Saturday, August 28, 2010

Thursday, August 26, 2010

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

One Human Family Gospel Choirs

One of Eric Dozier's One Human Family choirs.

This is a song we learned in the weekend workshop with Eric Dozier and Kim Pacheco and sang in concert at a Saskatoon church on Sunday afternoon. We were a much smaller group than the one above; maybe 50 of us.

I was pleased when many people in the audience stood, clapped, and sang along. That's the way it should be!

Here's another one he taught us; one of my favourites:

Thursday, August 19, 2010

Off to the City

Everett, looking like he hasn't bathed for a month, and typically rumpled.

I say to one or the other of my sons, "When's the last time you had a bath?"
He says, "I don't know."
I say, "Well, if it wasn't yesterday, then go have one!"

Emil, in a rare natural-looking photo, for usually he's overdoing the smile till it looks like a grimace.

My sister Joan took these photos when the boys and their dad visited Kelowna in July. The link to her website is in the sidebar: Sweetlight Photography.


It's 11:35 a.m. and I am planning to leave for Saskatoon at 1 p.m. to meet up with my longtime friend Julie and attend a gospel-singing workshop that starts tonight and finishes up with a concert Sunday afternoon.

I'm no churchgoer, but everytime I've seen Black choirs on TV singing spirituals, I've thought Damn! that looks like fun. If any of the local church congregations sang like that, instead of the droning dirges the organist always plays in too high a key, I might consider dragging my ass out of bed on a Sunday morning to attend.


Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Water Water Everywhere

And I'm pretty sure no one wants to drink a drop.

These were baled up a few weeks ago and they've been soaking wet ever since:

Around the yard:

The pack.

And where MomCat and Kittens go to escape them:

Monday, August 16, 2010

Baby Barn Swallows

Seen on the way into the Credit Union. The third ducked back into the nest.

The adult birds were very busy feeding these little fellas.

A pump is running constantly at the dugout behind our house, and when it quits during the day, I tramp out there, refill the gas tank, and pull the cord to start it again.
But I did enjoy a few silent moments this evening before steeling myself to put up with the noise once more. The cold wind that enveloped us most of the morning had vanished and I'd spent a couple hours deadheading shasta daisies and yanking up the most gigantic dandelions I've ever seen. I managed to stick some more purple coneflowers into the ground after rescuing them a week or two ago from a sweltering greenhouse. Tomorrow: another half-dozen delphiniums go in. I'm still waffling about where.

Sunday, August 15, 2010

Rain Rain Go Away

This cloud means business.

This photo was taken through the windshield as Everett and I were on our way into town on Friday afternoon. I considered turning around and coming home, but ... as is often the case, when I've a goal in mind, it's almost impossible to deter myself from it. So on we went. It was to spend a couple hours at the laundromat, since we have no facilities at present except those at Scott's parents' place, which requires three trips for every load of laundry by the time you've put it into the washer, moved it to the dryer, and picked it up again. I prefer to get it all done at once and get it over with. Sure it costs $20 but four huge loads are done in two hours. I can live with that.

We'll be buying a new washer and dryer, but not until water-in-the-basement problems are dealt with, and we've installed a new water-treatment system so that heavy iron and minerals don't ruin the appliances. Because the groundwater level is so high, it isn't possible to dig a hole for a septic tank yet. And so we wait for the rain to stop and things to get back to normal. It's starting to seem as if they never will. But at least we haven't had to face the disaster that is occurring in China and Pakistan. That is horrible and we are fortunate by comparison.

The nasty cloud carried on away from town, but the sky did dump rain for several hours and only today is the sun out again. At the moment I hear through my office window a pump running, working at lowering the level of the water in the dugout, which connects to a slough, which has been running over and into the lagoon, which, if nothing is done about it, will end up in our basement. Or so I hear.

Acreage living is lovely. It's not without its problems, but they aren't much different than town dwellers get their fair share of. When they get sewer backup, it's not just their own sewage. I imagine that's even worse to think about when you're cleaning it up.

Princess and Pea

The Princess and the Pea: Mom's first quilting project, which now hangs on my bedroom door.

Not only does this hanging have sentimental value because Mom gave it to me and went on to become an expert quilter — so much so that she always tried to get me to throw this wall hanging out, as she was embarrassed by it — but because I recognize the material that makes all the mattresses: a bedspread Mom made, two of her dresses, and a pair of Grandpa Johnson's pants. And at the time the hanging came my way, I had that long blond hair.


We have more water worries, after a week of heavy rains. I was actually wearing Emil's rubber boots (my own are only ankle-high) out shovelling in a grass- and water-filled ditch for a while today, trenching so that water could get away from our yard. Will this rain never end? Scott said he saw a rainbow, today, that looked like it was painted onto a cloud -- that's how bright it was.

Shoot, it's late, nearly 1 a.m.
Think I'll make like the princess and climb onto a mattress.

Thursday, August 12, 2010

For the Birds

In an effort to alert the birds to the large panes of glass that are our windows, I bought a bunch of these suncatchers and stuck them up.

It didn't work and this northern flicker was downed last Tuesday. When he tried to walk, for two days he'd fall on his face. The third day he was jumping to the top of the box; the fourth, he was scrambling around to get out; on the way to the small animal clinic in the city on Saturday, he was poking his head through the holes in the cardboard box in his efforts to escape. But alas, he still couldn't fly.

We dropped him off at the clinic and phoned back on Tuesday to see how he was. The vet told me the flicker had a broken shoulder/collar bone and they would rest him for two weeks. In that time it would repair itself and the flicker can be released. They'll even try to release him back out here, if someone happens to be coming out and will give him a ride.

Next: I crunched tin foil into balls, tied embroidery thread to it -- after all these years I'm using up some of my embroidery thread again; last time was when putting appliqués on the quilt I made with Mom. That's more than five years ago -- and Everett climbed a ladder and stuck them to the window frames with sticky-tack.

You can see why the birds might be confused when they see the reflection of the trees and sky, as they do.

The balls move easily in the breeze but I think we may still add a few. Uncle Neil says to hang some old CDs out, too. We'll try that, but further out from the glass.

Emil phoned Neil the other day and invited himself over for a visit. We went yesterday afternoon — I made Everett drive, now that he has a learner's licence; he needs all the practice he can get, even though he'd as soon not, he says — and Emil showed off his singing skills, with The Morning Song (well, that's what I call it) and The Juicy Fruit song, from a commercial.

Then he asked me "Am I a good singer?"

Well, I lied. Sometimes you have to.

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Four-Legged Companions

Jenna, eight years old, is a newcomer to the farm. Scott's aunt has sold her acreage and Jenna needed a new home.

Ducky is here to stay after several visits while my sister and her hubby were away on holidays. He actually belongs to my niece Danielle but when she took him down south with her to live in Carlyle he wasn't happy and she decided to let me keep him.

And here's Casper, the 15-year-old with arthritis and an incredible fear of thunder, who bounded across the yard toward me this morning with such vigour I could hardly believe it.

When I sit in the garden swing, all three of them are ranged nearby, on the grass. When I go for a walk, I am well escorted. I swear Ducky grins, although his little legs are a blur as he tries to keep up with the bigger dogs. He has a crush on Jenna, who will play with him as he runs circles around her.

The other day a coyote flashed across the road some distance ahead of us and these three, along with Sara Doodle from the old place, who visits occasionally, all lit out after it. Don't worry, Karen, I called Ducky back before they ran out into the field. [Karen always worries because Ducky would be a mere mouthful to a fox or coyote, but he thinks he's a German shepherd.]

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Rainy Day

My morning coffee spot on the back step.

Today, more thunder, more rain. I've had to have the computer unplugged most of the morning and will have to get caught up later. This afternoon will be spent in town, getting a haircut for my shaggy boy and having the oil in my Mommy-van changed. I've been driving a minivan for at least 10 years; next time I buy a vehicle, it needs to be something different. Though I have to say I still like it: you can sleep in it if you need to; you sit up high; and of course, it's the easiest thing for Emil to get in and out of.

Everett and I picked him up from Camp Easter Seal on Sunday morning. As always, he was in no hurry to leave. He had to say goodbye and hug each of his counsellors a good number of times. That's them, above. Adorable gals, every one; you can see why he loves the place.

And always, after I've dropped him off and am leaving alone, I'm reminded that he is one of the lucky ones. Most of the kids who spend a week there are living with much more severe handicaps; Emil at least can walk, talk, and feed himself.

I've mentioned that he's moving into one of the group homes in town on Sept. 1st, haven't I? We're excited about it, all of us. But I think I'm repeating myself so I'll say no more for now.


Emil recently turned 22, and I've given up insisting that he shave. He's never liked shaving, or been any good at it. So now he's got a scruffy beard. I don't like it, but it's not my face.

Monday, August 9, 2010

Moms Should Wear Pants

Everett, walking behind me down the hall, says in an exasperated tone:
“Mom, why aren’t you wearing any pants?”

I inform him that I am wearing a bathing suit, thank you very much.


Another hot day, though we had thunder and rain last night and the power was out for several hours.

I'm working, so had best get back to it, during these hours of intense heat. Though Everett is out there now, pulling thistles that are as tall as he is from the back of the garden. He was having no part of getting up early to avoid the heat of the day; now he's paying. I spent an hour out there before the sun got up to full speed.

Next year, I am planting nothing that can't be weeded with my trusty stirrup hoe. To hell with hand-weeding half an acre of violas. Live and learn.

Sunday, August 8, 2010

Wadena Museum

Museum Days, or whatever they call it -- we missed it again. Apparently they have threshing and stooking demonstrations and serve home-made pies, bread and borscht.

The old train station is Wadena's museum, as is often the case in our little towns.

Got home from Camp Easter Seal mid-afternoon and after watering all the potted plants I started weeding and was out there in the heat for an hour or two. Silly. I know I should wait till the day cools down but I see one weed and pull it and that leads to another and before you know it I've got an armload to carry to the brush pile and on it goes.

Not that I'll ever have a fully weeded flower garden.
It is to dream.

Scott's been busy cutting clover and baling:

They were unable to put any seed into the ground this year due to the monsoonish spring, so the clover crop must have volunteered.
I'm not very knowledgeable for a farm girl. Have probably got it all wrong.

Monday, August 2, 2010

Holiday for You, Maybe

Trea loves Kade.

Apparently I am three thousand years old, for I have been a great-aunt for four years already.

These two are my sister Karen's grandchildren.

Kade is known for being an entertaining little character. About a week ago he told his mom that he was having "Porn Cops" for breakfast.


Shelly bolted out the door without either breakfast or coffee at six o'clock this morning. Several hours later the sky opened up and dropped an inch-and-a-half of rain on us in a heavy downpour. Once again, I had to unplug my computer to be on the safe side. Thus, now that the sky's blue again, I need to get back to work. No such thing as a long weekend for Moi.

Karen came out for supper last night and at Shelly's request brought her guitar. We cooked dead animals over the firepit for supper and then had a singsong. I tried to get a photo of Shelly's gigantic grin as Karen sang and played, but naturally the battery on my camera had to go and quit just then. Hmph.