grouse on step

Photo: Scott’s Eyeball

This ruffed grouse’s two feet were standing on two feet of snow on our front step yesterday.

The snow was already disappearing fast throughout the afternoon, and then last night it rained!

Things look a lot different out there today.  We’ve gone from white to brown.


I’ve got three books on the go after finishing the one where I got the quote below.

Shrewed, by Elizabeth Renzetti / essays on lives of women

Honey in the Horn, by H.L.Davis / settling the northwestern US / fiction / fabulous writing

Among Others, by Jo Walton /  a misplaced girl with a dead twin and fairies


There are times when eyes and ears are not enough, times when you need to go inside yourself, to listen to the Whisperers in the Pit who, although they may sometimes shock you, are very seldom wrong.

-Alan Bradley, The Grave’s a Fine and Private Place


Saturday: CHEW ON THIS

My Christmas gift from Emil: a doorstop.

We’ve always been told that oatmeal porridge “sticks to your ribs” and keeps you going till the next meal, but Scott and I find ourselves hungry again mid-morning after porridge for breakfast.

I read somewhere that chewing signals your brain that you’ve eaten, and food that doesn’t require chewing doesn’t give that signal and so you’re hungry sooner.

I remembered Shelly eating her oatmeal with toast — she’s the only person I’d ever seen do that! — and thought maybe a slice of toast with our oatmeal would make the difference, so we tried it.

My verdict: It must’ve helped because I wasn’t hungry till noon.

Scott’s: Mmm, can’t say for sure. I bought a chocolate bar at a service station in Canora on the way by.


“You exist because of the love of thousands of people who came before you.”
Ain’t that just the literal truth. (Assuming there was love, not just sex.)


Duckie Doodle woke me at seven this morning, though he didn’t seem to want anything and went back to his own bed. Little shit. Anyway I got up and shuffled down the hall to the bathroom, then washed my hands and, while drying them, hopped onto the closed wooden toilet-seat lid to look out the window. The first things I noticed were some pretty, wispy clouds in a blue sky, and then black soil in spots behind the house where the snow has melted, and then movement! A male ruffed grouse with his tail fanned out and his neck feathers fluffed up, making his way one step at a time toward a female near the back step. Every once in a while he’d peck the snow before taking another step.

I wished for my camera, but that didn’t bring it to me.


DSCF9495I think of Grandpa B often while doing dishes. I’d wash them at Grandpa & Grandma’s place and leave them to drip dry. He’d tell me to finish them.

When tempted to leave a few things drying on the counter, I remember that and also the list of Zen Things magneted to the fridge. One of them is DO IT COMPLETELY. And I do. And it feels good.


It’s Friday, one of my goin’-to-town days if I need to hit the grocery store or the credit union or the library, or pick up farm eggs where they are dropped off for me. I’ll probably do three out of four this afternoon, leaving a loaf of freshly made bread with Everett for his trouble (he receives the eggs at the store where he works). Emil’s coming out this weekend and gets off work at four, so I’ll pick him up. He’d like to go to Margo, but “I know we can’t go visiting every time I’m there,” he says. “We’ll see,” I say.


Another thing I didn’t know: there is a chemical that never existed before it was manmade. It might start with a Z. And now there are traces of it in every person on the planet.

That’s scary.


Please note a new entry on “Blondi’s Blog” at left.



DSCF9490The landscape is changing so fast now that the temperature has risen into the double-digits this week.

I still have to wear rubber boots to get to the barn or the end of the driveway, but if this melt keeps up I should be walking in my running shoes.

Wait. I don’t have running shoes! Do I? I should get some.


I texted Everett last night.

Me: How are the new boots?

Him: They are footwear.


God where did I get this kid.



There’s mist rising off the gravel road today.

At the counter, the clerk lifted an eyebrow along with the boots. “Are you sure you want these?” she asked. “They’re very heavy!” She looked slightly incredulous, on the verge of disapproving.

I started to explain that I don’t mind the weight, it’s probably good for my leg muscles, and that you never know when you might need steel toes (they give me confidence on a construction site) but soon gave it up. I don’t really need the weight or the toes. What I like are the high tops and the zippered sides.

Zippers are the only inducements for buying footwear with laces, and high tops keep my ankles safe when walking through rough pasture or … wait for it … a field of stubble. You thought you were joking? Stubble will poke your ankles through your socks mercilessly.

If Scott’s been calling me “Stompy” before, now he’s speaking the truth.


I didn’t know this had happened.

Makes me wonder how many other things I don’t know about recent history. Know what I mean?



breaking in the boots indoors

I stayed in the truck and read the newest Flavia de Luce mystery while the men went into Peavey Mart. The next stop was Yuen’s and I poked around the shoe shelves while they tried on boots.

It’s quite the place. I thought it was only a SaskTel outlet till Scott bought boots there for Emil last month. We discovered it has everything you need in the clothing department, and clearance sales throughout.

I was picking up and looking at walking shoes but not thinking seriously about buying, until Scott pointed out that some of the ladies’ footwear was 70% off.

I went so far as to state that I don’t need anything (oh the self-discipline!) and then I saw these steel-toed workboots with a zipper up the side priced at $200. A clerk rang them up along with a $10 pair of rubber boots for Scott and some insoles … for a total of $85.

Everett got 50% off a pair of CAT workboots so he came away happy too.


From the back step: circle around the setting sun

Everett’s steel-toed workboots were splitting and falling apart. Scott too needed boots and he drove. The highway was dry and clear except for some patches near Humboldt where snow was blowing across the road and sticking to it so heavily it was as if we’d suddenly entered a twilight zone. A car had slid across the centre line and was in the ditch to our right. Further on, the largest hockey stick I’ve ever seen was propped up against a power pole alongside the highway. Soon an invisible cloud of sorrow seemed to emanate from the town. I told myself I was imagining that. But maybe I wasn’t.


A community service in Humboldt was on radio and TV last night, and there were some good speakers. I take some comfort from uplifting passages from the Bible that remind me we are more than physical, that there is a dimension we often forget about; also that death, loss, sorrow and change are inevitable, normal, and we all experience them. It’s not just me, it’s everyone; I’m not alone. There’s something normalizing about it that eases my sense of being in a horror movie when unbearable shit happens. It reminds me that the best we can do is take what comes.

But when preachers start talking about God the Father sitting on His Throne, they turn me off completely because now it’s a fairytale. Now it’s smoke and mirrors. Such meaningless twaddle is insulting. How stupid do they think we are?

I can’t say I don’t believe in God, though — some kind of higher, deeper energy — “creative intelligence” it’s been called — or even angels. Or is it saints? Can’t remember now. Anyway Mom’s good friend Joanne was a Catholic churchgoer and told me about asking a certain saint for help finding lost objects. She believed she received real help when she did.

It may have been Joanne who mentioned asking a particular saint or angel for protection on a road trip. I’d been anxious in vehicles lately and so as we set out I thought what the hell, why not? and voiced a silent request and a thanks in advance to Archangel Michael (I think it was) for a safe homecoming. Long story short, that day we had a miraculous-seeming close call on an icy bridge in Saskatoon. Scott was behind the wheel and as soon as he could steer away from the heavy traffic all around us, he stopped the van and we both caught our breaths. He’d agree there was something almost magical that happened back there, taking us out of danger. It was one hell of an unlikely avoidance of carnarge, and I have always wondered … and when I feel anxious in a vehicle, I sometimes remember to thank St Michael (or whoever it is) in advance for getting us safely home again.

Sunday: OFF TO BED

DSCF9469 Notes:

“Aldous Huxley put Dora Carrington in a novel as Mary Bracegirdle in Crome Yellow.”

“I nearly leapt out of my liver.” -Flavia de Luce in The Grave’s a Fine and Private Place

Elizabeth Renzetti’s novel Based on a True Story was returned to the library this evening, unfinished. Young Flavia had more pull. Renzetti’s collection of essays, Shrewed, awaits.

This is the second night I can’t stay awake late. ‘Barn swarry!’