In Time for Birding Season

Here are images of a Black-Capped Chickadee that I took two days ago.

Puffing up the feathers-a sign of breeding display?

Signs of Spring

I lucked-out and had a couple of visitors while walking on the trails. I held my hand out to one Chickadee and it flew close and hovered, but did not land. It was a pleasant close encounter.I heard from a friend that she saw her first gulls, geese and Robin! I will be in her neck of the woods next week so will have my camera with me.

Referring to the title, In Time for Birding Season, I have received a call from the doctor’s office and am booked for cataract surgery May 1st for one eye and May 15th for the other. I am so joyful to hear the news!


Looking Back on Last Year

I thought that I would look back, I know a bit later than most people, at photos from last year.

So much green!

Magpie letting me get it’s
Best Side
Splish, Splash, the Law of Attraction

Male Common Golden Eye Busy Courting

Coot Momma or Poppa Feeding the Young

Me at My Nephew’s Wedding

Grand entry at the Pow Wow

Bull Bison at Elk Island National Park in Fall

Walk on the Promenade in Winter

It has been a good year of life experiences, photo shoots in the city streets and at the parks. I am looking forward to more shooting opportunities, time with friends and family and communing with nature. Life is a Blessing!

Going with the Flow, Sort Of

I decided to make some changes in my blog post. I am sticking with the same theme, but moved the contents of the Sidebar to the Footnotes. Moving the Sidebar allows me to make my photos larger.

Then there is this little change in the editing tool. I thought I would try this new block format and at first tried Photos only but then couldn’t write the usual paragraph or two at the top of my blog. When I used the combination of photo/text block, the app would set a paragraph at the side of a photo, making the photo smaller. I didn’t want that, so I came back online to try some more options, starting with the paragraphs which I see that I can do if I set the Block type to “text”. Now, will I be able to insert the photo below?

Looking toward Hawrelak Park, Edmonton, Alberta, Canada.

Yes, I can! Now, can I revert back to writing? Oh, yes, I can! I am going to like this new app after all. The only thing I miss is the old font on my actual website. I see that I can put a big capital at the beginning of the paragraph. It is BIG, even in normal font and I think it would look nice in the old font, a nice script. The choice for the “drop cap” or BIG Letter is in the box to the right of the page.

I notice more choices just above the paragraph, too, such as big header print, quotes, lists, etc.

I think I am starting to “get” it and notice that I need to go to photo gallery to upload a photo, cannot do it directly onto this page, but that is not a problem. I will choose to keep my font and text colours the same, as these apply to the paragraph only, not the whole blog. Maybe I can play with this later because there is more to learn! I wanted to share this with you, fellow bloggers, in case you are having some difficulty.

Ha, I was going to write “a quick blog”. Two hours later…The best to all of you.

About the Grocery Stores

I went to one grocery store and instead of  travelling to one or two more, got smart and checked out the flyers in the recycle bin in my building. Sometimes I think it is a case of what my parents used to call “cherry-picking”, meaning watch the flyers  for the best buys and get those items at whatever store has them, usually relatively close to home. When I am done, I can toss the flyers back into the recycle bin.

Overall I saw a wide discrepancy in prices, especially after the sales from last week were over. Some American dry goods were on sale, but along the lines of “buy 3, get the fourth free.” I do not shop that way. I am going to buy the same way as usual, where I get the best buy except I will access the flyers more than I have been doing. I was sitting beside a gentleman on the bus today and he told me where a thrift store was nearby, one of my favourites in my old neighbourhood,  that I was not previously aware of. There are good buys there, especially produce.We are very dependent on American produce here in the north but now we are coming into our harvest season and I am going for fresh and tasty.

Can you stand it if I talk about licorice again? Obviously I am not alone in my love of licorice because it is often displayed front and center. At this one  grocery store that I went to, the licorice was on sale for $3.50, regular $3.99 so that is a dollar more than at the other place last week.

The answer is to check the flyers and just go for what is the best buy.

I am happy to report that, after a couple of days of rain and thunder, and subsequently window shopping, I went birding  today and enjoyed the playing with my camera. It feels so good to be back to the nature photography, which is where I most like to be and probably where I belong.

Are the Prices Changing? Let’s See

When Canada’ s retaliatory tariffs came into effect on July 1st, I spent much more time checking prices and origins of products than I usually do in a local drug store yesterday. Tariffs at 10% are not a big deal but so many items at 10% will add up (16.6 billion apparently). I am talking about the products from the United States that will be charged a 10% tariff crossing the border into Canada matching Mr. Trump’s 25% tariff on steel and aluminum. All of this is going to hit both countries because as with automobiles, products go back and forth across the borders during production and yes, will pay tariffs every time they cross a border.

I remember when the NAFTA first came into being , a lot of Canadian companies moved south of the border or went out of business. Many Canadian companies were sold and are now American. Large numbers of people were laid off, and it is starting to happen again in the steel companies. If the auto industry is attacked , economists fear  we could go into recession.

Yesterday I went to one drug store that gets products from both countries and saw, as always , a big gap between prices. For instance, am I going to pay $3 or $8 for 3 bars of soap? No contest there. I saw high-end bath lotion for as much as $33.00, the average was  $8.99 but I bought the cheap stuff for $2.99. My priority? It smells good and will make bubbles. I last bought an American brand of deodorant that cost 3.99 but now it is 5.99 so switched back to a previous  Canadian product on sale for 2.49. Almost all the higher prices are American products but I have a low income and almost always buy what is cheaper.

One item that has cost a lot of ruckus is Ketchup.There was an American company in Ontario, Canada that made ketchup with local produce, but  pulled out and went south leaving the local farmers in a lurch. Next a  Canadian company opened in that spot and buys locally from those same farmers, so yes there is a call out to Canadians to buy that product and support the local farmers.

I bought a bag of Twizzlers for the sale price of $2.99 but today it will go up to $3.99. In the past year, I have bought them for $1.50. In Alberta add 5% gst (government sales tax) to that price. In the past year, all prices have gone up , tariffs or not, Twizzlers or not. I really don’t eat licorice THAT much, or do I?

Here is a list of products that will have a tariff of 10% as they cross into Canada:

  • Kentucky Bourbon
  • lawnmowers
  • maple syrup
  • cast iron grills
  • ketchup
  • yoghurt
  • prepared meals of spent fowl
  • prepared meals of bovines
  • licorice, candy, toffee
  • chocolate (slab or bars, filled or plain),
  • pizza, quiche
  • cucumbers, gherkins
  • strawberry jam
  • orange juice (not frozen)
  • mayonnaise
  • salad dressings
  • mixed condiments, mixed seasonings
  • sauces, soups, broths,
  • shaving preparations,
  • room deodorizers,
  • pillows,
  • odourizers including  for religious rituals,
  • organic liquid or cream for crème for skin wash,
  • automatic dishwasher detergents
  • candles
  • glues or adhesives
  • sacks or bags
  • tableware and kitchenware
  • insecticides, fungicides ,herbicides
  • household articles
  • hygienic or toilet articles
  • plywood (6 mm or less)
  • some paper products
  • toilet paper, handkerchiefs, cleansing or facial tissues, facial towels
  • tablecloths , serviettes
  • printed or illustrated postcards
  • combined refrigerator/freezer
  • recreational vehicle
  • household dishwashers
  • washing machines
  • inflatable boats, sailboats, motorboats
  • upholstered wooden furniture
  • mattresses, sleeping bags
  • ballpoint pens, felt-tipped pens
  • sweetened waters, mineral waters and aerated water
  • soya sauce
  • bobbins, spools, caps and similar supports

I don’t know why there are tariffs on soft lumber or dairy, which has been a bone of contention for years but my guess it is for the sake of survival for the farmers and lumberyards in Canada and possibly local sustainability.

I think all countries can benefit a lot from free trade if all stay employed at good wages and can produce locally and even across the border.

This is by no means a thorough investigation, I am simply writing from my very limited viewpoint. I am curious what prices are like where my fellow bloggers live, if you like free trade and/or if buying local is more appealing to you.

There will be one more diversional blog when I will go to the grocery store and see if there are any changes. We are all caught up in these political moves,  and I want to share what I see.

After that, I am back to birding, thank-you.



International Women’s Day: A Photo Celebration

This montage of photos and celebration of women are so thoughtful on International Women’s Day that I felt inspired to share Sparky Jen’s blog. I enjoyed this and feel grateful. Thank you, Sparky Jen!

Roses in the Rubble

Today we celebrate women & women’s rights as International Women’s Day highlights our progress and how to press for more amidst continued challenges around the world. I am blessed to have many amazing women who impacted my life & to have encountered many inspiring women of courage, creativity, ingenuity, faith & action during years as a globetrotting relief & development worker.

On this special day take a photo journey with me to celebrate international women (& how far we’ve come!!)  : )

This favorite photo from Morogoro, Tanzania says it all: women multi-tasking myriad responsibilities on the way home from the office (children, groceries & office supplies) – in heels, no less!

Grateful for all the women who paved the way for opportunities to work. In the movie ‘Pride & Prejudice’ set in 18th century England, Charlotte, one of Elizabeth Bennett’s closest friends married a beanhead because that was her…

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Happy New Year!

It was very cold on New Year’s Eve but I was up to the challenge of going outdoors at the legislative assembly grounds to see the fireworks. It did not help that in the open spaces there was a breeze blowing  that brought th tmperatur down to the low -30’s.

It was hard to feel my fingers through my ski mittens to operate my camera and my feet were starting to freeze but I managed to get some images. It was great fun though not the huge crowds that we usually have. i went with a friend and she enjoyed it just as much as I.

The following is what i managed to capture. There were arts and crafts indoors before the fireworks and there was a choice of watching them from indoors but I wanted to get out where I wouldn’t have glass in the way.






It was fun and sure enjoyed getting indoors to warm up at a coffee shop on the way home.

Happy New Year everyone and I wish a prosperous peaceful year for all of us.

The Kids Are Alright – Lots of Feeding

It is fun to hang out at the viewing platform and see who shows up, either in front, or to the side or behind. The first group I saw were the younger ones, as I walked up the path.


Mom was close behind, keeping an eye on the surroundings.untitled-0045-2Here come the teenagers through the reeds, their mother just outside of the frame. they  stick close together and with their Mother, talking to each other in their quiet way.


There are Coots too, of two different ages, most still being fed by their parents.


Caught a close-up of this little adventurer.


This one’s enthusiasm gave me reason to laugh. I always say they are so ugly they are cute.untitled-0189-2


To top it off I saw this youngster, I believe it is a Song Sparrow.


All in all this brief respite gave me great joy. Getting out in nature sure cures the stress of the work day and makes me feel grateful for the creatures that I see and watch.

Scaups, Mallards and Wigeons

It is early evening so the focus is not always sharp but the lighting gives a new ambience to the birds. I am not getting out as much as I would like because I broke my toe. I can walk, but in a very SLOW way. I am hoping the healing will be done as predicted in about two more weeks.

It would be nice to find a place to perch and let the birds come to me. In this case, I went with a friend to a local pond and felt such delight watching these ducks and ducklings.

Male Lesser Scaup captured in the setting sununtitled-0282-2

Male and Female Lesser Scaup,  she wouldn’t turn around, busy eating.untitled-0380-2

Male Lesser Scaup being quite vocaluntitled-0397-2

Female American Wigeonuntitled-0437-2

Male American Wigeonuntitled-0438-2

I have seen this group a couple of times and hope that they are not orphans because I have never seen the parents. They are Common Goldeneye ducklings.untitled-0215-2

It is fun to listen to mother “talking” to her brood with soft tones.untitled-0270-2

Intercultural Circle

What an amazing time I had at the Hindu Cultural Center on Sunday! It is the first time that I have been to a temple and the historical occasion was a meeting of two groups, the Hindu and Indigenous cultures and their similar spirituality, a spark that started in the 1800’s with a visit to the Winnipeg Train Station by a visiting monk, and I regret that I left my notes at home while I type this out at the library, so promise to update soon. We watched as the children were invited to take place in a sacred fire ceremony, observed smudging by a Metis Cree Elder, listened to drumming by the Chubby Cree Drummers and took part in a round dance. This is a beginning of a collaboration of two cultures to share ceremony and celebrate Unity through Diversity.

Children taking part in the sacred fire ceremony. I recognized the same gestures of “washing smoke” to the eyes and mouth , which is a cleansing ritual in Indigenous circles.


The Chubby Cree Drummers were strong in Voice and rhythm. Rare to have female drummers but hope to see more in the future. The young man has an bright future in drumming ahead of him.IMG_0044-2