18 Apr

2009 Spring And Summer Edition of the Hepburn Home Page

In this edition of the Hepburn Home Page we are going to talk about the Gopher problem , trees and rural landscapes. In the Links I Like section you will find links that I have saved from my own personal web surfing. I try to give links on from the “invisible web” or “hidden sites” so as to make it worthwhile reading. After looking them over, I don’t think I have succeeded in this edition.

Gopher problem , trees and rural landscapes.

Red Deer aerial photo 1955

Bomber Service Station in South Red Deer along Highway 2

People living on the prairies know that there is a lot of grass and a few trees. The region around Red Deer, Pine Lake, and where I live – Wimborne – is know as “parkland” by the Alberta Sustainable Resources Development. What I don’t think people understand is just how much we have altered the region. Specifically, I am talking about trees. People have the perception that the parkland region of Alberta was more “prairie” than forest. I think we have remove a huge amount of trees from the region – from the world!. The proof is in the photo of an airplane from around 1955. The location is south of the Westerner Park and east of Gasoline Alley. Where are the trees now? The trees of central Alberta were here but have been removed. I could show you many more photos to prove my point but I suggest you browse the Alberta Archives for yourself. They have several databases, one of which is photos from the past. Each database is searchable from inside the site.

It is quite ironic how we change our environment, then later complain about problems which are systemic of the change. One example: The Richardson’s Ground Squirrel (gopher) only likes habitat with short grass. Not long grass. Not treed areas, not wet areas. The area which it likes best is the same land that ranchers like to put their cattle on. Crop fields also fit the bill for a gopher’s habitat. Don’t take my word for it. Here is few of the studies done on the Richardson’s Ground Squirrel. Grass height is mentioned in 2 of the white papers**.

“…our habitat analyses showed that ground squirrels were located
disproportionately more often in native pasture and
disproportionately less often in cultivated lands

RICHARD W. QUINLAN, Sustainable Resource Development Alberta Fish and Wildlife Division, Lethbridge, AB TU 2J8. Canada
GARRY J. SCRIMGEOUR, Alberta Conservation Association. Edmonton, AB T5J 4M9. Canada

 

References I have put up on my website can normally be found through your public library’s electronic databases.

There is a new fence on the north end of my property which demonstrates the preference that ground squirrels have on digging holes. One side of the fence is cattle pasture, eaten down below 30cm high. On my side of the pasture the cattle can no longer access the grass; the grass is much higher. An “infestation” is on one side with holes right up to the fence-line, but not into the high grass side! Don’t get me wrong; I like ranchers because I like steak. I like all farmers because they feed me and other humans. That’s what farmers do: feed people. I also like gophers – just not that many!  My own observations for treed areas: no gophers in or around mature trees. Newly planted trees are the opposite. Gophers seem determined to kill your hard work and investment in planting trees.

Making tall grass and mature trees

There exists the Alberta Shelter-belt program promoted by the Alberta government where you can mail order for trees (minimun 20 trees at wholesale pricing). The seedlings are sent to a depot close to your residence in April. in 10 to 25 years you will have a nice bunch of trees. A little known secret is that you can go to Bowden, AB and visit the garden center that grows the trees (Alberta nurseries). They usually have some extra seedings to sell an individual for the same wholesale price. There is an application fee that you must pay to get the wholesale price. Depending on how many trees you buy, it may be cheaper to just pay retail. This is another great link for gardeners in general: Alberta Nurseries Presents… Gardeners Web

 

“The best tree is one that was planted 25 years ago.” anon.

 

Links I Like – Summer 2009

Each Edition of the Hepburn Home Page has a scattered collection of web sites that I find on the internet. The list will read like African insects thrown at your computer screen at high speed: bizzare, wierd and strange yet interesting to look at.

ABCRC – Welcome to Alberta Beverage Container Recycling Corporation
Did you know that refund amounts have gone up to ten cents and 25 cents, AND milk containers are entering the deposit/refund system in June 2009
Welcome to BCMB | Beverage Container Management Board | Alberta Bottle Depot
These guys have pictures of containers that are refundable and general descriptions of what holds a deposit. You might be surprised at what is refundable. I dove into our garbage and retrieved a few containers and moved them to my recycling bin.
BottleBill.org – The Alberta Deposit Law
Bottle bills (also known as container deposit laws) are a proven, sustainable method of capturing beverage bottles and cans for recycling. This is the link to learn just what happens to your 5 -er 10 cents.
Home of World Water Coucil
The World Water Council has white papers on grey water and rain water collection and reuse. I intend to search around the site more on this subject.
Rainwater Harvesting and Grey Water Reuse (CMHC Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation)
An interesting white paper on grey water and rainwater collection systems and their regulation throughout Canada and north America
Red Deer, Alberta – Forecast – Environment Canada
Do we really need to know what the weather is right now? I usually go to this site to check the sun-rise and sun-set times. I have our porch lights on timers and periodically adjust them so they don’t come on when it is still light out. during the spring and fall this changes quite quickly. As for the weather, I find it humorous that we humans *still* can’t predict the weather with any accuracy past 48 hours. Often the old wives tales work just as well. Here at uptown Wimborne, the locals say that if the wind blows from the East, a big change in weather is coming soon.
Image hosting, free photo sharing & video sharing at Photobucket
Here is where my photos will end up. I am not given much space at my Telus account and photobucket gives unlimited uploads!  They do limit bandwidth against the photos, which is just fine for me. I am not going to give the link to my album just yet. I still have work to do on the album before it makes any sense. [Editor’s Note:  I will NOT be using this site as they “lost” a bunch of my photos ]
Truly old school woodworking – Fine Woodworking
Fine Woodworkings blog site, called Gluetube, has some interesting silent videos of old wood workers. Read the post to find out more.
mt.gov – Montana’s Official State Website
Alberta’s neighbor to the south. In the Excited States of America, Montana has one of the smallest populations of any state. Some interesting facts on their website.
Kalispell Chamber of Commerce
Because I would like to see the town, I clicked my way to this site.
Northwest Montana Daily Inter Lake > Front
Northwest Montana’s newspaper. It’s interesting to see what the people in a different country, so close to us, have on their minds.
Kneehill County – Home
This is the county where I live. They have a great gopher eradication program that any redneck would be proud of. Guess what they have for a recycling program at their land fill sites: A burn pit!. I call it KneeHill-Billy County.
Managing Richardson's Ground Squirrels
Yes, the gophers are a problem. Here is the best information I have found on dealing with the Richardson Ground Squirrel.
Home ‎(“Your Gopher Control Headquarters” Calgary 403-452-4288)‎
Get a load of this product site! It looks like someone took an welding torch and got mad at the gophers one day.
Practical Ideas for Your Home – Workbench Magazine
Lots of online extras in the web version of this magazine.
Woodworking Tips & Tools
Another blog site on woodworking that I think is neat.
Woodworkers Guide
One man’s woodworking blog. “I’m a proud member of the Atlantic Woodworkers Association, the Nova Scotia Wildlife Carvers and Artists Association and the Nova Woodturner’s Guild.” The author never gives his name, but the site is good.
All Titles – Wrox
For those coders, and hackers out there this site offers chapters on demand, so you don’t have to buy the whole book.
Olds College- the place to go places. Olds Alberta, Canada
Olds College now has a visitor’s Wifi Zone in the library. You have to log in using a guest account, but the speed is very good when your in the library.
iCalShare – Share Your iCalendars!
In Outlook, just export to *.ical format and save. Many schools could benefit from sharing their calenders, not mentioning any names like John Wilson Elementry.
Mostly Water | “Canadian” and International alternative news
Holly Jumpin’ gophers! This site has some interesting news stories. Here is how they describe themselves: “Our goal is to try to provide a space for the activist community and others craving new perspectives, to share information relevant to understanding our world.”
Energy Bulletin
There are some sobering articles on the amount of oil and gas we have available on a global level. There are links to articles on all kinds of energy sources. If you want high level knowledge on the energy sector, this is a good site.
The New ERCB
When I first started with the Alberta government in 1994, it was the Energy Resouces Conservation Board – ERCB. Then it changed to the Energy Utilities Board – EUB. Now it’s the *new* ERCB. Has their mandate ever changed?
Environment
Alberta’s new Environment web site address.
www.reddeer.ca
The closest thing I usually get to a urban environment is Red Deer. I don’t like to say “City” when referring to Red Deer since it is still holding onto some “townish” ideas. The whole parking meter issue that saw new meters installed. People were concerned that the new meters still accept nickles and dimes! I love paying for parking in Red Deer! If you want a reality check try using a parking meter in Calgary. Nobody carries enough nickles or dimes to pay for 2 minutes in Calgary.
Archives Society of Alberta
This is an interesting site for researching old photos, documents and written diaries from the past. I found the photo section and looked up “Pine Lake” and found several photos showing the shoreline in the earlty 1900’s
Government of Canada Site | Site du gouvernement du Canada
Sometimes Google is not the only place you should search for information. The government sometimes puts our taxes to good use – OK they probably spend 2x the amount a private company would to get the job done but at least there are some good links on the Canadian government website. Google is unable to index much of the pages inside the government of Canada, or any large government site (for technical reasons).
Passport Canada: Home
Starting June 1, 2009, a US law will require all Canadians to present a valid passport to enter the United States by water or land. I used this site to get the ball rolling with the passports for the entire family.
ASAP Utilities – The essential add-in for Excel users. FREE
I highly recommend this site’s utility download. As an ex-Excel junkie, the utility saved me hours of work in the war against bad data.
Metro Lyrics
My music collection is, well, different. I Often get stumped when triing to dig up the lyrics for a song I’m listening to. metrolyrics.com has come through with the lyrics when so many other sites have failed.
Calgary Public Library
The Calgary Library has one of the best CD collections I know of. Not only do they have the classics covered, but there is stuff that most other librarians would faint at hearing. Try searching for something your sure won’t be there (like 50cent or Eminem – unedited!). I’ll bet you’ll be surprised.
www.ladytron.com
One of my favorite music bands.
Battery Buyer.com Online Replacement Battery Sales – Camcorder, Power Tools, Ipod, etc.
Replacement batteries are not cheap for most devices these days. Rechargeable lithium ion tool batteries can be more than the replacement cost for the whole tool. That was until I found this website through a Canadian magazine article. Yeah, Battery Buyer is a Canadian store.
The Western Sportsman Magazine for Canadians
I believe this magazine is published in Edmonton, which makes it very relevant for Alberta hunters and fishermen. It was on My father-in-law’s Christmas wish list, so I went online to get a gift subscription. It didn’t work. I’m gonna put it here as an example of a “content starved” magazine website. I actually had to phone them to get the subscription since the online application did NOT work. Magazine good. Website bad!
Harrowsmith Country Life Magazine
Got a Christmas gift subscription for the Maw and Paw at Harrowsmith.
The Ongoing History of New Music – OGHONM
Since I live in the sticks, getting anywhere takes a while. The while is passed listening to the radio, and on that radio I love to hear the OGHONM. I’ve found some of the neatest bands to listen to.
Online Spelling Program
You can follow along with my daughters weekly spelling tests on this site. User is JWES and teacher is Pizzey. Try a few tests and see if you are smarter than a fourth grader.
Automotive Universe – Car Stereos, Remote Starters – Red Deer, Alberta
These guys are located in Red Deer AB. When it comes to “pimping out” your car, they know what sides up. With our new Toyota Matrix, the stereo was a fancy-pants in-dash DVD player. The car also had a remote started installed with a malfunctioning key “fob”. I had no manual for either and Auto Universe helped me out for next to nothing.
PDFTown.com | Free Download PDF and eBook
One of the best sites I have found for getting manuals for cars. They have an RSS feed which I linked to and just refresh it every so often to see what people have posted. Most of the stuff is for new models because they come in DVD format, which is easier to upload than scanning a 1000 page book. I would contribute, but my scanner does not have an auto feeder and doing it manually takes more time than I have these days.
Alberta Film Ratings
Every wonder how movies get their ratings? Well, it’s a branch of the provincial government. Most movies are from Hollywood, and have a rating assigned, which is generally adopted, but for “unrated” independent films, they are assigned a rating at Alberta Film Ratings. A search is available on the site.
Red Deer Public Library
The Red Deer Public Library hosts wireless internet access. I often use the second floor for uploading heavy files to my websites. While doing so, I peruse the magazines for interesting articles. It’s a nice place and as I mentioned before, the parking is cheap at the meters.

 

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