Shortly after I came out to British Columbia in early 2006 I had a case of severely high blood pressure. It wouldn't have been fair to an employer for me to work for them until I got my health situation sorted out. I was on medications to lower the blood pressure and it took until early 2007 to find the cause. I finally went to a naturopath who found that a microscopic parasite was the cause for all this.

While getting my health in order, I took up blogging to share my photography. This way I wasn't wasting time and others got to enjoy the photos, not just me and those close to me.

In May of this year I had a mini-stroke cause again by severely high blood pressure. I may end up gong to the naturopath again since the specialist and other MDs can't seem to find the cause. This has only been a problem out here. Before that in Ontario, the blood pressure was only marginally high, not severely high like in BC.

Knowledge is good because being forewarned is forearmed!

All that said, enjoy this blog and all the photos I share with you.

Friday, July 27, 2007

More photos from the Rose Garden at Stanley Park

A week after the initial visit to the rose garden in Vancouver's Stanley Park I made another visit. Here are a few more photos from the second time. I don't remember the name of the above rose (should have written the name down) but I'll get it at the next visit. Tour buses are always passing through as you can see in the image below.

The above two photos are of the same type of rose. The top one is older and the one below not fully opened. As the previous rose, I don't have a name. The 'Dortmund' rose, a climber, is featured in the next two images. The flowers are of a cluster-type. This climber was in my garden back in southwestern Ontario.

The two images below are of the 'Westerland' rose, another climber. As mentioned in my previous post on the rose garden, they were both developed by Kordes of Germany, a well known rose breeder.

Thursday, July 26, 2007

Cottontail Rabbit

After birds and squirrels, cottontail rabbits are one of my favourite animals. The North American cottontail rabbit closely resembles the European rabbit, Oryctolagus cuniculus. There are 16 species in the Genus Sylvilagus to which the cottontail rabbit belongs. Each species is confined to its own area. I'm not certain to which of the 16 species the rabbits in these photos belong but if I find out, I'll post the species name. Meantime, the first two photos were taken in Hawthorne Park located down the street from where I live. The last photo was taken in Green Timbers Urban Forest a short walk to the south, also in Surrey, British Columbia. The images were taken in the evening. Rabbits are nocturnal in habit, so most of their activity is done during the night. In the last photo the rabbit kept pointing its ears toward the camera each time it heard the shutter. Then the rabbit kept on eating (grass) since it realized I posed no danger. Then passing cyclists spoiled it all (the silence) and the rabbit disappeared into the greenery. Enjoy the photos!

Crescent Moon, Gibbous Moon and other photos

Last week we had the cresent moon. I took a few photos from my balcony using a tripod (it doesn't work without one). Here are a few of the best images of the crescent moon just before sunrise looking to the northeast. Also included is a photo of Mount Baker, our nearby volcano, to the southeast. There is also a close-up shot of the cresent moon. That is either a star or planet above the moon but I do not recall which one.

This week as the moon continues to wax we have the Gibbous Moon. This image was taken a couple of days ago in the evening before sunset. Below is a photo of one of the resent sunsets in Surrey looking toward the northwest in the direction of Grouse Mountain in North Vancouver. Each sunset is unique any beautiful in their own way. Enjoy the photos!

Note: Someone brought a misspelling to my attention. I had originally mentioned "Gibbons Moon" when it should have been "Gibbous Moon." The source or sources I was using must have been incorrect. Apparently, I am not the only one having made that mistake. A thorough search on this matter has found my anonymous commenter correct. The word "gibbous" comes from Middle English meaning "bulging" from Late Latin, gibbosus, "humpbacked", from Latin gibbus, "hump." This post has been edited and the spelling corrected. Below are the phases of the moon in their entirety:

New Moon, Waxing Quarter or Crescent Moon, Waxing Half Moon, Waxing Gibbous Moon, Full Moon, Waning Gibbous Moon, Waning Half Moon, Waning Quarter or Crescent Moon, New Moon.

Hopefully this clears up any confusion! - Volker

Monday, July 23, 2007

Don't put Descartes before the bourse? Shouldn't that be, "don't put the cart before the horse?"

Another article appeared in the Sydney Morning Herald, originally from the New York Times. It is entitled "Don't put Descartes before the bourse, French told." The story was written by Elaine Sciolino in Paris, July 23, 2007.

We all know France as the country of Charlesmagne, King Louis XIV and Napoleon plus fine champagne, great philosophers, painters and the like. France also produced the Age of Enlightenment where Descartes wrote: "I think, therefore I am." So what is this idea of getting to work rather than spending too much time on thought? Wouldn't thinking things through logically be preferable to doing things blindly because someone told you to do it said so? The Government of Nicolas Sarkozy would seem to think otherwise. But what would one think otherwise of a rightist government?

The new President is said to have told a television interviewer last month: "Oh, I am not an intellectual! I am someone concrete!" Sounds more like someone set in their ways than one that is open to new ideas and ways of doing things, in my opinion anyway.

Here is a quote from this story: "This is the sort of thing you can hear in cafe conversations from morons who drink too much," said Bernard-Henri Levy, a philosopher-journalist. "I'm pro-American and pro-market, so I could have voted for Nicolas Sarkozy, but this anti-intellectual tendency is one of the reasons that I did not."

To read the full article in the Sydney Morning Herald, please go to:


Not Real Churches?

This post is a departure from all the previous entries but such posts may be presented on occasion, so don't be surprised. The Sydney Morning Herald had an article a short while back entitled "You are not real churches, Pope says to Protestants." The piece was written by John Hooper in Rome and Stephen Bates in London dated July 12, 2007.

Here are a couple of quotes from the article. "Protestant churches have reacted with dismay to a new declaration approved by the Pope insisting they were mere 'ecclesial communities' and their ministers in effect phonies with no right to give communion."

Further: "The view that Protestants cannot have churches was first set out by Pope Benedict seven years ago when, as Cardinal Ratzinger, he headed the Vatican ministry for doctrine. A commentary attached to the latest text acknowledged that his 2000 document, Dominus Iesus, had caused no little distress."

But it added: "It is nevertheless difficult to see how the title of 'church' could possibly be attributed to [Protestant communities], given that they do not accept the theological notion of the Church in the Catholic sense and that they lack elements considered essential to the Catholic Church."

The above photo is from the article in the Sydney Morning Herald. To read the full article, go to the following link:

As one that has been exposed to various religious denominations throughout my life, these statements appear to be a departure from that of Pope John Paul II and are more divisive of various churches, and focusing on their differences, rather than inclusive of what all have in common. There is enough trouble in the world without fanning the flames of discontent. We all live together on this globe we call Earth and we should learn to live with one another in peace and harmony rather than focusing on our differences. There is enough hatred, discord and war in the world as it is, so it's not advisable to add to it, in my opinion. I don't see what church doctrine and hierarchy has to do with the message of peace and loving others as you would have them love you, or as the Biblical passage goes, "do onto others as you would have them do onto you!" In today's "me" generation this message is falling by the wayside. Further, it would seem proper to get one's own house in order before finding fault with others, atleast that is my thought on the matter. I welcome your comments.

Wednesday, July 18, 2007

The Douglas' Squirrel

The Douglas' Squirrel, or Tamiasciurus douglasii, is also known as the Chickaree. It's a cute little squirrel I've seen on many visits to Vancouver's Stanley Park. Some have even followed along behind me on forest trails. It's a pine squirrel native to the Pacific Northwest from the Sierra Nevada Mountains of California to coastal British Columbia west of the Cascade Mountains. This animal, a member of the Rodentia family, varies in length from 25-35 cm (including the tail) and weighs from 150-275 grams. It lives in coniferous forests preferring old-growth and mature second growth forests. In the summer time they sleep in ball-shaped nests in trees but in winter use holes in trees as nests. Their diet consists mostly of seeds from various coniferous trees such as Douglas Fir, Sitka Spruce and Pine but they also eat acorns, berries, mushrooms and the eggs of the Yellow Warbler, Dendroica petechia. They bury their food in a single place called a 'midden.' The Douglas' Squirrel does have predators such as American Martins, Bobcats, domestic cats, Northern Goshawks and Owls. The human threat is from the destruction of old-growth forests though they are unaffected by commercial thinning of forests. This is a cute little animal that you are sure to spot if you ever visit Stanley Park in Vancouver, BC.

Saturday, July 14, 2007

Stanley Park's Rose Garden

A visit to Vancouver's Stanley Park isn't complete without seeing the rose garden. If you come along from the Second Beach on English Bay, along Lost Lagoon and underneath West Georgia Street to Pipeline Road or from downtown Vancouver directly via West Georgia Street, the rose garden is fairly easy to find. Of course, you could also take a tour of the park on a horse-drawn trolley such as the one above and get your bearings that way. Below is a close-up shot of the team drawing the trolley for those horse lovers out there.
There are many kinds of roses but there are other kinds of flowers too, such as this tree-form Fuchsia below.

The rose shown in the photo above is called 'Alexander' found to the right along Pipeline Road when entering the rose garden from the south. Then below are featured two climbing roses. In the foreground is a red climber from Germany called 'Dortmund', developed by the rose breeder Kordes in 1955, whose parentage is a seedling x Rosa 'Kordesii' and has a very slight apple scent. The flowers have 5-10 petals. This is one of the climbers I had in my garden back in southwestern Ontario. The canes were about eight feet high the first year. Its a rose well worth having and the bumblebees love the flowers too. The rose in the background is called 'Westerland' and also a Kordes rose. It has been available since 1969. The flowers with 18-25 petals are orange-pink with some yellow in the centre. One of the parents is the rose 'Friedrich Worlein' crossed with another parent.

The image above shows the rose 'Westerland' looking skyward. Below is a close-up shot of the flower.

Above is a palm tree in the centre of a flower bed and below is another colourful planting along Pipeline Road. So it's not all roses but plenty of other flowers as well.

The above photos shows one of the administrative buildings in the park. Below is a Grey Squirrel, a familiar sight in many parks across Canada.
A visit to any park cannot be complete without a surprise, so learn to expect the unexpected. Two elderly ladies entred the rose garden area from the north coming from an area where the RCMP (Royal Canadian Mounted Police) have their park head quarters and stables for their horses (mounted police). The ladies walked along completely oblivious to the entourage of peafowl following behind them. I tried to get their attention but either they didn't understand me or they thought I was crazy. The Indian Peafowl (blue neck), Pavo cristatus, is native to India, Pakistan and Sri Lanka. The other one, the Green Peafowl or Pavo muticus, is native to Myanmar east to Java (Indonesia). The peacock (male) in the meantime was up on the roof of another building nearby at the northend of a parking lot crying out each time a car horn sounded or an auto alarm went off. I'll let the remaining photos speak for themselves. Enjoy!

Beaver Lake in Stanley Park

Three weeks ago Thursday, the day I was in Vancouver on errands and then had lunch at English Bay Beach, I proceeded on to Stanley Park. One of my stops was Beaver Lake located a short walk northwest of the rose garden. There are many trails throughout the park which includes a trail going around the lake. They are suitable for walking or cycling. You never know what you might see. It could be a little Douglas' Squirrel, Tamiasciurus douglasii, such as this one found on a bridge running over a small stream that flows into Beaver Lake. Or it might be the many waterlilies that cover most of the lake. You might even find a Great Blue Heron, Ardea herodias, out fishing amongst the lilies. It's certainly worth a visit!