Camping alone is not the best idea.


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Cricket said his guide may have had mental health issues, he didn’t know. What he did know is that the guide just left him in the Gobi Desert to fend for himself.

Cricket had gone to the desert to photograph the wild onions that are used for food by the various creatures that inhabit the desert. Cricket used his SAT phone to contact his helicopter pilot and took this photo as they took off for Sainshand, Mongolia.



Cricket and I spend a lot of time together, but once a year on July 2nd, Cricket strikes out on his own for a couple days of solo camping in order to show off his independent streak.

He loads up the truck with all manner of camping equipment, camera gear and any supplies he thinks he may need. During one such outing, Cricket got a flat tire and because he left behind the jack, tire iron and spare tire in favour of “necessary gear”, he found himself in quite a pickle.

After scrambling up to the top of a gravel pit, he managed to get enough of a cell signal to call a tow truck. He took this photo as he waited for the truck to arrive.



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Not all waterfowl are born with the innate ability to perform the tasks that waterfowl are known for. To help out these feathered creatures, truck driver and amateur naturalist, Mutt Jefferson, teaches geese, ducks and swans how to fly, land, find food and any other endeavor they may need help with.

His remedial school, located on the shores of Lake Superior near Gros Cap, Sault Ste. Marie has helped over ten thousand birds learn the skills to survive on their own.

Cricket took this photo when visiting the Gros Cap Conservation Area, which is adjacent to the school. This goose spent several months at the school and is now being considered by Mutt for a teaching position at a second school soon to be opened in Beaver Falls, Pennsylvania.



It was a strange coincidence but such events have become nearly commonplace in Sapphire’s life as of late. Her tickets for the Ugly Duckling was purchased nearly a month in advance and Sapphire was in Toronto to visit the Edwards Gardens when a flustered Magdalena Popa, who was walking in front of Sapphire, dropped a portfolio of photographs of ducks, geese and swans.

Sapphire helped Magdalena scoop up the material and the two parted ways with “thank yous” and “your welcomes” liberally sprinkled all around. This photo eluded both women and by the time Sapphire found it, she thought it best to keep it in the off chance she may see Magdalena again.


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I don’t consider myself to be influenced by shamans, medicine men or wizards of all kinds, but my sister Sapphire has a soft spot for the teachings of these folks. When she read about a magical water droplet that could bring life to stuffed animals, she was hooked.

On a day, the spring equinox, a water droplet MAY be produced in a specific location on the Alexandra Fjord on Ellesmere Island, Canada and if used on a stuffed animal it would come to life for one-hundred days.

The trip was long and difficult but the three of us, Ellie, Sapphire and myself, arrived with our three guides on the spring equinox of 2016. I took this photo just before Sapphire captured the droplet and placed it into a porcelain container.




The Israeli secret service, Mossad, have tried for decades to create a way to “seed” the skies over arid areas of the Middle East in an effort to create rain. Long thought to be a waste of time by many parliamentarians, the Knesset recently pulled the plug on further research.

In response, Mossad released reams of information it had in its’ possession regarding their research. Sapphire came across this photo of what was termed a super droplet, one which could create millions of sister droplets once introduced into the atmosphere.


14 The Jumping Dog




When the International Olympic Committee announced the first ever canine Olympics was to take place in Salk Lake City, Utah, this Shetland sheepdog from Beaver Falls, Pennsylvania began training immediately.

Canines are allowed to enter three separate events. Hopes are high throughout the United States that this dog will take home gold in the high jump, silver the hundred meters and perhaps even a bronze in treat eating.

Sapphire took this photo on a cold, snowy day near where the Amtrak came to an unscheduled halt and where several canines were training.




There is a small mammal research farm several kilometers from our Wanapitei home, on HWY 537. Sapphire was asked by the owners of the farm if she could drop by and take a few photos to be used in an upcoming promotional pamphlet the farm was planning to create.

The story of this jumping Shetland sheepdog turned out to quite interesting. The dog was herding up a group of chipmunks which were to be shipped to Oslo, Norway to a large banking institution. What exactly a bank was to do with chipmunks was not made clear to Sapphire.








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After receiving federal funding for a bold new production of The Ugly Duckling, Magdalena Popa of the National Ballet, had tremendous difficulty recruiting a competent artistic director for this production.

After countless interviews and several trips abroad the National Ballet was still no closer to finding a qualified director. With funding now in jeopardy, one last desperate measure was contemplated. Magdalena Popa flew into Grassy Narrows, Ontario to visit with famed though temperamental artist Mildred Duck.

Sapphire took this photo of Mildred on opening night in Toronto, Ontario Canada.



Rifle manufacturer, Remington, recently hired the Australian firm BMF to work on a project to “soften” the rifle manufacture’s image.

The above pictured duck was chosen as lead actor for a series of commercials now running on Australian television.

Cricket took this photo while the duck was between shoots and relaxing near a small waterfall.



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In the late 1970s the East German Stasi had infiltrated the British Foreign Service, MI6, to the point where daily communication between MI6 offices and field operatives was suspect.

A botanist working at the fringes of the spy world, developed a team of bees outfitted with micro chips that were used to enhance communication between various MI6 locations.

Sapphire took this photo of a bee persistently hovering outside her hotel window. The concierge says the hotel is a long-abandoned MI6 safe house and the bee is most likely a “generational throw-back” to the bees of the 1970’s.




While walking along Oak St. in Vancouver, B.C., near the Van Dusen Botanical Gardens, the bee pictured above and several of his compadres were seen fleeing down the street and into the gardens.

Ambulances arrived shortly thereafter and took Hugh Grant, the CEO of Monsanto, to hospital.







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During a much-needed vacation to beautiful Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada, Cricket and I spent an entire day at Pier 21, the wonderfully historic Museum of Immigration located on the waterfront. After nearly eight hours on our feet, we still wanted to stroll down to Pier 12, a more commercial/industrial area of the harbour.

This is when we first saw Ellie, disheveled and propped up against the side of a rusty container that had recently arrived from Shandong, China. As Cricket took this photo, I rushed toward her with every intent of calling her my own. Before I reached her, a burly stevedore grabbed Ellie and stuffed her into a box and threw the box into the back of an eighteen- wheeler.

I begged him to sell me the teddy bear, but he could not…would not. It was not his job.  In fact, he said he could lose his job if he did such a thing. The stevedore did tell me that the shipment of boxes was destined for cities in Northern Ontario, Canada.

Months passed.  Every time I found myself in North Bay, Timmins or Sudbury,  I rummaged through the Walmarts and Thrift stores looking for Ellie. One day, in a Salvation Army thrift store in Sudbury, Ontario Canada…


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After a long-delay the Amtrak left Beaver Falls, Pennsylvania for Washington, D.C. Cricket and I were visiting the National Aeronautics Space Administration headquarters to witness the unveiling of a housing structure that NASA intended for use on the planet Mars.

After an exhaustive search involving hundreds of the world’s best architects and engineers, a biologist from Weyburn, Saskatchewan suggested the structure of a common dandelion was best suited for the hostile climate on the planet Mars.

Plans to build the first prototype are in the works as this is written.




Recently a caddy at Glenn Abby golf course in Oakville, Ontario Canada revealed a process he discovered to “freeze-dry” dandelion seed heads and use them as golf balls.

Apparently, in the early spring, he and his buddies patrol the greater Oakville area producing hundreds of golf balls and then selling the product to golf courses all over southern Ontario.

Cricket took this photo shortly after picking himself up off the pavement, legs twisted and entangled with his bike frame. He was “beaned” by a freeze-dried golf ball while cycling along Dorval Drive in Oakville, Ontario.


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The Hyatt Centric Fisherman’s Wharf in San Francisco is an elegant hotel, that Cricket and I rarely visit when staying on the west coast.  However, on one occasion, we found ourselves lounging around the pool when all hell broke out in the hotel’s restaurant.

The entire kitchen staff was attacked by a swarm of insects. The staff made it out of the kitchen with assorted bites, bruises, and stings.

The subsequent investigation revealed the ring leader of the insects, pictured above, is a leading activist who organizes attacks on establishments which feature insects on their menus.

Now on the FBI’s ten most wanted insect list, this guy is believed to be on the run somewhere near Beaver Falls, Pennsylvania.





The girls field hockey team in Annapolis Valley, Nova Scotia Canada have adopted this insect as the team mascot.

The team, known as the A.V. Insects, have a tradition of releasing a swarm of various insects before each Friday night game. Although the swarm is encouraged to not directly contact the opposing team, things have been known to get out of hand.

Sapphire snapped this photo after being stung by one of these critters…presumably because she was dressed somewhat like a Truro Turkey.






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Sapphire insisted we take a side trip to Magdalena Island National Park. She was taking a course to support her masters degree thesis dealing with penguin mating habits in and around Puento Cisnes, Chili.

Our tour guide, Sofia Zuniga, was a sixty- year- old woman who was steeped in local lore and history. This was most fortunate for Sapphire because after she was bitten by a disgruntled spider, Sofia crushed up this plant and applied it to the bite mark. Sapphire took this photo of an identical plant…after she “came to”.




This delicate spring plant is so poisonous that Kejimkujik National Park supervisor, Mikey J. Jones, has ordered staff to erect small fences around this flora. In addition to the fencing, small solar panels provide an electrical “shock” at the top of the fences if anyone should try to get over the fences. Thus far, students have built sixteen mini white picket fences with some 800 more to go.


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Cricket and I often take the Amtrak to Washington DC to listen to the annual speech delivered by the head of the National Parks Service. On one such trip, we were delayed in Beaver Falls, Pennsylvania.

We wandered around the beautiful town for a couple of hours when we came across a well attended picnic of civic dignitaries.

Cameras in hand, we asked the gathered folks if we could take a photo of all the Beaver Falls officials. After a few pictures, we realized the town mayor was absent from the festivities and were told by the town treasurer that the mayor was rarely seen in public and disliked having his picture taken.

Some weeks later, a plain brown envelope containing this photo arrived at our Wahnapitai home.



Parks Canada recently enlisted the services of several Canadian beavers to help in the detection and elimination if invasive species throughout wetland areas in Canada.

After several weeks of intense training at the National Bird and Mammal Institute in Ottawa, Ontario, Canada, these beavers are assigned to various areas around the country.

The beaver in this photo is assigned to the Georgian Bay area of Ontario and has a specialty in detecting purple loosestrife and dam building.




Mr. Bean and Sinatra on track



While on an Amtrak train leaving Beaver Falls and heading to Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, these two dogs refused to get off the tracks, bringing the passenger train to a complete stop.  The dogs, Chuckles and Jasper, were especially trained to sniff out cracks in the steel rails and bring to a halt a passing train until required repairs were finished.  While mulling around for repair crews to arrive, Sapphire took this photo of the two serious canines.


Every Friday morning at 7 am, these dogs board a small train known as the Budd Car which Runs through parts of Northern Ontario, Canada. It is believed these dogs, who travel on their own, are heading out to a camp near Amyot, Ontario, Canada, to do a bit of fishing and general relaxation.

Some years ago, this duo missed the train and they now place themselves on the track so this unfortunate situation will not be repeated.  Sapphire took this photo just before the famous “all aboard” was shouted by the conductor.










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Cricket and I attended an outdoor concert in Wingfield Park, Reno Nevada. When Canadian roots/blues/rock band “Blackie and the Rodeo Kings” broke into a rousing version of “Swinging from the Chains of Love”, this duck started to really enjoy the music.




Rumours of a new ballet being performed by the National Ballet of Canada were spreading throughout the waterfowl community. The word on the pond was that the ballet company was hiring two ducks, three geese and five swans. Sapphire took this photo of one of the hopefuls.


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On a cold October night, Cricket loaded the wood stove with dry sugar maple. We sat up for an hour watching the fire, then decided to go to bed for the evening. When we woke, the camp was completely engulfed in fire. We barely made it out alive.

The hours passed slowly as we sat in the car waiting for first light. Cricket took this photo of what we once saw from our front deck.


The phone call came at noon.  Cricket’s great uncle, Buddy Gallant had passed away in Rustico Prince Edward Island, Canada. The aging relatives asked Cricket if he could come down to the island and “take care of things”.

Cricket was gone nearly a week. On his last day, he found an oil/canvas painting and took this photo. Cricket still believes it is a long -lost John MacWhirter original.







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This Canada Goose is part of the 3rd Canadian Ranger Patrol Group. The goose is equipped with a GPS and small HD camera and is tasked to patrol the waters near Peawanuck Ontario, Canada.

In its first assignment, this goose was partially responsible for the rescue of two sea kayakers who were floundering in the waters of Hudson Bay.

After being released from hospital, Sapphire took this “thank you” photo and sent it to the Patrol Group.




While hiking along a mountain trail near Denver Colorado, Cricket lost his eyeglasses. My brother’s eyesight is negligible without his glasses. When we came across a huge sign stating “Why not came to the Denver Rodeo?”, he thought a close-up photo of the question mark would be interesting!!!!