Saturday, December 3, 2011


Complexity of dealing with Fossil Fuels. ( Somewhere in Alberta)

Wind makes Weather (Sylvan Lake Storm)

250MW Wind Turbines, Pincher Creek Alberta. They pay for themselves in seven years.

More Wind Turbines, Rocky Mountains in the Distance
There is a surplus of Wind, especially the hot air variety, wherever politicians are to be found airing their opinions. Why not harness some of that wasted power to make electricity? If electric cars can save the wasted heat from putting their brakes on to make more electricity, surely we can harness all that surplus hot air. Seriously though, wind turbines have been successfully making electricity for over twenty years now, and offer an economical i.e money-saving way of making electricity. This is particularly and eminently applicable to today's world, when money is in short supply, and fossil fuels are getting steadily more expensive. In Alberta the cost of electricity has gone up 88% in five years. It is painfully obvious that we shall be paying more for petrol, gasoline, and diesel, as we are the ones that will be paying for all these new oil pipelines which cost billions of dollars to build and maintain. So why not avoid all these expenses and make electricity the sustainable and cost-saving way using the sun's power directly? These politicians need some common sense. Make decisions that help all our pocket books. Everyone will be happy. The planet will save itself.

Friday, December 2, 2011

White or Black?

Snow on the Dogwood

Christmas Ornaments from Denmark

Snow on the Mountain Ash

Snow on Something
One has to choose. In Chess for example. White always starts first....
In Mary Queen of Scots' time, it was appropriate to choose a white dress whilst mourning the deaths of family. I think today maybe in Japan too.
 But elsewhere in the Western World black was the color of mourning until around the 1950's.
In general terms, in the past mostly , black was bad, evil, associated with witches casting wicked spells using black magic; the Black Death, Black Friday ( when riots take place, or the stock market falls), Blackshirts, Pirates' flags, Goth and Punk clothing, bad cow boys' hats, blackmail, depression, the black sheep in the family, and so on. Mystery is associated with things such as the Black Box.
However there are good connotations too. Black clothes are used to look smart, as when playing classical music in a concert hall, or attending official dinners; or to convey authority, for Hasidic Jews; Judges, Lawyers, Ministers of religion ( however, Bishops wear white for purity?) ; black belts are worn in Judo, Tae Kwon Do ( if you wear a white belt you are a novice as also in nuns' surplices) ; and  for English Football Referees' and policemen's uniforms.
In Fashion however, black dresses are said to be "stylish, sexy, elegant, and powerful". So you choose. Today, I chose white, for the photos all have snow on them from early December. Not now. Not here. But in 2008 in Armstrong!

Thursday, December 1, 2011

December Arrived!

Layers at Kaleden

Reflections, Skaha Lake
How did that happen? It only just turned November!
I went for a bike ride today to celebrate the absence of snow and ice, whilst Hanne went to teach more Spanish to her class. Don't forget to order your pantomime tickets, turn to the next page on your calendars, pay your income tax installment..... Today's photos are from a year ago near here....hence the snow and ice.

Wednesday, November 30, 2011


Walk by Skaha Lake
The Apple Eaters, OK Falls.

Johann, Vera, Mops, and Hanne
No need to stick your tongue out!
No, we aren't. Just out for a walk with our friends Vera and Johann. We prefer the old Greek way of Democracy. If you want to change things, go and get elected. However these days evidently protests work for some things and in some places, not others.  We shall see.....The world protests, the old guard move out. Maybe the protesters will learn from the Greeks after all and form their own political party?

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

The Oil Sands

Okanagan River Parkway Penticton

Some of the birds we have to keep out of the Tailing Ponds at Fort McMurray

Canada Geese

Female Hooded Mergansers
In Northern Alberta is a fairly new boom town called Fort McMurray which has arisen to serve the massive oil industry there. Huge deposits of tar mixed with sand were discovered a few years ago. This is the world's second largest reserve of oil after Saudi Arabia. The engineers have finally figured out efficient ways of separating out liquid oil from the sand. The tar isn't liquid. So by using pipelines they can transport the more liquid bitumen extracted from it to market. Unfortunately it is a long way away from markets and has to be refined first. So there are two proposed future pipeline routes, one through the USA to the Gulf of Mexico, and another West through Canada to Kitimat. Both routes are running into various environmental problems. These are huge projects, totalling about 12 billion dollars. Obviously, environmentalists are opposed because of carbon and heavy metal pollution caused by extraction and usage of oil, and spillage from ruptured pipelines, quite apart from oil tankers breaking up. Obviously also the oil industry is in favour of these projects because of all the jobs and money in the bank. The environmentalists are pretty well agreed that if we don't stop using oil and other fossil fuels it is game over for the world by about 2050, when the food supply will start to run out for its nine billion residents, as it will be too dry and hot to grow enough food, if climate change continues at the same rate. There is no point in having money in the bank if one can't buy enough food! Tomorrow's post will be definitely more cheerful, promise!

Monday, November 28, 2011

First of Advent

Michael at Vaseux Lake (Photo by Hanne) All photos taken yesterday...

Blackberry Leaves

Willow Leaves

Clay Cliffs opposite Vaseux Lake
The first candle was lit today, signifying hope for the World. It was cold (7 degrees Celsius) here with lots of heavy wind. We went for a walk in the woods at Vaseux Lake to keep out of it. Up to 150Km/hr in Calgary, blowing windows out of sky-scrapers, bricks out of walls, trees onto cars, halting rail transit, and closing roads. All the strength wind has comes from the sun apparently. More signs of climate change. Now we hear that UK is supporting Alberta's Tar Sands. Did you know only 3% of the tar has been mined so far? The good news for today: BC Lions won the Grey Cup over Winnipeg Blue Bombers. Yeah!

Sunday, November 27, 2011

The New World

"Greenhouse Effect!" (Can you see the Llama?)

Misty November Day

Out for a walk near Armstrong BC

Christmas Lights go on in Armstrong this week....
We seem to be living in a new world. A world of change on a massive scale. Although we don't notice if we look the other way, back into history, looking at old buildings and old ways of life. Nowadays though we have drought in East Africa, fires in Western and floods in Eastern Australia, colder winters in UK, and changes in governments right left and centre. The list goes on and on. Hope those Durban folk can help. Today here it is a balmy eight degrees Celsius, and the sky is blue. In London England Cherry trees are in blossom. What is going on? Hope they don't have a strike at Heathrow next week.....