and then spent the rest of the weekend at the Ganaraska Forest Centre. It was a very fruitful weekend and it was great to meet some of the other members and chapter representatives. The best day of course was Sunday, when we spent most of the day touring nearby forests and woodlots. The area is very different from what I am used to, and it made me realize that I am not as familiar with hardwood management, as I am with pine-mixedwood stands. So all in all an interesting weekend, at times intense, but where I learned lots as well.
The weather was absolutely amazing, which made it a bit hard to be away from home as well. There is still so much we could be doing around the house!
The next few weeks should be low on travel, and hopefully I'll be able to get back into a routine and pick up the running again. Being away so much and the short days don't always make it easy, but at least we have a treadmill at home. So let the marathon preparations begin!

Ps. You might want to consider becoming a member of the OWA. There are lots of interesting benefits, even for non-woodlot owners!! Just let me know if you'd like more info...

Thursday, November 3, 2011

Home away from home

A quick update between all my travels. And again another update written on my BlackBerry while on the bus on my way home. I'm getting pretty good at this!
First of though, Fertile. After an improvement Monday morning, she seemed to be worse when we came home from work. She was still not good Tuesday, so we decided to take her to the vet. They ran a bunch of tests and checked everything out. Also to be sure, they gave her some fluids. The tests all came back negative, but she still didn't really seem to get better. Until Wednesday morning, when Nolan reported that she was pretty much back to normal. She even fought with Murphy again. So we won't know what happened, but maybe the fluids did help.

After I got back from the vet, I headed to Petawawa where I would spend the next few days. AGM of the Friends of the PRF Tuesday evening, and then we hosted a 'take your kid to work day' on Wednesday. With 5 kids and 12 adults it made us wonder if some of the adults also wanted to check out the PRF and maybe just spend the day in the bush.  But it was fun to tour some of the Ottawa folks around as well. The weather was absolutely amazing, and who doesn't like to spend a day in the bush when it's so nice, right?
One of my Ottawa co-workers said: so this is where you spend so much time. Nice!
Nice indeed :)

After I got back to the hotel, I decided to go for a run, since it was so beautiful outside. There is a nice trail system in Petawawa, but as usual, I was paying more attention to the surroundings, and not so much to the trail, which resulted in a flat-forward-saved-by-my-hands fall. I didn't really hurt myself, but my right shoulder is a bit sore today.
After my run, I met up with Krista, which was really nice. It had been a while since I'd seen her. It also made me realize that I sometimes do miss the valley. However, I am also very happy with our place in Kanata, and this way I have the best of both worlds!

This morning we toured the Base Commander of CFB Petawawa around, which went very well. If only we'd had more time! Unfortunately the nice weather we had yesterday left us today, and we made due with grey and rainy weather. But still nice to be outside.

Tomorrow I'm heading to Port Hope and then Granaraska for the OWA chapter summit until Sunday. So Nolan is having a lot of alone-time, but I think he is somewhat enjoying that as well. Of course, I will leave him a honey-do list :)
And how could I forget, Monday was Halloween! We had a total of 158 kids, and then had to turn the lights of, because we ran out of candy! I have never seen so many kids on the street. Good thing we ran out of candy: I really had my fair share..