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.

Tuesday, May 18, 2021

Booking Covid shot....

My son in his 30s has just attempted to book a covid shot in an area clinic... without success! The Ontario system permits individuals to book up to two weeks in advance however NO bookings are available in this area over that period and it is not possible to book beyond that time. The frustrating part of the process is that the ONLY way to determine that is to try and book for each individual day in that period, thats16 tries to book with a rejection and no further options avalable!

I think we all understand that the demand for shots is high, particuarly when a new criteria opens up giving the 30 year olds (who are MUCH more probably out in the work force) an opportunity to get vaccinated but what is wrong with this picture? Cannot the 'system' simply say 'no bookings are avalable in the next two weeks' or even better ' please enter you phone number or email and we will call as an opening becomes avalabe'.... too much-to ask?

As a senior who is eligible to get a shot I have not bothered, not only is it hard for us home bound old fellows to get to a suitable clinic (particularity at a per-determined time) but what is the point if my younger offspring are not (until this week) able to be protected. Sp the old man is protected but his kids in the house are not, not a good picture!

I think we all realize that this whole thing is a difficult situation but I find it very difficult to see that it has been handled in a logical and efficient way ….. just ask the remaining seniors in various nursing hone across Ontario!

Enough said!

Monday, March 15, 2021

Pissed off Senior....

OK, so now after a good proportion of the U.S. rich and powerful are getting vaccinated we up here in Canaduh are finaly getting a small portion of the shots available (I note here that its not our Gov fault re supply, could be worse ya could live in an African country!) but they are being directed to 80+ year olds. Whats with that? I understand the attention given to the nursing homes due to their terrible lack of attention to spread of infection but the old folks isolated at home are at minimal risk ….unless they leave home to go ino town to get the friggin shot, accompanied by their younger care giver who is NOT able to get said protection! That the folks who have spent months keeping our food on the shelves and other similar 'essential' services running are not at the top of these lists REALLY pisses me off!

Less you think this is a young fellow having a rant be it known that I am past 75, my best buddy is past 80 and has just been offered a shot, for which he must ask his 'caregiver' to take him to nearest clinic and mix with possible infected individuals (not local so far as I can tell). What is wrong with this picture?

For the record, if offered a shot (which I suspect will be at the nearest 'bulk location' I will pass at this point. If and when it is available at my local 'clinic' by my regular NP AND my adult working son is also included in the mix I will consider it.


It now seems that there are so many Ontarian's over 80 (or more probably their 'caregivers' who cannot themselves get a shot) trying to register on line that the system crashed. But dont worry you can always use the telephone line and wait for several hours waiting online for an answer. Only surprise to me was that there were that many fellow seniors over 80 not yet pushing up daisys!

Rant OFF, but mind not changed!


Wednesday, July 8, 2020

News release.....

Grey Bruce Medical Officer of Health, Doctor Ian Arra is giving notice of intent to Order the mandatory wearing of face coverings in enclosed public places. The Order will be issued and coming into effect within the next 10 days as per consultation with stakeholders.

Population of Grey Bruce 160,000 plus
Total reported cases 114
Total active cases 2
Number of deaths 0

Number of identified cases in our area since the start of this pandemic as a percentage of population .07% or roughly 1 in every 1400 persons.

Whilst there is little doubt that the less restrictive travel criteria and the desire of many folks from more populous areas where there is a higher incidence of COVID to visit our area will see an slightly greater risk here this would seem to be la bit of an overkill.

That there has been no such order here or in most other places prior to this when there were many more active cases makes this order even more bizarre. Those folk that are in high risk situations can, and should, continue to take suitable precautions and I thank those that are doing so such as store clerks, food servers and of course our medical workers.

There is also little doubt that a proper mask worn and handled correctly will reduce the wearers chance of spreading any potential infection to others, the protection afforded to the wearer from general airborne contaminants is debatable. This is particularly true given that very few folks will indeed wear, handle, store and sanitize or dispose of their mask in the recommended manner and wash their hands after each use!.

If its so damned important why wait 10 day to implement this order?

Enough said!

Thursday, May 21, 2020

Pain in the .....Nose?

Do vets care more about their pocket book than the heath and comfort of their patents? I always thought of Vets as caring folks who had turned their love of animals into a way to make a living, after a recent experience I am thinking that the latter item takes precedence. My doggie companion recently learned not to mess with a porcupine the hard way and returned from a woodland walk with a group of us viewing the spring flowers with a snout full of quills. Ouch!

There being more than just one or two we decided that it would be best to call a vet and take her in to get sedated to remove them, no big deal, whilst not one to take my buddy into the vet unless there is a pressing reason I thought this was one such occasion. Called up a vet we had dealt with some years ago to put down our previous long time companion who's time had come and was in pain, explained Nikki had quills that needed removing, first question “have you dealt with us before” Yes, can I bring her over to get looked at. “Sorry we are fully booked and cant help you”. Guess a dog with porky quills in her muzzle is not an 'emergency' much more important to keep those regular customers little poodles looking pretty I guess!

Ok, there's more than one vet listed, that they are all a good half hour drive from us so best call first to see if they are open, two more calls two more responses much the same the first question being whether we had been there before (what bearing does that have on looking after the dog) that last of whom kindly informed me that they could 'probably' fit us in tomorrow and the MINIMUM charge would be $500 to $700 or quite possibly more ….SAY WHAT!

Now I love my dog who is the 5th of a long line of friends 'rescued' from one bad situation or another but also try not to spend more than my old age supplement brings in and that kind of money to briefly sedate a dog and pull a few quills seemed to me to be excessive. No doubt they would want to give her a full check over and find some other excuses to up the income but even so it would have been a distinct possibility IF they could actually deal with it TODAY.

So here we are at home having managed to remove those in close proximity to her mouth with a little help from a couple of our visitors. She NOT a happy camper after that so we will let her rest for a bit and have another go later but my companion who normally barely leaves my side is keeping her distance now. Sorry Nikki but you are going to be even less fond of me before we are done with this trauma. Hope you learned the lesson about Porkies the first time around!

(I note that I never spoke to the actual 'Vet' so far as I know but who  ever answers the phone at those establishments!)

Sunday, March 29, 2020

Rural Isolation a Challenge or Opportunity

With all of us asked to stay at home unless we absolutly HAVE to go out into the larger community internet access has become even more of a nessity rather than just a desired 'service'. I am sure many city folks will be saying 'duh, so what, just get hooked up' but for both those with low income and many rural folks its not that easy. One way such folks could work around such limitations was by going to their local library as the following clip from this TVO article outlines.

Research the Kitchener library conducted in 2018 shows that one quarter of its community didn’t have access to home internet, Bach says. A 2017 Toronto Public Library survey found that, of 1,561 respondents at eight different public libraries in Ontario, 56 per cent used technology at the library and 46 per cent accessed the internet there. Sixty-three per cent of respondents who identified as low income were “more likely to find that library services gave them access to technology that they would not otherwise have had access to”; further, 68 per cent of respondents aged 55 and older said the library was their sole source of access to technology.”

Now whilst its great that the library's offer this service it does not help much in the current 'lock down' circumstances or to those far distant from such a facility, unlike those who think it is universally available and affordable the reality is that it is not. I cannot speak to those in more remote areas where it may be even more of a challenge but here in rural SW Ontario not that far from several good size towns and less that a half hours drive from a small city access can be hard to get for some of us. We generally don't have cable service out here so thats off the table all other services except for cell, which is not only very spotty but very ricy for any large volumes of data, is a line of sight connection of some kind. Trees, buildings, hills in the way of the nearest transmitter and you are out of luck, in my own case a 70 tower at several thousand dollars finally got me a decent hook up, plus of course the monthy fee that we all pay which runs away with several hundreds of dollars a year for a very modest 4 Mbs connection.

As a retired old fellow who relies heavily on the internet for both information and connecting with the outside world, as with this blog, as well as web connected email to friends and family world wide. I simply cannot imagine what folks who do not have this ability available as they 'shelter in place' are going through. So if you know someone who, like many of us, are reduced to avoiding contact outside of family at home but has no internet availability pick up the phone and chat with them once in a while, particularly if they live alone, are older and less resilient or are normally very outgoing.

As others have said let us look at this not so much as a challenge but as an encouragement to reconnect. Stay safe folks.

Monday, September 16, 2019

Where Have All The Birds Gone?

The Bruce Peninsula Bird Observatory reports that......

It has been a disappointing, slow-paced week for us at Cabot Head, straining our eyes and ears to detect the sparse birds, with very little success.” Their banding totals being but about a third of their normal volume, my own less definitive observations have be even more startling. They say that “It is not a deficiency in our senses, then, missing secretive and quiet birds, but a mere absence, objectively reflected in very few birds captured in the nets.”

Here somewhat south of the peninsular in the Chatsworth area my normal steady influx of various birds to our forested hideaway and window feeders the absence of birds is both remarkable and concerning. We all know that in certain weather conditions our visitors will go hide for a bit until things are more to their liking and there are seasonal changes to those we see at various times of the year but in 20 years of enjoying our daily visitors at this location I do not recall it ever being so devoid of our feather friends for so long. What is going on, is it climate change, local conditions, migration pattern changes or what?

Up until around a month or two ago the daily visitors to our feeder included a multitude of Downy & Hairy Woodpeckers (at least 6 or 8 individuals) many Chickadees (estimated more than 10) and several Grosbeaks and Cardinals with a selection of finches dropping by a little less often but seen quite often. The mixed bush that crowds the house nearly always had birds fluttering around making their presence know even if not seen when hiding in the leaves, the activity rarely diminished from early dawn to fading dusk.

Now all I see is ONE Downy and ONE Hairy woodpecker and possibly a couple of Chickadees, even the Doves that always sat in the apple tree occasionally coming to sit on the top of the feeder to see what all the fuss was about have disappeared. The one female Grosbeak who always attacked her reflection in the window glass and the car mirror seems to have found another attraction and left that 'other bird' in peace.

As I said before the difference from 'normal' is very obvious and rather concerning, I miss our feathered friends, they are so much more entertaining to watch than that bloody TV which seems to be the very poor alternative!

I hope they return soon........

 New data..... 
Not directly related to the local 'temporary?' loss of visitors but....
Over the past half-century, North America has lost more than a quarter of its entire bird population, or around 3 billion birds. "We saw this tremendous net loss across the entire bird community," it's a 30% loss in the total number of breeding birds." The results show that more than 90% of the loss can be attributed to just a dozen bird families, including sparrows, warblers, blackbirds and finches. https://www.npr.org/2019/09/19/762090471/north-america-has-lost-3-billion-birds-scientists-say

Friday, May 24, 2019

Cell Phone Hell

I am a senior, I have in fact been a senior for a number of years now, I am hardly ignorant of 'modern' technology having had a computer on my desk continually for some 45 or so years since the early days of the Commodore 64. I will admit to being slow to now embrace new gadgets and applications still having a 10 year old win 7 on said desk having made the big step up from win 95 / 98, thats not only slow by modern standards but going backwards but I do not for the most part need or want MORE bells n whistles that I will never use.

All that said our old simple cell phone was recently declared 'obsolete' and a new one was required to keep in touch so we duly went to the Bell store and got an 'upgrade' to about the most basic cell phone available. The Mrs being somewhat younger than I, and probably somewhat smarter as I work towards my dotage, quickly mastered most of those new bells n whistles and in fact has become quite proficient at the poke, swipe and navigate around the multiple choices even doing the internet thing on it (with data via bell turned OFF – don't need that big bill thank you). I however despite my mant years of computer use am still a poke at the keys kind of a fellow, it was a bit step when I learned to use a mouse and as for track balls and that wander finger thing I just aint there yet … and probably never will be.

To get to the point of this ramble through my slow learning curve, I recently decided that I needed a personal cell to keep in touch with the Mrs and the kids when away from the house, be it making one of my rare trips to town or working back in the 50 acres of bush that needs maintaining if we are to find our walking trails as the spring growth takes over. So into town to the Bell store “ I meed a simple phone, just basic phone and possibly text and NO finger scrolling screen” yep they did have one …. just ONE small flip phone which upon checking had very bad reviews on the 'net' (oh yes I do use that 'new' technology lol) and further checking with multiple other retailers only revealed about one or two other choices, mostly 'only available to be ordered unseen online'. Thats the other thing that got my hackles up at the start of this journey through cell hell, that Bell store that HAD a phone to show me could NOT show me it actually turned on so that I could see if the screen was readable by these old eyes in order to select who was calling or otherwise navigate the choices available, could not hear the sound quality that the old ears needed to have an intelligent conversation or generally 'test' drive the thing. Sorry looking at a phone the the sales persons hand dont tell me fk all, when was the last time you bought a car by walking around the outside and peering in the closed window?

And that my friends leaves me still searching and less than optimistic in finding a suitable lifeline, I did find a listing of one phone that looked promising but as always not available in store and certainly not in an operating state. Anyone using a Doro 824, any thoughts?