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.

Sunday, June 23, 2013


Sapsucker that is....
Some 10 years ago or so I grew a Mountain Ash from seed and it is now some18 or 20 foot high and about 2” in diameter at the base and is a feature of our back yard. We were upset to see a row of holes around the trunk recently just pouring sap down the trunk, yep, a Yellow Bellied Sapsucker has decided that this is his favorite feeding station! Now I don’t generally get excited about the birds doing their thing in our trees, the woodpeckers generally will not do much damage unless the tree is already badly infested with insects or grubs and even the Sapsucker generally leaves enough bark between his holes that the tree survives, we have 100 year old apple and pear trees with evidence of the little buggers having drilled his horizontal rows many many years ago in them and it obviously did those trees no lasting harm.

This Mountain Ash is however quite special to us, quite small yet and we do not want to loose it after having grown it from seed and it just in the last year or so started bearing those decorative orange fruit in the fall. We first tried hanging old CDs from the branches, as we stood there no 10ft back admiring the twinkling light issuing from the almost dozen CDs spinning in the sunlight we hear 'meeew meeew' and the persistent little fellow flew in for a drink of sap. So next protective move was to wrap the trunk in the area of attack with burlap sacking ..... meeew meeew “well I will just move higher on the tree”.

Now having wrapped the tree to a height of over 10' we hear him laughing at us on a daily basis as he not only finds unwrapped areas to feed upon but also pulls the sacking aside to get at the main trunk! We can but hope that nature makes allowances for such things and our Mountain Ash continues to enhance our yard for years to come.... after all it makes no sense for a bird to kill the very thing that feeds it, I just wish he would choose one of our larger apple or pears trees, or even any of the hundreds of pine, spruce or maple trees available to him as his favorite feeding station.

It seems that I am the sucker for thinking that I can dictate which trees he can or cannot use!

Monday, June 3, 2013

$9.99 Internet from Rogers!

“Rogers Communications is partnering with Microsoft Canada and Compugen computers to provide affordable internet service to some 58,000 low-income households in Toronto Community Housing buildings.” “ By August, the company hopes to be able to offer broadband internet access for $9.99 a month to all subsidized households in Toronto’s public housing portfolio. The internet service, with speeds of 3Mbps and usage allowance up to 30 GB, usually retails for between $40 and $45 a month, Bruce noted.”
That’s absolutely great for those low income residents of Toronto's public housing and Rogers deserves some credit for this BUT what about low income folks in other cities, not renting from the city or out in rural areas? I note that usage of 30GB usually retails for around $40, I wish! My internet from Rogers (via a wireless hub, the only internet available other than even more expensive satellite) is indeed around $40 a month but the usage allowance is just 10% of that quoted with a threshold of just 3GB before extra charges kick in.
If we assume, as I think we can, that they are not providing this service at less than cost then we can also see that the profit margin on regular subscribers is such that prices for those of us for whom such deals are not available should also see some reduction in our monthly charges. Don’t hold your breath waiting for that to happen though!
As a 'low income' senior in rural Ontario I continue to wonder when we here outside of the urban jungle will start to get some attention from those touting affordable internet for all Canadians.