Whirlwind in the Office

walking today

Pretty pastel sky on my walk today

Sure the first two hours of my day were spent reading, and in my pyjamas, but once I get going, I really get going. I found a recipe for Mediterranean Cabbage and Potato Soup (not stew, SecretAgentWoman) and holy hannah the vegetable chopping took forever. The slow cooker was heaped to overflowing. I got three loads of laundry done, and some vacuuming (Scott brought a Dyson home from Calgary on his last trip and it’s easy to move around, you don’t have to drag anything, and it’s not particularly loud, so I’m taking advantage of it. Now, what to do with the old Electrolux we bought for 20 bucks at a family garage sale?).

I’d planned to spend 5 minutes a day cleaning up the office, knowing 5 minutes always ends up more and it would be required. Today I got the bottom of the closet cleaned out and vacuumed, which means the recycling barrel is full and ready to go out the door, and I’ve looked through old photo albums and seen my great-great grandmother’s funeral notice, and more … and some gorgeous old portraits — I’ve no clue who they are and the big bother about that is What if one of them is that great-great -grandmother and -grandfather and nobody knows?  The way I see it, if you’re going to keep a portrait of anybody, isn’t it going to be them?

But oh my heavenly god there are a lot of photographs and other paperworks to be organized. Wish me luck. I’m actually tired after two-and-a-half hours at it. The bed behind me is loaded and has to be sorted through. The floor is half-full of containers and briefcases and photo frames. Thank goodness I have nothing but time and don’t have to squeeze all this around more pressing business. I can relax and enjoy doing it because — let’s face it — it’s fun to see these things again. But decisions, decisions! Out go the gardening magazines. Out go the old newspapers. Out go some old letters. Out Out!

I’ll have to call up my niece and invite her out to look at old albums because she has shown an interest woo hoo! and somebody has to steward the family photos after I die peacefully in my sleep, having all in order. Hee!


roosty6: Seeing the same devastation of natural parkland here too. More so this fall than ever since it has dried up. Soon we will have to go to town to see a tree. I’m keeping my hundreds of acres of woods just to be different. We like our trees and they will stay around as long as I’m alive. After that who knows? But I won’t be around to have to look at the barren wasteland of tree-less crop land. For now I’ll just enjoy the trees on our “hundred acre woods” and grow enough crops to make a living.

Neither of us will be around to suffer the treeless prairie  where once was parkland, but I hope things can change enough that more natural habitat will be protected by government. Surely we’re evolving toward that kind of thinking in this society, even though we’re so goddawful molasses-slow to make it happen. People do care — I hear it often, the dismay at seeing yet another field of trees flattened — and it’s the government that has to get the message. Methinks it darest not piss off the farmers; what’r ya gonna do? Also, not all farmers hate trees. THANK GOD or we’d be a desert. But we’re fast getting there.

Beverly King:  I feel your frustration. We’ve lost so many century-old trees here because of hurricanes, tornadoes and straight-line windstorms, I see no logic in cutting down others unless they present a danger. A few years ago, the huge Baptist church in the neighborhood decided it needed more parking space so it bulldozed dozens of old trees (that had been a home and food source for many woodpeckers and other birds). I went over and took pictures of the destruction, and one day was spotted by one of the faithful. They came knocking on my door with a homemade loaf of bread to placate my anger. I never touched that bread – I couldn’t bear to eat any of it. That parking lot is now the cause of much flooding in our neighborhood.

I can just see that bread being bitter without being tasted.

Secret Agent Woman: I cheated and googled uxters to find out it was armpit holes in a jacket. I like the word. I also laughed at turning your thermostat down to 68 – we turn it from 68 to 64 at night.

Good god, 64! I think I’m doing good at 68, and even that I find cold when I get up at night to go down the hall.

Secret Agent Woman: Oh man, I hate when trees are needlessly cut down.

There’s always a reason, but it’s not always a good enough one.

Joancarolineart: Gary and his mum knew what oxters were as soon as i asked them and they laughed at my pronunciation of it as they say it with an “oh” sound and I used an “uh”…….then proceeded to use it in a sentence…

Gary has no business laughing at you.

He who called a cow a “coo.”

Give ‘im a peck for me.

Wisewebwoman: Ah that’s my girl, grabbing the Irish in your fists and shaking it.

I think you might remember the devastation I suffered with the approximately 1000 trees that were ripped off the belly of the earth beside me when I resided around the bay. I will never forget my heartbreak. He waited till I was away on vacation and I came back to the gouged and bleeding earth. I cried for weeks. All the more painful when we know today that trees “talk” to each other underground and sustain each other transferring nutrients to those in need.

Deepest sympathy. It hurts so badly.

It really does feel awful, and what was done near your place was 100 times worse. I’m grateful my mother-in-law is a lover of trees so that her land across the road from us won’t be denuded. Nor will our 32 acres here, where the house sits. We’ll hang onto every tree by our fingernails. Quite a few have been lost in the past few years due to flooding but so far we’re not living on the surface of a moon.

Oh and WiseWebWoman, I heard about Newfoundland’s “trigger mitts” last night on the CBC “Sunday Edition” podcast. Now there’s something I’d never heard of before.

I leave you with some pictures taken while sitting in the truck at the gas pumps, waiting for Scott to pay for fuel:


red apple and train

mainstreet wadena



Up to Me Uxters

tracks across pond 1

Deer tracks? Coyotes? Crossing the frozen slough.

Every afternoon lately I’m out walking a mile or mile-and-a-half, but since a couple days ago I always turn south because turning north pisses me off, sets me off, turns me off. A neighbouring landowner has knocked down a stand of trees and although he has the legal right to do so, my guts churn when I see what he’s done.

I need a pleasant walk, not one where I’m saddened and disgusted. It’s hard enough to make myself get onto the road sometimes, let alone being reminded of unnecessary environmental degradation and lack of respect for future generations — lack of caring not only about wildlife habitat but about the nature — the trees — that humans need too.

So I walk south, three-quarters of a mile to the correction line, then turn and come back to our driveway. It’s enough for now. The wind’s cool yet the snow’s soft, snowball-melty; I’m sweating inside my parka after a half-hour of steady striding.  A few years ago I was equally disturbed by the carnage imposed on trees south of our place. Now I’m used to it and don’t even think of it. It’s just when the trees lay there in torn piles that I’m sickened by the sight.  I’ve spared you the visuals, though you’ve seen the mess if you follow me on Instagram. You’ll witness a lot of it if you drive around the countryside, and it disturbs anyone who gives a shit about what will be left — or not left — for the generations that come after us.


Wisewebwoman: Finally a pic of downtown Wadena, I was most curious to see what it looked like. Love the lowish sun. 7 more days to Solstice.

Here ya go on Uxter – which is merely an Irish variant of oxter. Handy term which sounds much better than pit, don’t you think?




plural noun: oxters

a person’s armpit.

“Up to me uxters” = fed up with you. Drowning in work. Very unhappy.

you’re welcome.

Thank you! I never would’ve guessed.

I’m up to me uxters with farmers plowing down trees to create agricultural land they don’t really need, as most of these guys already have plenty of land — more than most. It’s an epidemic for which, I believe, one day we’ll all be sorry. Or should be, if we aren’t. But big business won’t be, ever, and these farmers are big businesses.

Lorna Cunningham-Rushton: Up to me uxters…I’ve known how to get there, I just didn’t know how to get admired for it.

I still don’t know how to get admired for it!

Joan, say “I’m up to me uxters” to Gary someday, see if he raises an eyebrow to hear it coming from you!


Uxters and Bindles

Looking north down mainstreet Wadena, waiting for Scott to pick me up as soon as I finished a little Christmas shopping.

On my way to bed, I’ve turned off all the lights and lowered the thermostat to 68F and clicked on the bedside lamp and flossed and brushed my teeth and had a pee and now it’s time to shut off the laptop and do you think I can do that when there’s been no entry made today and the least I can do is post a photo? Oh no, not me. Not tonight, even though my eyes really don’t want to do this. However, they’re not the boss of me! No siree!

I can’t find “uxters” in the online dictionary, Mary! Please put me out of my misery.

And then there’s “bindles” …

“What did she think she would find — needles, bindles, a treasure map?” … from Blue Shoe, by Anne Lamott

“noun Slang.
a bundle, usually of bedding and other possessions, carried by a hobo.”


Wisewebwoman: I’m so unCanadian I just hate hockey and all the shouties at the big screen and the cold of the rinks and little kids being suited up in smelly locker rooms. Grinch me.
No that town is nowhere near Dublin, Limerick and Dublin are at opposite sides of Ireland.
I’m going to make your rice dish. I have a feeling it’s going to be a staple.

There are plenty of us Canadians who can’t be bothered with hockey or any other kind of observer sports, but those who are enthusiastic drown us out.

I found a map last night and did some googling and learned that our 5Xgreat-grandparents Barclay and Mary Rose Lawrence were both baptized (or maybe birthdates were registered as baptisms) at the Parish Church in Rathskeale, which is a small place about 10 miles from the town of Limerick, and I see it’s in the southern part of the country. It’s a tiny population and there were a lot of immigrant refugees from Germany. Wouldn’t that be a shocker for our family, Reta, to learn we had some German ancestors?

soapboxpulpit: bev looked into some geology last year mabe she has more info

I’ll ask what she found out!

Looking south down Main St. a mere minute after Scott phoned and was ready to swing by. Perfect timing.

Rink Burgers a Bust

That’s Karen making her way toward the window; she’s next to the lady in red.

The rink burgers we had last night – which generally I find delicious, fresh off the grill — were so disappointing that I choked down mine without enjoying a single bite, and Scott left half of his – a philly steak lasagne special and the coleslaw that came with it – on the plate. If you know Scott, a.k.a. Voratio, you know that never happens. Food has to be pretty terrible for him to disdain it. He found something else to eat as soon as we got home. So much for burgers at the curling rink in Wadena. We won’t give up on other rinks just yet though. There’s still a hockey arena in town — mind you, we never go to a hockey game and I never will if I can avoid it so …I guess that was our rink burger experience for this winter.


wisewebwoman: I am so pissed. I rely on CBD oil for pain management and now it turns out Canada, now that it’s legal, has run out. “they didn’t anticipate the pain crowd,” I was told. Talk of moronic poor planning. Apparently bureaucracy forgot you need grow-ops with finished products and more on the go before you open the shop. The store offered me CBD with THC but getting high is not in my immediate future, thanks.I’ll have to try my Vancouver, formerly illegal, source again. On your comment: I have diabetes so shots take an inordinate amount of time, or the tissues and nerves to. 😦 My reading is through the roof lately. I’m not complaining. Must check out your recipes. We’re having a deadly winter, we’re all pissed. It usually starts mid Feb and now we’re up to our uxters in snow. Grrr.

One does have to wonder how the legal supply has been so poorly managed. Has the demand suddenly been so much greater? At least the black market dealers seem to know what they’re doing and I guess they should, they’ve been doing it long enough.

If you try the ginger noodles recipe, you might want to halve the amount of spaghetti if it’s just for yourself. I used an entire package and that makes a lot; also I’m thinking of making up more of the marinade to give extra flavour, as the noodles are tasting bland today.

Uxters! Another new word (to me), courtesy of you and your wild Irish ways! I must look it up online. That and another unfamiliar word, not in my Canadian Oxford Dictionary: bindles.

soapboxpulpit: can you by cauliflower rice,can here but havnt tried it

Never heard of such a thing! Let me know how it is, once you’ve had some. And is it crazy expensive too?

By the way, Reta, I was poking around Ancestry.com the other night and discovered the names of our Irish grandmother Mary Ann’s parents: George Lawrence, born 8 Jan 1786 in Ballinganane, County Limerick, Ireland, and Margaret Rose (don’t know maiden name), born 1785 in Limerick.

Looks like the village of Ballinganane is 30 miles from Dublin, but I can’t find it anywhere online. Seems there is a village of Ballingarry in Limerick. Maybe WiseWebWoman can offer some clarity on this, being born and raised in Ireland herself. I also found Ballynaganane in a Limerick voters’ list online.

George’s father was Barclay Lawrence, born 1759 in Limerick County, and George’s mother’s name was Joan.

So… Karen, Joan, Leanne, Karla, Damon … Barclay and Joan are our 5xgreat-grandparents. And Joan, isn’t it interesting to note that we have two Joans in the background … not only Joan Hoddinott in Frome (Somerset County, England), but a Joan in Ireland too.

I’ve received my DNA test from Ancestry and am holding off spitting in the tube and mailing it back till I hear that Canada Post has cleaned up its backlog from the strikes.

I have yet to find out what nationality our Bartley line was before the family became Canadian. English or Irish, I imagine … but which?

Teresa: Great picture. If the cannabis is less harmful and more effect why the heck not! Absolutely absurd! Food prices don’t get me started.

Our friend was told by a doctor that since he hadn’t had any school training with cannabis, he couldn’t prescribe it. But that doesn’t make perfect sense either — doctors aren’t trained in every new drug that comes out, but they still prescribe them — I guess that’s because the drug companies give them some educational material — but who is providing that for cannabis and its products?

Food, Prices, Cannabis

big sky

Walkin’ under the big sky

Finally I remembered to snap a photo to include with the recipe on the other blog, so if you haven’t made Faye’s Oven Rice yet, let me remind you to give it a try! I love it so much — and it’s so easy — that I made it three times during the week Scott was away last month. It provided six suppers for me. Since I was here alone I didn’t double it, but usually it’s worthwhile to do so because we both like it. Thanks again, Faye, for sharing this one: Oven Rice Casserole. We had it again last night with steamed carrots and a tossed green salad and Scott didn’t even complain that there wasn’t any meat on his plate, that carnivore.

Now what else can I say to catch you up on the last few days. Oh my exciting life!

We made a trip cross-country to Kelvington on Sunday morning to deliver beef to Scott’s sister and her husband, and had lunch and a visit with them. Before coming home we stopped at their Co-op store for groceries. I love cauliflower but wasn’t about to pay $5.99 for a head of it that was half the size of a normal one. Hope that’s not going to be the case going forward, regardless of what they say on the news about vegetable prices shooting sky-high. Cauliflower will become a rare treat instead of being included in the weekly menu around here.

While I’m focusing on food I might as well remind you about Joan’s Spicy Ginger Noodles. I’ve just made a big bowl of it, had it for lunch, and will be having it tomorrow and the next day, too. Tonight the plan for supper is rink burgers; Karen’s curling in town and we’re going to go watch a game.

It was Scott who gave me the idea to make the ginger noodles today, but darned if I can remember why he mentioned the dish. Oh it was because of peanuts. We’ve just bought a bag of the salted ones and he was pouring himself a bowlful last night for dessert and remembered the recipe calls for some.

Yesterday our neighbour, whose wife’s funeral lunch is the one I helped with on Friday, stopped in to return empty food trays (he’d taken home leftovers) and he came in for a short while. He reported that he’d dosed his wife with cannabis oil when the standard painkillers weren’t helping her, and that the cannabis oil had made a huge difference. We were glad to hear this because we know what some of the side effects of morphine and its derivatives are, and also that they sometimes don’t do the job without overdosing a patient. Unfortunately he had to push hard to get a doctor who would prescribe it, and he also had to give her the dosage himself because some nurses weren’t comfortable to do it without a doctor’s express order. This makes sense of course but don’t you think doctors need to get on top of this yesterday? People are suffering. Do what you have to, to provide relief. Get to it!


wisewebwoman: To answer your questions: Yes one gets a second Shingrix booster shot about 3 months after the first. I don’t react well, the 1st one was in my left upper arm and it’s still reacting so this one was in the bum but it too is painful. Yes another $150. Rant: Health Care why don’t you pay for this, a session with shingles in the hospital and care is thousands and thousands of dollars, you morons/rant. And as it’s seniors need this, its doubly cruel on slender pockets.
I just finished “Reading in Bed” by Sue Gee. And accidental discovery She wouldn’t be to everyone’s taste and the book cover is totally misleading for such an interesting writer. Hugely different and intelligent exploring different relationships and how we really don’t get close to anyone until driven.
What is it you think you’re reacting to, in the vaccine?
They insist you can’t get sick from the flu shot but I sure as hell did, and then got the same symptoms the following winter too. I hadn’t had a flu since high school so had no doubt it was the vaccine or its carrier that I reacted so negatively to.
Just ordered the Sue Gee book through the local library, which will get it from another library somewhere in the province. I love that service and if they ever don’t have it, you will hear me wailing all the way from here.
dkzody: I work on funeral memorial lunches for our church. Although hard work, it is rewarding work when you see the family and friends enjoying good food and fellowship around the tables.
I can’t say I worked all that hard, but I know what you mean about seeing people together for a bit of feasting.

A Funeral and a Christmas Party

snow1I enjoy working alongside Karen and her partner(s); it’s always nice to be with women. Three of us had started making sandwiches around 8:00 at Karen’s and by 9:30 were in Wadena, carefully trodding on ice while making umpteen trips in and out of the funeral home with boxes and trays and bags. We were setting up the lunch for a neighbour’s funeral that started at 11. Once people got through the buffet, they stepped over to where I was filling cups with coffee and tea to try to keep the line moving. What a pleasure to see so many familiar faces and hear so many polite (though unnecessary) thank you’s. People constantly win me over with their friendliness and good manners.


I was home by 1:30 so had a few hours to relax before it was time to head back to town for Emil’s Christmas party. A nap was calling, but I’m not a napper so bundled up and went for a walk instead. A lot of people commented, yesterday, about how cold it was, but I’d been thinking it was a perfect walking day: bright, low wind, blue sky.

Today was another one like it and, say what you will about how I’m not “mindful” while walking if I’m listening to a podcast to keep myself from being bored (because that’s what I do or the road seems endless, let’s face it; or as my late friend Katherine said, “It’s not boring, you’re boring!” — the wench — she may well have been right), it does make the long straight mile or more, with very few animal or bird sightings these days, pass more quickly. Today: lots of moose, deer and coyote tracks, but no bodies to be seen.


Who says snow is white? I see a lot of blue.

We joined a hall filled to the ceiling with revellers for the Christmas party and had a good supper, musical entertainment — even a couple dances — me anyway — Grandpa Godhe used a sore knee as an excuse to stay sitting, while I was asked by a couple strangers (to me) from the group home in Preeceville who obviously realize that if you want to have fun at a dance, you gotta dance! We got to visit a bit with people we know but hadn’t seen in a while, and were home in our pyjamas before 10 o’clock.


Roosty6: Rime Frost!! Jeez, are they changing that too? All my long life it has been known as hoarfrost and I have never before heard the term “rime frost”. Of course I will stubbornly continue to use the term I grew up with. Very scenic here too.
It’s beautiful, no doubt about it, no matter what it’s called, but like you I’ve never heard of rime frost. It’s as if suddenly the climatologists learned a new word! Surely you’d think there had been rime frost around here at least once before …
Karen and I, on our way from her place to Wadena yesterday morning, remarked that the frost on the trees was unusually heavy; so much so that it looked like thick icing. Again, it wasn’t really something we’ve seen exactly like that before except on Christmas cards!

Wisewebwoman: I do love reading about your days, the simplicity and the doing-ness of it. I’ve had a second shingles booster shot and I’m not up to much today as my arse is holding me down. But shyte I have a great book and this is a wonderful excuse to let the dishes mount.
Thanks for saying so, because as you know I do have frequent moments of thinking ‘Honestly, who cares?’ about my ditherings.
I didn’t know one needed a booster for the shingles vaccine. Is it as expensive as the initial shot? And is your heavy-ass day a result of side effects?
And what is this great book you’re reading? I’ve a stack of nine from the library but lately none are falling into the category of “great.”

Keep Your Fetishes Out of My Face

field on my walk

Got some blue sky yesterday; back in the grey/white today

Things I’m learning from books (specifically Jane Austen: the Secret Radical):

  • All those quaint stone fences and hedgerows in rural Britain are the result of the Enclosure Act, meant to keep the public off land previously accessible to everyone for wood-gathering, hunting, and even growing gardens. These enclosures created widespread hardship, including hunger and poverty, for the general population, while increasing the wealth of landowners who were meant to look out for inhabitants and workers but instead saw to their own pockets.
  • The gypsies turned up in Britain about 1000 years ago from India, but were initially thought to have come from Egypt, which is why they were called “gypsies.”


wisewebwoman: Jaysus. Lifebuoy. Peel the skin off a potato that soap. Maybe it was the inadvertent face peels that turned the men on? Years younger is a flash, pardon my exposed capillaries?

Catching up. Loved the movie watching episode.

There are some pretty awful ads in those old newspapers. And hey, ladies: it’s all about pleasing those men! (BLORT)

Speaking of (BLORT), the other night I watched the latest episode of “Sally4Ever” on HBO and had to turn away at the first sight of a man shitting on the face or into the mouth (I don’t know, by then I wasn’t looking) of a woman during a sexual (i.e. woman does it all for the man, which seems to be the trend in HBO series) encounter … I literally gagged. And I mean literally. Too much! Fine, people, have your little fetishes, but come on, HBO: don’t show me friggin’ puke and shit!

Other than that, “Sally4Ever” has been hilarious at times.