Bat Adventures And How To Help Them

As we walk around our neighbourhood the bat detector goes off often. We live in a part of the city with an abundance of old Victorians and trees. Any neighbourhood in the city will have bats feeding at dusk and later in the evening. You just need to be paying attention. If you want a lot of bat action head to a large park. My two favourites in the west end are High Park and Humber River, however, Toronto boasts of many large and glorious parks.

Bats are an important part of our ecosystem as well as they help to keep the mosquito population down. I am personally someone who has a bad reaction to mosquito bites and the less of them the better. Sadly, as our city grows, more and more development happens, which means lots of wildlife and being kicked out of their homes and that includes bats. Bat Houses are an amazing way to help out bat habitats. You can buy the ready made or if you want to make your own, check out the following link.

http://www.batcon.org/resources/getting-involved/bat-houses

Neighbourhood Bat Watch provides a really great breakdown of what to do when setting up a bat house. Click here to read the blog post.

Each time I post, I am going to also suggest music that goes with bat adventures! Today I’m suggesting the Night Chill song Creepy’s Bite!

Type of bats: Big Brown Bat
No. Mosquito bites: 0

Here is a link I’ve created to all of our bat sightings.

Important: Do not handle bats. They can carry the rabies virus. Only those who have been properly vaccinated and have knowledge of bats should be handling them. If you find a bat in your home call a bat rescue. Do not call an exterminator, call a rescue. Bats are important for our environment. I have links below for rescues.

Types of bats in Ontario: https://onnaturemagazine.com/bat-guide.html
High Park Nature Centre: https://www.highparknature.org/wiki/wiki.php?n=Mammals.Bats
Bat rescues: http://www.ontariowildliferescue.ca/wildlifecentres/?care=bat

Redheads Writing In Cafes (except when it’s from my bedroom) The History of Toronto Laneways

If you recently saw my blog post about Bat Adventures Laneway Style, you will know that I’ve recently started exploring the laneways in my neighbourbhood. Since starting this, I have gotten more and more fascinated by the history of laneways in Toronto. I know many others are as well, so I thought I would do a blog post about it.

Toronto’s laneways have a fascinating history and were considered mixed-use. “Toronto’s laneways historically were mixed-used.  In the late 19th and early 20th centuries, they housed services, from stables and dairies, to blacksmiths, and were avenues for coal delivery. With that in mind, what role should a 21st century mixed-use laneway play in our city?” (source eraarch.ca/) Today these same laneways mostly house garages.

Many of those same laneways also had beautiful coach houses! Sadly, I had a really hard time finding any photos either vintage or current. I imagine that there was a lot of hustle in bustle in those laneways in the 19th century and the beginning of the 20th century. If those laneways could, they would have wonderful stories to tell.

When I am finally allowed to, I plan on doing a deeper dive, especially in The Junction/High Park/Roncesvalles/Parkdale area via The Junction Archives and The Toronto Archives. I will do a follow up blog post then. In the meantime, below are some links about the history and great information of Toronto’s laneways.

http://www.eraarch.ca/2019/uncovering-the-potential-of-torontos-laneways/

https://www.toronto.ca/wp-content/uploads/2018/04/88a5-Changing-Lanes-CCM-March-29-2018-AODA2.pdf

https://www.thestar.com/news/gta/2014/03/22/the_hidden_history_in_torontos_back_lanes.html

Art In Laneways

Toronto has some famous laneways for it’s art that boast a variety of styles and artist work. One in particular is called Graffiti Alley and it can be found south of Queen street and running between Augusta and Spadina. It is a photographers dream. Many more of Toronto’s laneways have stunning graffiti and art, you just need to go looking for it. Recently, we have started exploring the laneways in the High Park/Roncesvalles/Junction area and have been stumbling across both graffiti and individual artists work. We found below in an laneway just off of Humberside.

Toronto needs to utilize it’s space better and there is a lot of potential for laneways. Please check out The Laneway Project. They are working to unlock the potential of Toronto’s laneways.

When we were in Japan I was in awe of the usage of space. Most laneways had stores or restaurants or hidden doors to magical places. Wandering down a random laneway brought so many wonderful surprises. Toronto really needs to learn from Japan.

If you would like to also explore Toronto’s laneways, there is a map showing where they all are! https://www.thelanewayproject.ca/torontolanewaymap

Here are some links to articles about art in laneways in Toronto.

https://www.seetorontonow.com/my-toronto/toronto-street-art/

https://streetart.to/

https://locallove.ca/places/how-one-organization-is-revitalizing-torontos-laneways/#.XtUfcppE1QI

Stay The Fuck Home Obsessing Over Vintage Campers Edition

Lately, I have been revisiting my obsession with vintage campers. A late 50s Shasta to be exact. Maybe it’s because we’ve been couped up for so long and the thoughts of travelling across Canada in a little vintage ditty is exactly what my soul is screaming for right now! To make the dream complete, a shiny candy apple red 1957 Chevy, with those wing like tail lights, would be the perfect vehicle to tow our red and white chariot!

I dream of going from destination to destination and then setting up camp near lakes or vintage looking trailer parks. Putting down the awning, stringing it with fairy lights and setting up our portable BBQ. Then we would sit back with our cool drinks and meditate to the sounds of birds and other musical sounds of nature.

While we are travelling, we could visit antique markets along the way and hunt for treasures.

One of these days I will finally watch Lucille Ball in the movie The Long, Long Trailer. It looks like a blast!

You will need to excuse me while I go back to dreaming.

Why does the theme song from the Littlest Hobo keep playing in my head? Maybe it is time to hit the roads!

Bat Adventures Bela Lugosi

Now that the weather is warmer and getting more humid, that means there will be a lot more bugs flying around at night! That also means MORE BATS! On hot and humid night, if you are out around dusk, please look up, you will be able to see bats without the aid of a bat detector. They are awake and feeding! As mentioned in previous posts, bats need to eat their own body weight in bugs every day when they are active and dusk is a prime bug feasting time! If you want to know where the most bugs are, look up at the street lights when they come on!

If you go out to observe bats, do you have a bat detector? Are you just doing it visually? Where do you go?

Bela! Bela! Bela! How do I love thee! Let me count the bats!

Since I was a child I was mesmerized by Bela Lugosi. There was something about this mysterious man and that voice! I find his presence soothing rather than creepy. For most you either know him for his 1931 roll as Dracula or from Ed Wood Jr’s Plan 9 From Outer Space. There is so much more to Bela than just those movies.

How was I introduced to Bela? It wasn’t either of those movies. The very first movie I saw him in was White Zombie, then Mark of the Vampire, The Gorilla and The Devil Bat. These movies played often on which ever one of the four channels we had. Possibly even on Saturday Night At The Movies with Elwy Yost. That’s right, we had four channels until I was sixteen (that’s when we got cable) and I’m old enough to have watched Elwy Yost. I miss Elwy Yost!

Long before Bela Lugosi became type cast, he was a silent film and theatre star! He also had a very interesting life, I highly recommend you do some reading up on him, you won’t regret it. Wikipedia has the condensed version, but you really need to read some actual biographies on him! One I can highly recommend is Bela Lugosi in person.

If you are up for a Bela Lugosi movie marathon, here are my top ten favourite movies! Some are even free on YouTube! (in order of year) If you want to pick your own movies, the list on Wikipedia is very thorough, do not look at the list on IMDB, it’s missing way too many gems. (below are either trailers or full movies)

Dracula (1931)

White Zombie (1932)

Mark of the Vampire (1935)

The Mystery of the Mary Celeste (1935) (released in the USA as Phantom Ship

The Gorilla (1939)

The Devil Bat (1940)

The Corpse Vanishes (1942)

The Ape Man (1943)

Bride of the Monster (1955)

Plan 9 From Outer Space (1959)

Each time I post, I am going to also suggest music that goes with bat adventures! Today I’m suggesting Christian D. He is not only one of my favourite Toronto musicians, he does a killer cover of Bela Lugosi Is Dead. Please go buy his music and help out our musicians. They need it now more than ever. https://christiand.bandcamp.com/album/bela-lugosis-dead

Type of bats: Large Brown Bats
No. Mosquito bites: 0

Here is a link I’ve created to all of our bat sightings.

Important: Do not handle bats. They can carry the rabies virus. Only those who have been properly vaccinated and have knowledge of bats should be handling them. If you find a bat in your home call a bat rescue. Do not call an exterminator, call a rescue. Bats are important for our environment. I have links below for rescues.

Types of bats in Ontario: https://onnaturemagazine.com/bat-guide.html
High Park Nature Centre: https://www.highparknature.org/wiki/wiki.php?n=Mammals.Bats
Bat rescues: http://www.ontariowildliferescue.ca/wildlifecentres/?care=bat

Redheads Writing In Cafes (except when it’s from my bedroom) Discovering New Things

Do you ever come a cross something new, that isn’t new and secretly yell at your friends for not telling you about it! Then those friends usually say… we thought you knew! That happened recently! For the first time, I discovered that Boris Karloff had a series called Thriller. Now to do you all a favour, so you know what I now know, I’m also going to tell you about a few other things he starred in that you may or may not know about, plus a few other classic suspense/horror TV shows you may love just as much as I am. This way we can stay friends.

Thriller (also known as Boris Karloff’s Thriller and Boris Karloff Presents) is an American anthology television series that aired during the 1960–61 and 1961–62 seasons on NBC. The show featured host Boris Karloff introducing a mix of macabre horror tales and suspense thrillers. (source Wikipedia)

Thriller (70s version) Anthology series of self-contained episodes with the genres ranging from murder mystery to suspense to psychological and supernatural horror. It ran from 1973 to 1976.

Ghost Story (later re-titled Circle Of Fear) is an American television horror anthology series that aired for one season on NBC from 1972 to 1973. Executive-produced by William Castle, Ghost Story featured supernatural entities such as ghosts, vampires, and witches. The show’s format and tone drew comparisons to NBC’s Night Gallery and ABC‘s The Sixth Sense. (source Wikipedia)

The Veil is an American horror/suspense anthology television series produced in 1958 by Hal Roach Studios.

The series is hosted by Boris Karloff, who also acts in every episode but one. Episode plots allegedly were based upon real-life reports of supernatural happenings and the unexplained. Ten of the 12 episodes begin and end with Karloff standing in front of a roaring fireplace and inviting viewers to find out what lies “behind the veil”. (source Wikipedia)

Stay The Fuck Home And Make Pie Edition

My all time favourite thing is pie. It can be sweet pie. It can be savoury pie. As long as it is pie! My favourite sweet pie is blueberry. YUM YUM! After that, peach then strawberry. I even like a good strawberry rhubarb pie, but DO NOT try to give me a rhubarb or raisin pie. I detest raisins.

I grew up in a household where every Sunday night we would have pie as dessert. My mom would make her pies mostly with seasonal fruit. Every once in a while, she would make a killer lemon meringue. My Mom learned to make pie from my Grandma Betty (my Dad’s mom) and I then learned to make pie from both my Mom and also Grandma Betty. My Grandma Betty was the queen of baking.

All of the below recipes can be easily veganized.

Mom’s Pie Crust! It is the flakiest pie crust you will make. The trick is and you CANNOT skip this step, is you must add the vinegar! I’m not sure about variations for replacing shortening.

This recipe makes 2 pie crusts.

2 cups of flour
3/4 cups of vegetable shortening
pinch of salt
4 TBSP Cold water (the colder the better)
1 TSP White Vinegar. (this is the only vinegar that will work)

In a large bowl add the flour, shortening and salt.

In a small bowl add the cold water and vinegar together.

With a pastry cutter or two forks cut into the flour and shortening until it is crumbly.

Once it is crumbly add the water, a few tablespoons at a time. If you find your mixture too dry, add more water. Make sure you only add a bit at a time.

Don’t over mix, otherwise your crust will be tough.

Roll out as desired!

Fruit Pies

Blueberry Pie https://sallysbakingaddiction.com/best-blueberry-pie/
Apple Pie https://www.allrecipes.com/recipe/12682/apple-pie-by-grandma-ople/
Strawberry Pie https://joythebaker.com/2015/04/strawberry-lattice-pie/
Strawberry Rhubarb Pie
https://www.bonappetit.com/recipe/best-strawberry-rhubarb-pie
Lemon Meringue Pie https://www.veganosity.com/vegan-lemon-meringue-pie-with-aquafaba/
Cherry Pie https://www.inspiredtaste.net/22872/easy-cherry-pie-recipe/
Pecan Pie https://chocolatecoveredkatie.com/vegan-pecan-pie-recipe/
Chocolate Cream Pie https://pinchofyum.com/vegan-chocolate-pie
Pumpkin Pie https://minimalistbaker.com/vegan-gluten-free-pumpkin-pie/
Vintage Pie recipes https://antiquealterego.com/2014/06/20/vintage-recipes-1950s-pies/

Savoury Pies

Pot Pie https://www.acouplecooks.com/savory-vegan-pot-pie-with-sage-crust/
Onion Pie
https://www.connoisseurusveg.com/vegan-cheese-onion-pie/
A list of ideas! https://happyhappyvegan.com/vegan-pie/

What is your favourite pie?

Bat Adventures and Bats in Silent Movies

We’ve recently been walking more east of our place on our bat adventures and for some reason, there aren’t as many bats. West of our place, there are a lot. I’m starting to wonder if it has to do with the fact that there are many more larger and older structures west and more newer builds east. I’m going to start keeping track of this.

I thought I would expand a bit on my Bat Adventures and Bats in the Movies post. I wanted to talk a little bit more about bats in silent movies in this blog post.

Bats in movies are usually a symbol of something bad about to happen. Many horror or suspense movies use them. Sadly, this has lead to the bat’s bad reputation. It’s why I am always educating people on how bats are in fact good for our environment and ecosystem! But alas… in the movies they will always play villain, especially in the Silent Movies.

Bats appear in many Silent Movies, however I’ve decided to post my top three favourites.

Le Manoir du diable (1896) The movies begins with very clever Silent Movie special effects. It was 1896 and something like that would not have been easy to do. I’m still in awe of those effect. Georges Méliès was a genius!

The entire piece runs around 3 minutes and 17 seconds. Which was quite lengthy for the times and well worth your time. I am posting the cleanest copy I can find of it. There are several over on YouTube.

Trivia: This article has some great trivia about the movie. https://morbidlybeautiful.com/eerie-essentials-le-manoir-du-diable/

Nosferatu (1922) Nosferatu is still one of my all time favourite German Expressionism horror movies. It is creep and absolutely stunning to look at. I have watched it several times and cannot get enough of it. For me personally, when I think of a vampire, this was what I envision. Don’t get me wrong, I like the suave Bela Lugosi’s Dracula, but for me, it should be a demon!

Trivia: All known prints and negatives were destroyed under the terms of settlement of a lawsuit by Bram Stoker‘s widow. However, the film would subsequently surface through second-generation reels in other countries.

Here is an HD version of the movie.

The Bat (1926) is a 1926 American comedy-mystery silent film directed by Roland West and starring Jack Pickford and Louise Fazenda. The film is based on the 1920 Broadway hit play The Bat by Mary Roberts Rinehart and Avery Hopwood, which itself was an adaptation of Rinehart’s 1908 mystery novel The Circular Staircase. (source Wikipedia)

This movie is a lot of fun and inspired reboots, such as The Bat Whispers (1930) and The Bat (1950) with Vincent Price.

I’ve tried to find an HD version of this movie. All of the ones currently on YouTube are not the best quality, but worth the watch. So are the remakes.

Trivia: Director Roland West best known for his possible involvement in the death of Hollywood actress Thelma Todd in 1935.

Each time I post, I am going to also suggest music that goes with bat adventures! Today I’m suggesting The Ichibons!

In the summer I feel that rockabilly/surf goes well with bat adventures! https://ichi-bons.bandcamp.com/releases

Type of bats: Big Brown Bats
No. Mosquito bites: Still none, but they are buzzing, especially on the hotter, more humid nights!

Here is a link I’ve created to all of our bat sightings.

Important: Do not handle bats. They can carry the rabies virus. Only those who have been properly vaccinated and have knowledge of bats should be handling them. If you find a bat in your home call a bat rescue. Do not call an exterminator, call a rescue. Bats are important for our environment. I have links below for rescues.

Types of bats in Ontario: https://onnaturemagazine.com/bat-guide.html
High Park Nature Centre: https://www.highparknature.org/wiki/wiki.php?n=Mammals.Bats
Bat rescues: http://www.ontariowildliferescue.ca/wildlifecentres/?care=bat

Virtual Toronto Lit Up: Inanna’s Spring Releases

I’m very excited for my sister (from a whole other set of parents), fellow red-headed dame, and incredible writer! Please join in for the Inanna reading as well as follow Heather’s blog!

Meet Me at the Soda Fountain

June 18 TO LIT UP launch banner_for posting

On Thursday, June 18th at 5pm, Toronto Lit Up and Inanna Publications will be hosting a virtual book launch to celebrate Inanna’s Spring 2020 releases! I am so excited to be launching with these fabulous authors! Here are the details:

Join us for a virtual celebratory evening of readings and revelry featuring authors Heather Babcock (Filthy Sugar), Nina Munteanu (A Diary in the Age of Water), Ruth Panofsky (Radiant Shards: Hoda’s North End Poems) and Mary Rykov (some conditions apply). Books discounted for the event, author Q & A and more!

Register here: https://www.crowdcast.io/e/toronto-lit-up-inanna-launch

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Redheads Writing In Cafes (except when it’s from my bedroom) Be A Pain In The Ass!

While doing yoga today, (day 128 for those keeping track), the term ‘you are such a pain in the ass’ kept popping into my head. As a child, I was told that often, that and ‘stop being such a pain in the ass’. What that meant in my case was I was questioning everything. Everything! I know I used to drive everyone nuts. There are a few incidents that really stick in my memory.

Incident number one that I clearly remember in my minds eye is my Brownie leader complained all the time about me to my mother. When it came time to move onto Girl Guides, the leader said I couldn’t join. Because… wait for it. I asked too many questions. My mother was furious and told the Brownie leader off, then turned to me and said they didn’t deserve me. It wasn’t the first or last time my mother would stick up for me in this way.

Quite often I talk about my Grandma Betty and how she influenced me, but I don’t talk about my own mother enough. I do mention how she taught me to sew and that she always made sure I had art supplies. I talk a lot about how she used to draft and sew our clothes when we were kids. I talk about a lot of creative things regarding my mother, but I don’t talk enough about how she influenced my entire life.

There are a lot of similarities between my mother and I. We are both the oldest child in our families. We are both creative. We are both stubborn. We are both pains in the ass. I truly come by this honestly. As mentioned above she had to stick up for me often. I’m going to talk about a few more incidents, because they did affect the type of person I became.

My Great Grandpa Bill dying had a huge impact on my life. I was really close to him. As a child who was shy and preferred her own company, I always felt like he was one of the few people I was happy to hang out with. We spent a lot of time together. He was tall, handsome, funny and a great story teller. He told many wonderful ghost stories. I was ten and half when he died. I was devastated by the loss. It was the first time I remember going through depression. Not just grief, but actual depression.

My Great Grandpa Bill came to live with us after the farm house burnt down. He had lived on and worked that farm for many decades of his life. Suddenly, he had no where to go, so my Mom told him to come live with us. I went from seeing him every day, to him being gone. He died of a stroke. If that wasn’t devastating enough, when we went to view his body at the funeral home, I had a complete melt down. The man in the casket did not look like Grandpa Bill. It’s not an exaggeration. The make-up made him look like a weird wax figure. Even my mother will confirm that. From that point on, I was changed. I started to question everything. I started to question death. In fact I became obsessed about it.

When I say I became obsessed, I don’t mean suicide or murder, what I mean is, I started to question what it was. I needed to know what death meant. What happened after you died, to your body, to your soul, after all, my Great Grandpa Bill used to tell me ghost stories. Was he a ghost now? I was relentless. I would not stop asking. In fact, I went to the school library and would constantly harass the librarian to find me a book that explained death. I apparently freaked her out to the point where my mother was called into see the Principal.

“Can you please tell your daughter to stop asking the librarian about death. She is being a pain in the ass.”

Once again my mother was telling someone else off. Saying her daughter was allowed to ask questions. She would not stop me from being a pain in the ass and she didn’t.

The next ‘big’ incident was in grade seven. Our teacher was physically abusive to the boys and a chauvinistic pig and verbally abusive to the girls. Oh the seventies…. One morning, I raised my hand to answer a question, which I got wrong and rather than move onto the next student, he decided to berate me and called me a moron. I of course wasn’t having it. I spit back at him, “If you think I’m a moron, then I’m not doing any more work.” I sat at my desk for the next few hours, hands folded on top of the desk staring forward. He kept threatening to send me to ‘the office’, if I didn’t smarten up. I just kept shrugging my shoulders. He had finally enough of me, got up close to my face and started yelling at me. I yelled back. FINALLY, he sent me to the office. I too had had enough. Every detail, every abuse, every single event that had happened up to the that point was laid out to the Principal. I’m certain I wasn’t the first to complain.

Guess what happened next…. you likely guessed, my mother was called, she told the Principal off, and that was that. By the way, I also have my mother’s temper, it doesn’t come out often, but when it does, you’d better be running.

I was sent back to class, the Principal pulled our teacher out of class and when he returned he was beet red. A nasty look flashed my way and he didn’t talk to me for the rest of the school year, which was fine by me. The abuse also stopped as well. Sadly, for our class only, as I have heard other stories of classes the years after us still dealing with it. I honestly don’t know how he was allowed to continue on, but then again… the seventies, where corporal punishment was still allowed in schools.

That was only a couple examples of me being a pain in the ass, asking questions, sticking up for myself, never backing down. When someone is, it’s because they believe in something or they need answers. If I’m onto something, I keep on it, until I’m satisfied. I will continue to be a pain in the ass.

My mother stood up for me because she wanted me to be a pain in the ass. This woman, my mother raised me to be strong and independent. She raised me to be able to get the fuck out of Wiarton and survive on my own. I know it is something she had hoped for herself. I often wondered and still do, if she constantly pushed me explore being artistic, because deep down inside, she wanted to be an artist herself. I wonder if she will ever admit that.

Mamma bird did her job well, because I left and have never looked back. I never will. To this day, she herself continues to be a pain in the ass and sticks up for the ones she loves.

If you take anything away from this, I hope it’s this. When you believe in something, love something, need an answer to something, be relentless, be stubborn, never give up. Succeed in getting the results you expect.

Be a pain in the ass!

Stay The Fuck Home Vincent Price Edition

There are three actors that I had major crushes on when I was younger. Harold Lloyd (silent film star), Jon Erik Hexum and Vincent Price. Yes, that sounds like a mixed bag, but they all had a uniqueness that had me crushing hard. I know… I know… you need more info than that.

Harold Lloyd had an adorable awkwardness about him. Watch any of his movies (Girl Shy, The Freshman or Why Worry) and you will get it. Jon Erik Hexum… his time travelling, swash buckling hero character of Phineas Bogg got my heart a pitter pattering. But Vincent, Vincent Price was this horror loving, spooky story girl favourite.

Vincent Price was not only the voice of many radio plays, he was a Film Noir star and a campy horror god! I’ve long been a fan of his horror movies and radio plays, but it wasn’t until recently that I have really gotten into his Film Noir movies. I highly recommend Shock!, Laura and The Long Night. Here is a link to some more of his well known Film Noir roles. Check them out, you won’t be disappointed. However, it’s his horror films that we know and love him for the most.

However, before I get to the horror stuff, I need to talk about the Vincent I remember from my childhood. If you are not Canadian you many not be as familiar with this as we are. There are box sets out there of the entire series, you need to go buy them. What am I talking about, well, The Hilarious House of Frightenstein of course! This show, along with the Addams Family were my favourite things to watch. They were dark, funny and I loved all of the characters. I also love that it is a Canadian show filmed in Hamilton.

Then comes The Last Man On Earth. This is still one of my favourite of his horror movies along with The House On Haunted Hill, The Witchfinder General, The House of Wax, The Pit and The Pendulum, The Bat, Theatre of Blood and The Fly. There are so many more, but this post will end up being really long!

Let’s not forget that Vincent also loved to cook! He and his wife Mary created a cookbook called A Treasury of Great Recipes! Oh how I would love to get my hands on a copy! My birthday is coming if anyone is looking for gift ideas!