Dragonflies and Damselflies – Sky Hunters (Video)

Damselfly
Damselfly
Damselfly
Dragonfly
Dragonfly

Bug Bits
Name: Dragonflies and Damselflies
Order: Odonata
Native to: There are about 50 species of dragonflies and damselflies in Alberta.
Date Seen: 2012 to 2016
Location: Alberta
Notes: Both are long, narrow insects that are brightly coloured. They have small antennae, large eyes, and six legs located near their head. Two pairs of wings comprised of small criss-crossing veins add strength and durability.

Damselflies are small and slender with large separated eyes. Their two pairs of wings are of equal size. They hold their wings over their back when at rest.

Dragonflies are generally larger, and their eyes can be either separated or placed close together. Their hind wings are wider than their front wings. When at rest, they hold their wings outright. Dragonflies live on every continent except Antarctica and about 3012 species of dragonflies were known in 2010.

Have I ever learned a lot about dragonflies since I started writing this post! The first thing I realized was that I had photos of both dragonflies and damselflies! The second thing I learned is that it would take a whole lot more time to figure out what family, let alone species, each of these photos represents.

Here is an excellent YouTube video about Dragonflies.

Painted Lady Butterfly – Arizona

The Flutter Files
Name: Painted Lady Butterfly
Species: Vanessa cardui
Native to: Found on most continents (except Australia and Antarctica) in many climates.
Date Seen: November 2016, October 2016
Location: North of Fountain Hills, Arizona
Notes: An irruptive migrant – migrates independent of any seasonal or geographic patterns.

Broad-winged Hawk

Alberta

Alberta

Alberta

Alberta

The Feather Files
Name: Broad-winged Hawk
Species:  Buteo platypterus
Native to and Migration: The Broad-winged hawk breeds throughout much of Canada and the Central and Eastern part of the United States. In the fall, hundreds of thousands of them migrate in large flocks to Mexico and Central America.
Date Seen: May 2014
Location: North of Calgary, Alberta, Canada

Giant Water Bug

Alberta

Bug Bits
Name: Giant Water Bug
Species: Lethocerus americanus
Native to: These bugs can be found in southern Canada and throughout most of the United States.
Date Seen: September 2018
Location: North of Calgary, Alberta
Notes: 46 to 52 mm (1.8 to 2 in) long. Lives in ponds, marshes and slow moving waterways. Handle with care because they can inflict a painful bite. They are attracted to light and can be found flying under lamp posts and porch lights.

Spiny Rose Leaf Gall

Alberta

Bug Bits
Common Name: Spiny Rose Leaf Gall
Scientific Name: Diplolepis polita
Native to: Possibly throughout Canada and the United States
Date Seen: May 2012
Location: South of Cluny, Alberta
Notes: These galls were found on Wild Roses. A gall wasp induces a chemical reaction in rose stems or leaves. This creates a case, or gall, that protects the wasp’s larvae.

Hairy Woodpecker

Blairmore Alberta

Blairmore Alberta

Calgary Alberta

The Feather Files
Name: Hairy Woodpecker
Species: Dryobates villosus
Native to and Migration: Hairy Woodpeckers are mostly year round residents throughout their range from Alaska to Mexico. Birds in higher elevations might move to a lower elevation for the winter.
Date Seen: October 2014; September 2016
Location: Blairmore Alberta, Airdrie Alberta

Notes: Hairy Woodpeckers chisel away at tree trunks to get at insects and to create a cavity for a nest. It is estimated that the breeding population is about 9 million birds with 44% living in the U.S., 52% in Canada, and 4% in Mexico.

Well of Lost Thoughts 2018 – Michael McIntyre- Man Drawer (Video)

When I find ideas that speak to me, but I’m not ready to blog about them, I save them on my Fueled by Chocolate ‘Well of Lost Thoughts’ Facebook Page. Here are just a few of the ones I have ‘rescued’ from there to share with you.

The Man Drawer

The Car Guy has more than just a Man Drawer – he has a whole Man Cave!

Tupperware is forever.

I had the square cake container and the lid finally cracked when it was about 25 years old. I contacted a Tupperware person and they got me a replacement lid – for free.

Tupperware® brand products were introduced in 1946. The first Tupperware Home Party was held in 1948. By 1951, the Tupperware Home parties were working so well that all products were taken off store shelves.

Tupperware advises that Vintage Tupperware (made before March 2010) is not BPA-free so should not be used for food prep or storage. It is, however, up to individuals to assess whether BPA is as big a health risk as the media made it out to be.

Health Canada’s Food Directorate continues to conclude that current dietary exposure to BPA through food packaging uses is not expected to pose a health risk to the general population, including newborns and young children. This conclusion is consistent with those of other food regulatory agencies in other countries, including notably the United States, the European Union and Japan.
– Health Canada –

And What Are Plastics Made From? OIL!

Canada – 2018 was dominated by the Oil Pipeline Story. It continues in 2019 and the fall out could affect two elections this year. Alberta could turn their backs on the Left wing NDP party, while Canada may turf out the Left wing Liberals.

So to recap: Trudeau’s replacing the Minister who couldn’t get any pipelines built with the one who couldn’t get any infrastructure built, and replacing his former Trade Minister who couldn’t get any trade deals done with his former Natural Resources Minister who couldn’t get any pipelines built. That should make everything better, right??
– Conservative MP Blake Richards –

The issue is how to get Alberta’s Oil Sands product to market. Alberta wants to expand the capacity of existing pipelines and build new ones. They are not allowed to do this under today’s political climate. Until pipeline capacity is increased, oil is increasingly being transported by rail and truck, both of which are less environmentally friendly than a pipeline.

Environmentalists and activists, frequently funded by American money, have played a large role in blocking new pipelines. They have been highly effective in gathering public support and electing governments that support their anti-fossil fuel agendas. They live in a fantasy world…

Unfortunately, with two distinct functions in the economy, the misperception that more wind and solar (used for electricity) will displace oil (used for transport) feeds an ignorance that hinders sound energy policy.
– Jude Clemente, JTC Energy Research –

What would happen to the US today if the fossil fuel industry went on a strike of indefinite duration? What would happen if we gave the environmentalists what they want? Instead of nibbling around the edges, what if we just went all the way? What would be the consequences if Atlas shrugged?
What If Atlas Shrugged? By David Deming, February 7, 2013

The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers wrapped up its $1.1 million cleanup of the Dakota Access pipeline protest camps on federal land in North Dakota, hauling away 835 dumpsters of remaining trash and debris. The site, once occupied by thousands of environmental demonstrators, is now vacant.
– The Washington Times –

Speaking of Fuel

Last fall, 20 combines and drivers  joined forces to harvest Brian Williams’ crop of durum wheat near Milestone, Sask. Williams died right as harvest was getting underway.

The World Record – a total of 303 combines were working all at once in a field of winter wheat south of Winkler in Manitoba in 2018.  This event raisies money for Children’s Camps International (CCI) through its Harvest for Kids event.

I bought an ant farm. I don’t know where I am going to get a tractor that small!
– Steven Wright –

Every Day is Nude Day with Nudinits

Mike Rowe: “I’ve just been informed it’s National Selfie Day. Something to think about…”
David Vitti “It’s also international “Hike Naked Day.” It really bothers me that these two days coincide…”

About a Frog

A lonely frog, desperate for some form of company telephoned the Psychic Hotline to find out what his future held. His Personal Psychic Advisor told him, “You are going to meet a beautiful young girl who will want to know everything about you.”
The frog was thrilled and said, “This is great! Where will I meet her, at work, at a party?”
“No” says the psychic, “in a Biology class.”

Experiences from ‘The Good Old Days’

Question: Name a struggle you had growing up that kids today will never understand. – Matt Whitlock –
Answer: Fixing a typo involved pushing back your typewriter a character, inserting the white-out strip, re-typing the wrong character to place the white, removing the whiteout, pushing back the typewriter a character and typing the new character. You did this for each wrong character. – Blair King –

Literary Perspectives

When finding a new word, I tend to look it up before reading the rest of the written work to gain a full understanding. ‘Incel’ was such a word. After finding the definition in the urban dictionary, I couldn’t find the ambition to read the rest.
– Harold Sleeper –

Well to be perfectly honest, in my humble opinion, of course without offending anyone who thinks differently from my point of view, but also by looking into this matter in a different perspective and without being condemning of one’s view’s and by trying to make it objectified, and by considering each and every one’s valid opinion, I honestly believe that I completely forgot what I was going to say.
– Daniel Zimmerman –

Since 1982 the English Department at San Jose State University has sponsored the Bulwer-Lytton Fiction Contest, a whimsical literary competition that challenges entrants to compose the opening sentence to the worst of all possible novels. For example:

Knowing well the hand signals of his platoon leader, Private James Dawson silently dropped to the dirt, concealed and motionless for what seemed an eternity, a move that he had learned, coincidentally, from his parents whenever the Watchtower ladies would ring the doorbell.
– Peter S. Bjorkman, Rocklin, CA –

This, That and the Other – Red Poppies

How does the colour red make you feel?
Do you wear red clothes?
Do you decorate with red?
Do you drive a red car?
Do birds poop more on red cars than other colour cars?
Do you have red hair? (Apparently only about 2% of people are redheaded).
How many red flowers are in your garden? (I don’t have that many at the Red House. Tulips and poppies, mostly. At the Bland Beige House, I have Valentine’s bushes, bottlebrushes and fairy dusters.)

Topaz Studio filters
Topaz Studio Impasto Filter
Topaz Studio filter
Topaz Studio Pen Ink Filter
Red Poppies original photo

It Was a Quick Trip Home

The best laid plans… When we booked our 2 week trip back to Alberta (from our winter abode in Arizona) we were optimistic that the brutal cold would be over by early March. It wasn’t. The last night we were in the chilly north, the wind chill temperature was -40C (-40F.)

Is wind chill something that the weather man warns you about where you live? Did you know there is a rather complicated formula for determining wind chill?

There is an equivalent formula for degrees Fahrenheit, of course.

But, we’re still old school. We don’t need a complicated formula. We look out the window and use a simple If-Then statement:

If the outdoor thermometer says it is pretty cold and the snow is drifting across the back yard and the visible chimney smoke is not going straight up then the wind chill will be greater than the temperature on the thermometer.

So yes, it was cold out. Of course we are hardy Canucks with over six decades of Alberta winters under our belts. We hauled out the really warm clothing and released The Car Guy’s truck from the garage. We were good to go.

Unfortunately, our house was not quite good to go. We live on an acreage, with our own water and septic systems. Water in – water out is our responsibility. The extreme cold, unfortunately, froze the ‘water out’ system. We hadn’t even unpacked our bags before we discovered this problem. We quickly shut down the ‘water in’ system and booked a ‘discovery meeting’ with the plumber for the next day. When ‘nature started to call’ … urgently… and the extreme cold removed the possibility that I was going to squat outside in the snow, we packed up and headed to a motel for the night. (And the next five nights…)

After several thawing attempts by the plumbers, it was decided that the most cost effective course of action for us was to let Mother Nature thaw the system in the spring, and for us to cut our visit down to 6 busy days.

Besides visits with family, we attended a High School performance of  the musical ‘Chicago’. Actually, we went twice. Our Grandson played ‘Amos’ in this production and though I don’t want to brag too much – he was really good! Did I hum along when he was singing Mr. Cellophane? You bet!

Cellophane
Mister Cellophane
Shoulda been my name
Mister Cellophane
‘Cause you can look right through me
Walk right by me
And never know I’m there…

The rest of the cast was awesome too – such a lot of talent in just one High School. Multiply that by all the rest of the High Schools and all the other disciplines and the young plumbers who advised us on our septic system and the lively youngsters who bounced around the motel dining room at breakfast every morning – well you can’t help but feel optimistic about the future of our Province!

Mildly Amusing Missives – Straw Craft, Misc

The Lighter Side of Arts, Crafts and Leisure Activities

I’m a ‘jack of all trades’ in the crafts department. I’ve never stuck with anything long enough to get really good at it… except for collecting quotes.

On the Crafts front, I’ve been collecting red Tim’s Iced Capp straws (so I can keep them out of where ever discarded straws go in my prairie province.) I wasn’t sure what to make out of them until I saw this sculpture by the artist David Moreno who makes these out of steel rods. I think I could use my red straws for a project like this – I have just about enough straws for the house on the far left…

In some Future Time or State

I believe in the hereafter.
Every time I walk into a room, I ask, “What am I here after?”
Andrew’s View of the Week

Grapefruit and the Post Office

We have a grapefruit tree at the Arizona house. Sometimes the fruit is oddly shaped, but it is delicious. I am more than optimistic that there will be enough fruit to last me until we go home, in addition to the fruit we will take to the post office every few days. No, we don’t mail it. Our post office simply has a box on a bench near the door where people share their fruit harvest.

Our post office also has an ‘alpha box’. This is a series of ‘pigeon holes’, each with a letter of the alphabet on it. You can ‘mail’ letters to anyone in our community (without buying postage) by putting them in the appropriate alpha box.

A Great Horned Owl on the Fence

It is impossible to not be optimistic about life when a Great Horned Owl sits on your fence.

He respects Owl, because you can’t help respecting anybody who can spell TUESDAY, even if he doesn’t spell it right.
– A. A. Milne –

How to Know When a Politician is Out of Touch

Catherine McKenna is Canada’s Minister of Environment and Climate Change. She was lamenting about the cold. She had apparently not noticed how cold Canada gets every winter.

What examples have you heard where politicians in your community appear to have lost touch with common sense?

One Thing Leads to Another – Telemarketers

We are kind of like this dog when it comes to our home phone. Even though we know that 99% of the time a ringing home phone is a telemarketer, we still go over to the phone to check the call display!

Apparently, the best way to get a telemarketer to stop calling you is to say: “Please put me on your do not call list.” Don’t give them any other information. Don’t engage with them. Don’t get upset.

One of my daughters used to respond to telemarketers by immediately putting her Small Child on the phone. Small Child was always full of questions and observations. Telemarketers with heavy foreign accents were easy prey for a boy without much of a filter between his young brain and his mouth.