Sunday, July 31, 2011

Gettin' Hitched

My nephew Marc with his bride Michelle (my new niece! and what a doll she is) and his parents, Karen (my sister) and her husband Dick.

Yesterday was a perfect day for an outdoor wedding ceremony: sunny with a breeze.


My old friend Maggie has put together a piece about songs sung for a wedding couple's first dance (by the way, Karen sang the song Marc and Michelle danced to. Something by Johnny Reid). Read Maggie's blog, Serendipity Doo-Dah, and check out the videos: Click Here.

Also, Maggie has accepted a challenge to post an entry every day for 30 days. This is good news indeed, so I encourage you to keep an eye on her webpage for the rest of the month. She is a thoughtful, entertaining and intelligent gal who has a uniquely quirky perspective on all things. I love her writing to bits.

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

More Medicinal Wildflowers

false sunflower down at the ravine

wild yarrow flowers make a tea that fights respiratory infections and colds

not a dandelion! gumweed makes a sort of glue

Monday, July 25, 2011

Can't Win fer Losin'

Ducky scared up this grouse from the long grass along the road

A while ago I was disgusted by the dogs killing a kitten.
This morning I’m disgusted by the mother cat bringing a fledgling bird—maybe a robin—still alive for her kittens to play with, kill and eat.
At first I thought she’d caught a very large mouse or maybe a rat and said to her, “Good for you.” Then I got a closer look. My first urge was to rescue the bird (not that I’d know what nest to return it to, or anything else, and perhaps it was already near death) and took a step toward it. Immediately a kitten grabbed it and scooted behind some boards. I gave up and left the tractor shed, downhearted.
   I know this killing of the innocent is natural, but this is part of nature that does not please me. Not that it bothers me one bit when the cats kill mice; on the contrary, I hope they’ll kill many. But birds . . . I consider my friends.

Have to admit, my walks are rather glorious ... a mile cross-country from our place is the old Rosebud Hall, still used for dances and parties and reunions, and they have a horseshoe tournament on the grounds every year

Sunday, July 24, 2011

Cara's Kids

Hayes, absolutely edible

Hambones like the camera: Trea and Kade

It's an active household and my niece Cara is on top of it all, one eye on her children at all times . . . a really, really good mom and sweet, sweet kids. We're going up there this evening to have supper with Scott's grandma, so maybe I'll get some baby snuggles in once more if we catch the family at home. Little Trea has started to come out of her shy shell with me, too. 

Friday, July 22, 2011

One Less Flowerbed

When I said I was downsizing my flower gardens, I wasn't kidding. For three summers I hand-weeded around this ugly old piece of farm machinery (it may be an "antique" but it's still ugly) at the end of the driveway, where I'd put in edging and planted daisies, poppies and wildflower seed. Last summer the ditch near it was so full of water that a cat-tail started growing in the flowerbed. This year the water in the ditch has crept even closer, so I said "To hell with it, let it do what it wants." And so it has.

I still haven't posted the Stop sign properly, but at least it might make a driver think twice before blasting onto the road, where you can't see a vehicle coming because the grass in the ditches is so tall.

We've got cooler days, which I prefer to the extreme heat. I like being able to use the oven. The other day I made biscuits to go with a bean soup, and cookies, and a big batch of granola. Today I've got supper in there, hoping the oven will warm up the house a little. My fingers are cold as I sit here. Better get moving. Maybe immersing them in hot dishwater would do the trick?

Was in Kelvington today for a doctor's appointment and stopped in afterwards to visit with my niece Cara and her three kids (five and under). Had the camera along so there will be photos tomorrow, or when I get around to posting them.

By the way, Everett's application to the Digital Media and Internet Technology program at Northern Alberta Institute of Technology (NAIT) has been accepted, so he'll start classes in September. He plans to live in Edmonton with his dad for the two years required by the course.

Thursday, July 21, 2011

Missing People is No Fun

American Coot baby

I see this little fella as it hurries away from the roadside where I'm walking, but feel a bit sad as there used to be three. Probably its siblings were eaten by a fox or something. Did you know that only 7% of hatchlings of all kinds survive their youth? Most are taken by predators.


The snowy mountaintops of Saskatchewan off in the distance

Picked Emil up at Lake Manitou this morning and was about a half-hour late; he hoped I'd forgotten, because then he would have had to spend another night there.
He asked if I've missed him while he was gone, and informed me that he had not missed me.
"And that's a good thing," he added with certainty. "It's no fun, missing people."
Gee, does that sound like anyone else you know?

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Seen Along the Road During My Walk South and Back

wild bergamot



bluebells? no. darn my memory!




something, and purple vetch


wild roses are pale and low to the ground this year, and late

30-yr-old steel-toed boots are the best walking shoes I own

Most, if not all, of the wildflowers shown above are medicinal plants. Kahlee Keane's book The Standing People identifies them and tells readers how to use them. Now where the sam hill did I put that book? I can't do without it. I may even have put it in my vehicle so that it could help me in my travels along country roads.

How weird is this? Someone at the Margo reunion thought Tammy Bohl was me (as I told your mom, Tammy, I'm flattered!). Considering that people have so often mistaken my dad and her dad for each other, this is not so surprising but it is the first time it’s happened.

At 10 to 4 last night a powerful wind blew through the yard, waking both Scott and me as we had every window in the house wide open. We got up to look out, and the black air was instantly calm and still. Then clouds moved away from a shining moon, and the birds immediately began chirping.
The news this morning reports storms in central Saskatchewan during the night—storms with baseball-sized hail that did a lot of damage.
Something wicked just missed us. More of the same is expected tonight.


My friend Cathy's brother lives with his wife in Vietnam and keeps a blog, which is in the list at the bottom of this page. Here, he visits a friend who contributes a guest entry to Owen's blog. Owen's friend is doing everything he can to help poor and rural people who have been affected by the Agent Orange that was sprayed all over the country during the war. Click here to find out what is happening and what Owen's friend is doing about it.

Monday, July 18, 2011

Heat Wave

It was Scott's turn to take supper to his grandmother who, at 102, still lives in her own home in Kelvington. This meal delivery by family members (she gets Meals on Wheels for dinners during the week) ensures that Grandma doesn't have to use her stove anymore, and it forces Mr Busyness Himself to take time for his gran on a regular basis, which he enjoys and so does she.

We're in the middle of a serious heat wave out here, as in most places across the country if I'm hearing the news right. Our house remains delightfully cool during the day if we keep the windows closed, so I felt safe to put a ham roast in the oven yesterday. But that was as far as I was willing to go. I didn't want to push our luck by turning on the stove burners to boil potatoes and steam vegetables, nor did I want to cook them at Grandma's and boost the temperature in her house trailer up to 100 degrees. So I called Fran and we picked up a delicious potato salad and some hot baby carrots on our way to Grandma's house.

No wolves were seen, but coming home we had the pleasure of observing a fox pup making itself at home in the middle of the road. I was not quick enough with the camera to get a decent photo before the little darlin' skidaddled into the long grass.

My brother-in-law Gary had his scheduled angioplasty today. All is well and he's to be released from the hospital tomorrow. We came a little too close to losing him—shocking thought—I mean, what if he hadn't had the good sense to get himself to a hospital? What if he'd been out in the boonies, too far away to get there in time?
Anyway, we can now get off the pins and needles of the past few days.

Sunday, July 17, 2011

I Have the Best Ex

Emil slows down long enough for a photo before his dad takes him to Camp Easter Seal.

Gord came all the way from Edmonton to spend some time with Emil, who is on holidays till the end of the week, and then shouldered the driving duty to get the lad to his favourite place in the world (Camp Easter Seal). I'll pick Emil up Thursday; he'll be far from ready to leave.


"And what about the strange incident he had seen at home the other day, when his cat gazed intently into a tree until a bird fell out of it, dead, right between her paws?"
~From How to Live, or A Life of Montaigne in One Question and Twenty Attempts at an Answer, by Sarah Bakewell.

Saturday, July 16, 2011


Do I not have the most lovely eyes? If only you could see their intense green!

Look! I throw myself at your feet. Love me!

Friday, July 15, 2011

Are You Sitting Down?

While Scott admired his cattle, I admired the evening sky.

Phone call from my sister Karen this morning:
“Are you sitting down? I’ve got some bad news.”
My mind races. Who has died? Has my nephew's wedding been called off? What?
“Gary’s had a heart attack.”
Gary, Gary. Do I know a Gary? Funny how the mind goes almost numb. Of course, our sister Joan’s Gary. Our Gary.
“He was in Prince George and he’s in Vancouver now; they did an angioplasty during the night and Joan and the kids and Gary's mom are going out there in two hours. He'll have two more stints put in on Monday.”
I went for my walk, came home and made breakfast and coffee, and called Joan. She’s all right, but they’re driving and she’d like to get there faster, worried he could have another heart attack before she sees him, although the medical staff thinks the major problem has been taken care of.
Just a short while ago he had a complete physical and was told he had an 8% chance of heart problems developing in the next 10 years. Could stand to lose a bit of weight, they said, but gave him a clean bill of health.
How’s that for doctors knowing what they’re talking about.
Gary is only in his mid forties.


And now, I'm off with my former husband to get Emil packed up for Camp Easter Seal.

Thursday, July 14, 2011

Cattle for Pets

Calves like their heads scratched, and Scott obliges

After supper he strolls across the road to check on his cattle in the pasture over there.
"It's my enjoyment in the evenings," I heard him say.
They are practically pets.
The calves can't resist coming up to check you out, they are so curious. Their mothers aren't much different, but here they're keeping an eye on their calves. I think. Maybe they're wanting their heads scratched, too.

In our home pasture at the moment are only one cow with her calf and two heifers.
He said, “I should put another mother and little one in there so the calf will have a playmate. They're just like kids, you know.”

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

We Knew the Day was Coming

Between three and four in the morning a small dog stood on his hind legs, clawing at the sheet, asking to join us. “Was that lightning?” Scott asked as we both rose in the dark to see what was happening.
   The sky lit and within moments a hard rain was hitting the roof. Rather than inviting Ducky to sleep between us (as he did the other night when there was thunder and he was afraid), I spread a throw on Mom’s rocking chair next to the bed, then covered him head and all, as he likes. Scott and I went back to bed but I wondered how the dogs outside, both afraid of thunder, were managing. Casper wasn't pacing and panting beneath the window, so maybe they'd already burrowed in somewhere. Should I shove tranquilizer pills into chunks of wiener and go out? Nah; this late in the game they aren’t likely to settle down much anyway, and it’s cold, and I don’t feel like getting dressed or wet.
   The sky was blue through the bedroom window in the morning and I soon headed out for the medicine walk. Old Casper doesn’t always come anymore, as I'm long gone before she realizes I've left. This is as well, because when she does come it's too much of a workout for her. She comes back exhausted.
   When I returned, I looked in the doghouse for her. It was empty so I made my way around the yard and over to the quonset and tractor shed, calling. Hm. If she was freaked out enough, would she have gone down the road to the old house like she used to do? I walked around the yard yet again, unwilling to believe she really wasn’t nearby, and then checked another shed in the farmyard where she’d gotten herself stuck for hours during the last storm. Scott had closed the door so she couldn’t get in there again, but I looked anyway.
I was up on the step, unlacing my workboots, when I noticed white fur sticking out of the bale house in the garden. Casper? I went over and called; no movement. She’s getting hard of hearing; I bent and patted her rear end; no response. No breathing. Gone.
She must have crawled in there headfirst to hide from the storm, and breathed her last.
She has been struggling a lot in recent weeks and in the storm last night her heart finally gave up. I hope she died feeling safe in there. Sweet old girl.
I can’t quite believe it. I hope she will yet wake up.

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

What We Do for Dogs

Casper Doodle, age 15, is stiff with arthritis. She has so much trouble getting up and down now that I set her food up on a milking stool so she won't have to bend to reach into the pot. And of course it's right next to the rainbarrel so she doesn't have to go far to quench her thirst while she's eating. If I don't stay there, the two smaller, younger dogs will chase her from her bowl, and she will let them, and go hungry and get skinny. This had already happened this past winter by the time we realized she wasn't standing up for herself and tuning those little whippersnappers in. So now I have to stay near her, or hoe weeds from my flower beds nearby, until she finishes. If I walk away, all three dogs will leave their food and follow me, no matter how hungry they may be. Wouldn't want to miss anything! And then the voracious magpies come in and quickly make off with any dog food left out. Can't have that, so I stand guard over Casper to make sure she gets her fill.

Monday, July 11, 2011



Great-Great Aunt Alma's copper collection

Grandmother's candy dish

Made by an elderly gentleman in Margo many years ago

I'm too sad and pissed off to write much of anything. Our two dogs that like to chase cats (but wouldn't hurt them, we thought) caught a young kitten this morning and killed it.
I'm so disgusted with them I can barely look at the two dogs.

Sunday, July 10, 2011

Eleven Years and Counting

At the liquor store

 I have just spent three days feeling like shit (as you'll know if you've checked out my tarot card for today, which will now be found under Madam Katrinka Reads Tarot Cards, link in the left column), but am on the mend now, I hope. Tomorrow morning will tell.

And no, it's not due to the booze. I thought so on the first morning I woke up with the "neck thing," because Joanne had mixed up those delicious margaritas the night before. I'd only drank one, though, and already started feeling the migraine coming, so stopped there.

The next morning I awoke with it yet again, but by mid-morning felt better, and had a beer with supper. So the following morning I blamed it on alcohol and swore off the stuff forevermore.

Alas, yesterday morning it was the same shit, and I'd had nothing to drink. And this morning, again. What the hell? It seems I may never know what to do to prevent these damn things.

Enough about my maladies, old lady that I am. Gladly, these are my only maladies; at least, the only ones that knock me on my ass.

Today is 11 years since Scott and I fell for each other.  While I'm still in my housecoat (nothing like a lazy Sunday) and he's walking around in his boxers (taking a break from working with cattle), perhaps we had best go mark that anniversary in an adult way. You know, with a hearty game of pinochle.

If you're as scarf-challenged as I am, go see Schmutzie's tutorial called How To Tie a Wind and Fushnicken Resistant Scarf Knot. Click here.
Bless her wee heart'ie.

Thursday, July 7, 2011

Thursday All Darn Day

Emil loves his grandpa.

Dad is like me: says he never, ever takes a good picture. The truth is, we are both fabulously goodlooking (I've always been told I look like him) and cameras never, ever do us justice. Eh Dad? That's surely it.

We took Ebony to the doctor and she came home with a clean bill of health, yay!
Joanne and "Ebonyzer Scrooge"

Then we went and fell in love with my great-nephew:

My niece Cara had a chance to sit down with Trea, her shy one:
Trea hopes to convince her mom to let her blow bubbles in the house. Not happening.

I remember Cara at the age her daughter Trea is now. She was a total sweetheart then, and still is. It's "unreal" (strange? weird? wild? fascinating? satisfying? delightful? I haven't found the perfect word. All of them are true) to watch this beautiful young woman, whom I used to carry around on my hip, now with three little ones of her own.

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Unusual light in storm clouds north of the yard on Sunday evening

My company (JoanneP) quit smoking 3 wks ago, but we're ready for the next smoker

Cousin Oscar and his Lovely Wife Barb at Margo Centennial Reunion

During the last rain I spotted a bee keeping dry underneath a globeflower bloom

Just home from a morning and early afternoon "out and about" and now it is teatime, but we are going to rustle up some tequila margaritas instead.
  I keep feeling like I have to get back to my desk, then remembering no I don't, I'm not working. Wow. All I really have to think hard about is what to make for supper. The oven element has quit and I don't want to heat the house up anyway, and we haven't purchased a barbecue yet (believe it or not, Shelly!).
One thing about a sweltering hot day like this, and company at the same time, is that it really feels like "summer" to me. Like a holiday. I even bought popsicles, which cemented the mood.
We saw a moose on the way home from Kelvington — it was extremely dark, black almost — and we stopped at my niece Cara's and got all doped up on newborn baby. Oh my my, the sweetness. What a darling.
I don't know what the temperature outside is, but in here it's 73F, which feels caressingly cool. Joanne stretched herself out on top of a bed and is snoring to beat 60.

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Lamb's Ears

Lamb's ear

Would you like some for your garden or flower bed? It's tough as nails, it quickly spreads all over the place (even into your lawn), and seems impossible to eradicate.
On the other hand, those fuzzy leaves really are as soft as lamb's ears. And the silvery foliage does look lovely in the moonlight.
If you have an area that needs ground cover, or filled in, this could be just the ticket.
Come out to my place. Bring a pail or a box. I'll supply the shovel. Ann? Cara? Julie? Anyone?

Here's how my day's going to go, when I get out of this housecoat:
If it's not too hot yet, I'll get my walk out of the way first. Dad will be here at 11, hoping for lunch before he leaves to catch his plane in Saskatoon.
My old friend Joanne (I like to say that old boyfriends were in my life only to bring me long friendships with their sisters) will be here later today, picking up her very old dog, Ebony, from her ex's in a nearby town so we can take her to our outstanding local vet for treatment of severe ear infection tomorrow morning. We are hoping the vet won't suggest putting her "down."
Scott has been doing laundry at his folks' place a mile down the road, and hopes I'll remember to go get something out of the dryer.
Emil wants to see Joanne, but after supper would like to be driven back to the group home in town because Joanne will need the guest bed here and Emil doesn't want to sleep on the couch. Fussy that way.
And dishes. Sigh. I miss Everett. :)

Monday, July 4, 2011

Inside, Outside

Inside: columbine

Outside: gazania

Inside, outside, in again, and back out. Then in. Then out once more. That will be me many times over, since the day is fine and I am no longer "working" at my computer. Only playing!
I'm wearing skimpy clothes and might even just let my skin turn a little brown.
But now, to take over all Everett's jobs ... off I go to give the creatures their breakfast and see if I can find the B batch in the barn.

Sunday, July 3, 2011

Hybrid Goose and a Gabfest in Margo

What kind of goose is this? Click to enlarge

Could it be one of those hybrids, a "new breed" resulting from Canada geese mating with snow geese? Everett and I spotted this loner in a slough next to the road on our way home from town one day.

Everett headed off to Edmonton with his Uncle Bum this morning, in the big semi. He loaded it up with game-playing machines and baking supplies he's been stockpiling for a year already so he'll have everything he could possibly need at his dad's, whose kitchen apparently lacks large cooking pots, cookie sheets, bread knives, a cutting board, and so on.

Oh— the reunion!
We got there later than we'd hoped, so only spent about five hours wandering around the rink (the ice is out for the summer of course), yapping and tipping back beers. I caught sight of quite a few longtime acquaintances that I meant to get over and chat with, and then on my way in their direction snagged up with other longtime acquaintances, and never reached my original destination — it was a gabfest, to be sure — so probably could have navigated the social network another five hours and still not greeted everyone. But we left for home before weariness overtook us instead of waiting till after dark and being tired on the drive. It was as well, because I swear I had a touch of a hangover this morning. And I only drank two beer. Friggin' lightweight.

I took the camera but was too busy blabbering to remember to take pictures. Fortunately Cousin Oscar hauled theirs out so I was reminded — but still only got a couple. Tsk. Shouldabin snapping away like crazy. Hope others got some good ones. If you did (Charlotte? Debbie? Cindy? Joanne? Tammy? not sure who's reading this, but if you have any pics to share, email 'em to me, would you? at katiekate AT gmail DOT com), I wouldn't mind putting some up on the page here. Surely some former Margonians who check out this webpage and weren't at the reunion would like to see them.

Well, I must Do. Dishes. 
Yeah, you heard me. Dishes.
No Everett. I will have to re-learn this heinously constant housekeeping task after a year's virtual hiatus.
And finish Sweeping. The. Floor. Oh the humanity!
How will I ever manage? And I'll have to feed the dogs! And shovel their shit off the lawn! and feed the cats! and haul the grocery bags and water jugs into the house by myself!
Thank goodness I've got some time off from work while I get used to this new old reality.


Much Later (a thunderstorm sent me back from my medicine walk, only 10 minutes into it. Went out feeling brave, came in afraid I might just be stupid):

Check out this mystery in Saskatoon. Maybe you have some good ideas. Have you seen anything like this around the city where you live? Leave the Solitary Spinster a comment if you can help her figure this one out.
Click here.

And now to turn the computer off for its own safety. And go watch the storm from the back step.