Thursday, June 30, 2011

Olfactory Bliss

To step out onto our little deck is to be overwhelmed by the scent of a lilac tree in bloom next to the house. I brought a few sprigs into the bedroom, only to be informed that Scott doesn't like the smell of this particular lilac ... that I adore.

In the yard there are two long rows of lilacs, a different kind, and their blossoms are beginning to fall. It smells like heaven around here.

And yes, I did remove the vase of lilacs. Now I just stand out there and breathe deeply, enjoying it while I still can.


House still hot this morning; I awoke to all the windows open, and the calling of birds. Lovely lovely lovely. What luxury.
Then, at the kitchen counter for coffee, I met up with big black ants. Mixed up Borax and icing sugar and dumped it in a pile where they are coming in, which is from a hole under the bottom corner where the counter meets the wall. They are digging around in it quite a bit; there are a half-dozen of them, probably more. We have set out the same bait outside the house, where ants are swarming on the wall at one corner. I feel badly, knowing they will die soon and so will all their little friends.


Check out this entry at Forgotten Bookmarks: click here.
There's a book I'd just love to have a peek into.


Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Great Western, Beverage of Choice

Service with a smile at the home of our Rowdy Friends

Here in Saskatchewan, we support our locally owned brewery by drinking Great Western.

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

K/Cathy Convention

Cathy, Kathy and Cathy

A meetup of former residents of the Luther College girls' dorm also included a Sue, but alas she was behind the camera.


For the second time in a week I've seen a bald eagle circling our yard; this morning it was as I stood in my housecoat in the garden, awed and oh-so-grateful to see it. But brought Ducky in with me when I came in for breakfast.

Monday, June 27, 2011


Click to enlarge

My babyest sister, Joan, asked her blog readers to participate in a weekly photo challenge. The first theme was "sky," so I went out before a storm to see what my camera would do. Although the clouds all around were shadowy and full of rolling contrast, and scary, and beautiful, none of this shows in the photos I got. What does show, though, are the FAIRIES!!! I didn't notice them while I was outside, but when I uploaded the photos, voila ... apparently they were putting on quite a show for me and I didn't even pay attention. Tsk. Tsk. Tsk. They'll soon be playing tricks on me in the flower garden if I don't smarten up.

And now YOU too should go STRAIGHT to Joan's webpage and send her your best sky photos:

Click Here: Weekly Photo Challenge


My radio alarm goes off around 7 these days and I lie there listening to a CBC Saskatchewan morning show and dozing. As soon as I get up, I head outside to see how the air is. Today it’s cold, too cold to sit out on the step and drink coffee, so instead I went for the piano (which finally was moved over here from the old house, about a month ago). After all, it’s time for Everett to get up too, so I played in my beginner way the “Morning Song” (that’s what I call it, anyway; I've been singing it at the top of my lungs to my kids for years: "It's time to get up! It's time to get up! We're all in our places, with sunshiny faces ... This is the WAY to START a new DAY!")) and then played a few times through the four other simple songs I’m learning to pound out. It is so much fun playing the piano; if I knew more songs, I’d sit there half the day, I’m sure. One thing I do know is that, while I can't play the guitar and sing at the same time, I can do both at the piano. Yippee!!!! Pure joy.

Everett alternates between cursing me for my exuberance, and laughing at me for my exuberance.
Have I mentioned that I love chords? I am in love with chords.
Also, I like to imagine that I could channel my mother's playing-by-ear abilities if I held my mouth just right.

Sunday, June 26, 2011


I'm not sure what this is for, but we hoped to bath Casper Doodle in it

Photo taken from the step with zoom function

I'm on the go, no time to write. Emil's closed the door of the van behind himself so I've gotta go.  Off to Margo.

Friday, June 24, 2011

Gets His Hair from his Mother

I still haven't figured out how to make my camera-shot videos smaller. It takes 15 to 20  minutes to upload a clip, like either of these, that is less than 10 seconds long. How ridiculous is that? Obviously there is a better way. I just haven't found it yet.

Noisy wind:

It's raining out here again this morning. Not good. It's well past time it stopped.
We're still better off than the folks in the southern part of the province, but if this weather keeps up, may not be for long. My heart goes out to them; it must be a horrible wrench, to have not only to leave your home but to leave behind many precious belongings because they won't fit in your vehicle and/or you've no place to store them while your house is flooded.

If you're lucky, you've got family or close friends who can offer you a place to stay. If you're lucky, you've still got a job; many won't have, as their places of employment are under water or not reachable by road. The farmers down there are really screwed, just as they were here, last year. Any disaster assistance they did get from the government barely made a helpful dint in their financial situation.

The Red Cross is calling for donations to help these people weather the storm. I'm going to make my donation now. It will be small, as I'm going into a summer of unemployment, but I'm still in my home, far more fortunate than many, so I can offer something.  To do the same, click here.

Thursday, June 23, 2011

How Do You Start Your Day?

What if my hair stayed this way?

Maybe it does. After a bath I often parade around the house without combing my hair down after tousling it with a towel, and no one says a word. I thought they just weren't noticing, but the truth may be that my head looks this way most mornings.


This morning I stood (the Adirondack chairs were wet with dew) on the step for the longest time, soaking up the birdsong and deeply inhaling the scent of the lilacs in bloom, watching the ducks take off from and land on the water. Oh the beauty and peace and dazzle of it all. Finally I perched on the edge of a chair; my housecoat's wet bum will dry. I could have sat out there all day, visited by bumblebees and hummingbirds and finches, and so grateful to be exactly where I am.

How do you start your day?

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

My Own Wayback Machine

Tanya at 50— still the sexiest girl in town

Scott's nephews and their wives planned a surprise party for his sister Tanya's 50th birthday, and her co-workers dressed her up and gave her gag gifts.


It's 2:44 pm and I'm re-starting my day. Woke with a migraine threatening, and when being up and around didn't make it go away, took a pill and laid back down. Till two in the afternoon. Now I'm fine, though groggy, and feeling like the day's been wasted. Am trying not to feel that way, telling myself "I must've needed that sleep" and such. Still, I hate sleeping so much of the day away. I still have to work for four hours and go for that brisk walk. With luck, this black coffee I'm sipping on will put me in the mood for both things.

Today is Emil's 23rd birthday. He is celebrating with his roommates, going out for supper at a local restaurant of his choice and then back home for cake from a local bakery. He wasn't home on the weekend but told me his birthday plans over the phone, and I said "Well then next weekend we'll do something together; get another cake or something." His reply was a firm, "Nope. One cake is enough." I still can't quite believe I heard him right; to be sure, though, I did ask him to repeat it.

He would like to go out for a meal with me on Saturday, though, and he knows exactly where, so it's on my calendar. Will Scott or Everett be invited? Not necessarily. Mom is the only one who is really essential, apparently. What a kid.

The thought of having a 23-year-old son sent me into my stack of old journals, looking for one that included the date of my own 23rd birthday. It's a very large stack, and I didn't find that particular one, but did come across one written when I was well into the year following my 23rd birthday. My friend Shelly and I had been travelling around with our 10-speeds after a lazy summer camping at the beach near here. We'd gone to the east coast and picked apples in Nova Scotia, then headed south to the warmer weather:

Oct13, 1982: Gulf of Mexico, warm waves, smooth sand, Galveston, wind, wet, oilless bicycles, a terrible sleep on a balcony overlooking the full moon shining on the water, jellyfish.

Bumper sticker:
Be Prepared! Jesus is coming at any moment. Driver will disappear.

Quote: Experience the experience rather than contemplating the outcome.

A man in a small craft rows out to where a school of whales is loafing around. He wants to observe. He goes among the babies. Then you see a large whale moving toward him in the water. You think, oh oh! Better try to get to him before it does him in. Instead the whale gives the boat a gentle nudge. This continues until the man and his boat are at a safe distance from the young. — Story from a fella who drove us from Maine to Massachusetts. He's an offshore scallop fisherman. I was touched, to think that whale so wise and gentle; and men actually kill them in droves.

Wednesday morn, Oct28, San Carlos Indian Reservation, Soda Canyon Campground, Arizona: and a lovely, peaceful morning it is! I woke up all soft, toasty warm and cosy snuggled into sleeping bags on a stone picnic table, under a grass-roofed ramada. Bliss! Desert mountains all around, cactus trees, and coffee water heating in the motorhome we travelled the last thousand miles with. There's a clear lake down at the bottom not far away, Fred Murphy's already fishing for bass; there's a little trailer town not 1/4 mile from us, and a pair of fellow campers a few sites over. And here comes a heavy old cow! Been 2 bomber jets flew in and out through our little mountain valley, neat-looking space-age arrows.

Outside of Weatherford the other morning, we sat down at the side of the road to thumb down a ride. It was cold. No one was stopping. Shelly pulled out her crocheting, which Aunt Reta has just taught her when we stayed with them in Shreveport, and I started reading my Discovery magazine. After about an hour this beat-up orange mustang comes barrelling down the shoulder as if to hit us, pulls to a stop and there are three boozing local yokels wanting us to go party and get high with them. We can leave our bikes parked behind a store just down the road. No one is home so we just lean them up and take off. Next morning Tom drives us to pick them up, and they're gone. The storekeeper says he had no idea whose they were but the cops thought we may have been bonked on the head or something, so they took them to the cop shop and went through them.
   The cop goes, "And who's going to claim the marijuana in one of the packs?"
   Shelly and I look at each other. Oh No.
   "What colour are the bikes?"
   Well, that depends now on how much marijuana you found.
   "90 days," he says.
   Well, those look like our bikes, but ...well ... maybe ....
   "I'm gonna forget about those seeds," the officer says.
    Green and silver, they're our bikes, blue and red packs.
Lord we did get a scare. Texas.

Monday, June 20, 2011


Click to enlarge. Do you know what kind of spider this is?

She was sweeping out her porch and looking for breakfast in the open doorway of the woodshed. She seemed to be taking the web apart even as she made her way around it with a silken thread attached to her behind, and it didn't appear as if her web had trapped any prey. There were bits of straw stuck to it; it's windy here. Always windy.

There is serious flooding in the southern part of the province, and here in the east-central area it continues to rain and the water lies on top of the ground, unabsorbed. Smish smish smish go my shoes when I walk across the grass.

The oriental poppies, bright orange fluffs, may be drooping but the ducks outside my back door don't appear to have noticed anything amiss.

Sunday, June 19, 2011

Lessons from Dad

The elusive single Ross's goose is quite shy (and likely lonely, having lost his flock somewhere along the line)

A Few Things I Learned from my dad:

1. When it's necessary, speak up, even if it creates conflict with others. Don't let things slide by, that shouldn't.

2. Be realistic and don't get caught unprepared.

3. Be honest in all your dealings, so you can live with yourself.

4. When it's not your business and you can't control the outcome anyway, keep your mouth shut. You can't run anyone else's life, no matter how much you care and can see that they are making mistakes.

5. When your heart is breaking and you'd rather crawl into a hole and stay there, get out of that bed, keep moving, and don't waste time feeling sorry for yourself. Do what has to be done, even if you're only going through the motions. At least this way you're more likely to come out okay on the other side, rather than with more or other problems.


Just talked to Dad. He is spending his day with his sweetheart, Grace, golfing and then barbecuing steaks for supper. And taking phone calls from his grateful and appreciative children and grandchildren. Sounds like a pretty nice Father's Day, to me!

Saturday, June 18, 2011

When They Just Don't Get It

You never know what you'll find on Marilyn's webpage, Nag on the Lake. Always something of interest, that's for sure. Thanks, Marilyn!


Everett says to me last night: “You are too happy. You need a ‘sad’ pill.”
I am strangely flattered by this statement, though he meant it as a complaint, to go along with his “You make a song out of nothing” and so on.
His life is so rough, the people he lives with so irritating!
I’d rather be happy than sad, so this is fine with me.

Friday, June 17, 2011

Two Weeks Notice

Clearance racks at Valda's store on Wadena's main street mean my closet and two (only two! hard to believe) dresser-drawers remain full. Three tops and a knitted dress for about $40. Couldn't pass them up. This was about two weeks ago and I haven't even removed the tags yet. Tsk. Could it be I didn't really need these?

At any rate, this should be the last of my wild and crazy spending for a while, since I'm taking the summer "off" from work, or shall we say, I'm being "given" the summer off. The idea of it is a shock to my system, but not unmanageable; I intend to enjoy the summer weeks to the maximum.

Thursday, June 16, 2011

Pretty Pink Flamingos

Grandma Johnson's flamingo vase, against a photo Maggie found on the internet

We had a huge thunderstorm last night while the idiots were rioting in Vancouver. Got nearly an inch of rain and some hail in our yard, but my flowers remain perky this morning except for the petunias. It was the oriental poppies I was worried about, but they're holding up fine:

Aside from my usual morning stroll around the yard to see what's new with the flowers — you never know when one will pop open unexpectedly from one hour to the next, let alone overnight — and after a good rain, to boot — I got a couple slices of toast down and gave Dad a quick call while I was thinking about him. He'll be here again in a week or so for the Margo Centennial celebrations.

Back to work I go.

Be sure to check out Joanne's latest entry, here.

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Lush and Lovely Days

Can you identify the plant that is snugged in with my hosta?

At 15, Casper still tries to keep up with me when I go for a walk.

Ducky knows we don't like him to chase the cats, so is on best behaviour here.

[Three votes for violets. Thank you!]

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Thunderstorm and Dandelions

It's good to see the cattle close by

Darn it! Thunderstorm's coming in, which means a smart person would turn off her computer and unplug it from the wall. Right? Darn it. I'm working, here! Or was, until 10 minutes ago when I took a break to hoe up weeds in one section of the flowerbed.

The large and tidy flowerbeds are surrounded by tall grass and giant dandelions gone to seed. Looks so incongruous -- much like looking in the mirror at my aging face. You have to laugh, and there's not a damn thing you can do about it.
Scott figures now he might as well wait a week or two till the weeds finish their cycle, then hay the field.
Thank goodness we've no next door neighbours, or they'd be feudin' with us.

This is a good reason to take a long break from work, and just enjoy the storm.

Monday, June 13, 2011

Construction at Margo Lake

Karen's Pad at Margo Lake

Scott prepares the ceiling for paint

How Karen gets her bell rung

Ducky woke me today, for what reason I have no idea, at 8 a.m.
Did he want to go outside? Hell no. Back into his bed he went.
I got up and looked out at a wet world. A nice little rain, just what my flower garden needs, even though I watered yesterday. Rain beats well water, hands down. Betcha there will be new bloomage tomorrow. Maybe the oriental poppies will all spring open! They have multiplied themselves by the umpteen squared, so I'm expecting a fabulous show any day now.

Scott's dad and uncle were headed to BC to visit their brother this morning, so Scott was up at the crack of dawn to get them on the road to the airport. Don't know how he does it — no alarm clock, no watch, just up and at 'er. Looks good on a scaffold too, don't you think? Walks around up there like a mountain goat. I'd have to have one hand holding onto something solid at all times. Even the lower rungs of ladders make me nervous.

Did I mention I saw a moose yesterday while taking my medicine walk? Yeah, me! Usually it's everyone but me who sees them. Although one evening we were driving to my uncle's and I thought "Sure would be nice to see a moose" and decided to peer into the bushes as we passed by, and within moments I saw a big blond moose lying in the trees right next to the road. So there! Look in the bush! Pay attention!

So. Karen's house. This was the first time I was inside. I eagerly anticipate sitting at her kitchen table, looking out over the glittering lake, while we sip on tea and chat. Or better yet, maybe we'll go out and wade in the water.

Karen and Dick have lots of landscaping to do, too.

Karen chats with Michelle, her daughter-in-law (marrying my nephew Marc at the end of the month)

Sunday, June 12, 2011

Emil Sings. Not Workplace Friendly.

"Mom. Mom."
"Mom. I learned a song. I'll sing it for you."

Emil still thinks "swear words" are hilarious, and anything to do with shit is ... worth a giggle.

Saturday, June 11, 2011

Perogy Master

Everett's been in the kitchen again

Some time ago I learned that a lady I've known from my youth makes and sells her delicious perogies— it may well be a full-time job for her, since those and her cabbage rolls are so popular— and I decided to purchase a bag of each, every month. They are always a treat and, taken from the freezer, the perogies help make up a quick meal and the cabbage rolls, baked with tomato juice, make a tasty casserole.

Then Everett took it into his head to make perogies more often. Above is a batch he made last week, when we had run out of cheddar cheese. So he made his filling of plain potatoes, with salt and pepper. I swear those were the best perogies I've ever eaten. Without any of the usual garnishes, including butter or onions or bacon bits— they were that good.

It's doubtful he'll get interested in making cabbage rolls, more's the pity, and so I shall darken Mary's door again and see if she'll let me back on her customer list once my boy leaves home in a month or two.


I've been slowly reinstating my blogroll, now at the bottom of the page so it is less of a distraction for me, but if you're looking for some reading, scroll on down and give some of them a try. Also, if your webpage isn't listed there, let me know— or give me time. I haven't put all my favourites in yet. All in good time, my dears, all in good time ....

Friday, June 10, 2011

Lake Property in Saskatchewan for Sale

My new toy

An old-fashioned bike: no hand-brakes (that takes some getting used to after all these years), no 3 or 5 or 10 or 18 speeds. Just ... down the road I go.


Yippee, it's Friday! Considering I hardly know which day is which anymore, I almost always know when it's Friday and the beginning of the weekend.

Went to Margo yesterday to have a couple new tires put on my minivan and get a tour of my sister Karen's new house, which is being built on the shore of their resort development on Margo Lake. Scott is drywalling there at the moment and will soon be painting the vaulted ceiling. It's a lovely large house but I won't get excited until there are kitchen cupboards, flooring, and the painting is done. Till then houses under construction kind of all look the same, to me.

Lakefront lots at Margo Lake are selling for $50,000. The other lots are $30,000. Lake property in Saskatchewan is hard to come by and ridiculously expensive nowadays. Even at these relatively low prices, I can't afford one and Karen won't give me a Drastically Reduced Family Rate! I'll fix her: once the fancy mansion is finished, I'll just visit far more often, that's all. Heh. Not that it's easy to catch Karen at home. Considering we live 20 minutes apart, we don't get together very often. She is a busy, busy girl.

Yesterday from her kitchen window we watched a mother fox overseeing her five kits as they frolicked over by the machine shed, walking in, out and around stationary tractor tires as if they owned the place. Cute little jiggers! I remarked that they look like a cross between a dog and a cat.

It's another sunny day here, but the wind is still like icy little fingers poking at you. We need some heat now.

✿⊱╮ Listen to this episode of Tapestry:

An interview with Cristina Nehring, author of A Vindication of Love: Reclaiming Romance for the Twenty-First Century 

For some reason this link embedded above doesn't work; if that's the case for you, too, you'll have to copy and paste the link into your browser. Sorry about that; I don't know why it is. Anyhoo, the conversation is worth a listen.

✿⊱╮ This morning Everett saw a moose with two calves on the other side of the dugout. He hollered in time for me to jump up and look through the office window, catching only a glimpse of a swift shadow flashing into the trees.

Thursday, June 9, 2011

Bottlecaps and Superheroes

Everett's found bottlecaps, all washed and dried

Uh huh. Bottlecaps. He doesn't care where they're from, he's collecting them in an old roasted-peanut jar. It used to hold chewed gum. Now that was a pretty collection to peruse, as you may imagine. Then suddenly he decided they were out and bottle caps are in. First he noticed caps on the dirt floor of the quonset, where Scott must huck them when he cracks himself a beer out there. Then he hit the jackpot, he said, when he started looking into the boxes of empties.

He came with me on my "medicine walk" yesterday, and from the moment we left the driveway till we got back 45 minutes later and sat down for a few minutes in the swing, he talked. His question out the gate was “Who’s your favourite superhero?” My answer was “I don’t have one; I don’t even know who-all there is to choose from.” He proceeded to list several dozen of them, along with their superhuman abilities. I tried to pay attention but my mind wandered more than once. He was still talking about superheroes for a while after the walk. Important subject to an 18-year-old, I guess! Or my 18-year-old, anyway.

Wednesday, June 8, 2011


Haven't found a place for this old thing; stuck it in the bush for now.

"I do not even know what this is," said the Bad Farm Girl. "A rake?"

Golden Grain Farm, a graveyard for old machinery, buildings, and vehicles

The littlest granary

Behind the barn

Behind the granaries that Scott says "have to go."

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Western Spaghetti

Everett spent the day raking and bagging grass clippings

Part of the herd cleans up across the road

This came across my Facebook page today:

Monday, June 6, 2011

Most Recent Bloomage

Crabapple tree

Rhubarb patch

Please excuse me. I am watering and hoeing and digging, in between working in my office four hours a day, preparing suppers, doing dishes, wiping counters, sweeping floors, folding blankets, dusting, and squeezing in 45-minute walks. And so on.

Sunday, June 5, 2011

Sensational Sunnyday

At my home away from home: best pal in the world Cathy & her daughter Emma

11:28 a.m.
   Been outside weeding since I got up, with coffee or toast in one hand. Or been inside tidying the kitchen, livingroom or boys’ room, and rousting Everett from his bed. Putting things in order while enjoying the pure pleasure of doing so. There is always a nagging feeling that I “should” be doing something else, something more, something that’s waiting, but I tell myself to smarten up and acknowledge the equal necessity of exactly what I am already doing. It’s not like I’ve been sitting on my ass staring into the computer screen all morning, or sleeping, or watching TV.
   Called to see if Emil would like a visit today, since he didn’t want to come out this weekend. But the household is headed off to Wynyard to see the RCMP Musical Ride, and he is quite excited. I’m excited for him!

Every spring the Musical Ride tours Canada and draws in capacity crowds:

Saturday, June 4, 2011

The Ubiquitous Outdoor Bulletin Board

In Kelvington, Saskatchewan

When I was doing some research for an article on the tv series Little Mosque on the Prairie, I came across a video about the sets and settings for the episodes. The filmmakers were chuckling about the unlikelihood of the existence of an outdoor bulletin board as shown in the fictional town of Mercy, Saskatchewan, because out in the weather the notices tacked up on the board wouldn't last long.

However, there are outdoor billboards just like it, all over the place. When I noticed this one on Kelvington's main street last weekend, I snapped a photo for evidence.

These two lovebirds were taking a break in front of the drugstore:

Thursday, June 2, 2011

Newborn Alert! Newborn Alert!

Hayes Christopher, my second great-nephew





Wednesday, June 1, 2011

First day of the new walking routine

Flower bed: dandelion-free zone (that's a laugh)