I especially like the choice of seasons, summer or winter. Maybe she will make more.
We have snow here in Ontario. Might not have it in Toronto but I’m in Barrie. Lots of snow coming down here. Started a couple of hours ago and still going steady. I’m kind of liking it. I was missing the snow last week. Things look so grubby in early Spring. Yeah snow!
Isn’t this a pretty picture? I don’t know who created it. I found it on a blog about some barely related topic with no credit given to whoever made the illustration.
I’m writing a post about building and maintaining your own web directory on my Word Grrls blog. I started my own web directory, which I had been wanting to do for ages. Took me quite awhile to find software that I could get to work myself. I am still not 100% with it but it is up there and I have begun adding my sites to it.
I’ve been watching one of those animal shows today and they were talking about snakes. At one point they showed a hibernaculum of garter snakes leaving in the Spring. Made me think about how we could encourage garter snakes or at least help them to survive by having something like that in our garden. I’d also like to build a bat house to encourage more of them too. We used to get a lot when we lived in Alliston. They eat a ton of bugs and only come out for about an hour just as the sun is going down. All the rumours about them being dangerous are a bit overdone. They may have rabies true but that is the extent of the danger.
Meanwhile, back to the garter snakes. I found information about building a snake hibernaculum on the Toronto Zoo website. I don’t know if my Mom would be interested. Not that she is afraid of snakes at all but her garden space is mostly spoken for with all the plants she already has and those she is more than likely to find to add during the garden season.
Would you build a winter home for snakes? In Ontario we don’t have to worry much about poisonous snakes or any other kind of poisonous creature really. Rabies are a bigger worry.
How to Build a Hibernaculum
1. Select a well-drained site protected from cold winds, with good sun exposure (south-facing). Ensure that surface and ground water flows away from the site (i.e. build on upland areas). If not, drainage pipes below the frost line may be required to prevent flooding.
2. Your snake hibernaculum can be sized to fit the available space, but it must be deeper than the frost line (at least 2 meters deep). Snakes prefer an overwintering site that is close to the water table, but not flooded. Moist air ensures that snakes do not dehydrate over the dry winter months.
3. Place rubble in the bottom to create chambers for the snakes. Chambers created at different depths allow the snakes to move vertically and horizontally to select a preferred temperature/humidity microhabitat.
4. Concrete blocks or PVC drain pipes (with holes cut into the sides along the length of the pipe) can be used for entrances and passages to allow the snakes multi-level access. Snakes use these passage ways to move to the bottom of the pit and into the underground chambers. It is necessary to hand place the concrete blocks to ensure that a space or tunnel extends down into the bottom of the pit at each of the corners. Continue to fill the pit with larger rocks, old concrete blocks and slabs, maintaining as many openings and chambers as possible.
5. Cap with an insulating layer of smaller rock rubble. Be sure to leave the entrances open and keep the top clear of shrubs that may grow as the site matures.
6. Protect emerging snakes from predators by having cover objects such as logs, rock piles, brush and uncut grass nearby.
7. In the spring (mid April to late May), monitor your site to determine if wildlife are using the hibernaculum. Don’t get discouraged, it may take several years before snakes “discover” your hibernaculum.
Wild About Gardening has more information about building hibernaculums for toads and how to keep frogs in your pond as well.
was eliminated from Canadian Idol this week. I did not expect him to be gone. He was my choice to be the Canadian Idol this year. So I’m surprised and disappointed. Some of the articles about the voting have said Toronto does not vote for the contestants from Toronto. I’m from Toronto originally and maybe it is true. I don’t think much about where they are from when I vote. I just vote for those I like. I voted for , over and over. I really wish he was going to be on next week and the week after, right up to the end.
The Mookie Experience on MySpace.
Toronto’s own Mookie Morris rocks Idol judges
July 21, 2008
Mookie Morris, the easy-going baby in a brood of four, has always been called “the coolest Morris,” says his sister Deirdre.
Three weeks ago, Canadian Idol judge Zack Werner called the 18-year-old singer “the coolest guy in the history of the show.”
Quite a leap for a kid who started teaching himself to sing and play guitar four years ago, when a broken ankle put his elite AAA hockey season on hold.
Quite an inspiration for zillions of kids banging drums and plucking bass strings in basements all over the GTA.
Morris is one of the remaining nine Idol finalists, including fellow Torontonian Sebastian Pigott, who compete tonight to become one of the top eight.
“Yeah, it’s kind of a lot to take in,” Morris chuckled over the phone last week between rehearsals.
Nicknamed for former Blue Jay Mookie Wilson’s game-winning hit the evening he was born, the teenager (whose real name is Peter) honed his performing skills in garage bands and battle-of the-bands gigs around Toronto. “I must have been in about 10, I can’t even remember them all.”
After his ankle injury, he gradually eased out of hockey but diverted that same intensity to his music.
His first band was Gong Show, back in Grade 8. They got their start at a concert fundraiser set up by his brother in university. Deirdre Morris, 23, remembers Mookie rocking the house with his version of “Twist and Shout.” The college kids went crazy. A woman’s undergarment was flung on the stage.
Four years later, when he performed that classic at an Idol audition, judge Jake Gold said: “I really do believe you are a star.”
At Northern Secondary School, he was lead singer for Blind Sight, which attracted a loyal following to all-ages events at teen haunts like The Kathedral and Reilly’s. He finished his last school credits at City Academy in January and has been devoted to writing music, playing and “just trying to grow up” since then.
He’s registered for Concordia University in the fall, but says he’d rather end up following his musical dreams.
His mom, Julie Wang Morris, is still in shock. “These were kids who played in the garage!” she hollers over the phone. His dad plays piano and harmonica, she likes to sing and figures musical genes also came from her parents, who lived in a fishing village in Taiwan. Mookie, who she describes as “remarkably secure in himself,” is her only musical child.
She was one of those moms with a minivan who ferried guitars and amplifiers and wannabe rock stars all over the city on Friday and Saturday nights. She was also one of those parents who wasn’t too keen on the venues packed with pumped-up adolescents, questionable supervision, and lots of noise and body-slamming.
“I always worried,” she says. “But it was their only choice if they wanted to play.”
Guitarist Sean Fischer, 19, says Mookie is “a regular dude,” kind of shy. “And then once he starts to sing, he completely transforms.”
Over six-feet tall, dark-haired, brown-eyed and clad in punky blazers and Ts, his look inspired Idol judge Sass Jordan to once describe him as “Louis Armstrong meets Elvis Costello.”
“He has phenomenal presence and soul – you can hear it in his voice,” adds his bandmate, drummer Daniel Singer, 19. But audiences love him mostly because “he’s true to himself.”
That showed up in some of his unusual song choices for Canadian Idol.
Deirdre warned him against “Valerie” by British band The Zutons. Too obscure, she said.
He did it anyway. The judges loved it – it was what prompted Werner’s “coolest guy” compliment. And judge Farley Flex praised his understanding of “who you are, why you’re here and what you want to do.”
“Now I just keep quiet,” Dierdre says.
Last week was “a bit of a low point” though, as Mookie describes it. The response to his rendition of David Bowie’s little-known “The Man Who Sold the World” didn’t overwhelm. He and Pigott were both in the bottom three. The judges noted Toronto isn’t voting.
His mom and sister took matters into their own hands. They produced 300 “Vote Mookie” lawn signs, hung a giant banner over a Yonge St. overpass in their neighbourhood. They’ve organized another “Mookie Night in Canada” tonight at a pub to watch and vote.
Mookie meantime, is revelling in it all, but in his typical laid-back style.
Sure, he wants to win. But his ultimate goal: “just to be happy in life . . . I want to just be able to do music as a job, you know, go on tour, travel the world and record.”
“I have confidence in sunshine, I have confidence in me!” MacKenzie, 23, sang to reporters at the CBC studios after a live finale in which she landed the role of Maria von Trapp in a Toronto production of “The Sound of Music,” set to open Oct. 3.
I can think of a lot of things I’d rather be doing than going to work today. Here are just 13 in no particular order…
1. Being kidnapped for a romantic evening with someone I like even though he has awful bad breath and an oozing sore on his back.
2. Finding a winning lottery ticket even though it expired last week.
3. Shopping in my favourite bookstore, even after realizing I forgot my wallet at home and can’t buy anything.
4. Eating chocolate on chocolate cheesecake even if it means I will gain 20 pounds.
5. Backpacking through Europe even though I get chased by wild dogs halfway through the trip and never do get past Venice.
6. On a fancy, luxurious woodland retreat, all expenses paid… even though the blackflies try to eat me alive each time I step outside.
7. Being given a free year of Second Cup lattes even though I have to sit through several hours of a telemarketing time share scam first.
8. Getting up close to the wild cats in the zoo, really getting to pet them and feel all that fur… though at some point one of the cougars gets a bit too friendly and I almost lose an eye.
9. Finding a bag full of cash even though when I take it home to count (over $100,000!) there’s a deadly poisonous lizard at the bottom of the bag and I have to drag myself to the hospital for the anti venom or die in agony.
10. Riding a real, live dragon which I get to be friends with and travel around the world, free…. as long as I can hang on… it’s a really, really long way down.
11. Decorating a house of my own, my dream house and yard, even though it’s on right beside a really busy subway station in downtown Toronto where all kinds of litter blows into my precious yard.
12. Having my first book published and get a lot of great media attention but still flop mightily cause Oprah said she didn’t care for it all that much.
13. A free visit to the dentist, have all the work I need done free, for as long as I can sit in the chair while he drills into my head.
I think work is starting to sound better after that dentist thing… Hi Ho.. Hi Ho… It’s off to work I go….
Happy Thursday Thirteen!
Contents: Tim Hortons coffee card, HBC Rewards card, house keys on a kilt pin, coins and Toronto subway tokens and one Barrie bus transfer. A floaty pen for breast cancer. Half a pack of citrus Halls. My Chinese fortune. The ribbon from my card key to get into work. A pair of scissors. My hair and my lips, blurred.
I should be hustling out there to spend the next half hour freezing at the bus stop. It never seems to come when I think it should. Not like the bus in Toronto either where you can count on another one being there soon if you miss the first one.
I was thinking at work last night that it is costing me almost $20 each day just to get to and from work. There are no buses to catch when I get out of work so I am catching taxis. Pretty expensive hobby this job has become. Gas for a car would cost less. I wish my brother could just pick a car and let me get started on driving to work again. He is the one buying it for me so I can pay him back for the loan. Might only take a few months as he seems to be looking at really cheapie cars. I hope not too cheap. Can’t tell with him though. He is caught between wanting to find something good for driving and wanting to find something light on the cost.
Anyway, can’t put off the bus for long. I’ve begun wearing two coats to work too. The bus waiting is cold but it is also cold all night at work. I’m getting sick from always being cold. I stopped turning the heat down here at the house just so I could be warm for some part of the day.