Wednesday, August 28, 2013


The hollyhocks at "South Forks" (where Scott was raised) stand about 9 feet high.

It was a day off, if you don't count dishes, laundry, and hanging out with my ex-husband and kids for the afternoon and supper. Relaxing and pleasant, but so frigging muggy and hot, gad! I used to love the heat, but now ... give me a temperate climate, any day. Dust started blowing down Main Street as we sat in the café and it was raining lightly by the time we ran for the vehicle. I don't know whether the farmers do — probably not if they're in the middle of baling — but I welcome the moisture and coolness.

Yesterday afternoon I picked a gallon of chokecherries for an acquaintance. It was feverishly humid, as it's been all week, so I wasn't eager to go out to the trees along a fenceline. However, once you're back in the shady bush, it's really quite lovely and I enjoyed every moment of it. There were no insects out and around; Scott was baling in the field nearby; after an hour or two we both stopped our activities and had a cold beer on the dark side of a big round bale before I headed for home.

Tomorrow, if it doesn't rain much more, I'll be slaving in the hot sun with Construction Man.

Sunday, August 25, 2013

Don't You Care How You Look?

Customer buying gladiolas at the Wadena farmers' market

The flower seller, on the left, sold out of glads in less than two hours. And yes, the lady on the right is who you think it is. Senator Wallin's family lives in Wadena so she is often seen at the grocery store and market and various other places around town. She seems like a lovely person, but I think that about most everyone who is pleasant and friendly, and my opinion about her politics and actions is an uneducated one ... like a good many of the opinions we hear. Not knowing all the facts doesn't seem to shut anyone up, unfortunately.

My great-aunt Marj, age 88, has two baking and garden produce tables at the market and her son Allan helps her lug everything in and then serve the hordes of hungry customers who swarm her tables when the doors open at 10. That's Allan on the right:

Joan, that is our former neighbour Hazel Rudishyn bent looking at something; she is a regular customer for my caramel corn.
When they were leaving after the Saturday market, he told me that his mother was taking him out for a meal and I teased him that he was spoiled. "I can't help it if she's good to me!" he said with a big smile.

This week was another hot one and I went along with Scott to a job site a couple times to do what I could do. I am nervous on a ladder so am not much good for half the work; I do a lot of cleanup (Scott likes a spotless work area) and fetching ("What do you mean, a -blank-?" I don't know what all the tools are called). It has been a strong reminder that a good carpenter is no dummy. The fractions! the figuring! the troubleshooting! I'm all in awe, watching him puzzle out the proper handling of some small detail that, although the average observer like myself isn't even aware of it, if not done right it will create a costly mess down the line.

One day I closely observed him making aluminum cladding for windows, as it's something I could learn to do; he didn't let me get my square little hands on the tinsnips though:

I did pound some nails into styrofoam sheating, and he chuckled and said I "hammer like a girl."

Apparently he does still think I'm a girly-girl (and let's be honest, twice this week I've jumped and screamed and clasped my hands to my breast when he appeared in a doorway and I was expecting either Everett or no one, so no wonder)(does that happen to anyone else?), because when we got home I had to go to town to pick up Everett and a few groceries, and I headed for the car without changing — wearing a man's white cotton shirt and baggy faded blue jeans held up by a belt with notches added so it cinches tight enough to keep my pants up; they were hand-me-downs from a slightly larger gal to start with, and I've gotten thinner since then — I have been saving old wornout favourites for years so if ever needed I would have work clothes to wear, and finally I get to wear them! — and he says, "You're going like that? Don't you care how you look?"

Uh, no, I don't. I've been working outside, and I'm going to town looking like I've been working outside. Is that a problem? (Scott usually "cleans up" before going to town, but then he's often been working with cattle; I'd likely wash and change then, too.) I was surprised by the questions, because he should know by now ... that I wash, and brush my teeth, and that's about it. I might wet down my sticky-up hair when I get up in the morning, but there will be no curling or blow-drying or time spent fussing. Been there, done that, wasted a hell of a lot of time when I was a young woman. I haven't put makeup on my face for at least 10 years and now wonder why I ever bothered. I think it was a way of paying myself a couple minutes of attention, which my body appreciated. Now I do that by applying coconut oil or a natural face mist on my way out of the bathroom, and my body is just as happy.

In actual news this week, my friend Bev, who was diagnosed with breast cancer this spring and chose to treat it without surgery, chemotherapy, or radiation, has posted the results of her pet scan:

Thursday, August 22, 2013

Fall Has Arrived in Saskatchewan

The crops they are a-turnin' colour. Soon everything will be golden.

I'm on the run these days, and tired when I'm not. So you find me in bed by 9:30 most nights, and not wanting very much to get up at 6 a.m.

It's all I can do to find time to water and deadhead the flowers that are in pots. Or to find energy to go for a walk.

I thought time only flew when you're having fun! I'm not having any. But life is good anyway.

Everett hit the rhubarb yesterday morning as he drove into town to work, with me in the passenger's seat. He's only got his learner's licence and I should've made him drive slower. For a few moments there, I was sure the car was going to roll. The boy stayed calm though, and good for him.

Anyway, gotta go as soon as Scott is off the phone. Another day in the sun and wind. The leaves have started falling from the maple trees.

Friday, August 16, 2013

Manitou Beach

Campers being dropped off in front of the main building

Usually when I take Emil to Camp Easter Seal, there is a long, slow (because Emil is not speedy on his crutches) walk to his assigned cabin, lugging his baggage and bedding. Then there is the long, slow walk back to the dining area, where the campers are gathering for lunch and saying goodbye to their parents. Emil likes me to meet the three or four counsellors who are assigned to his cabin, and then gradually he is ready to let me leave.

Not this time, though. The luggage was loaded onto a wheeled cart, the counsellors introduced themselves, I went into the office to sign a waiver so that Emil could go tubing if he wanted, and a few minutes later when I joined them again in front of the dining room, I was dismissed.

"You can go now, Mom," he said. "I want you to go."

And so I collected a kiss goodbye and danced off to the Village Perk, where I always stop when in Manitou Beach, in hopes that the cook will have his excellent pecan pie on hand. Again he did not, and I kicked myself for not calling ahead and begging him to make it. That pie is worth 10 phone calls!

Instead I had a bowl of cream of broccoli soup (no crackers required) and hot cheese biscuits (you don't need butter when they melt in your mouth). That man can cook, I tell you. If I lived there I would gain back the 15 pounds I've lost over the past year or two.

They brew a mean cup of joe at the Village Perk, too. 

Thursday, August 15, 2013

Worker Bees

Today could be considered a day of rest, since I only had to be in town by 8 to pick Emil up and drive him to Camp Easter Seal down at Manitou Beach. It's been a long day, but compared to the two previous, it was Easy Street.

Yesterday and the day before were actual work days. I went with the boys to Kelvington to be the jill-of-all-trades while they prepared a house for new siding. I pulled out nails and hauled old siding away and stacked it and helped load it up and kept the site tidy and generally did whatever I was asked to do. They were two swelteringly hot days and even though they were short — we came home mid-afternoon so the boys could get out into the field, as it's haying time — I was asleep before 8 the first night, and not much later the next. And was still tired and sore in the morning.

I have a new admiration for the physical stamina of these two guys, who generally put in full days of heavy labour on the job and then come home and do farm work for several more. I'm not sure I'd survive.  I don't know how they do it.

Tuesday, August 13, 2013

August in Saskatchewan

Emil gets some exercise outside on the weekend.
Why does the distance from our driveway to the correction line (where the signs are) look so short in photos? It's three-quarters of a mile, and here it looks like no more than a hop, skip and jump.

When it's not too windy, half the time I head north, the other direction:
The canola field is still in bloom and if we get more heat, maybe the wheat and oats will start turning colour.
No walking for me today, though; I've been on the run. Went and purchased a car from a family friend so that I can get #2Son to work for the next while, till he gets a driver's licence or finds a place in town to live.

He had to go up on a roof today. Scary, he said. "I'm like a kitten caught in a tree: 'Oh my god, how do I get down from here?'" To which I can relate; I'm impressed he went up there at all.

And saws; there is sawing to be done. He is nervous about saws, and I don't blame him. "You should be!" I said, "Until you are taught how to use them."

Saturday, August 10, 2013

Everett Gets His First Real Job

After his interview with the potential employer, he is to meet me at the local grocery store. I'm standing in the lineup at the cashout when I sense a large presence right behind me, a little too close to be the usual other shopper, and sure enough it's my grown boy.
"Well?" I turn and ask.
"I start at 8 tomorrow morning."
He is pleased. I can tell because there is just the faintest glimmer of a suppressed grin on his face; only a mother would know it is there.
"What do you think of LL?" I ask. That's the new boss.
"When he showed me around, he straightened up things on a shelf. He's the first person I've met who is as anal as me."

There are about five employees on the job and they go hard all day long, and it is physical labour, stacking lumber and so on. Everett is exhausted when he gets home, but he wants to go back the next day and there is plenty of variety in activity and he is working with other young men and this will do him a world of good. He shows me, with pride, bruises on his forearms from something he's been doing. His feet are sore at the end of the day. His first paycheque will be a revelation to him.

He has no drivers' licence and doesn't want to get one, or to own a car. We will try to change this, but in the meantime we drive him into town in the morning and pick him up at the end of the day. If the job is still a go by the end of the month -- fingers crossed that both he and LL will be happy with the arrangement -- he will need a place to stay in town.  If you are a local reader and hear of any vacancies, let me know.

Tuesday, August 6, 2013

Women and Elephants

Everett thought it quite surprising when, after he'd spotted a mouse in the porch and the two of us had spent an hour moving stuff outside and cleaning, I dragged (with his help) both my trunks from against a wall, spotted the rodent cowering in the space behind, shrieked and bolted for the door.

"So it's true then," he said, sounding shocked. "Women really are like elephants when it comes to mice."


There was a thunderstorm yesterday afternoon that, during one of his many trips between house, van, and quonset as we cleaned, made the hair on Everett's arms stand up. After that we stayed indoors till it was over.


Had trouble sleeping last night and thought, around 2 a.m., that maybe a change of location would help. So I took my pillow, laid a wool blanket and one of Mom's quilts on top of myself on the couch in the living room, and was asleep in no time. Only turned over once, as opposed to the continual flipping in bed. Don't know why it is, as our bed is perfectly comfy, but this isn't the first time the couch has been the answer to my infrequent insomnia.

Saturday, August 3, 2013

Weekends are a Different Story

New bull (far left) and girlfriends eyeball the dogs

New bull leads the herd of heifers

You can say Saskatchewan has no hills, but I know better.

Rest stop on last night's walk
The new routine is only for weekdays. On weekends I shall follow my nose to my heart's content and try to catch up on my online activities.

We've got a hot sunny day out there and I intend to bask.

Also, the darjeeling tea is apparently not to blame for Thursday night's insomnia. Last night was no different. I know I was still awake at 3 because that's when I felt hungry. It's always been that way, since my party-till-dawn days. If it's 3 a.m., I'm hungry. If I find myself cold, sure enough it's 5 a.m. Didn't make it quite that far this time so am more rested today.

Scott has just come in from doing something with cattle and I am not sure I can believe my ears, but I think I heard him say something about taking the rest of the day off to do absolutely nothing, or maybe go somewhere. What????!!!!

He is also wondering if I should go to the doctor again, as I still have a nasty cough. I think it will pass; just gotta be patient. The post-nasal drip after a head cold can last a while. But he will nag me if it becomes necessary; I can count on that.

Yesterday I sat in the van as a young fella put gas in the tank, and a friend walked up and, looking concerned, exclaimed, "You have gotten awfully thin!" I have lost a few pounds in recent months, just from cutting back on bread and toast, I think. And a few pounds either way always shows, on me. When I got home I texted Karen (sister): "I'm not TOO thin, am I?" She assures me I look perfectly healthy. My favourite pair of blue pedal-pushers (showing my age here, aren't I?) are hanging off me, though, which is disappointing.  The one drawback to being skinnyish.


Maybe you'd like to check out my uncle's new blog? Random Thoughts from a Rocking Chair.  And do leave him a comment if you do; all new bloggers need encouragement to continue. He is posting a bit of everyday stuff along with excerpts from the first draft of his memoir. This way he can post what he likes, while I cut and slash ruthlessly from the original and hope he will still be speaking to me when all is said and done. Editing: a dirty job but somebody has to do it.

Friday, August 2, 2013

New Routine

Prepping BC strawberries to freeze for smoothies
Two days down and I'm back up again. Still not full of piss 'n' vinegar but not feeling like crap either. Whew! Glad that's over. Managed to make a delicious Mexican soup for supper, do some laundry, some weeding, and go to town for groceries (and Emil) and to buy out the BC fruit truck. I've yet to get out for my walk this evening, and try to put an hour in on my uncle's manuscript, but it will be an early night because ding!ding!ding! never drink a cup of darjeeling tea from India after supper, Kathy! I laid awake till 5 this morning. Shoulda known better.

We had company last night, Scott's cousin John and his wife Helen (see her blog, Pengelly Pastimes) with their youngest son Ryan and our niece Rebecca from down the road here. I am hoping they didn't catch my cold, or Scott's ... he was suffering from it last night and this morning but went out early to a cement-pour anyway. I thought for sure he'd be home and back in bed by noon, but it's 7 o'clock now and I haven't seen hide nor hair of him. I don't know how that man keeps going.

Helen recently had a surgery and a cancer scare, and we talked about how that alters your perception of the time you have left and how you want to spend it. I thought about that some as I lay abed wide awake afterward; that and many other things. One of them was about the way time seems to be flying past so quickly and I seem to never be on top of things around here to the degree I would like to be. It's not that I'm fussy about the house or anything, compared to others, but after being down for the count for two days and then having a fairly restful day yesterday, and even with Everett's help with dishes after I made some supper for my sick farmerboy last night, every surface in the kitchen and living room was still covered when they arrived and I couldn't help asking myself, Why is that? Where does the time go?

I decided too much of it is spent at this computer and from now on I'm not even going to check my email till after supper. So this has been Day One of the new routine. Wish me luck. I'm terrible at sticking to routines. Aside from my morning cup of coffee, that is. That's an easy one.

Thursday, August 1, 2013

Where Have I Been?

My great-niece Lexi, her mom in mirror
It's been a busy past week, and I was feeling 100% when I went to the hospital on Monday morning, where the doctor's office is, for a physical. But within a half-hour of coming out of the place I was blowing my nose, and by suppertime I knew something unpleasant was taking hold. And so it has been. I've been fevered and congested and runnynosed ever since. Wasted days, how I hate them. Feeling crummy always makes me think the most negative thoughts: how I'm going to be a bag lady in my old age, for instance. Positive expectations simply disappear when I feel like shit.

Today I feel a lot better — no more runny nose, no more fever — but my voice is so deep it's scary. Aunt Shirley, I see you have left a message on my phone. I will call you when I can talk properly! I was in Margo on Monday afternoon to drop off my market wares at Missy's, and after a quick stop at the cemetery I had to go see Michelle and Lexi, and then Karen, so didn't have time to come and see you too. However if Missy's "Market Mondays" continue, I'll be there every week so will see you next time.