Happy Father’s Day!

I had decided not to post a blog on Sundays, just to give myself and my followers a break. But I felt I would be remiss in my duties if I didn’t take a quick moment to say “Happy Father’s Day” to all the dads out there.

I don’t care if you are a biological father or not, a step dad, a second dad, a granddad, a pet dad, or an uncle who is like a dad….If you’ve given guidance and been a good influence on someone’s life, stepped up to the plate, watched your offspring grow and mature, or taken yours and the neighbourhood kids for ice cream, this is your day. Enjoy!

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The Taming Of The Chipmunk.

Just when I thought I had my hands full, feeding all the local squirrels, now I have a new little friend to love. I’ve known for some time that a chipmunk has been living on our property. I’ve seen the many “residences” it has dug in my lawn, and on the gravel area where the green bin sits. I’ve even seen him (or her) running along the fence line, and across the road. And he pretty much ignored my little “chippy” noises I would make to try and attract him.

That is, until a few days ago. I just happened to be outside when Chippy was around, so I tossed a nut, which he devoured. I thought to myself that there was hope that he would eventually come closer and take them from me. Chipmunks are, after all, thought to be quite tame and friendly.

Sure enough, as I was out front yesterday, the little guy was snooping around under the juniper shrubs and in my flower beds. I tossed a nut, which he took away somewhere. But then he came back. I lured him in closer, and after only 3 attempts, had him coming onto my lap for his treat. I was so happy! I love squirrels, but i think I love chipmunks even more! I was always raised to respect animals, whether domestic or wild, and am certainly my mother’s daughter where it comes to my love for critters!

We had a little photo shoot, and I even managed to videotape him. Here’s the link to the video. Redbum’s Debut

Here in Ontario, we mostly have Eastern chipmunks, but there are actually five different species found in Canada. If you’re a chippy lover like me, check out this page: Canada’s chipmunks

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The Dumbest Things About Smartphones | Cracked.com

We all seem to have cell phones these days. They go almost everywhere with us, right? But even though Smartphone technology is improving year by year, they still have their problems. My biggest pet peeve is Autocorrect. So, when I found this article on Cracked.com, I knew it was perfect for my “Friday Funny”. #10 and #11 hit home with me.

These devices have many issues that have us wanting to throw them in a pond some days! How are there still so many problems with these things? Hope you enjoy this cell phone humour!

Source: Tell Us Now: The Dumbest Things About Smartphones | Cracked.com

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The Pet “Auntie”

I have always loved animals, and for most of my life, have had 4-legged furry family members padding around. But right now, I don’t have any. That’s why I was so delighted to meet a few new furry friends this past week!

The first of these was Koda. He owns my friend and colleague, Andie, who has put together our book project. He is a classic mixed breed love bug, with Border collie, lab and shepherd mixed in. I had heard so much about this big, goofy hairball, so I was glad that she brought him along when we met up for me to get my author copies of our book. Unfortunately, he was too busy teaching all the sticks within a 6 foot radius who was boss, for me to get a photo of him! Maybe next time. Did you know, that he has his own book published too? I met a celebrity dog.

Then on Monday, I was invited to a back yard get together, and was enthusiastically greeted by the lively Skookum. When she realized I would play with her and give her attention, she hardly left my side! Skookum, I learned, had been a rescue dog. But honestly, when it comes to rescuing pets from shelters, sometimes I wonder who really rescues who? Most of my pets throughout my life have been rescues.

Skookum. Photo copyright ThruJensLens Photography

When we ventured indoors to eat, I discovered that there were also two cats in the household. It’s a good thing there were only two, because I was petting them simultaneously! I tried giving them pets separately, but in classic feline fashion, one would get jealous. So, I ended up with a cat head in each hand, rubbing cheeks and scratching chins. Heavenly!

I was officially labelled Skookum’s new “Auntie Jen”. A badge of honour, in my opinion! And now I’m also one of Koda’s new aunties too! It’s amazing how animals change our lives in so many ways! They teach us lessons we didn’t know we needed to learn. They love unconditionally. And they certainly entertain us with their antics!

Our book compilation which is officially being launched next Monday, June 22nd, has a pet section many great animal stories in it. I hope you will join us on launch day to purchase your copy! And if you’re feeling lonely, why not visit an animal shelter. Who knows, you may just meet your new best friend!

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Book Launch Coming Soon!

I’m very excited to announce the launch of our compilation book, Choices for Change: Courageous Decisions That Changed Lives. Our official launch day is a week from today, June 22nd. It’s hard to believe that it came up so quickly – only 7 more sleeps!

I have written four pieces for the book, and this is my first published work! It has been quite a journey for all involved, and to see it coming to fruition is a wonderful feeling. I hope you will join me and the other authors on launch day to celebrate and receive your bonus gifts when you purchase the book.

Cover Image

We are all so grateful to everyone who has shared our journeys so far, and hope you enjoy reading our stories. For more information on what this wonderful book is about, please click here. stayed tuned for all the exciting details and updates coming soon!

Music On A Monday

I’ve mentioned before, how much I enjoy music. And my personal collection can best be described as “eclectic”. I enjoy many different genres, and love discovering new music or artists from around the world.

Image courtesy of Wikipedia

Last week, a post was circulating over social media. Music being played on Tesla coils. What?? I’m not a science geek, but I was intrigued. So I clicked on the link and read the article. The song being played was Toto’s “Africa”. Probably one of the most popular songs of its time, Africa has actually taken on a life of its own again in recent years. Many cover versions have been done, including my favourite acoustic version by Mike Masse (see it on Youtube). It has been played all night as a fundraiser in Malawi, a version has been done by “The Floppotron”, using 64 floppy disc drives, eight hard drives and a two scanners, and there’s more! But I’ll let you read the article to find out.

So, without any further ado, I give you on this bright Monday morning, Africa. And here is the link to just one of many internet articles about how this was accomplished. https://www.loudersound.com/news/witness-the-majesty-of-totos-classic-africa-played-on-a-pair-of-tesla-coils

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Houseplant Care 101: Spider Plants

Houseplants are lovely. They can brighten up and decorate a room, clean the air, and make a home feel well, more “homey”. But we either love them or hate them! Some people are amazing green thumbs! They could make anything grow, anywhere. But some of us seem to kill plants just by looking at them the wrong way! But is that really our fault?

Admittedly, I have much more success with garden plants than I do with houseplants. Perhaps because Mother Nature has more say in their care, and conditions are more desirable to the plants. I’m happy to say though, that some indoor plants are much easier to care for than others, and I do have good luck growing them. As a rule, anything that doesn’t flower or require a ton of light! If you’re like me, and looking for a houseplant that doesn’t have ridiculous requirements to thrive, and is actually hard to kill, spider plants are one such plant.

The botanical name for spider plants is Chlorophytum comosum. It’s a common plant to find, and loved because it’s basically considered foolproof! There are currently several different types of cultivars available. These plants are great for rooms in homes and offices where there may not be a lot of indirect light. Bedrooms and bathrooms are generally good places to keep a spider plant. They also look wonderful in a hanging baskets, which is where I kept one of mine for years in my apartment. It grew many arms with little baby spider plants growing on the ends, which I clipped and ended up giving to some of my neighbours.

Image courtesy of The Spruce

It was once thought that spider plants were poisonous to dogs and cats, but there has been new research on that subject. I still recommend keeping them out of pets’ ways though… Actually, in there native Africa, many of the locals eat spider plant as a leafy green veggie. I’m not sure I want to try them or not. Would you?

For more info on the care of spider plants, you can click on this helpful link: Spider plant care

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Batten Down The Hatches!

That’s my saying of choice whenever I know there’s a severe thunderstorm coming my way. And to be honest, when I was in my teens, I wanted to go to meteorology school, so I could become a storm chaser. Needless to say, that didn’t happen (but in my own mind, that’s what I am sometimes!).

A couple of nights ago, we had a doozy of a storm here in SW Ontario. After a stinking hot day, a huge squall line reached across much of the province, bringing extremely strong winds, heavy downpours, hail and even two confirmed tornadoes not far from here.

For most of the afternoon, we were being warned of the potential severity of the incoming squall line. And as suppertime came and went, the skies became darker and darker. But it wasn’t until after 7:30 that the big ominous supercell storm front passed overhead here in St Thomas. I had been sitting on my front porch because the temperatures had finally cooled down to a chilly 30 degrees (including humidex). It was still extremely windy, but at least it felt cool on my skin! So I grabbed my phone.

These are just a couple of quick pics I took. It got helluva dark soon after I took these! In fact, the street lights came on soon after these were shot. And then I could see lightning in the sky. Needless to say, I decided I would be better off indoors. I’m pretty sure the rain started before I had the door closed! And not just the soft, pre-storm rainfall either. It was a monsoon!

The storm as I mentioned, ended up producing two tornadoes, but luckily, no injuries were recorded. There was however, widespread tree damage from the winds, and power outages also. Here is a link to the video I shot from the safety of my enclosed front porch that night. It’s not great, but it does show how the rain was being blown by the strong winds. Storm video

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Weird Fact Wednesday

As the news about Covid-19 continues to slowly improve, and lock down restrictions are being eased off in stages, many of us are starting to sigh a breath of relief. But we still need to take care. We must not rush this, because there is a strong chance that if we are not vigilant, there will be a second wave of the virus. History has proven this, and more than once. Plaques, fluxes, cholera outbreaks…we’ve had many.

Today, I thought I’d share a story I found online about Bram Stoker, and how a cholera outbreak in his mother’s home town of Sligo, Ireland may have been the inspiration for his famous novel, Dracula.

Stoker’s mother, Charlotte Thornley, had been 14 when the outbreak hit Sligo in 1832. Later in life, Stoker asked her to write down her experiences and memories. He was fascinated by her grisly account of the event, and even did his own extensive research into it. The horrific events that took place during that time are what they say fuelled Stoker’s imagination and brought about his famous book.

But, I’m not going to give away all the details. For those who are interested in a “darker” read today, here is the story… Stoker’s inspiration for Dracula

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To Grieve A Squirrel

* Warning: Today’s blog may be a little graphic for some readers. Please continue at your own risk, and have tissues close at hand.

I love animals. Especially those with four legs and covered in fur. Cats, dogs, even small critters like guinea pigs and yes, the lowly little squirrels.

I love watching their cute antics. I enjoy feeding them peanuts and training them to trust me enough to take them from my hand. I name the ones I can identify by their markings. They become my urban wildlife pets. Especially lately, where one day seems to blur into another, I get a kick out of sitting in my enclosed front porch, having my morning coffee while the “tree rats”, as I sometimes affectionately call them, entertain me.

And I hurt when I see one killed on the roads. Even if it’s not in my neighborhood, I feel sad for the little critters who don’t make it across the street. And I cringe when I see my furry little friends bolt across my street with a nut from me in its mouth. I’ve been laughed at for yelling at them to “get off the road!”

Lately, some of the young squirrels have been coming by. We know they’re babies because there’s a couple of spots where we know squirrels have been nesting. The younger ones are smaller and shy compared to the “regulars”. And the older squirrels will bully them too, often chasing them onto and back across the street.

That’s exactly what happened last night (Monday) as I was sitting in my porch, feeding the fur kids, and puttering on my laptop. I had watched one of the grey squirrels chase the baby black one, who ran into the road. It then found something interesting to snack on, and sat there. A few seconds later, to my horror, a black pickup truck came tearing around the corner and ran right over my little friend, who didn’t have a chance to decide which direction to run. The truck didn’t even attempt to slow down, and kept up the same speed even after hitting him. I jumped out of my chair, yelling and cursing. I’m sure even the people in the noisy truck heard me. Redneck so-and-so’s! I was, and still am, livid!

But it was over. With misty eyes and shaking hands, I went outside and pulled the little critter up onto the sidewalk by his tail. I didn’t want him to get mangled even worse. I apologized and stroked his little head and back, even knowing he was already gone. (Eric then got rid of the body for me). Sitting here writing this, tears are once again streaming down my face.

Some of you reading this may think I’m soft, or stupid for grieving for a squirrel. There’s loads of them around. They’re just urban pests, right? Wrong. They are little souls, each and every one. This world is a cruel and harsh place. If we can’t love the creatures who share it with us, what does that say about humanity? Here we all are, trying to survive a global pandemic. It breaks my heart to think that we’re going to come out of it still with zero respect for Life. When are we going to learn to take better care of ourselves, each other, our planet and all of the creatures we share it with?? Just a little food for thought….

And to the person driving that black pickup truck, I have NO kind words for you. I hope you are haunted forever by all the critters you have run over. Including my Baby Blacky, may he RIP.

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