Grandma & Grandpa's Farm

Sunday, December 28, 2008

Walking in a Winter Wonderland - II

...still trying to.

I still like the snow and am sad to hear that it will likely not be with us here in Metro Vancouver in a week or so at most. But... you were waiting for the "but" weren't you? ...I am getting more disgusted at how pedestrians are being treated out here every day.

Understandably for out here, we have had a lot of snow in a short time that has lasted a long time... as contradictory as that might sound. What I mean is that we had a number of snowstorms in rapid succession -- in a short time -- and that the snow has lasted longer than it often does. People out here are used to getting 6 in - 15cm of snow and the rain washing it away after a day or two. Rather we have had 60-80cm - 24-30in of snow in a week or so without any appreciable thaw and now with the raising of temperatures to freezing and a bit above, the rain is being absorbed by the snow -- much like a sponge absorbing water -- rather than the snow being washed away. That is leading to the snow just becoming heavier and more prone to collapsing roofs, capsizing houseboats, and impeding traffic. It also is blocking catch basins turning streets and highways into impromptu lakes and streams.

Still what has got my goat is that very little provision is being made for pedestrians!

(Image to right from Image*After)

I was lucky enough to have been given a ride to my Parents for Christmas by my Sister and her Husband or I probably would not have been able to get out for Christmas. The sidewalks are piled high with snow, not just from the snowfall, but also from that ploughed from the streets and people clearing their driveways. Truely there are some souls who have shovelled their sidewalks and there are some folk who have shovelled their walks, but have no sidewalks along the roadway to keep clear other than to attempt to shovel away what the highway and city have ploughed to the side of the road.

People are forced to walk in the narrowed street or through snow deeper than their knees, and very often that is the brownish grey sort of snow that is scraped up off of the streets.

Even if a person were to make it to the bus stop -- if the are taking public transit -- they are faced with that same mountain of snow to hurdle in order to climb onto the bus from the curb.

While it is true that this has happened during the holiday season with less dependence on commuting by transit to work, I can only imagine what people are doing presently to get onto the buses. I do know that anyone with a mobility impairment is likely simply stuck at home unless they have some access to a car, whether a friend or relative to drive them or cash enough for cab.

I am very disappointed that the City and Chamber of Commerce are dropping the ball on this issue... but perhaps they all have their nice SUV with snow tires to travel with...

~ Darrell


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Saturday, December 27, 2008

On writing blog entries -- to a friend

I need help starting.
suggestions are so welcome - Windy5Weather on

Hello Windy!

I think first, look for something you are feeling passionate about -- perhaps a long time passion, but perhaps the passion of the moment -- and it can be positive or negative; Earth shattering, local, or personal. It can be something trivial or humorous even. Then write about it. Try to keep it short and concise. You can always write another blog entry to fill in details or leave your audience to post a comment asking questions. Write what you know or be prepared to look the information up. Also be prepared to back up what you say and try to make sure you have reputable sources. Be willing to laugh at your own mistakes and admit to them, but also be willing to stick to your guns when you are confident... of course when you do, you still might find that you have been mistaken.

I sometimes give tours at a museum and there are times I find I am giving tours to folk who actually know much more about the subject being covered than I know. For instance: The museum is housed in a 1908 Railroad Station and a part of the exhibit are renovated parts of the station to make it look like it might have been before the station had electricity when it had just been completed and part immediately after... Anyway, I found I was giving a tour to the last station keeper of the station before it was taken out of service and he knew things about the station I never knew about... I learned a lot about the station that day. Mind you I did check up on those facts even so. I found giving tours I learned a lot.

Now right there was a blog entry about something I am passionate of.. That previous paragraph might stand up on its own as a blog entry might it not?

~ Darrell Wade.

I posted this comment to windy5weather on I figured I might just post it here as well.

~ Darrell


DailyStrength - Free Online Support Groups

Sunday, December 21, 2008

Walking in a Winter Wonderland

...or trying to.

I rather like walking in the snow. I think snow is beautiful although it seems many of my friends do not care for it. I know they have their reasons and perhaps I might change my mind in time... or maybe I just have too many good memories of it.

(image to right from Image*After)

Unfortunately -- though when young I used to shovel our walks within 24 hours of every snowfall back when I lived in a city where snow actually came every winter -- here folk don't seem to care much about whether their walks are cleared of snow and ice regardless of municipal bylaw or the convenience of passersby. Perhaps it has something to do with the fact that here it snows only for a week or three a year and that the snow most often disappears on its own a day or three after the fall. Sometimes the snow lingers and even when it doesn't it can be a very large problem for some folk.

There are folk who are quite fine travelling on foot on good dry pavement and sidewalks that find ice and snow to be an effective barrier for them even on journeys of a block. Some might have nearly invisible mobility issues like balance problems or coordination problems that you'd never note. They might never even use a cane. Others might use walkers or scooters which are stymied by nearly any level of snow or ice. Some scooters are better at handling it than others in case you are recalling seeing folk using scooters on snowy sidewalks.

(image to left from Image*After)

I know of some people who have artificial legs who can not walk on ice and snow and whose wheelchairs can not navigate it either. They go from independence to requiring special transit either by "Handidart" or specially equipped taxi.

You can't blame all the folk who don't clear their walks...

I often come across a nasty situation where the city and highways departments plough the roads and the icy half melted snow is left on the sidewalks and shoulders of the roads creating near glacial coverage as the dumped ice and snow hardens. It is almost like concrete and probably nearly impossible to shovel without a small tractor. It is also very hard to walk on because of its rough nature and tendency to have hard crust over softer under-layers -- difficult to walk on for able bodied folk, impossible for less able bodied, nearly impossible for a home owner to remove.

(Image to right from Image*After)

I can't really think of a solution for it all. For those places where the city or highways department ploughs the road, perhaps they should be less exuberant and take care not to cover the sidewalks or to provide a service to use municipal or highways equipment to clear the sidewalks. For other sidewalks... well there should be some way to get folk to actually clear their walks. Perhaps if someone actually followed through with one of those small city tractors and cleared the uncleared walks for a special price which would be outlined in a bylaw?

I really don't think people should be trapped in their homes because of inconsideration.

~ Darrell


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Friday, December 19, 2008

Time to Celebrate?

Can One Celebrate When So Much Is Wrong?

On a mailing list I belong to -- which I will leave in anonymity -- someone made a posting about their year being good and hopes that the next would even be better. They wished the same for everyone else. They also made a statement though about celebrating the season which I thought I might share, and I must admit that it is because I disagree with it. Here is the statement:

You know, for me everyday is important and not different from other ones. I do not believe in these sentimental days as long as there are wars and people starving!

I can understand where the person is coming from and in some ways agree with it. I am a firm believer that the sentiments of this holiday season be carried through the year. But I don't think that we shouldn't observe "these sentimental days" because of the bad things that are going on in the world around us.

I think that if we were to wait until all wars and famine were gone before we celebrated, there would never be any celebration and all there would be would be the negative and suffering. I think that we have to highlight what is good in the world and that we need boosts to the spirit to help carry us through the dark sometimes.

But in partial agreement, I do believe that we should try to carry the sentiments of the season with us throughout the year regardless of what holiday you might observe.

Just as with Thanksgiving Day or similar
holidays, it is important to be thankful for what we have all year
round and not just that one day or meal, we should keep the positive
spiritual feelings with us and the spirit of giving all year through.

So Season's Greetings and may the Joy of the Season stay with you all year long.

~ Darrell


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Saturday, December 13, 2008

To Be Merry or not To Be Merry...

Happy Holidays!

Would you be offended if I wished you a "Merry Christmas"?

I know that many institutions worry that you might be -- or that it might lead to messy discussions about religion and perhaps politics.

To me holiday greetings like "Merry Christmas" are not attempts at evangelizing, but simply ways to share the joy I might be feeling at the time of an important holiday for me. I'm trying to share my joy. I don't mind if others share holiday greetings for other holidays that I might not celebrate. I don't celebrate Ramadan but would not be offended if someone were to wish me an enlightened one or if someone wished me Solstice Greetings.

I'm really not sure what an appropriate Ramadan greeting might be or if there is such a thing and I hope I do not offend in my not knowing. I'd like to know.

I think it is a good thing to be able to share our positive feelings with each other and perhaps a bit of our heritage and culture and especially to be able to hold onto our cultures. Celebrating Christmas just happens to be a part of my culture as blended as it might be..

~ Darrell


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