Thursday, January 31, 2013

How To Treat Your Dog

The wind creates such wild patterns in the snow.

On the radio they're saying not to take your dog for even a 15-minute walk today, because the minus-40s wind may freeze their tender parts, like ears and noses.

I wonder if this can be true about farm dogs that are accustomed to living outdoors. I guess even they wisely seek shelter from the wind when there isn't some two-legged creature to accompany down the road.

In the cities, they are rescuing (i.e. taking, and then fining owners before they can get their pets back) dogs left out in people's yards for more than 15 minutes.

It makes sense that dogs living inside the house can't cope with this weather and shouldn't be left outside for any length of time.

But the outside dog? We let her into the porch on very cold nights, and turn the heater right down so it's not too warm in there, but the consequence still is that her fur starts falling out in clumps. The result is that she's less able to stay warm in the cold weather.

We seem to screw her up when we try to be kind.

A lot of what I hear on the radio is what I call "half" knowledge. It's half the story, told as if it's the whole story.

Jenna, the border collie that is some 12 years old, came with me yesterday afternoon. She is, as Scott says, "fat as a tick" and as hairy as a woolly mammoth:

Little Ducky the Deerfaced Chihuahua got to the end of the driveway and then hunkered down in the snow to keep his legs and belly warm, like wild deer do to conserve heat. I picked him up and carried him back to the house. Sucky Ducky.

Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Thirty Below

Our house is in the trees on the left.

My dogs and I will be walking to the end of the driveway and back, probably.
I'm ready to go: have spent an hour at the computer, eaten pancakes for breakfast, done the dishes, washed and dressed, made the dentist appointment I've been putting off, and now ... yonder the great outdoors for fresh air and sunlight. If it kills me.

Monday, January 28, 2013

Nose to Grindstone

Two more hours to work. Can't chat. But:
Beautiful soft grey-white walk earlier this afternoon.

Saturday, January 26, 2013

Young Fiz

Young Fiz
It's tiny, but I got such a kick out of it I have to put it here for you, Maggie ... maybe the only other person I know who watches Coronation Street and reads this blog from time to time.

Wasn't she cute?

Spotted it on one of the Corrie webpages, the Canadian one I think it was.
I haven't been watching the show much lately — who has time for TV? Not me. At least, not much.
There may be plenty of good shows (that is, if the frequency and repetitiveness of commercials didn't spoil them), but I don't want to sit there long enough to watch them.

I'd rather be reading.

Friday, January 25, 2013

Friday Off

A favourite corner of the living room

I am going from room to room, starting one thing, seeing another, picking something else up, and so on. At this rate I won't finish making the bed or getting dressed or checking my bank account for a recent deposit, or ... anything ... till this afternoon. I've left the bedroom half-together — went to the linen closet to exchange one wool blanket for another, saw an afghan Grandma made and brought it into the office, figured I'd check the morning mail, and here I still am! in my soft green housecoat ... but so much to do, never enough time! With patient attention I hope to feel otherwise about that someday. I refuse to live a life of rushing around. Yet I do it to myself anyway.

Breathe, Kathy, breathe ....

For a while there I was giving myself Fridays off.  A lovely leisurely day to bath, bake bread, go to town for Emil and get groceries for the coming week. I was living the life of luxury. Now I have some work that is time-sensitive and will probably need to be done (at least some of it will) on Fridays. So this is a "school day" after all. My schedule is always changing, it seems. When spring weather comes, I wonder how I'll manage to keep my nose to the grindstone indoors.

^~^ If you like the painting above, go have a look at Wendy Klein's gallery: CLICK HERE. Wish I had the wall space to bring home quite a few. Alas ... but she sells them as greeting cards too, which is so smart. They do give the recipient a lift.

Thursday, January 24, 2013

Venturing Out

Late Afternoon

It was a working day, and a cold one, but I girded up and went out anyway after my work was done. This is the first time this winter my fingers have come in stinging after my mitts were off just a few moments to take this picture from the back step. The birdfeeders needed refilling (lawdamighty dem boids kin eat) and the cats' water dish was buried under a deep mound of fresh snow and had to be shoveled out. Then they drank like it was the elixir of life.

Monday, January 21, 2013

Deep Freeze

To gaze through the window at this peaceful scene, you'd never guess that it was 31-below last night.

Friday, January 18, 2013

Why You Haven't Heard From Me All Week

I decided to rearrange my desk in order to stand when I work.

Now, instead of taking five-minute breaks to walk around between each hour at the computer, I have to sit down — and let me tell you, that is easier said than done when you constantly see something that needs to be done, or put away.

What it means is that after five hours of standing throughout the day, I've had enough. Standing at the sink to wash dishes or at the counter to chop vegetables for supper becomes a whole different ordeal; now I move the cutting board to the kitchen table. Getting out for a half-hour walk down the road is less of a pleasure. And so on.

Actually it's not half bad. You just have to figure out how to accommodate your complaining legs and the soles of your feet. Longer breaks between each hour of standing means my working day stretches out, but on the bright side: I'm not sitting on my ass all day. This has been my first week doing this and, because the setup isn't easily adjustable between sitting and standing, I just went whole hog and stood the whole time.

Aside from my encyclopedia work, which I do on the iMac you see above, I've started doing 10 hours/week of social media work for an online newspaper. That, I can do from Scott's laptop, so I've taken to sitting at the kitchen table with it between my hours at the iMac. It gives my limbs a rest.

What it all means is that personal reading and writing on the iMac is the last thing I feel like doing at the end of the day. My body is tired by suppertime. But I'm going to keep it up for a while and decide whether the arrangement will be permanent. I think it will. Then I need to shop for a new desk.

(No, I'm not lefthanded. But I mouse with my left hand to relieve pressure on a knot that often appears at my right shoulder when working.)

Friday, January 11, 2013

Appliquéd PlaceMats



Looks like Mom didn't think we had too many sunny days in winter.
Actually it is a cloudy day and I took these just now with a lamp on nearby as well as the overhead light.

India: If you try your hand at these, please send me photos.

Wednesday, January 9, 2013

Lady Who Froze

The camera didn't catch the sheets of blowing snow. I only walked a mile yesterday because the wind was being windy. (What? I'm not trying to be writerly here.)

Out walking in flustery blustery winter conditions, I usually think of the lady who froze to death walking home from Margo. It was only a mile from town and she wanted to get back to her family before the blizzard blew in, so she set out on foot.

She is buried in the Margo cemetery, and someone put her portrait in one of those little frames you can now purchase to attach to tombstones. The story is probably in the Margo history book, where I likely first heard it.

I'm going to look it up. But not now. Back to work, for me.

Tuesday, January 8, 2013

Comfort and Food

Ducky will always find the softest place to rest his head.

Emil hoped we'd have leftover spaghetti for supper, and when I said it might not stretch to be enough for three, he was disappointed. So I sautéed onions, garlic, and green pepper, added chili and cumin along with black beans and diced tomatoes, threw in the pasta and topped the whole kit 'n' kaboodle with cheddar. And damn if it didn't make a fine casserole!

Sunday, January 6, 2013

What Did You Say?

Snow. It just does what it does.

Emil goes back to Aylesbury House this afternoon.

Several times a day:
"Mom. Did you enjoy your whole two weeks with me?"
After the first 20 times, I'm getting impatient.
I reply:

"It was fabulous! Best two weeks ever!"
"Absolutely. I've never enjoyed myself more!"

And before the words are completely out, I'm grinning and believing it.

Saturday, January 5, 2013

Draft Horses in Saskatchewan

Water shenanigans are ongoing at our house, so yesterday I made a trip to the laundromat. There began a conversation with a local man about web design, proofreading and publishing — that is, (having not met before), after we'd figured out who was related to or knew whose mutual acquaintances and that we'd both lived in the same rental farmhouse once upon a time.

Merlin Ford has published a book about draft horses. It contains 600 photographs so promises to be a real tome.

I've added his website, Clippity Clop's, to the list on the bottom half of this page, under Saskatchewan of course. You can read excerpts from the book and will find Merlin's contact information should you want to pick up a copy.

"Your webpage gets the 'proofreaders' stamp of approval,' Merlin," she says.

Friday, January 4, 2013

Still Christmas

This bow was Emil's gift to us; it got hung on a nail in the porch.
Mom gave me this needleworked hanger; I hung it on an available tack.
This silver and red finery came last year in a flower arrangement (thank you to the Bohls!) but I had to ask  Faye to make it look pretty in a vase after the living flowers had wilted.
Favourite Christmas tree, doesn't require undecorating.
Tree and lights near kitchen sink.
It's not your usual Christmas-decorating scheme, but I make my own rules, thank you very much. Might leave the lights up all year too.

Thursday, January 3, 2013

The Light

North of farmyard late afternoon

South of farmyard not five minutes later

O the light

Tuesday, January 1, 2013

In the Maple Tree

As soon as I fill the feeders, they flock in. The pine grosbeaks...
...the white-breasted nuthatch ...
...and blue-eyed Lacy, who thinks she might catch one of the dozen chickadees that practically land on my hand. It's thrilling when they're so close. When  I don't get out there and refill the feeders early enough in the day, they fly right up to the windows to remind me: get my butt in gear. Cheeky buggers. 
There is also one lone Harris's sparrow, which must have lost its own flock, poor little jigger. There are six magpies but they don't come close till I leave; Scott asked the other day if I mind if he shoots them. Yes I mind! I hope he won't do it. He's all talk no action anyway, when it comes to that. I'm glad.

Lacy there would like to be a house cat again. I brought her back with me from Shelly's this summer, but she has never warmed to the cats that were already here, or they to her. Any takers out there? She's a lovely, affectionate one-year-old female. If she survives till spring (she has the entire barn to herself, and it's full of straw or hay so there are plenty of warm places; it's not the cold that kills our cats, it's the foxes and coyotes), she should have some nice kittens. Hope she doesn't eat them this time. Blechh.