Posts tagged with “places”

Big Cats Should Not be Bred in Little Cages

Written by Laura Brown

I was watching the episodes of Snow Leopards of Leafy London, about the National Cat Trust, with Dr. Terry Moore in the UK. Although its great to see someone taking in cats who have no where else to go. In the end, they are living in captivity for however long they live. Not able to have space, hunt, and live a feral life. He also breeds them. It wasn't clear if he also lets the domestic cats breed too. The Trust takes in domestic homeless cats as well as the big cats. I hope the Trust works on some version of the neuter and release idea.

The series was made awhile ago and I wondered what became of the cats, especially the snow leopards which were featured, and the Trust. I found the website, not really updated since 2013 it seems to me. I didn't see any updates about the snow leopard release project with India which was talked about often in the films. There is some project based in Argentina.

Also, interesting, was to find that his wife was part of things, one of the trustees for the organization. But, she was never mentioned in the films. If she were there, she wasn't given credit for her work.

I found reviews on the TripAdvisor site, which made the Trust seem overwhelmed. Not enough volunteers to look after the place. Also, no visitors due to restrictions. That may be changed now, but it was only for sponsors/ members of the Trust. Not a bad thing, no doubt they need the funds. Feeding big cats would be expensive.

I posted this as a comment on Facebook:

I don't think any of these kept cats can go back to the wild. Even if a habitat could be found for them. These cats have had an indolent lifestyle. They will have hunting instincts but no practice. So they will not have the skills or the muscles built up to take care of themselves without someone feeding them dead carcasses. So they will look for humans to feed them, leaving the wild areas and likely end up being shot by people who are afraid of big cats approaching them. It's really sad to see these cats being bred in captivity to live their lives in small spaces, never having space to roam and be wild.

I love cats of all sizes. But, I think it is very misled to breed them in cat farms like this. Without a sure place to release them into the wild and a lifestyle which keeps them fit and skilled (and not relying on humans to feed them) there isn't real hope for these cats to live anywhere but in concrete with a little patch of grass. Cats need to wander and roam and hunt. Even domestic cats will have a territory (unless they are kept indoors all their lives).

It would be very hard, if not impossible, to have these kept cats able to adapt and live in their natural home now. They've adapted to our environment, our culture, pollution, schedule, etc. Like being a tourist in another country, they would not know the local culture, the language and the ways of the other big cats who were born to the wild life in that area. They would not know what to eat when seasons change and prey migrate or change their habits. They won't know or have natural defenses from other animals, insects, and diseases.

Their ancestors could be from that area but it would be culture shock for them to be dropped into a new place and left to learn how to survive. Having eaten dead meat all their lives, is it possible they would only look along roadways and other places they could smell roadkill and dead animals. Are their bodies able to live that way, deal with the parasites and such which they would pick up from dead meat versus the freshly killed animals they would eat naturally.

I wish the Cat Trust well but I think the project is really Terry Moore and volunteers making friends and pets out of these cats. Cats can be great pets, but not every cat should be kept as a pet.

Trying to give them a better life is a great ambition, but breeding them is selfish not selfless. There is no natural selection when females are forced to be bred/ pregnant every few months or every year with whatever male is closed in with them.

Not every female will want to be having batches of kittens constantly. I've seen domestic cats abandon new born kittens because they did not want them. I'm sure that must happen with big cats too.

Kept big cats do not live a natural, healthy, active life. Are they physically strong enough to have kittens? Being pampered and inactive means these big cats may not have the strength and stamina for pregnancy and birth. They are not exposed to conditions which toughen wild big cats, including bacteria, which they build immunity to. They just don't make pet happy documentaries about any of these things.

I don't think this will end well. Other places like this have failed, had to close. The cats are left homeless when shelters can't be found for all of them. When there are reports about big cats wandering and hunting in rural and suburban areas, its likely true. How many of them are cats which grew up in zoos/farms which had to close and let the cats out of their cages rather than euthanizing them. It is not a kindness to breed cats, or any animal, just to hoard them in captivity.

A Ghost in the Mines

Written by Laura Brown

There are gases in mines, does that make you a little suspicious about stories that come from miners and whatever they might see, or think they see, deep underground?

Sailors and miners tend to be very superstitious people, working in risky places so deep underground or so far away floating on top of such deep water. It's no surprise they come up with stories. Some people just like to scare each other too. See what they can get started... So do you believe everything you hear from miners, or sailors?

Found on Twitter: Canadian Press Clipping - Miners Tell About "Ghost"

Don’t buy that old house — not if it has any historical or architectural…

Written by Laura Brown

Don’t buy that old house — not if it has any historical or architectural merit. Let it die gracefully amidst the shady maples and crowding lilacs. That is, unless you are that rare species of owner whose restoration would be harmonious with the aims of the original builder.

But too often is an early 19th-century house bought by “city” people, in search of the proverbial “old stone house”, unhappily destined to become a bastard composition of half old, half new; half country, half city. Out come the old small-paned windows, and on go the aluminum storms. Picture windows reign triumphant (right). Off comes the old cast or wrought iron hardware, and on go the new “rustic” artsy-craftsy hinges, which take up half the door.

In rooms where delicate mantel mouldings complemented the painted walls and trim, now raw new pine covers up all traces of the glowing rose colors, blue-grey trims, and gay foliage of the old wallpaper. In our enthusiasm for those “pioneer” days, we have forgotten that most of our existing old houses are post 1812 War, in a day when bare wood panelling had been out of style for 60 years or more. Where split lath and plaster had discreetly covered up the rafter and joist construction of the ceiling, we expose it and call it “open beam”. A Regency gentleman, haunting his 1830 home in 1971, might quickly yearn for the grave again.

Tired of modern mass-produced high-rises and prefabs, we long for an old lived-in home. Yet the first thing we do upon achieving our dream is to plane smooth all those wear marks on the house. We sand down all the floors, and remove the bumps and signs of human habitation, until we get the surface of “straight from the factory” pine boards.

Forgetting that spinning wheels were relegated to the upper hail or attic, we sit it out on the front lawn, only to complement the wagon wheel fence, a feature which our ancestors never dreamed of.

I don’t mean to suggest I am advocating 19th-century living at least, not totally. The benefits from central heat over fireplaces and woodstoves can be attested to by anyone who has sat in front of a raging fire, and roasted his front, while freezing his back. Not to mention the questionable value in those early morning nature excursions to the privy in our Canadian winters. But one should consider the best type of heating system for an old house. At least with electric heat, you are not tempted to add those awful brick exterior chimneys to get rid of the fumes from a furnace. The bathroom can be discreetly located in a less important room, such as a storeroom or small bedroom.

In rooms which once glowed with the soft flickering light of candles, fire places or oil lamps, we unmercifully illuminate with fluorescent or over head light. Electric table lamps can be much more pleasant to eat by or to converse by, due to their softer lighting effect.

If you do have the privilege and pleasure of redoing an old house, go slowly. Initial enthusiasm can destroy all signs of unusual features of the house, such as the original floor lay out, bake-ovens stenciled walls, and so on. Try to assimilate the aspirations of the original owner. Was his mood predominantly folk-builder tradition, neoclassic, Regency or Victorian? How was this expressed in his building?

While we are willing to invest thousands of dollars in an old house, as we are impressed by the rising value of all things antique, we are not willing to invest the time in doing proper research on the period of the house, or to invest the money in hiring a sympathetic restoration designer to advise us.

Therefore, do not invade the countryside with your sheets of knotty pine to rape and plunder, but rather let those once proud country seats die inviolate.

I found an article by Jennifer McKendry. She is a history enthusiast in Kingston, Ontario. On her site she has written about antiques, architecture, old houses, and researching historic properties.

Source: In Praise of Older Houses - Jennifer McKendry (1971)

What is an Abandoned Barn Versus Inactive?

Written by Laura Brown

I looked at the photos of barns in this post. To me, most of them are inactive, not actually abandoned. They are still maintained, enough to not be falling down, don't look salvaged for barn boards, etc. So, they didn't really seem abandoned or derelict. Probably someone else would consider any barn not actively used to be abandoned. I guess it is all perspective. Are you someone using a barn or someone photographing it, looking at it for history, art, or industry/ agriculture or architecture?

I have not (so far) found a link to the photographer, John H. Busch or his fellow explorer, Mary Lynn Busch. There are good points in the post about exploring, history and photographing old places in Ontario. I've copied and pasted parts of the post, not in order so I can keep topics, like photographing the barns together.

Tips for Photographing Abandoned Barns

It’s interesting how you can photograph the same subject several times in one day and capture a different result each time, depending on the location of the sun, cloud cover, and location of the point of view. I learned through experience that my best colour photos are taken on cloudy days, but it is hard to exclude sunny-day shadows for good contrast.

I have shot and compiled a selection of these abandoned barns. For various reasons, it’s sometimes difficult to get the proper perspective while photographing these structures. Some are set far back from the road; there is often the presence of trees and foliage; and sometimes the time of day isn’t ideal. I believe some of my best photos of these barns were taken during the winter months, due to the absence of foliage, but ironically some of the best colours were during the summer months. Most of the barns are plain and unpainted, but a few are painted “barn red” while the odd one is white or green.

The Beginning of the End

The barns with missing boards or ones that have had part of their metal roofs blown off are the ones I refer to as doomed. Once this process begins, the barn will collapse relatively quickly. A year or two of rain on the dry hardwood beams, coupled with an entry for the wind to blow through, often speeds up the process. Gravity always seems to win in the end.

Another factor that contributes to the disappearance of these old barns is economics, including property taxes. Once the landowner realizes that the barn, which is often completely empty, is costing extra money in tax assessment, an excavator is brought in and the barn is dismantled quickly, often leaving the original farmhouse as the only building on the property.

To this day, terms such as “top plate, girt, corner post, brace, bent, mortise and tenon” still come to mind whenever I see different barns.

Source: Readers Digest: Abandoned Barns of Southwestern Ontario | Our Canada

Would you Travel to Explore a Cemetery?

Written by Laura Brown

I think the idea that walking through a cemetery is scary is created by the media. In reality, its usually quiet, tends to be damp, among the trees, or windy if there are few trees. I've photographed an old cemetery which was on the edge of a farm field, only one tree. It was very cold and windy. That was perfect atmosphere for a movie. But, they would have needed a story to make it creepy. The reality was just bitterly cold, not scary at all.

I found this post, which included a quote from Loren Rhoads, about travel and exploring cemeteries.

“I look at them as open-air sculpture gardens,” Rhoads said. “There are some places in the world where it’s museum quality, and it’s just there for anyone to visit and take a look.”

Source: A Guide to the World's Most Intriguing Cemeteries

Loren has written, "Wish you Were Here" and "199 Cemeteries to See Before you Die". The first is about US cemeteries and the second about cemeteries around the world.  Also, her site Cemetery Travel.

You can also find her Cemetery Travels Notebook, for your own exploring and notes, from her Etsy shop, CemeteryLibrarian.