Sunday, November 22, 2009

Woodpeckers

I was really surprised to find not just one, but two Woodpeckers trying out both of the feeders, not only that but two different types of Woodpeckers.


The larger Hairy Woodpecker (male) on the ground, pecking away at seed, although in Woodpecker pile-driver fashion. Really odd. He went at the small bird tube feeder so hard, he broke a piece off of it.

The little Downy Woodpecker female in the tree, she tried both feeders several times, as well as pecking away at the bark. They look a lot alike, but there is a considerable difference in size and also in bill size. Both of them have odd markings around their eyes which gives them a strange expression.

I have never seen them at the feeders before or since, and it was a bit of a gong show to try to get decent pictures of both of them without scaring one or both of them away.

I'm hoping that we see more of them in the winter.

We had another visit by a Pileated Woodpecker yesterday, very brief but impressive!




Friday, November 20, 2009

How Do I Love Thee?

Let me count the ways.

Terry driving home after a long day at work, in the dark, on the backroads.

The phone rings.

"There's a deer been hit by a car on Patterson Sideroad, it's alive, on the side of the road, head is raised, tail is waving, but it's severely injured, it can't stand up. I turned the car around, the deer wants to run, but it can't move. What should we do?"

"I'll call the OPP (Ontario Provincial Police), they'll come out and deal with it."

"Okay, should I wait?".

"No, it'll be okay."

I call the OPP, they are on their way.




An act of mercy.

Let me count the ways.


Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Lest We Forget

Remembrance Day. In recent years, it has taken on even more significance. I think that's a good thing. It's even referred to as Remembrance Week now, November 5-11, instead of just November 11th.

Almost everyone's family has been touched by War in one way or another. My grandfather fought in WW I. My father-in-law fought in World War II.

It's important to remember. To figure out what happened and why. To be and stay aware and involved with what goes on in the world.

My father-in-law wrote a book about his Regiment in the War, called "7th Canadian Reconnaissance Regiment in World War II". It was published in 1948. It follows his Regiment from Montreal to England, and through France, Belgium, Holland and into Germany. I recently pulled it out and looked through it and re-read parts of it.

I'd like to share some of it for Remembrance Day. The parts in quotes/italics are his words taken directly from the book.


The inside front plate of the book.

The dedication:

"This book is dedicated to those members of the Regiment who paid the supreme sacrifice that we might return home to live in peace. God grant we may."

There are many picture plates in the book. I've included a few of them here, click for a larger view.





"FIRST CHRISTMAS - The Regiment felt its first general wave of homesickness when a dismal rain heralded the first Christmas they were to spend away from home. Of course, dinners had been laid on for the men, Sergeants and the Officers in the true, traditional manner of any Regiment in the Canadian Army, and this went a long way towards relieving the ailment."

"So ended the Regiment's activities in France and, as they left the following day for a new unheard of battle area called "The Scheldt", they took with them many heart-warming memories of that country. All through the battles the F.F.I. or "Underground", had given every assistance possible and, even though sometimes their villages were wrecked, the natives had welcomed their "liberators" with everything in their hearts, pantries and wine cellars. To pay tribute to the French, it is fitting to include, here, a letter received by Lt.-Col. Lewis shortly after the close of this phase:-

Dear Col. Lewis,

It was felt that the following information might be of interest to you.

Several days ago, while this company was moving forward, we noticed one of your armoured cars knocked out and, opposite it, two graves. On inspection, we discovered that these were the graves of two Troopers of your Unit.

A day or so later, our C.Q.M.S., on his way back for rations, passed the same spot. The graves were piled high with the most beautiful flowers imaginable and railings were being constructed around them. He learned, from a conversation with two civilians, that the village had decided to erect a memorial over the graves in memory of the two men and, also, of all the Canadians who had lost their lives in clearing the Hun from France.

We also learned that, today, the villagers turned out in a body and a procession, headed by the local dignitaries, proceeded to the site, where High Mass was held by the Parish Priest.

We thought that you might like to inform the families of the two men of the villagers' action as it might help to alleviate, to some extent, their sorrow at the loss they have suffered.

With best regards, I am,

Yours sincerely,

A.H. Lowe, Maj. O.C., H.Q., Def. Coy (RMR)"

Holland


"During the night, the infantry, after a short, very bitter engagement managed to secure a small bridgehead and the sappers went to work putting up another of their famous Baily bridges. Sufficient praise will never be given to the Field Companies of the Royal Canadian Engineers for their bridgebuilding efforts. The work was invariably done under shellfire and the infantry, Recce and Tanks would watch in amazement as the sappers hustled about their business absolutely oblivious to the whistles and crashes."

"The day before the war ended found "B" Squadron trying desperately to get to Emden through an absolute maze of canals; "C" Squadron waiting for the Engineers to build a bridge so that they could carry out their orders to push on to the North Sea and "A" Squadron, the most northerly troops of the 3rd Canadian Division, having a stiff fight with the enemy as they held the only two bridges over the Ems Jade canal giving access to Aurich. They had got up there after a day of brilliant manoeuver, only to find the old story of blown bridges covered by enemy fire. Unfortunately, though they had taken some 100 prisoners that day, they suffered casualties, themselves, losing Cpl. Morrison and Sgt. Dabbs to the Honour Roll. Shortly after this incident occurred, an envoy from Aurich appeared under a flag of truce and was conducted to 8th Brigade Headquarters. A few minutes later, the orders were given not to move on any further.

Cease Fire - Although the B.B.C. announced that the Germans had ceased fighting in Northwestern Germany the previous evening, the "cease fire" was not given until 8:00 o'clock on the morning of the 5th of May. The order transmitted over the 60-odd wireless sets in the Regiment was met with mingled emotions. Some were jubilant, others felt rather empty. Still others asked, "What can this message mean, sir?". It was unbelievable - the war was over."

The Final Dismiss at the Armoury, 29 December, 1945

"Finally, on Dec. 22nd the Unit boarded the Queen Elizabeth and set sail for Canada, arriving in New York on Dec. 27th. It was a wonderful sight to see the activity of the great American harbour as the Lizzie steamed up the Hudson. There were bands playing amidst the thunder of the hundreds of ships' whistles which were continuously blowing. On the train up from New York to Montreal final orders were given by Col. W.C. Bowen in regards to the dress and formation that would be required in the final parade at the Armoury. As the troopers marched into the Armoury at Cote des Neiges to the strains of "Men of Harlech" many of them found it difficult to keep the tears out of their eyes. After such a long family history it is no wonder that the final command "Dismiss" given by Col. Bowen was met with such a mixture of emotions. However, the Regiment was quickly forgotten as the soldiers ran to meet their loved ones."


My father-in-law, Captain Walter G.H. Pavey, 7th Canadian Reconnaissance Regiment (17th Duke of York's Royal Canadian Hussars).

I never met my grandfather who fought in World War I, as he died the day after I was born. I never met my father-in-law either, he died suddenly at the age of 51 years (younger than I am now). However, I hear and feel him in the words of his book. These are the two people I would most want to meet, if I could.

Lest we forget.


Friday, November 6, 2009

Four On The Floor

Every day lately, four turkeys have been passing through, usually morning and late afternoon, to eat up the spilled seeds under one of the feeders. This feeder is in full view from my kitchen window. Nothing gets wasted from the feeder, if one bird isn't keen on it, others are. I refer to these turkeys as "the girls" (having no idea if they are or not), however, I do think they may be the mother and her 3 youngsters I blogged about before. I'm sure if the food stays they will keep coming, and I will have turkeys to feed this winter as I did two winters ago when I fed a flock of 14-17 for the whole season. I really missed them last year, as they used to hang around for the entire day, all winter long.

They love this area as there is loose dirt under the trees and they can scratch it up to their heart's content.


The four bunched up, showing the feeder above them with a Blue Jay visiting it.