Last Wednesday evening I witnessed what I suppose could properly be described as a “murder” of crows. Yes, that is what would otherwise be called a flock in another species. Anyway, they flew over heading north (crows are not too bright) and I have no idea where they were going. There were anywhere near fifteen birds at a time, some lesser amounts of ten maybe, but they were clearly all in the same group. It all happened so fast I have no idea how many there were in the murder, but I would estimate there had to be close to eighty! Since then the crows have been few and far between.

I have a couple of bird feeders in my front yard, that provide no end of entertainment, as I have written abut before. The cost is minimal, and the number of birds I have managed to attract is big. As I write this, sparrows are flocking to the seed feeder, stocked with black oil sunflower seeds. Along with them are at least a couple of families of purple finches, same for chickadees. I have never seen so many chickadees as this year. In past years when the sparrows would flock to the feeder, the chickadees would wait on a nearby branch for a break in the action, fly in take a seed back to the tree, and repeat as often as needed. Now they just wade in help themselves, and are not bothered by  the sparrows. The same thing is happening with the Purple finch families. It is bedlam at the food source.

About a month ago, we started to see a couple of kinds of woodpeckers around, both of which will winter in the area if there is enough food. One of these is the Northern Flicker, and he is partial to ants, often seen eating at an ant hill. Our ants will hide away for the winter deep underground, and the food is not available, and I seriously doubt we will see him through the winter.

Downy_Woodpecker-MaleFirst we saw just one, but today there is a pair at our suet feeder. They are one of the tiniest woodpeckers, the Downy. I do hope they stay for the winter, they normally do, but they may just fly somewhere else. I will continue with the suet feeder over the winter and watch what happens. The picture is of a male, the female has no red on the head.

One other bird is the magpie that winters here and seems to love the feeders. They are pretty much scavengers or predators to the small song birds, but at this time of year, they are not choosey. The other smaller birds, while wary ,will sit in a nearby tree, kind of ignoring the intrusion of the magpie. The magpie doesn’t eat too well from the suet feeder, since it is way too wobbly, so he looks up from  the ground, takes a run at the cage, and knocks a bit of suet out of the feeder. Then he heads back to the ground to pick up what he knocked down. Smart birds, but no too efficient.

For a few days about a week a go, the American Robin came back to the yard looking for the berries on the Mayday, and chokecherry trees. We likely had a hundred of them and I suspect that they are now on their way to the south, before another snowstorm hits.

This is where the title of today’s blog came from. I. Needa Place is the fictional name of a woman we know. She is a single mom and doesn’t make a ton of money. The cost of living in Calgary is the highest in Canada, so for her a decent place to live is impossible to come by.

The city of Calgary does offer assisted living to help with our problem of homeless people, or those with a very low income. This lady applied for some help, but got turned away since she was so far down at the bottom of the list, she will likely never get any help.

Now here is the kicker, the city has a number of people living in these low income suites that make over a hundred thousand a year! They pay the full going rate or market rate for the chance to live in one of these places, but they take out of the stream a place that could be used by someone who needs it. ( The city justifies this saying that the higher rents help the subsidy, and that doing this prevents a ghetto kind of building). Maybe so, but as a result we have a few thousand people on the street in probably the richest city in Canada. It may only be a few places, but that is not the point, these homes were set up to help those who could not afford our very high priced home or the rents.

Consider one other thing our brain trust in City Hall is now looking at. Granny Suites or basement suites as they are called in some localities. Many municipalities across North America have allowed these legal suites to be built into basements, using a permit system, and by doing so have provided a safe place for low income, transient, or some of their own family to live. Our fair city has decided that they do not like the idea and have made it difficult for people to put these suites in. They cite parking on the streets as a problem that they see, and I suspect they fear the backlash from people already living in the areas.

Should the city ever OK these suites like countless communities in other North American jurisdictions, they, would have smoke alarms, a legal size exit window for fire safety,proper ceiling height, and so on.

The last kicker is this, there are literally thousands of ILLEGAL suites in Calgary, that have been built after the the house was inspected that may or not be safe to live in. From my back window, I can see at least 2 of these, and I know of one other where I delivered Meals on Wheels to a single person. Nobody seems to care about these, but  if you want to do it right, and legally, it is most unlikely to happen with our over bloated bureaucratic city hall and their licencing system.

So in the meantime, Needa is living in a place that is less than satisfactory, while our city hall does what it does best, waste money and dither.

Most people think of Israel as being just a desert country. Yep, there is desert to be sure, but check out this video of a beautiful country: Israel

This is a video of a tourist camp in Africa, where a group of gorillas wander in to the camp and interact with the tourists. Take a look: Gorillas


The ache for home lives in all of us, the safe place where we can go as we are and not be questioned.
Maya Angelou


In a train from London to Manchester an American was berating the

Englishman sitting across from him in the compartment.

"The trouble with you English is that you are too stuffy.

You set yourselves apart too much.

You think your stiff upper lip makes you above the rest of us.

Look at me…  I’m me!  I have Italian blood, Greek blood, a little Irish blood and some Spanish blood.

What do you say to that?"

The Englishman lowered his newspaper and replied, "How very sporting of your mother!"


A 25-year-old Jewish girl tells her mum that she has missed her period for 2 months.

Very worried, the mother goes to the local pharmacy and buys a pregnancy test kit The test confirms that her daughter is pregnant.

Shouting and crying, the mother says, "Who was the selfish bastard that did this to you?  I demand to know!"

Without answering, the girl picks up the phone and makes a call.  Half an hour later, a Bentley stops in front of their house.  A middle-aged and very distinguished man steps out of the car and enters the house.

He sits in the lounge with the father and mother, and tells them, "Your daughter has informed me of the problem.  I can’t marry her because of my personal family situation but I’ll take charge.  I will pay all costs and provide for your daughter for the rest of her life."

He continues, "Additionally, if a girl is born I will bequeath two retail furniture stores, a deli, a chateau in France and a £1m bank account."

He continues, "If a boy is born my legacy will be a chain of jewellery stores and a £25m bank account."

"However, if there is a miscarriage I’m not sure what to do.  What would you suggest?"

All silent at this point, the mother placed a hand firmly on the man’s shoulder and told him, "You’ll try again."

Have a Great Day, and be nice to one another

Ross Smile

About techmech

Older type, enjoys computer, cruising, photography, fishing, travel, good food and movies

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