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Wednesday, July 29, 2015

The Traveling Bastards And Some Other Stuff

Today’s headline might be surprising as to why we have encountered The Traveling Bastards. But there is a very reasonable answer to that. They (the bastards) came to us in their little Class C because they are members in “Boondockers Welcome”. Of course calling somebody a bastard might raise an eyebrow here and there but let me tell you that Luis and Simone who are on a year-long journey through Canada and the U.S., call Seattle,WA their home. At least it is home for the time being. Doesn’t mean they will return there. After all they have been living in all kind of different places like f.ex. Argentina. But back to “the bastards”. Luis is from Venezuela and “Bastardo” is a common name in that country. So, as they intended to travel and keeping a blog about their trips, they call themselves “The Traveling Bastards”. And if you scroll down the blog list on the left menu you will find their blog. Have fun with reading. It will keep you busy for a while. They have been here a few days and while their intention and plan was 2 nights only …..well we got along pretty well with the “Bastards…pardon….Bastardos”, they are still here enjoying what is coming their way.
1-DSC_0897                              Boondockers Luis and Simone Bastardo
And what exactly is going on on Campobello these days? 
Well, after a few days of foggy mornings and a lot of humidity, this morning was a pleasant surprise. The Fog was gone.
And that is even though today is the beginning of the 3rd annual
FOGFEST on Campobello. It’s gonna last until August 2 and features a wide variety of musical events.

As we are in the end of July, colours in our landscape are changing again. The beautiful lupines are gone and they have been replaced by abundant “Fireweed” along the roads. Fireweed is indeed an invasive plant but will mostly stick to poor soil and gravel pads. Nevertheless it makes for beautiful pictures.
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But a summer is not really a summer without 1-DSC_0888having a nice strawberry cake. So the other day I indulged in baking a sponge cake. Remarkably, it was my first successful sponge cake in Canada. It was so fluffy that I feared it would take off and hang under the ceiling like a balloon! 

This morning I got an email from Norway. “Our house” has been put on the market again and it made for some “memory-lane-style” thoughts about our past.
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This was a classroom way back in the mid-1800s.
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We found the house…..no I mean the materials, for the house, in a little village in coastal Norway. It was a log building which had served as a miniature school for many, many years. You sure know what I mean, the kind that has only one classroom and where the teacher lived above on the loft.
The building was in a real poor condition, but that didn’t matter too much to Peter who had plans to take down the whole thing and truck it 200miles south to a new lot.

The whole process of re-building the house and bringing it up to modern standard took 12 months. 
When it was done it looked beautiful. We didn’t live there for long as we made our move to Canada 18months later. It’s about to change ownership again now and the previous owners have added an addition to it. Price has doubled, of course, but that is to be expected after 13 years.

The realtor had 29 pictures on the page and we looked at them and compared with the pictures we still have from when the house was indeed ours.

Interesting morning after all.

Thanks for dropping by!

Sunday, July 26, 2015

Invitation To An Outstanding Trip Into The Maritimes

This time around I would like to invite fellow travelers to join us on an extraordinary 7-day journey through the Maritimes. As you may know we are already offering local sightseeing tours with our van. For the longest time I have been pondering about offering trips through the most beautiful parts of Canada’s eastern provinces. And now I have set up a nice itinerary for 7 days.

Confederation Bridge to PEI
The package offers 7 days of transportation and 8 overnight stays in excellent  accommodations.
The trip starts and ends in Halifax, NS. After visiting a very famous lighthouse and a stop in the pretty city of Lunenburg we will go north to the Cabot Trail.
Cabot Trail
Cabot Trail, Nova Scotia
Canada’s smallest province Prince Edward Island is next on the list. the Province is connected with the rest of Canada through the longest bridge in the country. A ferry is also making its way across the Northumberland Strait from Nova Scotia.
Lunenburg
Pretty Lunenburg, NS
As we leave Prince Edward Island we will go south into New Brunswick. At the Fundy National Park and at the Hopewell Rocks we can watch the enormous tide.
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Hopewell Rocks, NB
Saint John has reversing Falls and we go further south. Campobello is next on the list before we have to turn back to Halifax.

Trip Start: September 21 2015

For price and further info please go to:
www.canada-explorer.blogspot.com

Thursday, July 23, 2015

Glacier Nat’l Park Fire

This article has been published by ABC News Chicago.

HELENA, Montana

A fast-moving wildfire in Glacier National Park torched a car and forced tourists to abandon their vehicles on the Montana park's most popular roadway while officials evacuated hotels, campgrounds and homes.

Visitors left their vehicles along the Going-to-the-Sun Road and were shuttled out by officials Tuesday, park spokeswoman Denise Germann said. The two-lane road that carries thousands of vehicles on peak days in July and August was shut down for 21 of its 50 miles.
One family from Missouri nearly found themselves trapped when they briefly stopped on the road to take video of the fire.

A fast-moving wildfire in Glacier National Park torched a car and forced tourists to abandon their vehicles.
"It was smoldering and smoking just like a normal fire," Lakota Duncan told The Associated Press. "As soon as we started driving, it just exploded. That's the best I can say."
Duncan's father began driving at high speed as the flames drew closer, while Duncan yelled, "Go, Dad, Go," from the back seat and continued to record as they made their escape.
Park officials were helping tourists retrieve their cars Wednesday, while rangers searched the backcountry for any remaining hikers after the blaze doubled in size overnight to more than 3 square miles.
Officials also were evacuating the small St. Mary community at the park's eastern entrance and homes along a lakeshore.
"We're kind of in the direct line right now," said Susan Brooke, who owns the St. Mary Glacier Park KOA, where more than 600 people fled Wednesday afternoon. "It's raging down the ridge toward St. Mary."
Wind gusts and low humidity were expected to move through drought-parched northwestern Montana, increasing the risk of the fire spreading even more quickly, and park officials were preparing for more evacuations.
"These conditions may create explosive fire growth potential," Germann said in a statement.
That dangerous fire weather extended to Washington state, which is also struggling with drought. About 600 firefighters on the ground and in the air attacked a wildfire that has burned one home and nearly 6 square miles in the southeastern part of the state. It was likely human-caused, officials said.
In Glacier National Park, officials evacuated the 72-room Rising Sun Motor Inn and a nearby campground with 84 spots. They also evacuated the 148-site St. Mary campground, one of the largest in the park.
Glacier Park Lodges general manager Marc Ducharme told The Hungry Horse News that about 150 guests and 60 employees were evacuated from the hotel. The guests were given refunds and a list of area hotels, while the employees were set up in tents at a campground in Coram.
Peak tourist season is underway, and 95 percent of park visitors travel some length of the Going-to-the-Sun Road, which bisects the park and hugs the mountainsides to cross the Continental Divide.
Officials on Wednesday also began evacuating the small community of St. Mary and homes surrounding St. Mary Lake as a precaution. A Glacier County sheriff's dispatcher said she did not know how many people were included in the evacuation order.
Greg Fullerton, who owns Glacier County Honey Co., said he has been watching the fire from a highway above St. Mary since Tuesday night. The fire has spread east along the lake, and burning trees were visible from his vantage point.
"In some locations, it's burning on the shore, in other locations it's two-thirds up the mountain," he said.
The National Weather Service warned that wind gusts combined with low humidity in the park and the rest of northwestern Montana have created extreme conditions for wildfires Wednesday afternoon.
Helena National Forest officials say a separate blaze in central Montana has burned about 4 square miles since Tuesday and threatens homes in a rural area about 15 miles east of Townsend. Two campgrounds and a day-use area were closed.
Fire officials don't yet know what caused either Montana fire.

Wednesday, July 22, 2015

A Thunderstorm Makes Molly Seek Refuge In The Bathtub

This time of the year weather can be somewhat unsettled around these parts. Clear and cooler days are interchanging with some muggy feeling temps, and at night we can get thunderstorms.

Ever since Molly has fallen down the staircase we let her sleep downstairs. She has 2 beds to choose from and it has been working out great. It seems she was quite content with the new arrangement.
And since she did not react with panic mode to the latest fireworks on July 4th we expected her to have settled with the inevitable outside noise.
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However, last night I woke up of some lightning and thunder rolls and I finally got up to look after Molly.
Her beds were empty, so I walked into the bathroom, where I found her sitting in the bathtub whimpering like a baby. Holy cow…..she was not herself at all. When she saw me she came out of the tub and was kind of wrapping herself around my legs. I spoke to her like nothing had happened, but she would not calm down.
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Now, the worst one can do is re-enforcing the dog’s anxiety by starting to pity the animal or hugging it. That way the dog feels its anxiety rectified and will react with even worse symptoms under the next thunderstorm. I know it is our natural human way of dealing with someone’s fear that we want to protect and soothe, but it is the wrong way to deal with a dog. A dog’s wellbeing is very much dependent on repeating routines. Our normal way of talking to a dog is a routine as well. If we change that routine the dog feels unsecure and can develop fear.

Tuesday, July 21, 2015

An American Tragi-comical Show Making Headlines

Had a few days of weather-related break with working on the greenhouse project, but I finally got all the big windows in, installed a door, painted the front and also applied construction foam along the window gaps. I still need to build a rear wall and finish the roof.
1-DSC_0846Me clowning around with the foam gun 1-DSC_0849
Next week Campobello will be centre stage for the annual FOGFEST. Many different music venues over several days will draw another stream of visitors to the island.

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And while we will enjoy a lot of music, Americans are in the middle of a the biggest public entertainment show ever.
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Of course, I am thinking of trumping Mr.Trump. This wild card of a self-proclaimed White House candidate is trampling on a lot of people’s feelings.
Playboy Trump has shown to the world that his understanding of a war hero is somewhat different than mainstream and that he will not move into the Oval Office. Thank you, Mr. Trump!
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While he is harassing Mexican immigrants his own heritage is rooted in Germany where the Trump family is living a small-scale life in their little town. I wonder what they think of Mr. Rich Trump.
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His blatant and stupid speeches held in public have made headlines around the world and made him a persona-non-grata even in the most conservative republican circles. And frankly, that means a lot. Why he is still wasting more of his money on a fruitless campaign is incomprehensible.
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I have never been a fan of Sen. John Mc.Cain, but Trump’s characterization of Mc.Cain’s military career is unbelievably dumb, senseless, and downright wrong.

Needed to get that off my mind.

Sunday, July 19, 2015

Isn’t It Amazing?

You have heard about the competition of which country is the best and the happiest to live in?
I just happened to come across the 2015 rankings.
And the winner of the most admired country in the world is CANADA!!!! It is followed by NORWAY. 

The country scored first for appealing environment, measured by people's perception of having "friendly and welcoming people," a "beautiful country," an "appealing lifestyle" and being an "enjoyable country."
Sorry, U.S.A. you are on rank 22.
Your messed up politics is probably the reason.

BUT WHICH COUNTRY IS HAPPIEST?

Canada is the fifth happiest country in the world, according to a new UN ranking. It's the only North American country in the Top 10 on the list in which places with harsh winters dominate.

Paradise, it seems, doesn't depend on palm trees and white-sand beaches.

The UN report comes after this new life satisfaction survey from Statistics Canada that ranks the happiest and least happy places in Canada.

Globally, the five happiest countries are:
1. Switzerland
2. Iceland
3. Denmark
4. Norway
5. Canada

It was ranked fifth on having an advanced economy — after Japan, Germany, Switzerland and Sweden — and fourth for effective government, after Sweden, Norway and Switzerland.

Canada was also the top country to visit, live in, work in and study in.

Tuesday, July 14, 2015

A Dictator Goes Wild And A Project Update

Are you looking forward to upgrade your laptop to Windows 10? 
If so you might not enjoy it for too long, because pretty soon Kim Yong-Un will send his missiles across the big water and destroy America.
The North Korean Dictator says that Windows 10 is just a copy of the North Korean  RED STAR OS and that he will attack America if Windows 10 is launched on July 29.
What Mr. Yong-Un forgets is that RED STAR OS was derived through further development of LINUX and copied elements from Windows and Apple.

So is this a joke? Probably not a joke, but one of his typical wild threats against America.

Nothing to worry about folks, Just enjoy WIN 10.

Nordkorea-Choe-Ryong-Hae

Meanwhile I have worked in hot weather to get the greenhouse project done.
Today we had a major operation going as the big 5’x7’ window was moved over from our neighbour. 4 people carrying were necessary to move the thing from the trailer and put it into the prepared frame. With some minor adjustments it fit right in.
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Had me a tour over to my favorite lighthouse the other day. Lots of visitors were all over the place with some parties enjoying the popular tower tours, given by our volunteers. What a gorgeous place on a sunny day.
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And when I returned Bea had found an unusual insect: It’s a Luna Moth. Light green in colour and big as my hand. 1-DSC_0796
Thanks for dropping by!

Saturday, July 11, 2015

A Work Project Appears

A couple of years ago we received 2 used glass sliding doors which I never had any idea about how to use. They have been “parked” along the shed waiting to be used. Then, these days a neighbour came over asking us whether we had use for a window of thermo pane glass. It is rather big, it turned out to be 5’x7’.
Now, by combining this window with the two glass doors we could be looking at a total of 11ft of window, which made me think GREEN HOUSE!
We have long been talking about some kind of green house to get an early start of the growing season. Looking around I found the best place for a green house along the south wall of our garage. I quickly made a list of necessary lumber and a drawing to “sell” the project to Bea. Turned out it she was already sold on the idea.

But then a second thought appeared. Our rear entrance deck could really use an upgrade. The planks were looking shabby and needed replacement. Hmm…by ordering just a few more planks I could use the new materials to replace the deck, then use the old planks to build the green house of, at least using most of them.
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2 days ago our materials arrived by truck from Machias, Maine and yesterday I started utilizing my crow bar to remove the old decking. It was an exhausting task, as I was working in the hot sun and some of these old buggers were nailed down with now rusty nails and really hard to get off the frame.
When done I cut the new planks and nailed them down with galvanized nails. Another very exhausting task in the hot sun. My water bottle was never far away….
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This morning I painted the new deck and it looks just great. Then it was time to start working on the initial green house project. I had purchased cement blocks for a foundation and placed these blocks on a bed of gravel, which was already in place.
Working with bricks and blocks has never been of my favorite occupations, but to my own honour I managed to set them in a straight and level line.

Floor joists were cut and fastened with joist hangers to the garage wall. And that was the point when my neighbour showed up. After getting the tour of  my projects I offered yet another couple of glass-door windows, same size as the ones I already had.  So, before this project got even halfway I got another extension coming.

When I mentioned this new development to Bea she just nodded and that was that.  I might need a few more materials to cover the extension but that is of minor importance. Main thing is that we finally get a green house of double pane glass.

Updates to follow!

Wednesday, July 8, 2015

A Foggy Morning On Campobello

Looking out of the window this morning, I saw that we were shrouded in thick fog. This happens when we have warm moist air coming up from the south colliding with the colder air above the Fundy Bay.

Many people think that it is not worth taking pictures in the fog, simply because of the colours wouldn’t be as bright as in full sunshine.
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North Rd. Harbour in Sunshine…………………….and in fog
Of course, the colours are fading in the fog, but the fog also provides your pictures with an “eerie” feel. The image is changing its character. Yes, you can take great pictures also in foggy grey weather.
And that was the reason why I grabbed our NIKON and was heading out to North Road Harbour where there are a lot of fishing vessels.
1-DSC_0726The dock sticking out into the fog. Its emptiness and the vast expanse of the water underlines the eerie feel.

Have a look at what I got. There is almost no line for the horizon. Not only has the fog changed the colours but it also obscures contrasting grey tones.
Yes, there ARE 50 shades of grey. And maybe more.

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But then, if you go real close, the green of the fishing boat is almost jumping out of the picture. The fog can enhance colours if you go close enough to the object.

Over the past years I have been using PICASA photo editing. It often helps me to re-focus what is important in my pictures. Re-focusing is not only done by enhancing contrasts and colours, but also by re-formatting the picture.
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A long horizontal picture has a way of focusing on the object, and sometimes you want to re-format to the opposite, making the picture go vertical.
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The pole on the dock is supporting this vertical version of the picture.

PICASA editing has also the ability to make pictures appear in a more artistic way, by increasing contrast or even changing the hue or colour intensity.

Here are a few examples how changing an original can make a difference in the picture’s expression.
       
      
       
        First the original:

1-DSC_0740-003      Change 1:
1-DSC_0740       The picture has been re-formatted to focus on the dock
       Change 2:
1-DSC_0740-002      Colours have been abstracted making it look like a painting
       
         Change 3:
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By overdoing the contrast the picture has been “reduced” to a graphic image

Only by experimenting with this tool one can find out what is best.  The good part with PICASA is that all changes can be reversed.

Now, grab your camera gear and head out taking shots at what you see. It is only your imagination setting the limit.