27 March 2008

I heard the beavers being

I took an hour to visit with the occupants of the beaver lodge. I laid down on the snow with my ear to the hole on top and after being quiet for a long time, the beavers started to move around. I could hear them gnawing on branches, shuffling around, grunting and squeaking. It sounded like a family with some babies just hanging out on a winter day. It's not too often that one can spend some time just a couple of feet from a family of wild animals going about their ordinary business in the wild.

24 March 2008

Waiting for coyotes

L went out to the marsh three nights in a row, at dusk, to see if he could spot some of the wildlife who've been leaving tracks everywhere. Nights one and two provided only a view of the vegetation. M and I joined him on the third night, and were rewarded with a sighting of two coyotes. We assume we saw a male and a female, judging by their sizes. We were spotted by the female, who stood motionless for a while before returning to the woods. Alas, the picture was taken on night one.

Enough snow!

We've just spent the nicest winter days at the Shack. There wasn't a cloud in the sky for the last four days. The snow was clean and crusty enough that we didn't need snow shoes even though the snow is waist deep or deeper everywhere. All the snow actually gives us a tremendous amount of mobility because we are a metre above all the thick brush and swampy ground.

But I'd trade all that mobility and crisp white beauty for the sight of a green shoot pushing out of the ground, the smell of wet earth or warm air on my face in a heartbeat.

20 March 2008

Happy Vernal Equinox!

Well, we made it through another winter. Sort of. The winter weather started in November and continues to this day with no end in sight. This is in stark contrast to last year when we had barely 2 months of winter weather and all good Canadians fretted because we know we'll pay for an easy winter. Apparently, we hadn't quite settled the bill when winter 2007/2008 arrived.

So, as we close in on the all time winter snowfall record (we're over 4 metres so far, only 20 cm to go!), I'd like to describe all the signs of spring that I've observed this year:

And I can't think of anything else right now. Perhaps in a couple of weeks.

14 March 2008

Bread labour

A confession: I'm a bread nerd. I grind my own organic flour and bake bread. But I don't do it nearly often enough, and I haven't figured out how to bake it in the wood cookstove. I have an outdoor bread oven fantasy fuelled by books like Build Your Own Earth Oven and The Bread Builders. I'm putting it on the list, but we may not get to it for a while.

03 March 2008

Plan B for a reasonable life (in theory)

It's becoming pretty obvious that Plan A isn't going to work out. That's the plan where every capable human being seeks employment to earn income to buy stuff. The more income, the more stuff, the better. According to the Plan, all these capable human beings should travel to said employment in their own motor vehicle, or staring into the armpit or crotch (depending on whether you've "lucked" into a seat or not) of a fellow human being on the bus, desperately scheming to one day escape the bus for a single occupancy motor vehicle. At the same time, every fertile person on the planet should procreate to the absolute limit of their ability to feed, dress and amuse their offspring. This ensures a continual increase in the demand for cheap crap from China and high fructose corn syrup from Monsanto. Of course, the limits of our ecosystem have already been breached as evidenced by the number of days a year one should not drink the water, breathe the air, or eat a fish (or cow or spinach salad).

If you're feeling brave visit The Automatic Earth for continuing coverage of the global financial meltdown and Life After the Oil Crash for an excellent primer on peak oil. Be warned, you won't like it. I told you.

So what's Plan B? *

Warning: Reading the rest of this post will subject the reader to anti-civilization proselytizing. Proceed at own peril.

How about for a start, let's everyone stop reproducing, especially for the purposes of creating any kind of New Jerusalem. Unfulfilled religious urges could perhaps be relieved, fully clothed, in some kind of beatitude-inspired activity (substitute the appropriate religious reference of your choice). A very modest (by North American standards) lifestyle for every person on the planet can be enjoyed equally by about 1 billion people. Starting now, if everyone limits themselves to one or no kids, we'll be a billion in a hundred years.

Next, let's drop the idea that humans have more rights than other creatures, and rich humans have more rights than poor ones. There are some pretty severe ramifications of this one. Read Endgame for more on this. And I don't need to know what this book inspires you to do.

How about learning how to sleep well even before having secured the financial solution to every possible problem for the rest of your life? This one is a tough one for those of us who reside firmly in the middle class and have been subject to a lot of preaching on the subject.

And the last one is easy. Consume less crap. Less plastic junk from China, less processed food, less stupid entertainment. Just say no.

That's it. More of an attitude shift than a changing lightbulb plan. Stay tuned for progress reports.

*Disclaimer: The author of this post has a firm grip on the theoretical but the practice, well, not so much. A critical examination of the author's own lifestyle will demonstrate an aptitude for hypocrisy not seen since the PTL Club shut down. Witness my current employment with the not-for-profit privatized safety critical corporation. For shame. And I've never destroyed a dam.

01 March 2008

Beaver front door

We found a beaver access hole across the marsh from the lodge. It may not be the only one, as there was a thin layer of ice on the water, indicating it hadn't been used for a few days, but the signs of beavers were unmistakable. They don't travel too far from the hole to cut down trees or gnaw on bark.

Tracks in the snow

We saw a lot of these tracks in the snow last weekend. The owner of these tracks must have been pretty small compared to his feet because they were pretty much right on top of the snow. They're bigger than coyote tracks. I'm afraid my Animal Tracks of Ontario was not much help as this animal did not have the courtesy to leave a distinct track in a typical pattern. Some of the candidates, in my mind, anyway, are the fisher, marten, bobcat or lynx. Luckily, my living is not dependant on my ability to identify tracks.

Cattail fling ding

M is the champion cattail flinger in our family. Apparently, it's all in the wrist. Who knew cattails had evolved to spread their seeds by human flinging? They're weighted just right to get some good distance and provide a very satisfying experience for the flinger.


Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...