Sunday, February 28, 2021

Riverside Winter Walk

For the second time recently, I ported my longest lens on a winter walk. A main reason on each occasion was that I was keeping my eye out for swans. A few have been hanging around and have been photographed by others.

Alas, they haven't been where I have been, at least not when I have been there. It doesn't bother me too much as I am not a keen wildlife photographer, but it would still be a diversion.

Also for the second time, there were ducks way out on the river. They are not mallards but black and white ducks. But they are too far away to identify. Even with my telephotos, they were fuzzy blobs. I tried but failed..

I did take a few photos of this amazing tree. Having my telephoto lens meant that I could not get the whole thing in the frame, and I think maybe that turned out to be a good thing. I converted them to mono in post. Winter is almost b&w anyway.

There was just enough snow sticking to the tree to make them appealing photos,

We continued through the park with Sue leading the way, but that tree had been pretty much the main highlight, and I didn't find anything else to shoot except for Sue walking.

At the other end of the park, however, I spotted a fellow coming with his two dogs. I pointed my camera to an open spot and waited until they walked into the frame.

Dogs being dogs, they wanted to visit, even though we were quite a long way off.

It had been a pleasant walk on a sunny and a not too cold winter day. It was nice to take a few photos as I have been in a photographic funk for the past month. It has been weeks since I have bothered to post on Flickr, which I have been doing regularly for many years.

I did get some swan pics around this time last year, and I imagine that they look pretty well the same this year.

Saturday, February 27, 2021

From George to Siias

This will be my third and final post about Sue's Morton pedigree.


So far, we have seen that Sue's pedigree goes a long way back, possibly to 1200 CE. Dates get iffy back in the early days, but the data seem fairly solid for viable connection between present Mortons and the early De Martons.

We also learned that a George Morton (more below) immigrated to Massachusetts very early on and that the links from him to Sue are strong.

The third point of solid record, with regards to movement and geographical location, is that Silas Morton emigrated from the USA to Canada, sometime before 1850.

Now for more about George, the ancestor who came to the New World.

George Morton (1585 - 1624) 

I am using this Wikipedia entry for this information. The basic information about George such as dates, wife, and children is consistent with P's version of the family tree.

According to Wiki, George was an English Puritan Separatist who very likely assisted in the writing and/or publishing of Mourt's Relation in 1662: a book about the founding of the Plymouth Colony.

Once the book was published and his various affairs were set in order, he emigrated to Massachusetts on the Anne in 1623 to join his fellow pilgrim Puritans. This was just three years after the Mayflower.

He had a son named George who married Phoebe Cooper. This George II is the person who continues the line to Sue. A caveat is that there is no firm record of the birth of this second George. Obviously, he existed and both Wikipedia and P tie him back to George I and on to Sue's pedigree.

I am not sure where George II was born, and he's a bit of a mystery. If P is correct, he would have been born in England in 1609. If Wikipedia is correct, he would have been born in Massachusetts in 1624.  But then I don't see him on the passenger list of the Anne. Maybe he arrived earlier or later? 

The same Wikipedia source links some of the more noteworthy descendants of George I.

  • Marcus Morton was, twice, a governor of Massachusetts.
  • Julius Sterling Morton was the third Secretary of Agriculture and the founder of Arbor Day.
  • Joy Morton, a male despite the name, was the founder of the Morton Salt Company
  • Henry Cotton Morton built the Morton House Museum in Benton Harbor, Michigan

That's a wrap, and as best we can tell, it is Sue's long and fairly well substantiated pedigree on her father's side. Although I have only concentrated on Sue's line, P did the whole family Morton, with all sorts of children and branches. It is a very thorough and impressive document.

Friday, February 26, 2021

The Peregrinations of the Mortons

When I began on Ancestry by entering myself into the database, I was soon given links or hints  -- my parents, grandparents, and a lot of so -ons-and-so-forths after that. Some lines went a long way back. Others not so far, but I have at least a few generations in each of my four grandparent lines.

Not so when I entered my beloved or her parents, which seems strange. It was like they didn't exist. Even two out of  her four grandparents drew blanks.

Her grandfather, Morton, however, led to the same information that P documented (see previous post), and the Morton line was more or less congruent between P and Ancestry for the next several centuries. There were a few times, when Ancestry didn't offer any hints, but then I would type in the information from P, and off we went once again.

Several centuries along there were some discrepancies with dates, but the characters seemed to remain true, at least until I got to page 1 (which I posted yesterday) and that was way back in the 15th century and to the beginning of the 13th century. Once again, I tip my hat to P, and while I can't know for sure that every person is 100% accurate, I do have a lot of confidence in her research. If there are mistakes five or more centuries ago, well, the world won't stop spinning.

I wrote that Sue's clan were De Martons before they became Mortons about a century and a half later in the 1400s. The Da Martons and Mortons lived in Bawtry for almost four centuries, and I suppose that many did long after that. I don't know if they were all Lords of Bawtry, and if not, when the title passed out of Sue's direct line.

Then, I saw a change, for George Morton, who was born in Yorkshire (1585) died in Plymouth, MA in 1624. There Sue's ancestors remained for two centuries. (I will post more of George later in one final Morton entry.)

Almost 200 years after George migrated from England to Massachusetts, I noticed that Silas Morton, who was born in Hatfield, MA in 1789, died in Keswick, Ontario in 1850. I found that he was married in MA in 1808, and his first six children, including Silas Jr (Sue's ancestor) were born in the USA (tip of the hat to Bruce Springsteen), the last being Friend [sic] Francis in 1819. He then sired three more children in Canada from 1825-1831.

Presumably then, he immigrated to Canada sometime around 1820-1824, and his son Silas Jr was still young and came with him.

Sue's Mortons have lived here in this province ever since, with both Sue and her parents being born and raised in Toronto. Sue then moved with me to Guelph where I finished university. We kept going westward in Ontario to London for College of Ed, and then to Sarnia to teach for 30 years.

While in Sarnia, daughters Shauna and Allyson were born. Shauna moved to Eastern Ontario, near Ottawa and Allyson moved west to Vancouver shortly thereafter. After my retirement, followed by my mother's passing, Sue and I decided to make the move to Eastern Ontario in 2005 to be closer to Shauna. Two years later, Danica was born, and Jonathan two years after that.

We are not terribly far from near Cornwall where my own ancestors settled. I probably should scoot down there one summer and nose around graveyards. How safe will it be to scoot about this summer, I wonder. September seems to be the estimated date when it may be significantly safer, but we'll have to see.

Thursday, February 25, 2021

Quite a Pedigree

I still feel a little peculiar when referring to people's ancestry as pedigrees. Used in this context, the term was unknown to me until recently and still feels odd to use in this context.

Previously, I  wrote a little about the long Scottish line of my pedigree, but this post is about Sue's lineage. Lineage: I like lineage. It sounds less like I am referring to a show cat although Sue most definitely is the cat's .... ahem ... sorry. I do tend to get carried away.

Almost 20 years ago, Sue received a nineteen page, photocopy of her lineage on her dad's side, the Mortons. We were wondering where the dang thing had got to.

One recent day, we (as in Sue) decided to clean the pile of mailers that I had kept sticking between the filing cabinet and the shelving unit. Said pile was just about chest high, and one doesn't really need quite so many used mailers, as nifty as they are.

And there it was in a folder at the bottom of the overflow. Of course, unlike in the following photo, it was stuffed in sideways at the time. I repent that I did not think to take a before picture, but the mailers went up and up, beyond the level shown in the photo. The ones remaining are unused and potentially useful.

This document on the Mortons was compiled by a relative whom we have never met, P, from Alberta. It made its way to Sue in 2002. P had tracked the Morton line all of the way back to 1200 CE in Yorkshire, England, when her earliest known ancestors were called De Marton.

The de Martons seem to have been Lords of Bawtry in Yorkshire for many generations. However, they dropped the de, changed the a to an o, and became just Morton in the 6th generation, probably ~1350. The first named Morton was Sir Robert Morton, at the bottom #6 of the pedigree snapshot below. 

According to P's findings, Robert married Joan de Skinton and sired two children. Their son, Robert, continued the line all of the way down to Sue and, of course, Shauna and then Danica and Jonathan. I make it as 25 generations from William de Marton to Dani and JJ.

Given the historical period, a little over a century after the Norman conquest in 1066, the De most likely indicates French/Norman ancestry.

Strangely enough, I was once told that my surname, Rayner, also derived from a Norman (I think, knight) from Yorkshire. I have never confirmed this, but it is possible that our ancestors knew each other back then.

There are 5 more generations on page 1 as we edge toward the 1500s (repeating Robert Morton from above, #6.)

With my current Ancestry subscription, I cannot really verify these very early records. I refuse to pay an extra $12 to $15 per month for the privilege of delving into the older records and don't know if  even that would do it. What I can tell you is that up until about 1500 (which begins on the next page and which I am not bothering to post today), P's research seems to be very congruent with Ancestry information. There are dating discrepancies as we proceed into the 16th century and later, but her findings work really well overall.

I don't know how P was able to accomplish all of this remarkable research back in the days before the internet or at least before much internet. If this document was sent to us in 2002 after whatever amount of time it took to go through a few hands, it had to have been compiled mostly in the 90s. I am recalling that the internet didn't become much of a tool before about he mid-nineties, and it was still pretty rudimentary back then.

I am guessing that P was not short of funds and could travel for her research if necessary and could also afford to purchase copies of documents.

There will be more to write, but that is enough for one blog post. Stay tuned.

Wednesday, February 24, 2021

Little and Big Changes

We're just about a year into this COVID pandemic, and it is still an ongoing thing. While the pandemic lingers and will, I expect, continue to be with us for quite some time, some things have changed. Some little, some big.

I recall that one of the first public health messages, just a year ago, was to not wear masks. But that changed rapidly, so rapidly that it would be easy to forget that the very first reactions, by at least some authorities, were not in favour of masking. This is what science does -- learns and evolves.

A really huge change has been that people are being vaccinated in record-breaking time. The vaccines have been developed, tested, manufactured, shipped, distributed and injected within just a year. Just a year! By contrast, if I understand correctly, the previous record for the development and rollout of a new vaccine took 4 years. Science again: utterly remarkable, really.

While I know that the manufacture and distribution components are not going as fast as we'd like, I'd prefer not to whine or nag when so much has been accomplished against what would have seemed to be very long odds.

On a local and lesser level, our grocery store has evolved too.

My routine has been to schedule my orders and pickup for Tuesdays and then begin my next order when the new weekly flyers and sales come out, around Thursday.

I don't have to complete the order right when I begin it on Thursday. I just need to put a few items into my online cart in order to snag a pickup time for 11AM the following Tuesday. I am subsequently able to add to the order until the clock strikes midnight, Monday (going from Sunday to Monday if that confuses you as it sometimes does me).

The store then emails, texts and calls (Yes! all 3) sometime after 10 on Tuesday to tell me that the order will be ready at 11 and to let me know if there have been any omissions or substitutions. 

Yesterday, they didn't do this.

Hmm. I had the sneaky suspicion that something was amiss and that it would be my fault. Naturally.

With a feeling of foreboding, I checked my cart on the app and had an uh oh moment when I saw that it was still full because it should have shown as empty after midnight Monday once the order was locked in. This meant that I had not secured my pickup time. I surmise that I forgotten the payment step, and so my scheduled pickup time had been withdrawn.

I checked available time slots and was very surprised to see that I could still reserve a time for 2 o'clock on the very same day, just 3 hours later than my preferred time.

And that, right there, is the change. For when the pandemic first hit, it took me weeks to finally nail a pickup time for my first order. I remember calling the company in utter frustration, wondering if the app was broken. It wasn't. The system had been suddenly overwhelmed.

Now, I can, apparently, make and pickup an order with just a few hours notice. I hadn't realized this improvement until just yesterday.

I am impressed how the company/store adapted to meet the profound new need. This is such a change since last year -- a little change in the grand scheme of things, but a much appreciated one, nevertheless.

Changes. Some huge, some little. All beneficial. All appreciated.

Tuesday, February 23, 2021

Coffee and Time

As I have previously posted, quite possibly more than once, I do a somewhat unique coffee thing in the morning. 

I wake up early, usually hours before Sue, and make myself a single serving mug from a pod. Later, I make a big pot to greet m'lady's arising.

Our brew of choice for the big pot is Van Houtte's Belgian Chocolate.

When m'lady comes into the den for her brew, I usually ask her to pour me another mug, more like a half mug, as I am either sitting at the computer or under my iPad in my chair.

She adds cream first, pours (drips?) the coffee, and then adds more cream as necessary. We both like a creamy coffee, coloured beige. She gets it right.

On infrequent mornings such as this, however, when I rise late (for me!) and closer to the time of her rising, I dispense with the single serving mug and brew the pot straightaway.

I swear that I do the same thing that she does, and my mug is good enough.

But when she does come around for her mug, I still ask for my second pouring.

And hers is always better. No matter what I do, my mix is not as good as hers.

It shouldn't be hard, but I just can't quite get it quite as good as she does.

We all have our talents, but I will be 74 this year, and I am still looking for mine.

Alas, I am running out of time.

Monday, February 22, 2021

Breakfast Break

It was breakfast time, but nothing appealed. Neither hot cereal nor cold cereal nor the bread that was available for toast. And we wouldn't have eggs until grocery pickup tomorrow. Not that we make that kind of breakfast very often.

Idea: why not go out for breakfast?

Of course, we aren't about to go out for a traditional, restaurant breakfast, but how about picking up from the coffee shop (Tims for ye Canucks) and take it to the water or at least the parking lot near the water.

It seemed like a plan, so that's what we did. Of course, we took another version of what has become our traditional, pandemic car photo. We haven't taken one for quite awhile though because, except for short drives, we've hardly been out of the house for two months.

It wasn't a brilliant day, as witnessed by the view through the car window. Our eye view, however, was a little clearer since we were farther back from the window than the camera was for this picture.

I got out to take a pano with my phone. 

The phone had a tough time blending, but that's okay. It looks dirty. When the snow isn't fresh it can get this way if it doesn't lie in an undisturbed field, as it does beyond the pile.

We were only there for a half hour, and despite the bleak day, it was a very nice little break.

By the time we got home, it was more snowy than rainy, and I expect it will go back and forth today and possibly for a few days. I don't mind seeing the mixed weather as the temperatures begin to rise, however slightly, because February has been quite cold.

Saturday, February 20, 2021

Bejewelled Snow

This was going to be one of those mornings when I had no grist for the [blogger] mill. That would be okay; there is no blogging law requiring me to post daily although I seem to be just about doing that.

But we had a light snow much of yesterday. It wasn't enough for the contractor to pay a visit, but our neighbour helped anyway. They often come over when there is not enough snow for the contractor to come by or to clean up afterward. I/we can do the job, but they seem anxious to help.

Last evening, their daughter helped too as she requires a community project in order to graduate. We will be happy to sign the required form.

That was a but of digression to get around to telling you that it is quite pretty out there this morning. There is a glaze on the trees that is being caught by the light.

I took up my compact camera, which sits on the shelves behind me, and fired a few shots through the window.

Photos of bejewelled snow don't usually turn out very well, and while these are not perfect and not nearly as good as the real thing, they are not bad either.

Good enough for you to get the idea anyway.

Friday, February 19, 2021

A Short and Snowy Trail Walk

After the big snow, we wanted to walk the trail for a bit. Getting there was a bit of a problem because there was so much snow piled by the entrances that parking was problematic. Eventually, we drove to the arena which abuts onto the trail. Getting down to the trail from the parking lot was still a bit difficult, but we managed.

As you can see from Sue's lack of head cover, it wasn't excessively cold, but the temperature plummeted the next day to -20C or the fahrenheit zero.

There was only a narrow part of the path that had been tamped down, so we walked single file.

We didn't go far, but it was quite pretty. This was a view opposite the river on the south side.

We also had nice glimpses down toward the river on the north side.

That was our little outing.

February has brought mostly cold weather along with snow accumulation because whatever snow has fallen has stayed with us. Even though winter was not excessively wintry through December and January (for here, all things considered), one still begins to weary of it come February, which has been pretty harsh. I look forward to March, when it will still definitely be winter, but we should still see some abatement on some days later in the month.

Thursday, February 18, 2021

Genealogical Uncertainty

I shouldn't even post this about my pathetic genealogical troubles, but since I almost had to write it out anyway to help clarify my mind, here it is. I realize very few will have any interest whatsoever, but I know that some of you do have some experience and may have thoughts.

I have recently posted that I can trace Scottish ancestry back quite a way, and I have more recently unearthed some Cornish ancestry which also goes back quite a way. However, I have had trouble getting past my GG Grandfather, William Robinson. This is the Irish side of my genealogy or at least one of the Irish lines.

We know that my great grandfather was Israel Robinson, and it seems certain that his father was William. It was there that I drew a blank on the Ancestry website. Perhaps I require a higher level of membership, but I decided to try of the Latter Day Saints denomination (Reorganized Church of?). 

Here's what I think I know for sure about the this branch of the family from the Ancestry site. 

  • According to the 1851 census, my G Grandfather, Israel, was 14 and was living with a William Robinson, age 66. The census lists William as bring born in Ireland, and it follows that would have been ~1785.
  • There was also a Mary Robinson, age 51, who was born in Canada. Presumably and later confirmed, this would be William's wife and Israel's mother..
  • The next census, 1861, shows William as 74 (not 76?) and Israel as 24. It doesn't list a wife named Mary although she, apparently from later data, lived until 1881.
  • I also have a record of marriage between, Israel Robinson, and Elizabeth Drew on December 31 1872. William Robinson and Mary Brown were listed as parents. Therefore, I am as certain as can be that William is my GG Grandfather and that he was born in Ireland ~1785. 
  • I think that I can also be sure Mary Brown was William's wife and the mother of my grandfather, Israel.
That was as far as I could get on the Ancestry site, so I scuttled over to FamilySearch and began to input data. It became both interesting and confusing.
  • There was a William Robinson born in Ireland ~1785, and he married a Margaret McDonald (perhaps McDonough) in Ireland. They had three children from 1811 to 1819.
  • Although it would seem that he could have been any William Robinson, FamilySearch records do have this William Robinson as also being a person who died in Stormont, Ontario, Canada in 1876. This fits my GG Grandfather just about perfectly..
  • If this was, indeed, my William Robinson, his parents were James Robinson and Mary Mead (back on the Irish side of the ocean again).
Questions ensue.

Is this really the same William Robinson, and, if so, how come the multiple wives? (It also looks as though there was even another wife before his Irish wife, Margaret McDonald.)

Keep in mind that his Canadian children don't appear on the scene until 1827, with my Great Grandfather Israel not being born until 1836. William, the randy old goat, would have be siring children in his forties and even into his late fifties as he kept reproducing even after Israel. Therefore, it is possible that he could have had children with Margaret in Ireland from 1811 to 1819 when he would have been in his late twenties and early thirties and then with Mary Brown in Canada 8 years later.

Could William have had two wives, one in Ireland and one in Canada? Indications are that if so, his Irish wife would have still been alive when he was in Canada, which is puzzling.

It's an interesting little mystery that will, quite possibly, remain a mystery.

Wednesday, February 17, 2021

Cauliflower Directions, Valentines and Snow

Some of you felt that I wasn't explicit enough in describing Sue's cheesy cauliflower recipe two posts ago, so I will attempt to remedy that little oversight. This was the final, all-done photo if you recall, but you can see the sequence of photos in that earlier post.

Following are the further details, which a few of you wanted to have described more fully.

  • Steam the cauliflower for 8-10 minutes. This means boiling the cauliflower with just a little water in the pot. Eight minutes will probably be enough; check it then. The cauliflower should beginning to soften but not too much.
  • Remove from oven. Apply mayonnaise and mustard glaze and then coat with shredded cheese. See the process in photos in the previous post.
  • Bake at 350 for 10 minutes.
  • Broil for perhaps 30 seconds. Keep your eye on the dish to get a result that pleases you.

Right: the kids on Valentines Day, taken by their stepmother. Left: their gift of a hot chocolate bomb -- add warm milk and watch the result (we have yet to do this).


We awoke to a pretty big but not gargantuan snowfall yesterday. It was probably about 20cm (8in).

As you know, we have a contractor to plow the driveway but we still have to shovel out by the garage door and along the short walkway to the front door. Our kind neighbours often do this for us before we even have a chance, but I did the job yesterday morning. Sue stuck her head out the door long enough to take a couple of photos.

I have been letting my beard grow fuller and longer than usual during the lockdown. I am not sure where I am headed with this, but it is something to do, and I will keep letting it grow for now.

Although our contractor had plowed the driveway by 6AM, the town plows came by again and blocked the entrance. Fortunately, our guy returned by about 10AM so that I could get out in time to pick up our weekly grocery order.

This is what it looks like from my den this morning, one day afterward. Not all of the snow was new. We did have a complete cover before the storm.


One more photo from our walk on the previous day before the big snow. You can see that I brought my camera, but I only took one photo. I suppose there were a few more options available, but old feet and knees prevented me from proceeding through the snow tp get close enough to the water's edge to take those shots. I sometimes find my reduced mobility frustrating.

When I wrote that I only took one photo, it took two snaps. Because I took my longest lens that day, I required two clicks to photograph all of the rink on the river. I joined them together in post but not quite seamlessly, unfortunately. You can see the line where the two parts join. 

The river was frozen over in the foreground, but the cleared section for the rink was near open water. This is wonderfully Canadian, but Sue was alarmed about the proximity to the open water. 

Tuesday, February 16, 2021

We Are Unlocked

Lockdown is over. I don't know if it should be over, but it is -- at least for us, for now.

Some areas, such as Toronto are still under stay-at-home orders, but much of the province is beginning to re-open. Our health unit has been coded as green, so while we have normal restrictions, such as continuing to mask in indoor public spaces, there is much room for movement as well.

As an example, here's what Green means with regards to restaurants.

I am not in hurry to rush around into public indoor spaces, but I will feel freer to move around outdoors. While driving has not really been restricted, I have, nevertheless, felt it so, and I have heard about very rare cases of people being ticketed for being out and about. I do think that in these very few instances the police have exceeded their mandate, and I expect such tickets to be quashed in court.

There can be little doubt that the lockdown has worked. The province was exceeding 3000 new cases/day, and ICU accomodation was becoming very worrisome. We have been in the 1000 range for about a week now -- still too many but much much better.

I hope the opening doesn't lead to another mighty wave, especially with the newer more transmissible variants gaining ground. Border restrictions are being ramped up even more to try to keep the spread at bay. Soon, returnees must produce a negative test result when they attempt re-entry and will still be expected to quarantine at home for 14 days. Those who cannot produce proof of a negative test will be required to stay in designated hotels at their own expense although I am still murky on the exact details..

Finally, vaccinations are taking place. While they are currently just being provided to healthcare workers and seniors in residences, they should still help a lot.

Progress. I think.

Monday, February 15, 2021

Cuppa Caters to AC

I can't help it, but I don't like veggies, at least not for the most part or not as other people like them.

Carrots, for example: I can manage if they have been roasted, with butter applied, until they begin to blacken and no longer taste like carrots.

Sue has also found a way to get me to eat cauliflower.

First she steams the cauliflower to begin to soften it. I don't prefer crunchy, especially in vegetables.

Then she applies a mayonnaise and mustard glaze -- just regular, yellow mustard.

The glaze allows the next layer -- cheese -- to stick. Getting extra cheese on the dish is also part of the plan.

Finally, she bakes the cauliflower for about 10 minutes and then broils it for a number of seconds.

AC finds the resulting dish pretty darn delectable and suggests that, even if you are already a veggie lover, that like Sue, you will like this concoction.

Sunday, February 14, 2021

A Day for Red Roses

We celebrated Cupid's day yesterday (or at least acknowledged the occasion more than wildly celebrated it) mainly by ordering fish and chips. You will recall here (how could you not?) that we got it wrong a few weeks ago by somehow getting fish and chips sans chips. It was time to right that wrong. Now, the craving is out of our systems -- for the time being, at least.

We had decided that Saturday would be a better day to order in rather than wait until today, so I that is when I also gave Sue the card that I had fashioned.

The front.

Inside: the text may be difficult to read in this image,but you will be able to click and expand it or go to this link to read the Robbie Burns poem in text mode.

John McDermott, a Canadian of Irish descent has a lovely version of the song. Back in the day, after we purchased our first CD player to add to our stereo system (remember stereo systems and also CDs for that matter?) a John McDermott album was our first purchase. It was not this CD, but we did add Old Friends in due course.

Due to the lockdown, we did not have gifts to exchange. In our last grocery order, I had thought to include a heart-shaped box of Turtles with the idea of removing it from the bag and sneaking it into the house to offer at the appropriate time. That being the day of the famous battery failure, I forgot to do this, so Sue saw the box when she unpacked the groceries. However, we managed to keep ourselves away from these delectable goodies for a few days, at least.

Sue took this photo of me wearing as much red as possible in acknowledgement of the day..

I hope you have a good Valentines Day.

Saturday, February 13, 2021

Caturday 27: Lacey's Anniversary

Our odd puss, Lacey, has now been with us for two years. (The actual day is closer to next weekend, but I need a topic for today.) She was 8 years old (or so they thought) when we brought her home from the shelter.

When I say that she is odd, I repeat one more time her morning ritual of sitting by my computer chair, waiting to be fed kibble. It is not quite hand feeding, but it is close, as I drop two or three morsels at a time. 

Here she is waiting to be fed. She will assume this position at other times as well, such as whenever she wants something from me. When bedtime nears, it is the tossing of treats that she expects. I take her to the stairs and toss a few treats down to her great joy with her primordial pouch flapping and jiggling in her haste.

She doesn't sleep with us, but she now accompanies Sue to bed. She will sit on Sue for maybe 10 minutes, kind of perched more than snuggling down. Those 10 minutes go slowly for Sue who has a great need to twitch when she first goes to bed, and it is difficult to twitch with fairly large cat on top of you. Sue doesn't twitch all night, just for those first 10-20 minutes. So not only do I have an odd cat but .... (ahem)

While she does do laps, mostly Sue's lap, those visits are also usually kept to about 10 minutes. She she will revel in being petted for those 10 minutes as long as she doesn't see the hand coming near her. She still flinches when she sees a hand. As long as she doesn't see the hand she enjoys petting -- a lot.

The hand aversion must be a result of being treated roughly by a former owner. Also, to repeat from past posts, we were told that she had been left alone a lot in the time before she was taken to the shelter.

She stopped using my chair for a long time but has been getting back to it lately.

Happy anniversary, Lacey. I am happy to have given you a good home in these your middle years.

Friday, February 12, 2021

Our Scottish Connection

I have been searching my pedigree on Ancestry and came upon a connection that was much more full-fledged than I had anticipated: the Scottish connection. 

You don't hear much of daughter #2 on here because she lives thousands of miles away in Vancouver, and we haven't seen her for four years. I thought that since she once visited Scotland for a number of weeks that she might be interested in my genealogical findings.

Rather than rewriting, I will append, with some revisions, part of the email that I wrote to her.

My great grandmother Elizabeth Drew* (1851-1929) certainly had a Scots-like name. She married Israel Robinson of Irish ancestry, but there had to be Scots lurking back there. Mostly, however, I thought we were English and Irish. And mostly, I suppose, we are.

*In passing, I note that I have read that the name, Drew, comes from Druid. Take it for what it is worth.

But when I clicked on her father, who was Shadrach Drew, I just kept going back and back with multiple lines extending into the early 1500s and even the late 1400s. I guess the records are so complete because there was a lot of nobility back there -- barons, lairds, ladies, judges and so on. I even spotted a Governor General.

Shadrach, your great great great great grandfather, was born in Ontario, near Cornwall in 1825 as was his father Paul Drew (1803-1860). Paul's immediate ancestors were also born in Ontario, but several generations back on his mother's side, Donald Ross was born in Glencalvie, Scotland in 1774. He married Christina Ann Munro who was a daughter of Lt Hugh Munro. It seems that Hugh Munro and his father, John Munro, were United Empire Loyalists who first settled in New York State before then moving to Ontario during or after the American Revolution. 

John Munro was a colonel and also a  judge. According to the records, he was born at/in Foulis Castle in 1728. As I followed the lines, I keep getting dragged back with each generation doubling the number of ancestors until I began to get lost.

There were so many lines and people that I think I would need a 10ft x10ft monitor to display everyone. As it is, when I go back far enough, I can only see one line at a time amongst many. Since they are all just names to me, my mind begins to overload.

Here is John Munro's pedigree. You can enlarge it to fullscreen, and you can see all of their birth and death dates. The records go all of the way back to 1480. I never expected this.

The next screen capture is from a closely related line, the MacPhersons, which goes back to 1500.

Note: Your mother also recently recovered her pedigree on the Morton side. She was sent the document back in 2002 but we lost track of it. It was in my room on the floor by the file cabinet, under approximately 4 dozen used mailers. When we decided that we didn't need all those mailers, we, as in she, found the Morton genealogy document at the bottom of the pile.

Maybe I will also send some of that information at some point.

What I will add  to this post, which I did not include in my email to Allyon, are a few photos of some the most recent ancestors that I mentioned above.

Elizabeth Drew (Robinson) and Israel Robinson, my great grandparents, outside their farmhouse in Eastern Ontario, near Cornwall.

My Great Great Grandmother Helen Drew (nee Hall, 1821-1908). My mother knew her as Granny Drew, even though Helen was her great grandmother.

I know little of Helen's pedigree. Her father was William Hall (b 1784). Her mother was Mary (b 1786), but I don't know her maiden surname. I guess they were common folk who left little record. But it is Helen's husband, Shadrach, where the Scottish line(s) goes back into the mists of time, or at least into the 1400s in some cases. 

I have posted of these near ancestors in this post previously, so I will append those links so that I have them all in one place.

Thursday, February 11, 2021

The Lamentable Death of an Automobile Battery

I knew that I was pushing it with the car battery. The cold weather had been making starting up the car iffy for some time. In fact, it had been necessary to charge it once. I have also already posted that we felt that we needed to take Harriet the Chariot for a spin every few days.

On Tuesday, I decided to leave for grocery pickup with enough time to allow me to go for another little recharging drive first. It was not to be.

The battery was kaput and our little charger was not sufficient this time to resurrect it from its cold death.

What to do?

We have a membership with the auto club, so we could have got them to come and charge it.

But what would we do then because I pretty well knew that the battery had reached its life's end. What would be the point of a temporary, one-time charge?

I decided to call our tire place, the one that I have been using for 15 years.

Me: Do you have batteries?
Them: We can get them within a few hours.

Me: Would you come here and install it?
Them: We will come and pick the car up, drive it back here, install the battery, and bring the car back to you.

I couldn't have asked for more. I wouldn't have to arrange for a temporary charge which would still leave me in the predicament of somehow purchasing a battery and then running around to garages during lockdown while I kept the engine running.

They picked up the car: two mechanics -- one to drive my car.

Shortly thereafter, the phone rang. They had noticed that my oil change light was on. I was aware of this and had been planning to attend to it after the lockdown ended, which will likely be next week, which is also when I intended to have the battery checked.

Them: Would you like us to do an oil change while the car is here.
Me: You can to that? (I didn't know.)
Them: Yes.
Me: Yes, please do it.

Within 3.5 hours, everything was done, including the subsequent picking up and unpacking of groceries.*

Not bad, eh?

What could have been a very major hassle went so smoothly that I am close to being thrilled.

If thrilled is too strong, at the very least, I am extremely pleased with the service that was provided.

What I must do next, is to hie me thither to put a reminder on my Google calendar for February 2026: Change the battery, Dude. Yes, I figure five years should just about do it for battery life considering our long, harsh winters. Next time, I plan to change it before the problems begin. 

An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure after all.

* They also reset all of the things that must be reset after a battery failure. Phew!

Wednesday, February 10, 2021

Forecast Report and Another Poll

First a bit of good news. Shauna's seniors residence is getting the vaccine today. Slowly but surely, eh?


From my poll yesterday: forecast was favoured over forecasted by a 2:1 ratio.

Canadians almost universally prefered just plain forecast. Actually, only one Canadian uses forecasted. One of the Canadians is an ex-pat Brit if I recall. Another respondent is Dutch; from years of communicating with her here in blogdom, I can say that she is much influenced by British English. 

Somewhat surprisingly to me, Americans also favoured the non-ed variation by a 3:1 ratio, but it was a smaller sampling. Another American respondent leaned toward forecast but would use the -ed ending in some contexts.


Here's another usage question to which I think I already know the answer.

Having just written leaned above, I must tell you that I was torn between leaned and leant

I suppose that I use leaned more than leant, but I think leant is much more, I dunno, Englishy. I would also guess that I have shifted more toward leaned within my lifetime. Leant is British, the vernacular of my youth, but Canadians have become more and more influenced by American English. 

I opted to used leaned (above) at least partly because I think that the other would probably sound foreign to many American ears. I believe that I have seen some Americans attempt to correct those online who use non-standard verb variations such as leant because they are simply not familiar with them. Subsequently, they got told of course.

So is it leaned or leant? Are you at least familiar with leant? Would you ever use leant or non-standard verbs like it.

Tuesday, February 09, 2021


More than once recently, I have been somewhat jarred to come across the word, forecasted, when people have been writing of weather forecasts from the past. By this I mean just the recent past: such as: The weather is fine this Tuesday, even though it was forecasted to be rainy

You see, I have never added the 'ed' ending to the past tense of forecast, and it just didn't feel right when I read it.

This sent me to my search engine whereupon I immediately discovered that both forms are acceptable.

I have to wonder if the usage is a regional thing, but perhaps it isn't regional but just personal. However, since I have never noticed before, I also wonder if by and large if Canadians tend toward forecast while Americans add the ed.

Which variation do you use?

Monday, February 08, 2021

The Grinning Hooking Guy

A long time ago in a faraway place, Christmas was looming, and we had hooking kits in the house for constructing Christmas stockings. Sue had already made one for me. 

Correctly deducing that the otherwise busy elves were not about to pop by, I took hook in hand. Happily, did I commence the task and a Christmas stocking began to emerge. It turned out that I didn't mind the process at all. We have used both hooked stockings ever since.

These several decades later, lo and behold (which I'll have you know is a proper yuletide phrase), I received a rug hooking kit for Christmas. Now, if I choose, I can sit beside my Merry Winter Crocheting wife, and hook to my heart's content.

The holes are much narrower and more numerous than in the stocking, and the tiny, detailed pattern is not easy to follow with older, dimmer eyes, but I have since made a little more progress than what is visible in the photo.

I can't say that I will progress apace since I seem to have other irons in other fires as well, but even if it takes me a winter or three to complete, it is a project that I intend to continue in due course.