Saturday, April 23, 2011
The rather still pool of spring fed water sheltered plants beneath its tranquil surface all winter. Now, with spring in the air, lush, green leaves are sprouting above the water. Maybe, in a few weeks, there will be some lily pads making an appearance.
Friday, April 15, 2011
There is something very pleasant about these well maintained, older homes found in a small town just outside London. Two of the three homes have fairly large porches and all sit very close to the sidewalk. There is a warmth and simplicity to this neighbourhood that new urbanist planners try to emulate but rarely as achieve.
Thursday, April 14, 2011
Wednesday, April 13, 2011
I can remember when Canada didn't have the bright red maple leaf as the national flag. It was February 15th, 1965, when the Maple Leaf was first raised above Parliament Hill.
One flag often flown was the Canadian Red Ensign. This was a British Red Ensign with a Canadian shield in the fly (the right-hand half).
As a child, I can recall waving a stiff-fabric red ensign when Queen Elizabeth visited Brantford, Ontario. Many Canadians had memories attached to that flag. For those folk, it was tough saying good-bye.
The other flag that served as Canada's official national flag was the British Union Jack. The Union Jack often flew over government buildings as well as government-related facilities such as RCMP camps and military forts.
When the Maple Leaf was first flown, I know of one one high school teacher who told his students that the new Maple Leaf design was better suited to decorating beer bottles. He went on to argue that there were parts of Canada that didn't have maple trees. He was disgusted and wore his disgust with wounded pride.
But Prime Minister Lester Pearson bravely broke with the past and gave Canada a fresh, new flag. It was a gutsy move. Today, I believe, you'd have a difficult time finding many who'd want either the Union Jack or the Canadian Red Ensign in place of our beloved Maple Leaf.
If you'd like to know more about the history of Canada's flag, please check out The Canadian Maple Leaf Flag site.
Tuesday, April 12, 2011
|The solar panels are broken and it is doubtful that today they are even working.|
|Note the tree sprouting.|
Today two of the lower panels are broken and a tree is sprouting from the steel framing. I doubt that the solar panels are still working and I wonder if the insulated water tank has been broken up and removed.
There were a number of solar installations around London in the late '70s and early '80s. Interest was high in solar energy back then, but interest soon peaked. I know of one large installation on the roof of an apartment co-op in northeast London that fell into disuse and was removed some years later.
I was surprised when the keeners running the co-op failed to make their solar installation a success. If all the volunteer effort blended with the solar energy couldn't make a rooftop solar installation succeed, one was left to wonder just who could.
I wonder if the world will be dotted in a few decades with forgotten windmills built with dreams of generating electricity from the wind.
Monday, April 11, 2011
Saturday, April 9, 2011
I showed my confidence in my new ICD by joining the Thames Valley Trail folk for their Saturday morning walk. I was surprised that the group took the walk from Gibbons Park along the river to the bridge to the University of Western Ontario main campus. Although most of the walk was dry, there were a few muddy spots and a few gently flooded areas.
If you are interested the next walks will be:
April 16 at Meadowlily Woods. Walkers are asked to meet at the sports field on the north side of Commissioners Road, east of Highbury.
April 23 at Springbank Park West. Walkers are asked to meet at the west end parking lot, off Commissioners Road.
April 30 at Sifton Bog. Walkers are asked to meet at the north west corner Super Store car park on Oxford St. West.
Friday, April 8, 2011
Common a hundred years ago, iron fences like this one sighted in Mount Brydges west of London are now rather rare. I recall a high school history teacher claiming many of these fences were melted down for the iron content and recast as weapons used in fighting the First World War.
This fence may actually be a reproduction. It is just in such excellent condition.
Thursday, April 7, 2011
|New wooden railway ties await installation.|
|Note the spike lift, lower left, and rotted tie, right.|
I have a retaining wall behind my home that was made from railway ties. The wall is rotting and in need of replacement. From my personal experience with railway ties, I figure these big chunks of creosote-saturated lumber do not last all that long. My years of working for a newspaper tell me that trains occasionally jump the track. Derailments are far from unknown. This is 2011, not 1911, isn't there a better way of anchoring track?
Well it turns out there well might be. For more than 30 years, Europe and Japan have been using concrete slab track instead of traditional ties and ballast. This type of track works well for high-speed passenger trains, but the challenge has been to design and construct a track system providing the required ride quality for high-speed passenger trains with the strength to withstand 39-ton axle loads at freight train speeds.
The Portland Cement Association is leading research into the problem and slab track installations are being tested in the United States.
Wednesday, April 6, 2011
A large number of white-tailed deer now call London Ontario's Woodland Cemetery home. The usually timid animals are easily sighted from the busy four lane street bordering the south side of the cemetery grounds. Reportedly, at least two bucks have been seen as well as a good number of does.
Sunday, April 3, 2011
|The littlest couch potato|