Sunday, September 30, 2012

Yielding to part of a convoy of combines coming along the correction line.
 It has been extremely dry and dusty.

The joke is that now we've done all these big jobs to hold back the water, next the well will dry up.
Heh heh.

Saturday, September 29, 2012

Last Flowers of the Season ... Surely

Helen's Flowers

Warm, even hot, days. Still I thought I'd best get out there and take the last bouquets of the year.

Sweetpeas and Lupins
Today I took pity on those left in the garden, and watered them. Watering flowers at the end of September -- it's just not done! But it seemed cruel to leave them thirsty, even if they are going to freeze black one of these nights.


Friday, September 28, 2012

While On the Road

A bald eagle rests in a field of stubble, and I pull over to snap a photo of it. Sightings of bald eagles and moose are not rare in this area anymore, but here in the parkland their appearance is still worthy of mention.

More frequently spotted (I swerve to avoid them while walking) at this time of year are these:

I nudge garter snakes with the tip of my shoe and tell them to get off the road, but they only curl up and stay put.
Salamanders I tell the dogs not to bother. 
The gravel road is covered with these little guys: woolly caterpillars looking for warm winter resting-places.
These are out in force too, but I don't know what beasts they will become.
Or these. But I am curious and will do some research.

Thursday, September 27, 2012

Day of the Dig

Get a roast into the oven first thing.

It begins.
Meanwhile, back in the house...
Front step out of the way, weeping tile & insulation unloaded.

Cut styrofoam insulation to fit.

Need to get the leaf into the table.
Weeping tile ready & waitin.

Laying down the weeping tile.

Back of house.
Yer basic veggies.

Filling hole.
Wow he manoeuvres close to that window.

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Weeping Tile

The next step in the problem-solving for this disaster we call a house: the front step is moved away so the big machine can dig all around the foundation today. Weeping tile will then be laid in, and rock.

My part? Making lunch for several men, and then supper. Right now I'm trying not to think about all the dishes. Or I could always go out there and wield a shovel with the rest of 'em. Think I'm better off staying in the kitchen; at least I won't get a migraine from that.

It's the second beautiful day in a row ... and I mean beautiful. Like, no wind, and warm. Hard-to-stay-in-the-house beautiful.

Scott is on the run. He's supervising the work outside, fielding calls from buyers interested in the grain in the bins, and then as always there are clients calling with requests for him to go do estimates for construction work, or wondering when he will get to their place or get their jobs done, and so on. I would be stressed to the max if I was in his shoes.

Perhaps he is stressed to the max. He woke me up last night, screaming with pain, when a charley horse knotted up his leg. Oy.

Off I go to wash lovely potatoes from family friend Sylvia's garden. Thank goodness people always plant too much! My sister Karen has a big box of roma tomatoes for me, so Scott will have his winter supply of homemade salsa after all. His sister gave us a bag of green peppers. We've been given zucchini and beets and carrots. See? I don't need to plant veggies. People are generous and we are very grateful.

Note to Aunt Reta: 
Received your card and cheque for flowers, thank you kindly. Will try to keep the blog up better, knowing that you are checking for new entries every day.

Saturday, September 22, 2012

Stubblejumpin' Time o' Year

The sun is shining on the stubble (one of my favourite colours but this pic doesn't show its brightness) and I'm just returned from a walk across the field under all its sunny gloriousness. Gloriosity. Glory-illiance. Whatever. It's nice out. Oh I wore a heavy plaid jacket and had to take it off and put it back on a hundred times when the cold wind would come up and bite, but still ... as fall days go, this one is turning out to be a treat. Not shorts weather, but close enough.

Oh, am I boring you? So sorry. I should talk about how my husband is drinking, chasing women, and beating me when he rolls in with a hangover the next morning — something a little more dramatic — but since none of that is happening, I can't. Or maybe I should tell you about the life-threatening disease I've just found out I have? Can't, healthy like horse. Or maybe how sick I am of doing all the dishes by hand and by myself -- which would be true -- but no less boring for you. Besides if I put on good music I can actually enjoy the time spent with my hands in the sink. If I don't pressure myself to hurry up and finish, it's relaxing and pleasant.

Sigh. It's not that I don't have my frustrations, believe me; or that I don't think folks of a certain political or religious bent aren't complete nutbars; there are disappointments in my life, of course, and people are usually the cause of them, and I do talk with my close friends about them, get things off my chest that way.

But damn, it's turned into a gorgeous day out there and at the moment I'm just feeling pretty darn lucky.

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Till Next Time

Scott with his son Gunnar and Gunnar's girlfriend Melissa
Scott is shy and I may be asked to take this down, so have a gander while you can! I know some of you are his relatives and would like to see a pic of him now and then.

The kids left late this afternoon and Scott went directly out to the field to help with the combining and grain hauling. It's nearly 10 now and surely going to freeze tonight so he'll be in soon.

Tomorrow's a walking day so it had better warm up.

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Extra Dog

Had extra company for the walk today. Gunnar's dog Tank, the English bulldog, made it the first 40 minutes before turning into our driveway as I passed it in order to continue on my merry way with the usual companions. He seemed to enjoy the space and freedom outside the city but was tuckered out and chose not to proceed with the pack.

Glad I went around noon when the sun was shining and there was some heat, because as the afternoon ended a wind came up and I've been unable to get warm. The thermometer claims it's 72F in here but I don't believe it. Might have to climb into bed just to conserve body heat!

It doesn't help to be sat on my butt all afternoon to work. I put a heating pad, set to low, on my lap. I know, it's ridiculous. I do it on hot summer days too; our house remains cool. I think it's just me — have a hot drink, all the extra clothes and the heating pad come off instantly; a cool one, and I have to add layers.

Would be nice to maintain an even, comfortable body temperature. Maybe if I started taking ginseng capsules or something?

Monday, September 17, 2012

The Hard Life of a Holidayer

Holidaying is hard work. 

Gunnar, our eldest boy (Scott's son), arrived from Calgary around suppertime yesterday with his girlfriend Melissa.

They didn't sleep all afternoon; just a catnap.

I was busy chatting with my server's tech support guy because, as seems to happen so often with computers, all of a sudden everything goes to the dogs and you wonder why and it takes a while to figure out the fix. I  had to call twice and bet it wasted two hours of my working day. So here it is, almost 10 p.m., and I've just finished my work for the night.

Scott and Co. took supper to his grandma in Kelvington and I stayed here to make up my hours. Next: whip through the kitchen so I don't wake to a mess in the morning. And when they get back, I'm betting it will be movie time.

I'm told that at 6:30 this morning there was heavy frost on the ground. By the time I dragged my sorry ass out of bed around two hours later, none of it was visible. Most of my flowers still look perky. But it's been cold out there. I went and fed the cats, and that was the extent of outdoorsing, for me.

Tomorrow, a three-mile walk.

Sunday, September 16, 2012

What's Goin' On

I was walking here when I heard a moose grunting in the bush. 
Went to see my friend Joanne on Wed evening to close up her house, and noticed a bird had been too hoity toity to build inSIDE the birdhouse.
Joanne dropped off apples at her granddaughter's daycare; such a cute name for a daycare, isn't it? It's in Colonsay, Sask
We are down to four kittens now.
Tonight it's really, really cold. Supposed to freeze. I collected flower seeds and harvested my herbs.

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

September Garden

What?! It's today already?!
And there's a frost warning for tomorrow night. Guess who will be out collecting flower seeds and herbs in the afternoon.
Go ahead, be amazed at the sight of lupins in bloom in September. I know, it's peculiar, isn't it? And Mom's roses are blooming too. One last blast, I suppose, before the frigid cold of winter in Saskatchewan.

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Yonder She Blows

"The wind is blowing the crops away," says my Man on the Move.

6:54 p.m.
My sister Karen stopped in today for tea and to take some daylilies for her new flowerbed. I took pictures but she threatened my life if I should put one on my blog. Mean, isn't she?

Sunday, September 9, 2012

What Have You Done for Your Inner Child Today?

This is Birdie. She is one of last year's brood of barn cats, and this spring she had two kittens that look just like her (Cara and Clementine; note my alphabetical geneology carefully adhered to).

My farm chores consist of feeding and watering one dog and umpteen cats.

Watching the playful antics of kittens delights my inner child.

What delights yours?

Saturday, September 8, 2012

Stick to Your Ribs

Harvest time around here means those working in the field have one thing on their minds: getting the crop off while they still can. It's a race against rain, frost, snow, and the inevitable machinery breakdowns, and one of the results, if you aren't fortunate enough to have someone cooking for you or aren't organized enough to do it yourself, is that you eat on the run, poorly, if at all before you're falling into bed at night.

Scott eats cold leftovers from the fridge all the time as he makes a pass through the kitchen on his way here or there. I try to help him out by bringing a lot of meat in from the deep freeze to thaw and then cooking it up for supper, which he often doesn't eat till 9.

The other day I brought in something labeled "chuck rib" but, not knowing just what to do with it, I threw it together as the recipe above. I usually like the look of this local columnist's recipes (not to mention his storytelling) and have tried several, but rarely are the results palatable to me when they reach the table. This ribs and lentils one I had made before though and liked (only could get orange lentils in town; if you try it and that's what you use, cut the amount in half or you'll have no liquid in your stew at the end).

When the meat went into the roaster, it filled it, end to end.
After an hour, I was shocked to discover it had shrunk almost in half:

I left the ribs for Scott because frankly I can live without most red meats (unless they're prepared on the barbecue or marinated or otherwise doctored up in some way, I'm not crazy about the flavour; around here we cook a lot of beef roasts because Scott raises organic cattle; but let's just say he eats a lot of it); and the veggies and lentils were delish.


We've given away three kittens and one mother cat so far. If you need some mousers, call me! We have all kinds, all sizes.


Scott's dad Ivan had a pacemaker "installed" on Thursday and is spending a couple days in Kelvington Hospital while they monitor his medications. Scott came in off the field, wolfed down leftovers, cleaned up, picked up his brother and went to visit tonight.


I spent the entire afternoon sleeping off a migraine. Four hours in the bedroom, and two out on the swing under shady trees. Feeling fine now, but with residual fatigue. My friend Cathy, who is a massage therapist, advised me to stop carrying heavy water pails to my flowers because it was exascerbating the knots in my upper back and neck that cause these migraines. So I've stopped doing that in the garden, but haven't completely figured out how to avoid the lifting when it comes to water for the house. We get our cooking water and drinking water in 10-litre jugs and when I'm lugging them to the house I carry one in each hand. That's what I did yesterday with four of them, but paid for it today. And I have to lift them to the countertop when they're full, too. Ah well ... I'll be more careful from now on, and try carrying/lifting only one at a time, and with both hands. I hope that helps. It will mean yet more trips between vehicle and house on grocery days, but if it makes a difference then it's worth it.

Today was a gorgeous day and I hated to "waste" it asleep. Emil spent the entire afternoon outside, either walking around the yard and back and forth down the driveway, or sitting in the shade.

Friday, September 7, 2012

How's That for Apples?

Our crabapple trees (we have two) didn't produce much this year. One has fruit as tiny as cherries, and the other yielded very little. So off we went last weekend, Luanne and I, to pick crabapples at the inlaws' place. You see a couple tomatoes there; they also come from my mother-in-law's garden, and I threw them in with the crabs in hopes that the apples might ripen more. I think it's actually the other way around though, isn't it.

Smoothie-girl that I have become, I am coring all these little apples and freezing the resulting tiny wedges in baggies. There are four large bowlfuls to get through, and I'm not pushing myself. A few cups here, a few cups there. Meanwhile the bowls sit expectantly on the livingroom coffee table, the chair at the piano, and the chair in front of the picture window; they would fill the kitchen counter and that would drive me nuts. I'll get around to them. Eventually.

Readers originally from Margo may not have heard that we lost one of our schoolmates to heart attack a couple nights ago. Kim Kulcheski was in the same grade at school as my younger sister Karen, so only about 50 years old. It's sobering, of course, and one feels for his family.

Thursday, September 6, 2012

Happy Birthday to The Canadian Encyclopedia

sand sculpture at BC annual competitions

The Canadian Encyclopedia's birthday is today.
I've worked with the editorial team for 10 years already. Wow, the time has flown.

When I tell people about my job, I'm still surprised by how many -- Canadians, all -- are not aware of this incredible educational resource.

"You sell encyclopedias?" I've been asked.

No, no! Oh, once upon a time there were printed editions for sale, but now all the articles are free online, easily accessible. Do you have kids or grandkids in school, writing reports for their social studies class? Then the Canadian Encyclopedia is a website they want to use. Teachers love it.

Anything you want to know about Canadian culture, history, music, people ... on and on it goes ... look for it at the website and bookmark the page for future reference. It's

And here's the story: CLICK HERE.

Wednesday, September 5, 2012

Cool windy days are not to my liking but I walked anyway.  That was yesterday afternoon. Today the sun is trying valiantly to cut its way through the grey.

Joanne has managed to get her email working from the lodge in Canora so has sent a brief blog entry for her page, Out Margo Way. I hope she ends up closer so we don't have to change the name to Out Canora Way. Heh.

I've stopped to see her twice — once at the hospital, and once at the nursing home, where she's been settling in for several weeks. She is the spring chicken there. (BTW Joanne, I told Dad about your acquaintance saying she is Mr and Mrs Foste's daughter. He asked, Is her name Ann? Then he went to school with her.)

Speaking of Dad, he texted this morning that he's on his way to Osoyoos for a day of golfing. Ah the life o' Reilly that he leads as a retiree.

Tuesday, September 4, 2012

Labour Day Drive

On Monday, the Labour Day holiday, Emil and I decided to take a leisurely drive down some of the country roads near Golden Grain Farm.

We saw many old farmhouses like the one above, where no one lives anymore.

We saw this miniature replica of a one-room country school, where the real school once stood:

This old windmill, out of use for many years, would once have been like many other hardworking windmills providing electricity to individual farms:

We've had a couple of cold, windy days. Scott is finding it pretty chilly out on the swather. And me, for a change I'm happy to stay in at my desk, although I went for my walk today wearing a wool scarf on my head.

Monday, September 3, 2012

Long Weekend KaLUha

Ever since Cathy mentioned bringing back a texas-mickey-sized bottle of kahlua from the States, I've had a hankerin' for a Brown Cow. So in honour of Luanne's visit, I threw a batch of kahlua together (if you try it, cut the sugar in half, otherwise it's sickeningly sweet).

Then we only drank one each. However, it was a large one.

When Emil was at his dad's this summer, they went to a bookstore and Emil bought this:

And he likes to read a couple stories from it to all the girls.
Luanne had her turn:

How do you like that fine puffy quilt Shelly sent home with me? It took two large garbage bags to pack it. And it covers the couch perfectly.

Sunday, September 2, 2012

The Canada geese are flocking up for their southward travels.

Saturday, September 1, 2012


My friend Skip-to-my-Lu is on her way from Flin Flon, and I expect her little red wagon (she drives a bright red truck) to pull into my driveway in a couple hours. I've just gotten out of bed (11 a.m.), having been up before 7, drank a cup of coffee, faced the fact that my "cloudy" neck (as Virginia Woolf might have described the early symptoms of a migraine) wasn't going away on its own, downed a Gravol and an anti-inflammatory, and gone back to sleep.

I smacked what I assumed was a mosquito on my upper back last night, and got stung. While at Shelly's a wasp stung my shin when I unknowingly disturbed its nest, and the area swelled up, as did my ankle, and stayed that way for about three days. Last night I came into the house and took an antihistamine right away, in hopes that the same wouldn't happen to my hand.  It hasn't so far but I must remember not to scratch the spot, which seems to be what started the swelling last time.

And now ... with a freshly brewed coffee in one hand, deadheading clippers in the other, and my fluffy bright green housecoat on my back, I am going to the front yard to commune with the flowers. And will practise not smacking any insects unless I can see them and know for sure what they are.

Aunt Reta, I got your message and will give you a shout after my company has left, tomorrow or Monday.