Sunday, February 27, 2011

One Year Since

"Aaaaaaaaah, it's all bullshit anyway...."

Uncle Bruce with my cousin Heather's fella, Lionel, and Scott at the family reunion we had in the summer of 2009.
How many different ways are there to say Holy Shit, It's Been a Year Already?
So I won't.
Instead I'll just point new readers back to Uncle Bruce's obituary.

Saturday, February 26, 2011

Kittens and Cutting


Last summer we had one female cat here on the farm, and she had one litter of kittens out in the barn. They weren't found until Everett came back from his dad's, and by then they were a good size, but he tamed all five of them and now they come right up to the house, prance around the dogs, and sit under my birdfeeders with their whiskers twitching.

Alice is the spitting image of the wild tomcat that I first spotted in the garden before we moved over here. He had an entire saddle of matted fur on his back and you couldn't get near him. This winter he's been in the tractor shed with the cat herd, but makes himself scarce the minute you go in there. He seems to think that if he hides, you won't know he's there.

The kittens were all given names that start with an A, so in the years to come we might be able to remember how old they are. Besides Alice, there's Ace, black as a spade in the card deck, and Ash, a grey tabby. Don't ask me what happened to the other two kittens; something got them, obviously. That's the life of a barn cat. They have total freedom, but with it comes the danger of coyotes and foxes and heaven knows what else.

We should have several litters of kittens around here this spring.


To make this page download quickly for family members still using dialup, I've changed the settings so that only one entry shows on each page. Alas, now my lists of favourite blogs extend far beneath the end of the one entry, most days. And this bugs me.

I've been trying to ignore it, but that can only go on so long. I know myself; eventually I'll slash and burn, and that list will be drastically shortened. Which I will hate, because how can I pick and choose? I love all the blogs that are listed there.

Even the one written by someone I can hardly stand. (No, it's not you. The writer of that blog is far too self-absorbed ever to read someone else's.) That's right, I read the blog of someone I am sure would make my teeth ache were we to meet in person. I like the photos and the extensive text about a life that seems to be well lived, though the writer has obviously never received the kick in the ass that might have improved the personality. The writer is condescending, arrogant ...

Well enough about that. How often do you hear me say something "bad" about anybody? It's a slippery slope I'd best stay away from.
Needless to say, I'll have no problem deleting the link to that blog.

Anyway, if the link to your blog disappears (has disappeared; I started deleting links right after saving this entry) from that list, now you know the reason why. And also, that I have probably signed up to "Follow" your blog so that I will be notified of your new entries in another way, though it's less convenient for me to keep up with your exciting life via the Follow feature.


Aunt Reta sent this video about peeling potatoes:
It stars the actress who played Maryanne on Gilligan's Island.

Thursday, February 24, 2011

How Things Were Done

little cardboard card

This little announcement card was among Aunt Jean's photo albums that are in my care. I don't know who this Mr Walker was, only that my great-great grandmother was born a Walker and came out West from Ontario. (Reta? Got any info?)

If you click on the bottom card it will enlarge to a readable size. Note how it calls the card an "intimation" instead of an "invitation." You don't hear that nowadays and I wonder if it was common usage in 1930.

inside the card


Just saw this— its part of Benjamin Franklin's letter to a young man, advising him to get married but, should he insist upon remaining single, then to at least have the good sense to get involved with older women. He gives a number of reasons; here's the best:

5. Because in every Animal that walks upright, the Deficiency of the Fluids that fill the Muscles appears first in the highest Part: The Face first grows lank and wrinkled; then the Neck; then the Breast and Arms; the lower Parts continuing to the last as plump as ever: So that covering all above with a Basket, and regarding only what is below the Girdle, it is impossible of two Women to know an old from a young one. And as in the dark all Cats are grey, the Pleasure of corporal Enjoyment with an old Woman is at least equal, and frequently superior, every Knack being by Practice capable of Improvement.

I don't know whether to laugh or cry ...
Read it all, here, at Letters of Note.

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Winter Can Be Magical, I Tell You

you can see the sparkles, can't you? click to enlarge

Even if it is damn cold.
Even the air is full of sparkles! But the photo doesn't show those.

Tuesday, February 22, 2011


Maddie.  14 inches high
Hand dyed cotton body
Jointed shoulders, elbows, knees and hips.
Mohair hair
Water colour painted face.  Eyes and lips are spot varnished.
New cotton top
Jeans made from recycled denim
Purse made from recycled leather coat
Not shown - matching moccasins made from recycled leather coat.

See yesterday's entry for Jo Ann's contact info, to purchase. $175.


It must be hard to part with them, eh, Jo Ann?

Monday, February 21, 2011

Jo Ann's Dolls


Grace is one of my friend Jo Ann Lauder's latest doll creations. Here's a little information about her:
• 14 inches high
• Hand dyed cotton body
• Jointed shoulders, elbows, knees and hips.
• Mohair hair
• Water colour painted face.  Eyes and lips are spot varnished.
• Swarovski crystal necklace
• Dress made from recycled Indian silk scarf
• Not shown - lace slip, panties, black leather flats and clutch purse.

She is for sale for $175 and Jo can be reached at (306) 522-8461 or email her at jlauder AT accesscomm DOT ca.

I'll put photos of the other dolls up as I get time. I have never been a doll collector, but I covet these and think I'm going to start saving up for one. Around Christmas Jo brought out the Frida Kahlo doll she'd made for Cathy B, and I fell in love with it. 

Sunday, February 20, 2011

Belle Plaine, and Theo Jansen’s Strandbeests

We went to the Good Luck Diner on Main Street last night for a Chinese food smorg followed by a show sponsored by Shadow House Concerts. Keyboards, standup bass and jazz singer with a gorgeous voice ... they really belonged in a different setting ... a darkened room, without the rattle and clank of cleanup being done in the kitchen.
The singer, originally a local gal from Rose Valley, picked up her guitar once in a while to croon a country tune, which particularly pleased the bluehairs. Her stage name is Belle Plaine and the only disappointment was that she had no CD for sale. I'll be keeping an eye out for that.


You have got to see these!


I sneezed once, after laying my head on the pillow last night, and woke up this morning with swollen eyes. What the — ? Who knows? Maybe I'm allergic to something in the chop suey.


In one of my blog lists — this one under "Around the Planet" — you'll find Owen's blog (Owee58) as he travels around Vietnam. In the most recent entry is his sister, my friend Cathy. Looks like she's enjoying herself.

Saturday, February 19, 2011

Happy Happy Horses

I followed up on the horses' new home and got this email, which warms the cockles o' me heart:

Hi Kathy
They are doing fine, getting more and more friendly everyday.  I am going to make the cream colored one my horse, I plan to work with her in the next month, I have named her Meria. The volunteers named the two older mares Mabel and Molly and the grey gelding Dusty and the young gelding Dante.  Dusty already has 2 sponsors (he is so friendly).  We are really enjoying them, they were the life of the rescue on the weekend, everyone was so excited to see them (lol).  Please stop by for a visit if you are in the city,   Take care and say Hi to Scott, tell your father in law they will be well looked after.  Take care.
Bunnie and Lawrence
Have a nice day and Happy Trails

Paradise Stable Horse Rescue.


Here's an article about the horse-meat industry:

Western Producer article: Canada’s Dirty Little Secret

Friday, February 18, 2011

At the Corner

they watch us

hm...which way to go...

"runnin' like a white-ass deer" (in a joni mitchell song)

to the safety of the bush

Thursday, February 17, 2011

My Date with the Dentist

click to enlarge

Heaven-knows a flat-roofed house isn't a very good plan when you live in Saskatchewan, but yesterday as we drove around the streets of Wynyard after my appointment with the dentist, this homeowner's solution stood out. He built a proper roof over top, so the snow will slide off and the summer rain won't pool and his roof won't collapse from the weight.

Very sensible. Looks silly, but isn't. What's silly is to build flat-topped houses anywhere there are several feet of snow every winter. You do see quite a few of them, strangely enough.

And hey. I was nervous as hell about having those wisdom teeth pulled. Even though the roots were straight and it should be a straightforward extraction, I feared the time in the chair and the consequent swelling. Yet lo, the dentist decided only one tooth really needed to go, and had me in and out of that chair in half an hour, and the only painkillers I took were over-the-counter Advil afterward — and I'm not even sure those were necessary, I just took them to be on the safe side.

Isn't it great when an anticipated ordeal turns out not to be one? I never had one moment of discomfort, except maybe for the sensation of the dentist twisting the tooth to get it out— and that was only pressure and sound, that's all.
The dentist pronounced that he'd have had me out of the chair even quicker if my mouth was larger; he has small hands, he said, and still had to figure out how to work inside my not-gaping maw.
"If your husband or kids ever try to tell you you have a big mouth, I'll be here to tell them otherwise," he said.

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Save You for Last

I could watch someone draw, all day!

Hilary Grist is one of the gals who came out and did a house concert for us in the fall.

Monday, February 14, 2011

Women for Women International

A letter came from Women for Women, informing me that Naomi, the young woman my monthly donations have been sponsoring in the Democratic Republic of Congo, is finished the program and another lady has been registered.

Sifeta, in the second photo, lives in Bosnia and was born the same year as me, 1959.

Naomi is the same age as Emil, 22, and is raising three of her own children and a nephew. I'm looking forward to the report detailing how the Women for Women program has helped her and her family.

And I wonder how Sifeta is pronounced.

Have you considered sponsoring a woman like yourself in another country? Except that she is a survivor of war and has witnessed and suffered violent atrocities, and cannot always successfully provide adequate food and shelter for herself and her family, she could be you.

Sunday, February 13, 2011

Kazuri Beads

For Christmas my sister Joan gave me a necklace, a large bead on a thin leather strap (which I am wearing today over my favourite—and only— grey turtleneck). It had a tag “kazuri bead” on it so I did an internet search, finding this webpage: click here to peruse the pages.

Other interesting things I've come across while reading blogs:

This lady turns your child’s drawing into a piece of jewellery or a keychain:

Read this if you have an elderly parent:

Saturday, February 12, 2011

What to Do with Old Sweaters

 Miss Kathy at Kitchen Blogic, I'll "see" your sweater-sleeves and "raise" you one photo ...

I think, though I am not sure, that I saw these craft ideas on the Found, Now Home webpage.

Links to many of the webpages mentioned here are displayed in the columns on either side. When a new entry is made in them, they rotate to the top of their categories so I know it's time to go see what's up. This works beautifully for me, for two reasons:
1) I never go to a favourite website and discover there are no new entries, and am thus never disappointed, and
2) when I come to my own webpage here, I get a little surprise because something has changed. Works for me. Easy to entertain, apparently.

Notice today how all three of the little daily extras (the tarot card, the quotation, and the excerpt from Anaïs Nin's diary) fit so perfectly together. I didn't plan that, but appreciate the co-ink-ee-dink.

Friday, February 11, 2011

Travelling to Tisdale

Archerwill kidlets cross the road

Emil and I had a pretty good trip today; it's not quite as far as I thought, to Tisdale (home of Corner Gas's Brent Butt; the town has erected a billboard too); we left Wadena by 9 and were there in time for my appointment at 10:30. The mercury has come up considerably so there was frost coming out of the pavement and a few spots were worrisome,  but I dawdled along, not in any hurry. Nice drive.

The end results are that the optometrist thinks what is happening to my eyes is normal at my age and after having a couple rounds of that swollen-eyes thing I've had in the past (depending on which doctor you talk to, it was either from stress or from an allergy; I think it was from not washing the salty tears from my skin often enough when there was a lot of weeping), and that it may not get much worse. If it does, and my eyelids fall low enough to come in front of my pupils, the government will pay for corrective surgery. If not, and I want to go that route, it is considered cosmetic surgery and the cost has to come out of my own pocket. I'm not concerned out of vanity, as I've resigned myself to all these weird changes going on in my appearance. They've got to come and there's no point bewailing them. If I'm lucky, I'll get old and wrinkly, with jowls, and that's all there is to it. As long as I'm healthy and fit, who cares if my round blue eyes turn into beady holes with pudgy flaps drooping over them? Heh. It is to laugh. But I'll tell you, the weight on my upper eyelashes makes me aware that something is going on, as if I'm tired or my eyes are swollen.

As for the dilemma of Emil's glasses, the verdict is that he sees only marginally better with them than without them, so unless he develops headaches or various possible side effects of eye strain, he doesn't need to wear them. Aren't you glad, Gord, that your insurance bought them? Because they're going into a drawer.

On the road home there was water on the pavement. Oh, and we saw a skunk out walking. As I tell people this, they say that skunks hibernate, so the sighting is a sign of spring. Or that skunks semi-hibernate, which means they sometimes come out in winter and then go back to sleep. So I still daren't predict.

We pulled into the town of Rose Valley to see if we could wangle a visit with Emil's favourite schoolteacher, who retired at the end of last month. I parked in front of this little store to make the call.
No luck: no answer. We drove around the streets because Emil likes to do that, and he got quite excited when he spotted her car, but another phone call got no answer either so I didn't go to the door. Some other time ....

on Rose Valley's main street

I have no new news about Dallas's condition, but my cousin Karla posted this picture of her makeshift bed in his room, on her FB page this morning:

And Dad called; he is back home in Kelowna. Apparently their months in the States weren't all that pleasant weatherwise — cold, icy, windy, snowy. Just like home!

Might Could Go Back to Horses and Buggies

My heroes

Everett and I weren't too far from home Thursday afternoon when we went through a snow drift, which packed snow up under the van's carriage and knocked the power steering belt off. I had the lad pull over, then got out and popped the hood. Before I could say Hm, what's this then? our neighbour on his way home had pulled over to see what was what. He attempted to get the belt back on the pulley, but it was difficult because there's so little space in there for man hands. A few minutes later another fellow passing by stopped to help, and the two of them fiddled around under the hood while I busied myself reaching under the vehicle to knock snow out from underneath. Everett is there, just out of the photo on the left, bored. Then Scott turned up and, having done this exact same operation for the same reason just a few weeks ago, before long they had us on our way again. Although Everett and I took Scott's truck, and Scott took the van to the heated shop at his parents' so some of that snow and ice packed up under the motor could melt off. While it was there he took out the tractor and cleared the road.

I think my next vehicle might have to be a truck. For sure it won't be a van.

Being stranded if you break down is rarely a concern around here, unless maybe you're a fool out in a blizzard and no one else is out on the roads. In normal circumstances your neighbours will always stop and help you, and so will strangers (and the last thing that would occur to you is to be afraid of them). It's a good place to live. It was damn cold out there too— my toes were frozen by the time we were headed toward town again— yet those guys messed around out there in the frigid weather for at least half an hour, maybe even an hour, good-humouredly. Probably around 20C-below this afternoon, but supposed to start warming up to just a few degrees below 0C tomorrow. We'll see.

Emil and I will be on the road bright and early. We have an hour-and-a-half drive to have his glasses checked out by an optometrist. In July he got a new pair when he was at his dad's in Edmonton, and he has said from day one that he couldn't see with them, and we've thought he was being stubborn (he insisted he didn't want new glasses) and made him wear them anyway. About two weeks ago when I was cleaning the lenses and they wouldn't come clear, it occurred to me that Emil might actually have known what he was talking about. Shame on me for not giving him the benefit of the doubt six months ago. Usually I would have.

And speaking of horses, a horse rescue farm is taking five of the seven that only a few weeks ago were destined for the auction (on the way to a dog food factory). Friday morning they will be loaded into a trailer and hauled to a new home somewhere west of Saskatoon. That will loosen the feed and pasture crunch here considerably and we'll keep looking for places for the last two— a stallion and a gelding. But in the meantime they can now be put together so the stallion won't be lonely and miserable anymore.

We have been offering these horses for free to horse lovers for years, without takers, but it wasn't until as a last attempt I put the call out to my Facebook friends that the network did the job that was needed. A useful tool, is that Facebook.

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

No Longer AWOL

coyote with broken foreleg

Everett and I were on our way to town on Friday to do laundry and bring Emil home, when I spotted an animal at some distance making its way across a field. It didn't look right though, as it was shorter in front, as a wildcat might be, so I got Everett to drive toward it. It was a coyote struggling through the deep snow, with its front leg badly broken.
It could have escaped from a leghold trap, or been hit by a car, but it would only starve to death if nothing was done. When we got to town I went in search of someone with a rifle and gave him the coordinates. Felt lousy doing it, but would have felt worse if I hadn't.

Tracy and Emil

After helping Everett haul the laundry into the laundromat, load the washers, add the detergent and plug in the loonies and quarters, I went to pick Emil up from work. He'd already left in the Mallard Industries van so I met him at the group home. This is Tracy, his primary aide in the group home. She's very good at her job, a real sweetie who likes to laugh and to tease Emil. She says he's starting to "get" it ... as Emil is a person who doesn't understand the concept of teasing and joking. He's a serious lad and takes every word at face value.

On Sunday morning when the phone rang and Scott brought it to me in bed, my first thought was that something had happened to Grandma. But it was my Aunt Shirley, telling me that my cousin Karla's husband Dallas had broken his back in a snowmobiling accident and asking me to drive her to Flin Flon to look after her grandchildren, as Karla went with Dallas in an air ambulance to Saskatoon and Shirley wasn't confident to drive up there. 
So by noon we two were on the road, and I felt like I was covering the miles into my past. It's been quite a few years since I've lived in the Flin Flon area —about 24, I guess, or 25 —and around 7 we were unloading Shirley's bags into Karla and Dallas's house at Denare Beach. I stayed long enough to get a peek at Paxton and Gracie, who are in kindergarten and Grade 2, then toured the little village to see what houses I could remember. I managed to find one of the little ones I had lived in for a while, and then motored over to Scott's sister Laurel's place. I was standing outside my vehicle, parked in her driveway, when she and her beau pulled up, wondering what the heck I was doing there. She fed me a couple bowls of delicious stew and we chatted a couple hours before I headed back toward Creighton to spend the night at my old buddy Luanne's place. You may remember I visited her up north in the fall of 2009, when she was living at Rocky Lake, nearer to The Pas.
We squeezed in two hours of talk before I hit the guest bed and she went off to her own room, having to get up early in the morning and go to work. She was already gone by the time I got up, but had left me a note with her phone number at work, and her mom's, just in case I needed anything before I left. I don't know why, but that last part cracked me up. I found the tea, the toaster and the bagels with no problem and had no need to call Zedda for help. Cute.
Then I hit the icy trail.
I pulled over on Flin Flon's main street to show you the stack from the smelter; that white cloud is something, but not a cumulous cloud, and in the 20C-below cold it was making its presence known:
Main Street of Flin Flon, Manitoba

It was a great day for travel: blue sky, clear road, and CBC radio came in perfectly for all seven hours of driving. Can't beat that. Only one long icy gravel-road detour west of Preeceville, where they seemed to be repairing a bridge:

I called Shirley this morning to get an update on Dallas's condition. His back is broken in two places; all but two ribs are broken; he has a broken collar bone or shoulder bone; fluid in a lung; they were giving him an epidural this morning to stop his lungs from collapsing; they can't operate yet because his blood oxygen levels are too low; on Sunday he could still wiggle his fingers and toes; doctors were considering putting him on a ventilator; he's on morphine, in quite a lot of discomfort when awake.
That is everything I know. We wait and hope tomorrow brings him some relief and progress of some sort. We are also giving Uncle Bruce (who passed away Feb 2010) the credit for keeping his grandson Paxton safe, as the little fellow was on the ski-doo behind his dad when they hit an unmarked snowplow ridge on their way home from an afternoon of ice fishing. They both flew off the machine, which may have landed on Dallas, but Paxton was completely unhurt.

Friday, February 4, 2011

My Little Buddy

Nothing on the tube; everything worth looking at is outside the window

When Ducky the deer-faced chihuahua came to stay with us, I went online and did some research. I learned that chihuahuas choose a primary ally and then perceive everyone else with suspicion.
This is not technically true with Ducky, though I see traces of it once in a while. He has growled at Scott several times when he approached us, but that hasn't happened for a long time. 
Wherever I am, there is Ducky, even if I get up from the desk and go down the hall to the bathroom.
Occasionally he will abandon me to sit on someone else's knee, but not usually if mine is available. And at the end of the night he'll leave his crate in the closet at the foot of my bed, where he has been lying while I read, to scamper downstairs with Everett and snuggle in under his covers.
Since I've been sitting down with a cup of tea for a few minutes each afternoon, Ducky now comes and reminds me if I forget or try to skip the "quiet time." He figures he's due some lap time, or maybe he's just doing me a favour. It's a good thing, whatever his reasoning.

Yes, in the photo I am wearing a wool scarf indoors. Years ago my mom's aunt, Aunt Jean, advised that to prevent a migraine I should try putting on a scarf and tuque. Above, I have removed the tuque because it was just too hot in the house to wear it. I've also had to unwind the scarf. And I think I've taken a pill, as the tuque/scarf combo hadn't done the trick.

To explain what my migraines are like, I've used the term "neck" migraines. I'm thinking of changing that to "neck nausea." Imagine how your belly feels when you need to throw up. Now imagine the back or one side of your neck feels like puking. Can you?

On the weekend I hung a curtain rod in the bedroom; got tired of waiting for Scott to do it, which I only did because I figured he was experienced and would do a better job than me. Next: to hang rods here in the office and in the upstairs bedroom. I'm waiting to be sure the first rod doesn't fall down, first. The curtains are on a chair at the other end of the couch from hell, with its uncleanable microfibre.

Thursday, February 3, 2011

Jane Fonda Meets Stephen Hawking

Fonda plays a person suffering from Lou Gehrig's Disease in — well never mind, go read about it for yourself, here.


Got Natalie Merchant's newsletter:

We have just added three new videos to the Leave Your Sleep section of the website from footage that was filmed on last summer's tour.  You can view performances of "The Janitor's Boy", "The Peppery Man" and "The Sleepy Giant". To enjoy the new videos visit the website:


This just in, forwarded from our friendly neighbourhood accountant; all of us farmers' wives will appreciate it:

Cletus is  passing by Billy Bob's hay barn one day when, 
Through a gap in the door,
He sees Billy Bob doing a slow and sensual striptease in front of an
Old green John Deere.

Buttocks clenched, he performs a slow pirouette,
And gently slides off first the right strap of his overalls,
Followed by the left. He then hunches his
Shoulders forward and in a classic striptease move,
Lets his overalls  fall down to his hips,
Revealing a torn and frayed plaid shirt.
Then, grabbing both sides  of his shirt,
He rips it apart to reveal his stained T-shirt

With a final flourish, he tears the T-shirt from his body, 
And hurls his baseball cap onto a pile of  hay.

Having seen enough, Cletus rushes in and says,
"What the heck are you doing,Billy  Bob?"

"Jeepers, Cletus, ya scared the  bejeebers out of me,"
Says an obviously embarrassed Billy Bob.
"But me'n  the Ol' Lady been havin' trouble lately in
The bedroom d'partment, and the therapist suggested 
I do 'something sexy to a tractor'."

Wednesday, February 2, 2011


My friend Stacia passed along good news this morning: that the groundhog has predicted spring will be here in six weeks.
I'm looking forward to putting my bare feet on lush green grass again.
Though not, I'll admit, to the water that will be coming into the basement or to the mosquitoes and woodticks.

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Around the House

Rock incense from Saudi Arabia (thanks to Bev Ziola)
the birthday cards
coffee-table book
Yes, a real seahorse. Very old -- like, 50 years.
My baby holds the baby
Under my pillow. Where do you keep YOUR pyjamas during the day?