At the writing deadline for this edition, there is some encouraging news and some not so encouraging news on the Covid-19 global pandemic. Passing the one year anniversary of this pandemic (declared by the World Health Organization on March 11th, 2020), vaccine deliveries are ramping up and the Ontario vaccination programs, including on-line bookings for appointments, has begun. This is promising. However, having the ‘powers-to-be’ and the ‘experts debate whether the “Third Wave” of Covid-19 is already upon us here in Ontario, well, that is disturbing news.
The bottom line, folks, is do not let down your guard. Stay home, wear a mask, physically distance, wash your hands, and avoid ‘big’ things like crowds and box stores. The Galway Hall remains closed to the public until further notice. Continue to check the Hall’s webpage at: www.galwayhall.ca for any updates.
The ‘100 Days of Winter’ ended on Friday, March 12th (based on the start date of December 2nd, 2020). This year, it seemed to be “bang-on”! Much snow disappeared in the few days prior to the 12th.
With the long range forecast of daytime temperatures above freezing to the end of March, the outdoor rink season has come to an end. It has been a do-able undertaking as the conditions for maintaining a rink have been bearable this season. Of course, commitment and hard work are key to the success of any outdoor rink whether in the backyard or on a pond, river, or lake.
Since retiring, this season was the longest stretch of time our rink on our bay was in the same location. Lockdown and stay-at-home orders created more time to put into the rink and Mother Nature made sure that much time would be required to make it skate-able. Flooding the edges of the rink when not needed, dumping too much snow on it all at once, cracking the rink’s surface with big and little fissures, and big winds causing drifts were some of the challenges. Yet, the worst ‘trick’ in Mother Nature’s ‘bag of tricks’ for a rink was slush! Slush is just nasty; heavy to lift, difficult to push, and, when frozen, it makes the rink unskate-able. The snow blower, the scoop, the shovels and the scrapers did not like the slush. Generally, if one thinks about slush, it is not well-liked. Not many people like to either walk in slush or drive in slush. During this global pandemic, everyone has been encouraged to think and speak positively to get us through it. To this point, a ‘slushy’ beverage could be a good thing.
One last thought about our rink this season. Do you remember at the Winter Olympics in Salt Lake City when the icemakers from Canada secretly placed a loonie under the dot at centre ice? It was a gesture to bring ‘Good Luck’ to Canada’s teams and it worked! Well, Mother Nature, throughout this season, also embedded things in our rink- like pine cones, pine needles, oak leaves, twigs, and pieces of bark. All these were also for ‘Good Luck’, as in the phrase; “Good Luck! You are going to need it to keep your rink skate-able this year”!
As the snow continues to disappear, the signs of spring are everywhere. The return of migrating birds has begun. The crows, red-wing blackbirds, and robins are back in our area. The chickadees have changed their song from their winter “chick-a-dee-dee-dee” to its clear whistle of “fee-bee” (which can also be loosely and optimistically interpreted at “it’s spring”!)
Owls continue to be spotted in various locations around the Galway area. One observer on Crystal Lake Road had a Barred Owl land on the property’s old drive shed. The size of this owl amazed this person and it was jokingly noted that, with the existing snow load on the shed, there was a fear that the weight of the owl might cause the drive shed roof to collapse.
A Barred Owl also graced our place with its presence recently on a Friday evening, shortly after 9 p.m. As luck would have it, our outside lights were on and I was still awake. A flash of white went past our windows and disappeared behind our stone wall. The owl then flew up from the ground and sat on the peak of our cabin, giving us a great visual. It then flew into a large white pine, and then flew past our windows again and was gone.
There was another owl sighting on Dutch Line Road. This report was of a Great Gray Owl that was observed for about forty minutes. This indeed was a special sighting. The Great Gray has very lined facial disks that are quite large. Their parabolic-shaped face improves their sense of hearing.
The funniest word that was added to the 2020 dictionary, chosen for April is “nothingburger”. This word is a noun. It refers to an often highly-publicized event or situation that is said to have less impact or significance than expected. It is thought that nothingburger was a play on the word “mouseburger”. Mouseburger was coined by the late Helen Gurley Brown. She was the famed, longtime editor-in-chief of the magazine, “Cosmopolitan”. Mouseburger described a bland or nondescript person.
Have you noticed a whitish glow in the western sky shortly after the sun has set? It can often be in a triangular shape above the horizon. This phenomenon is known as “Zodiacal Light” and occurs in our area in early spring and is nicknamed ‘False Dusk’. Chances are it has been observed without knowing it. The source of this light is believed to be dust in the atmosphere, perhaps from passing comets. However, recently, NASA has suggested these dust particles may come from the planet, Mars. It has been said that good quotes, advice, and/or sayings may be found from t-shirts, cartoon strips, and/or bumper stickers. Here is an example from a t-shirt printed during these Covid-19 times: “In a world where you can be anything … Be Kind!”