Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Coffee and Croissant

Emil's ears still feel "plugged," though his actual hearing is unaffected.
They have felt this way since October 2011.
They have been cleaned by doctors. He has visited an ear/nose/throat specialist. He's seen a dentist. He's seen a medical intuitive. He's had therapeutic massage (not enough yet). And today we were going to head off to Yorkton to see an acupuncturist.
But I decided that first, he should visit a relatively new clinic in town that offers shiatsu. That's acupuncture without the needles, isn't it?
This morning I phoned to cancel today's appointment in Yorkton, and that was lucky because it was for tomorrow anyway. I believed neither Emil nor Scott completely, mind you, when they both insisted I'd told them the appointment was today instead of tomorrow. On the calendar, I had it written into the square for Wednesday the 21st— last week. Go figure.

Emil was looking forward to spending the day together so I picked him up after lunch, even though his appointment for shiatsu isn't till Thursday afternoon. We stopped in at the clinic to do a quick "reconnaissance" and then picked our way over the icy sidewalk to the bakery a couple doors down.

I was going to have some dainty little delicacy with my coffee, but when Emil chose the cream-filled croissant, I thought What the Hell.  You only live once that I'm sure of.

Sunday, November 25, 2012

Mover and Shaker

Go, Pat!
It's good to see you receiving some recognition for your efforts.
Why, I bet if asked, you could pull out a long list of awards for past work as an organizer in a variety of areas. A mover and shaker; that's what you are.

Friday, November 23, 2012

Pete's Tipi

Pete's tipi near Whitehorse, Yukon — back in the day
Now I peruse Pete's tipi (among other collected papers) while brushing my teeth in the hallway outside the bathroom 
There is lots to look at.

Thursday, November 22, 2012

Canadian Encyclopedia New Video

Busy working at my desk ... this is all you get from me for now.
Do you like it?

Use the encyclopedia. It's full of good things.

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Planet Hunters

Photo from the CBC website

There aren't many things on TV that make me sit up and go, in an awed voice, "Wow." 
Not anymore. 
But last week's show on the CBC series The Nature of Things did it.
It was called "Planet Hunters" and is about what scientists and astronomers are discovering in outer space with the Kepler telescope. 
It blew my frigging mind. 

There is water out there. There are probably planets like earth, capable of sustaining life. They think it's only a matter of months before they find them.

I've always thought it only made sense that there would be other life forms in a universe that is seemingly endless, and said that one thing I'd like to see before I die is that discovery.

It looks like my wish is coming true. 

Watch it online: CLICK HERE.

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Wildlife Filmographer. Not.

This cow moose was waiting patiently north of the driveway for me to walk with her. (A girl can dream.)
Now I know: when the dog is barking, it's not at moose or deer. It's likely at coyotes.
Both dogs went running to see what this was, but neither of them made a sound. I guess they figured out it wasn't the livestock they're accustomed to.
You will hate me because the camera gets all shook up, but I walked forward to see if I could get a better video. I promise next time I'll stand still:

The two of them made a wide half-mile arc through the field to go around me, and I turned and walked south, my usual route this fall. Someone was in the field on a quad, taking up electric fence, so the moose turned back toward the road and crossed it ahead of me.

They're not as close as they look. I zoomed in with the camera.

Monday, November 19, 2012

French Vanilla Coffee Creamer

Rick came over one evening and he and Scott polished off the homemade kahlua by using it in their paralyzers. Emil sat on the couch listening to them chat, but didn't want to miss anything and rubbernecked till he fell asleep. Me, I got ready for bed early and climbed under the covers in the dark, lulled into NeverNeverLand by the sound of men's voices in the other room.

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My niece Cara passed on a collection of recipes she found at Deliciously Organic for home-made coffee creamers, which I always call "plastic." Not the home-made ones, of course, but the commercial stuff, International Delight.

I made the following one, using whipping cream for the milk and cream called for, and vanilla extract instead of the bean. Fast, easy, and delicious; no need to strain when you use vanilla extract, unless you do what I did and forget to turn the stove off for the first five minutes of "steeping" :

French Vanilla

1 cup whole milk
1 cup heavy cream
4 tablespoons maple syrup
1 vanilla bean

Whisk together milk, cream and maple syrup in a medium saucepan over medium heat. Cut vanilla bean in half, and scrape out seeds. Add seeds and vanilla bean to milk mixture. Turn off heat, cover the pot and steep for 30 minutes. After mixture has steeped, strain through a fine mesh sieve, pour into a glass bottle and store in the refrigerator. (If you don’t have a vanilla bean on hand, simply replace it with 1 tablespoon of vanilla extract.)

Sunday, November 18, 2012

The Lengths to Which Catlovers Will Go

A sister-in-law of the former owners of Golden Grain Farm visits relatives around here several times a year. She always brings out food for our cats: several brands of dry kibble, tinned food, and plastic bags of frozen leftovers (labelled "For Dogs" or "For Cats") from her own kitchen table.

Thank you, Stella! All owners of barn-cat colonies should have a fairy godmother like you.

Saturday, November 17, 2012


And you'll hear no complaints from me. I've grown to love winter along with every other season. As long as I know how to dress for warmth—and I do. Don't ask how I survived my teen years wearing bomber jackets, jeans, no tuque, no ski pants out in the frigid cold. D'uh. It's no wonder I hated winter back then. I was frozen.

Once again the day is flying by, and what have I done? Still have to get out for my walk.

• read for an hour before getting out of bed; a fictional look at the life of an immigrant to Toronto when the city was being built, and a present-day Toronto family's bereavement and historical discovery.
"To belong to a place, one must hear the homecoming of birds: they suggest, in their innate wisdom, that wherever they alight is a place worth being in." -Consolation, by Michael Redhill
• wash the dishes, dry the dishes, put the dishes away
• make more dirty dishes: poach eggs for breakfast, toast up some buns, throw together a beef stew for supper; there was half a can of stale beer on Scott's dresser so I threw that in. Hope it's a stew-thing.
• talk to Shelly on the phone
• run my head under the sink in the bathroom because my hair's sticking up in every direction and a car's just driven into the yard
• run outside to accept delivery of pet food from a lady who loves cats, and share a quick howdy-do because she and her husband have no time to come in for coffee

wash the blender I bought yesterday and make my fruit/veggie/buttermilk smoothie; after 6 months of virtually daily use, Mom's (Dad sent it home with me after she died; "What am I going to do with it?" he said. He also gave me her popcorn popper) had been leaking black sludge from the bottom of the blade carriage. Messy, and also, what the hell is that? My smoothies are the loveliest green.
• tackle the printer I bought yesterday. I don't have the patience for plugging in wires and have a tendency to put it off in hopes that Scott will do it, assuming he'll do it in half the time and with a quarter of the cursing. But of course I can do it, and so I shall, because it's good to be reminded.
• slip into the old ski pants and get outside. It's a gorgeous day! And even on the ugliest, coldest, windiest, meanest of days, when the most I can manage is a walk to the end of the driveway before the weather drives me back, the outdoors is a spirit filler. By the way, since incorporating frequent brisk walks as prescribed by a cardiologist for prevention of heart troubles—that was in June 2011— 12 lbs seems to have melted off me. You know that saying, "A year from now, you'll wish you had started today" – well, I can say I'm glad I started a year ago and kept it up. And if I can do it, anyone can.

Friday, November 16, 2012

Neil Young Concert Report: In Brief

Emil and I drove to Saskatoon on Tuesday to meet up with his dad so the two of them could attend the Neil Young concert that night. As soon as we arrived at the hotel we all walked over to the bar for a visit with Cynthia (who was Emil's special needs teacher while he attended high school) and her husband John.

John, it looks like Emil was trying to move in on your girl ....

Next day's report from Emil:

"The concert was good. Neil Young looks like a grandpa now."

Wednesday, November 14, 2012


The Orangery at Versailles, from

Marilyn at Nag on the Lake, that collection of wonderful stuff she finds on the internet, has posted a fascinating clip about the history of the construction of the French palace of Versailles.

While you're at Marilyn's webpage, make sure to check out the Satanic Toaster.

And there is much, oh so much more!

And I, my little dears, am taking some time off from computering. See you back here in a day or two.

Monday, November 12, 2012

Moose Country

From the kitchen window I saw two adult and two young moose trot single file past that opening in the buildings. Cathy could hear me squeal all the way to Saskatoon! Actually I think I gave Emil a bit of a scare till he realized I was freaking-out thrilled and not freaking-out freaked out.

Sunday, November 11, 2012

Saturday, November 10, 2012

Emil, Straightfaced as Ever

They taste way better than they look.

My uncle and aunt, Neil and Rose, drove into the snowy yard this afternoon and visited at the kitchen table for a couple hours. We drank coffee and nibbled on chocolate chip cookies.

Tonight Emil and I were at the table finishing up a supper of spaghetti, sauce and garlic toast (and fried liver for him and Scott; don’t look at me; I had nothing to do with it).

Emil: “Uncle Neil said ‘Guess I better have a banana.’ "

Me: “And so he had one.”

Emil: “Yeah. And did you know that monkeys like to eat bananas?”

Friday, November 9, 2012

Smalltown Café, Farming in the Forties, and Breast Cancer

Where we lunched on mainstreet Wadena
The new owners put on a noon smorg several times a week, and Scott filled his plate twice, then spooned up a bowl of butterscotch pudding before finishing off my toasted denver sandwich. The boy is an eating machine. I rarely go up for the smorg; I don't eat enough to make it worth my while. Besides, you can't go wrong with a denver sandwich. Can you?

Actually you can. I once ordered one in a restaurant while travelling, and there was so much short, coarse black hair in it that I sent it back and left the place with a turned stomach.

Perhaps it was the same place Doc and Morgan had such a horrid experience in.

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At the bottom of the page is a list of some of my favourite websites. Under each section, the most recently updated title usually rises to the top.

A couple examples:

You can read excerpts from Bill Nevard's 1940 journal, here • Nevard Blog.

Then there's my buddy Kathy down in the Minneapolis area, who has just gone nine rounds with breast cancer. She's recently home with perky new boobs, or "foobs," as she calls them. She's shared the whole shit show with her readers, laughing (and cringing) all the way, at • Kitchen Blogic.
If you know someone who's been diagnosed with breast cancer, Kathy offers some advice for helping your friend get through the experience. There are some things you shouldn't say or do, and some you should. Kathy tells you which is which.

Thursday, November 8, 2012


Something has made a hole in an old granary in our yard where the boys are storing oats.
Scott doesn't see anything from up there.

Bruce takes a look after walking around back with a rifle; no luck.

The site stats box on this page is there to show me what other webpages readers come from, and what they are seaching for in Google, if anything. I never know what I'm going to see there. Sometimes it's entertaining. I find good blogs occasionally, which is a pleasant reward. Here are some of the recent search terms that brought people to Golden Grain Farm:

Someone from Sherwood Park ended up here while searching for "Saskatchewan ladies in gopher suits." Wow! I might just have to look that one up, myself.

Someone else arrived from Edmonton while searching for "Texas mickey of kahlua."

And by far the most common search term that brings readers is "whole wheat perogies."

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Postcard Unstamped

My great-grandfather as a young man
This is a postcard in my possession.
Here's the back of it:

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

Shadow House Concerts Presents ...

Last night was my sister Karen's first house concert as a host; thus we were off to Margo for the evening. It was a small crowd that turned up so it wasn't a big moneymaker for Matthew (his website:, but Margo was a reasonable overnight stop for him en route from Moose Jaw to his engagement in Dauphin tonight, and he wasn't complaining.  Knowing Karen, she fed him up real good and spoiled him rotten. If I was a travelling musician, my sister's place is where I'd want to be staying.

Monday, November 5, 2012

Happy Birthday, Kiddo

Lord love a duck, but I am missing this kid lately.

He was the sweetest little boy that ever there was. Always cuddly and affectionate and kind and sensitive. Nowadays he plays the surly&aloof game, which may be perfectly normal for young men of his age, but I know what he's made of. Can't fool me.

First page in Everett's baby book. Apparently it took me three months to have time to write!

Sunday, November 4, 2012

Tip for Traveler's Stomach

Barbara and Deb
These two bosom buddies joined the blogging world with a bang about two years ago and have never looked back. I discovered their first entry when Deb's husband posted a link on his Facebook page, and because of their open-hearted warmth and graciousness I've never missed a posting since. When I went to Toronto in May, they made the trek across the city to have coffee with me in an extremely busy mall near the hotel I stayed in. From the very first moment it felt like I'd known them forever. They are both real sweetie-pies, right to the bone.

Barbara and her husband just returned from a trip to Paris and she's shared the experience over several entries on the gals' blog, The Middle Ages. She's also provided a little tip that the travellers among you might be glad to have:

"Traveler’s stomach can get you anywhere, even in Paris. We didn’t suffer from it, but Stefanie has. This could be due to anything from food poisoning to the different bacteria in the water and food to germs from the plane trip over. Buy digestible Peppermint Oil at a health food store and take it twice a day according to instructions (or if you feel unwell). It is absolutely miraculous—if you are a bit nauseous, I swear you will feel better in about 10 minutes!"


Back home on the farm, we've got a couple inches of snow on the ground and the forecast is for freezing rain tomorrow. The weather seems mild now; water was coming off the roof of the house yesterday.

I've been busy working this weekend, banking hours against my trip to Saskatoon next week when I take Emil to meet his dad for the Neil Young concert they're going to. Last night (while washing roma tomatoes from Brendalyn's garden, picked by my sis Karen: thank you, ladies; the aroma of salsa is perfuming the air as we speak), stood at the countertop slicing and chopping, I was listening to Randy Bachman's CBC radio show Vinyl Tap. He said, "If you want to meet a performer, go to the venue in the afternoon when they're doing soundcheck; there's no security there at that time to keep you away." I thought Oh Randy, don't tell me that! It's not that I want to meet Neil Young, but what a thrill it would be for Emil, and if I was a nice, selfless mother ... but I'm not, so there you go.

I'm working again this afternoon but may make chocolate-chip bran muffins too; got a hankerin' for them and they stand in well for breakfast, lunch and snacks when I'm here alone during the day.

Saturday, November 3, 2012


Interior My Dining Room, by Wassily Kandinsky, 1908
This reminds me of a house I lived in once. Its colours won me over the moment I walked into it, and an offer to purchase was made. We lived there for seven years. I filled that house with so much stuff that it looked much like this: warm, cosy, rich.

These are still the colours I am most drawn to. Unfortunately, walls in this colour family soon begin to tire me. It's not long before I crave a change to something that doesn't jump out quite so much, something lighter. So now when I choose paint, I am careful to pick a colour that I won't have to change before a good many years. Something that doesn't get in my face.

Thursday, November 1, 2012

Passwords and Pasta

Had no picture for you today, had to use Photobooth on my iMac 5 minutes ago

Almost 10 o'clock and I am heading off to bed shortly, to read a while.

What have I got for you today?

Two things:

You know when they advise you to use complicated passwords for your internet accounts, with symbols and numbers mixed in with letters? I've never bothered. I thought "Who could guess what word I'm using?" and besides, if you're not supposed to write it down, and I choose something complicated, I'll never remember.

Well d'uh, this never occurred to me, but according to Norah Young of CBC Radio's show Spark, computer hackers don't guess. They use a computer program that runs through and tries every word in the dictionary until it comes to your password. Ahhhhh!

I never thought of that (and why don't they ever explain the reasoning behind what they tell you to do and not do? you know, so it makes sense. Some of us don't just do what we're told; apparently we're not that smart). Guess who changed her passwords into some fancy-dancy word combinations tonight.

And here's a new (to me) trick for keeping pasta from boiling over the sides of the pot. Thank you very much to Robyn at Dinosaurs Can't Eat Pizza for this:

“Do you know about putting a wooden spoon across the top of the pot to stop the water from boiling over? Someone told me about it (I don’t remember who), and it works like a charm.”

I'm going to try it next time I make spaghetti, which I will when Emil's here next week. He looks longingly around the kitchen, hoping I'll make something for supper, and I say "Got any ideas?" and he always says "Spaghetti or macaroni would be good."

He is staying at Aylesbury House, the group home, this weekend, but coming with me to a house concert at Karen's on Monday evening and then spending the night here, and the next night too because his household is driving to Regina for an overnighter to do some shopping. He didn't want to go. "I've already got my trip to see Neil Young's concert in Saskatoon on the 14th," he said. Definitely his mother's son, that one. You know, conserving his energy.