Narcissistic Linky Love

mainstreet wadena

Entering mainstreet Wadena from the south at dusk. I’d begun walking from Emil’s house to Everett’s. 

Telling Deb about Mom and Aunt Reta (in a comment a few days ago) got me wondering if I’d posted a picture of Mom when she heard Reta at the door. I did a search of my earlier blog and clicked on this link (entry includes Everett at 12, when he was still adorable without even trying):

Man that old blog is a pain to navigate. I read this entry

And there are no forward and back links anymore, darn it!

But it’s still leading me down the rabbit hole; here’s a photo with Joan and Karen in it … At Mom’s First Funeral

I found it! The picture showing Mom getting up from her chair when Reta Arrives.

After reading the entry at the top link, I had a little cry. It taught me something. The grief this morning was not about Mom being gone. It was about her suffering before she went.

After hearing about her diagnosis, I had serious crying jags and nights of tossing and turning, unable to sleep. I’d wake up from a mere doze and be half-dreaming that Mom was in pain and I was helpless to make it stop. Hives broke out on my forearms and welts struck my eyes. I should find the picture of *that* – oh my gawd. Now when I cry, I keep the salty tears wiped away.


Even when the ingredients of a recipe don’t entice me to try it, I always read Mr.  Lincez’s kitchen tips at the end of “Harvest Fare,” the best newspaper cooking column I know:

Kitchen Tips: Properly prepared, garlic is nothing to be afraid of but a couple of things
to remember are that garlic tends to burn fast – making it bitter. If you’re
sautéing an onion and a diced pepper, for instance, add the garlic halfway
through. In most cases minced is best. You want the garlic flavour without
biting into a chunk of it during dinner. If you are using whole garlic buds
to flavour a stock or cook a roast, give them a good smash to get things going.
There are a couple enzymes within a whole clove that usually stay
happily away from one another. A simple smash forces the two to mingle.

Wadena News

Farmers for Climate Solutions

Farmers need to lead the discussions about farming & climate.
The NFU wants you to know about the launch of a campaign, Farmers for Climate Solutions, which launches today, National Agriculture Day.  The NFU, with partners across Canada, is working to ensure that any conversation about agriculture and climate change is led by farmers, lending our experience to the conversations and bringing our determination to maintaining farmer livelihoods while we lead on climate solutions.

Our recent report, Tackling the Farm Crisis and the Climate Crisis:  A Transformative Strategy for Canadian Farms and Food Systemsidentifies that the agriculture sector contributes 12 percent of Canada’s greenhouse gas emissions. It also identifies many ways that farmers can help reverse this trend. In fact, agriculture is one of the most promising sectors for delivering fast and effective climate solutions.

Stewart Wells, NFU Vice President of Operations and an organic grain, alfalfa and pulse farmer, has seen extreme weather events increase on his 3500 acre farm in near Swift Current, Saskatchewan in recent decades. “Across the country, many of us are already implementing climate solutions on our farms and in our communities. Climate-friendly practices will look different from one farm to the next, but every farmer has the capacity to be part of the solution,” he said. Cutting emissions creates other benefits for farmers, including increasing farm resilience, enhancing soil health and improving farmer livelihoods.

Emphasizing the urgency of addressing climate change, Mr. Wells explained that “we can’t do this alone – we need agricultural programs and policies that support climate-friendly farming practices and that take into account the livelihood of Canada’s 270,000 farmers. With Farmers for Climate Solutions, we’re creating a platform for farmers to come together to propose effective and realistic steps that work for their farms and their communities,” Stewart Wells said.

The NFU is joined by SeedChange (formerly USC Canada), Equiterre, Rural Routes to Climate Solutions, Farm Folk/City Folk, Canadian Organic Growers, and Ecologicial Farmers Association of Ontario in Farmers for Climate Solutions.

We invite you to explore the webpage:  Follow and share the social media that surrounds this launch (Facebook:  @FarmersFermiers) and be prepared to hear about it on traditional and social media.  Let us know if you would like a printed copy of Tackling the Farm Crisis and the Climate Crisis — We’ll send it to you for great reading!

We look forward to sharing more details and policy direction soon.  Please join us in conversations about how to tackle the farm financial crisis and the climate crisis and build a Canada where farms — and farmers — can flourish for generations to come.

Best wishes,
Your friends at the National Farmers Union

Contact information:
Telephone: 306-652-9465

Mailing address:
2717 Wentz Ave., Saskatoon, SK S7K 4B6


I’ve Got Good Sisters


One of my most-often-worn pendants.  The little stopper comes out so one can put essential oil in it for aromatherapy purposes. If you know the meaning of the symbol, please tell me.

The other day I was thinking about how much I like my sisters.

We don’t get together all that often — but then again it’s not like we have to. It’s not as if time or distance estranges us.

They’re two of my favourite people. They’re sweet-natured and kindhearted. I can’t think of one time when as adults we exchanged a harsh word or a mean-spirited judgment of one another. It’s almost as if we each find the others above reproach. Talk about having someone’s back! They’re both easy to be with and easy to talk to.

That’s not to say those two don’t run themselves ragged or that I don’t run myself ragged enough. We’re all different, but the same too (I remember Karen’s daughter Danielle as a teen saying something along the lines of it being like having three of her mom in the house because Joan and I hum and noodle too).

I’d trust either of them with my life. How lucky am I to feel that way about my sisters!

Last night I was remembering the day, trying to choose which event had been the best part of it. Hands-down it was when Karen parked in front of the post office to get their mail so I got to see her for a few minutes in her bright red jacket, which I covet. (I can safely say that because it wouldn’t fit me; if it did and she read this, she’d probably insist on giving it to me. Both sisters are like that; we call it GrandpaBensonitis, as our granddad would hardly let you leave their house without giving you something.)

Hail to the sisterhood, I say.

As Far as the Eye Could See

Give me a view of distant horizons and I am one contented cow. This was seen through the living room windows at Margo for the past three weeks. Across the highway and over the railway tracks and beyond to Margo Lake and Stony Lake in the far distance.

In comparison, the view from the living room window back here at Golden Grain Farm isn’t much to look at. There’s a barn and a tractor shed — I like those – and there’s my perennial flower bed visible from the kitchen window in summer. But landscape with any horizon is blocked by either scrubby trees or old buildings.

Our yard’s one redeeming feature (if you don’t count the warm and dry house, for which we’re grateful, and the quonset and outbuildings for all Scott’s stuff) is the dugout and slough at the edge of the back yard. Not to look at — all you see is cat-tails — but as habitat for waterfowl. Last summer the water was so low that the usual waterfowl didn’t hatch and raise their young here. No coots splashing, or soras whistling, or ducks calling their young to the nest at nightfall. We had red-winged blackbirds so summer wasn’t a complete disappointment. Happily there were plenty of robins, goldfinches, and woodpeckers in the trees. The ruffed grouse live here year-round. Magpies check in for all seasons and crows fly through in the warm months. Ravens flap past in winter, and hawks, cranes, eagles, swans, vultures and herons wing over during spring, summer and fall.

Scott dreams of filling in the dugout. He’s never liked it so close to the yard, and because of its depth and steep sides it’s a safety hazard should children get out of your sight and go exploring. Now that we have grandchildren who will visit, maybe he’ll make his wish come true.

No TV? No Problem!

night view

That light in the window is a train going by.

Instead of doing the lazy thing in the evening — turning on the television in hopes of being entertained — this week’s night hours have been spent listening to music, dancing around by myself, looking out the window, reading, and lounging on the couch (looking out the window). Just as lazy, probably, but somehow feels better; less like time wasted.

I’d been pressing two buttons — TV on, sound on — before sitting down on the couch with my supper and losing myself in dramas and comedies till my eyes wouldn’t stay open. That doesn’t mean I was up late. Au contraire. Sometimes I was in bed by eight o’clock.

Upon returning to the house after supper with Scott on Monday, I thought to plop onto the couch and veg out. Alas, the satellite receiver had stopped working and nothing I could do, no advice from Scott, and no efforts by Brendalyn’s dad could whip it into shape. They’ll probably come home (expected today) and know exactly what to do. I hope so.

I’ll still tease them by saying “Three strikes and I’m out!”

The first time I stayed here, a baby gate had to be placed across a doorway to keep the dog out of the old cat’s “safe” part of the house at night. Being mechanically challenged, the gate was a bit of a struggle for me and I managed to gouge a chunk out of the drywall.

By the second time I dogsat, there was no more gate because the old cat had gone on to “The Ceiling.” Brendalyn had patched and repainted the gouge (and all the kitchen cupboards, come to think of it — she was on a roll!) and was perfectly gracious about the carnage I’d created, bless her heart.

Then I was making muffins, stirring with a big plastic spoon, and it broke. Strike 2!

Now I’ve broken their TV. What are the chances! They will be afraid to let me cross their threshold ever again.

They’re expected later today if their travel plans haven’t been disrupted by any number of possibilities: missed connections, ice on plane wings, coronavirus quarantines … anything can happen. I haven’t heard from them yet to find out their ETA, but I’ll spend the day packing up my stuff, washing my bedsheets and towels, washing and drying the dishes that must be done in the sink, and generally tidying up so they find their home the way they left it.

Three weeks of a glorious daily shower, a handy-dandy dishwasher, quick Cream of Wheat breakfasts via a microwave, and a five-minute drive from work have made this dogsitting gig a holiday for me. It’ll be nice to get home too, of course. Let’s face it, pretty much everything about my life is something to be grateful for.

The hardest hill to climb these days comes with my job. I did a bit of work I’d brought home yesterday afternoon — only during the noon hour — and then began going through all the notes I’ve made in my day planner since starting at the village office at the end of July. I made new files in Word for phone numbers, prices, passwords, report dates, and general things to remember. I transferred all the incompleted tasks to a new to-do list — and was still not finished by eight o’clock last night. There are already 90 items on the list and I have nine more pages to sift through. I plan to do that today before leaving for home, which I intend to do in advance of the dark.

Some of those 90 items have been on the list for months and I haven’t had time — or often the know-how — to get them done. And it’s not as if new tasks don’t come in every day or every week while I try to vanquish these. It’s quite ridiculous. I could probably work seven days a week for several months and still not have them all off my plate, and here I am limited to three six-hour days a week. I’m not complaining; just telling you that I bit off more than I can chew when I took this job. Being this far behind is extremely uncomfortable. A friend whose brother was a municipal administrator says that his experience was similar — you’re always on the hamster wheel, always handling new business, never caught up — but goodness, even in a village of only 83 residents? It’s hard to believe. But looking at this list, I have to believe it I guess.

A mentor has been hired to help and supervise me over the next year until I’m certified for the position I’m in. I completed the university course for local government administration before turning 30 but never worked in a municipal office in the 30 years that followed, so his guidance is both welcome and necessary. Without his input, I’d be sinking into quicksand and losing a lot of sleep. He’s only available a few hours a week and I wonder if he too worries he might’ve bitten off more than he can chew!


from the deck

From this house I can see over the highway and past the railroad track to two farmers’ fields and two lakes and beyond. 

In a dream I was making my way through a long underground tunnel whose walls were a bright clay-orange and looked like swaths of thick fabric. I needed to get to where there were some openings near the top that I could climb through to get out, but when I got there I saw that the openings were too small and it would be a struggle to get through them, if I could at all. I began to feel trapped and claustrophobic, and just as I began to panic I woke up and thought with relief, “How f’n lucky am I, to wake up when my dreams become nightmares.”

Seriously, I felt grateful.

Speaking of gratitude, these words of Jann Arden’s stuck with me the other day:

Being grateful for pain lessens the hurt. Being grateful for loss may not make any sense, but it’s a way of allowing your heart and mind to let things go instead of dragging them with you.

I always try to remember any suggestion that might help me let things go.

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