Poor Planning

Ragtag Daily Prompt word today: ARCHITECT

Poor Planning

He hired a trendy architect to design a beautiful, large house with an open floor plan and lots of windows, for he loved the sunlight.

Architect

The crowning touch was his spiral staircase winding up to a brilliant skylight.

A Spiral.stairs (2)

Yes, it was a house anyone would be proud to own, and delighted to live in. His guests oohed and ahhed.

The only thing he never factored in was the weather. He built his house on the Canadian prairie and the very first winter the thermometer dropped to -40F/C and hovered there for ten days. January was warmer, -30 C. By the end of Feb is was all the way up to -20 C and by April 15th it hit 0 C. On June 1st, after he paid his heating bill, he was bankrupt.

Images courtesy of Pixabay.

In actual fact we do have some very nice houses and office buildings here, but serious consideration is given as to how we’ll keep them warm in winter.  🙂

Bravery

Good morning everyone. A bright Monday morning, the beginning of another week and also Remembrance Day here in Canada.

Folks who are planning outdoor celebrations this morning will have to be brave to face the chill that’s settled across the prairies. We had a fair bit of snow Saturday, and now it’s seriously cold. At 7 am it was -22̊ C. Add wind gusts up to 28 km/h for a wind-chill factor of -31̊ C.
For our American friends that’s -7̊ F and with wind gusts up to 17 mph, which gives the feel of -24̊ F if you’re outside for very long. I let our cats outside first thing and they were ready to come in about three minutes later.

So it’s the perfect day to stay indoors and work on my sewing projects, but I will be cooking at the Villa today, both meals. Thankfully I can slide my car into the heated garage there. Dear hubby will have to get up and help me open the door of our unheated garage because at this temperature, the mechanism doesn’t want to work.

Like most people who are classed as “brave”, I’m not particularly courageous or eager to face the elements, but I have a job to do and will do it regardless of the externals. I don’t think any soldiers were enthused about facing enemy guns, but they were given the job, the goal was held forth, and they gritted their teeth and complied, hoping to make it out alive.

Ragtag Community’s word prompt for today is BRAVERY, quite understandable considering this special day. At the 11th hour dedicated folks all over the world will pause for a few moments of silence, remembering those lost in war and wishing, praying, violent conflicts will cease forever.

I hopped over to Pixabay and checked out images of ‘Bravery’; it’s very interesting what they all show. From a dandelion daring to bloom in parched clay to bungee jumping to Rosie the Riveter to Super heroes. Here are a few illustrations of bravery:

Fire.skeeze
Skeeze.Pixabay
Soliers.johnrocks888
johnrocks888.Pixabay
Rocket.WikiImages
WikiImages.Pixabay
surgery-1807541_640
Sasin Tipchai.Pixabay

But some things that people think are brave, like death-defying stunts, I’d class in the realm of… well…a lack of good sense. All in one’s perspective of bravery, I suppose? Like, why on earth would you play with a snake or fling yourself off a cliff if you don’t have to? Different strokes for different folks?

Matador.memyselfaneye
memyselfaneye.Pixabay
bungee-jumping-3164249_640
wfff.Pixabay

Anyway, wherever you are today, I hope you can have a day of relative peace and safety. Let’s all take time to appreciate all the folks who have sacrificed—and are working today—to give us security and a better quality of life.

 

The Life Cycle of Water

It’s been a long time since I thought of Dutch puck disease, but I read a news article this morning that jogged my memory, so I’ll tell you about it.

Dutch Puck Disease: From Beetle to Humbug

Back in the early 70s most Canadians had heard of the invasion of an elm bark beetle and the fungal infection, Dutch Elm disease, that was devastating our elm population. Cities were doing what they could to protect their beautiful shade trees, sadly, without much success.

Around 1972 some wit at the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation got the idea to do a send-up on the story and the idea went over. So they made a mini documentary about the dreaded “Dutch puck disease” destroying Canada’s hockey-puck producing trees.

A narrator warned that this posed a dire threat to Canada’s favorite sport. Cameras showed scenes of devastation: shriveled and deformed hockey pucks hanging from the branches of wasted-looking trees. They even persuaded hockey great, Bobby Orr, to give an interview about the scourge. He almost managed a straight face as he said, “This is terrible! I can’t score goals if there are no pucks.”

They filmed a few man-on-the-street interviews, including one of an incredulous young lady exclaiming, “They do?! Hockey pucks grow on trees?”

From Spring to Bottle:
Big companies process for profit.

Apparently conservationists are trying to stop the Swiss company, Nestlé, from draining some California streams to bottle water. Protesters claim the giant Swiss corporation is actually drying up creeks by taking so much water out and making huge profits selling it back as bottled water.

There’s likely reason for concern, but one needs to exercise care to get the whole picture, not just the attention-grabbing headline. A person could make the same case against farmers irrigating crops. All summer long, “big corporate farms” draw water from the underground supply, pay next-to-nothing for it, irrigate their crops, sell their produce “pre-packaged” to consumers in the form of veggies, and pocket the profits. All the while, you could argue, depleting the nation’s underground water supply. Nestlé is accused of taking water from the streams, paying nothing for it, bottling and selling it as “safe pure water,” and pocketing the profits. The question is being asked: “Is this a crime, or is it business?”

As with Dutch Puck Disease, headlines, news stories, and especially documentaries can be manipulated to sound sensationally dire and point fingers. And people can be gullible: “If it’s on the news it must be true.” However, readers need to examine the facts carefully and ponder the validity of statements like the following:
“At its current pace, the world will run out of freshwater before oil,” Brabeck said. Apparently Brabeck is suggesting “privatization” as a possible answer.

Private companies — or the government? What blessings or woes would privatization bring? Communism was supposed to be wonderful, too.

People here in North America are very concerned about the environment and it’s so easy to raise a scare story. But let’s consider the logistics behind our water supply (the sky) and the possibility of drying up springs, streams and rivers.

We can’t squeeze more prehistoric animals to produce more oil, but water’s a different kettle of fish. I’m thinking the world will “run out” of fresh water when the clouds stop dumping it on us.

You can syphon off water at its source so the folks downstream get almost none. You can dam a flowing water source and even change its course so one area gets a stream and another area gets none. But mankind has not yet been able to dry up the clouds.

From Gush to Flush: The Life Cycle of Water

Every day the sun draws zillions of tons of water vapor from the ocean, lakes, rivers, etc. If we could shut off the sun we could prevent all this water vapor loss. But…

By some miraculous process, this vapor gathers into clouds that drift across the earth’s surface and, at a given signal, pour their contents wherever they happen to be. Drizzle, rain, hail, spit or snow it down on us. Topography, like mountain ranges, and a cooler land mass (as in hurricanes) influence where the clouds will empty out. However, in the past human attempts to redirect rainfall to dry areas (cloud seeding) have often met with grief.

A free gift from heaven, precipitation falls where it wills. It fills mountain streams, rivers, lakes, soaks into the land, replenishes underground springs. Water is absorbed by tree roots and drawn up into leaves that give off water vapor. Farmers draw from underground aquifers to irrigate their land. Cities draw water from said sources and people use it.

We water our gardens and lawns and the water is drawn up through plant roots and later evaporated by the wind. Thus it finds its way back into the cycle. As we hoe the garden or mow the lawn we sweat, and the breeze dries us off, whisking the moisture into the atmosphere to rejoin some cloud somewhere. Just think where all your sweat may travel.

People drink the water, replenish their cells, and urinate the excess. Our bodies are an amazing filtration system. Whether bottled water, tap water, or beverage, we drink it, filter it, and flush it. Really, we should should all do our part and drink lots so we can put more water back into the recycling system. 🙂

Conserve Water: Don’t Bathe

Just think. Every morning all across the continent people use zillions of tons of water to shower and bathe. My washing machine is chugging away as I write this. If we’d stop all this bathing and laundry we’d waste so much less water.

Thankfully, water is never used up. Household water runs down the drain, into the city’s waste disposal system, and — hopefully filtered — back into the rivers and reservoirs. Directly or indirectly it finds its way back into the ocean to begin another cycle of evaporation and precipitation.

We need to treat all natural systems with care, including our water sources, but conservationists shouldn’t resort to fear tactics. Big corporations may well be greedy; it kind-of goes with the territory. Bottling companies make a mega-buck profit selling their goods, and some may be diverting some streams, but they don’t actually destroy the water.

The company can’t keep taking water that isn’t there. If there’s no water in said streams, it’s more likely because there hasn’t been sufficient rainfall in that area to replenish them. At this time the folks in southern Quebec would gladly share theirs, but alas! We’ve not yet found a way to redirect clouds.

In my understanding, the system of evaporation and precipitation was in place when man arrived and will continue to replenish the springs, streams, lakes, and rivers until the end of time. We can dam it, redirect it, and pollute the “container,” but we can’t use it up.

Hockey pucks don’t grow on trees, either. The game goes on.

Almost on Time

The Word of the Day prompt this morning is ALMOST. We’ve had a lovely week weather-wise, but our predicted high for today is only 4 C, so we can assume our Indian summer is almost over. Today we’re going to visit family two hours south of here, before the snow flies and traveling gets iffy.

Here’s another story of ALMOST.

THE OLD, OLD STORY

by Edgar Guest

I have no wish to rail at fate,
and vow that I’m unfairly treated;
I do not give vent to my hate
because at times I am defeated.
Life has its ups and downs, I know,
But tell me why should people say
whenever after fish I go:
“You should have been here yesterday”?

It is my luck always to strike
a day when there is nothing doing,
when neither perch nor bass nor pike
my bated hooks will come a-wooing.
Must I a day late always be?
When not a nibble comes my way
must someone always say to me,
“We caught a bunch here yesterday”?

I am not prone to discontent,
nor over-zealous now to climb;
if victory is not yet meant
for me I’ll calmly bide my time.
but I should like just once to go
out fishing on some lake or bay
and not have someone mutter: “Oh,
you should have been here yesterday!”

From his book, Collected Verse of Edgar A Guest
c. 1934 by The Reilly & Lee Company

Global Storming

Good morning everyone and happy Thanksgiving to my fellow Canadians.

I want to extend sympathies to our suffering next-door-neighbours in the province of Manitoba, as residents there recover from a major snowstorm. They took quite a bashing at the end of last week.

News reports say that heavy wet snow, up to 60 mm of precipitation, fell across the province, leaving 32,000 residents without power, including most of the city of Portage-la-Prairie and 2000 in Winnipeg. Manitoba is asking for help from utilities in their neighbouring provinces and the state of Minnesota to help restore their system after power lines and pylons were damaged or downed.

The Mayor of Winnipeg and the provincial premier, Brian Pallister, both declared a state of emergency yesterday, according to today’s Winnipeg Free Press. This gives city employees and Manitoba Hydro work crews more authority to enter private property for assessment and repairs as well as and giving both governments access to additional support.

In addition to lack of power, Winnipeg’s emergency response manager Jason Shaw reported that, “At least 30,000 city-owned trees have been impacted by the storm, with a significant portion completely felled or damaged to the point where they may need to be cut down. There is no estimate how many non-city-owned trees have been damaged.”

Twenty years ago we were hearing so much about Global Warming, and since then we here on the prairies have seen some of the coolest, wettest summers in memory. My husband and his relatives were talking not long ago about the hot summers they remembered when they were young, back in the late 50s – early 60s and I can recall summers in the late 60s that daytime temps over 100 degrees F were common. In our old age none of us want to go back there, so we were giving thanks that climate change has been good for the prairies, with our cooler summers and more abundant rainfall. 🙂

I also recall that when I was a teen, weather forecasters were predicting a coming ice age, since globally temperatures were dropping. Considering that they had the 1930s stats factored in, that’s not so surprising. Summers on the great plains of North America were fiercely hot, winters fiercely cold, and all seasons fiercely dry. Temps had moderated a lot by the 1950s. As I recall, the idea of global warming swept in around the late 1980s. The world would get hotter and drier.

I’ve since read that the “proof” for global warming came from juggling weather statistics and omitting those that didn’t fit the theory. While I have a very small — and very regional — understanding of  world climate, from what I gather the globe really hasn’t gotten much warmer. Consequently the concept has been replaced by “climate change” — supposedly being responsible for the increase in severe hurricanes and storms we’re seeing in the news nowadays. Considering what our neighbours in Manitoba have just been through, “global storming” might be a more apt expression.

Weather history includes some really wild storms, like the freak thunder storm in July of 1935 that left a good strip of southern Alberta covered with 20 cm, or 8″, of hail.

I’m definitely against polluting the environment, but whether there are actually more — or more severe storms — in our day, I just can’t say.