Wordless Wednesday – and Yellow- Bellied Marmots.

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The Good Earth.

When I was growing up as a pre-teen during the 1950’s in the Eastern Townships of Quebec, one of my chores was to keep our vegetable garden weeded. I hated it. I didn’t like having to get down on my knees to weed. My pants got dirty and wet; and I had to stick my hands into the dirt to get at some of the weeds. Plus I wanted to play.

Rows of vegetables were not too bad. What I really hated was the strawberry patch. No rows, and runners all over the place. To complicate the matter, at least in my mind, I was told that I could not go and play until the job was done. How unfair!

Fast forward to the 1980’s when we acquired our own piece of land and I had to put in a garden to satisfy our family of five. That same dirt became our gold mine. Now these hands were plunged willingly into that soil that over several summers was enriched and nourished, thanks to the local farmers and a sound organic approach.

I soon came to learn what really goes on under the surface. This soil, this dirt, was very much a living thing. I was amazed to find out just how much beneficial bacteria and other living organisms existed just below the surface. With careful tending we were rewarded with its bounty. This is my dirt, my earth.

Now look what is happening to this giver of abundance. It is being ravaged through the use of chemicals thanks to big chemical producing companies and agribusiness that virtually have  a strangle hold on the farmers. They rely on chemical fertilizers, pesticides and animal drugs. In agribusiness, the thrust is getting the highest possible yields and profits. Nutrient content and flavour take second place. Their bottom line is what is being taken care of, not the consumer. The damage that is being done will take decades to reverse, if it can be at all. The damage is not just to the earth, but also to the product that is grown in it, and ultimately to ourselves. This was my dirt, my earth. The drive is to mass production, not on a wholesome and nourishing product. Thank heavens, not all countries have adopted this approach, for the most part  in Europe and Asia.

The USDA fails to acknowledge that organically grown fruits and vegetables contain more nutritional value and are safer than those grown on mass,  despite independent research that has proven otherwise. One can only wonder just how deep a strangle hold agribusiness has on the powers that be.

Despite all this, there are some things that we as consumers can do. Many large grocery chains are now carrying organic products, if your local grocer is not, ask him why. If he is not, shop elsewhere. With stronger competition, prices for organics have come down. Get to know your local farmers and frequent farmers markets. At the political level, write your member of parliament or congressman, that still is a powerful tool.

It seems to me that with the rising cost of health care, it only makes sense to do our part and eat smart. It is going to take generations maybe centuries to turn this plundering of the earth around. This is still my dirt, our earth.

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Earth

Blogging from Puerto Vallarta,Mexico

We finally arrived here on Wednesday, in sunny Puerto Vallarta, or what we snow birds call paradise. After settling into our new apartment, we went to seek out some of our old haunts. It was like we had never left.

Enjoy some of the pics from this beautiful town. The Mexicans have a lot to offer, and you do not have to walk far to find it. Food, drinks, culture and their great hospitality.

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Sierra Madre Mountains of Mexico from 35,000 feet.
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What was possibly someone’s home, now ready to complete its life cycle.
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The view from our apartment.
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A view from our apartment.
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A view from our apartment.
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A courier from the past?
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An xoloitzcuintli, or a Mexican hairless dog. Friendly, and visits daily.
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This “lady” is ready for a night out!
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A visit to Mexico requires one to stay hydrated.
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This is a nightly occurrence.

The texture and ambiance of Puerto Vallarta is something that simply has to be experienced. Over the next four months, I hope to be able to bring you as much of the fabric of this place that words can convey, that is if I don’t get swallowed by its appetite for adventurous travellers.

Ambience

“To Infinity and Beyond….”

Well, maybe not quite that far. But it is about 4000 kilometers far. All the way to the west coast of Canada. Just beyond the horizon. I know it is there because Maggie and I spent a month this past summer travelling the provinces of Alberta and British Columbia. I fell in love with B.C., and Maggie is from Vancouver Island. The decision to head the wagons west next summer seemed like the next chapter in our love for exploring the great outdoors.

Someone once said if you set your horizon to far out, it becomes unobtainable, too close, and you face disappointment when you get there. Well, we have both been there, and the place worked its magic. I know that we have made the right decision. We are going to have the opportunity to meet new people, hike new trails and to just immerse ourselves in a new New Horizon.

The pictures below are just a few of the thousands we took. Please enjoy.

Transmogrify

So,… there is a word I don’t see every day, or use for that matter. Now, what examples to find. As one fellow blogger put it “yikes”.

Into the archives. After much pawing about, I came up with a few pics that I hope will fit the bill. See what you think.

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My first find was discovered this past summer washed up on the beach at Tofino, British Columbia.  Transformed by wind and water over a number of years into this rather grotesque sculpture. I suspect it was at one time part of the root of a western red cedar. How long it was there is anybody’s guess; subject to the comings and goings of tide and time.

dsc_0203This one caught my eye as we were walking through Vancouver. And you thought windows were flat! Reminds me of the mirrors in the fun house at a carnival.

DSC_0785DSC_0786These two I have used before, but they are fun and shows what can happen when one has a shaky grip on the camera. We are not being invaded here, just the moon on the move.

So there you have it. I’m sure I could find other pics, but that digging I will leave up to you. Cheers. Transmogrify

This Little Light of Mine,

I’m gonna let it shine…..  Stephen H. Scott

While on our way to Mexico last year, these two sites caught my eye. The one on the left (the serpent) is near Gainesville Missouri, and the other is over Prairie Du Rocher, Illinois. The sun was just in the right place to make these locations shine.

p1000368This night scene in Puerto Vallarta was too tempting to pass by. The play of light and shadows shouted, take a picture. There are not too many street lights in PV, but this one worked its magic.

The little body of water by a local trail jumped to life when sunshine flooded through a break in the clouds. The sun is also responsible for the reflection on the cow bell, creating its own circle of light. Though the salt lamp struggles to shine,giving off more of a glow than anything, its light is very warming.

img_0402img_0182As the day comes to a close, an evening ritual takes place. The rays soften and they beckon us to share their last few moments. It is pure magic. The shine may be off for the day, but the memory lingers.
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Water, water every where, dare any a drop to drink….

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With apologies to Samuel Taylor Coleridge, we live, for the most part in a very watery world. It is the giver of life; but for how much longer?  The level of pollution in our streams, lakes and oceans is simply not apparent to most people. We grab our glass or bottle of highly processed H2O and think nothing of it.

And yet, for the most part, we, and the environment around us flourish. For now. dsc_0281

Water can be for fun/pleasure, a sustainer of life, a safe environment for wildlife, provider of food, a means of employment, a thing of beauty, and a destroyer of life.

As for myself, and I hope also for most of you who read this blog, the well has not run dry. I can only hope for future generations that the life stream will still be there.

So raise your glass with the elixir of life, but remember, fish were there first, and we all know what they do in water!!H2O