The Destructive and Constructive Work of Beavers

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A beaver is a hard-working, very intelligent mammal engineer.

When beavers work, they produce noticeable results. There is a grand notice on the materials they use, mainly wood from trees. The environment used, is forever changed.

The above picture is from my group hike on Bowen Island in Vancouver, Canada. This is one forest section well-stripped by beavers, using their powerful front-teeth (unsure of how many beavers, but do work in small numbers). Much of that wood is used to create a lodge; a dome-like house made from sticks, grasses and moss-plastered with mud. One lodge is sufficient for a whole family of beavers, to live comfortably and produce/raise their offspring. Such lodges are built slightly above water level along river and pond banks, like the one seen here.

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Beavers also use that wood to build dams, to better manage and trap water to create large ponds. Beavers also feed off the trees for food, eating the leaves, roots, and bark. They also digest some surrounding aquatic plants. Nothing seems wasted in a beavers world.

I did a little research and reading on the conflict between the tree-raiding troublemakers and the human settlers of Bowen Island. The dam work of beavers has in the past, disrupted homes and yards of private areas, with flooding. The early actions by locals were to trap and kill the little critters. But in the last decade, a more humane solution popularized, to build special fences to prevent the beaver-building of dams in needed areas for water to flow.

That protection, and other solutions to help the island’s natural habitat creatures have been put forth by the Association for the Protection of Fur-Bearing Animals, or Fur-Bearers. For more on beaver fences and the volunteer work of the Fur-Bearers, visit thefurbearers.com.

Meanwhile, here is a fascinating BBC video on the hard work and rewarding results of those busy beavers.

 

– Orion T

Natures’ Complexity

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“Complexity is the property of a real-world system that is manifest in the inability of any one formalism being adequate to capture all its properties. It requires that we find distinctly different ways of interacting with systems. … Therefore complex systems are not fragmentable”

– D. C. Mikulecky, Professor of Physiology at the Medical College of Virginia Commonwealth University, THE COMPLEXITY OF NATURE

The picture above is from an awesome little hike on Bowen Island, in Vancouver, Canada. Bowen Island is a peaceful area of tranquility, roughly an hour away from the big metro area, by road then ferry.  Deep within, is a complex ecosystem to observe and study. I will share more on this and other notes of the trip soon.

– Orion T

Lively Olives at the Granville Public Market

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Currently, I am not a fan of olives. I dislike the taste of them, especially on salads….too oily and weird tasting. But, I will accept them on pizzas in small amounts and thinly sliced, on the vegetarian combo style looking tempting enough sometimes.

I do find olives as oddly satisfying to just stare at. I am not sure exactly why, but I think the answer lies in the composition it’s shape, texture, and hollowness. I can further stare at an olive and appreciate it’s beauty and usefulness in flavor, oil, and other odd uses.

Did you know that the olive is a fruit, not a vegetable? They come in different color hues. The color of each olive depends on its stage of growth. Unripe fruit is green. Ripe fruit ranges from dark purple to black. Olives are hollow as each originally had a stone stem plucked out.

Olives are also big sources of minerals and vitamins A, B, E, K, B. These are low in sugar, but high in oil.

So, I did a morning visit to the big Public Market on Granville Island, in Vancouver, Canada. It’s a big place, crowded, with not much in time to appreciate the large variety of foods and drinks available there. Someday, I will come back and explore further. But for then, I  passed a stand for Duso’c Italian Foods, drawn to its presentation of olive varieties for sale. I would stare like long enough, pondering on buying some before realizing I didn’t like olives (also overspent on food the past few days of my Vancouver visit).

I wondered, what the different tastes and textures of each olive could be. I thought olives, for just being olives. Seeing these, gave me a realization of complexity and variety, then perhaps some that could change my tastebud reaction to whole olives. Then, I can learn to love olives and not just stare (and snap a photo) at them.

– Orion T

Polar Bear Plunge – Vancouver, Canada 2019

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Traditionally in mid-winter, many thrill-seekers gather at various shore locations worldwide, to plunge into freezing temperature waters. It’s insane, but an awesome happening for over a century now. This event is the annual Polar Bear Plunge.

In Canada, the Polar Bear Plunge is traditionally held on New Year’s Day; a perfect time to bravely face forward the new challenges within the next long Earth cycle around the Sun. In Vancouver, it’s highly regarded and looked forward to as a continuation of passionate bravery for local participants and arriving travelers, since 1920.

I attended this latest Polar Bear Plunge, at English Bay in Vancouver. I witnessed from afar and late, a couple of years ago at this location. This time, I’m in front as a spectator, with my ankles in the water, and then trying it closer to my kneecaps. Wow, what freezing water!!

The temperature was at about 4 degrees Celsius (40 degrees Fahrenheit). Not sure on the number of those jumping in, but I was told it was in the early thousands throughout the time it was officially held. Many were in wacky costumes, while others held flags and team banners to represent something more.

Here are some of my pictures of plunging moments captured.

The energy and excitement shared felt inspiring. I loved every second, watching the reactions and cheering on those brave souls. I learned a lot too, on preparation and taking on this challenge (don’t drink, know your limits). Getting a small taste by stepping into the cold, I found myself inspired and wanting more.

So, I will plan to take part in a Polar Bear Plunge eventually on New Year’s Day, in Canada most likely. I look forward to this shared experience!

-Orion T

Happy New Year, 2019

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Happy New Year everyone!

Yes, it’s the 2nd day but still shiny new, barely a scratch. 2018 is gone, out and past away. But, there had to be a better transition to end the year on a better note than it began. Something, to begin the new grand cycle around the sun with a motivational high note. Focus more on what makes me happy, and sharing it with others. That’s how I will enter this new year while seeking something a little extra along the way.

And that I did, by leaving the US and going to Canada for four days. I spent last weekend and more in Vancouver, Canada. There, staying at a hostel and planning as I go. I have done this twice before, but I still treat it all like something new. Because, there is still a vast amount of unexplored areas, things to do, experiences that I have yet to check out. Being that’s it’s close to my otherwise hectic and jumbled life by a few hours, such the escape is still a completely different dream, of which I welcome when I have time.

O, Canada. I missed thee. There, gained many new experiences and revisited simple joys. Through things learned and smiles exchanged, it’s been a wonderful breath of cold air throughout. Some of it was also very wet, and my only loss was my green wool cap. That was a good one, keeping my head warm in tough times. Now, perhaps forever lost, and left behind in the streets of Vancouver. Or better yet, someone else will find and wear it, with a fresh smile.

Meanwhile, I will share more details on memorable moments and findings in the days ahead soon. Look forward, and again…Happy New Year!

Orion T

The shot above is unfocused on the New Year’s fireworks in Downtown Vancouver, at its Convention Center. This moment was accidental, not knowing the lady in my cam sight holding the camera. But, I like the shot as something different from an interesting perspective that holds a different story, maybe. I think I will aim for more different perspectives, in 2019.

 

The Spirit of Christmas Present…

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And another Christmas Day has come and gone (almost midnight right now). We tried to be merry as many of us struggle with inconvenient news, emotional angst, and hardships. Yet, the best we can do throughout the day is share some warmth and light to others who may need it through support, prayer, gifts to others in need. In that collectivity, I hope this day was joyous in whatever way such can be delivered, or given to everyone taking part in this annual tradition.

– Orion T

Blurry Holidaze Light

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Christmas season lights at night are favorite visuals of the holiday season.

The arrangement of colors on a tree, across buildings, upon poles and mundane objects, making for a special time to enjoy the timeless tradition of dazzling modern decoration. Such a display is also fun to snap pictures of and experiment in the process.

I did so at the Pike Place Market in Seattle, getting the above shot, and this more abstract result…

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Very cheery!

Orion T