Saturday, September 29, 2007

Beam Me Up!

Our feral kitten continues to adapt to our household. He's no longer afraid of the dog and will initiate a playtime with her. He's also slowly winning over our grumpy old tabby, which is an amazing feat. He's showing signs that he'll be a good mouser, (he's lightening quick) but hasn't given Norman (our rat) much attention yet. Asking those two to get along might be pushing it a bit.

Straw Bale House Update: We've got water! The pump has been dropped in the well, the pressure tank is installed and all electrical challenges of running off the generator have been addressed. small leaks have forced me to "re & re" a few times, so I can now plumb and rewire the whole affair with my eyes closed. The water is fresh and clear with no odor, (a bit of a rarity here).
The metal roof on the pumphouse has been installed before the rain and the beams were picked up from a "one man mill" in Merville. The 16 footer stuck out well past what the law will allow, but my little trailer saved me yet another delivery charge. The truss company wants to charge $450 to deliver the trusses, so I'll be looking at alternatives to that. The trusses aren't full size, so a small truck my be able to handle the load at a fraction of the price.
Last week I heard on the radio that there was a new game being launched my Microsoft (Halo-3), and people were lining up overnight to be the first to buy it. The announcer on the radio said, "you'd have to living on a deserted island not to have heard about the launch". So, here I am on my deserted island... and speaking of Microsoft... in an attempt to cut off Apple I-tunes, there's which offers an impressive amount of searchable and downloadable album archives, for free! The catch? The downloads are in windows media format and not compatible with I-pod or Zune. Most other MP3 players should work or have a software update available.
Our provincial Government, after spending tens of thousands of dollars on "neighborhood meetings" to ask taxpayers what they should do with the 4 BILLION dollar tax surplus, have decided to use the money to pay down the debt. Add this to the billion Ms. Taylor was dangling in front of the Public sector workers last year and I can come up with two suggestions for our Liberal friends... #1 don't spend my tax dollars on public opinion meetings that are nothing more than campaign ploys. #2 Get a new accountant.
Hey, the Canuck buck makes par.... I was reading this is really hurting BC's marijuana export business... funny, the things you don't think of.
Blogger must have thousands or tens of thousands of pictures uploaded daily. Wouldn't it be cool to see those shots being uploaded in real time.... now you can, but I'll warn you this is addicting. Blogger live photo uploads

Tuesday, September 25, 2007

A Walk in the Park

We went to a Denman Arts concert on the weekend featuring Tambura Rasa, a "world music" group from Vancouver. There was lots of tapping feet and dancing of all sorts. Overall a good show to start the season. Sorry for the blurry picture as my camera's batteries died after the first shot.

Sunday we ventured off-island to visit Strathcona Park and take in some of the fall season beauty. It was a spectacular day, without a cloud in the sky. I've included a few shots of our hike... more pics can be seen in my "Off Island Adventures" photo album.

Straw Bale House Update: Tomorrow, I'll pick-up the structural beams that will be visible. We'll use Cedar outside and Fir inside the house. (The posts we've had milled from trees on the property). The beams are being milled in Black Creek and I'm hoping that my 8 foot utility trailer will be able to haul them in one trip. The longest beam is 16 feet, so it should be interesting to say the least. I'll also pick-up the metal roofing for the pumphouse, (and none too soon as the forecast leans heavy on rain).

I knew there had to be a reason not to buy bottled water, (other than being cheap). Yeah, I'm cheap and can't justify buying little bottles from large corporations, filled with a product that is free or dirt cheap from my water cooler. (I fill my cooler bottles at the grocers for $2.99) 5 reasons not to buy bottled water.

Wednesday, September 19, 2007

Can You Imagine...?

"Sustainable Growth" is the oxymoron of our time. Simply put, growth is not sustainable. I live in a country of declining birth rate and if not for immigration, there would be a negative population growth. To grow the economy, there must be more consumers to support it, so my Government imports immigrants to keep the population growing. No, I'm not anti-immigration, but what's the harm in not growing? Neutral growth is sustainable.

When I was born, the World population was 2.8 billion. Today's estimate is 6.8 Billion. Perhaps, (if I'm lucky), in my lifetime, (and certainly by 2040) the world population will reach 10-12 Billion. 2040 is also the year that the Aids epidemic is expected to peak. Right now over 40 million people have HIV or Aids. Currently, this is a world where 6 million children die of malnutrition each year, yet infant mortality has never been lower. A world where antibiotic resistant "superbugs" and Avian Flu are in their infancy. What will a world of 10 billion people look like? Can the world feed and shelter this staggering number? The answer is: not likely. The infrastructure and international cooperation needed to accomplish this feat is unimaginable. When any species becomes to overpopulated, Mother Nature has a way to deal with it..... See you in 2040.

Straw Bale House Update: More digging! the trench for power and water from the well to the pumphouse is complete and the well pipes and wires have been installed. Just the final touches required now. Trusses are still 4 weeks out, but all beams should be picked up or delivered by the middle of next week.

Boo Radley, (a fitting name, don't you think?) continues to make big strides and now runs the house. He doesn't hide as much and is becoming much more relaxed around loud noises etc. In short, he has made himself at home and entertains us with the usual kitty antics

I've cleaned up the site and continue to tweak the look.... the blog archives can now be found on a drop down list.

Wednesday, September 12, 2007

The Great Canadian Rip-Off

The last time I checked (Sept.13th) the Canadian Loonie was within 6 cents of the American greenback. So, why is it that cars are 25% cheaper in the States? (Thats 25% cheaper after taxes, exchange and duty if you buy one there) And why is it that books and magazines sport a 30% premium compared to Stateside? Next time you're in Chapters, offer them 6% more than the American price and listen to their explanation. Auto manufacturers are now beginning to restrict the purchase of autos to Canadians from American dealerships. Could this be because their profit margins are 30% higher in the Canadian marketplace? But that's OK, we're Canadian, we'll take abuse and say thanks.

Straw Bale House Update: still no water or power on site. I picked up the pump and pressure tank etc. this week. Still no word on when BC Hydro will be running our line in, but it could be any week now. (or any month now). I'll insulate and finish the interior of the pump-house before setting everything up. I have the "revised" finished house plans today and a set has been dropped at the truss company so they can get me in line. The straw we had a line on may not work out as it contains a lot of grain.... although we'd prefer to buy locally, it looks like we're back to Alberta, where they know how to thresh. I've found storage here on the island for my 450 or so bales.... the good news: price was right, (free).... the bad news: It's a loft... now I've just got to find one of those bale conveyors to get it up there.

Mark you calendars.... Valdy / Gary Fjellgaard concert has been announced for Friday October 12th at the Denman Island Community Hall.

We have one feral kitten left, (that may never leave). We've become attached to this little guy.... yes all of the kittens have tugged on some heartstrings, but this fella has something extra. Boo, (short for Booger.... for the small tuft of white fur under his right nostril) may indeed become part of the family. The name may have to change as Kari refuses to call him Booger. I'm thinking "Wil Feral" may work.

I spotted this woodpecker at work this week... (my work,not his), The shot is fuzzy cause he wouldn't stay still, but you can an idea of the girth on this bird... No, there won't be any large pecker jokes. These are fairly common here, but are quite camera shy. I never saw one of these in the city. A little research told me this is the Pileated Woodpecker, likely a female.

Sunday, September 09, 2007

A tale of Two Kitties

I've forgotten to mention, we've had two more feral foster kitties living with us for the last couple of weeks. They are a little older than the last two, (perhaps 12 weeks). These are the cats to date... Meadow & Willow, (which we called: One & Two) are living happily with their new family. Zucchero was fairly mellow and adapted to humans readily. He has been adopted by a family with children and is doing very well. His brother, Pengu... who we call Boo, is the most feral kitten we've cared for, so far. He's extremely shy and insecure... he spent the first week here under any furniture he could find and was absolutely terrified of humans. He is making some progress now and doesn't bolt into hiding when he sees us. In fact, since his brother was adopted, he's turned into the most affectionate cat I've ever seen. I never would have dreamed that a cat which I would have written off as untamable, could make such progress. Although he may never be great with kids or other animals, he is wonderful one on one. The picture, by the way, is courtesy of Fireweed and Mike, who undertake the trapping and "fixing" of the Island's feral cat population. If you may be interested in adopting a kitten, you can contact them by following THIS LINK.

Straw Bale House Update: Now that I've moved two truckloads of pitrun into the frame of the house, (one shovel full at a time).. it's time to rough-in the the greywater and sewer drainage. These systems are traditionally joined, however we'll run separate drainage for each, with the option of joining them outside the house. All the well pump components have been ordered and will be picked up next week. I'll need water on site now, as there are concrete pads to be poured. A new cement mixer was purchased to accomplish this task. I'll be installing the pump components myself... the theory being: if anything ever goes wrong, I should know how to fix it... and we'll all know who's at fault.

Thursday's Fire practise was a make-up slow-pitch softball game... (from the rain-out Labour-Day weekend). Spending so many years on a baseball field helped marginally, however; throwing a softball will take some getting used to. The ball is much bigger and the throws and base-paths are much shorter. Yes, we were mildly spanked, but showed some promise should we ever take it seriously.

Sunday, September 02, 2007

There's Something Fishy Going On...

The Denman Island Blackberry Faire was a Blackberry Flood! The rain held off until after the parade.... Ashley and her friend Stephanie co-piloted truck #53 rounding out the parade.... then a sprinkle turned into a downpour and the planned softball game was called off.... (which may have been a good thing as the competition looked like they knew what they were doing. The Fireman's Hamburger Stand sold a record number despite the damp weather. Most Fare-goers then moved inside the hall for a little entertainment.

Saturday, Jesse, Tyler and I went on a short fishing trip with a nicer than expected outcome. Jess bagged a nice 10 pounder for the BBQ and I lucked into this lunker weighing in at just under 38 pounds. Gee, I wish I knew someone with a boat and new motor...... This is incentive to check around for a nice 16 footer. We now have a good supply of salmon (in the freezer) for the winter.