Thursday, October 23, 2014


Support your local search and rescue team - get lost!
~ Bumper Sticker

One fine August afternoon, there was an unmistakable sound of a helicopter nearby. Usually, you might hear its approach and shortly afterward, its departure as it zooms by. This sound was different though. It neither got louder, nor did it diminish. It just.. hovered. I headed out onto the dock and saw that it was a military rescue craft, and it was indeed hovering over Blueberry Island.

None of these photos are all that sharp - partly because it was a hazy day and Blueberry Island is at a fair distance across the bay - and partly because I was sitting on a floating dock - and they tend to bob, especially when boats go by, and they do that fairly often on a fine, August afternoon.

Enough excuses. Here's the rescue as it happened.

5 rescue
The first thing I saw was a Canadian Armed Forces Search and Rescue (SAR) Griffon helicopter (or so my military son tells me) simply hovering in front of the rock face. Then a tiny orange blob appeared. That blob turned out to be a person suited up to be lifted into the craft.

2 rescue
The helicopter immediately pulled away from the area. I figured its mission was over. It came toward me.

3 rescue
Then veered past me.

4 rescue
It flew over the point to the right of our place and disappeared behind the tree line for a few minutes. It never really got any quieter though.

6 rescue
Before I knew it, it was back again, picking up two more people. It must be both frightening and exhilarating to dangle over the treetops and rock face like that.

9 rescue
Moments later, the next person was on his or her way up. This one appeared to be a bit more upright.

11 rescue
A few seconds later, they were being pulled into the craft.

15 rescue
With everyone safely inside, they immediately took off again. Doesn't this view just conjure up the opening theme from M*A*S*H?

14 rescue
Once again, they made their way over the treetops.

17 rescue
They soon disappeared outside of my view - presumably to bring their rescued climbers to safe ground.

It made for an interesting half hour.


My heart goes out to the family and friends of the young Hamilton reservist who was killed in Ottawa on Wednesday, while standing as the honour guard at the National War Memorial.

Rest easy Cpl. Nathan Cirillo.


Canadian Flag


Saturday, October 18, 2014

Quaint Little Sprite

Of all the woodland creatures,
The quaintest little sprite
Is the dainty flying squirrel
In vest of shining white, 
~ Mary E. Burt

This is the cutest creature on the face of the planet.

I'm sure I've said this about a large number of critters. Aside from the obvious cats and dogs, I've given this title to raccoons, chipmunks, red squirrels, rabbits, gophers and deer. Now there's a new bit of adorable fluff to wear the cuteness crown. And we have several flying squirrels visit us each and every night.

Yoo hoo! Anybody home? Anybody got some peanuts?

Oh hi! The feeder appears to be empty of goodies.

I can see the whole flying community from up here.

The big guy over there has a feeder full of seeds.

And the little squirt has a nice spread on that there ledge.

This one here, he snatched up the last peanut.

And me? I got nuthin'.

Oh thanks!

They come by every night as soon as the day creatures are done with their feeding. They flit about from tree branch to ledge, to feeder. They're amazingly docile and curious. The younger ones are more skittish but the larger, older ones who take peanuts from our hands are not afraid to be touched. The other night, I was able to pet one of them while he or she ate from the seed feeder. I think only a kitten has softer fur. They're very entertaining, and one of the best unexpected joys of living up here.

The video below is just one minute long. I had a hard time keeping the little guy in focus under such limited lighting but you'll get a few clear looks at him. Tell me if you don't think he's one of the cutest creatures ever with those big, black eyes!

Thanks, little flyers. You brighten the night with your antics.