Thursday, August 30, 2018

Westminster Veterans' Village

Just south of the hospital here is a large conservation area, the Westminster Ponds, now totally surrounded by the city.  But back in 1943 this was rural farmland and forest beyond the city.  This is where they built the Westminster Veterans' Village, one of seven in Canada.

Built to treat veterans returning from WWII with 'shell shock', it picked up on the idea that natural surroundings would help their recovery.  This idea was pioneered in Canada by Dr. Richard Bucke here in London.  The 'village' was surrounded on three sides by forest, so it was a good location.  As well lots of recreation facilities were developed, including a swimming pool, baseball diamond, and small golf course.

Originally there were 11 buildings, of which 7 were demolished, and 4 still stand.  Three of these are boarded up, but the 4th is in use as office space for non-profits, including Thames Talbut Land Trust. An interesting detailed description is available in a 2013 report on a cultural heritage plan for the area.  Most building space provided beds for veterans, but there were recreational and dining facilities too.  The tops of the foundations of the demolised cottages can still be seen, as well as the big stone chimnies of fireplaces.  With the 4 old cottages, several exposed foundations, and a view of one of the ponds, it's an interesting landscape.

Now there is a plan led by Reforest London, to restore and develop the 4 remaining cottages as an environmental centre.  Reading about it, out there just a kilometre away, was fascinating.

Wednesday, August 29, 2018

Another Busy Day

Another busy day here with visitors, time in the gardens, and physio.  Making good progress and now just hoping things are ready at home.  I'll keep you posted.

Tuesday, August 28, 2018

Ontario Land Trust Alliance

The Thames Talbot Land Trust is just one of  34 land trusts that are members of OLTA, the Ontario Land Trust Alliance.  Modeled in part after the Land Trust Alliance in the U.S., it provides education and support to all these land trusts.

I was actually involved in establishing OLTA back in 1997, when it was the Ontario Nature Trust Alliance (ONTA).  I served as the Chair of the group as it evolved into OLTA by 2003.  Starting with a group of 13 trusts it has grown to 34, including 3 that are provincial in scope.  After 2003 I turned my efforts to establishing the Ontario Farmland Trust.

OLTA's main interest is in education.  It was a very creative time for the volunteer conservation sector and new ideas were developing rapidly.  We soon discovered that the best source for 'how-to' were other land trusts who had already tried it.  And thus the annual 'Land Trust Gathering' became the highlight of the alliance.

Trying to capture the new ideas and techniques that were evolving, another land trust leader and I wrote 'Creative Conservation: A Handbook for Ontario Land Trusts'.  The book is still in use today.  Most land trusts focus on fund-raising and purchase of natural areas, but with changes in legislation, conservation easements were also promoted.  The Ontario Farmland Trust uses these exclusively.  Keeping up with land and tax law is challenging!

Together the members of OLTA have conserved over 85000 acres of significant lands, and have become the driving force for creative conservation here in Ontario.

Monday, August 27, 2018

Going Outside

It's been a good, day here, though a little hot and humid for my taste.  At least it's sunny.  I'm going.  to trade my blog writing time for another hour outside.  See you tomorrow.

Sunday, August 26, 2018

Thames Talbot Land Trust

An old friend from my land trust days dropped by today, and reminded me I wanted to write about land trusts.  Land trusts herein Ontario are non-profit community-based conservation groups that work to preserve natural areas and farmland.

Let me start with the land trust he's involved in, the Thames Talbot Land Trust here in London.  It covers the city an a large rural area in the upper Thames River wateshed.  To date they have preserved over 1300 acres in 16 properties.

Most of their work consists of raising money and purchasing properties,  but a few landowners donate land too.  After that they need to manage all these lands with care.  It turns out that their office is right here beside the hospital, in one of the old cottages of the vetran's village.

They are also a member of the Ontario Land Trust Alliance, a provincial organization I helped establish.  More tomorrow on those things.   It has also opened my eyes to a range of other blog topics.

Saturday, August 25, 2018

Signs of Fall

Running out of topics to blog about, but then I headed outside in late afternoon to find there was a definite chill in the air.  I had to hold on to my hat in the cold breeze.  I've never thought fall started on the fall solstice.  It really starts in August in my mind, even though October is the 'fall colour' month.  And fall is in the air.

There are a lot of signs of fall already.

A lot of our summer birds have already vanished, and they stopped nesting long ago.

There aren't many flowers in the gardens here, but those that are here are starting to fade.  The bright yellow Yarrow are turning brown.

There's been a great harvest of tomatoes from the raised bed gardens, as well as a few other veggies.

The wasps now come to bother you if you're eating or drinking outside, but not many mosqitoes left.

The days are shorter and the evenings cooler.

So we're getting into early fall, one of 12 seasons I think of around here.

Friday, August 24, 2018

A Ride Across Town

I had a follow-up Dr's appointment this morning, all the way across town at University Hospital (where I lived for 5 months).  This was the first of several doctors I'll expect to see for follow-up apts over the coming months.

The apt. was early, so they woke me at 6 to get ready.  They did arrange an early breakfast tray for me, so I did get to eat before I left.  I was taken in a large van from Voyageur Medical Transportation which was very easy to drive the chair on to after the power lift raised me to the right level.  But I was sitting so high I got a very limited view of the road and sidewalk, and I was soon feeling woozy.

This trip was to see a Nephrologist, a kidney doctor.  They want to ensure my kidneys stay healthy so I can avoid going back on dialysis.  The doctor found that all was good in that department, and reinforced what a miracle it was that my kidneys resumed working after 4 months.  They consider 2-3   months the maximum for recovery, and even then it's very rare.  So for me to recover after 4.5 months seemed pretty well unbelievable to the other doctors.  And I want to keep it that way!

We waited an hour for our ride back, which was in a different type of mobility van, a Dodge Caravan.  Even though it was a smaller vehicle, I could see out the windows of this one and felt quite comfortable.  It was a little trickier to manouvre the chair into the front passenger seat, but the view was great.

We got back to Parkwood in time for lunch and then my cousin arrived for a visit.  She stayed all afternoon and the three of us had some great conversation.  Turned out to be a great day!

Thursday, August 23, 2018

'Recovery' or Acceptance of Disabilities

I'm getting close to the end of my stay here and I'm facing some difficult decisions about how far I should push my recovery compared to accepting and adapting to my disabilities.

Most people who enter hospital do 'recover' from their injuries or illness.  But in my case, and others who are here, the possibility of complete recovery is remote or non-existant.  I will certainly be unable to walk for the rest of my life, so I will have major continuing disabilities.

Yet all around me people are telling me that I have done an amazing job of 'recovery', but I feel like I'm up against the limits.  The staff here set goals that I should reach before going home, but because of my complete paralysis below the waist, it's been impossible for me to reach some goals.  Everyone else I see here only has partial paralysis.  If you can just stand up and walk a few steps it makes an enormous difference.

So I face a mixed bag of recovery and continuing disability.  The question is, how hard do I push myself further, or can I accept things as they are (which an incredible step from lying unconcious in bed!).  There is also the probability that I will continue to improve over the coming months.

So that's where I am at the moment.  Beautiful day here too, the cold temps have retreated for the time being.

Wednesday, August 22, 2018

It's Cold!

We've had a sudden change in the weather; fall has arrived!  It's cold!

The cool temperature and cold breeze chased us inside tonight, even though the sun was shining under a blue sky.  Time to change the clothes I wear to go outside and I might even get out my gloves.

But we did sit in the cafeteria and go through the information on beds, mattresses, lifts and ramps that Mrs. F.G,. has gathered.  We're now ready to finalize things with the vendor in Owen Sound and start getting things installed.

Although we've received good advice, you're still left sorting things out and arranging installation yourself.  And we still don't have a final price.

It's been a good day.  I'm still feeling good after Patsy and Bill dropped in   to visit yesterday.

Tuesday, August 21, 2018

Rainy Day Visitors

We had rain on and off all day here today, but it tapered off after 3, so I picked up a coffee and headed out.  Stayed under the picnic shelter until I finished my coffee.

Coming outside after all the rain, the gardens had that bright green sparkly glow that lights up the world when you get sunshine after a rainfall.  The wet leaves were sparkling, the sparrows were splashing in the puddles and mist was rising off the roof I was under.  Nice temperaturesx and a gentle breeze, it couldn't be better.

I headed further to the butterfly gardens and poked around there a bit.  Sent a couple of messages using voice activation on my iphone - like magic!  I'll definitely be doing more of that.

Then who do you think came walking down the path but Patsy and Bill!  Incase you don't recognize the names, Patsy writes an interesting daily blog at  'Patsy is Chillin'.  Sorry I can't link you directly, but check it tomorrow and you just might find a picture of me.  We sat in the garden and talked for most of an hour.  They're in town to get some minor repairs on their RV.

Patsy and  Bill are snowbirds, heading to the southwest for 6 months every winter.  Then they bring their big fifth wheel back here for the summer.  They park it on a rural property about 45 minutes south of here.  Patsy has a garden, and brought me a fresh tomato which tasted delicious.  We visited them there (with George and Suzie) last year.

I did get a good picture of the happy couple, but of course you'll have to wait for that.  Thanks so much Bill and Patsy for taking the time to find me.

Monday, August 20, 2018

Tree of Heaven

Woody wins the prize for suggesting that my mystery tree is a Tree of Heaven.  All the descriptions I can read online seem to fit.  It's native to China but has been planted elsewhere.  First I've seen though.  See his comment in last night's blog.

Long day here, but we're down to a final list of changes needed at home.  The vendor came today and spent two hours measuring and discussing options with Mrs.F.G.  She's exhausted.  I think having to make all these decisions is one of the more stressful things we need to do.  After awhile your brain just goes fuzzy.

Sunday, August 19, 2018

More Birds and a Mystery Tree

I can report twonew birds this week, one of them a Hummingbird my son saw on the Yarrow flowers this afternoon while we were sitting outside visiting (but I missed).

The other is a Red-tailed Hawk that has been screeching in the sky - one of the easy bird calls to recognize.  Then it flew quite low right over our heads.

The  mystery tree is a puzzle to me, even though I did write a little tree guide.  The leaves look for all the world like Sumac leaves, but it's a tree 40 or 50 feet tall.  The trunk has smooth bark, and the seeds are somewhat like  maple keys.

Can anyone help?

It's been a beautiful day here, more people outside than I've ever seen.

Saturday, August 18, 2018

A Walk in the Gardens

Sat. morning is time Mrs.F.G. and I can spend together with no therapy sessions scheduled.  Today was a beautiful day here, so we headed downstairs on the elevator (I'm getting better at handling elevators).

We stopped in the coffee shop/cafeteria and picked up two coffees and two donuts.  Maneuvered through the exit doors to the patio outside - sunny and warm.  Then sat in the picnic shelter while we finished our coffees, surrounded by a foraging flock of House Sparrows.  A good chance to just chat.

Presently we headed out to the further reaches of the garden, through a tunnel of bright yellow Cup Plants.  The small fountain is always enjoyable.  There's something special about the sound of running water.

Back to the main path we went and stopped by the raised beds to check for butterflies.  No luck today.  Then we realized what time it was and hurried back in.  My lunch was getting cold.  Shortly after Mrs. F.G. left for home.  I just heard from her, 4.5 hours later.

The other day when she was here we went in search of the art studios for veterans.  Amazing - three big studios for pottery, fabric and wood-working, all cluttered with projects, equipment and finished work.  What great facilities!

Friday, August 17, 2018

Finding the Joy

Thank you all so much for your encouraging comments day after day.  More than you know your words do pull me along the road to recovery.

After yesterday's post about the moments of feeling discouraged, I thought I should turn to the positive side.  One thing that really helps me is thinking of what brings me joy, so here are a few of them.

Childhood memories - I remember playing at the beach, big dinners at my grandparents, going to church with my own parents, and much more, all from before I was five.

Legacy - a friend who dropped by the other day reminded  me that I have left a big legacy in the work I did promoting land trusts and conservation in Ontario.  It's comforting to feel you've left something positive behind you after 35 years of work.

Family - of course my family is my biggest strength.  I can't begin to describe the love I feel from and for my closest family - my son, my daughter, my sister, my cousin and above all my wife.  At this stage in life, supporting them is my own goal.

Travel Memories - closely related to my family are the trips we've taken over the years, first the cross-country camping trips when our children were young, and later a number of trips my wife and I have taken.  My northern canoe adventures were a highlight.

Friends and Relatives - beyond my close family there are dozens and dozens of others who have supported me.  I know I sometimes take them for granted, but the many cards and the hand written messages in them I've received tell me that they all really care.

Nature - whether it's the gardens here or the tiny backyard at home, the waters of Georgian Bay or the forests of northern Ontario, being outdoors with all that greenery and fresh air has always inspired and comforted me.

This Blog - writing this blog is another source of joy, having such a tangible thing to do every day keeps me going, as do your comments.

So in spite of the hardship and frustrations, there are positive things for me to think about and remember or look forward to.

Thursday, August 16, 2018

Rehab Challenges

Many of you have commented on my positive attitude to my situationn, but I'm not sure I'm giving you a very balanced picture of my rehab.  There are in fact all kinds of challenges and frustrations too.

At the heart of it, I'm not in control.  I can't get up when I want or go to bed when I want.  I can't easily move around or reposition myself.  It's all the hospital schedule.  I've had so many different nurses I've lost track, and they all have different ways of doing things.  I don't always remember what I'm supposed to remind them of.  Then they leave and I'm stuck.

As we get nearer the 'going home' date, they are focussing on a few skills I need, and making me do as much as I can myself.  To be honest, it's hard and tiring when you're sitting in a wheelchair.  Some of the things they're pushing me to do in physio seem impossible, and it's physically exhausting.  I can't do it and then I feel like a failure.

These stubby fingers don't help either.  I'm typing this blog entirely with the baby finger on one hand.

We now have to follow-up on all the equipment at home as I mentioned yesterday, and that's all going to fall on my wife's shoulderss.  It's a lot to arrange.  I'm getting tired just thinking about it.  So things are often very difficult, but we're making the best of it and trying to focus on the possitives - I am still alive after all!

Wednesday, August 15, 2018

Good News on the Home Front

We're at the stage of assessing what new equipment we'll need for the house for me to move back home and carry on.  And there's a lot of it, from a ramp or lift to get me in the door to a hospital bed.

The two of us have been discussing this for some time, but first there's a government agency that has to inspect you house and say ok.  She arrived Monday, and the good news is that she was pleased with our plans.  Having the main floor all level and only two  steps up from outside is a big help.

Later Monday a vendor of mobility aids also came to assess things.  He also had some good ideas, and Mrs.F.G. found  him easy to talk to.  That's important, as all the arranging is falling on her shoulders while I'm  still here in London.  Best of all, he said they could loan us equipment for the first few weeks, so I can safely get home as scheduled.  More good news.

There is of course some paperwork to go along with this, and we need to get started pronto.  More good news is that it appears government subsidies and our health insurance will cover almost all the costs.

Feeling more optimistic about getting home on time now.

Tuesday, August 14, 2018

Learning to Drive - Again!

I now have the use of an older electric wheelchair so tthat I can practice driving before we head home. It's not as easy as you might think.

It takes a little bit of fuss to get it fitted to me.  I don't think we got it quite right this morning, because it's quite  uncomfortable at the end of the day.  Just about everything on this chair is adjustable.  But there's no tray across the front, so I've had to adjust to eating off the little hospital table which I had been using to store things on.

There are two other disadvantages.  It only has a tiny and flimsy little pouch for storage, barely big enough for my cellphone.  And the battery only lasts about two hours, although that's probably just the older battery in this particular chair.  And you can't read the tiny little control screen if you're outdoors.

Oh, but the independence!  After my therapy sessions were done, this afternoon I headed out all by myself.  Stopping in the cafeteria, I picked up a Tim's coffee and straight oudoors.  I explored most of the gardens, but spent a good while sitting by the butterfly garden watching for things to photograph. Nothing new today, but I got pictures of some of the veggies.

I'm finding it is easy to drive, especially down the straighter paths, but it's tricky in small spaces like elevators.  It's almost impossible to position yourself to be able to press the buttons - so I now have an elevator wand to use.  I'm very pleased to finally reach this stage!

Monday, August 13, 2018

Butterflies and Birds

I've seen several more birds since I first posted my list of birds here at Parkwood.  And we've been seeing some interesting butterflies recently.

- there was a small flock of pigeons ('Rock Doves') that flew over when we were out in the garden.
- I've seen a few swallows dipping through the air outside my window (presumably Tree Swallows).
- we were sitting by the raised bed gardens when a Downy Woodpecker landed on a post 4 feet away.
- finally, I'm sure I saw a Purple Finch mingling with the sparrows one day.  It has no dark stripes on its head, unlike the more common House Finch.  And it really should be called the 'Pink Finch' rather than purple.  That's the most unusual bird here so far.

As for butterflies, there have been quite a few Cabbage White and Monarchs around all along.  It's the best year for Monarchs I've seen in some time.  We must have seen 40 or 50  - or half a dozen that fly around a lot!  Lasr year I only saw 1 or 2.

We've also found a big caterpiller of the Black Swallowtail.  It's bright green and black, with yellow dots, very similar to a Monarch caterpiller.  Then the other day I saw a Red-spotted Purple on the Butterfly Bush.  The red spot on each forewing is very inconspicuous, but it has a bright row of blue spots along the back margin of each wing.  And the 'purple' looks almost black to me.  It should be called the 'Blue-spotted'.

I got some shots of a Hummingbird Moth on the same plant, and today there was an Eastern Swallowtail when we went out.  Quite a spate of interesting butterflies in only 4 days.

I know you're asking 'Where are the pictures?' , but you'll have to wait yet.  Once I get home where I can download them, I'll start sharing photos.  I have over 400 so far; they'll keep the blog going for some time!

Sunday, August 12, 2018

Financial Records for Spouses

Are you in a marriage or partnership where one partner deals with all the finances - banking, bills, insurance, investments and taxes?  Have you made up a record sheet giving all the vital information so your partner could take over should you become incapacitated?  If not it's high time you did.

We have an older friend back in Guelph whose husband managed all the finances.  He died suddenly and she was left helpless (to say nothing of the grieving).  She could not even turn on the computer, which was password protected.  She struggled for weeks to figure out just how to get started.

So a few years back, before my first heart surgery, I prepared an info sheet for Mrs.F.G.  It had info like the passwords for our online banking and a dozen other things, info on how we pay our bills (in an online world we pay bills three different ways), and key contacts who could help, like our insurance agent and financial advisor.

A key piece of the picture is to get yourself a good financial advisor.  We have an excellent one at home in Meaford, who deals with both our investmens and income tax.  And I've made sure to get Mrs.F.G.  in to meet him so she's comfortable seeing him without me.  Another key piece is to make sure  bank accounts and investments are held jointly.  This makes things so much easier (banks don't like giving you access to someone else's bank account, even if they are your husband/wife).  A third key piece is to have you financial records filed in the same easy-to-find place.

So this time, when I was lying comatose in a hospital bed for a month, Mrs. F.G. knew where to start.  The staff at the local branch of our bank has been very helpful, and our son came to help sort out more details.  But having that basic information was very helpful.  I have not looked at banking statement or bill since mid-Feb, but it's all been taken care of.

There's more I could list, but I hope I've made my point.  In an online world, where everything is password protected, you owe it to your partner to pull all this info together.

Saturday, August 11, 2018

It's Carnival Day!

I woke to see people setting up tent canopies down the pathway, toward the Veterans' end of Parkwood.  Turned out to be their annual carnival, scheduled from 1-3.

So after lunch we headed out to see.  There were about eight games set up under the canopies, from a fish pond (where everybody wins) and face painting to roulette wheels.  I think the vets enjoy their gambling!  There was quite a crowd of people coming and going too, vets, family, staff and volunteers.

We sat and watched the musicians set up and had some ice cream. Then we briefly looked inside and found a large gathering room where events are held.  There was a bar in the corner too.   There must have been 60 vets out, and almost all were in wheelchairs.  Part of the support came from a motorcycle club in Windsor.  There were six big bikes parked oiutside.

Passing through the raised bed gardens we spotted a Monarch feeding on the Butterfly Bush, and snapped a few pictures.  I continue to be impressed by the cell phone's camera.  You can't adjust either exposure or speed, but the camera seems to choose what's just right.  My pictures are sharp, clear, and properly exposed.  I haven't had my big camera with me in hospital.

The meals continue to be great too.  Lots of food and it tastes good.  I eat the meals twice - once in my mind when I'm filling out the menu choices, and once for real.

Friday, August 10, 2018

First Real Meals

I've just finished my first day of  three 'real' meals since Feb.  And they were delicious!  A salmon fillet tonight as good as any I've ever eaten.  I am really impressed with the food here, and three meals provide three more events that I can enjoy during the day.  What a big change in my life here very suddenly.

I'm almost ready to post pictures of my meals as some of you do.  Those have been a real inspiration to me the last few weeks as I got closer to real meals.  And I'm really looking forward to savouring every morsel once we get home!  I will never take good food for granted again.

As for the wheelchair, it really is  magic - for the price it should be!  You steer it with a joystick, which also controls acceleration and braking.  But it's not easy at first to drive in a straight line.  The curves on the other hand, are great.  It will turn a complete circle on itself very easily.

For an hour I was fitted to the chair and learned about the controls.  Then I tried driving it, which is pretty intuitive except for those straight lines in narrow corridors.  And then we were allowed an hour on our own.  Sadly, the chair had to go back with the sales rep, but I expect to get one on Monday that will keep for several weeks.

For those of you wondering, it really doesn't go very fast, but it gives you a lot of independence compared to being reliant on someone to push you.

A good day today, my closest cousin visited, I had those three great meals, and this evening got good pictures of a Hummingbird Moth with my cell phone camera.  I only wish I could post them to show you.

Thursday, August 9, 2018

Step Two - Success!

No time for a full post tonight, it's been an intense day!  But I passed the swallow test and had my first real meal since Feb.  And it was delicious!  Also got to drive motorized chair just like the one we'll be getting.  Great fun!  More tomorrtow.

Wednesday, August 8, 2018

Step 1 -- Success!

The tracheotomy came out in five minutes just after 8 a.m. this morning.

I actually had a terrible night, waking in pain from my shoulder at 12:30.  Got a shot of tylenol through my feeding tube, but a bit gurgled up into my throat and I lay there coughing til 6 a.m.  No sleep for me.  I was really afraid they would decide to postpone it.

But the Respiratory Therapist arrived and shortly it was all over.  Just a large bandage covering it, which will fill in in a few days.

Lookingforward to the swallow test tomorrow.  And I was told this afternoon that I will get to try  a trial motorized wheelchair in the morning, not the permanent one, but similar.  On  we go!

Tuesday, August 7, 2018

Big Steps!

I'mm up for a couple of big changes in the next twodays.  Tomorrow morning my traecheotomy comes out.  Not a big deal itself, but big implications.

It means that I'll be able to leave the  floor on my own - lounges, the cafeteria, the whole building to explore.  And those gardens!  I'll be outside every day!  And it let's them schedule the swallow test.

The swallow test is on Thurs., and if all goes well I'll be eating and drinking by Friday.  Yeah!  Big changes compared to the last 5 months.

Now just  bring on that motorized wheelchhair!

Monday, August 6, 2018

The History Of Parkwoof

In 1874 the Hospital for Incurables was opened by the Women's Christian Association in London. Over the century and a half since then, the hospial has  moved to four locaions, the newest it's present one, in south London.  It's now known as Parkwood Institute.

Parkwood is a specialized hospital, focussing on rehabilitation and the care of veterans rather than the usual acute care most hospitals do.  For example, on my floor they deal with acquired bain injury, and amputees as well as spinal cord injuries.  The focus is on getting you back home.

A brand new building is the newest facility at Parkood.  Opened in 2014, it is the Mentjal Health Care Building, and picks up on 150 years of mental health caare in London.

Mrs. Furry Gnome has been at home in Meaford for a few days and has turned to making jam of several varieties.  With more jam than we can easily use over the year, I'm thinking I'll be eating it by the spoonful!

I'm sitting here looking out the window at a rainy day.  It's a holiday here, so things are quiet.  But my stubby fingers are not cooperatinng, so I think that's it for today.

Saturday, August 4, 2018


For centuries, perhaps dozens of centuries, we have relied on wheat as the primary grain for making bread (and beer).  At this time of year, halfway between the spring solstice and the fall equinox, times would have been hard as food supplies ran low.  It was natural that a celebration was held as the new harvest came in.  It was natural too, that a portion of the new harvest would be given to the landlord and the church.

One of my favourite harvest pictures from last year.

Lammas reflects the continual unfolding of the seasons, but is perhaps one of the most important to recognize.  We have the equinoxes and solstices, but the halfway in between points, Imbolc, Beltane, Lammas and Samhain, are less recognized.  And they all have a touch of paganism about them.

Of these, Lammas is the one I usually remember as it passes by.  The annual harvest is both important and very tangible.  And I do love a nice chunk of freshly baked bread (and a good beer).  So here's to the harvest this year;  we certainly have good weather for it.

In case you hadn't connected the two, we do still have celebrations of the other three mid-point Pagan festivals, much evolved.  Imbolc has become Groundhog Day, Beltane is May Day, and Samhain is Hallowe'en.

And so the seasons continue to unfold.

Friday, August 3, 2018

Choosing a Wheelchair

Have you looked closely at wheelchairs recently?  I'm familiar with the standard manual wheelchairs with the large wheels,  but today there are a wide range of wheelchairs, including motorized electric chairs with a variety of amazing features!

We anticipate that I will be in a wheelchair the resr of my life, so it's important to get a good one.  We also want to maximize my tindependence, so a motorized chair is appealing.  Luckily for us, the Ontario government heavily subsidizes the purchase of wheelchairs.  Yesterday we went to get measured up.

We've chosen a motorized wheelchair, with a large tilt mechanism, so I can tilt back and go to sleep - very helpful to avoid skin sores and muscle atrophy.  You can tilt almost horizontal!

But that's not all!  This wheelchair has a lift mechanism that will raise the eat platform by about 18" so I cen be eye-to-eye with someone else.  It uses small scissor jacks under the seat to do this, and it will even work while you are moving.  You can guess what we decided on.  I look forward to still being able to get dishes out of the kitchen cupboards.  I am NOT just going to be a helpless invalid!

Of course there is a price tag for all this, would you believe about $25,000!  Not even a good sewing machine costs that much, though some come close.  With the subsidy and health insurance, we'll only pay a few thousand - still a lot, but I'm going to live in this chair 12 hours a day for the rest of my life.

One thing I realized as we've gone through this process is that we will never be able to visit friends or stores again if they have steps or a curb leading up to their front door, a serious limitationof a wheelchair life.  Haven't solved that one yetbut I think I'm about to become a advocate for wheelchair accessibility!


Wednesday, August 1, 2018

Birds at Parkwood IIhehe

The rest of the birds I've seen here are all actually going to stay here all winter.  Here they are.
Ut as Blue Jays
House Sparrows - the little flock has grown to about young.
Goldfinch - just a few individuals but they are brilliant yellow.
 Cardinals - furtive at this time of year, but we've seen a few.
Crows - one or two soaring past the window.
Mourning Doves - a pair that sat in the spruce tree one day.
Blue Jay -two or three dashing  about as Blue Jays do.

You may note that there are no Chickadees or woodpeckers on the list.  They are still dispersed in the forest raising their young.  Certainly  it makes a big difference to have some live creatures around outside.  Adds some iterest to our walks.