Saturday, November 28, 2009

Sneaky Bugger

The harvest is done, and there's no snow.

The other night I made supper at the old place, lit a fire in the woodstove so the basement would be toasty for Scott when he arrived home, and then after waiting till about 8 for him get there, gave up and drove back here to GGFarm.
I stepped into the porch of this completely dark house, dropped my heavy purse, filled up containers of food and water for the dogs and took them back out to the front yard. Before coming in, I grabbed a basket of clean laundry from the van and when I got indoors carried it to the bedroom. There I noticed a still body in the bed, covered from head to toe. Must be Scott, I thought, but that’s funny – I didn't notice his truck when I drove in. Saying nothing, I went out to the entry and hung up my jacket while looking for his coat and shoes. Not seeing them, I began to get nervous: who the hell is in my bed and how the hell did he get in here? Then I saw Scott's cap on the floor and let my breath out.
“But how,” I asked, “did you get here? Your truck's not here.”
His grin was as wide and pleased with itself as a rainbow.
“I drove in right behind you,” he said.
“What? No way.”
“That’s not all. When you went into the house the first time, I came up on the step and stood outside the door. You walked right past me, and I slipped in while you were outside.”
“No way!” I said again. "You're full of it."
“Well, you are oblivious.”
I must be. Granted it was dark, I didn’t expect anyone to be standing there, and I had my hood up so wouldn’t have seen anyone standing so closely to my left. And I bet the bugger followed me with his headlights off, too; there is no way I wouldn’t have seen his truck behind me otherwise.
Hmph. I know I can be absent-minded and since I am a Brilliant Eccentric Aquarian Genius, it's only to be expected. But oblivious? Or, as Scott likes to say to me in another way, "Are they friendly spirits, Bullwinkle?"

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Thursday All Day

Me and my shadow -- an adolescent Husky/Shepherd cross named Chloe.

I put in four hours on my day job and then, particularly in this gorgeous weather, head out to walk with the girly-sues.

This week Emil and I have been living with mild chest colds, so my walks are short. I don't want to tire myself out. As it is, by suppertime I feel like lying down anyway.

Late in the afternoon I go over to the old place to see Emil and Everett after school and make supper. Once the meal and cleanup are out of the way, and there's been a chance to catch up with Scott after his working day, I hop into my van and drive back here to work an hour on a part-time project I'm involved in (fascinating; involves extensive reading about World War II, which I know far less about than I realized). I aim for bed, and my library books, at about 9 o'clock; but that's on a good night. Lately I don't seem to get there till 10 or later.

Right now I'm reading The Flying Troutmans, by Miriam Toews. It's about a young woman who returns from a broken relationship in France to take care of her sister's two kids when her sister ends up in a psychiatric hospital. They take an odyssey across the States to find the kids' dad. Toews is the author of A Complicated Kindness, which won the Governor General's Award a few years ago and was a finalist for the Giller Award. Great sense of humour, this gal.

This ice wouldn't hold me yet, but it's so tempting to strap on my skates and go for a glide.

Chloe also shadows Casper, the 14-year-old lady.

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

On the Table

After school.

~Mon night~
I worked here in the office this afternoon, then went home to make supper and work in the kitchen for a couple hours before coming back here (after a delay to watch the last half of Battle of the Blades; the skaters I liked least, won).
When I arrived at the house Everett hadn’t been home from school long. He was coming back from the barn, where he goes to feed the cats every day, and then pulled out his math homework at the kitchen table. He was in a talkative mood so I got a glass of skim milk and a couple of his fantabulous cookies and sat down to snack and chat.
He mimicked this kid in his class who mumbles so badly that Everett asked him to repeat himself about four times and still didn’t understand; another student sitting nearby had to tell Everett what he was saying: “Can I borrow your notes?”
I laughed till I cried. Literally.

Why is there an onion in a bowl on your kitchen table, you ask?
I got an email touting a raw unpeeled onion as the sucker-upper of flu and cold viruses. You're supposed to keep one by your bed and even in every room in your house.
Should have checked it out on, as it's not too likely that onions are a miracle preventive or healer. Thought it worth a try though; the worst that can happen is I'm out the cost of a bag of onions.

Kate, that gourd you gave me is still drying on the kitchen table.

To make it easy for him, the envelope for Scott's donation to the Lung Association is ready to go to the post office, awaiting only the tucking-in of a cheque.

Sudoku puzzle book: thank you Luanne, now Everett and I are both doing them.

Grandma Johnson's candlesticks, on a doilie she crocheted.

A cloth measuring tape I just bought so I can get the right length of Emil's inseam. Shirley, when I got you to shorten those pants for him, I overlooked the fact that the pair I gave you to figure length were also too long.

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Do I Have To?

You can't see the shovel in his right hand, but his attitude is showing from miles away.

"Why do I have to?" he wants to know, when I send him out to dig in the garden. At the moment he's moving a line of speedwells forward and he is not happy about it. He feels used and abused.

The boys have three days off school. Emil got the sniffles and has stayed indoors since Sunday evening, but Everett has been conscripted into his mother's service. Earlier he pruned dead flower stocks, and yesterday he decimated the lambs' ear population. Oh, the agony of it all.

I'm stuck at this computer for another three hours today, so had best get back at it. Wish I could trade places with the kid.

Monday, November 9, 2009

Too Many Books, Too Little Time

The latest stack of library books.

I also scored one of Gabrielle Roy's memoirs at the recycling centre in town. Hard cover, to boot.

Homesick, while begun, is set aside to return without finishing. It's about a woman who's moved to her parents' for help raising her son. Didn't hold me. Its author is the Saskatoon writer responsible for The Englishman's Boy.
The Mystery Guest was skimmed but left me wondering why I wanted to read it. No doubt I heard a radio interview with the author and the book sounded scintillating. But again, the printed page did not hold me. The narrator had been called out of the blue by an old love who'd dumped him with no explanation five years earlier. Now she called, invited him to be the one unknown guest at a dinner party; the narrator is certain all will come clear when he sees her again. But by now I don't care.
Home Land has been added to the pile of go-back-unreads.
On the other hand The Bookshop, which I picked up this morning and had nearly finished before noon, is a short and lively little tale of a widowed Englishwoman who opens up a bookstore in an old house shared with a poltergeist. Engaging from start to finish, unless things change at this late point in the story. I'll be diving back into it first chance I get.

I'm grateful to my local librarian for not complaining when I ask her to order in so many books for me, particularly when I don't read them all. If they don't snag me, why should I? Too many books, too little time. My motto.


Saw a bull and a mare moose on my way to Kelvington last night. The bull moose walked along the bush before turning sharply to disappear into it. As he made his way in, he had to sway his huge dark head from side to side so as not to bang his wide rack on the bars of naked poplar trunks.
I was thrilled. It’s still rare, to me, to see a moose. I stopped and snapped photos but it was too dark for them to turn out.

Sunday, November 8, 2009

Lovely Days

New steps and door on the porch.

Over the past few days Scott and Devon have put in a few hours around the place, when they could squeeze it in between construction jobs for paying customers, and field work. This is a temporary step, I'm told; all it needs now is a railing so that Emil can get in and out of the house without crawling up and down or ascending and descending with his elbow crutches, which makes me nervous.

I'd had a quick bath late yesterday afternoon (there aren't many things more pleasurable than immersing one's body in warm water, are there? mmmmmmm) in preparation to meet Faye and Rick and friends in Kelvington for a steak and lobster supper at the bar, when Scott came in from the field and started stripping off his clothes to get into the tub. We've had this beautiful weather for a couple days and the men could finally get into the field and combine, and he knew he couldn't or shouldn't really be leaving to go out for supper, but ... there he was, terribly torn. I suggested that getting the crop off might be more important than keeping a supper date, particularly when this weather was a freak of nature and could be gone by tomorrow. So he took that and ran with it, straight back out to the combine. I went off without him and, due to a headache coming on, came home right after the meal but bearing Scott's steak and half my own supper in a styrofoam container. He got into the house shortly after I arrived home and was happy to gobble it all down. I took a pill and went straight to bed. Slept like a baby and got up in time to catch up on this week's episodes of Coronation Street, whence I laughed so boisterously a couple times that Everett rolled over on the couch, where he's been sleeping, and watched the rest of the shows with me.

And so on and so forth ... made breakfast/lunch for Scott, Devon, Emil and myself; did the dishes beforehand and again afterward; and headed over here to put Everett to work washing window exteriors while it's so nice out. Can't find the window cleaner Scott thought he saw here, so am heading back to the old place for some vinegar and shall return and get to work myself.

That's my weekend. How's yours been?

Saturday, November 7, 2009

King Don

Dad at the Benson family gathering this summer. He looked so formidable that I asked Joan to photoshop the lawn chair out and replace his disposable glass, etc with something more royal. I would not feel too confident if I had to throw myself on the mercy of King Don. Would you?

Friday, November 6, 2009

Friday All Darn Day

My afternoon walk.

There was a thin layer of ice on the water.

Today, water is laying on the driveway and it is warm enough to go out without a coat.


Kathy, we should meet in the middle. I'll bring Rooty and you bring Stella, and we'll exchange. I know someone whose old Retriever is so old his face is almost white. They will soon have an "opening" for some wayward hound.


I have been very tempted by a chihuahua mix named Dora. But I let Scott talk me out of offering her a home. I do sort of regret it though, and if I should hear that Dora was on her way to the Auschwitz for dogs I'd step in and take her before letting that happen.

Gotta work. Went to Kuroki this morning to drop off the household garbage and Karen was home so I drove out to her place for a cuppa kaffee.

Thursday, November 5, 2009

Late Harvest

The crop still isn't in.

Scott and his dad thought they'd be able to combine today, but the grain was too tough. Maybe tomorrow.

There is still some snow on the ground, as you can see.

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Pupskin Full of Dog

This little fella needs a home.

From his current caregiver:
"He is intelligent, playful but calm, quiet, looks before he investigates. Has started to play with a ball and is good to chew on a bully stick (or my dog's elbows) and not my stuff.
I've started leash work and he sleeps in a kennel. Quit crying after the first night. He can go up and down stairs but still hesitates a bit going up.
I named him Rooty Root Bear (Rooty) because if I had an orange t-shirt for him, that's who he'd look like!"

In northern Saskatchewan, as in many other places, people don't or can't spend the money to have their pets spayed. Often hungry pups as well as older dogs are left to roam the streets; they often pack up and become a serious danger to humans as well as other animals. Many end up at the pound and are put to death after several weeks.

There is a small crew of softhearted individuals (my sister Karen among them) that takes these abandoned dogs from the pound before the date of "execution" arrives, and makes valiant attempts to find responsible homes for them. Little Rooty here is one of the lucky ones; he's in his halfway house now and waiting to be adopted. And isn't he a cutie?