A longtime rural resident, I use my 60 plus years of life learning to opinionate here and elsewhere on the “interweb” on everything from politics to environmental issues. A believer in reasonable discourse rather than unhelpful attacks I try to give positive input to the blogesphere, so feel free to comment upon rural issues or anything else posted here. But don’t be surprised if you comments get zapped if you are not polite in your replys.

Thursday, June 23, 2016

Baby Birdies

This week has been a productive time for our bird population around the house as their youngsters are all emerging from their nests and the parents are busy encouraging then to do so.
Naturally the Robins have built their usual over abundance of nests and we can confirm they have actually used at least one of then and raised a bunch of little ones. It seems that mother Robins are most particular as to where they lay their eggs and Mr Robin is forced to build a number of the foe inspection, unusually this year he did NOT build exactly where I had planned to do some work ..... perhaps because I planned none!


But this week its been the less obvious nest builder that we are seeing with their younsters, the Hairy Woodpecker was hard to miss as he sat inthe window feeder morning after morning calling to his youngster in a nearby tree “Look here, food, food, come and get it”. Eventually after several days of this the fledgling did overcome his shyness and came to the feeder ..... when that Red Bellied Woodpecker featured in a previous post was not hogging the seed. He (RB) is most vocal in giving me hell if the feeder is out of seed in the morning!


We have seen a pair of Phobes on the hydro lines that pass by the kitchen window for some time and they appeared to be flying towards the house on a regular basis but we could not figure out to where. The other day I looked up to see a long tail sticking out from above the brace for our satellite dish and upon further investigation saw this:-


Dad was perched close by.......


Then today whilst sitting out at our BBQ and seeing lots of fluttering in a nearby spruce spotted a family of White Breasted Nuthatches with at least two youngsters. Mom and dad are regulars at our feeders but the little ones have not been there yet that we have seen but a little Rose Breasted Grosbeak was in there yesterday...... guess I had better fill them before Mr RB gets pissed off again!


PS, I dont get a whole lot of visitors here at The Rural Canadian, lets face it , its as much for my pleasure in writing as your pleasure in reading, but if you do visit and enjoy my scribblings feel free to drop a note in the comments section to let me know. Its nice to know somebody’s reading my ramblings!

Saturday, June 18, 2016

Chatsworth Council News

It appears that long standing CAO Will Moore is no longer with Chatsworth Council, although as far as I can tell no “official” announcement has been made there are a number of changes in staffing shown on the 'Contacts' page.
The administration staff is now given as:-
Acting CAO/Clerk - Norm Gamble
Deputy Clerk - Grace Nayler
Treasurer - Valerie Manning
Admin Assistant Finance - Teresa Buys
Admin Assistant Clerk & Finance - Heather Stirling


In other news it seems that after a couple of citizens expressed concern regarding a change in document retention on the website policies (see June 5th item) council is now reviewing its entire method of document filing, retention and access. Reading between the lines of the new Deputy Clerk's report its long overdue


https://www.scribd.com/doc/315508753/DCL-01-16




(click to enlarge)
Staff then recommend that


“Council approve the purchase of TOMRMS (The Ontario Municipal Records Management System) for Record Retention and Management and that a new Records Management and Retention By-law be enacted as soon as it can be prepared.”


It is not specified anywhere (that I have found) what the policy regarding the website is, except that it should follow the general retention policy.


Whilst I have no major beefs with Chatsworth Council I do believe that they can do a better job of keeping the public informed both through the use of local media (radio & print) and online on their website and elsewhere. The change in staffing in the top administrative hierarchy one would think would merit such a announcement.


It has also been suggested to council that there are methods to make it much easier to keep up with items that are (often belatedly) posted to the website. Both RSS feeds and Subscribe to posts should be available so that interested citizens do not have to visit and troll the site to lean of new activities, reports or other content. I remain optimistic the the new CAO and his assistant will recommend and institute such modest but important changes soon.

Thursday, June 9, 2016

Todays Birds

Our migratory birds continue to arrive and this morning we heard the Baltimore Oriole singing away for the first time this year and eventually spotted him perched high on the very tip of one of our pine trees.


Other recent arrivals include the Great Crested Flycatcher and the Phoebe, we have yet to see any of the usual sparrows and warblers that pass through on their way north. I think I heard the Oven Bird and the Red Eyed Virio as well as the Yellow Bellied Sapsucker who does a number on our some of our trees each spring the other day, there is lots of sap in the pine trees but he seem tp prefer our decorative garden Mountain ash!

Its really starting to look like summer despite the 3C low temperature last night, enjoy yours.

Wednesday, June 1, 2016

May Flowers in June

No, no, not climate change, at least this time! As our spring forest flowers see the tree canopy fill in and shade them from the sunlight and gradually fade from view it was nice to come across this carpet of Canada Mayflowers just off one of our trails.



Whilst the Trilliums, Trout Lilly, Bellwort and other early arrivals all seemed to show their faces at the usual time of late April / early May the did not seem to last long, perhaps because of the unusually warm and dry May here in the Klondike Hills. The Canada violets as well as the Blue Spurred and Dog Toothed violets which normally show a little later were rather sparse this year, a good rain may yet bring a few more out.


We just planted some of the Oak saplings purchased from our local conservation authority last spring and potted on to give them a better chance of survival and I can tell you that in the pine clearings the soil is dry down to the depth of the shovel and the ground cover of pine needles and cone is crisp underfoot. A little rain is promised tomorrow and I hope it shows up as the next chance seems to be next week where the is “a chance of rain” for much of the week. Such promised do not always show up, weather forecasting is far from an exact science eh!

Thursday, May 19, 2016

More Spring Arrivals

Recent arrivals include Rose Crested Grosbeak, Phoebe, White Crowned Sparrow, Song Sparrow, House Wren and Humming Bird. It looks like spring is here to stay now and the hard frosts seen this past week will not be repeated.

Spring arrivals at my daughters place a little further south include this little one who needed a little TLC and seems to have made itself right at home!


Wednesday, April 6, 2016

In the feeder this morning........

Cardinal, Hairy Woodpecker, Female Purple Finch, Tree Sparrow, White Breasted Nuthatch, Red Breasted Nuthatch, Downy Woodpecker, several Juncos, up to 6 Goldfinch and a never ending supply of Chickadees......





Female Purple finch, Tree Sparrow and Goldfinches vie for a place in our window feeder 
Yes, window needs cleaning!

UPDATE
We were pleased to see our Red Bellied Woodpecker return  on Thursday, we are on the northern edge of his range which is gradually expanding and we think he raised a young one here last year'



video


Tuesday, April 5, 2016

Teaching the Teachers

It appears that Elementary School Teachers in Ontario, who have graduated High School and gone on to further education and obtained their Teaching Certificate, need further education in order to teach BASIC math to elementary age kids. It also seems that schools need to be forced to teach this basic skill with any consistency with many schools spending less that an hour covering math skills.


Concerned about a troubling slip in elementary math scores, the Ontario government will require all students from Grades 1 to 8 to have at least 60 minutes of math instruction a day starting in September.
In a $60 million “renewed math strategy” unveiled Monday by Education Minister Liz Sandals, Ontario also will require each school to have at least one “math lead teacher” — in larger schools,

Are we saying that a teacher who has their certificate does NOT have the skills and knowledge necessary to teach basic math and we need more 'specialist' teachers? That we need to give said teachers up to five additional days of math professional development a year at a cost of $60 million in order that they can do so?


Some teachers questioned which subjects they will have to cut to find 60 minutes for math, but many already spend that much time on math, suggested Poleen Grewal, superintendent of curriculum and instruction for the Peel District School Board, which is in the second year of a big push on math improvement. You’d actually have to spend that much time if you’re engaging in problem-solving; a lot of schools actually spend two 40- to 50-minute periods on math, so I don’t think 60 minutes is a stretch.”

The president of the Elementary Teachers’ Federation of Ontario questioned the ongoing focus on literacy and numeracy......... whilst other subjects are no doubt also important perhaps he can explain how you can write reports or indeed understand other subjects like science or geography without these basic skills.

Let us ensure that our kids AND the teachers have a good grasp of the basic skills of Math and English before proceeding to other areas of interest.