2000.12.30 near Waitaanga Conservation Area west of Taumarunui

Hiking with my sons in New Zealand


When I was five years old, my parents couldn’t find me in our Alberta farmhouse. My dad checked the barn, and there I was, singing away as I milked our placid old milk cow, Susie. I didn’t have the technique down, though. I thought Susie’s front teats were the two closest to me (seated on a stool at her side), not the two closest to her head!


One afternoon while measuring High Arctic plant growth on Ellesmere Island, I decided to give my eyes and back a rest. So I scanned the ice on Alexandra Fiord for seals. I counted seal after seal soaking up the sun. Then – Wow! I spotted a polar bear with a seal in its jaws. The bear shook that seal (which would have weighed hundreds of pounds) like a cat shakes a mouse. I hustled back to base camp to alert the other researchers.


I lived in the Yukon Territory for three years and enjoyed birding there. One late winter evening, I helped with an owl survey along the Alaska Highway. As the other birder and I stood outside the research truck, listening for owl responses to a playback tape, more than one concerned driver stopped to ask if everything was okay – I was very obviously seven months pregnant! Not only did we hear elveven great horned owls, we also heard wolves howling.


One summer, my sons and I grew a giant pumpkin that weighed almost 300 pounds. When we hollowed it out to make a Halloween jack-o-lantern, each of my kids could fit inside it!



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