20 November 2007


We had the pleasure of watching thousands of white geese along with some black geese and a few ducks heading south overhead the Shack on Sunday. They were moving along at quite a clip, and were really really high. I expect they were snow geese, both white and blue morphs. I'm not sure what the ducks were, but there was some definite "quacking" mixed in with the "honking" in one of the groups. (Click on the picture to see a larger image.)

Any Canadian who watched tv in the sixties and seventies will appreciate the above video. You gotta love the soundtrack.

19 November 2007

Swamp surprise

We have owned Santa Paz for just over 6 weeks. Before this weekend, we had never walked the back half of our property. There was a lot of scrubby bush that is very difficult to navigate. As the fall has progressed, and some of the vegetation has died back, it's become easier. We have looked at maps and Google Earth, but hadn't actually bushwacked our way much beyond what we could see from the house. On Saturday, we finally made our way back. We were floored (in a good way) to discover this large beaver marsh. The beavers are obviously still very much present, as evidenced by the many recent stumps. We walked back to a fence which we assumed was the back boundary of the property, but have subsequently discovered is not. Our neighbour assures us that our property line is roughly another thousand feet beyond the fence. So, we have more exploring to do. And some work to make a trail.

10 November 2007

Christmas is cancelled

The annual Christmas marketing onslaught has begun. My usual Christmas stress and anxiety have also returned, and now I know why.

I spent a little time on the Global Rich List yesterday, and came to an alarming conclusion. I entered the amount of money I thought I'd spend on Christmas this year, and found that $500 is more than 15% of the world's population earns in a year. Then I looked in a very thought-provoking book, Radical Simplicity by Jim Merkel, at a table which shows carbon footprint as it correlates to annual income. Someone earning $500 per year has a footprint of 1.5 to 4 acres. $500 spent largely on CCFC (cheap crap from China) has got to be at the high end of the range. When you compare that to the bioproductive land available per person of 4.7 acres, that Christmas spending is starting to look like a crime against humanity.

As a somewhat thoughtful atheist, I can't find any reason for me to participate. There is the nagging thought that it's for kids, but the irony of using up that much of the planet's resources for children's benefit is too much. The Standard Canadian Christmas is cancelled at the Shack. We'll probably mark the longest night with an appropriate beverage, but please, no Solstice cards.

09 November 2007

I'm rich!

Not feeling very well off these days? Check out the Global Rich List for a little perspective. If you're not feeling wealthy yet, look at this photoessay for more insight. So what does an ultrarich person like me do with this new awareness? I've just gone from vague dissatisfaction - to finding peace with having enough - to feeling guilty at having way more than everyone else all in one fell swoop.

05 November 2007

Dream kitchen

This kitchen is powered by a 1937 Findlay Condor, built in Carleton Place, Ontario. Luckily, it was a relatively popular model in its day, so parts are available. I have a romantic notion about using a wood cookstove, and it will be interesting to see how the theoretical and actual experience compare. I have ordered a book, Woodstove Cookery by Jane Cooper, to help me out. What I really need is an experienced woodstove cook to demonstrate. Luckily, I have a family with healthy appetites who will help me eat the experiments.

04 November 2007


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