Wednesday, September 30, 2015

Fall My Favourite

Tuesday 7:32 pm
Fullish day, and still dishes not done. It was more important to be out and around. Dishes can always wait, and often do, in this house. I lack my mother's and grandmother's and aunts' self-discipline, that's for sure. 
Made two chicken noodle casseroles though, one for Lillebos and one for us. They were on their way home from the hospital in Regina today. Faye expected the ride to be pretty rough and was hoping good drugs would help.
Went to town for a few things the casserole recipe called for, and a few more of course while I was there, and dropped off homemade bread at Everett’s.
Another beautiful night, cool, fall, but stars and clouds and moon, and combines and grain trucks in the fields around. Scott and Bruce are combining oats tonight, as they’ve been all day.

Full of noodle casserole, I don’t feel like doing a damn thing more, including dishes. I’ve just been for a stroll to the end of the driveway and around the yard. While walking across the road earlier today, the breeze was cool when you were facing into it — on went the sweater — but when it was behind you, you were sweating! Only in Saskatchewan? Or is it just me being so damn sensitive to temperature?

Decided to fly to Kelowna Oct. 17 and come back the 19th. Karen rearranged her schedule when she got to work this morning and texted me to book a ticket for her too. So that’s done. It'll be a quick trip but done during my usual four days off and not rushing back to work tired from travel. I've tried to arrange departure and arrival times at the most convenient times for us instead of what is least expensive (yet not most expensive either; got some frugal bones in me). Fingers are crossed that by going a few weeks earlier this year, weather doesn't force us to spend a day in the Calgary airport this time. Although I'm not entirely sure, now, that that was the cause of our missed connection last November. At any rate there's a two-hour layover in Calgary going both ways so we have a bit more leeway if a flight is delayed.

That back step under the night sky is calling me; with or without a libation in my hand, I will be going out. It may not be for long, due to the chill in the air; but I’ll go more often. One way or the other, I want to enjoy every moment of this.

Would you like to tramp along this path with me?
Kate's Five Things will be mailed out this week, maybe tomorrow. If you haven't signed up yet, what are you waiting for? SEE HERE.

Tuesday, September 29, 2015

Across the Road She Goes

Chicken carcass simmering on back burner: Check.
Leaves of sage on step, clipped and added: Check.
Toast and coffee down neck: Check.
Tarot card read: CHECK.
Bed made: Check.
Face washed: Check.
Aerial photo posted to FB and Twitter for WNews: Check.
Fresh batch "toothpaste" mixed: Check.
Teeth brushed: Check.
Loaves of bread made yesterday carried out to deep freeze: Check.

Too beautiful out to stay in, must grab camera and go: Check!

It's a gloryoryoryous day ...

Monday, September 28, 2015

Horseshoe Up My

8:33pm Sunday night

Phone rings. Loud noise (combine) in background.

“You should be out here taking pictures of this moon!”

I have just removed the battery from my camera and plugged it into the wall to recharge. I stuff a beer into each pocket, grab my cellphone and car keys, pull on a warm jacket and head for the driveway. The moon is hanging over the end of it and I snap a few photos with my cellphone before retreating to Little Green, out of the wind and cold. 
I drive over to Godhes’ yard and get Scott’s camera off the dash of his truck, then drive back up our road and pull onto the approach leading to the field where there are two sets of headlights. One is combining and the other is following behind with the baler. I turn off Little Green’s lights and engine and strike out across the stubble.
Ah, the scent of it! It’s lovely out there. I stretch my leg to step over wide swaths of oats without disturbing them, and when I get to the combine, it stops and Scott climbs down. I hand him his camera and a beer, and back onto the machine he goes. I make my way along the swaths till reaching Bruce pulling the baler, and hand him a beer when he opens the side door to see what I want.
“That should’ve been supper,” I think, walking back to the warmth. “They must be hungry.”
Then it’s home again. Damn, it’s cold out there! Orange moon or no.
I stop at the quonset and take some of Laurel’s sausages from the deep freeze, and put them in a pan to begin slowly thawing and frying when I get back in the house. I’ve no idea how long Scott will be in the field, but he’ll be hungry when he comes in.
It’s not long; he’s back in less than an hour.

Didn’t walk today. Was cold and windy. I had dishes to do. And I dug up perennials and took them to Bev’s in Kuroki and helped her plant them. Took a bottle of Gunnar and Melissa’s red wine (came home with a case of it. What was I thinking? I should've bought two) and had a glass with Bev and Paul. Home shortly before six. 
Bev noted that there are more weeds here than in Ontario (also more insects). I sang the praises of my horseshoe hoe, the answer to everything weedy, like ski pants are to winter. A few passes in the spring while the weeds are just seedlings, and in my garden they aren't unmanageable. I am not an ambitious gardener; I like to do just what I want to do and not more, just when I want and not when I don't, so low maintenance is key.
"What does it look like?" they wanted to know. 
I have laid it across a bucket of still-flowering pansies. 
If anyone sees a hoe like this for sale, please let me know where! I have found similar hoes but none the same width as this one, and that is what I want. I'll need a new one someday and they'd make perfect gifts for gardening friends. 
The horizontal metal is about six inches wide. The hoes I see on the hardware store walls are half the width. They may work as well, but take twice as long to cover the same area. The wide one, mine, can be tipped on a diagonal to get into tight "corners" so there is no advantage to the narrower hoe, that I can see. 

Sunday, September 27, 2015

My Kind of Churching

On Sunday mornings, I don't go to church. I give my spirit a feed by catching up on my favourite webpages, which you can see in the list (Arts & Letters) on the left side of the page. It's set up so that whenever a blogger posts a new entry, the title (and link to) the blog rises to the top of my list; those who update infrequently tend to stay down near the bottom. It's a handy little system and I put it on my page solely for my own convenience.

There are some I go read the moment I see they've written something new. There are some whose entries compel me less, and those can wait till I get around to them. There are some who write longlonglong and every day, whose writing can be quite wonderful, but I just can't keep up with them; I don't much like book-length reading on the computer screen, I must admit, and prefer time-consuming reading to be done while propped up in my comfy bed. But I peruse the list every day to see what's new and what my bloggie friends are doing.

Today I'd like to introduce you to a blog that I've only recently discovered where the author talks not only about crime-writing but about many mystery novels themselves, thus pointing me in the direction of titles I might otherwise never have come across. Thanks to Margot Kinberg, my local library is constantly in receipt of stacks of books I have ordered through the interlibrary system here in Saskatchewan.

One entry she's made lately is about her own experience, as a mystery writer, while travelling.
You may like to CHECK IT OUT and add Margot's blog to your list of favourites. JOAN, I'm particularly thinking about you because of your new mystery-writing endeavour; Margot's blog could be an inspiration and provide good tips.

Meanwhile, once Sunday morning is over and I get on up and about the day — and another sunny fine day it is — my plan is to dig up a daylily that desperately needs a home in a sunny spot, and five delphiniums to go with it, along with about three shasta daisies, and take them to Kuroki where my new friend Bev (who is Scott's cousin) lives. She and her beau moved out here from Ontario a couple years ago when she got a teaching job in town after her mom passed away. It seems teaching jobs down east were impossible to get, or so she'd been finding, so this was an opportunity not to be missed. Anyway, her mom had a nice little flower patch right in front of the living room window, and somehow it has been neglected for the past couple summers.

I dreamed about Uncle Bruce last night, probably because my aunt Shirley called yesterday and we had a good chat. In the dream, Bruce looked young and wasn't wearing his glasses, and I was surprised to see him because I knew he had died five years ago, but we hugged each other for a long time anyway and I wept tears of joy, knowing I was in the middle of a dream, but not caring.

Saturday, September 26, 2015

One Evening After Work

There are days when it's a challenge to come up with a snapshot to post with an entry here. Then there are days when I have too many, but want to post them before the weather and landscape have changed and my snaps are "old news."
heading south again
a glance back

and down the road i go

cattails where there used to be grass in the ditch
surprising how just a slightly different angle changes the light

through the grassy backyard driveway i glimpse at a distance the little herd that has spent the summer at our place

one of the oat fields waiting to be swathed

How do you like my tattoo?

Gave it to myself while wrestling a heavy pan of lasagne out of the oven last weekend.

Wearing my favourite shirt, which came from the new secondhand store in town.
It's another incredibly perfect fall day here, and it's almost noon as I go to post this, and well past time to throw on some clothing and get out for a walk. Wish you were here!


Alison lives a block from the office, and her cats — from one to three of the permanent residents, on any given workday — follow her to and from the Wadena News building.

Taken through rearview mirror; I'm leaving for the day and Alison turns to encourage Jackson and Viggi to keep up to her.

Friday, September 25, 2015

A Kind of Yellow

This thistle must have been touched by frost. Ya think?

We had the paper "put to bed" by four o'clock so have all had a chance to get out and enjoy this glorious summer day in fall.

Things are still blooming in my garden:

And in the sky, the typical V:

After a stop to see Everett for a few minutes after work, and a stop for groceries, I picked up a small chocolate milkshake for the road:

The view down mainstreet Wadena from the drive-thru window

Moth on Wildflower

A last sip of nectar before ... what's to come for this moth or butterfly?

Thursday, September 24, 2015

Harvest Harvest Everywhere

It's happening!
These men and machinery are taking off the crop across from Godhes' driveway. I've stopped at the corner, about to turn right and go into town.

Wednesday, September 23, 2015

Not Blindsided, but Might as Well Be.

First day at the computer for eight hours with progressives. SuckAGE. Not fun.

My co-worker Lee says he loves his now, though when he got them he was ready to throw them away the initial month.

"It's a matter of getting used to them," he says, repeating what the optometrist and his employees have said. "Then you'll automatically find that little window that works, without even thinking about it."

Uff Da.

In other big news from Ms Kate:

Click to enlarge.  From The Standing People, by Kahlee Keane.
Gunnar and Melissa have a mullein plant growing next to their driveway in Calgary, self-cloned by the one in the neighbours' back yard.

I've been keeping an eye out for it growing wild around here, but had no luck so far. Gunnar will save me some seeds from theirs so I can get some planted.

Up the Hill

On each of my four days off, I walked. On the third, I crossed the road to have a look at the north quarter.

Tuesday, September 22, 2015


It can't be helped.  You want to walk down it.

South of my driveway.
It's funny what the camera does. It draws everything close, so that you don't see all the open spaces beside the road.

These bins are more than a mile away. Considerably more.


When you're having major surgery on your chest, methinks you're one-armed for a while after.
Thus I've been prepping freezable foodstuffs for Rick and Faye, who is the chief cook over at their place and the one having an operation.

They were over last week for a drink and I sent them home with meat loaves and tomato soup.

Scott made his delicious tomato soup, which I ran through the blender and ladled into plastic jars to freeze. Just thaw, add milk, and heat.
I made lasagna casseroles (one of Mom's recipes) on the weekend.
And yesterday I made packages of meatballs.

I've worked my way through all my favourite ground beef dishes. Oh no, I haven't! There's still spaghetti casserole, chili, and bean dish.

Next: chicken.

New Specs

Am I in trouble here?
These glasses are fine for everything but reading on the computer screen, so far. A girl needs more than a pinprick-sized area that isn't blurry, and shouldn't have to rubberneck all over the place, throwing her neck out of whack, to find the one tiny spot where letters are clear.

That will never do!

We'll see what happens when I tackle the book stack tonight. But then it's three straight days at the computer desk. Practically a trial by fire.


Sunny day, warmish with cool breeze.
Long telephone chat with Luanne.
Trip to town to pick up new glasses.
Weird things. Might be a bit tough getting used to the reading-on-computer part.
But I'll give it three weeks and keep my fingers crossed.

Took Everett's refundables to the depot and dropped off the resulting $8.45 to him at work.

Picked up a bagful of groceries.

Walked in the door to find this on the kitchen table:

My note on top, Scott's beneath. 
So ... he is requesting a hearty late supper ...  then what does "Not K" mean?
It is a mystery.
Also, did we both make a K the same way?

I see one of them is out on a swather in the oats, as Scott had hoped for today.

Monday, September 21, 2015

Last Summer Night

Quite often when I look up from the back step as Ducky does his business before bed, or stand out in the yard under the stars, the sight of the Big Dipper takes me back to the veranda of a little cabin in northern New Brunswick.
There, the constellations seemed even larger and closer than they do here. Were we further north? Or was it that the yard was more heavily treed and so the Dipper was framed somehow, making it the sky’s main event?
But it is so, here, too.
It was beautiful there, then, and it’s beautiful here, now.

And I can’t help going back, in my mind, to the girl I was, and telling her where I am 36 years later: still awed and comforted by nature, still seeking frequent solitude, still sharing the dazzling night sky with no one.

The Hug

I can feel great heaps of fond affection for people standing in front of me, and none when they are not.

Is that normal? I mean, common?

It's not that I dislike or don't care about them when they're not in my presence.
But sometimes I'm unaware of my fondness for others till I find myself going in for the hug.

Sunday, September 20, 2015

Three-Mile Island of Peace

The road we live on is two miles long and runs south to north.
Our driveway is three-quarters of a mile north of the correction line, which lies east and west. 

There is a lot of bush and quite a few trees lining the mile of road along the Godhe land on the east side, and on the west there is bush set back behind a wide, open field. It’s a pleasant place to find myself at any time of day and I'm grateful for a quiet gravel road to walk on.

I've eaten a couple slices of toast and strapped a fanny pack to my waist, put a cap on my head to block the sun’s glare, pulled a down-filled vest over my shirt, and hooked the camera to a belt loop on my jeans. 

Looking north, from just south of our driveway
Old Jenna Doodle must've gone over to Godhes' yesterday and she hasn’t returned by morning, so it's just me and Ducky Doodle hitting the dusty trail.

After about a quarter-mile the road opens onto fields on each side, although one can always see trees lining the horizon. There are fewer trees near, and so on the windiest days I go south, but today the breeze is gentle albeit cool, and the sunlight on the golden stubblefields in the distance draws me north.

Wildflowers and weeds are still blooming in the ditch’s thick, tall green grass. A small flock of Canada geese is resting near a slough in the harvested field. 

I use the zoom function on the camera. If I stepped off the road, they'd all lift into the air.
Asters, breaking out in little bursts of colour all over.

Just over a half-mile up the road I turn, coming back past our yard and down the road to the south. 

Looking south from our place.
A red-tailed hawk startles from the long grass next to some bush by the road; it flies up, complaining at being disturbed, and carves a wide arc in the air, unwilling to get too far away from whatever it's been eating on the ground. I'm not quick enough to get a closeup with the camera. I'm too busy watching the hawk.

On one side of the ravine a family of mousey-coloured ducks floats on the water, and across the road there is what looks like the beginnings of a beaver lodge on the far shore. They have got the culverts blocked and the RM will have to come and clear them out.

Just past this point we come to the correction line. A three-minute walk to the east would take us to Godhes', where Scott grew up, where he goes every day to attend to farm business, and where his mother lives alongside his brother and brother's family. 

The correction line is often as busy as the highway several more miles to the south, so this is where I turn back.

A swathed canola field waits to be combined.

I see the hoof print of a young moose, and a tiny deer track, and coyote scat with rose hips in it. 
A merlin flies low over the cut oat stalks and passes overhead; I haven’t seen as many merlins this year as in others.

Home again:
The grass road leading into our back yard.

How many times have you come along with me on this walk?

Today, with the weather perfect and the entire day ahead, we went three miles.

Saturday, September 19, 2015

After Work

Production days — Fridays, when the week's collection of files for the Monday newspaper goes to the printer — are long ones. Jean doesn't work them anymore. Charlene wanders in for a few minutes in the afternoon and then goes her merry way. Our high school student has been in for an hour and is long gone. Bev begins wrapping up her front desk business so she can leave and lock the door at 5:30. Lee shuts off his computer and heads for home.

"You're missing all the fun!" I tell him as he prepares to walk out the door. "After hours: that's when we gals whip off our bras and get crazy!"

"I'm sure," he chuckles and waves goodbye.

Alison, Rita and I are left to finish the pages and get them sent. Occasionally the three of us go for a meal and a beer together when the job is done. Last night we walked out of the office shortly after 7 and strolled over to T & T Café on Main Street. It was a glorious, calm evening, pretty dark already. You almost hated to go into another building after being inside all day.

Alison and Rita agree: Damn that cold beer tastes fine.
Rita is left-handed, so I have a seat to myself. We are all having Cantonese chow mein. Our friendly waiter, who owns the place with his wife, places our order in the kitchen and stops to chat with the other customers in the restaurant, which closes in less than an hour.

The kid who abhors my "silly" singing has posted something to his page:
I keep telling him we turn into our parents eventually.
Think this is evidence?

Friday, September 18, 2015

Wedding Pics

Scott brought digital photographs home from Calgary and had a picture show when Faye and Rick came over last night.

Gunnar and Melissa's neighbour owns a fleet of vintage cars and lent a few for the entourage:

Waiting for the wedding party
It was cold and rainy and some of these cars had neither windows nor wipers, if I heard correctly.

After the ceremony and reception, a crew piled into a limo to go have pictures taken:

The groom is older than he looks.
Oh all right — the real groom.

Thursday, September 17, 2015

One of Those Nights

Everyone has them once in a while: a night when you go to bed tired, yawning, ready to snuggle in and fall asleep, and then you lie there awake until well into the wee hours. 

I had left the office at 5:30 to come home and bake a chocolate cake for Scott. I'd cleaned the kitchen and waited for him to arrive, because we'd talked about it in the morning and decided we'd either go out for supper or he'd bring a pizza from Kelvington, where he was shingling his 106-year-old grandmother's garage roof. 

But by the time he drove into the yard around 7:30, pizzaless, it was too late to run to town for supper. He'd need to bath first, and the restaurants close at 8 o'clock. So much for birthday plans! We sat chatting on the couch for a long while as he drank a cold beer (which I fetched; it was his birthday, after all), and then he went and lay in the tub for an hour with his iPhone. We ended up eating pork chops and fried cabbage sometime after 9 o'clock. 

And then he tucked into that cake, two or three helpings of it, and turned on the TV. That's when I got my pyjamas on and got into bed with The Orchardist.  I'd enjoyed the first half of it but now, by the second half, I'm skimming through. Around 11 o'clock I put it down and turned on the radio to listen to The Vinyl Café and then As It Happens. Usually I fall asleep somewhere in there, but not last night. I was too warm, I was too cold, I was too crowded, I was — who knows. 

It was just one of those nights.