Tuesday, June 30, 2015

Goldfish, Not River Fish

image courtesy of Sommai at
There has been lots in the news lately concerning the invasiveness of goldfish in rivers, streams and ponds in Alberta and Toronto.

Many years ago, I had a friend who built a pond in her back yard, and then bought a few gold fish to put in it.  In the beginning, the fish were brought indoors during the winter months and put into an aquarium in the living room.  Goldfish grow according to how much space they have and soon the fish that lived in the pond during the summer were too big to all fit into the aquarium. She would then select a few for her winter amusement, to live in the aquarium, and bought a child's wading pool for the rest of them. Those ones got to live in that pool in the basement, and by spring had usually managed to reproduce. Now, some of the offspring were pretty and golden and got to live in the pond or the aquarium, while others were brown and deemed by my friend to be "river fish".  She would take those ones down and turn them loose in the Rideau River, where they may have been eaten up by larger fish.....or not.  If not, then they have had ample room to grow and become an invasive species here too. 

I'm not sure anyone would notice though as goldfish are carp. The common carp  (Cyprinus carpio)has been found throughout the Rideau River since the 1930s.  They were introduced into Ontario from the United States in 1880. This species, native to Europe and Asia, quickly spread throughout southern Ontario and has reached as far north as Sturgeon Bay, Ontario.

This fish has been blamed for destroying the spawning areas of many aquatic insects, amphibians and other fish by rooting in the mud along shorelines.  Uprooting aquatic plants increases the turbidity, which is rather like smoke in the water.  The suspended particles can block the grills of other fish, so they stay away.  If eggs have already been laid in these areas, they could be covered by these particles, which would interfere in their development.

There have been years when I have seen carp swim up to the dam here in town. They were fascinating to watch as they made like salmon, trying to jump up the onrushing flow of the water going over the dam. I don't think there is any way any of them could have gone upstream from that point, but they surely could go downstream.  I don't know if the carp I've seen here had anything to do with the "river fish" my friend turned loose all those years ago. I now suspect they fit right in with the rest of the carp in the river though. 

I have also seen schools of carp in  the Tay River in Perth, Ontario. The Tay is a tributary to the Rideau River, upstream from here.  Children like to get into the stream that runs though Stewart Park in Perth, in the spring  and pet the fish. Carp are rather docile and friendly enough to swim right up to a person.  That may be why they were domesticated in the first place.

While it's likely the giant goldfish in Alberta will upset the aquatic eco system, the list of native species found in the Rideau now includes the carp. When something has been around long enough, I guess it's considered normal. 

It is illegal to transfer fish from one body of water to another. That means you cannot legally do what my friend did.  Not only does such an act introduce a fish into waters where it does not belong, but if you also dump the water the fish has been living in into the river too that would also introducing bacteria and parasites to a new location as well.  Do not be responsible for upsetting the balance of nature, even if it's already been done in your area.

Don't flush your unwanted live fish down the toilet either. If you no longer want your finned pets, give them away, take them to a pet store, donate them to a school, or talk to a veterinarian about humane disposal.

Monday, June 15, 2015

Heyday Bargains

This past weekend we attended Heyday in Kemptville.  For the 55th year, the Kemptville District Hospital Auxiliary pulled together to create the best giant garage and/or yard sale you are going to find anywhere.  Held in the North Grenville Curling Club, what makes this yard sale the best, in my opinion, is that things are sorted according to category.  Not only are the books and clothing separated into their own areas, but lamps are with lamps, appliances with appliances, and glassware also has it's own separate table.

If you go there to look for something in particular, you can go to the correct area an see what's available without having to sort though a jumble of junk.  Both this year and last, we went looking specifically for chairs.  Last year my oldest son wanted some chrome chairs, and we found some that will likely last him the rest of his life, and they were only $3 each.  This year my sister-in-law mentioned she also needed some chairs for her kitchen. When the day came, she had a previously scheduled appointment, and couldn't make it to the sale. We told her we would look, and grabbed up 4 nice sturdy wooden chairs for her for a grand total of $20. 

Looking around the rest of the room, I discovered a nice frame, complete with mat (and a picture I'll dispose of), a wooden lamp (that will likely be painted black) and a grey shade to go with it, two necklaces, three books, a green vase, and three small ceramic pots with lids that are perfect for reheating things in the microwave.  Total cost to me for all that was just $5.  Where else can you get so much for so little. And it's all for a good cause.

I'm already looking forward to next year.

Wednesday, June 10, 2015

Down on the Farm

Our Friday Friends group decided to take a little photography trip last week, instead of doing out usual art projects. We didn't go far....just down the road to the local sheep farm.

As it turned out, there were other things to see besides just sheep.

There were large old trees

 and interesting garden gates.

The old stone farmhouse

had a peaceful place to sit out back.

The garden had some interesting mulch...wool scraps, as well as the usual straw, to keep the weeds down.

Flowers grow with wild abandon along the fence rows.

and critters help themselves to whatever they can find.

The cedar rails were piled up and ready, perhaps to repair, or make more fences.

 Some of the lambs are still being hand fed by the farmer and they live away from the rest.

Others are doing fine and even grazing on the grass now.

One of my friends was very excited to meet her first lamb. It had managed to get through the fence and came right to her.  She couldn't resist a snuggle.

Our friendly sheep farmer came out to chat with us for a while.  The same lamb my friend had was happy to greet him too.  It definitely likes people.  I hope he keeps it, as his cull list is growing longer day by day.

We had a wonderful time exploring and meeting the sheep. I know I got at least a couple of pictures that will inspire me to create, and I'm sure the others likely did too.

Friday, June 5, 2015

Spotted, or Not

I started reviewing products for Chick Advisor last fall, and this spring they told me I had been
chosen to test out Vichy's ProEVEN Advanced Daily Dark Spot Corrector.  At my age, I do have a number of dark spots I could happily live without, so I was thrilled. 

When the package arrived, I was surprised to find that it contained ProEVEN Night, the Overnight Concentrate for dark spots and uneven skin tone.  That's not what I was expecting, but I was happy with a night time treatment, just the same, as I do have a good supply of daytime potions.

Then I got an e-mail telling that they had sent me the wrong product by mistake. They said I could keep it and review it too, but they would also be sending me the product they promised me.  Vichy is an excellent,  but expensive brand, so I was doubly thrilled to be able to work on getting rid of my dark spots both day and night.

The test was to run for two weeks.  I do wish I had taken a picture before I started, so I could see more easily just what is happening, if anything.  This is a product that works over time, and with just two weeks, if there was any change, it was happening so slowly that I wasn't aware of it.

The daytime product claims to visibly reduce the look of dark spots, brighten the skin tone, and create a more uniform complexion.  It's a white lotion that comes in a metal tube.  I like that I can use my regular moisturizers and such right over top of it, without apparently diluting the effectiveness.

The night time version is a clear gel that comes in a plastic tube. It can be used two ways.  I can spread it thinly over my entire face and it absorbs quickly. Or I could use it like a mask and put on a thick layer and let it sit there for 5 minutes, then remove any excess with a cotton pad. It's meant to have a resurfacing and brightening effect from the first morning and effectively reduce the look of dark spots in only 4 weeks.

One is instructed to avoid the eye area and lips when using these products. The problem is, many of my dark spots are near my eyes.  While I didn't see any noticeable improvements during the 2 week testing period, and therefore didn't give the most positive reviews, I think things are actually improving now. I am looking at my face, and am thinking that at least some areas where I always used a cover up cream don't really need that now.  I will continue to use the products until they are gone, and may even buy the ProEVEN Night version when I run out. 

I gave these products a thumbs down or "Forgetaboutit" rating, not because I didn't think they were any good, but because the question that generates the thumb direction was about whether I'd buy the product or not.  After two weeks, I didn't think I would. But if you are looking for something that might help, I'd suggest you go ahead and try it as it may work for you, as it seems to be for me now.