Monday, July 16, 2007

Helpful Reviews

The Children's Hour

Just when I thought I might not need to get any more books.
Shame, shame.
Now that was just a terrible lie. I have never thought I might not need to get any more books.

Challies on Environmentalism

Tim Challies posted his thoughts on being a Christian and caring for the environment. Here is an excerpt that I particularly enjoyed reading:
As Christians we should have the highest view of the earth, seeing it as a gracious and generous gift of God. We should be first in line to protect it, to tend to it, and to attempt to reverse whatever damage we have done to it. Yet we must not fool ourselves into believing that we can save it in and of ourselves. The earth is not neutral or inherently good. Not anymore. We ruined it and have to be prepared for it to continue to decay, just as you and I will do. As our bodies rot and decay, so too does the earth. So while we tend to it, we do so from a perspective that realizes that this earth is only our temporary home. When the Lord returns He will redeem it, He will rebuild it, and restore it to its original perfection.

Click here to read the post in its entirety as well as the comments left by his readers.

Wednesday, July 11, 2007

Monday, July 09, 2007

A Prayer for Gracious Words

Lord, my mouth....

I remember when these kids were toddlers and we would laugh when they mimicked our tone of voice or an oft-said phrase. They are mimicking still. A dozen times a day I hear my impatience, irritation, and lack of kindness coming out of my children's mouths.

Read the rest of Tonia's prayer at her blog Intent

Saturday, July 07, 2007

I'm sure he didn't mean it that way...

My son was opening his mouth as wide as he could and then asking me if his mouth was big.
I said, "Yep, as big as a shark's mouth". We had just read a book about dolphins and sharks and we noted the large mouths they have.
He turned to me and innocently said, "Mommy, open your big mouth."
I burst out laughing and thought, "I'm glad your father isn't around to hear that one".
Kids, they keep you humble.

Friday, July 06, 2007

Canal Bridge Cranked By Hand

We stood with a small gathering of onlookers to watch the lock staff manager use a long lever to turn the crankshaft in the middle of the bridge. He literally ran around in a circle to keep the bridge moving. You can hear on the video one man standing behind me commenting that "I would've passed out." For more information on the canal and lock system, click the link below the video.
Also click here to watch a video from inside the lock. It gives you a good feel of how the low the water is initially, especially for the smaller boats.

Rideau Canal info

Boats Thru the Lock

This is the video I took of the boats clearing the last lock on the canal. The bridge that is usually across the road is "sitting" on the right side of the canal over the roadway.

The fruit of my labors

Strawberry jam made with organic sugar. The jars and their lids were free at a yardsale I went to two weeks ago as was the wooden tray they are sitting on. I actually got two trays like that one which have come in handy several time now. They need to be stained which I hope to get done soon. All in all, I enjoyed myself yesterday as I listened to the book Anne of Green Gables on cd. I've been listening to this for the past week while I do various jobs around the house, and I'm really enjoying the story, even though I have seen the movies a bazillion times.
This is the second batch of strawberries that we have picked this season from a rural farm just a mile or two down the road. The first pickings were inhaled just plain as they were little and sweet. These firmer larger berries were better for making jam. I have some berries still left, but I need to get more jars if I'm going to use them for jam.
I still have a jar of freezer jam left to use that I made this past spring for my son who somehow got picky about his jelly last year. I have since convinced him to eat whatever kind I pair with his peanut butter. I think I prefer cooked jam as the chunks of strawberries are smaller and the jam is not as runny. But since I haven't sampled mine yet, I better reserve my final judgments until I at least open a jar.
I also have a small amount of raspberries which need some attention very soon. I might just make a pie this afternoon to use up the rest of the berries.

An afternoon at the locks

We took some time this past Monday to pack a picnic lunch and head over to a neighboring town where the Rideau Canal flows through. We parked the car and walked through a grove of trees into a park area right on the canal. There were many families already enjoying the beautiful weather and boats moving up and down the canal. There is more park area across the canal accessible by a bridge that swings out of the way to let the boats through the locks.
I took quite a few pictures and several videos as it was a very busy place this past holiday weekend.

As you can see in the picture, the boats in the lock start out very low and slowly(about 10-15 minutes) rise with the increased water level to the normal height of the canal. The boatees must hold ropes which lash the boat to the side of the canal to prevent them from floating into other boats and poles which are used to keep the boats from smahing into the cement sides of the lock. For bigger boats, it requires at least two people to man the ropes and poles, sometimes three. In the far left corner of the picture, you can see a man walking across the gates of the lock. They don't actually open the gates until the water level is high and the boats are almost ready to move through.

As is was a busy day, the boats were manuvered into position in order to accomodate as many as possible. While these boats were being lifted, there were several boats waiting at the top to go down the three locks. They had quite a wait as there were more boats behind these pictured here that would go next. And as you can see from both pictures, you are able to stand as close to the edge as you want to risk. There are no guide rails or barriers, which makes parents nervously hold back their children's inquiring bodies.

Here an American boat from New York is the first to exit the lock and is now free to continue their journey down the canal. Several other large boats that we saw also were from the States with one being marked as far away as Florida.

Here is the second load of boats we watched making their way through the three locks. As we stood and watched the boats being assigned places in the lock, I was able to give one Fourth of July greeting to an American couple who had a very expensive large boat and were both outfitted with headsets as they worked the ropes and poles at either ends of their boat. The man thanked me and passed the greetings along to his wife through the headset. He probably thought, "Canadians are quite friendly." The next picture is a close-up of their boat which is out of Washington D.C.

The locksmith manager had several boats he couldn't fit in this last load, but he said that the boaters waiting at the top needed to get down next as they had been there awhile. These particular locks are manually cranked but there are apparantly other locks in other areas that are opened hydraulically.

The bridge is swung back into place so that the waiting park traffic can cross before more boats are lifted up the lock. I have a couple of videos showing the bridge being manuevered back across the road which I may post later. We had a wonderful afternoon together in the sunshine watching the boats and people. It is only about 15 minutes from our house and is a great place to relax by the water.