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More thoughts on weather and climate

Saturday, January 16th, 2010

In recent days much of North America had a cold snap, reaching temperatures well below the long-term average.  Oranges were freezing in Florida orchards.  The cold wasn’t restricted to North America, with Southern England having snowstorms that brought traffic to a stand-still and kept half the work force home.

Many saw the cold weather as positive proof that human-caused global warming is a hoax.

Today the temperature here in Prince Albert, Saskatchewan is +2 degrees Celsius.  That is about 15 degrees higher than the long-term “normal” high.  Meanwhile on Canada’s left coast, organizers of the Winter Olympics are worried as some of the downhill venues continue to lose their snow due to rain and warm temperatures.

Some see this warm weather as positive proof that human-caused global warming is real.

Meanwhile, as I’ve stated before, I believe that weather happens and climate happens, and although they are related, they are not the same thing.  Both sides of the climate change lose credibility in my eyes when they use a specific weather event as proof for or against climate change.

I came across a recent opinion piece from Ireland that I think makes some good points on weather and climate, common sense and science.  Read the article “Cold ’snap’ does not undo climate trends” by John Gibbons here.

There is hope

Wednesday, January 14th, 2009


(source: Environment Canada)

Hello in there

Saturday, March 1st, 2008

Linea has been posting about her Auntie Florence’s latest health problem. She makes the statement, “I wonder who will be caring for me in another thirty years. I hope they look at me with love.

It made me think of John Prine’s “Hello in There”, a song about ageing and loneliness …

Me and Loretta, we don’t talk much more,
She sits and stares through the back door screen.
And all the news just repeats itself
Like some forgotten dream that we’ve both seen.
Someday I’ll go and call up Rudy,
We worked together at the factory.
But what could I say if asks “What’s new?”
“Nothing, what’s with you? Nothing much to do.”

Ya’ know that old trees just grow stronger,
And old rivers grow wilder ev’ry day.
Old people just grow lonesome
Waiting for someone to say, “Hello in there, hello.”


The Dargo

Thursday, December 13th, 2007

Sometime in the mid-1970s my mechanical brother Marv decided to turn his 1963 Dodge car into a truck. When Marv decides to do something, he follows through. I don’t think he had an acetylene torch back then – he must have worn out quite a few hacksaw blades.

The finished product was, in my opinion, very cool (in a backwoodsy way).

The Dargo getting unstuck - 1979

Unfortunately it didn’t have four wheel drive so it wasn’t the most practical truck for the Shell Lake roads.

Auntie Florence (AKA Saint Florence)

Sunday, August 19th, 2007

Florence really isn’t my aunt, but our family, and many of the other people at Gateway Covenant Church, know her as Auntie Florence. In the 19 years that I’ve known her, I truly can’t recall her ever saying a negative word about anyone. She taught Sunday School to all four of our children, but that was just a small window of the time she taught the toddler class. At least one family at our church had three generations loved by Auntie Florence in that Sunday School class. A number of years ago I served with Florence on a church board, during a time when the church was dealing with some conflict issues, and she was always ready to point out something positive about the people involved. She never stops loving. In recent years, despite physical setbacks and memory loss that have forced her to give up her apartment and car, she has maintained her smile and humble gratefulness for any small favour.

In the stream of Christianity that I’m part of, we don’t have an official process of recognizing saints, since we generally understand the scriptures as saying that all all believers are numbered among the saints (some of us being less saintly than others), but if we did, I would nominate Saint Florence.

Auntie Florence

Riders game blackout lifted

Saturday, August 18th, 2007

There are people living in Prince Albert who buy season tickets and attend every home game of the Saskatchewan Roughriders. However most fans in P.A. consider the 4-hour drive to Regina and another 4 hours back, and settle instead for listening to Rider home games on the radio while grumbling about the blackout policy. According to a statement on the Edmonton Eskimos website:

The standard CFL blackout policy is as follows:
The blackout pattern for CFL games is 56 km radius from the stadium for cable television and 120 kms for conventional (CBC). There is one exception to this rule. The Province of Saskatchewan is subject to full provincial blackouts.

I guess I understand the exception for Saskatchewan, after all they aren’t the Regina Roughriders. However it is an annoyance for those of us living almost 400 km away.

Actually attending a game in person is a rare treat for me, the last time being in 2005 when some men from Gateway Covenant Church had a road trip.

With the B.C. Lions game last night ending in a tie, the Riders could pull into 1st place with a win against the Eskimos tonight. I was all set to watch the game online on, putting up with the poor video quality, so (finally getting to the point of this post) I was happy to read that the game has sold out, and the blackout has been lifted. Since CBC is televising this game, guess where I’ll be at 8:00 tonight.

UPDATE: Well what a roller-coaster that was.  The Riders now have sole possession of 1st  place in the CFL.

Wasn’t it a near-collision?

Friday, August 17th, 2007

This news story uses the term “near-miss” to refer to an incident at the Los Angeles Airport. Apparently WestJet flight 900 from Calgary almost collided with a Northwest Airbus.

Maybe this is quibbling, but if the planes nearly collided, shouldn’t it be called a near-collision? Likewise shouldn’t a “near-miss” refer to a collision that nearly missed?

Winemaking for fun … and profit?

Thursday, August 16th, 2007

I made my first batch of homemade wine while living in Edmonton in 1986, when my former U of A forestry classmate and then workmate Don Edwards mentored me in the art and science of oenology (OK, that term is pretentious, so call me a winemaker, not an oenologist). Our Chokecherry 1986 wine was quite nice, enough to encourage me to stay with the hobby. Since then I have made various fruit wines, kit wines (from the cheap 4-week concentrates to the premium mostly-juice kits), and wine from pure fresh refrigerated grape juice, while never progressing to the pressing of my own grapes (or getting my kids to stomp them).

Although my tastes do lean toward the red wines made from pure juice, I still enjoy the challenge of making a fruit wine, despite the highly variable results. One of the wines that I am most proud of was a raspberry wine that I made several years ago.

Well last year my friend Will, who with his wife Genevieve recently started up a U-Pick operation, asked if I’d be interested in making a couple of batches of wine on a shared basis, i.e. he provides the fruit, I make the wine, and we split the product. I started his Raspberry 2006 late last summer, and bottled it late this spring. I also have a batch of a fruit I’d never heard of, a Japanese edible honeysuckle that he calls Hascap, aging in the carboy. The Raspberry 2006 must have passed inspection, because he’s asked me to make a couple more batches from this year’s fruit.

Now here’s the twist. Will has also floated the idea that he’d eventually like to get a licence to sell homemade wine from his U-Pick, but not having the time or interest for making wine, he’s interested in some form of partnership with me as his winemaker. I enjoy winemaking as a hobby, but the thought of making wine for sale has never crossed my mind. Besides having a full time job, I have a busy family, not to speak of a blog, so I’m going to have to think long and hard about this. Probably the biggest question for me is whether winemaking would be less enjoyable if it were no longer just a hobby. Another is the fact that although I’ve probably done more reading on the craft than most hobby winemakers do, I don’t have any formal training, and I don’t consider myself an expert.

Meanwhile, for this year I’ll enjoy making a couple of batches of raspberry (red and golden) wine on a shared basis with Will, and there’s lots of time to consider taking it to another level.

Showering outdoors at night …

Friday, August 10th, 2007

… is the annual Perseid meteor shower, which happens once every year when Earth’s orbit takes us through the tail of the Comet Swift-Tuttle.  Apparently the Perseids will be happening this weekend.  This should be a good year for watching the Perseids, since it coincides with a new moon, unlike last summer when a full moon resulted in too much ambient light.

Tonight is cloudy/raining, but if we get a clear night this weekend, it might call for some star-watching, preferably away from the city light pollution.  This article by NASA states that the peak will be around 4:00 a.m Monday morning.  I think I’ll probably miss the peak.

Father-daughter fishing day.

Tuesday, August 7th, 2007

Yesterday was the last day of my holidays, and I hadn’t done any shooting or fishing in 2 1/2 weeks, so I headed up to Marv’s place at Shell Lake, accompanied by Fiona. After shooting off two boxes of shells with my new pump-action shotgun (while powdering too few clays, and getting a purple shoulder), Marv, Rachel, Fiona and I spent a few hours fishing on Little Shell Lake. A very nice afternoon. We didn’t get the violent thunderstorm that hit Prince Albert. The small northern pike (better known as jackfish) were biting well, and Fiona and I each caught a walleye (pickerel). Supper at Marv and Sarah’s, followed by filetting, and we made it back to P.A. safely after almost hitting a deer (sorry for hitting the brakes so hard Fiona).

Fiona with her walleye.

More photos in >>this gallery<<