doghouse for cats

We have a drafty barn with a few small stacks of bales in it and two small insulated houses for cats. Since our dog Sadie has been gone, this large heavy doghouse has sat empty near the house. Every winter Scott says “I’ve gotta fix up something better for the cats.” This fall he used the tractor to carry the doghouse to the barn. It now sits just inside the door, complete with the heated mat that fits inside it.

100 YEARS AGO October 9, 1919 QUILL LAKE: The Lemon Club held a meeting Monday night between Bannatynes’ store and the railroad track. Business of great importance was transacted but as all the members are sworn to secrecy, no one knows what it is.
-Looking Back, Wadena News


Sometimes words pop into my head, connected to no thought I was having and no scene I was viewing. This morning while I was working in the kitchen, along came “kepler.” Word of the Day, I guess.

I may not particularly enjoy standing with my hands in the kitchen sink as I did for the past hour, catching up on dishes, but at least there is a nice big window right there and today I was delighted to witness our cat colony’s patriarch, Buster Brown, chasing oak leaves across the yard as the wind tumbled them over the snow.

Then there are the songs that come out of my mouth, from nowhere. Today it was “By the light of the silvery moon … (not by the dark, but just by the light)” … and I haven’t heard or sung that song in recent memory.


I feel a repeat of my obsession coming on. Remember it? The Holly and the Ivy? O Beautiful Star? If you weren’t following my previous blog, you missed it. Poor old you. Or maybe you stopped following after that. Oh here, have a taste anyway: CLICK HERE for some postings of O Beautiful Star.

And if you scroll down the page, you’ll come to the postings of The Holly and the Ivy.

Lamp Shade Challenged

In Margo in the early 1970s, ceramics were all the rage. The community college gave classes in town and they were popular as all get-out.

60 YEARS AGO – September 24, 1959- MARGO: Potatoes weighing from 3 to 3½ pounds are on display at Otterdahls’ store. At a glance they resemble vegetable marrow. They were brought in by Mr. and Mrs. F. Bohl and Mr. and Mrs. O Haarstad.

-From Looking Back, Wadena News


I bought these lamps for 10 bucks at a yard sale in Wadena this summer because they were tall. I’d be able to sit next to one and get good light for reading. But also, unless I was sitting right beside one, there would be no glare in my eyes; an opaque or glass shade doesn’t work and I like a low light in the room while watching TV. Any shade that the lightbulb shines too brightly through will irritate me; the glow needs to be well diffused unless I’m sitting near the lamp to read.

At first I joked that they were the “ugliest lamps in the world,” which didn’t matter because someday soon I’d happen upon a pair of lamps that I’d fall in love with and purchase and they’d be perfect. I’ve been telling myself this for some years and it never happens. We don’t go shopping if we can avoid it, and if we have to go to the city for some reason, by the time we’re done with necessities and appointments, who wants to add one more stop to the list? With relief we hit the road home — a highway drive of an hour or two, depending upon which city we’re visiting.

I can think something is ugly and if I keep it around a while, I start liking it. That’s started happening with these lamps. So I figure — try the “shade” fix — maybe it will make all the difference.


I’ve looked online at Wayfair so far:

and am leaning toward a burlap shade, one that will not sit so high as these do, will have no pleats, and the sides will be vertical with no slant.

I wonder if, since I want the lamplight to spread widely beneath the shades (remember, it’s all about illuminating the print in my books), I need to buy shades larger than the diameter of the ones you see here.

-the lamp bases are 9″ in diameter

-the lamp shades are 14″ in diameter around the bottom

These shades sit too high, and the “works” or “guts” of the electrical part are visible beneath the lower perimeter of the shade. That bugs me.

Since taking these pictures, I’ve removed one of the shades and put it on another lamp, where it is just right. It’s all about the right shade for any lamp, I say.

Have you got ideas?

The lamp (base and long neck) is 22″ tall.

During my online shade-shopping I’ve learned that there are standard ratios between base diameter and lower-shade diameter that facilitate the most pleasing, balanced visuals. No kidding! I didn’t know all that detail before, but there was never any doubt that a lamp shade that doesn’t suit the base drives me crazy. This has been going on for years because I don’t go out of my way to make a shopping trip and I don’t really trust online photos of lamp shades. I go on about my days and ignore the eye torture as often and as long as I can.

Oh my my, my troubles! I have two other pairs of lamps without the correct shades — except for the one I’ve recently discovered fits right.

Next: should I toast my freshly baked bread this morning or have it plain, with my friend Cathy’s rhubarb marmalade? So many weighty decisions to be made, whatever shall I do.



Monday is My Sunday

pyjama walk

It was a gorgeous hoarfrosty morning. I walked to the end of the driveway — in my pyjamas.

Up since six, again; the migraine book I just read advises to keep to your routines re sleep and coffee and food. It says rather than sleeping in on the weekends, get up and do what you normally do, then go back to bed if you wish. Just don’t delay your coffee or food if that’s what you usually have first thing in the morning.

I get up easier when I can hear that Scott is up and has made coffee. He usually is and always has.

I plan to bake bread today. The whole wheat flour’s been brought in from the deep freeze in the Quonset. The sesame and sunflower seeds and yeast have been taken from the freezer and will come to room temperature on the kitchen counter. I saved the water last night’s supper broccoli was steamed above. Now just have to get around to the measuring and mixing and timing and so on.


Reading Late in the Day: “In a few years they would be old women: sixty!”

Which seems silly. Sixty, old? I never feel “old,” ever, whatever “old” is, unless it’s seeing myself in a photograph, where I look like a completely different person than I know myself to be. It’s as if my outside no longer matches my inside.

A few weeks ago a Margo man who went to the same school as me didn’t know who I was, even after we’d chatted for some time in the village office. Granted we hadn’t seen each other for 40 years, but I can well imagine him and others saying “She’s sure lost her looks.”

Though it’s weird to have the face of a stranger — an old woman — it doesn’t matter to me at all. Inside my face I remain the same person I always was, even with the deepening of many lessons learned.

Or maybe I’m more myself than I ever was … more self-aware, more vulnerable, more insistent on respecting my own needs and wishes, less willing (was I ever willing?) to please others “at my own displeasure.”


The Bookshelf:

Virginia Woolf’s Garden – fabulous. Call me nerdy, but I love flowers and loved reading about Virginia and Leonard’s private relationship as it became known to future tenants of their home, Monk’s House, at Rodmell.

The Haunted House – a collection of Woolf’s short stories

The Witch Elm – a murder mystery with a bit of a twist

Late in the Day – the story of friends, two married couples

Feels Like This Snow’s Staying

last grassy walk

My last grassy walk. Today there’s an inch of snow. Two pairs of my winter boots came up from the basement and I wore ski pants out there and wished I’d worn my parka with its hood.

There was a fire in my home town at the beginning of the month. A house burned down one block from the village office. The phone at the office stopped working and the phone company employees went on strike. As a result, repairs to the phone line took some time, and then we could call out but no one could call in or leave a message on voicemail. This finally got fixed — at least I think it did — today.

I’ve been here waiting for the repairman to call me to go let him into the office if need be. “Sometime between 8 and 4” was the best timeline on offer. So here I was, unable to start anything (like a batch of bread; I was considering it for the first time in months) that would require me not to leave the house for long. I managed to stroll 15 minutes down the road and back again, carrying my cellphone in case the call came.

It never did. Every once in a while I phoned the office to see what would happen. For the past month the phone would give one short ring and that would be it. Just a while ago, though, it rang and rang and finally went to voice mail — another thing that hasn’t been working since the fire. I think it’s fixed! And the problem was not inside the building, either; this we knew because the neighbouring building’s phone also hasn’t been working properly.

I’ll know for sure tomorrow. Here’s hoping all those people trying to get through for the past month haven’t given up completely.



Sunday Again?

frostThere is frost on the windshield of my car these mornings. In wintery months I park facing south so that the rising sun will melt the frost. That’s already happened here, but you can still see frost on the back window and the roof.

Scott found a fat/full tick on one of the barn cats last week. Tick season is supposed to be May and June. We saw them here earlier than that: April, when there was still snow on the ground. Now we find them extending into October. There is no escape. It’s hell on wheels. I’d move if I thought there was a safe place.

I may not be so sharp on the dates these days, but usually know what day it is. I say “usually” because Thursdays now seem like Fridays, to me, and Tuesdays now seem like Mondays. That’s since Tues/Wed/Thurs became my village office days.


The office bed; seems like a perfect little sleepover spot for a wee girlie

It’s bright and sunny here in the home office this morning. I wish I had some work to do — an excuse to stay in here.

But I’m putzing — doing laundry, making a breakfast smoothie (looked up anti-inflammatory foods; berries are top of list; could Jan/Feb’s low incidence of migraine be related to the daily strawberry smoothies I had during those months?), wiping kitchen table and counters, bleaching and scrubbing baking sheets to remove burnt-on oil from roasting tomatoes last weekend (so much for parchment paper; the liquid ran off and under it; to its credit, the tomatoes didn’t stick to the pan), stepping outside to stand on the step and look at the sky till I get cold —  oh there is lots to do of course — morning yoga, walking 3 miles, dishes, going to town later to drive Emil home (he’s been at Everett’s since Friday night). My life: the excitement of it all! I must like it just as it is because there’s nothing I’d do differently. Unless maybe have a housekeeper and cook if I could afford it. Filling the time a domestic servant would take off my to-do list wouldn’t be difficult. I don’t know why I never remember to buy lottery tickets.


Reading/Not Necessarily Recommending (though the migraine book is informative):

A Walk Through Yesterday; memoirs of Jessie L. Beattie

Conquering Your Migraine, by Seymour Diamond with Mary Franklin


So much for a Sunday entry. It’s Tuesday morning and I’m waiting for water to boil so I can add oatmeal and we can have us some porridge. Mmm Mmm Good. Then off to Margo town for the day. Wonder how much election talk there will be. I can imagine how it will go: Conservative voters gloating that Liberal MP Ralph Goodale was defeated in his Saskatchewan riding after 26 or 28 years, and wailing that DimpleDum didn’t get voted into the prime minister’s office. If I hear even one person state out loud that they voted for any party but the tar-sands-supporting, climate-crisis-denying, social-program-cutting, women’s-rights-negating far right, I’ll be surprised. Ah, politics. I may live in Saskatchewan, but the majority vote here is an embarrassment.


And now, for a blast into the past, see what I was up to 10 years ago:

Oct 13? What the Heck!


North, just outside the yard. We’ve had a  hard freeze now so the branches are bare. 

Sunday morning. Up at seven, feeling as if I’ve slept in. Text waiting from my friend Cathy in response to mine at 9:30 last night:

Me: Talk to you tomorrow. I’m going to sleep. Can you believe it!

She: No I can’t.


My night owl days appear to be gone forever. Early bird mornings have replaced them. It’s all good, though I still find it a little weird.

The best part of the early mornings at this time of year is the dark and quiet. I get under a blanket in the corner of the couch and turn on a lamp. Duckie Doodle jumps up beside me and, if there isn’t a book there already, into my lap. Scott often carries a cup of coffee over to me when he pours his own. If the living room remains quiet, I read there. If it doesn’t — if the TV comes on or someone phones and Scott gets into a conversation or plays video on his phone or tablet — I take my book and coffee and set up in bed instead, with the door closed.

Currently Reading:

A New Earth, by Eckhart Tolle (daily)

Ghosts, by Roger Clarke

Bush Runner, by Mark Bourrie

Becoming Supernatural, by Joe Dispenza

Then there are the bathroom books, the ones that sometimes keep you sitting there two extra minutes and are never finished because who sits there one more moment than necessary? Not we fortunate ones.

Conquering Your Migraine, Seymour Diamond

Kitchen Table Wisdom, Rachel Naomi Remen

Canadian Facts & Dates, Jay Myers


Not counting the neck thing that accompanied the flu, there were only two migraines last month. To the therapist in Humboldt goes the credit, though the first month following the final visit (of only two) was no different than recent ones. I noticed a physical change right away, the very next day after seeing her. She’d said my hips would feel looser — and they did! I was surprised; I hadn’t known they were tight. I found myself walking differently.

At the Co-op I bought Harrowsmith’s Almanac 100% Canadian 2020. Not worth the $. It strikes me as mostly American text fudged into not-particularly-Canadian, all squeezed into too-compact pages. I need to give it another chance I guess. Perhaps I’ve been too fussy.


What are you reading?