Critter(s) of the Day: Denizens of the Beach

I was able to visit the beach yesterday morning and was walking along on the sidewalk, when I realized I was seeing a whole lot of birds that weren’t seagulls!

So I headed over for a closer look (my broken toe is healing nicely, so walking on the sand wasn’t too much of an issue).

If you look at the opposite shore, on the left, you can see smoke. It had been heavier, earlier, but was gone by the time I returned to my vehicle, which is good.

This is just one group of the different birds, along with our usual seagulls, that were along the beach.

Digital zoom sucks.

I did some research to find out what these birds were. In appearance, it came down to either Laughing Gulls or Franklin’s Gulls. They have to be Franklin’s Gulls, though. Laughing Gulls have a range in the southeastern and southwestern North American coast, while the Franklin’s Gull is a more northerly, prairie bird.

Beautiful birds. 🙂

Growing things – and that’s dedication!

While doing my evening rounds, I found all sorts of lovely growing things!

My mother’s yellow lilies ad opening up like crazy, with lots of buds. They are going to do very well this year!

The white roses my mother planted in the same area are doing much better than last year. These are the same type as by the house, but it’s not as good a location for them, so they tend not to be the explosion of flowers, like I can see outside my bedroom window right now.

I was really happy to see so many cherries forming! These are just the ones by the house – where last year, I found only 3 cherries, in total! The ones by the spruces are also showing lots of cherries starting to form.

Not long after I did my rounds and got these photos, it start to rain.

It continued to rain pretty much through the night, and was still raining when I drove my daughter to work.

Which is so awesome! All the flowers, fruit trees and berry bushes are going to love it!

I swung by the lake this morning. It was still raining and quite windy, so I was expecting things to be empty, but nope. Some people are just really, really dedicated to their fun!

I watched as this guy was kneeling on his board, struggling to paddle against the waves. He managed to stand for a little while, but was soon back on his knees, trying to paddle out further. He was still at it when I left!

Though the rain has certainly cooled things down, we’re still supposed to be hitting temperatures in the mid 20s C for a while, then into the high 20s C by next week. I’ll take the cool breezes while I can! 🙂

The Re-Farmer

Blowing in

I swung by the beach this morning, after dropping my daughter off at work. The last time I was there, the water was free of ice.

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It isn’t, anymore. It’s harder to tell in the photo above, but there is ice covering the water in the distance.

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The lake narrows a bit in this area; enough that we can just see the far side (visible in the top and bottom photos). It extends a considerable distance to the north, and the ice is being blown south.

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It was moving so fast, I could see the ice coming closer to the beach, even in the short time I was there. You can even see how much closer it came between this photo, and the one at the top, which were taken less than a minute apart.

For a lake as large as this one, it will take a long time for the ice to clear on all of it.

The Re-Farmer

At the Beach

My daughter had a short shift today, so once again I stayed in town. I had no errands to run, so it was a good opportunity to play some Pokemon Go. 😉

One of my regular stops is at a Pokemon gym by the beach, right where access to the ice road is. I saw some vehicles already there as I drove up that seemed out of place, now that there is no ice on the lake.

There were vehicles on the sand.

One turned out to be a little pickup truck, stuck in the sand, and the other a tow truck, there to pull it out.

I waited until they were done and gone before going down to the water.

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Today was barely above freezing temperatures, with a wicked wind, so I did not stay out long!

On the way back, I could see this.

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You can see how far out the pickup truck had driven onto the beach before the driver decided to back up, then got stuck. It’s back end had sunk right down to the undercarriage.

I can’t for the life of me figure out why someone would do that at all, never mind trying to drive on sand with an ordinary vehicle.

I see strange things while playing Pokemon Go at times! 😀

The Re-Farmer

Crowded beach

My daughter and her friend decided to make today their hang out at the beach day.  It’s the last long weekend of the summer, so they were intending to go a couple days from now, to avoid crowds.  Weather forecasts changed their plans.

The beach was certainly crowded, though not in the way I expected. 😀

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The Re-Farmer

Low Water and meeting people

Yesterday evening, my younger daughter and I were able to take her friend into town for dinner.  When we were told it would be about 20-30 minutes before a table would be open (buffet night is popular, it turns out… 😀 ), we put our name on the list, then headed for the beach, which was basically across the street from the restaurant.

We had been getting thunderstorm warnings for a few hours by then.  While there were no signs of a storm, yet, the winds were incredibly high.  High enough that one of the small trees on the boulevard near where we parked came down while we were in the area!

This late in the day, the tide was very low, and people were taking advantage of it.

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I’m not sure if you can tell, but the kids on the left are lying in the shallow water, waiting for the waves to crash over them. 😀

It didn’t show well in any of the photos I took, but the high winds would, at times, pick up and blow away sand hard enough that walking into the wind meant our faces getting sandblasted as we returned to the restaurant.

The dinner was excellent, and we got a couple of pizzas to take home for my husband and older daughter, too.  I never imagined a chicken and broccoli pizza with Alfredo sauce would be that incredibly delicious!

Since we were in town, we took advantage of being there to play some Pokemon Go.  We ended up joining a group for a legendary raid, at a park near a cove.  While waiting for the rest of the group to show up, I got these photos.

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I usually come by here in the mornings, and this area is, if not completely under water, very close to it.  It looks absolutely dry in the photo, though that would be very misleading.

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Such a pretty little cove.

This evening was an example of one of the reasons I enjoy playing Pokemon Go.  For those who don’t know the game, it uses GPS and real-world maps to get you to different areas to catch Pokemon.  There are “stops” in the game that are at real-world locations (churches, public art, historical buildings, etc.) that can be spun to get things needed in the game.  Some of these stops are also gyms, where you can train your Pokemon by battling the Pokemon from people on other teams that control the gym, and take control of the gym for your own team.  A fairly new feature added to the game has giant, different coloured eggs suddenly appear at gyms, with a countdown to when they will hatch.   Most of the time, it’s a larger version of regular Pokemon, of varying strengths.  Some, a player can battle by themselves.  Others can be defeated within the time frame only when players battle in groups.  The colour of the egg gives players an idea of how powerful the hatchling will be, and how many people will be needed to “raid” the gym and defeat the Pokemon.  This is a way people from normally opposing teams can work together for mutual benefit in the game.

Then there are the Legendary Pokemon.  These hatch out of a particular type of egg, and typically require quite a large group battling together to defeat.  That is what we ended up joining last night, and there ended up 9 players battling together.  I’m part of a chat group that people use to organize this, and it’s rare that we are in town and able to take part, so we took advantage of it.

We got to the location early and just hung out at the park and statue in the area, until others started to arrive.

The first group arrives and I watch as they come out of the vehicle, realizing that I know one of them.  A woman from my home town that I’ve known for pretty much all my life, in fact, and haven’t seen in more than a decade!  It turned out she has been playing the game for less than a week, and she was there with family members who where showing her how to play.

Then, just before we started, a little family group arrives, including a young child.  I recognize the mom and daughter.  They are the daughter and granddaughter of a friend of mine from high school!  It was the dad and daughter that were playing the game. 😀

I also got to attach faces to user names that I have as “friends” in the game.

Since I’ve started playing the game, I’ve found Pokemon Go players to be the friendliest of people, and now the game is bringing me on contact with people I wouldn’t be crossing paths with, otherwise.

It’s really quite awesome!

The Re-Farmer

Beach Views

We went into town today and after our errand, checked out the beach.  I don’t think I’ve been to the beach at this time day.  The tide was quite a bit lower than I usually see it.  That meant we could see more of the opposite shore than usual.

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The land looks like it’s floating!

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The low water meant there was lots to look for on the beach.

Including some pretty, but unfortunate, things.

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To the right, you can see a little cluster of tiny zebra mussels.  A couple have attached themselves to the shell on the left.  We were seeing little bunches like this all over.  Not long ago, some sections of beach had so many zebra mussels wash up on shore that the shoreline was completely covered with glass-sharp shells, several inches deep.

Zebra mussels are an invasive species that showed up here about 5 years ago, likely introduced through the ballast of someone’s boat that was used in infected water, elsewhere (pdf).  They grow very quickly, and cause all sorts of problems with the local ecology, boats and infrastructure.  The infestation has gotten so bad, some are seriously proposing killing the entire lake off to combat them!  This is one of the top 10 largest freshwater lakes in the world, so it gives an idea of how bad the situation has gotten, and how desperate people are getting.

Yet they look so harmless, in their little clusters on the beach.

The Re-Farmer

Another smokey day

We started to get air quality warnings for smoke, yesterday.

This time, however, the smoke isn’t coming from the fires in the west, but from fires in the east!

Driving my daughter in to work this morning, the smoke was even heavier than when it started blowing in yesterday afternoon.

I went to the lake to check it out.  The fires, from what I’ve heard, are on the far side of it.  There were pretty high winds, and even in the length of time I was there, it got noticeably smokier.

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These guys were a bit of a surprise…

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I’d seen some brownish lumps on the rocks in the distance, and could not tell what they were.  As I was taking photos, I wasn’t paying too much attention to them until I got close, and realized they were ducks!  Normally, I would never have been able to get as close as I did to them.  They were far more interested in tucking their heads out of the wind, than in me!

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This is looking to the north while stopped at an intersection.

The air was actually smokier than it appears in the photos.

The air quality warnings say it should blow over by tomorrow morning.

I would think that would depend on the state of the fires!

Normally, I would be taking advantage of the cooler weather to work outside, but my lungs are already irritated by the smoke, so it will wait.  Things are going to be a bit hectic for the next few days, as I will be driving my mother to meet a family member from Poland at the airport tonight – arrival is after midnight! – and we prepare for our own house guest that will be arriving on Monday.

These, at least, are pleasant things to deal with.  In today’s mail, I found an unpleasant thing to deal with.  A letter from legal firm of the co-op we used to live in.  They’re still trying to stiff us for the shares return the owe us, and are basically threatening us with a bill of over $20K for “damages” we supposedly did – meaning the needed renovations that were done – if we decide to sue them for the shares.

We’re talking a few hundred bucks here.  It probably cost them more to pay for the lawyer to mail us the letter, than what they’re demanding we pay them.  I wonder what the membership would think, if they knew their board was blowing money on lawyers like this?

Ugh.

Time to move on to more pleasant things.

The Re-Farmer

 

A Beautiful morning… avoiding the snakes

Driving to and from town on the gravel road for the past while, I have been noticing quite a lot of garter snakes trying to cross the road.  Avoiding them has become a challenge.  Is that a stick on the road?  Nope, it moved!  swerve

Sadly, I’m also seeing quite a few that have been run over, too.

I had been wondering why the sudden uptick in snakes, until I remembered what time of year it is.  They are starting to make their way back to their winter dens, to the north of us.  We will likely be seeing increased numbers for a few more weeks.

It was a beautiful morning to drive my daughter to work, then swing by the lake, after.

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Usually, I walk past the wave line, but not today.

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Today, I got soaked to my knees from the waves. 😀

The Re-Farmer

Orange haze

20180816-113303_AccuWeatherIt was almost disorienting, getting up to drive my daughter to work this morning.  Instead of the usual brightness for this time of year, it was dark.  Instead of sunshine, everything had an orange overcast to it.

The cloud of smoke from the fires on the West coast that had engulfed our former home for the past few days has finally reached us.

And yet, we weren’t getting any air quality warnings on our weather apps at all – that didn’t come in until several hours later – and it didn’t smell like smoke.

I had planned to bring my older daughter’s camera along, to take photos at the beach after dropping her sister off at work.  I decided to bring it anyhow, leaving the telephoto lens on it.  I honestly didn’t expect to get any good photos, but I did manage a few.

 

(click on the photos to see larger versions)

Everything was just this greyish orange colour.  There was no sun.  We couldn’t even see any sign of where the sun should have been.

I wanted to stay in town long enough to be able to pick up some prescription refills, so along with my usual playing of Pokemon Go, I decided to walk along the wharf and the breakwater.  The wharf ends abruptly, and then there is a gravel path along the stones of the breakwater.  While walking to the end of this section (there is a gap for the larger boats, then it continues into a cove), I had my game up.  I couldn’t help but laugh.

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I can walk on water! 😀

The wharf is on the game’s map, but not the breakwater.

Interestingly, the line of buoys in the lake, marking the closest boats can come to the shore, and the farthest swimmers can go out, is on the map, looking for all the world like a sidewalk, running through the lake.

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The stones are naturally more of a pale yellow in colour, but not today!

After  while, I headed to a park that’s part of my gaming routine and stayed a while.  I was just getting ready to leave, when the sun made an appearance, at almost 9:30!

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It was so hazy, I could look directly at it, comfortably.  I tried playing with the settings on the camera to try and get how orange it was, but this is the closest I could get.  The orange that you can see around the circumference is what the entire orb looked like in real life.

Though I couldn’t smell the smoke much at all – it was more than lost in the smell of yeast from the distillery – by the time I was done walking around and returned to my van, I could feel my throat and lungs starting to get irritated.  These conditions would be awful for anyone with respiratory conditions!

I pray that the rains will come and help the firefighters put out these devastating blazes.

The Re-Farmer