It’s Official: Spring Is Here!

It is official, as of 3:29am PDT this morning here in Vancouver, spring started. And, it appears that it is a bit springy outside, as we climb up to 12C, with a bit of sunshine from the sky. This has been a crazy winter for us. So much snow, and so many days of below freezing, this is not the Southern British Columbia that I am used to.

We will see what kind of summer Mother nature has in store us this year. I am hoping that it does not get to hot, yet at the same time, I do not want six months of rain either. Something in between would be nice.

A few things that I have noticed: most of my flowers in the flower bed are late, and a lot of flowers never bloomed in them for this time of year. Normally the Easter Lilies are sprouting up nicely. Right now, they are just small buds. Heck, I did not see any Snow Drops, probably they were under the snow, and left, when we had our snow storms three weeks in a row. The grass has taken advantage of the latest sunshine and the lawn seems to have rapid growth, but for my transplanted flowers, no luck as of yet. If we get solid sunshine, with high temperatures for a week solid, then everything might recover back to normal growth.

But we are not out of woods yet. I hears rumours that we could one more round of freezing nights and possibly one more blast of snow. I hope they are wrong.

Well, I am happy. At least the days are getting longer and night shorter. This means that it cannot help but get warmer. Right?

Caught One, Rats! (Warning-Gross Image)

Well, they say a picture is worth a thousand words, perhaps along with shock value, this image (below) speaks volumes to my plight. If you have been following my weblog, I have been battling with these vermin for the last four or five months now. They have cost me, in the pocketbook, a sum of around $1800.00 now, by replacing the damage they have caused. Chewed wires, holes in plastic containers and isolation, these rats have been nothing but trouble to both my home and vehicle. So I took action, and I am getting results!

Let us look at the above photo for a moment. This is the first rat caught while on the motor. I check my engine almost every day now. You can see the socks places under the wires. Those socks are filled with Mothballs, and since I have been placing them in the engine compartment, I have not had one wire chewed since.

Besides the Mothballs, I have been laying poison near my vehicle too. I bought some Rat-A-Way pellets, which did wonders on the first couple of days I set the traps. The first twenty-four hours three rat bodies were found underneath my Pathfinder, and the following day, four mice and one rat. Since then, the bait had been nibbled at, but no more bodies near my vehicle. Though, near my front door steps, I caught three more rats along with six mice in the last month.

But my main concern has been my vehicle. I now have proof that the Mothball method works!

To all those deniers and self-proclaimed rat experts (you know who you are) look-at-the-image. And “no,” I did not place the rat there and staged the whole photo–that is just gross!

Happy Saint Patrick’s Day!

Already, and so soon, Happy Saint Patrick’s Day. I’m all geared up for it; wearing my green, and on the hunt for any leprechauns that just happen to cross my path. Tomorrow at my work, we are having Pot-Luck dinner and celebrating anything green. Of course there won’t be any green beer, or pot-rolls, but there might be some green punch at the cool-aid cooler.

So wear green and enjoy Saint Patrick’s Day–even if you’re not Irish–just do it, for fun.

Yes, Another Rant About the Time Change

Pure and simple, I hate it. This putting the clocks ahead, then back again, as we shift from season to season, is, in my mind–stupid. I believe we should just do with out it. We should either just leave time on “normal” or “Daylight Savings, and be good with it. I hear that the NDP Government in Alberta is proposing in doing away with all this clock changing; to them, I tip my hat. “Leave time alone,” I say, “and let me sleep!”

So, according to the Calgary Sun, the NDP Government there wants to leave time alone, and on top of that, switch it to Saskatchewan’s time instead of what Alberta’s normal time is, Mountain Time. And Alberta has some good evidence that switching the clocks around costs more money, and energy. According to the CBC, March 12, 2017, there is evidence that when Alberta switched to Daylight Savings Time, electricity usage increased, just over one precent. So much for the savings, eh?

When you think about it, the farther North you go, the more extreme the length of day and night becomes. The questions is, when it is British Columbia’s turn to have a Government that is willing to opt out of Daylight Savings Time, what side should we choose, Pacific or the Mountain time zone? So, in other words, would you like your day longer at night, or would you rather have your mornings flooded with sunlight if we keep to one time zone all year round.

New Worlds – The Trappist 1 System

How cool is that, the discovery of, not one, but seven new worlds around a dwarf star that is just 30 light-years away, and one or more of those planets could have Earth like conditions. When NASA made the announcement back on February 22, 2017 I did a search on-line once I got home to browse their website for all the information I could get. This was great news, a star with possible Earth like worlds, only 30 light-years away–wow. But I was so busy with work, and home projects that just now, that only this weekend I have been able to sit down and do some serious reading about the Trappist-1 system. I am blown away with all the data I see about this star system. 

A few cool things about the Trappist-1 system is that the star is an “ultra cool dwarf star,” which sounds weird and unappealing, but even with such a small star, the planets are close enough to it that they may sit in “inhabitable zone” for life as we know it to exist on. The dwarf star will out last our Sun, in terms of life expectancy becuase Dwarfs Stars burn their fuel more slowly. And something that I found really interesting, becuase the planets are really close to each other, all seven planets’ orbits would fit inside Mercury’s if compared to our Solar system, so you would be able to see the other planets really well if you stood on any one them. They would appear very large in the sky from your vantage point because of the small distance from one another.

On the down-side, becuase of the planets’ size and close proximity to the star and one another, all seven planets maybe “tidal locked” which means they would all have one side permanently facing the star. Read the Wikipedia page for more information.

The astronomers who made the discoveries, never actually seen the planets themselves becuase they are just to far away. They used the dimming effect of the objects passing in front of the star to spot them. So the images of the seven planets are artist’s who just guest at what these worlds would look like. Though, it helps to sparks the imagination.

Please visit the NASA webpage about the Trappist-1 System.

Yay-It’s March!

Finally, and about time too I must add, it is March. It is here, at last! And this means that it is about Twenty days until spring, or the Vernal Equinox! Officially the Vernal Equinox, or first day of spring, will start on March 20th, at about 3:29am PDT on the West Coast. Yes, do not forget about that stupid time change too. But any way, we are slowly creeping up to spring, whether it means we will really have a spring, judging by how screwed up our weather is, or not. Last weekend we had snow, and Environment Canada is forecasting snow for next weekend, when will this madness stop.

Regardless if we have snow up until the first day of spring, I am just happy that the days are getting longer, and soon it will be spring. Either way it will warm up.

The other side of this screwed up weather is, could this also effect our summer too? I mean, will we have a super scorcher summer, or will the cool weather follow us into the summer months?

In my flower bed, at the end of my driveway, the sprouts are popping up. With so much snow, and frosty nights, the normal February flowers have not made an appearance around my place yet, but the regular summer ones are trying to grow–trying. I see the lasting winter weather is making its mark in my area–it is still really cold at night. Though I did see some Snow Drops, but they were flatten to the ground by all the snow we had three days ago, but still exciting to finally see them. So a disappointing season for the early flowers.

Do You Have Cotton Balls?

An update about my little rat and mouse problem from last month. As you are aware, from reading my January posts on how the little buggers chewed up the wiring on my vehicle, I have initiated steps to combat the problem, and I am happy to report that I seem to have things under control. Yes, I have some new chew marks on a couple of the wires, mainly the spark-plug wires, but overall no new chew marks in the last three weeks. I am happy, but I must keep a vigilante eye out to make sure this does not happen again. So here is my progress thus far.

Cotton Balls, although they look nothing like balls, seem to really do the trick. The idea is to load them up into old socks and tie them off, so that there are about ten to fifteen cotton-ball packets in each one. Then I placed the sock-loaded-cotton-balls on top of the engine where the spark-plug wires are, over top of the intake manifold. This area of the engine does not get too hot, and I can keep the cotton-ball loaded socks between the wires and intake manifold without worry of losing them and catching on fire while driving. So far, after three weeks, no issues.

The downside, you smell like a hospital when you park; a small price to pay after a $1600.00 repair bill. I have read that the cotton-ball packets need to be changed once a month, so I bought a large bag of them from Walmart, in Langley City, that should keep me going for the next six months. The cotton-balls only cost me about five bucks for a bag of them! 

I now do a visual inspection at least once a week now. I pop the hood, and do a look around to see if I can spot any fresh chew marks on the wires, plus looking for mouse droppings and any other indicators of rodent trespassers. This also makes it less hospitable if any rat or mouse who thinks about moving in becuase of my activities. At least once a day now, I operate my vehicle, making sure it does not sit for to long, or no longer than a day.

So, I can say that cotton-balls do work for this type of problem. The extra benefit is, I will have no moths around me either when I park the vehicle for the night.

February Snow–More of it…

When I woke on Friday morning, I really did not think I would react so strongly to what I was on the ground, and what was coming from the sky. The snow was falling so hard that visibility was less than 1km, and the ground already had 6cm of snow by 9:00am. This was not your cold powdery snow, but the thick huge wet fluffy type that packs up hard and turns to ice once you have driven over it. Again I say, “I bought good tires for this season!” (place smile here) The good tires on my Pathfinder made the difference commuting to work on the roads.

Yes, the roads between Langley Township and Langley City, a tail of two towns. Overall, the roads were almost void of any volume of traffic; this made me very happy. But, the downside, the main roads in Langley Township were, well, for the most part, untouched by snow removal crews. My Nissan Pathfinder drove over the untouched roads without any real concern, though there was one spot that traction became an issue on River Road (88th Avenue), but as long as I kept my speed low all was good. As soon as I got into Langley City, where I work, the roads were bare, in really great condition. Like the Township, in the city, tragic volume was low–scary low. I felt I was driving through a ghost town. PARKING WAS AWESOME!!!!!! I never thought that I would see the day were I would have to choose between where to park my SUV in Langley City–like actually having a choice of parking stalls to pick from.

I give up on shoving. No more! I will wait until it melts. I protest the snow! No more.

Cube Land, a Story of a Friend Boxed In

Without naming names and keeping the innocent anonymous, I will just say a friend who lives in a condo taught me a thing or two about why you should always do your homework before buying a home. At just 23, my friend bought his condo in Langley City, which at the time was a really awesome deal. His mortgage was just a mere $250.00 per month, and his work was just a 5 minuet commute away. On top of his monthly payments were some maintenance charges, and of course his yearly taxes and insurance payments too, but all well within his means. All was good for my friend, and his life was one to envy.

It was a dark and stormy day back in the fall of 2014 when my friend’s life changed. Cube Land (the condominium), as I called it, hit a sudden snag for him. The building had a large crack along the under ground parking floor, and it grew day by day, suddenly spewing water and causing flooding, forcing some of the owners to park outside along the street. A broken water main that ran underground beside the building was the blame, and the repairs had to done at once. The inhabitance of Cube Land rejoiced as the repairs were completed, and all was normal again. But not until a yellow envelope was found pushed underneath my friend’s door that dark and stormy day, did his happiness ended, and his world imploded on him.

First his girlfriend wanted to move away from there, then he decided it was time to leave too after months of resistance, but the cost of those repairs was half of what his mortgage was worth now, and together his young family found there was no way out unless giving up all that they had worked for. His debt now nearly doubled, and his upgraded monthly payments dug into his living expenses, so he took on a part time job on top of his regular work to help pay for life in Cube Land. His girlfriend, now his wife, also took on extra work to help. They now found themselves struggling to keep a float, and each day brought new horrors of higher costs and extra fees that they had to pay.

Cube Land, once utopia, now became known as The Blight. It instilled all that my friend hated in the world. Selling was not an option, as there were rules and obligations in place that made it next to impossible for him to do so. It was a tragedy.

In this strange world of Cube Land, unexpected events happen that catch you off guard. It took an act so devastating that it changed my friend’s fortune, unexpectedly, to the good. A fire broke out in the unit below his, and caused enough damage that my friend had to move out. One would think this to be the ultimate of tragedies, but not so fast. With the help of Lawyer, and his insurance company, he managed to take his losses and turned them into a gain. He was one of the lucky ones.

Today, he now lives on land, a solid foundation, a house with a back yard, in the little city of Chilliwack, BC, now a 30 to 40 minute commute to his job. Thanks to the buy-out, his family has a new lease on life, pardon the pun. Cube Land still sits unrepaired and empty, “cursed,” as my friend says. Never again will he set foot there, never again.