Friday, November 29, 2013

The Overnight Transition

We had a brilliant, colorful fall. A bit foggy now and then but otherwise just splendid.
I couldn't get enough of the color display around me.

 View from the Lakit Lookout road


Fisher Peak

Lonesome leaf

Kimberley Ski Hill

Kootenay Valley View

Then, without so much as a warning, basically over night, fall turned to winter - colorful to monochromatic...

Our backyard

After the first snow melted, temperatures turned rather frosty again

The Rocky Mountains are hiding behind this fog bank

Another view of the Kootenay Valley, this time from the east side
 Canada Geese

Lots of new experiences this year....
I am looking forward to lots of great winter photo opportunities!

November Conservation Tip


Palm oil is derived by pulping the fruit of oil palms and meanwhile found in almost half of the packaged products found in grocery stores. Palm oil is mainly produced in Southeast Asia with Indonesia and Malaysia as the main contributors.
Most of us are unaware of buying and eating products containing palm oil, like ice-cream, cookies, crackers, chocolate, cereal, energy bars, detergent, shaving cream and...the list is endless.

And why should we be aware of??

Well, this palm oil is responsible for 

1. The imminent danger of extinction of the Orangutan, the Sumatra Tiger, the Pygmy Elephant and the Tree Kangaroo, to name a few

The Orangutan, a primate very close to humans, lost already 80% of it's habitat, regarding to Greenpeace about 180 square miles in two years. 95% of a Orangutan population in a given part of the rain forest will likely face death or displacement if that part of the rain forest will be converted to a plantation. Indonesia plans to double their palm oil production...the business is good....
The already critically endangered Sumatra Tiger, there are only an estimated 300-500 left, will also loose it's habitat. Further deforestation will increase the human-tiger conflict and will make tigers more susceptible to poaching
One of the least understood elephants and the smallest of Asia's elephants, the Pygmy Elephant and the Tree Kangaroo are also on the endangered list.

2. Massive violation of human rights

The fast proceeding deforestation is driving indigenous people and forest dependent communities off their land without consideration for their needs.
Due to the isolated geographic location the plantations rely on an outside work force which is supplied by so called labor brokers. These lure in workers with the promise of high wages and once the workers are on location they will be deprived of most of their rights. Sound like modern slavery to me.
In 2012 the US Department of labor listed palm oil as one of the industries most notorious for forced labor and child labor. In Malaysia alone, it is estimated that between 72,000 and 200,00 stateless children work on palm oil plantations!!!

3. Climate change by destroying the planets "lungs"

As we all know a tree "breathes" in carbon dioxide and "exhales" oxygen. About 30 % of all the carbon we produce by burning fossil fuels is "cleaned" this way by the world's intact forests.
Rain forests are especially important in this process as they are able to convert as much carbon each year as all the temperate and boreal forests combined.
Right now we are losing about one acre of rain forest per second.....
Not only are we losing these "oxygen-producers", due to the burning down of the trees this deforestation produces as many emissions as those from transportation all over the world...meaning it pollutes as much as all the cars, trucks, airplanes, ships and trains together worldwide. Indonesia is the third biggest contributor to greenhouse gases "just" from burning down it's rain forest.
To make matters worse, the rain forest grows on organically rich peat land. This peat land needs to be drained in order for the palm trees to grow, which causes the loss of this rich organic matter AND significant carbon emissions.

Were you aware of this last time you ate a Hershey bar 
or munched on a Ritz Cracker?

This is tough stuff, what can we do?

- supporting organizations like RAN (Rainforest Action Network) and Greenpeace
- get informed about the topic (see links below for further info)
- raise awareness, inform you family, relatives, friends and coworkers about it
- vote with our wallet. Now that you know, just look at the ingredients list of whatever you are    intending to buy...if it lists palm oil, put it back on the shelf. If we stand together we can make a difference.

Think about it!!!

Resources for this blog and more information can be found here:

Tuesday, November 26, 2013

Lexie Update

Many of you have asked about Lexie, how is she doing, how much did she grow...?
Here are some answers.....

How much did she grow? This is an image taken shortly after we got her,

and this one is from today. And I think she still has some growing to do....

She definitively is just that, a good dog!

She loves to go on walks and

enjoys long hikes.

She is a patient photographers companion, a hard to find trait...;-)

When we go for a trail ride, no pace is to fast...

I love to watch her exploring new things, here she looked at her first snow and you could really "see" her thinking "what happened here???"

Her usual watering hole, frozen...she just couldn't believe it, scratched the ice, bit the ice and finally looked quizzically at me...hard not to laugh.

What is under this cold, white stuff??

In short, she is a wonderful dog, all day outside, guarding the chickens and the horses. Never leaves the property, fearless and brave; and absolutely cold hardy, lying  on the frozen ground right know, happily chewing on some trophy find.
She is very independent and since I have started her basic training we had quite a few battles of wits. But once she understands she is a quick learner.
I am so happy I found her!