Ruffed Grouse

Cold weather finally lures the ruffed grouse to the bird seed.

This ruffed grouse has been getting closer to the house while the weather has been bad.  Yesterday it would not come out of cover behind the bushes where it was foraging for fallen berries:

Peek-a-boo Grouse
Peek-a-boo Grouse

Today the temperature fell from 4ºC yesterday afternoon to -20ºC this morning, which prompted the grouse to get a little courage and come close enough to get bird seed from the ground, out in the open.

Closer Grouse
Closer Grouse

This is as close as I could get:

Closest Grouse
Closest Grouse

The bush it was hiding behind yesterday is a high-bush cranberry.  It still has most of its berries.  Last year they lasted until almost March when the deer got hungry enough to venture into the garden.  It would be nicer if they’d come in daylight.  Meanwhile, the juncos fly into it when they are disturbed as it is a relatively safe refuge from hawks.

Juncos in high-bush cranberry
Juncos in high-bush cranberry

Squirrel Warren

Squirrel labyrinth under the snow

Yes, I know that you normally think of rabbits with the idea of a network of tunnels under the ground, but the red squirrels dig an elaborate network under the snow, once it has a layer of crust on top to keep it from collapsing.

Squirrel-tunnel
Squirrel beside a tunnel entrance

There have been no sign of the black/grey squirrels recently, so I assume they are hibernating, though I saw several in Toronto when I drove in yesterday to take Charlie home.

We got some snow on top of the ice, so the tree branches had a double layer until it rose to just below freezing yesterday so the snow layer melted and merged with the ice.  In Toronto it was +4ºC so they lost their ice.

Landscape: Snow on Ice
Landscape: Snow on Ice

The Mathematics of Beer

Mathematics is everywhere. I was reading with a glass of beer in hand (a barley wine called “Woolly Bugger” by Howe Sound Brewery, Squamish, B.C. Canada) when I saw this curve on my page.

Caustic curve produced by shining my reading light through a brandy balloon of strong beer:

Barley wine: caustic curve
Barley wine: caustic curve

I was reading with a glass of beer in hand (a barley wine called “Woolly Bugger” by Howe Sound Brewery, Squamish, B.C. Canada) when I saw this curve on my page.   I substituted a piece of plain paper and took this picture.

And yes, the beer is good too.

Family Christmas Party 2013

The 50th in the traditional series of family Christmas parties.

This was number 50. 28 years at Herb and Sonia’s, 22 at our house.  There were not as many as some years but as usually we had a good time keeping contact with friends and family.  Here are a few pictures:

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Those people not in living/dining/kitchen area when I took the pictures will have to wait until next year to achieve fame and glory.

Christmas Day at our Home

Christmas Dinner at our house

We recovered from the power outage and by lots of hard work from Laurie and Carol got the place ready.

For us, Christmas is all about family and friends.  We had some wonderful guests that made for a great Christmas dinner.  Here are a few pictures (as usual, if you want a high resolution image or a print, let me know):

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