Monday, June 30, 2014

Paper Challenged

In a search for a piece of paperwork, I ended up with piles of printed material everywhere. It needs to be dealt with. Sigh.

From an old journal, in 2005, when Everett was 12:

On the drive to school this morning Everett said he didn't have any dreams last night. 
"I only have dreams when I sleep in your bed, Mom. Your bed must be enchanted or something."

Mom gives Everett his first and only lesson in embroidery:

From My journal:

Everett came running and bouncing onto the bed with the biggest, most beautiful smile on his face. 
"Why so happy?" I asked. 
"I'm not!" he insisted.

I am seriously paper-challenged. And I don't want to deal with it. Time to pay a call to

Sunday, June 29, 2014

Haley Jo

Haley Jo is happy to make your acquaintance.

Did this sight make you laugh out loud in pure delight?
Then you and I have something in common.

Haley Jo is my one-year-old cousin once-removed. (Heather's girl.)

I sometimes babysat Heather when she was around this age. She was the smiliest baby I have ever known. And her own two babies have the same smiliestness.

Saturday, June 28, 2014

Thoughts upon Thoughts

Perking along in the morning
Bedraggled after a rainy day
 While searching online for poems about rain, I came across the following quotation and forwarded it to my friend Julie.

“Love, like rain, can nourish from above, drenching couples with a soaking joy. But sometimes under the angry heat of life, love dries on the surface and must nourish from below, tending to its roots keeping itself alive.” ― Paulo CoelhoBy the River Piedra I Sat Down and Wept

Dear K,
For me the roots are like when I remind myself of the early days of being together, the obvious admiration he had for me, also my own blood tradition of families who stayed married for 50 years or more.  The roots might include our own determination and a higher power which breathes life into everything.
Another thing I learned is that I blame him before considering my own behavior which is all too common in every breakup.  If I do what I can to cooperate, it helps.
Just some thoughts.

Dear Julie,
For me, the roots are the day-to-day living, or what you once phrased "fundamental caring."
You might be mad, or hurt, or disgusted, or disappointed, or disheartened, or whatever, but you don't stop loving on a very basic level (the roots). So the rest of it, above or on the surface, is like the emotions - changeable like the weather, as you once also said. 
I always assume I have a causative part in what happens, though I sure as hell don't always see what it is, and have started to wonder whether it's true or not, or just one of those beliefs we accept in a blanket way not based on our own observation. 
Just some more thoughts,

Thursday, June 26, 2014

Ed Sheeran

Dear Joan,
I went to YouTube and listened to the first three videos that came up: Sing, Don't, and The Man.
Are there other songs that you like better? because these don't make me want to listen to more of this guy. 
Either I just found three of his poorest songs, or you and I like very different types of music!
(Not that there is anything wrong with that ... .)

Dear Kathy,
Of those three, I have only heard "Sing." I prefer his earlier stuff (when he just came out…) that would be "The parting Glass, A Team, Give Me Love, I See Fire - try those. There are some great videos of just him in the studio recording and those are fun to watch. 

Dear Joan,
Ah! I think I may have seen him perform on The Graham Norton Show once.
Have you ever watched that?
Best talk show EVER.
ooh, this is pretty:

It moves my heart. Makes me sing.
Thanks for the heads-up, Joan!

Wednesday, June 25, 2014

Nasturtium Nibbler

Woodland Anemone
I get a chuckle as I walk along the road these days, because these anemone, which I purchased from a greenhouse some years ago, also grow wild in the ditches and are in abundant bloom right now.

They are planted beneath the maple tree in our front yard, along with wildflowers, oriental poppies, columbines, poppies, hens and chicks, and a single delphinium. All have to fight for light and moisture due to the heavy branches and the thirsty shallow roots of the maple tree.

Out in the sunny perennial bed, the oriental poppies have gotten started:

And the painted daisies, some of my favourites, are preparing to burst out.
Of course I talk to my flowers. I tell them how beautiful they are and how much pleasure they give me, and when I leave for work in the morning, I bid them a good day.

And hope that a nasty nasturtium nibbler like this one doesn't make a snack out of them:
If only it had a taste for dandelions!

Tuesday, June 24, 2014


At the lodge where Scott's dad is living, they have the sidewalk from the parking lot roped off because there is a duck nesting beneath a cedar tree. You are not to walk there, but can observe from inside the window of the activity room. 

It takes a while, but gradually your eyes pick out the duck tucked into her nest. No hatchlings yet.

Monday, June 23, 2014

My Baby is 26

The Barn Dog Bar & Grill in Hendon, Sask.
Emil wanted to "go out for supper" on his birthday, so I suggested the Hendon bar, a place he hadn't been before. Scott and I have been there a time or two for wing nite, which if I'm not mistaken is Wednesdays.

On the way there, the rain pounded down so hard several times that I had to pull over because I couldn't see. Then suddenly we were through it.

After Emil demolished a big plate of food and a grape pop, we headed east to visit Ivan (Scott's dad) at the lodge in Kelvington.

Emil made sure to tell everyone everywhere that it was his birthday.
"I'm twenty-SIX today."
Scott's cousin Orlynn, who was clearing tables in the dining room below, sang Happy Birthday to him.

Emil, age 26
I have to admit, I enjoyed what was on television in the background at the nursing home far more than what was on the screen at the Barn Dog.

The bar had Nascar racing (yawn)(grind teeth)(why can't I escape goddamn sports of one sort or another on a frickin' loud TV in every eating establishment I go to?) and the nursing home had Walter Ostanek and the Polka Kings, followed by Tribal Trails. Don't quote me on those names. But I have come to love the old-time music that, in my teens and twenties, I looked so far down my nose at. Apparently we really do come full circle.

Friday, June 20, 2014

Fair Weekend

My pal Al and her brother head toward Main Street to have supper together after a hard day's work.
I should have gotten out of the car and taken a better picture, but ... Alison and I had just left the office and Emil was waiting for me, so I snapped this through the windshield and carried on my merry way.

It's been a wet day. The town fair, which started this evening, had to move indoors to the rec centre, and the horse and ball events planned for the sports grounds have been cancelled because the earth is soaked.

Emil and I had one stop to make before driving home: the store, where we picked up the ice cream cake he requested for his birthday tomorrow. He turns 26 and it is strange to remember the tiny fellow with the high voice that he was, and then look at this full-grown guy who doesn’t resemble that baby boy at all anymore. Except that he still loves his mother. And food. And is slightly fascinated by fans.

Dad is en route from Kelowna and expects to arrive here tomorrow. Haven't seen him since last June and — holy shit, a year already! — although we either talk by phone or text most every day, it's even better to lay eyes on him.

Wednesday, June 18, 2014

Will the green-eyed cat adapt to life on the farm?

Maybe my pal Al's cat Lenny isn't actually "feral." No, he isn't; I done him wrong. He's just a bit of a rascal.

He is acting a bit wild, though, as if he's afraid. I set him loose in the barn this morning before leaving for work, and when I checked on him this evening he'd established himself up high on a beam. He didn't run and hide when I went and talked to him, but he didn't come down either.

Tuesday, June 17, 2014

Bluesy Woozy

Storytellin' men, above.

It's Tuesday afternoon. I've been out talking to the cat in the cage, and to the curious cows and calves, and hoeing, and pulling weeds, and transplanting.

And when I come in for a rest, I often end up here at the desk.
And something made me go looking for something in my old blog, and I found this entry about emotions ... I had forgotten about it.
Forgotten what I learned that day.
Oh, perhaps only consciously forgotten.
But I do need reminding of things I know, quite often.

Well, here it is:

Monday, June 16, 2014

No Lemonade for You!

It was a rainy Saturday afternoon in Watson and a little girl (I assume) wisely headed for someplace warm and dry.
Today my pal Al brought out her feral cat and we installed it in a large kennel in the barn, where it will stay for several days till it calms down and learns there is food and shelter here for it. I hope it sticks around and does all right. Jenna Doodle needs some help with the moles that have invaded. She’s brought three half-eaten ones to the house so far and Scott says she was lying in wait for one this evening while he was digging dandelions in the outer yard.

Maybe tomorrow the clouds will clear off and the soil will dry enough for me to wreak garden havoc with my trusty horseshoe hoe. Today I managed to go for a good walk in the morning, and got some weeds pulled by hand from the flowerbed this afternoon. Worked several hours on the News webpage too. And had pie and tea with Al and Scott, who came home during the day to get his income tax papers together. "Last day to file," he was informed. Guess that lit a fire under his bum. 

Sunday, June 15, 2014

Virtual Supper

There are a lot of dead, bare trees around here, due to the flooding in recent years. 
My dad is in Kelowna and I am here, so ... I texted him a couple times, talked to him on the phone twice this afternoon. We are having a virtual supper date; I’m buying. He’s having pork chops with french fries; I’m ordering greek ribs, and a bottle of wine to share.

He will be driving out here via a meandering route, making stops to visit friends along the way, so we can expect to see him in a week or so.

As for Scott's dad, he is being visited in the longterm-care lodge in Kelvington, where he was moved to on Friday. He was diagnosed with dementia a year or two ago and Scott's mom has had the 24-hr-a-day job of caring for him, which includes regular meals and medication for insulin-dependent diabetes.

This takes the heavy responsibility off her shoulders, which is a relief, but it is also a sad day when your loved one goes to live in an institution. Even one so close as this one, where Scott's sister Tanya works and will see their dad practically every day. We hope that the routine at the lodge will do Ivan good and that he will enjoy the social aspect of always having lots of other people around to talk with.

Saturday, June 14, 2014

Even Rainy Days are a Treat

Rainy and cold. What ya gonna do?
Me: have a warm bath and nothing much else. Dishes, I suppose.
And then, a stop at the farmers market and a shopping trip to Humboldt with me boyo, who needs workboots.

Meanwhile I'm looking at some tall grass in my perennial garden, dying to get out there and pull it up.
Any excuse to wear my new rubber boots.

Thursday, June 12, 2014

Wanted: Mate for a Prairie Chicken

When I walk north.
When I walk south. I will concede that though the land is not actually flat, the roads are straight. 

9 p.m.
In my pyjamas and housecoat, going to do some reading and put the light out early.

Ordered Crow Lake, by Mary Lawson, in from the library and am just starting into it. Had borrowed the next one in the series, lent to me along with a nice stack of other books for leisure reading. A wealth of books have I for the next while.

Just finished I Hate to Leave ThisBeautiful Place. Love that title. 

That poor lonely widower grouse who lost his entire family this winter just outside our driveway is still pounding his chest out there, trying desperately to attract a mate. It’s getting late in the season for that, isn’t it? And I begin to despair on his behalf.

Wednesday, June 11, 2014

Evening Wander

9:02 p.m.
Supper is just in the oven now. Curried cauliflower and wieners. Mm! Mm!
Didn’t realize it’s so late. Scott’s mowing lawn; he arrived moments after I got into the house from my walk. Got home about 7, myself.

It was a beautiful walk. So, so beautiful. I say this out loud, looking across the fields, incredulous that I’m so fortunate as to be here and see it, be in it. I don’t know who to be grateful to, but I am.

Monday, June 9, 2014

Lean-to for a Laugh

The lean-to
This "lean-to" was the kitchen one summer spent camping up Chute Lake Road south of Kelowna, BC.

We could move the picnic table inside and sit quite comfortably out of the weather and the "flaps" could be closed if the day was wet, cold and/or windy.

Those two little children are now grown and have children of their own and, thanks to Facebook, I get to see photos and hear what they're up to now.

Sunday, June 8, 2014

Oscar's finished seeding

My cousin Oscar

From Oscar's wife Barb's Facebook posting:

It's a tradition on our farm to have a beer when we complete one of the stages of the growing season. Today we finished seeding ... At 10:30 am! 

Beer and omelettes? Sure, why not! 

Friday, June 6, 2014

Perchance to dream

It's been a long day and tomorrow is also going to be one.
So goodnight, sweet princes and princesses.

Thursday, June 5, 2014


Saw Neil & Rose at the store in town today after work. They were on their way home from a long day in Saskatoon.

 The temperature dropped suddenly this afternoon. One person I spoke to in the vegetable aisle is taking some of her plants in tonight. I turned the furnace on when I got home.

Wednesday, June 4, 2014

Go ahead, call Saskatchewan "flat" all you want. I'll never believe you.
It was a lovely evening for a walk and I took advantage of it after wolfing down beer and pizza and whipping through the few dishes. There was copious hard rain while I was indoors at work, but it had cleared off. The plants and air are scented and lush. And the gentle, magical light before sunset! I live in an everyday paradise for which I am so grateful, there are no words. My perennials as well as the reeds in the ditches are shooting up about six inches a day. The oriental poppies have multiplied like crazy and have begun to form buds; they'll be glorious this year ... actually, any day now.

I'm not difficult to please.

Tuesday, June 3, 2014

Supper in Stenen

First thing you see when you turn in to Stenen, Sask.

     “Want to come with us to Stenen for supper tonight? It’s an hour’s drive from our place, but there’s a good restaurant there.” It was Rick calling.

During seeding time it’s not often we get a chance to spend time with Rick and Faye, but as the fields are too wet to work in we rearranged our "busy" schedules in order to take the opportunity. I took Emil back to Aylesbury House before supper instead of after, and Scott abandoned his plan to go do some drywalling. At four o’clock we hopped into the half-ton and headed to Faye and Rick’s farmhouse about 20 minutes from here. After a quick cocktail at their kitchen table, our designated driver got behind the wheel of their vehicle and we headed northeast.

I hadn’t been out that way for several years, and then it had been in the winter, so really enjoyed the ride through the lush green countryside. The land is more heavily treed than right here around Wadena, and there is a lot of swamp, but it’s pretty country.

Stenen looks to be about the same size as Margo.
Over the past decade or two, a lot of small communities in Saskatchewan have lost their schools because of the trend toward centralization. It’s killing us out here, but the school boards are saving a dollar and that’s what seems to matter to them more than the welfare of students or the preferablity of not having to travel an hour or two every day. 

In Stenen, after their little school closed and the students started bussing to neighbouring towns for their education, someone bought and renovated the building into Rawhides, which is quite the going concern! We were shocked and very pleasantly surprised to walk through the doors and find an old school so lovingly, so beautifully repurposed. Not at all what we were expecting. They've done a beautiful job on it. 

The view from our table in Rawhide's restaurant
Faye gave me a little tour while we waited for our food. 
They've created separate sections so there is a room for games, with a pool table; there's a room with a cosy fireplace; there's a room with these booths, where we sat; there's another small room for quiet gatherings; and there's even a room set off from the others for VLTs so that the rest of the diners don't have to listen to the machines. And yet all the rooms are open to the others; the place isn't remotely like a rabbit warren. It's gorgeous. There is a little store that offers Rawhides' merchandise like bunnyhugs, hats and T-shirts, and while they have a TV with sports on the screen, not every client is forced to listen to it, as is the case with some restaurants — you think you're going out for a pleasant relaxing meal, but your ears are bombarded by sports on TV — well thanks, but no thanks.  

And the food at Rawhides is fantastic. It's not cheap; you'll pay what we call "city prices." But it's well worth it. Cooked to perfection, presented beautifully and quickly; somebody around there is a real chef, and the owners have done their homework. 

We checked out the guest book. People drive for many miles to go to this eatery, just as we did. It's a happenin' place!

Faye and Rick leaving Rawhides with full and satisfied bellies.
Here: TAKE A LITTLE TOUR of your own. I'm off to work. And if you want to sit in one of those booths, you'd be wise to phone ahead and reserve one.

Monday, June 2, 2014

Down on the Farm

Emil lives for seeing Uncle Neil. 

He talked Rose's ear off and ignored Neil.
Not really. He gave Rose's attention a good workout too.

The house behind them sits at the bottom of the hill where Grandma and Grandpa's old farmhouse was. That's where my sister Karen and I spent a lot of happy times. A lot.

There was a double clothesline with two pink posts at either end. Someone — probably Grandpa (also named Emil) — had hung a thick loop of rope and made nicks in the ends of a board to craft a swing for each pair of posts. Oh the hours we spent there, my sister Karen and I!

Karen often carried a hen in her arms when we were roaming about the yard.

Neil, who would have been about 13 then, had a hammock made from a double mattress between two evergreens on the hill near the house, slung there on heavy chains. Many happy hours there, too, Karen and me.

I remember the rooms of the house, and Grandpa's dark workshop. I remember him out there making a birdhouse from a hollow chunk of tree trunk and two pieces of plywood (a floor and an angled roof; he painted those red, and varnished the trunk; Neil has made one just like it minus the red and it's on a post in their yard), and I remember the smell of the workshop and the old clamp fastened to Grandpa's workbench.

Where Neil and Rose's house sits now was very near the place that the chicken coop was.

There was a toy cupboard in a wall of the living room, near the oil furnace that sat on the linoleum floor at the back of the room; among the toys on the shelves was one I can't name. It was a clown with a round yellow bottom* so it rocked when sat on the floor and given a push. I've never seen another one like it.

Hostess potato chips in their foil bags were a common treat, with their plastic coin "prizes" in the bottom that had a car illustration glued to them.

There was a woodstove in the kitchen, with a warm water reservoir. Beside it was sink with a hand-pump, and on an adjacent wall there was a freestanding cabinet for the dishes.

I remember Grandma in their bedroom off the kitchen, her string of white plastic pearls, her Noxzema. I remember being tucked warmly in bed upstairs in the morning before the house was heated up; Karen next to me, of course. Little sisters -- ya just can't shake 'em. Hee! Actually she was a perfect companion then, and still is.

Lots of happy memories, that's for sure.

In the upstairs bedroom, the smell of cedar from inside the slant-front desk; the beaded moosehide bookends (which I have and treasure, though they need repair; I won't let them go anywhere just in case I don't get them back); Karen's green dress and my purple one, and both of us wearing grey plastic old-lady wigs; and we two little girls running naked in a warm rain.

When I hear a screen door slam, or a fly buzzing on a hot day, it takes me back there. Those were some of the good times and they are probably why I love where I live.

*Email from Aunt Reta: "The toy was called a rolly polly, given to Neil when he was 1 yr old."

Thanks Reta, with the name I was able to do a search and found this:

Sunday, June 1, 2014

Wall Mural at Kylemore

When Emil and I go for a weekend drive toward Margo, we first go a few miles south to the convenience store at Kylemore for a pop and chips to nibble on while ambling at about 40 kph through the countryside.

Yesterday afternoon I parked facing this building so the hot sun would be behind Little Green (car) and open windows might coax a breeze through.

I've never seen a bear around here, by the way. But upon occasion one has been spotted.
As for buffalo, the odd rancher raises a herd of them.

Today it's rainy and cool, and my flowers don't mind one bit.


My friend Julie said something just right about grief and loss, and I was going to quote her here because her words were just so Damn Right, but I see she has posted them on her own blog so I'll just point you in that direction: Here you go.

For me, the song that has more than once been heard at a coincidental time that made me feel like Mom was giving me a sign is this one, The Mother Song: