Thursday, May 31, 2012

Hayes Comes to the Farm

Hayes, my great-nephew.

My niece was taking her daughter Trea to a gym class and needed a minder for her little fella. I live "on the way" so it worked out perfectly. Me and my buddy took the stroller down the road, then sat on the step and rested before coming in for a bite to eat.

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Deer on the Run

Deer in cattle pasture

"It froze again hard last night," I heard him say to someone on the phone early this morning.

But the sky is blue today.

Perhaps it's like this day in Virginia Woolf's life:
"A bitter wind blew splinters of sunshine."

Monday, May 28, 2012

She Returns

A pretty front yard in the city. I coveted the flowerbed, to which this photo does no justice whatsoever
While out here, the only thing blooming in our yard are the tulips and one small bleeding heart. And some lovely dark fuschia lobelia in a pot in the porch.

There have been a couple heavy frosts, I'm told, explaining the black withered death of my portulaca. But they are the only plants that couldn't weather the weather. I expected the carnage to be far worse, and stopped at a greenhouse while leaving Saskatoon in order to fortify myself to face the damage. $75 later ...  but now I have a couple more items that no respectable flower-lovin' gal should do without: elegant red nicotiana, white ones with their evening fragrance, orange and yellow calendula to bloom through the fall ... and so on. They are tucked safely onto the floor behind the driver's seat of my old-lady van for now, out of the elements.

I've only poked my nose out on the step and it smells GLORIOUS out there! It's the poplar trees, right? Gotta be.

Yesterday  marked seven  years since Mom's passing. When she was dying I couldn't imagine living beyond her for years. And— of course this makes no sense at all — I still can't.

Thursday, May 24, 2012

Jumped the Gun

Dammit; it's been snowing since 5 a.m. The flakes are mixed with raindrops, and the snow mostly melts when it hits the ground, but I'm leaving this afternoon for several days and the forecast is for frost tonight. So, though at first I said I wouldn't, I bundled up and hauled in all the pots I could carry. They will be safe in the porch till I get back. Those annuals in the ground already will have to take their chances, as sheets used to cover them end up soaked and crushing the plants beneath. Can't win fer losin'!

Every spring in recent years it's been the same ... in Saskatchewan we think the May long weekend it's safe to put our bedding plants into the ground. Well, maybe once upon a time it was; but not anymore. In future I am going to have to find a way to restrain myself from planting on beautiful warm days like this past weekend, and wait till June instead. It won't be easy. I've tried before, and failed; warm weather compels me to cooperate with the nurslings, which silently beg to be freed from their restrictive trays. But after lugging all these heavy pots in, saturated with rain, maybe I've learned my lesson. Patience.

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

The Slough is Coming Closer

Still rainy; the new flowerbeds love it (see my little camper back in the trees?)
Another wet dark day; puddles in the grass.

Scott leaves to work at the old school in Kuroki, which is now a private home where he has done repairs and renovations. I sent four pots of lambs' ears for the lady's yard. Still need homes for daylilies, shasta daisies, peonies. Two gardeners want some but haven't come for them yet. There is probably no rush when it comes to Scott going through the back yard with a cultivator; a more pressing anxiety, if there is one, is that they are getting weedy.

I make myself a couple large mugs of coffee and come back to bed to read Virginia Woolf's diary.

I think about Grandma Benson, shut my eyes, which water, and imagine her here with me, patting my shoulder and saying in her stoic, slightly clucky and unsympathetic way, "Don't be silly."

Talked to old beau Jeff yesterday; he is enthusiastic about his experiences after smoking salvia and going to send me some, which I may not have the courage to try.

I'm reading Jacob's Room as I go along in Virginia's diary at the same time she was writing the novel, but am more interested in Virginia's own life.

J's Room: "As for the beauty of women, it is like the light on the sea, never constant to a single wave. They all have it; they all lose it."

Among women there is so much discussion about inner beauty being what's important and how we're all "beautiful," and I think fine, but why do we have to be beautiful?

J's Room, re beauty: "No one can count on it or seize it or have it wrapped in paper."


"Thus if you talk of a beautiful woman you mean only something flying fast which for a second uses the eyes, lips or cheeks of Fanny Elmer, for example, to glow through."

Diary: "so many smashes and tergiversations."
Gotta look up that one.
Tergiversate: 1) equivocate; make conflicting or evasive statements. 2) be apostate; change one's party or principles.

Tomorrow I take the day off and, in the afternoon, head to the city for a weekend of gospel-singing at a One Human Family choir workshop. I'm all about the singing; love the music; put up with the morning prayer in order to do it.

Tuesday, May 22, 2012


Before we moved here, this was someone's idea of a fence-repair job: lean stuff up against it! 
It's been drizzling or downright raining since early morning, so there was no gardening to be done (no sweat; the last of my bedding plants were relocated yesterday) or walking, though I did pull on my ski pants and winter jacket to take chicken fat (or whatever the liquid is that comes out when you roast one) out to the cats in the tractor shed, and strolled to the end of the driveway before coming in to dry off.

There will be many depressed farmers around here for the next while, as their field work has come to a halt.

Sunday, May 20, 2012

On the Move

Men on the move
Scott and his brother have checked their fences today and brought the bulls over to our pasture.
I have transplanted flowers and strawberries. Five of my purple coneflowers, moved in the fall, haven't come up yet. Could mean another visit to the greenhouse.
Doesn't seem like I've done a lot today, but I'm beat. Maybe one more leisurely stroll around the yard before it gets dark and cooler ....

Saturday, May 19, 2012

♫ Hey Big Spender ♫

Scott bought a new toy: a bigger mower, with a grass-catcher. 

Yesterday I went to my first garage sale this season. I don't need a thing! But am looking for child's wagons to use to move my heavy, full flowerpots around the yard, and wooden photo frames for my wall collection of family pictures. I brought home one 5" x 7" frame, and:

to help keep mosquitoes at bay out on the deck: can't have too many

the cutest little flowerpot, right

A chocolate-melting cup and a noodle bowl w/chopsticks

All for a grand total of $2.
♫ Hey Big Spender ♫ 

Friday, May 18, 2012

A Time for Sowing

Seeding has begun, in our corner of the cosmos.
That's what's going on outdoors.
It looks like we may get rain today, too.

Indoors, I am trying to get the laptop to do what I want so I can use it for certain aspects of my job, and it's being unreasonable and uncooperative and speaking a language I don't understand.

The binoculars are for birdwatching through the window.

After spending several hours yesterday afternoon without getting the required results, I was washing dishes when Scott came home, said hello, and asked me immediately, "What's wrong?"

"It's that obvious?" said I. "I'm frustrated as hell."

It was so exhausting that after eating a light supper I laid down for a half-hour in hopes of getting a second wind. And then went out, dug up a couple dozen perennials, and transplanted them into the new front flowerbed. This I know how to do! And it is satisfying to see the greenery out there where I want it.

Now if only things will start going my way at the kitchen table.

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

The Daily Palaver

Male American goldfinches, seen above, arrived at the feeders first. The paler females appeared yesterday.

You try to come up with something to post every day!

The webpages I'm most loyal to are those that have new content every time I manage to get over to them; if I'm disappointed too many times, I tend to stop going back.

Here, it's my habit to post some sort of photo at least, and even if there's nothing much going on, just saying hello gets me started and then I can be surprised by what comes up, sometimes, if I just sit down here and give it a minute or two and post something — anything. It's really all about my own entertainment, to be honest, and my own love of letterwriting and journalling. My entries won't contain the solution to world peace or a learned treatise on philosophy or a witty satire on lifestyle or insider stock tips; I'm not even sharing all my bitchy life dramas (and I do have a few!) with you people. If a friendly how-dy-doo isn't good enough for you, dear reader ... you will be disappointed here.

Today I've got someone coming over in an hour or two and I'm still in my housecoat and pyjamas and haven't eaten breakfast. The house was cold so I didn't feel like making my habitual fruit smoothie; I cranked the furnace on instead and will wait till things toast up. The wind's being a bit mean and the sky's grey so there's no incentive to go outside yet, even though transplanting a dozen speedwells into the new flowerbed out front is next on my gardening agenda.

[Anyone local want well-established shasta daisies or daylilies? They are here for the diggin; I've no place to put them and they could end up ploughed under if no one takes them. Also there are three peonies that I've no new home for; all yours, just come over and get them. They aren't quick to recover from transplanting but they will eventually.]

And I want to put in five hours at work on the computer before doing something with ground beef for supper; something like meatloaf, which is one of my favourites. Can you go wrong with ground beef? Not usually. But blechh. I'm bored with cooking. And dishes. Would rather live on fruit smoothies.

Had a little mostly one-sided conversation with Emil, who apparently believes clowns should be nice people:

"I like The Simpsons.
There's a guy named Crusty the Clown. He's not very nice. He shouldn't even be a clown. He's mean.
Crusty the Clown always sounds like he has a sore throat when he talks. I don't like the way he talks. Maybe he does have a sore throat."

"So, what do you like about The Simpsons?"

"I like everybody except Crusty the Clown. He's mean.
Poppa likes The Simpsons too."

Monday, May 14, 2012

Florence Foster Jenkins (Cover Your Ears!)

While doing my work, which requires plenty of internet surfing to find information and photographs relating to a variety of subjects, I come across the most curious things.

Today, while searching for an image to illustrate Canada's Immigration Act of 1976, I stumbled upon this. Don't ask me how. But I just had to share it with you. Perhaps you will stop saying, "Oh, I can't sing!" This lady sure as heck couldn't, but she didn't let that stop her!

For more information about this performer who couldn't sing worth a hoot but sold out Carnegie Hall, click on this link.

I've already sent it to my sister Karen for whom, as for me, listening to Florence Foster Jenkins "sing" is horribly irritating. As a matter of fact, I can guarantee Karen won't make it to the end of the recording; I didn't.

I've often heard people who can't remain on pitch while certain they are excellent singers, but I've never heard of anyone taking it to such extremes in public and so able to convince herself that her voice was worth listening to, and more: worth paying to listen to.

Sunday, May 13, 2012

All I Want for Mother's Day is a Bath Pillow

All sliced, so the mess is made only once

Been hard at work the last few days, as well as struggling with the neck thing again; however today I'm feeling normal and the sun is warm and the wind isn't being a bastard, so I plan to spend much of it outside with a hoe or shovel in my hand. Imagine I'll come in with a sunburn, but don't care.

And the new green leaves have popped out, and the birds are singing up a storm all around. This is my idea of heaven, though naturally it would not be heaven for everyone. For instance: wood ticks. Frightful things. But they're not going to stop me enjoying the outdoors. My heaven is certainly different from the heaven of others; and that makes perfect sense to me. A city boy recently told me that a few days in the quiet countryside (it's far from quiet, I have to say,  but compared to the Toronto traffic I guess it is) unnerved him, and he craved the sound of traffic again. Everett, on the other hand, who is now living in Edmonton, tells me he's coming out here with his dad this week to get a few lungfuls of fresh air, because even after living in the city since September he's not become accustomed to the "smell" of it. (He actually has no sense of smell; he "tastes" what the rest of us smell.)

Woke up yesterday morning to the sound of the lawn being mowed ... a summer sound if ever there was one. Felt as if I was living a life of luxury, to lie abed while the household's early riser was out there working. Although I suspect that riding around on the lawnmower is a rest, for him, compared to the other work he does.

And yes I am thinking of my "moms" today. My little grandmom, gone more than a year now, and my mom, gone almost seven. If you've still got your mom and your grandma in your life, spoil them rotten today.

Thursday, May 10, 2012

Sights of Saskatoon

I will never believe this little baby is 14. Never!!

Cathy, left, after the show with her daughter Emma and her mom Elaine

The city of Saskatoon has prettified its streets by such scenes as this: Joni Mitchell, who calls the city her hometown,  with a view of city bridges behind. I took this picture though the window of Cathy's car on a rainy day.

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

Sights of Toronto

With false captions for those who find my blog somewhat ... too ... dull ...
Does this help?
The mall across from my hotel; there was a bomb scare there the day before I arrived
A pair of lesbian transvestites I ran into at the mall

When you're eating your meals alone, they should at least look good. Supper: grilled vegetable sandwich w/ sweet potato fries. 
A trapeze act hired to entertain me in my hotel room; they had a real workout. Bet they were sore for days.

My Spiderwoman capabilities allowed me to scale the outside walls of the hotel and enter rooms whose occupants had left their purchases behind while they went sightseeing. This way I don't have to do all my *shopping* at the mall.

Tuesday, May 8, 2012


Sign that our cleaning gal has been here

Home, at last! Only six days away but it felt like a long time.
And the sun is shining. There were tinges of green in the trees outside Saskatoon, but they became fewer as I drew closer to Wadena. However, the frogs are still having a heyday and if the sun keeps it up today, it won't be long till we're bathed in the kelly green of brand new poplar and willow leaves.
I've been outside in my bright green housecoat —thankyou Joanie!— pulling grass and weeds from the flowerbed and flowerpots, spotting new growth in the old flowerbed (so many plants to be moved yet), and thinking I'd like to spend the entire day outside.
Might just let myself do it, too.

Sunday, May 6, 2012

Rosebud Mountain

The "mountain" above looks close, but it is actually a mile away from where I stood on the road to take this picture. Last spring the municipality (I assume) decided to store gravel in an unused farmyard; so there it is. Rosebud is the name of the area in the countryside where we live.

Not far from the gravel pile is a country hall that has been used for many years for dances and parties. Sometimes when I'm sitting up reading late on weekends the deep drone of the bass is audible from across the field between the hall and our place. For only a moment there is a sense of "missing all the fun," but it is just old habit. You couldn't drag me out of my cosy bed to that noisy hall; not with a herd of wild horses. I know exactly what I'm missing: nothing. Or put another way: been there, done that, got the Tshirt.

The flight to Saskatoon was uneventful yesterday but for a small boy, too young to make intelligible words yet, who peered over the back of his seat ahead of my row and entertained. The two ladies beside me laughed and played with him -- "Boo!" --  and I went back to my reading until he'd holler at me in his garbled language to Pay Attention! I wasn't to be allowed to wriggle out of it that easily. Smiling toddlers; gotta love 'em. Or else.

There's been heavy rainfall throughout the night and it's still windy and wet out there. Cathy and I will attend her daughter Emma's musical theatre performance this afternoon -- I've never seen her onstage so this is a long-overdue event for me -- and tomorrow I'll head down the highway home.

Scott, when we spoke on the phone while I was away in March, insisted on putting the receiver to little Ducky's ear so that I could speak to him. The dog reacted by pawing at it. This trip, when Scott did the same thing and I said a few words to the dog (not my idea, I'll have you know; too silly, but I obliged), he licked the receiver. Awww.......

Saturday, May 5, 2012

Lone Spruce

Old Barn, Lone Tree

That's it then, for Hog Town. A hearty brunch with a work colleague, a stroll out in the sunshine, and here I am, packing up for the trip to the airport, where I'll spend yet more time people-watching before we take to the air in four hours.

I understand I may need my jacket when getting off the plane in Saskatoon. Hard to believe at this moment, when it's hot and I'm wishing I had a fan in my hand.

Friday, May 4, 2012

Doc Makes It To The River

Last year Doc MacLean stopped at the little Anglican church in Wadena as part of his tour across Canada. I got this little video but until now YouTube wouldn't allow me to upload anything longer than about 20 seconds. Suddenly I'm no longer persona non grata. I've got privileges! Woo hoo!"

I'm a big like-er of Doc's songs and always yodel alongside his "sultry tones." Yodelling works for me because I rarely remember lyrics. As a matter of fact, I have no clue what most songs are about. Doc puts a lot of effort into his storytelling so this might be disappointing to him, but what can I do? It's the way I listen to music.

Speaking of listening to music, after Maggie and John left last night (I'd given them tea and coffee in my room) I figured I'd better go down and eat something. Not that I was hungry, but I didn't want to be caught in my room unable to sleep because I hadn't eaten enough. And no piano player! He only plays Monday to Wednesday nights in the lounge. Guess I should have seized the day, the night before!

Looks like it's shaping up to be a hot day. At least, that's how it feels in here.

Thursday, May 3, 2012

Ravine in Spring

How things look back home
Scott called early this morning and mentioned that at home, it had frozen during the night.

Here the tulips are over a foot tall, and blooming! The grass is green ... the birdies sing ... and everything!

Had a fine visit this evening with my Katimavik friend Maggie, whom I hadn't seen for some 30 or more years. It was only two hours of chatting but she and her husband had driven an hour-and-a-half after work to get here, and had yet to make their way home through pouring rain and then they work tomorrow morning. Within a very short time I thought what a shame Scott wasn't here, as the two men would have had a lot in common. We managed to have some good laughs and solve the world's problems and I have decided to assume we'll get to spend another evening sorting things out before 30 more years pass. (It's my head; I can dream if I want to.)

It is midnight, time for this tired gal to hit the hay. Will have more time to ramble another day. Perhaps tomorrow evening, when I'm sitting in this hotel room by my lonesome, with my head near to exploding with all the new information I'm taking in for work. With my luck tonight I'll be practising my new database skills instead of getting a good sleep. Can't help it; my brain functions like a Nazi sometimes.

Wednesday, May 2, 2012


Taken above my driveway 

And I was excited to see those buds, believe me!
Now here I am in Toronto, where the first thing I noticed was that THE LEAVES ARE OUT!
What a treat to see that. And the lilacs are starting to bloom! Back home ... well, you've seen: buds only.

It was one in the morning before I managed to fall asleep in Saskatoon, and then the alarm went at 4 a.m. and I was up, drinking coffee, eating Cathy's delicious banana chocolate chip muffins, and being driven to the airport by my sainted friend who got out of bed at 4:30 rather than make me take a cab. Thank you again, Cathy. You really go beyond the call of friendship duty. I owe ya bigtime.

The early departure was so that I could take a direct three-hour flight rather than fly west to Calgary and then east again. I was fortunate enough to sit with two lovely ladies (three blonds in a row, were we) whose conversation made the trip seem short and sweet. One of them (Hi Andrea!) even offered to drop me off here at the hotel on her way home, and then was kind enough to wait for me till my luggage became available, when she could have jaunted off right away. I swear, when it comes to the very decent and kind people I meet, I am one of the luckiest women in the world.

It was just past noon when I got checked in and up to my room, unpacked and settled in, and looked in the mirror. Hoo boy. Obviously very tired. However I didn't dare take a nap for fear of missing my tea-time appointment with Barbara and Deb (see The Middle Ages blog; link's in the list of Canadian webpages down below), so I took a nice long shower to perk me up and then headed across the street to the mall, where I walked around for an hour until it was time to meet. This was my first in-person meeting with internet friends, and it was no disappointment. These two gals were so easy to talk to it was as if we'd known each other for a hundred years, and by the time we parted ways, I hated to let them go. I got what looks to be a gorgeous picture of the two of them, but it'll have to wait till I get home before you get to see it. Pretty sure Barbara's camera is toast, due to the photo she took with me in it. (I should've warned you, B.)

Back at the hotel I took a stroll through the building to see how late the restaurant is open and find some snacks to keep in my room. My plan was to get to bed early, catch up on the sleep I missed last night, and be perky for tomorrow's learning curve. But someone was playing the piano in the lounge, and I am oh so tempted to go down there and listen to him while eating something. Except that I'm not hungry. Guess I could drink. But not on a mostly empty stomach. Hm. We'll see. Meanwhile sitting here with Scott's laptop is perfectly restful and relaxing. The only thing I'd enjoy more is if he was here with me.

Boy is the traffic outside my fourth-floor window ever loud! With luck it'll make white noise that'll help me sleep like a baby tonight.

There is a lot to see and do in this city, but it's unlikely I'll avail myself of any of the tourist attractions: Casa Loma, which would be fascinating to see, and the Royal Ontario Museum ... and that's only two of many. I've only got Friday evening free, and a couple hours Saturday afternoon before flying back to Saskatoon, and it might be wise to leave those spots open for now just in case this old girl actually needs to rest at some point.

Country mouse in the city, that's me.

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

My Pet Moose

We guess this little darlin is a year-old female. During yesterday's walk was the third time I've come upon her in the past few days. She stood looking back at me for quite awhile before deciding she should hide (sorry about the wind; honestly it is the wind, not my breathing):

Thanks to Joanne, I've remembered that today Mom would've phoned her and given the annual spiel:

Hooray Hooray
It's the First of May
Outdoor screwing
Starts today!

And on that note I'll leave you for now, as I've got to spend the morning doing laundry, packing, and preparing to drive to Saskatoon, where I'll spend the night at Cathy's and catch the plane to Toronto at 6 a.m. You may have to live without my wondrous words for an entire week, you poor things! Unless I've the inclination to get on the laptop in the hotel room in the evenings. We shall see.

From A Year With Rumi: Daily Readings by Coleman Bark:

The way you make love
is the way God will be with you.

*This is Rumi's variation on the Golden Rule.

Food for thought, isn't it?