V8689: I like to make things complicated (or: why my April Fail-Bingo blouse was finished late May, posted in June, and also a multitasking RBG trip)

Saturdays are busy days Chez McDowell. Yes, yes, Saturdays are busy for everyone–but this is my blog, so I get to talk about my own busy Saturdays. Saturdays are the days I do a full week’s worth of errands (groceries, bills, library, drugstore, etc.) , get in a decent workout, a longer-than-average-shower, any required yardContinue reading “V8689: I like to make things complicated (or: why my April Fail-Bingo blouse was finished late May, posted in June, and also a multitasking RBG trip)”

Jian Ghomeshi, eh?

I’m not going to share (many of) my own thoughts. Instead I present for you, a massive collection of the thoughts of other people on this story. No, it’s not sewing related. But who can think of sewing at a time like this? OK, yes, I can. But not yet. Background, for those of youContinue reading “Jian Ghomeshi, eh?”


The Royal Botanical Gardens is an extra treat for those of us who live nearby; it has the gardens, yes, but also many kilometres of hiking trails through nature preserves and active nature education programs for artists, adults, kids and families. Naturally Frances has been a constant attender of the daycamps since we moved hereContinue reading “Fireflies!”

Failing Better is Still Failing

Ontario’s Environmental Commissioner released the annual update report on provincial progress on greenhouse gas emissions. The good news is, we are not failing as badly as we were. Our greenhouse gas emissions are falling provincially, largely due to decommissioning coal electricity plants. The bad news is, we are still failing. We are still above ourContinue reading “Failing Better is Still Failing”

may apples

The may apples are finally blooming–now that it’s almost June, thanks I’m guessing to the chilly spring. I wouldn’t blame you for not noticing, though … …since when they bloom, they look like this. Go ahead. Find them! A large field of flat-topped five-lobbed leaves, and underneath every plant with two leaves, growing from theContinue reading “may apples”

Public Participation, Petro-State Style

I am sitting here this afternoon with a copy of the National Energy Board’s Application Form to Participate, for the upcoming Enbridge pipeline reversal to carry tar sands oil through Ontario, and specifically through my community. The Government of Canada, in order to streamline environmental approvals for tar sands projects, now requires people to fillContinue reading “Public Participation, Petro-State Style”

Nearby Nature: wildlife vet

Frances wants to be a wildlife vet when she grows up. Until recently, it was just plain vet, from her lifelong fascination with animals of all kinds. You can imagine how excited she was when I told her that “wildlife vet” is a real job, not just some pie-in-the-sky fantasy she dreamed up. On theContinue reading “Nearby Nature: wildlife vet”

Six Months In to the Green Energy Act and Ontario Regulation 359/09

The most exciting part of working under a new piece of legislation is that no one, and that includes the people who wrote it, knows what it means yet. So far what it means is a whole lot more work under a process that was meant to streamline things–but never mind. The learning curve isContinue reading “Six Months In to the Green Energy Act and Ontario Regulation 359/09”

Pauline Browes on the Rouge National Park

I wrote this story last winter after having been introduced to Pauline Browes at the Sustainability Forum in February at the Toronto Botanical Gardens. (Which, incidentally, is beautiful in the winter and totally worth a visit.) It ran in Phil Goodwin’s E-Don, a newsletter for the East Don Parkland Partners, a group I volunteer withContinue reading “Pauline Browes on the Rouge National Park”