Saturday, May 31, 2014

Saturday before Sunday

My weekend companion

Been outside with my housecoat and coffee, pulled dandelions and grass from flowerbeds, sat on deck overlooking slough birds for a while. Lovely lovely.
Came in, read and wrote a little, wiped counters, ran water over stacked dishes in sink, made scrambled eggs and toast, brought them to desk to eat while reading and writing a little. Did a little work that is like play, online.
Next: do dishes, wash and dress. Emil is here and maybe we’ll go for a drive out Margo way. I love the days off.  
Finished the dishes, ooh it’s spic and span out there! Emil has been out for a stroll around the yard. I went out after him with my hat, as he was in the bright sunlight at the noon hour. Now it’s a quick dip in the tub for me and then — then — well, we shall see.

Lorna! Cathy! Have you got a phone number or mailing address for the Uff Da lady? Her website appears to be down. And I want to order a vat of lemongrass lotion.

Friday, May 30, 2014

Kitchen Table

7:50 a. m.
Finishing last cup of coffee from pot and having some toast before I splash water on my face, soak my hair, dress and run out the door aiming to be at work at 8:30. The week has gone by fast, as they all do now.
Looks like it’s going to be a gorgeous sunny day. We’ve had rain so my flowers are all happy and fluffy.
The place I was stung by a bee is still itchy and last night was red and swollen so Scott thought I should see a doctor and find out if I need to get an epi-pen! Scared me enough to get out of bed at midnight and take an antihistamine. And it’s still itchy this morning, but less red and less swollen.
I’ve gone online to see what’s normal after a bee sting, and it appears I’m having a normal reaction. Whew.

Thursday, May 29, 2014

Uff Da Lemongrass Lotion

I was transplanting zinnias into the perennial bed last night when a bee stuck its stinger into my forearm for no good reason. I feel betrayed! Ungrateful little beast. I pulled the stinger out right away and made baking soda paste to apply to the spot, which took the pain away immediately, but this morning it is itchy. More baking soda will be required I guess.

However, while Scott has found ticks on himself and has been pulling them off both dogs in vast numbers, I have yet to see one on me. Knock on wood. Normally by now I'm feeling them on my neck or in my hair. I wonder if my saving grace is slathering up with this lemongrass lotion purchased from the lady in Norquay who makes her own lotions and soaps. I smell like a lemon, and don’t mind one bit. And I love using a product that isn't full of unpronounceable chemicals and synthetic scents, and is made by someone right here in Saskatchewan. It has to be kept in the fridge because it isn't laced with preservatives, and it wouldn't surprise me one day to hear that someone has spread it on his toast.

The power went out last night and then a huge thunderstorm blew up. Ducky was freaked out but I wasn’t having him – Tickbait, as Scott calls him — on the bed, which is what he was asking for. The house wrap was blowing loose, making so much noise outside my window that I couldn’t hear any thunder. The storm blew down a tree in Scott's mom and dad's yard, he says.

Goodness, where has the time gone! I'd better get to the office.

Wednesday, May 28, 2014

Tuesday, May 27, 2014

Nine Years

With my sisters and Mom and all her side of the family, you have to be careful what you say.

If you say “I’d love one of those!” they insist “Take it” and send it home with you.

That’s how I got this handy-dandy jewellery bag that is hanging on the bathroom door. I admired Joan's and asked where I could buy one. 

Today is nine years since Mom went. I still have trouble saying "died." And while I think of her often, and enjoy thinking of her and talking about her, I don't think of her for long. It's too painful, and if I'm alone, I'll cry.

When she was dying, I couldn't imagine life going on after she was gone. I couldn't imagine myself 10 years into a future without her. And yet, here I am. There's something about it that makes no sense. 

I've decided: Supper is one thing that makes a house a home. Not breakfast or lunch, not even love or curtains. It's supper. 

Monday, May 26, 2014

Zen things

On Monday mornings I work from home for several hours, putting photos and text onto the newspaper’s webpage. Today my internet server decided to go offline after the first half-hour, so I’m doing other things:
• got the dishes washed, dried, put away - WOO to the HOO, I tell you
• got the three cast-iron frying pans seasoning for an hour on the stove
It’s raining, a soft cool pungent sprinkling that my flowers were hoping for.
Speaking of which, I gave in to the urge late yesterday afternoon and put my one trayful from the closest greenhouse into pots.

A Facebook connection posted the above list and I set it as my desktop, needing these reminders on a daily basis or else they just slip away and I go back to my habits.
I do many things at once, fitting smaller tasks inside the spaces of larger ones. I hurry through it all.
It’s been my way. My movements are efficient. I am putting together a jigsaw puzzle every time I do something.
This list reminds me that there is another way to go through life.

Sunday, May 25, 2014

Shit happens, that's for sure

Scott and his tractor turn up the soil.
Some of the things I like about Scott:
• while on the tractor, he tries to avoid birds' nests
• he looks good on a tractor seat
Well, I shan't go on about it. I like farmers and carpenters, and he is both, and that's all you need to hear about that.

11:26 a.m.
Coffee drank, a toasted bun down my neck in hopes of heading off the migraine trying to happen, most of the dishes washed (and Scott dried; how nice to have him beside me, lightening that load, after he’d come in from the field and had something to eat), and a fruit smoothie made. It’s a cooler day after several too hot and humid ones; I prefer this. And I’m tempted to start putting some of my bedding plants into the ground. But the wind is cold and I know I should wait till June. I know I should. Should should should.

The leaves are out. Woo hoo! And there is that scent of something that I love, whether it’s poplar or what, I’m not sure. I just love it. It's too early for the wolf willows to be flowering. 

So I go into work Tuesday morning and our receptionist is on the phone with a caller telling her we have flubbed up the caption under a photo we ran last week. We got the guy’s first name wrong, we got his home town wrong. How? How! How is this possible? I went back to my hard copies and indeed the correct information had been sent to us, and I checked what I had sent through to the page and it was wrong. Now, I had pored over the clippings and info sent, in order to glean the essentials and get the “story” right. And still I put the wrong first name and home town! It hornswoggles me and I can’t figure out how it happened. I shake my head, print a correction and apology, and vow to pay even more attention to detail, while wondering if I have early-onset Alzheimer’s or something. 

And one day, I get a columnist’s text and at the end he poses a question that he wants us to put the answer to on another page. He puts the one-word answer at the end of the text, and I read it, but I DO NOT MAKE THE CONNECTION. I see it several times and don’t realize it is the answer, and email him back to ask for the answer. He must think I’m a real dolt, and to be honest, I’m starting to agree. Clearly I am not as sharp as I used to believe I was. Not anymore.

On the other hand, if readers knew how many mistakes we correct and details we clarify before things sent to us go to print, they’d be astounded. They’d be impressed. But no one sees that, they only see the end result; they only notice the errors that get past us or that we ourselves create.

I might benefit from some brain exercises., here I come.

Maybe working in an office like that, with so much reading all day, might just overload the thinking/noticing processes occasionally. Not that I’m not a bit absent-minded at the best of times. I admit it; I am not as observant as I could be, either.

One time we received a correspondent’s report including someone’s parasailing height as 400 feet, and we managed to print it as 5000 feet! How? How! We can’t figure it out. I joke “It’s the office ghost” or “Those damn cats” (we have shop cats), but it does leave us bewildered. 

And then, to top it off, thousands of pairs of eyes see the error. That’s mortifying. I know no one is perfect, and I sure as hell am not, but still … for your mistakes to be paraded … oy! That’s hard on the pride, I tell you.

Saturday, May 24, 2014

Happy Birthday to the Babyest Seester of Them All

Seen on FB
Now what will I leave you with today, as I am hot to get out the door?

It is my sister Joan's 46th birthday. I called. She is busy collecting happy. She has a good friend visiting from Saskatoon, they've been out for breakfast, done some window shopping, were heading out for frozen yogurt and plan to go out for supper. The only thing missing is her two adorable sisters, I say!

I haven't bought her a gift, but as I sit here, all slathered up with a mosquito-repelling lotion that you could probably eat, it occurs to me that this might make a perfect birthday present. They tell us that in Kelowna they don't have mosquitoes, so when they come out here they are a bit discomfited.

This is my first time trying this lotion; I'll let you know if it makes any difference. I do smell like a lemon, but on the other hand I haven't seen more than one mosquito yet this year. So it's a bit early to tell.

Friday, May 23, 2014

Dora Carrington

Picking Vegetables, by Dora Carrington
Eggs on a Table, Tidmarsh Mill, by Dora Carrington

Dora Carrington was portrayed by Emma Thompson in the film Carrington, which I'd like to see again. She was a painter who used her artistic talents to create a beautiful home and surroundings. She loved a gay man, writer Lytton Strachey, and was so distraught after his death that she killed herself.

See some paintings HERE.
Check out the movie.
And a bit of a bio.

Thursday, May 22, 2014

Duck Bums

A pair of northern shovellers were getting a bite to eat while I sat on an old piece of machinery near the barn.
I also saw a set of blue-winged teal out there.
A pair of song sparrows checked me out, and three barn swallows made an appearance.
The wings of a snipe were winnowing above me, but I didn't try to spot it. It's a constant presence now till fall.
Several crows flew over, and a trilling-like-a-bicycle-bell redwinged blackbird landed on a cattail.
Oh, it was a glorious evening.
And the frogs! They are having the time of their lives.

Wednesday, May 21, 2014

The House that Scott Built

This is the house my Scott has been working on all winter. It's just north of Wadena, on the old drive-in grounds. I think this aerial-drone film was taken at the end of March.

Yesterday, the leaves on the trees started to peek out.

This one was taken earlier in the month. The elementary school is in the centre of town, and Scott (Comfort, a local realtor) is standing out there with my pal Al, publisher of the Wadena News:

And here's the story she wrote about it: CLICK HERE.

Tuesday, May 20, 2014

Hea-Ven, I'm in Hea-Ven

I couldn't resist grabbing a bouquet from the Co-op store in town.
But it may have started something.
Thus my first visit to a greenhouse this spring reaped the following benefits:

Happily hardening off under a cool and cloudy sky.

I did not go overboard, but was quite sedate.
And now, can hardly wait to set them into the ground.
Saw others putting their bedding plants into the dirt this weekend, but over the past few years have learned my lesson:
Just Wait.

Monday, May 19, 2014

Happy Birthday Ms Victoria

We are on our way to Kuroki when Scott spots a calf unmoving and so we pull over.

Scott walks out there, hollering repeatedly; the other cattle head for the feeders, and this little guy pokes its head up to see what's happening.

We are joining friends and family for supper in Kuroki. From our moving vehicle I snap these photos at the edge of the little town (or I guess it's a hamlet):

I have a bottle of red wine tucked into my bag, and Scott wants to take some beer, so we stop at the Kuroki bar to buy some:
A Spanish-style villa on mainstreet Kuroki, Saskatchewan

Sunday, May 18, 2014

The Joan

I remember the Chinese cafés and the "dreamin' on our dimes" jukeboxes . . .  .

Christmas is sparklin'
Out on Carol's lawn
This girl of my childhood games
Has kids nearly grown and gone
Grown up so fast
Like the turn of a page
We look like our mothers did, now,
When we were those kids' age

Nothin' lasts for long

Saturday, May 17, 2014

Long weekend begins

The grass road into our yard
Once in a while I like to leave CBC radio on all night and hear bits of programs from around the world when I surface into wakefulness from time to time. Last night I learned that sports agents take boys from Africa to other countries to play, and when they don't do as well as hoped, they abandon them to live on the streets. Nasty.

Emil is up, making himself a fried egg. I'm soon off to town for breakfast with my pal Al, and then we're going to check out the garage sales. There are only about three. I plan to spend the afternoon in my flower bed, and then we have a supper invitation. The forecast is for rain to start tomorrow morning. But we've had a couple warm days, quite a treat after the long cold winter and spring. I am pretty sure I can see a tinge of kelly green on the poplar trees in the distance.

Thursday, May 15, 2014


At least the farmers are finally able to get into the fields this week.
Last night's walk was a treat, long underwear and all. The numbers of geese passing over still leave me awed; how can there possibly be so many, and all flying through my part of Saskatchewan? Right over my house? It's incredible. And I never, ever get "oh big deal" about it. I am thrilled to the bone. Even from inside the house I can watch them, hear them ... and feel very, very grateful to be here.
Between the frogs' constant garbling and the other birds doing their courtship and mating songs, it's a noisefest. A beautiful, dazzling noisefest.

Wednesday, May 14, 2014

Long Underwear in May

So ... at twilight yesterday I wore my super-duper winter parka, fur-trimmed hood pulled up over my head, to go for a short walk. Just to the end of the driveway, because my legs were cold. And it's stupid to be walking on the road with dogs near sunset. That's dangerous. So I didn't leave the yard.

It is May 14, and this morning I am wearing long underwear beneath my jeans.
Just sayin' ... frigate!

We have had sightings of great white egrets around here. These are rare. I've yet to see one. Scott says he saw a flock of swans the other day.

And now, to work.

Tuesday, May 13, 2014

Cow Communications

Ready for another week: the dishes are finally done.
Now, if only they'd stay that way.

Friggin' old dog barked herself hoarse last night, so that neither of us slept very well.
Of course, we were both too lazy to get out of bed and tell her to be quiet.
Which might have worked. Old dogs aren't stupid.

This old dog is going to finish her second mug of coffee, soak her head, and get off to work. Looks like another sunny day, but cool ... so then, it's not difficult to spend the day indoors.

Scott, quizzical:
You know that old cow I told you about, that didn't have a calf last year and seemed depressed?
Well, she had a great big calf this morning, and she looks like a different cow. She was eating her afterbirth and looking at me ... (makes face like happy, relieved cow, all pleased with herself).
Cow communications.
It's calving time, and Scott is gone at five every morning to check on the birthing situation before coming home for coffee and breakfast. I get the reports.
Funny how those calves can get up so quick after they're born and run after their moms.
Three days old and already hard to catch.
Cute little buggers.
That one that wouldn't let her calf suck? She's taking him now. 
And so on. He's got a pasture full of pets over there.

Monday, May 12, 2014

Tea-Drinkin' Witches

Best wary of people, but makes me sad all the same

My day so far:
*four hours uploading pics and articles to Wadena News
*a walk in the cool grey breeze with the doodling dogs
*spellchecking, space-checking, changing font and size, saving and printing Uncle Carl’s chapters to be read on the page
*one load laundry in washer, one in dryer
I still have to do dishes; they haven’t all been washed at one time for an entire week. Been working at ‘em in fits and starts.
Simmering roast chicken bones all day; took frozen beans and rice out to thaw, will throw ‘em into broth for soup.
But at least there’s a cup of tea in hand; didn’t stop and take a do-nothing tea break this afternoon, though. Tsk. Know I should.

OK, gonna.

Sunday, May 11, 2014


Boy came downtown for supper on Thursday and I, driving home, pulled over to the side of the street to take this picture of him ambling back to his hidy-hole.

* * *

I suppose someone will remind me: man.

But I am his mother. To me, he's not only man and boy — he's baby, sweet child, innocent heart-opening joy — the list goes on and on and on, as every mom knows. I have the loveliest memories of him at all ages. He was the cutest little chubbybum, with rosebud lips and big eyes. He presented me with dandelions and stuffed toys and tender caring. He was a very affectionate, softhearted, kind kid, and still is. Deep down. Heh. (I'm kidding. I see it all the time.)

Wednesday, May 7, 2014

Dear You

It's pretty incredible in our skies right now.
The snow geese -- well, they are flying over in endless fragmented flocks of dozens if not hundreds of birds in each -- it's enough to make your mouth hang open.

I'm reading the fifth novel in the Buckshaw Chronicles series. Bless yer wee heart'ie, Bev, for the introduction and the loans. These are really clever murder mysteries that are an absolute pleasure to swim in. They are just so richly detailed and elegantly written and wry and funny.

There is a lonely spruce grouse thumping its chest in the bush next to our house. We hope it manages to attract a mate; we think it's the one that lost its entire family to a grader blade this winter, on the road outside our driveway. It makes itself at home in the yard; kinda like a chicken you don't have to fence, feed, water or clean up after.

After work it was pleasant enough outside to take a leisurely stroll past the flower bed, and see that the oriental poppies are up, and so are some maltese crosses, and blue flax. As soon as there's a warm day I'll start pruning back the dead stalks and leaves from last fall. Looking forward to that.

There's the door, sounds like Scott has arrived.
Talk to you tomorrow,

Tuesday, May 6, 2014


My dressing room.
Two men in camoflauge were grocery shopping in the same aisle as me. Hunting snow geese is permitted in the spring as well as fall, they said, when I asked about their attire.
They have no trouble finding their way around the countryside out here, they said (they are from Florida); our roads are laid out in squares so it's easy.
How do we keep warm?
They had a cool winter in Florida too.

Monday, May 5, 2014


West of the house
The bird life is pretty incredible right now, but also ... the frogs! Whodathunk they'd be up and around during this cold?

Thursday, May 1, 2014

In Memory of My Mom

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

-with gratitude to Joanne Bohl, Mom's best friend, who told me Mom phoned every year on this date and recited this little ditty.
(image: facebook)