Thursday, 13 January 2011

Social Media Writing


blogto photo

Musing on wet garbarge in an urban environment
by Stephen Weir

A relative from the Ottawa Valley wrote to ask what I thought about Toronto's garbage recycling programme. Her community is getting the green bin ( wet garbage i.e. food bits, egg shells and used diapers). Here is my response:
I am really very supportive of the green bin (wet), blue bin (paper/glass) and grey bin (dry trash). No one else in the family is, so part of my routine is to go the garbage and seperate the garbage. My wife will use the green bin, except when I am not looking.

There are big problems with the programme at least for us:

* Rodents and racoons. The green bin was suppose to be animal proof. Took about a month before the racoons learned to open the bins. We now bungy chord the bins. Others don't. The racoons crack open the bins by knocking them over (or trying to chew through the bungies) and then have a noisy banquets. If the mess isn't cleaned up immediately the rats move in. Our neighbours are constantly having their green bins hit and as a result every so often we have rat problems. They have gotten into the backyard - we can track their tail tracks in the snow.
* Once you get them visiting your backyard they start feeding on the most unlikest things - they love the grease on the side of the BBQ.
* I have put out rat poison when we see them (they aren't shy and they are really big) and then pray that die in someone elses backyard because the city won't let you put dead rats in the wet bins. I have buried a couple in the backyard. Grass grows greenest over the dead rats. Never had a dead racoon - not sure where they go to die.
* Our neighbours now bungy too, but, on garbage morning the city crews won't remove bungies -- you have to leave bins bungy free. Most neighbours put their wet / green bins out the night before - so the vermin have learned to dine on Wednesday nights. We keep our green bin at the back of the house all bungied up until 7am garbage day (and run out half-dressed if the truck comes early). In summer we tend to double bag our wet garbage and freeze it because it can really stink sitting out on the street on garbage day.
*Some weeks the truck forgets to pick up the green bins. And on other days not all the wet trash makes it into the truck. Finding where the garbage men have left the emptied pail is also fun. Y ou have to grab your empty garbage bins as quick as possible before the dog walkers leave you presents that you have to look after for 2-weeks. Oh yeah and then there are the midnight garbage pickers looking for empty wine bottles (talk about a racket).
* Fourth problem. The garbage bins are too big to get in our backyard - our access is smaller than the width of the bins. And, without a garage we have to drag the bins up and down 20 steps. Okay now, but, when I get older it is going to be a struggle.

And now you know way more than you wanted to know about how I feel about downtown toronto garbage.

Wednesday, 5 January 2011

New Hampshire says "Let It Snow, Let it Snow, Let it Snow"


Chill out on Hot Savings This Winter Skiing
Winter 2011. Let it snow, let it snow, let it snow.

Skiing: New Hampshire
from Chris Ryall's Maple Gazette

There has never been a better time to plan a New Hampshire winter vacation. Ski New Hampshire ( has announced special deals and promotions for the 2011 ski/snowboard season, with savings from January through to the spring.
This winter got off to a good start in December with ideal snowmaking conditions and large snowfalls in the mountain regions of the state. Weather forecasters are predicting snow, snow and more snow this winter (you can check in real-time cross-country and downhill conditions throughout the state at
The savings begin in the month of January. Ski NH and its 37 member resorts are participating in a national program to introduce guests to skiing and boarding. Bring a friend to try out the sport and save on lift tickets. Travellers can visit's January Learn to Ski for details.
The discounts and special packages continue all winter. Ski NH's Anywhere, Anytime Ticket Packages save $10-$17 or more off the cost of weekend & holiday lift tickets at member resorts! Packages include a choice of six or more transferable lift tickets that are valid any day of the season. (
Individual resorts have their own discounts and special packages in place for the winter, and more are being added each week. Of note are:
* The Wildcat Mountain Ski Hill ( and the Attitash Mountain Resort (Bartlett in the White Mountains) are now offering a Frequent Skier Card for visitors who plan to be out on the slopes ... a lot. Their Vertical Value Frequent Skier Cards awards skiers and boarders up to 50% off the cost of ski tickets. Gunstock Mountain Resort (Gifford) has a Take 50Card - purchase a card for $130 and save 50% on prime time and night tickets.
* Black Mountain Resort in Jackson has a Family Passport designed for Mom, Pop and the kids. This promotion is valid during all holiday periods. Two adults and two juniors (6 to 17) ski for $119.00 any day and $99 midweek (non-holiday period). Black Mountain has a Thursday Breakfast Club for skiers 55-years and older. Ski all day for $20 and enjoy a free breakfast and a travel mug. Any skier who arrives at the hill after 2pm can ski for free with the purchase of a next day ticket.
* The BALSAMS Wilderness Ski Area (Dixville Notch) is marking its 45th year as a Winter Destination with a season long 2-for-1 Weekday Deal on lift tickets.
* Not to be outdone Bretton Woods, Cannon Mountain (Franconia Notch), Crotched Mountain (Bennington), King Pine Purity Spring Resort (East Madison), Waterville Valley and Cranmore (North Conway) have two-for-one midweek lift tickets. Check the Ski NH site for prices and to see which days of the week the specials apply!
* Saturday night is the place to be at Pats Peak (Henniker). Visitors Pay-One-Price for skiing, snowboarding, snow tubing, rental equipment and entertainment for $42. The Granite Gorge Ski Area also has Saturday night lift and rental equipment discounts.
cutline: lift at Loon Mountain, New Hampshire

Inn the Spotlight - Green B&B in New Hampshire


North Conway's Cranmore Mountain Lodge
from Chris Ryall's Maple Gazette

While the skiers and snowshoers who stay at the Cranmore Mountain Lodge are already seeing white, Frederique and Thierry Procyk are thinking green! That is because their historic farmstead inn won the 2010 Mt. Washington Valley Sustainable Business of the Year Award.
This family friendly and pet friendly inn is secluded on more than 8 peaceful acres in a quiet residential area. It is close to the North Conway Village and skiing at the Cranmore Mountain Resort.
Featuring all the charm of an inn built in the 1840s, Cranmore Mountain Lodge features 20 modern smoke-free units (13 in the main building and 7 in a nearby loft building). All have private bath, cable television, wireless Internet access and phone service. Some rooms include a Jacuzzi tub, refrigerator and microwave.
"Four of the rooms are dog friendly," writes Thierry Procyk. "Our suites and family rooms welcome families as large as 7 persons, with children under 10 staying for free."
The Procyks work hard to reduce the Inn's carbon footprint. They buy locally, they recycle, and best yet, they offer a "Discover our Eco-Friendly Valley" package on their website. This green program includes discounts for guests arriving in a hybrid car, reduced room rates and dinner vouchers for a nearby restaurant featuring food produced in the region. The Cranmore Mountain Lodge donates 10% of the lodging fee to a group establishing a North Conway organic garden.
The Inn also has a variety of winter packages that include lift tickets, dining and duty free shopping.