Archive for the Tag 'Great Outdoors'

15 Jun 2012

Posted by under Dave's Thoughts,Photos



Time for an update on the duck situation. Momma duck has a name, Amanda. Alyssa chose the name because she felt that we couldn’t just generically refer to “the duck” or even to “Momma” duck. I guess that it just wasn’t proper to be on anything but a first name basis with someone who has chosen to raise their kids (well, eggs) right at your front door.
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30 May 2012

Posted by under Dave's Thoughts



So, I open up the front door today and step out side when, all of a sudden, there is this wild commotion in the shrub right beside me. Scared me out of a year’s growth! (Something I can ill-afford as there is an outside chance that my eldest son is contemplating being as tall as I am. It’ll never happen!)

Anyway, the next thing I see is a female Mallard duck flapping madly into the air from behind my irises. Once my pulse returns to normal, the answer to the question, “GAAH! What was that?!” becomes fairly readily apparent. 7 eggs nestled together in a nest under the spirea. We will have ducklings in the yard in about 3 or 4 weeks.

Update: Here is a picture of Momma duck and a shot of the nest on Saturday (3 June). I found out that Mallards typically lay 10 to 12 eggs, 1 per day. There was no new egg on Sunday, so maybe 10 will be it. Although the duck is still skittish, we can come and go through the front door as long as we make our way in and out without making sudden moves or noises.

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17 Jan 2012

Posted by under Dave's Thoughts


So that last post was a little bit presumptuous, sure, but really? -32°C?

The superb weather that we had over the Christmas break is definitely over. The above average (above freezing, even) temperatures lasted for almost a month before Old Man Winter decided it was time to knock us down a notch. So on Sunday, the temperatures started to drop and just kept on going into the -30 range. That is cold. Cold enough that the brass monkeys are no longer worried about frost on the pumpkin. And it is going to stay cold, too.

But wait! Take a closer look at that forecast, kindly provided by the good folks at Environment Canada. See the 4th day out from today? Saturday? It will be back up to zero!!

When we lived in Cold Lake, AB (from 1988 to 1996), we endured a lot of cold in the winter. Lots of weeks in January or February where the daytime high temperatures would be -45°C, or worse. Environment Canada would always be looking out for us though – the five day forecast was always 25 or 30 degrees warmer than the current temperature. We used to call these Suicide Prevention Forecasts. So, if you are caught in this southern Alberta deep-freeze, cheer up! Don’t get all depressed and think that this will never end! Look – in just 4 or 5 days all will be fine, all the way back up to 0°C. And life will be beautiful.

UPDATE: 22 Jan 2012

OK, I know that you’ve been wondering, now that Saturday has come and gone, how did it all pan out? Is life beautiful? What about sunshine, or roses? Are there any roses?

Sorry, no. No roses, no 0°C. Here is what really happened:

It was better than the -30°C of a few days ago, but with the breeze it was still cold. And, this morning, I looked out the window to see that it snowed in the night and I had to shovel. I’d be depressed about it, but look at the forecast!

Things will be great in just a few days…

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29 Jul 2011

Posted by under Dave's Thoughts,Family

A Day in LA

That’s Lethbridge, Alberta.

… but you knew that, didn’t you?

It’s been airshow week in southern Alberta, the Airdrie Airshow was on the 16/17 July weekend and the Lethbridge Airshow was on the 23/24 July weekend.  We managed to get to both and, in between the two, had a chance for a private viewing of the Hawk One Sabre with one of the demo pilots.  We didn’t really attend the Airdrie show, but the AeroSpace Museum had a booth selling merchandise and they ran out of ball caps on the Saturday.  Brenda and I were heading out for a motorbike ride about the same time,  so we grabbed a couple of back packs, picked up 50 caps at the museum and delivered them to the Airdrie airport.  We timed things so that we got there in time to see the Snowbirds.  Since it was late in the day, we were on motorbikes and we were making a delivery to a vendor we got to park right at the entrance and of course we didn’t pay to enter.

On Thursday, Brenda had arranged with the Hawk One Sabre pilot, who is a friend of the Museum, for a viewing of the Sabre for any museum volunteers.  I took the kids and we all had a chance to sit in the Sabre and chat with the pilot, Dan Dempsey.  It was pretty neat to be able to see it up close, one of about 10 remaining flying Sabres in the world (out of nearly 10,000 that were built!)

So, what about LA?  Brenda managed to get us VIP passes to the Lethbridge Airshow for Sunday from one of her contacts at the Air Force Museum of Alberta . So we loaded up the van and headed out on a cloudless, calm morning and got to the Lethbridge airfield about noon, just at the show got underway. I gotta say, being a VIP is the way to go!  Preferred parking (steps away from the flightline), preferred seating (with real chairs, tables and umbrellas) at show center, lunch included and reasonably priced drinks ($1 pop, free water) and  it was hosted by the Snowbirds so we got to chat to the guys in the red pyjamas :-).  The day was flawless – sunny, clear and just the lightest of breezes.  The flying demo’s were great – some teams I’d never seen before.  One of the highlights was the A-10, it is amazingly maneuverable.

After the airshow we headed out on a little drive south of Lethbridge.  Brenda has been doing research for the museum on the story of an Alberta-born Lancaster mid-upper gunner who was killed just weeks before the end of WWII as part of an exhibit on “a day in the life” of a Lancaster crew.  For some background, Brenda wanted to see the farm where this fellow was raised near the town of Raymond.  It ended up being a bit of an adventure finding the place and traipsing overland to the old, tumble-down farm buildings.  But it was a beautiful evening for it and well worth experiencing the quiet isolation of a prairie farm on a fine summer evening.

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