Monday, July 11, 2011

The Miracle Of Tinfoil

One of the things I love about summer here, or indeed anywhere I've been around Northern Canada, is the long summer nights. While Fort McMurray is about the furthest south I've lived in the past 10 years, we are still far enough north to enjoy many hours of daylight through the summer. On the summer solstice, the sun rises at about 4:20am and doesn't set until just shy of 10:30pm. Throw in a good hour of twilight on either side of sunrise and sunset and, we get some long days. (When I lived in Nunavut, there were stretches of several weeks when the sun didn't even set.)

I love that there is so much light on a work day. I can leave in the light and there is light at the end of the work day which usually leaves me feeling much more energized than during the summer months. The one unfortunate thing for us here is that, with school now out for the summer, the long summer night are making the kids more energized as well. Getting them off to bed (and keeping them there) when there is still blue sky outside the window can be a bit of a fool's errand at times. If they are asleep by 11pm, we count it as a miracle.

When I was in Nunavut, one of the tricks I learned was to use tinfoil or cardboard on my bedroom window to darken the room enough so that I could sleep. I think tomorrow we will start employing this little northern solution to the kids' bedroom windows as well.

Sunday, July 10, 2011

Afternoon At The Lake

After a couple of rain-filled days heading into this past weekend, the weather improved markedly so Lisa had the kids down to the beach in Anzac for a Sunday afternoon dip to cool off.

Fairly overcast but the good weather managed to hold.

This was Gabriel's first trip to the beach. Here he is with Mom....

and with family friend, Kayla....

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Pine Grosbeaks

Looking back through some older photos, I came across a couple I think were taken by Lisa of a pair of Pine Grosbeaks in our front yard trees. They're slightly out of season (the photos I mean) but I thought I'd share them since I don't expect to see any until fall when the flowers turn into berries.

Sunday, July 3, 2011


Lisa and I weren't lucky enough to score tickets to last night's Kiss concert down at Mac Island. Hard rock was never my cup of tea but I do know of a number of people from work who attended and by all accounts, it was a very successful evening. The only real connection I have to it all is that my company helped construct the stage and seating for the event. For more photos and detail of the event, check out the account of a fellow Fort McMurray blogger here.

Pileated Woodpecker...Now In Silhouette

If there's one thing I love about the river valley here its that it seems there is always one more new trail to discover. Initially, I didn't see much in the way of bird life since I had to concentrate on keeping my footing on the wet ground....and also try to figure out exactly where I was going. A couple twists and turns and it seemed the trail completely petered out on me and I was left crashing and banging through the brush trying to fight my way back to the main trail.

In the end though, it was all worth it. There were a couple of new birds (new to me anyway) that I couldn't make out in the dim light but I did spot my first Black and White Warbler, which landed on a branch quite close to me. I also saw what I think may have been a Swainson's Thrush, though I didn't get a long look at it since it flew off after a few seconds. Having finally found the trail again, and walking quickly so as not to get rained on more than necessary, I startled a Northern Flicker out of the undergrowth, which quickly took to the air and disappeared.

Mother Nature provided one last treat as I came across not one, but two Pileated Woodpeckers atop a couple of tall tree stumps. Unfortunately, light conditions weren't the greatest and my photos left a little to be desired, although I did get a pretty interesting silhouette shot.