Saturday, November 09, 2013

Give us your butts

I came across this site this week - Terracycle - you send them cigarette butts to the tune of at least three pounds in weight, and they give money to a charity of your choice. Interesting concept, and does encourage clean up of the dreaded cigarette butts on the streets and side walk  I find it a little disturbing somehow that a major tobacco producer is sponsoring the process, but maybe I am being a bit cynical. Maybe they should just ship product directly to Terracycle without involving the consumer.

I am still collecting litter in our neighbourhood each week. I keep quite close to home as there is enough garbage out there to easily fill a couple of bags. I wear gloves and use a picker upper bit like this one which can pick up a penny on the ground quite easily. In the past week I have found drug needles, socks, a pair of plastic gloves, old tshirt, condoms, plastic sandwich bags, besides the chocolate bar wrappers, and fast food containers. I frequently find the discarded plastic gloves in the gutter, I think the previous owners of said gloves were up to no good.

Sunday, August 11, 2013

I have been trying for many years to get hummingbirds to visit our garden. Friends of ours have hummingbirds year round, I have seen them come to the feeder at Christmas, with the snow around. It is an amazing sight, as they dart in an out, hovering in mid air. Not so in our neighbourhood, I think I have seen one in ten years. I am still persisting, changing the feeder solution and occasionally the position of the feeder. I'm also looking to plant some more hummingbird friendly flowers, like fuchias. We are in an urban setting, there are lots of traffic noises, and lots of predators, particularly crows, so I can understand why Mrs HumBird is put off. 

Sunday, January 23, 2011

Intruder alert

I'm going to have to rethink the bird table. It is attracting
unwelcome guests. Brother Rat has been spotted, late at night, having
a good old feed, and giving our house guest a scare as she returned
from an evening out. Rat droppings are there for all to see. I need to
get a feeder that won't allow the birds to spill the seeds on the
ground. Now the hanging suet feeder seems to work quite well. I think
I will stick with that until I work out a better rodent proof

Saturday, January 22, 2011

Puffball identified

I found the name of the minute grey puffball of a bird that I was
referring to yesterday. It is the bushtit - they often cover the suet
feeder in numbers of nine or more.
More info about this bird is in this link about common garden birds in
this region

Rice attraction

There was some rather ancient cooked rice in the rice cooker, so I put it out there. A little white mountain on the bird table. When I say bird table, its actually a big honking garden table covered by a green tarpaulin, so it is a large expanse for the feathered creatures to come in to feed and drink and generally make quite a mess. There is now an ongoing drama on this table outside our kitchen window.

Clubfoot crow and his mate Billy barged on to the feeder today. Clubfoot has a lame left foot. He can out his weight down on his foot but the claws just hang there, lifeless and are no use to him. I wonder how that accident happened - a car maybe? I imagine a crow hobblig along is very vunerable. Anyway he gets through and is able to perch and fly with little problem. The crows are very smart, though show little finesse, just ambling straight to the prize - the rice - and take their fill - and then they are off, probably to the next bird table. Makes me wonder what it is like looking down above all the houses from a bird's eye view. Until recently, I never put out any bird seed, now I guess our house is on the list of venures to check out for free food.

The usual routine is happening. Pushy sparrow has scooted the reticent juncos away and is bobbing up and down, eating the seed. A black capped chickadee comes and goes, seemingly unsure as to whether it is safe to eat here or not. I think how lucky I am to experience a slice of their lives - I am enjoying this moment.

Friday, January 21, 2011

Circle of Life

I've been feeding the birds in our back garden. Winter time is particularly tough for those winged creatures. After some research, the winner of the prize for most common visitor to the bird table is: (drum roll, please) - the Oregon junco - a dark hooded bird with white breast, brown wings and a distinctive white flash of colour in the tail that you see when it flies away. The junco comes each day, sometimes just appears just after I open the curtains in the morning. Of course, who the heck knows, it could have been chomping down on the seed from the feeder for hours. A more aggressive visitor is a streaked sparrow - I think it is a Vesper sparrow. It is slightly bigger than the junco with a brown and white streaked breast, quite a handsome bird. There is always enough food on the bird table, but this puppy always shoos away the junco and chases them from their perch in the nearby Japanese maple.

There are also some very small birds I have identified yet - the size of wrens but much longer tails, and they come to the garden in packs of a dozen at least, sometimes twenty or thirty, descending and picking up grubs or hanging on the suet feeder. Equally as suddenly they all take off, as if spooked by something. Strange thing is that they are tame as all get out, as I was walking past them yesterday and must have been two feet away. There they were perching on the clothes line chattering to me.

Yesterday there was a major scare for them, as I caught sight of a hawk in the garden, trying to catch one of them. That is an unusual sight, at least in the back garden. So I am putting out feed, attracting the birds and no doubt rodents, and that in turn is drawing their predators. Life is harsh, but it is vibrant. I love seeing their lively and engaging activity up close.

Sunday, August 10, 2008

On the litter route today, I found one brown glove and one green glove, one yellow condom and one pink one. A multi-coloured plethora of goods discarded by humanity. Oh and there were 25 beer bottle caps in the alley. We had a big East Indian wedding in the neighbourhood this week - and there was quite the gathering. The music was really loud, and it went on till all hours, but we really enjoyed the spectacle, with people coming from in from far and wide, dressed in wonderfully outfits to take part in proceedings.

Saturday, April 19, 2008

Maybe I shouldn't need a transit ticket at all?

Prior to a month ago, I've been asked for my transit ticket as proof of purchase maybe half a dozen times in five years. Over the past four weeks, I would say I have been asked for my ticket maybe ten times at least. There a blitz on fare dodging. Generally the checks occur as you are entering the transit zone, not as you are leaving. So on those occasions, you can't get onto transit unless you have a ticket, but if you are leaving the zone without a ticket, you are fine. In your dive to the exit, you can dance naked but you'd be sooner fine for public nudity than for being ticket less. I have no problems with these checks, its a minor inconvenience to retrieve the ticket and show it to the bored looking attendant. Of course as you search through your purse is certain that tired looking chad will be stuck between the Red Hot video card and the money off coupon for laxatives. But I wonder how effective these checks are. They seem like a waste of resources, given that the barn door is already wide open elsewhere in the jolly system.

I also travel on the buses. These days you can get on at the back of a lot of buses without showing your ticket. I've never been asked for proof of purchase once I've got on the bus via the back door. I wonder where is the incentive to buy a ticket? I'm thinking either make transit "free" for everyone (with corresponding increase in taxes to pay for it) or have a competent mechanism in place to enforce ticket purchase. A rider pay transit system does seem more equitable than one that is free, since on the face of it, people who never ride the blogtrain shouldn't have to pay for it. But then again couldn't you say that about a lot of public services? Some functions are for the greater good regardless of who uses them. I am in favour of paying taxes to improve health, education and transportation systems for all, not just me. I am sure economists have done the mathematics, maybe they've decided that the taxes required for a "free" transit system would be prohibitive. But maybe its time to reconsider it, divert money away from improving commuter roads, and aim to get more folks to ride public transit instead of spending more money as incentives for people to commute to work in gas guzzling vehicles. Maybe I'm out to lunch, but I am thinking that some day in the not too distant future, the household car will go the way of the dodo. Right now, our home has two, but if there were better transit options, I can see us going down to one car and then none. Yeah, I hear you screech, the proof will be in the pudding (where the hell did that phrase come from ? OK here). It will be a difficult luxury to give up, but I say bring it on.