Foliage Throughout the Seasons in Alberta

I got an invitation from Ailsa at Where’s my backpack? to take part in a Photo Challenge called Travel Theme: Foliage. In my part of the world, foliage is plentiful in three of the four seasons.

Canadian Seasons have been described as: Six months of winter, and six months of poor sledding. These can be broken down into: almost winter, winter, still winter and road construction season. To be more specific, the four seasons are: June, July, August and Winter.

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In the spring, the patch of Ferns start out in tight rolls.

10-leaf3

In the summer, our forest is home to the Cotoneaster bush.

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In the fall, the poplars at the cabin are beautiful, especially when they prepare for their winter sleep.

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In the winter, our forest of spruce trees are often covered with snow.

This week’s WordPress photo challenge is Changing Seasons.

Monarch Butterfly in Alberta

Solitary – being alone; without others. As in, “I’m going out to the garden to do some weeding. Who wants to come out and help me?”

I only found one Monarch Butterfly in my garden this year, and it is the only Monarch I’ve ever seen in my part of the world.

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Ideas don’t stay in some minds very long because they don’t like solitary confinement.
– Unknown –

The Flutter Files
Species: Danaus plexippus
Name: Monarch Butterfly
Migration: In Summer from as far north as Southern Canada to wintering grounds in Southern California or Mexico.
Date Seen: July 6, 2012
Location: North of Calgary, Alberta, Canada

To see other blogger’s photos for this week, head over to Weekly Photo Challenge: Solitary.

As the Crow Flies, so Goes the Pink Ball

If you think it’s hard to meet new people, try picking up the wrong golf ball.
– Jack Lemon –

They call it ‘One Tough Nine’. It is the Golf Course my friends and I play once a week when the weather allows. Three large ponds bring water into play on seven of the nine holes. (Water hazard is just another way of saying mosquitoes.) Large flocks of Canada Geese patrol the fairways and greens – leaving fertilizer calling cards. There is  ample habitat for gopher holes, which are always the right size to lose a golf ball in, and will sometimes grow big enough to take your foot or leg. Sixty eight sand bunkers (most clustered near the greens) provide ample beach time if you tire of trying to find your ball in the grass of the long rough.

Yesterday I discovered yet another hazard. I had an extra good drive off the 5th tee and could see my nice pink golf ball sitting on the top of a small rise at the top of a hill. I lost sight of the ball when I stepped down off the tee box. When I was about half way up the hill, a large crow flew overhead – something pink was clutched in her bill. “That looks like a golf ball,” I thought.

I got to the top of the hill and realized that my golf ball was gone. The crow flew by again, still clutching what was now clearly MY pink golf ball. She continued to circle over head for the rest of that hole, and most of the next one. At one point my friend saw her land, drop the ball, then pick it up again.

There is no penalty if you lose a golf ball to a predator, unless, of course, you keep score like we do. We don’t count our strokes, we just keep track of how many golf balls we lose. The thieving crow meant I was down one. But I had found a white ball earlier in the round, so technically I was even, though one white ball does not equal a coloured ball in my view.

I won’t go into the laws of probability, but I have to wonder – what were the chances that a crow would pick up a golf ball at that location on the golf course at that particular time? Did the colour of the ball affect the crow’s choice, or was the colour the only reason the crow picked up the ball at all? If I had shot another pink ball, would the crow have dropped my first ball and picked up the second one? (It was unfortunate that I had run out of pink balls or I could have found out the answer to that last question.)

When I got home I rummaged through a cupboard in the garage and found the box of pink golf balls that I had got for Christmas. I’m armed and ready for the hazards of the course next week!

My game went so bad today, that I lost two balls in the ball washer.
– Author unknown –

Addendum: I golfed again the following week. I was talking to the course marshal before our tee time.  “Watch out for the crow”, he said. “We had a tournament here a few days ago, and the players were using pink golf balls.  The crow stole at least 9 of them.”

I used my pink golf balls anyhow, but kept an eye out for crows before I teed off. I only lost 2 pink balls that day – none to the crow, though!

Comforts Zones and Risk Tolerance

The length of this document defends it well against the risk of its being read.
– Winston Churchill –

I’ll keep this story short, then, with a few photos -not risqué, just risky.

Risk Tolerance and Comfort Zone – two concepts to think about now and then. At our house, The Car Guy is working hard to get back into his Comfort Zone, which for him is freedom from pain, and getting his neck brace off. (See A Perfect Storm.) Once that is achieved, he can start to think again about what his Risk Tolerance will be when the motorcycle is repaired!

And the day came when the risk to remain tight in a bud was more painful than the risk it took to blossom.
– Anais Nin –

We live in an area of the country called Hail Alley.  These white lilies have been in my garden for ten years or more, and without fail they get hit by hail either just before they bloom, or just after.  That doesn’t stop them from blooming as best they can, though. Plucky little flowers.

lawn chairs

The concept of reducing risk is not new. People have been managing risks in some form since human beings first decided to keep their hands out of the cookfire.
– Risk Management – BC Fire Academy –

Summer bonfires (with marshmallows) at the cabin.  The grandchildren are old enough now to whittle sticks with sharp knives and use said weapons for tasks that bother timid adults. (This is the best I can do for a bonfire photo – I was never at the cabin on the evenings the extended family had a bonfire. It was just that kind of a summer.)

Adventure without risk is Disneyland.
– Doug Coupland –

My nephews little boy has a bike now and while he can’t keep up with the big kids on their bikes, he can sure park it where they do. He wears a helmet, of course, but the pot holes in the roads at the cabin have unseated him on more than one occasion, and he can show you the bruises to prove it.

I’m stepping out of my Comfort Zone today – I’m going to the dentist. Yes, I am a risk taker! How about you?

Responsive to Change – My Cat and WordPress Themes

It is not the strongest of the species that survive, nor the most intelligent, but the one most responsive to change.
– Charles Darwin –

This is Mooch. He is a very large cat (see story The Cat Compendium) that may not be the brightest bulb in the box, but he certainly was extremely responsive to change. It took him about a nanosecond to accept that he no longer lived at our house and had been adopted by the people next door.

But Mooch isn’t what this story is really about. This is about my blog, and your blog, and how everyone reads our blogs. Surveys suggest that nearly half of web users expect a site to load in 2 seconds or less, and they tend to abandon a site that isn’t loaded within 3 seconds.

But there is more: people no longer just use their desk top or laptop computers to read our blogs. More and more people are using their phones or digital tablets to view our ever so entertaining stories. And did you know that a blog that looks just fine on a computer screen can be much more difficult to read on a tiny phone screen if the theme of the blog hasn’t been taught to be Responsive or doesn’t have the Mobile Option clicked (Go to My Site(s) → WP Admin → Appearance → Mobile in your dashboard. Click on the Yes radio button to enable a mobile-friendly theme, and click on the Update button.)

Which WordPress.com themes are fully Responsive? Most of them now, I suppose. You just have to find one that appeals to you. For now, I’m using a Mobile friendly theme that isn’t responsive, but I frequently change themes. Like Mooch, I enjoy the change of moving to a new abode – with the simple click of my mouse!

Bev Doolittles’s Pictures Inside Pictures

Life is like a jigsaw puzzle but you don’t have the picture on the front of the box to know what it’s supposed to look like. Sometimes, you’re not even sure if you have all of the pieces.
– A Whack on the Side of the Head –

I finished a jigsaw puzzle while I was at the cabin last week. It was a difficult one, partly because the picture on the box was very small. Then there was all that sky, water, rocks and grass!

750 pieces and I was examining each one closely, looking for a certain shape or ever so slight colour variations. I was looking at the little picture, but wasn’t seeing the big one.

Even when the puzzle was done, I saw sky, water, rocks and grass – and a rider on a horse and some teepees – oh, and a rainbow.

jigsaw puzzle

Then I looked at it through the lens of the camera. Goodness, this is a picture of a wolf head! A very big wolf head. I sure didn’t see that coming.

The thing is, I should have known there would be a picture in a picture. The puzzle is from a piece of art by Bev Doolittle, and she is well known for the ways she uses context, design and pattern to hide images.

Every closed eye is not sleeping, and every open eye is not seeing.
– Bill Cosby –

I’m not the only one who sometimes misses the obvious, right? RIGHT?