Friday, August 17, 2012

Meet Jack!

I have a new friend! A blue one!
It all started last week sometime, when Nolan noticed a Blue Jay sitting on our front porch. He didn't think much of it, we tend to have a lot of birds around... And then on Saturday I went outside to get the newspaper, and this Blue Jay comes flying from the tree on our front lawn, and it is pretty clear that it wants some food. So I grabbed some birdseed and he took it, almost eating out of my hand. He looked in good health, but young. Probably this year's chick.
A couple of days later, I was about to leave for work and I hear a Blue Jay's call. And low and behold, there he is! I fed him again, and this time he would eat out of my hand. He was going after the sunflower seeds (don't all birds prefer those sunflower seeds?), so I figured he liked nuts... I grabbed some almonds and he immediately fell in love with them! He's been back most mornings since, and the last couple of days he's also showed up in the evening for a bed time snack.
He grabs the whole almond out of my fingers, in flight if I don't give it quick enough, and then puts it in between his claws and starts picking away at it until it's completely gone.
It shows that at least he is somewhat wild. He will get quite close, but you can't touch him, which I think is actually a good thing. He should stay somewhat wild. But we did decide to give him a name. So Jack it is!
Below are some pictures, to show how close he is, and what Murphy thinks of it all...

Besides Jack, life is pretty much back to normal. I actually have my second weekend in a row off! We got quite a bit of rain, so at least our lawn is starting to look green again, and we actually had to cut it today! However, it's not enough to restore water levels, and for most farmers it came a little too late. But I guess that is nature?

Thursday, August 2, 2012

My first week of being 33...

Was spent in the bush! But first, of course, my birthday :) It was somewhat low-key, but really what I wanted. We went to see the musical Wicked, which was indeed wicked good. Very well done, and very professional cast. Before the show (it was a matinee), we went out for lunch with Perry, the lady that sits besides us when we go to musicals, which was really nice, although the food and service was disappointing... But it didn't ruin our day! Sunday morning we celebrated by going out for breakfast with our running group (almost complete!), which was also nice.
Nolan got me some really nice earrings. I guess my small studs (I have studs and small hoops) were starting to drive him nuts, so he decided to upgrade to some nice real diamonds. Don't they say diamonds are a girl's best friend? Not sure I agree, but those earrings are darn pretty! He also got me some beautiful roses. Looking familiar?

As I mentioned before, it's been very dry, and any rain we've had so far has always been accompanied by lots of lightning. And lightning is a number one cause of forest fires. The Thursday before my birthday, the students up in the fire towers at the PRF spotted a large fire on CFB Petawawa. By Friday, it had grown to over 100 ha, en Sunday it was up to 200 ha, and the east entrance of Algonquin Park was closed. The fire was close to the main entrance road, but also close to the PRF. Staff at the PRF was starting to burn out after many days spent in the towers or patrolling the forest for fires, so they asked me if I could help out. And why would I say no to a week in the field?! Indeed, no reason to say no! They also asked me to come out since I have a reputation of bringing lots of water. Remember from last year? Read here...  Well it worked, within an hour of arriving at the PRF, the sky opened up, and we got a short downpour. Which resulted in 4 mm of rain. And lots of lightning... So not a good scenario. A couple of days later several fires had started in Algonquin Park, but luckily nothing too major. I actually spent half a day up in the tower the day with most fire activity in the Park, and it was actually really cool to watch the fire bombers dumping the water on the fires. I was glued to my binoculars!
Below are some photos of the view of the tower, as well as some photos to show how dry it really is...

Pretty bad... Luckily we didn't have any fires at the PRF itself, but if something was to break out, it could spread very quickly, and that's why we're so alert.
After a week at the PRF, I went back home on Sunday and started my intensive French training right away: every morning for 4 weeks, after which I'm supposed to do oral exam. It's tough, but it's also going quite well. My French did not get as rusty as I thought it would be. This week it's actually only four mornings, since I'm back at the PRF, working another weekend (and a long one this time, Civic Holiday!).  Luckily Nolan is coming up for a few days as well, so at least he's not a bachelor again this weekend. We did get some rain on Tuesday (and lightning), but the fire index is back up, so the students are back up in the towers as well. They are calling for some rain this weekend, but also lots of lightning. Hopefully we'll get some real rain in the near future. And not just for us, also for the farmers and others in the region that need this rain so badly. Let's all do a rain dance!!