Thursday, March 31, 2011

Last of the Snow Days

might just be the last snow pic this year ... if you're lucky

Lately, the air is mild and sweet to walk in, and there's even water on the road in places, but there is also so much ice that it is hazardous. I'm afraid to slip and fall, and turn back sooner than usual.
Yesterday, four Canada geese flew in formation low over the farmyard. One had a big chunk out of its right wing. And I heard crows. And the snow is snowball-fit. I'm enjoying this, the slow melt before the pump in the basement starts up again after its three-month respite from running every half-hour. The cats are courting each other out by the barn; a female lounges on the ground, rolls, stretches all sexy before the two interested males following her. Last week a bald eagle flew across the road while we were on our way to town.
Debbie Psovsky, I dreamed about you last night. You gave me a roll of nickels and asked for my advice on your writing. I woke up before having the chance to say Just Pick Up A Pen!
God, I love dreams. They're so goofy. But nice to see you, Deb! Also I need to call your mom. She agreed to make perogies for me every month, but I've had no space in my freezers for quite a while, and still don't. But I am missing those delicious potato dumplings.
On top of the chickens, beef and pork the two deep freezes are full of, it's time to stock up on homemade bread (since summer baking often warms the house too much). I don't know how we'll make space. Last week cheddar and mozzarella were on sale really cheap, and it's a staple around here, so we bought a shitload, grated it in the food processor, measured it into one-cup bags, and stuffed the freezer. These are really handy. Yesterday Everett made a double batch of baked beans; today we'll measure them into baggies and freeze those. Probably need to buy another deep freeze. Or start eating more. It's dangerous to open the freezer door these days, for fear of what may come tumbling out.

Since the weekend I'm feeling normal again, mostly, except for this powerful desire to sleep for a couple hours every afternoon. That is not me, or never has been, but this week it is, so I'm listening to my body and its request for rest. I lie in the lovely green bedroom, which delights me. After five years in a low-light basement bedroom, this cheery warm sunny room is a perfect heaven and a little arrow of appreciation goes out to Scott for it each time I fall gratefully onto the bed. Perhaps I don't really sleep, but maybe I doze a little throughout the time snuggled into my feather pillow. I thank my lucky stars for working conditions that allow me to do this; so much flexibility.

Monday, March 28, 2011

Seventy Today

Mom, with needle and thread

Hard to believe that Mom would have turned 70 today.
In this photo she's wearing some blouse I picked up at a garage sale for her. I realize now that she probably only put it on because I was coming over; normally she didn't wear large patterns or bold colours.
I'm still feeling like shit after two days without eating or being able to keep even water down till late last night, when a few crackers stayed the course. Today I'm on the mend, about to try some poached eggs and hoping my head will unfuzz. Has to; I'm getting right tired of this.
With luck, I'll put in my usual working day and then dig out my copy of Chicago, a favourite of Mom's, or Delovely, the last film we watched together, and imagine she's with me for the annual viewing.

Saturday, March 26, 2011

Alive but not Kicking too Hard

Elementary schoolkids' bonspiel

Having a couple crappy days due to the neck thing, so Thursday was the last time I was out and around. Here are the photos to prove I DO leave the farm.

In family news, my cousin Heather has had a baby girl.

And now, back to doing nothing much. Darn it.

sign between buildings on main street

Thursday, March 24, 2011

Leetle Mexican Chihuahua

Ducky loves the sun here in the office

Just sitting down to work an hour or two before driving to town to meet Karen for lunch. She is in Wadena helping out at the curling rink this morning, with a friend's kids.
We’ve got another sunny day and according to the local paper we are having a slow melt this spring, which is what we need if we hope to avoid the worst flooding.

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

And the chime, it is a-changin' ...

Only one collision since the chime went up; and no casualties.

Now playing:

Haven’t worked much yet today. Neckache slowed me down to fuzzy heaviness, took pill and laid down, still not pushing myself. It’s okay, I have all day and the evening, don’t have to apply pressure.
Sun shining, lovely in the house, Everett baking oatmeal bread (I've got the butter dish out in anticipation), radio on throughout the morning: Liz Taylor died, Saskatchewan budget announced, Libyan fighting, Japanese disaster.

no sooner did I give the chime report, then a bird slammed into the window *directly behind* the damn thing and left a smear of feathers on the glass. it wasn't on the snow anymore when everett went out, thank goodness. so: the chime has helped, but hasn't stopped all the craziness.

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Soon there will be no more snow photos; I promise.

Relax, people ... relax! Spring will arrive soon enough, and along with it wet basements and washed-out roads. I can wait.


Everett came into the office yesterday and said “You know how you come and hug me sometimes, saying that you read that a minimum of four a day are necessary for health? Well, I haven’t hugged you for about two years. Would you like one?”


Mmmm... potato pancakes. Greasy but oh so fine and crispy.
We're having them with turnips & veggies au gratin. A gourmet feast, I tell you. Weird combination, but some days that's just the way she goes.


Films watched lately for a second time: About a Boy and Driving Miss Daisy.
I'm sure you've all seen them so I don't have to tell you much, but two things stood out.
In the first, a young boy sees his mother’s spirit in a park, and then discovers her unconscious after she has attempted suicide. His "sighting" isn't alluded to again; perhaps such things are common but rarely discussed.
In Driving Miss Daisy they play audio excerpts of a famous Martin Luther King speech, where he says it's not only the people who do bad things who will be judged, but also those who are apathetic and do/say nothing when they are aware of injustice. How many of us fit that bill? It made me consider the things I don't take on.


Thank you Ms KitchenKate for the perdy flowers I have stolen (er, copied) from you.


And finally, this comes via my friendly neighbourhood hairdresser, Janice:

 The driving manual says the average driver's reaction time is .75 seconds ...Or 1 car length for every 10 mph...Test your average reaction time. Be very careful; this can be addictive. Click on the link below and good luck.

Monday, March 21, 2011

Family Resemblances

Caroline Engene

This is my great-grandmother (for those who know my family, this is Grandpa Benson's mother).
My sister Karen is the SPITTING IMAGE of this woman, who died long before I was born.
It is strange for me to see this picture, which pops up on my computer regularly (because it's in my desktop images folder), where the person looks so familiar and yet is dressed and wearing her hair in a way that naturally I've never seen my sister gussied up. And what's with that hairdo? Is her hair cut short on top and curled? Weird. Though kind of cute on Caroline, who may have been about 20 years old in this photo.
When I see such a strong resemblance among family members, I can't help wondering if they share other traits. Did Grandpa's mother have the same angelic singing voice as Karen does? Why not — the genes are so similar (right?) that the vocal chords would be too (right?).
Well I don't know, but I can't help wondering if this lady would have had the powerful right arm Karen had when she played ball. She wouldn't have played ball, but she probably churned butter, milked cows, carried water, did laundry by hand. And that's not all. What about the non-physical characteristics. Like, did she love animals like Karen does? Was she an excellent cook? Was she active in her community?
Two memories regarding Caroline Engene have been relayed to me. That my own mom as a child didn't like buttermilk, but would drink it when she visited her grandmother because "I'd drink anything she gave me, I loved her so much." And my aunt Reta remembers relatives saying that her grandparents were hard workers and took pride in the barns they built.

Sunday, March 20, 2011

Helpful Hints

How many times is she going to make us look at that damn barn?

Some good stuff:
•Drink rosemary tea to alleviate melancholy or depression.
•Eating lettuce with your dinner is supposed to be calming, helping you to sleep and have pleasant dreams. Some say you should not have vinegar with your lettuce.
•Trying to remain relaxed but alert? Some studies suggest that the smell of apples, apple cider vinegar, or spiced apples have this effect. The right smell can make all the difference.
•Dill will lull cranky babies to sleep. Add dill infusion to the bath, sprinkle on a baby's blanket, or use as a hair rinse.
•Sage is considered a "ghost medicine," used to prevent nightmares. Strew it on the floor or in the bed.
Compliments of

Thursday, March 17, 2011

This Made ME Laugh Out Loud; You?

One more reason to love Roger Ebert, who posted the clipping above in his online journal.
Here's his webpage at the Chicago Sun-Times:

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Porcupine Tracks

click to enlarge

There was a big fat porcupine slowly making its way across the field when I saw these tracks (not mine, which are on the right) on the road, where it had likely crossed.

This doesn't look exactly like the track pattern in my trusty little manual, but ... I still think these might be porky tracks.

There were four dogs with me, and the one that loves to run actually listened to me when I told her (she was the only one who appeared to notice the porky) not to chase the porcupine. Maybe she remembers the time I had to pull quills out of her nose.


Does anyone here watch Californication? The other night the Duchovny character shit on the hood of his ex-wife's fiancé's car. Okay, I'm down with that (meaning, not that I endorse it, but it didn't kill me that someone in a tv show did it). But they actually showed the turd as he was dropping it! That was more than I could take; I was gagging and had to look away. Today I gagged violently while telling Everett about it. He thinks my discomfort is hilarious, laughed heartily and said, "That show really goes all the way, doesn't it?"

It goes too far for my liking. In the same episode they showed the guy throwing up. At length. Like, I don't need that, series director. Damn near threw up, myself, when he did it; I do not need to see people horking on TV, particularly when they show the actual spewage. For a long time. More than once. Blech.

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Still Here

You'll be starting to wonder whether we've dropped off the face of the earth.
Nope. The snow's been melting for the past couple days, but the house hasn't floated over the edge. Yet.
The sump pump in the basement hasn't started running every 20 minutes, as it did until Christmas.
And the fridge is clean.
Thanks Everett!

Not much to tell. Been watching and listening to the media coverage of the hell that is Japan right now, and Libya. Made my donation online to the Red Cross. Now just to keep my fingers crossed, because although I often send up prayers out of some sort of instinct (or maybe it's early childhood training), I have no faith in them making a damn bit of difference, whatsoever.

I've been working here in the office, and going for walks in the fine weather, and that's about it. Just the usual putzing, otherwise. Last week I picked up those S-hooks I mentioned and Everett got up on a stepladder and hung a large chime from the eavestrough in front of the picture window. For the previous week about four birds a day had been slamming into that window and flying off, wobbily, to a nearby oak branch. Since the chime went up, there hasn't been one crash. Maybe this chime will continue to do the trick where all else has failed.

One afternoon a half-dozen redpolls were perched on it, right near the window, peering in. Bonus!

Thursday, March 10, 2011

Snow is removed from the roof above our bedroom

I was sitting alone in the Good Luck Diner one afternoon and looking out the window saw the head of a man getting out of his vehicle and thought “Dad!” and my heart gave a happy little leap till I remembered he’s in BC.

Yesterday we had a blue sky and glittering snow, today the sky is grey and the air is mild and still. My walks were glorious. I saw a porcupine yesterday, and a white-tailed deer today; both at some distance, but I was thrilled like a little kid anyway. You'd think I never see these creatures or something, but the truth is that the deer are plentiful. I hear they're digging into the farm's hay-bale supply lately; let's hope spring comes soon.

Patiently waiting for spring

Watch the video on Schmutzie's webpage today. It's a talk by a brain scientist who had a stroke. Fascinating.

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Off to Town

Second cut. Scott figures his skills are improving.

He even gave Emil a nice mohawk but Emil insisted he didn't want to keep it.

The sun is shining — woo hoo! — and Everett and I are off to town. Since we were there yesterday (he has completed his driving instruction and can soon go for his road test; this could be a good thing, and then again not, for if I have a driver to send off on his own to do my bidding, I might never leave the yard) and picked up groceries, today will be a lazier one than usual, with fewer things to do.

We've found a supplier of fresh farm eggs and today will meet the seller in front of the library to exchange dollars for cartons. I'm thrilled about that, particularly after being reminded of the horrors of factory chicken and egg farms.

And it's a library day. Nothing I've ordered has come in, but I'll still come home with a stack of books.

As for news, not much. Aunt Shirley called this morning looking for a ride to her accountant's in Foam Lake, as my cousin is using her vehicle after getting into an accident with his own. So one of these afternoons I'll be heading south.

Grandma is doing well. She's feeling good and even cracking jokes, I hear. Gotta get up there one day soon.

And, since it's International Woman's Day, here are a few facts you might not be aware of:

Monday, March 7, 2011

A Night Out

Through Fishing Lake First Nation on the way to Foam Lake
Where Scott went into the store for something
And we met Karen and Annella at the bar for steak night

Saturday, March 5, 2011

Ancient Cambodia

My friend Cathy is travelling for several months in Asia and at present is seeing the sights with her brother. He is blogging, so go have a look-see.

Here it is:
click here.


At our house, I've just washed dishes and put a cabbage casserole into the oven for supper. Everett is drying the last of the dishes, and Scott is trimming Emil's beard and mustache. I spent the morning writing letters and need to get busy at an extra project I'm helping with at work. And ... it's time for tea and birdwatching and a walk and the tibetan rites and ... probably a long list of things I "should" do and likely won't ....

On the agenda for tonight is the movie Dinner with Shmucks. Everett plans to make popcorn; if I'm on the ball I'll spend an hour on my quilt while in front of the TV. But I'm not on the ball. Sorry; I've given up on that ideal and am just glad to still be breathing, healthy, warm, clean and happy. I'll never be Superwoman.


And you?
What are you busy at?
"Curious minds want to know."

Thursday, March 3, 2011

Birds Gear Up for Spring Courtship

So many birds! There are dozens at the feeders at any given time, now ... redpolls, chickadees, woodpeckers and even a couple house sparrows ... but it seems like there are more than there have been all winter. Also, they have started whacking into the picture window again. This is a sign of spring, I've heard, because they are ramping up into dating season, showing off for each other and not paying attention to where they're flying.

S-hooks, here I come! Nothing we've tried so far, to make the birds notice they are approaching glass and not trees, has done the trick. Pretty things attached by putty, hanging in front of the window, don't stay put; nor do the stained-glass hangings we tried. They fall on the ground and break or get run over by the lawnmower. I haven't found those shiny strips of reflective material that scare birds off; don't know where to get them, but experience to date shows that the wind blows foil balls hung on string up and into the eavestroughs, thus blocking the rain runoff. There's a net you can hang in front of the window, but that will be a last resort. First, I'm going to hang chimes and such from S-hooks fastened onto the eavestroughs. Scott doesn't want me to, fearing they will mark up the nice new eavestroughs. But: on one side, the safety of birds; on the other, pristine-looking eavestroughs. Sorry Scott.

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Joan and Karen's Quilts

Joan's quilt

You asked to see my sisters' quilts, so here they are. I've been trolling through the old blog (Who does she think she is, Anaïs Nin?) and there they were. Joan, you've got yours finished, right?
Karen made the kind that didn't require quilting, so hers was done in a jiffy. This photo doesn't do it justice, but it's flannel and has these ruffly things between the squares; really nice:

Karen's quilt

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Boys about the House

What's he so delighted about?

Little shit.
He jumped out at me when I came through a door, and I shrieked.
He's quite pleased with himself.

Now here, we have Scott working on a sliver in his finger last night after a long hard day:

Note: the television remotes are never out of reach when he sits down in the living room.