Thursday, January 12, 2023

 

Mom and Charlie II


Georgia Brown 1929-2022

After a wonderful Christmas where all her Grandchildren and Great Grandchildren were able to come and visit with her my mother passed away peacefully on December 29th. She had been diagnosed with cancer a year and half ago and made the decision to live out her life without spending a lot of time being sick and tired from treatments that would probably not extend it much anyway. As she said "I am 93 and have had a good long life, done a lot of things and will leave here with few regrets. On to the next great adventure."

She was born in Vermilion, Alberta the first child of Brent and Ethel Macnab. She spent her early years there on the family farm, growing up with her younger brother Brent. They travelled back and forth to school on an old draft horse that my Grandfather had to tune up from time to time when he decided it was not a good day to go off to school. Once she was done in that one room school she went off to Vermilion to finish her grade school. She was her Class Valedictorian and commented in her speech at the grad ceremonies that she and all her contemporaries heading off to University would have to sit out a year as the soldiers were coming back from World War II and they would be taking all the available space that year. She was 16 at the time. She spent that year working at Longs Drugs in Vermilion and completed her Apprenticeship for her Pharmacy license almost before she entered University. Sometime along the way she met and fell for my Dad, and was married the fall after graduation. Dad was a Calgary kid and working in the oil business so after their honeymoon spent on the backroads of Alberta scouting drilling rigs and seismic crews they moved into a house on 17th Ave, near 19th Street NW. While they lived there I came along and derailed her Pharmacy career for a few years I suppose. I was followed by two more brothers, Brent and Kelly, but once she had us house broke she went back to the Pharmacy business and ended up managing a chain of drugstores in East Calgary. 



She was one of the very first women Licensed Pharmacists in Western Canada


We did all those things that families in the 50's and 60's did, camping, hunting, and fishing together. I remember almost fondly tramping along irrigation canals in Eastern Alberta looking for Ring-necked Pheasants, Mom on one side with her 20 gauge and Dad on the other with his old 12 gauge, and one bird dog or another ranging between them till we filled their limits. She only shot one big game animal to my knowledge, an antelope, and decided that it was more like shooting the neighbours dog than hunting so she hung up her rifle.

As she moved out of the Pharmacy business she took on the challenge of doing the books for both my Dad's companies as well as for Macnab Farms a farming operation that her brother Brent and her ran jointly for near 30 years after taking it over from my Grandfather when he decided to slow down a little.

Another of her long term hobbies was knitting and she knitted sweaters for everyone she knew, a couple even showed up at her service, and mittens by the thousands. One time I drove her down to Phoenix and she was in the passenger seat her fingers just flying and those needles just clicking away. By the time we finished that drive she had the entire footwell full of mittens. One of my memories as a little kid was holding skeins of yarn on outstretched arms while she rolled it into balls in preparation for another sweater, toque or more mittens. Later in life she started knitting small dolls that were sent off to far away places for kids, I know she had an award for knitting 5,000 of them and I am sure she made another couple of thousand before she retired her needles last year. Many of her friends from the complex were wearing those little dolls pinned to their jackets at her service yesterday.

Over the years she traveled extensively, both with family and her friends. She made it to every continent on the planet with the exception of Antarctica, guess growing up in East Central Alberta cured her of the need to head into the snow and ice.

She had a WELL LIVED LIFE

And that is all we can really ask for. RIP Mom and say hi to all those who went before when you get to the other side.

Tuesday, April 19, 2022

 Well here we are in the middle of April and the snow is coming down the road from Dogpound. We can use the moisture though, so I am a little hesitant to complain to loudly. I sure would rather it was a nice slow warm rain that lasted about 4 or 5 days though, the country is parched and we are likely to deal with a lot of forest fires to the west of us and drought on the crop lands to the east if we don't get some timely rains.

Since I last spent anytime on this blog we have not done a lot of real interesting things, I have gone back to swimming a few days a week, and put the batteries back in the RV a week or so ago, during one of our warm windy spells. So it is ready to roll once the weather cooperates. Not sure where to though, with the price of fuel, maybe we will be doing some moochdocking right here in our own yard. Not to much sacrifice though, it has a spot down in a shady spot with its own power, water, and fire pit, with an endless supply of firewood included in the price.

Mom is doing great, her hip has healed pretty well and she is getting around the house pretty well. I stop in there a few times a week and haul her groceries and make sure those kind of things are tended to.

A couple of weeks ago I ran down to Frank Lake a little south of Calgary to see Elsa, a pelican who in the Alberta birding community has become something of a legend, she has taken up permanent residence here in Canada. While the rest of her flock head for warmer climes in the winter she has found that the water at Frank Lake, because of some inflow from both the Cargill plant and the town of High River doesn't freeze over and there is an infestation of Prussian Carp, a sort of wild goldfish, that have invaded the water and supply her with nourishment, so she is sticking around and enjoying the Canadian winters, for two years now. Speculation is that, although she can fly short distances, she doesn't have the stamina to make it all the way south with the squadron of her flock mates.

Elsa - a "Canadian" White Pelican

As I said not much happening here so I will close this with a few pictures I have taken since the last blog.

Down the Road from Dogpound


Blue Jay hanging out with us this morning

Chickadee

Rough Legged Hawk from our DPN Rodent Control Air Division

Part of our Dogpound North Air Division who looks after some aerial surveillance and rodent control

Old Bins down by the creek


Friday, February 18, 2022

Is it Time?


A real Snowbird, actually a Snow Bunting

Maybe, February is racing by and that means it has been a couple of months since I last updated this blog. Not that we have done anything exciting and I hesitate to tell you about my daily activities as that can get pretty monotonous as they mostly consists of popping into the city every couple of days to visit Mom, and watching the sun come up, cross the sky, and drop off in the west. Makes for a nice pictures but not a lot of entertaining activities to share here. 

Mom is back home, has been for over a month now, and although she is not up to hiking around on the ice, she gets around just fine at her place and is settling back into her routine. She has a few follow-up appointments over the next few months so that will keep us fairly close to home.

This the third February that we have been enjoying the weather here down the road from Dogpound out of the last 4 so we are pretty used to the weather here now, again! Since the cold snap we had over Christmas with the -40ish lows we came into January and those chinook winds saved us from the deep freeze. For the most of January we had fairly warmish weather, not sunbelt warm, but not to bad for here, just around freezing in the nights and sometimes up in the double digits Celsius during the day. We survived, although as I am writing this we are heading for more seasonal temps (-20Cish) over the next week or so. That should knock down the mosquito population so those pesky little buggers won't be pestering us for a while yet.

I have been watching a few RV vlogs on Youtube so Hitch Itch as set in, but we won't be moving to far until after breakup here. We have winterized the rig and our lithium batteries are warmly ensconced in the basement so it will take us a day or two to get it road ready once the weather cooperates. That will happen sometime in late April or May in this part of the world.  I have hauled our rigs through the winter a few times and really have no need to practice that this late in the winter.

So far Brenda and I have navigated this pandemic without incident, whether from vaccines, good health, or just lucky, so we are hoping to continue with that trend.

I'll throw in a few pictures that will probably be repeats for my friends on Facebook though.








Wednesday, December 29, 2021

MAYBE JUST ONE MORE

 Post before the end of 2021. I haven't been a very frequent poster this year, but then maybe subconsciously I would just as soon forget most of it. 2021 was certainly different and came with its own set of challenges. On the positive side all of us here at Dogpound North are triplicated with our Pfizer shots. 

Mom took a spill about 6 or 7 weeks ago and broke her hip. She already had a titanium joint in there so they wired up the femur, put a new ball joint in and resurfaced the cup so she should be good for another 20 years on that side. It has meant she has been kind of restricted from putting any weight on it for the last 6 weeks, but just last week she was cleared to walk on it and is doing a whole lot better. It has meant that I have been in and out of one healthcare facility or another everyday for the last couple of months so it seems that my Pfizer experiment is holding up pretty well. That said the unit she was on for her first two weeks was a covid ward for most of the past year and it was pretty enlightening speaking with the nurses and health care aids about their last year. Those folks are angels and I can only imagine how traumatizing that experience was for them. 

This year being home for Christmas meant we spent Christmas Eve with the girls, Rebecca and Lacey and their families, the first time we have done that for about 10 years. Seeing as how half of their kids are younger than 10 it is probably OK to call it a lifetime since we last did Christmas with them. Brenda and the girls whipped up a turkey and all the trimmings and we had a great day.

Lacey

Becky

Alle

Ella

Everly


The whole gang


Over the Christmas season we have been enjoying some crisp weather, temps in the -30's, wind chills knocking on -40, but on the positive side it has been weeks since we have spotted a mosquito.

Merry Christmas




Thursday, December 16, 2021

Round-up

 Might be just a little overdue but life here at Dogpound North is pretty much steady as she goes. The fact that I am finding myself going back to review past blogs to remind us of what and where we were got me thinking I need to either keep my journal more up to date or at least throw some things on here once in a while. 

Covid kind of has our travel schedule a little restricted but that said we did manage to haul ourselves over south of Speedy Creek in Saskatchewan to spend a week at the Grasslands National Park. It is pretty much as it says just grass, but there are some interesting critters over there, both bison and prairie dogs. The bison are pretty cool but the prairie dogs look just like gophers who have spent to much time at the feed bunk. There are also sage grouse and some mule deer hanging about. The campground there is infested with Richardson Ground Squirrels (gophers) as well.

Plains Bison Bull


After our journey out into the flatlands we were back here at Dogpound North for July and other than some cool cloud formations it was business as usual.


Compliments of our neighbours to the west in British Columbia we had a pretty smoky summer but we managed to break loose of our ties here on the farm and head out into Banff National Park for a week or so camping in the Bow Valley. Other than that aforementioned smoke and a poorly timed fire ban that curtailed our morning campfires we enjoyed our time off the grid for a week or so in July. 




Along with the smoke here it has been a dry year and our hay crop is down about 50% and the dust is creeping into everything.

Harvest was done in September this year in much of the country, the low rainfall meant small crops and faster harvest times. It will also probably mean with all the crops beating winter into the bin the snow owl population this winter will be smaller and harder to find.

For the second winter in a row we decided back in summer that we would forego our southern migration, we have some family issues to deal with and the covid potential in our usual stomping grounds lead us to this decision. With that in mind I put the Solitude to bed in September, winterized it, pulled the batteries out and brought them into the basement. We will enjoy another winter here at home.







Friday, June 11, 2021

 Early camping trip with my folks


This is turning into a semi-annual blog it seems. We are still hanging out here at Dogpound North enjoying the spring weather we have been having. That said we did have a couple of days of +30C (+80 F) a week or so ago. Unseasonably hot, in fact not to many years ago that would have been hot in any season here, we don't typically get to many days in the mid 80's or higher here. 

On the Covid front we are in the process of getting vaccinated, I have had two shots and Brenda has had one, I expect she will get her second in the coming weeks. (update: Brenda is now booked for her second jab on the 15th of June). Most of our eligible kids and grandkids have also had at least the first jab. Alberta had a pretty high third wave but it seems as if the vaccines are knocking that down to manageable levels so the summer is looking positive. There has been a lot of discontent here in Alberta about the way the government has handled the pandemic response, some 35% of folks think we should have done nothing, it is all some kind of government hoax, interestingly enough about 35% of the population  think we should have locked everyone in their basements since February 2020, and the other 30% are split evenly between those who probably don't even know there is a pandemic going on and those of us who are glad we are not having to make these decisions. For my own part I think they done the best they could in a bad situation, some things could have been done better, but given the evolution of knowledge about the disease they have reacted well. Canada as a country has fared better than a lot, and Alberta our home province has done better than most, our restrictions have been less than others while our infection rates have been no worse for the most part. Alberta Health Services is doing a bang up job of vaccinating people, with about 68% having received their first dose and we are leading the nation on second doses with about 17% completely vaccinated.

We are planning on getting the rig out of mothballs and doing a little camping, in fact have a week or so booked over in southern Saskatchewan at the West Block of Grasslands National Park. We feel a little bit like the Grizzly Bears, who used to be plains animals but were pushed into the mountains by the crowds of settlers, now, like those bears we find our old haunts out in the Crown Land in Alberta's West Country are overrun with folks escaping the city and the restrictions therein so we decided it was time to head East to less populated environs.

Other than that we have not really been doing anything exciting. I do get out numerous times a week and exercise the shutter on my camera so there is that. I will stick a few of those shots here to fill up space.

Our models here work for peanuts

Mountain Bluebird




Plains Bison wondering "What are you looking at?"



Monday, March 15, 2021

 Brenda has commented that she is tired of that bird giving her the eagle eye everytime she comes on to read a blog or two so I thought I would do something about it.


Now St. Paddy may be just a little early but I don't think my ol' Irish grandmother will be to upset.

I haven't been inspired to write much here, as nothing much has changed on a day to day basis. It seems from all reports that the USA is going gangbusters getting folks vaccinated under this new administration, with the aid of folks in the past who have poured some cash into helping the pharmaceutical folks with pushing a new vaccine. The new mRNA vaccines, initially developed in response to the SARS virus, back in 2004, seem to have opened a world of possibilities when it comes to rapid vaccine development. So for those who think it took a year to develop, it is kind of like the band that is an overnight success, everyone forgets that they have been working the clubs and country fairs for 10-15 years before they made it into the big lights.

I spent a lot of time reading and reviewing things about these vaccines so have no issue with taking them. Afterall I have had great experience with both the polio and smallpox vaccines so will do my part to help the globe achieve herd immunity. I understand there are folks who for valid medical reasons can not take the jab, so it is up to those of us who can to give them the protection they need.

Enough of that though, over the last 7 months here at Dogpound North we have enjoyed our winter at home. It has actually been a pretty nice one, other than a week or ten days in February where we got to shake the moths out of our winter duds.

We are enjoying spring type weather here at the moment, but no fear, I am not putting the snow blower or my long johns away just yet. Here at DPN we still have another couple of months of good sledding weather to get through before the mud season begins in earnest.

I of course have done a little picturin' around the hood so I will throw a few of those photos up here to fill the space and hopefully will be inspired to be a little more regular with this tome.

Bald Eagle and a Raven 

Ringside seats for the Presidential Election

The smaller half of our Security Team here at DPN

Male Snowy Owl

Not every night is early to bed around here.

Mrs. Snowy

A wild stud in the West Country

Even the eagles are calm back home

Just an interesting play of light

Bull Moose hanging here at DPN

These guys will soon be gone back to their northern summer range