All posts by Paul Cipywnyk

South Burnaby Ravine Forests Show Major Cooling Effect

I was happy to see that water temperatures have eased in Byrne Creek in southeast Burnaby.

Today I got readings of 10/11 C in the ravine, and a high of 13 C at the downstream end of the sediment pond. That’s off from 17+ a few weeks ago, which was getting high for the health of salmon and trout.

It was also interesting to note that the air temperature in the thick, tall woods of the ravine was 15 C, while the air temperature standing on the median of Southridge Drive, a four-lane road running past the ravine, was 24 C.

Another example of the natural services provided by woods and forests!

Samsung, Please, Don’t go ‘Bad Apple’ On Us

Wondering if I should upgrade my Samsung SIII phone to an S5 model, while the S5 is still available.

The reason I’m thinking about this is because I hear Samsung has gone Apple — as in “bad Apple” in the sense of constraining user access — on us, and made the S6 a sealed unit with non-user-replaceable battery, a la iPhone.

I have a second battery for my SIII, and it takes just seconds to pop the back off and switch batteries, or, for that matter, swap memory cards.

I like that.

And no, I’m not a knee-jerk Apple fumigator. I’ve had Macs since the mid-80s. I just don’t like Apple’s steadily increasing drive to shut out hardware hobbyists.

Or Samsung’s moves in that direction.

Raining Rodents in Burnaby

I heard a light thud on the roof, or perhaps a window, and looked out to see a rodent on the walk in front of our door.

Dropped by a raptor?

I put on a pair of disposable medical gloves (rodents can carry parasites) and put it in a box. I know a biologist who uses desiccated beasties for teaching, so it’s double bagged and in the freezer.

deermouse

Let’s Save Water All the Time

Here in BC’s lower mainland the ongoing drought has required water-use restrictions. Some folks are having trouble remembering this and adjusting to it.

In our home we’ve barely changed our behaviour. Why? Because over the years we’ve taught ourselves to always be aware of water use.

Why can’t we all use water mindfully all the time?

We’ve changed our behaviour in our home so that using the least amount of water, capturing water, and reusing grey water comes naturally.  It feels strange not to do it!

People are creatures of habit. Once you change your habits, conserving water is easy.

First, we’ve taken the obvious step of installing water-saving fixtures. We didn’t do it all at once, that would have been a daunting financial hit, but over the last ten years, when we renovated a bathroom, or the kitchen, or the utility room, we installed low-flow fixtures and water-thrifty appliances.

Now everything in our home is low flow or low use — all the shower heads, washer, dishwasher, etc. All of the toilets are dual flush.

Second, we’ve changed our behaviour. We’ve had a “new normal” in our home for decades now.

Here are a few examples of our “normal” water use:

  • When washing dishes don’t fill the sink, and only run water slowly when rinsing. All it takes to wash most dishes is a damp sponge with a little soap on it. If you have a double sink, wash the dishes over one bowl and deposit them in the second bowl. When you’re done washing, rinse quickly with slowly running water and place them on a rack. Single sink? Stack the dishes on the counter and deposit them in the bowl as you wash with your damp sponge.
  • When waiting for hot water to arrive when taking a shower, shaving, or washing up, capture the running water in a container. A plastic ice-cream pail or a large margarine tub works well. Use that water to recharge your toilet tank after a flush, or for watering plants, etc.
  • Don’t be shy, pee together when it’s all family! Well, perhaps not together, but one after the other : -). It’s not uncommon for three of us to share a flush: me, my wife and the cat. And occasionally we hit a grand slam by changing the water in the turtle’s tank as well!
  • We live in a townhouse complex, so we have just a small patch of lawn, and we let it go pretty brown every summer, not just during droughts. Our balcony garden is always watered by hand.

Since the water restrictions went into effect, we have modified two behaviours:

  • We’ve placed a plastic tub inside the rinsing section of the kitchen sink so that we capture the grey water and use it for watering outdoor plants. This system also works great when washing vegetables and fruit.
  • Rather than letting the shower run, we do a quick wetting, stop the water while shampooing and soaping, and then turn the water back on for a quick rinse.

I’m sure we can all come up with great ideas for using water efficiently, and incorporate them into our daily lives so they become habitual.

Met the Otter at Deer Lake Again

After our Deer Lake canoe shakedown cruise two days ago, we were going to canoe Burnaby Lake, but discovered there was a regatta in progress. So it was back to Deer Lake where we saw the otter again, and what appeared to be a juvenile bald eagle.

eagle deer lake

otter deer lake burnaby
This little fella was hanging around right where we saw him/her two days ago.

otter deer lake burnaby
Hide and seek among the lily pads

cipywnyk_deer_lake_kingfisher_20150718
This kingfisher was too far away for a good shot with my teeny pocket Canon PowerShot 520HS, so rather grainy in this blowup.

I am loath to take my DSLRs and big lenses canoeing!

Canoeing Burnaby’s Deer Lake

We dusted off the canoe and went for our first spin this year. Just been too busy to get out with Yumi both working full time and taking classes.

It was a lovely morning for a shakedown cruise, and we paddled leisurely around the lake a few times.

Deer Lake Canoeing
Heading out with Yumi in the bow

Yumi is always in the bow, seeing as I outweigh her by about 100 pounds : -)

Deer Lake geese
Lots of Canada Geese on the beach and lake

Deer Lake canoeing
Metrotown skyline

Deer Lake furry water beastie
This furry water beastie approached us, coming quite near before turning away

Deer Lake furry water beastie
Otter?

Deer Lake wildlife area market
Some years ago Burnaby designated the west end of the lake as a no-go wildlife area. People, please respect this haven.

Deer Lake cormorant and herons
A cormorant and three herons

cormorant herons Deer Lake wildlife area
You can clearly see the importance of this small area of urban biodiversity

Deer Lake mallard escort
An escort of mallards

Deer Lake damselfly
A visit from a damselfly

Yumi blackberries
Yumi doing her best to keep invasive Himalayan blackberries in check : -)

Deer Lake friendly mallard
This pretty mallard was pretty used to people, perhaps overly so!

Erickson's Baldwin House
Gliding toward Arthur Erickson’s Baldwin House

Deer Lake east beach
Back ashore at the east beach