This morning I awoke at five to find Attila up and engaging the day. He is going in to work early, as it is very busy and he wants to get a start on things early. Before leaving for work Attila has started a fire in the wood stove downstairs to keep the place warm today, and he has assembled all the kindling I need to begin curing the masonry heater for the winter. I have my first burn crackling merrily in the masonry hearth as I write. Curing the masonry heater is an annual ritual, necessary to slowly expel all moisture from the refractory cement core, to avoid steam during the force of a full fire burn. I will burn five or more small fires throughout the day today, and will continue to build incrementallly larger fires for the next five days. In five days a small amount of heat will begin to radiate from the heater and it will be ready for full service. I am not working this week, a short break, so this is the perfect time to charge the heater. Tending fires requires my attention at intervals, all day long. So, I have set the … Continue reading

What on earth…

I just had to write again today. I don’t know how I bumped into this collections of photos on the net. I don’t know what I could possibly have in common with a New York beat cop. I don’t know what constitutes excellence in the world of photography. I don’t care either. I know that this human being has created images, using a camera, that speak to me clearly. Here are two photographs I enjoyed, and am grateful that the individual who created them cared to share them. But for the Internet these images would not have been available to me.

Little things…

Attila and I headed for the little house over the Thanksgiving weekend.  We took the scenic route, thinking that the sunny day would enhance the colours of the fall leaves.  The sunny day was breathtaking, but most of the leaves had fallen.  No matter, we enjoyed our drive, even if it took an extra hour. The second bedroom at the little house has been such a mess that we have just shut the door and forgotten about it.  The smell in that little room has been awful.  Now that the forced air furnace is working the smell is not confined to that room.  On Sunday morning Attila managed to remove the last of the tiles from the floor, a job that Lares had done much of the weekend we took possession of the house, they were all covered with mildewed carpet backing.  Attila removed the bits and dust from the gluey sub-floor and put down a new mahogany sub-floor.  He then applied a primer coat of paint to the walls and finally applied primer to the new mahogany sub-floor.  The paint smell was awful, but superior by far to the smell of mildew! There are still holes in the walls, … Continue reading


My Grandfather fought in the First World War, as did many men from his rural community. When the Second World War came along he was married with children (the middle child my mother). Luckily he was employed and living in a vibrant and supportive rural community. He was the Post Master in his community. My Grandmother took care of the Post Office most of the time while my Grandfather worked at a variety of other jobs. My Grandparents also ran the local General Store and Gas Station, and again my Grandmother “manned” the business counter for both. They were wonderful people, honest, hard-working, intelligent, kind… They represent everything I admire in human beings. Most of what I value about being alive has been learned either directly from them or from their daughter, my mother, and her sisters. As a small child I seriously confused their home and community with heaven. One of the things I remember quite vividly was my Grandparent’s garden. It was a good sized garden, growing a variety of vegetables. The land surrounding my Grandparent’s house had little topsoil covering the granite below, so their gardens were planted on family property down the road. It was a … Continue reading


My area of expertise is not molecular biology.  Such cannot be said for Elizabeth Blackburn.  I recently watched a documentary called Immortal?, aired on The Passionate Eye, which included some footage of Liz Blackburn.  The documentary discussed the “science” of telomeres, it did not delve into the politics of science.  I found the documentary very interesting from a layman’s perspective and very biased from an analytical perspective. From where I see things science is not unbiased.  This perspective made my years in the academy politically challenging.  I think the answers you find are dependent on the questions you ask.  Science asks very specific questions, questions mediated by research funding and academic politics.  That is where the research begins; in the questions asked.  To these specific questions science finds very specific answers, that are often fascinating and often of benefit to humans and too often detrimental to human existence.  I feel that bias begins with the formation of questions asked, and continues during the process of answering the questions.  My point is not that all bias is bad; it is that all knowledge is biased. Informed decision making must include acknowledgement and consideration of bias. Elizabeth Blackburn and the Story of … Continue reading