Take My Picture and Make it Snappy!

I know. I KNOW!

It's not easy being beautiful, and please don't hate ME because I am.
I see you no-shells. You swirl around me, and make loud honking sounds, and get close to me, and then leave (!) your shiny shells and place yourselves in great danger of being hit by other shiny shells, just because you see ME.
You want to help ME cross the big, gray, dry stubbley river.
You know you like ME.
It's not easy being beautiful.

Does YOUR Mother love YOU?
Mine would likely snap my head off if she was still around!
But she's not. Uhn -uh. No siree. Left me lying in a gravel pit on the side of the gray stubbley river. She left me! So I pecked myself out, dusted myself off, and headed for the nearest swamp. There are likely still flecks of Mommy dearest on my wrinkly carpacious back. Thanks to YOU and your disposable  shiny shell things.

Bet you  didn't know that I am the OFFICIAL REPTILE of New York. Chosen because I am crusty, cranky, and on a scale of one to ten? I'm an eleven.
Bite you.
(That's what I'll do if you come too close.)
And you want to talk about claws? Hah! I nailed that one!
And political cartoons? Hah hah!!
ME! 1807. I was the first!

Betcha didn't know that  Ograbme is Embargo spelled backwards! And this little snippet is all about the Jeffersonian Embargo.
I'd bite anyone who tried to trade with  the British.

You love ME!
Now, make like a turtle. And make it snappy.


The Long Point of View

Long Point on Lake Erie in southwestern Ontario is a long way from home - a bum numbing seven hours spent on Canada's busiest highway, and then some. But once you arrive, it's worth the drive.

Best friends, birding and basking on the beach. Life's good.
Add some fresh asparagus, and it's perfect!

To learn more about the Long Point Bird Observatory, please visit them online at

See more of the world around you at http://www.skyley.blogspot.com/


Find'em, Drill'em, Fill'em, Bill'em

Back in the not-so-kinder, but definitely younger days when I was married to a student dentist,  this (see title) was the Toothy Tune that the soon to be drillers, fillers and billers would hum.  At the time, it seemed harmless, silly and, well, yes, thoughtless. But like, who cared, eh?
Then along came the Karma concept, and all was revealed. You should be nicer, and maybe give a little bit. No, not the large burr, it's too expensive, but the little bit- because, like,  if you were not nice, then FATE would come along and bite you in the ass. And Harry Chrishna to ya too! It was definitely don't see, don't tell and inhale if you want, but keep it to yourself  time.
Then real life got in the way.
Three decades, two divorces, and kids later, and whaddya know?
It's find'em, drill'em, fill'em and bill'em time...all over again,  and with a cosmic, karmic twist...
And to the victims, go the oils.

What. Have. We. Done?

These pictures were taken two months ago, on the then clean beach in the Gulf of Mexico.
Make a wish...

At the time, we were busy complaining about the unseasonably cold weather.
while the gulls and terns flocked together for warmth and protection.
I wonder what they're doing now?


The Farmer in the Dell

And in the spring, a young man's fancy turns to dust, and dirt, and the urge to plant seeds so he can then reap what he sows at a later date. It's a hard, thankless task pretty much, and threatening to become a lost art as North American farming and food production becomes ruled by large corporations, and the disconnect between what the employee (aka farmer) is told to plant,
and what is right for the land grows ever larger.
The ubiquitous corn crop - a curse, not a cure.
So, today is an ode to the farm, the farmer, and his field of dreams.

This is what milk looks like before it's packaged into cartons and jugs and bags. These are jersey cows, prized for their rich milk and the dairy products like cheese that are made from it.
Here's a AAA Black Angus steak on the hoof.

Really raw hamburger looks like this...

This is what a scrambled egg looks like, before it hits the pan. It is also what your chicken wings look like before they hit McDonalds.

And seriously? There's really only one question to ask here...

Hi ho the dairio, the farmer's in the dell!
Canadian singer/songwriter Murray McLaughlin's The Farmer's Song
is an eloquent tribute to farmers...enjoy!


Just Another Manic Monday.

I was late getting to work this morning. I left with plenty of time to pick up a Tim Horton's coffee, and have a leisurely drive to put the day, and the week, into perspective. I headed out the driveway, admiring the bright yellow daffodils that look so perky and cheerful, and feeling pretty proud of myself for actually remembering to plant them last fall!
As I came to the first bend in our driveway, I also noticed a bunch of little pinecones sitting straight up on the edge of the road? That's weird - so of course, I pulled over for a closer look, and Eureka!! Not pinecones at all, but a whole little herd of morels! We have spent many hours to little or no avail, combing the meadows of our area looking for what is  thought (by many gourmands) to be the best edible mushroom that grows wild in eastern Ontario and western Quebec.  And here!! Right here in my own backyard, there's a flock of them!
They're pretty easily identified. They look like little conehead brains and are hollow on the inside.
There are blonde, brown, and grey versions (just like my own personal hair stages). It's antithesis, the False Morel  is poisonous, doesn't have a fully attached cap, is black and slimy, and has white frothy stuff inside the stem. Everything about the False Morel says, "don't eat me".
I was pretty excited and called John to come with a bag and help pick them - which he did. So, guess what's for dinner tonight?  It made for a memorable morning. 

And it made me late.  Thus, when I pulled into the parking lot of the arena where my office is located,
I had completely forgotten that we have visitors in town today.

Not everyday an elephant takes my parking space - but she's 38 years old, and gentle, and she can have it for as long as she wants. She is sharing it with a few of her friends too.

Awww. They're very cute, and while I don't generally advocate for live animal circuses, I do know that these animals are well cared for and loved by their trainers and keepers. Our Animal By Law Enforcement Officer checks to make sure they are being properly tended - as does every other ABEO in Canada, wherever the Circus visits.
The big questions, of course, always revolve around the poop - as in "Who's going to scoop the poop?" and "What do you do with elephant poop, or pony poop?"   and  "Can I purchase the poop?", and of course that favourite question that inquisitive minds just need to know, "How big is  elephant poop?"

Imagine! All this, and it's not even noon yet.


Fair Day and No Fare for the Ferry

This little ferry that we're on crosses from Plaisance, Quebec to Hawkesbury, Ontario. It can hold about six cars, but on this trip, there were just two, plus four motorcycles who were making the interprovincial crossing of the Ottawa River. Once on board, the song "Ferry Cross the Mersey" came immediately to mind, and hasn't left yet! Perhaps by writing it I will finally expunge it!
The day trip that we took last Sunday was appropos of nothing other than the need to see something different than the usual places we tend to visit. So with no direction other than east in mind, we headed along the Quebec side of the Ottawa River. Once past Ottawa it became less familiar and therefore, more interesting as we visited small towns and villages that we established 150 years ago to help manage all the logs that were being cut and sent to sawmills along the river. Of course, the first building to receive more than the old loggers (and our) cursory attention was the church.
The exterior of this lovely old Catholic church in Papineauville could use a little TLC, but
my guess is that paint isn't high on the Brothers' priority list these days.
The interior of the church was soft and lovely.
Not to mention rather high and mighty.
We love to visit these old churches found throughout eastern Canada. Most are spectacular architectural statements  and a testament to the power and strength of the Church  in Canada during the mid to late 1800's, as well as the early to mid 1900's.
That's definitely changed.
Our Sunday drive took us past many small little cheese shops, where we purchased several different types of soft, unripened artisanal cheese, a lovely mustard~maple vinaigrette, a gorgeous loaf of gruyere and basil bread and some micro brewery lager beer.
So then of course, we needed to stop for a  wee rest break at a small municipal park.
In Quebec it should be noted that the women are revered, and treated to the best of everything.
Including outhouses.

The men, however, are expected to tough it up, and to be manly men.
And if they stop to use this facility, perhaps they should also bring a pee shooter.
This is one use for a funnel I have never seen before!

The contrast between Church and State is sometimes described as a hit and a miss.

for other interesting scenes visit http://skyley.blogspot.com/


Question for Sarah Palin: How's that Oily Drilly Thing Workin' For Ya Now?

A few months ago, Sarah Palin  posed a question to the people who didn't support her views on anything, by asking, "So how's that hopey changey thing workin' fer ya now?" She supports  many things that many Canadians don't.  While recognizing that our southern neighbours have substantially more investment  and say in all things global,  I still think it's okay to say, "It's now right back atcha, Sarah," and I just have to ask,  "How's your oily, drilly thing workin' fer ya now, honey?"
                                             Since the explosion of the British Petroleum oil rig in the Gulf of Mexico, off the shoreline of Louisiana, I have had trouble sleeping. I hear about  all of the plausible scenarios that may, and probably will, take place; I see pictures of dead sea turtles - with headlines over their bodies like, " Scientists explore if there's a link between the number of washed up sea turtles and the recent oil rig explosion." One has to wonder if these are scientists who may, or may not, be smarter than a  fifth grader.    I was raised with a few basic assumptions in life. The sun rises. The sun sets. The seasons come. The seasons go. The tide comes in. The tide goes out. Humans share the earth will all kinds of species...we are just one of many. Because we have opposable thumbs that can do tricks, we think we're the winners of the Who's on Top game called Life As We Know It.
The operative word here is "think". And for several decades now, there doesn't seem to be a whole lot of that going on, unless of course the motivation is money, driven by greed, and consumed by power.              
Well - here's the thing. I think that it's time to stop drilling for oil in environmentally sensitive areas. I think that it's time to rethink the North American obsession with the car.  We can no longer afford Henry Ford's dream - which has become the cause of our current nightmare. I think that for every dollar spent on cleaning up this devastating mess, there should be a dollar spent on research and development of sustainable energy, sustainable development,  sustainable governance models.         
I never thought as a teenager, young adult,  or parent about any of the above - I trusted that common sense would prevail, and that all would be all right. Well, sucks to be me, because all is not all right!  I trusted, and I assumed that the duly elected representatives would make sure that all was right with the world. Hah!
Well, as the saying goes, "Fool  me once, shame on you. Fool me twice, shame on me." And it won't be right with the world until you, you, and you decide that this current environmental disaster (and many others around this little green planet, third from the sun) is OUR  collective problem.           
I think that haranguing politicians and their ilk is not the answer. Although, letting them know what you think is definitely something that needs to be done. Ask questions, and show them what you think of their answers.  That's also called voting.
There are also literally hundreds of clubs, groups, organizations  - Green Peace, Sierra Club, Nature Canada, World Wildlife Fund, Audubon Society to name just a few who do great work...you choose who best speaks for you. Support them however you can. Just do it.
Get off the couch of complacency, and tell the world what you think.
I never thought that I would. But I just did.