Out on 15


One afternoon I did some farmer-ferrying. That’s where you give a guy a ride somewhere or pick him up because machinery and trucks are not right handy where he is, i.e. he doesn’t want to walk four miles to get where he needs to go.

This day required me to wait a half-hour, then catch a ride home with the bale wagon, leaving Little Green in the field for little brother to drive home when he got off the tractor.

It’s a pleasure to be out there. Pictures just don’t really do it, do they? Get across the sounds, the scents, the size of the sky, the colours, the expanse of it all. This particular land has no neighbours for some distance, so you feel really alone but for the birds. I also love riding in the bale truck. What is it about big old trucks that bounce loudly along? Their engines make a certain sound that smaller ones don’t.


The quarter-sections are identified by number; 15 and 22 abut each other several miles from our place.


There’s a podcast about the music of Joni Mitchell that I recommend if you like her stuff. Some of the talk is technical so beyond my ken, but it highlights the power, beauty and impact of Mitchell’s genius, which seems to have come naturally to her, and no one else has that particular bent.



Supper one night: Hamburger Chop Suey.
Damn, that was good. Recipe at link.

Great Blue Herons DO Speak

056There are more than 200 forest fires in southern BC right now.

Dad and Joan don’t think they are in any danger of evacuations, but when there is a fire map shown on TV it looks like the whole southern half of the province is in flames. When I see that, I worry.

Out on the step early this morning with my notebook on my lap and my coffee mug and pot-diggin’ dog at my side, I heard a loud sqwawking above the trees to the south. It was a great blue heron trying to escape the in-flight attacks of a wee redwinged blackbird! Now there’s a sound I’d never heard before.


Word Lore, Bird War

DSCF9178 Any time I read a book by a British author, my dictionary gets a lot of use.

Sometimes I have to look up words I’ve looked up before and forgotten the meaning of, like vitrine and divagate.

vitrine: a glass display case
divagate: stray; digress
pilchard: small marine fish; a Pacific sardine

“I’ve seen a happier face on a pilchard.”

Then there are the new ones:

entresol: a low storey between the ground floor and the floor above; a mezzanine
costermonger: also coster; a person who sells fruit, vegetables, etc., in the street from a cart
boffin: a scientist or expert in a technical field, e.g. computers

“The boffins will win the war in other ways.”

And the ones I think I know but look up anyway:

priapic: phallic, phallocentric
priapism: persistent erection of the penis; lewdness, licentiousness

And that often leads me to learn other interesting things:

Priapus: Greek god of fertility whose cult spread to Turkey after Alexander’s conquests. He was adopted as a god of gardens, where his statue, a misshapen little man with enormous genitals, is a combined scarecrow and guardian deity.

Image: Ancient Origins

There are the ones that are familiar but not exactly so; they aren’t in my Oxford Canadian Dictionary, so I look online:

cumuliform: having the appearance or character of cumulus clouds



What appears to be a young merlin is perched in the maple tree, where the robins have their nest. They are making a hell of a fuss, and who can blame them.

The merlin nest is just a few trees over, in a tall spruce.

Paved with Good Intentions

036Someone darling brought a cup of coffee to the bedside table for me before leaving to do chores, but instead of sitting up immediately to drink it I dozed off and have been awakened by the phone at 7:14.

So now’s the time to LEAP UP and go for a three-mile walk — before it gets too hot — but do I?

Hell no! I pour the coffee back into the pot and turn the machine on to warm it up, and I put on my fluffy green housecoat and get back into bed to chase off the chill in this 68-degree house.

I SO do not do the things that would be best for me. The shoulds.

It was past eight o’clock last night before it was cool enough for walking, and then I thought, “But it’s pyjama time” and got ready for bed instead.


This morning there is smoke in our yard from the BC fires.

Quit Yer Gurning

038It’s cool and windy. I should bake bread. We’re on our last loaf. I’m told the temperature’s to reach 28C today. Hm. Someone’s coming over for a reading this afternoon. I think I’ll just take it easy.

Dreamed a former co-worker and I were cast members in the same play but I didn’t know it till we were onstage.

‘The four Marx brothers gurning for the camera.’ ~Full Dark House

Gurning: goofing around?

The muscle tension in the face that usually ends up with the jaw and tongue rolling and teeth grinding as a result of amphetamines.

Gurning started in 1267 in Cumbrian town called Egremont as part of the crab fair. The best gurners are people without teeth who can force their bottom lip over their nose, making breathing somewhat difficult. It is important to remember a champion gurner comes from the contrast of their normal face and their gurning face. This gives people of all types of face a good chance.

On a personal note gurning came to Blackheath London in 1995 when a gurning employee at our computer firm started practicing gurning computer monitors (a special branch of gurning known as marping). This cost the company in damaged monitors, but sparked interest in going to the gurning fair, and now we go every year for a relaxing few days in Cumbria. In recent years the gurning fair has been replaced by trips to pubs and tea rooms (:).
Gurn it good.
You old gurner you.
by Gurn Blanstone July 10, 2006


Do you know what kind of moth this is? It’s small and was on a wildflower in the ditch:


Full Dark House


‘It really was a hell of a blast.
The explosion occurred at daybreak on the second Tuesday morning of September, its shock waves rippling through the beer-stained streets of Mornington Crescent. It detonated car alarms, hurled house bricks across the street, blew a chimney stack forty feet into the sky, ruptured the eardrums of several tramps, denuded over two dozen pigeons, catapulted a surprised ginger tom through the window of a kebab shop and fired several roofing tiles into the forehead of the Pope, who was featured on a poster for condoms opposite the tube station.’

And with that, I was hooked. Or so I thought.
As I read on, alittle later, I wondered why I was less taken. Not taken at all. It was as if the author had dropped the ball somehow.
Oh well. I have three more detective novels awaiting me, so this is not a huge loss. Though I was so excited there, for a few minutes!
I gave it one more chance, though, and then wondered why I’d thought I wasn’t interested. This was good. This was fine!
And so I read on.

Oh. It’s Full Dark House, the first in the Bryant & May mystery series by Christopher Fowler.

This & That

028 Pretty, isn’t it? Canola fields are in bloom all around the countryside.

The wind and clouds can’t decide what they’re doing today. Which makes it hard to decide what to wear. How many layers? A scarf for my pencil neck that so easily gets chilled?

“Doris Lessing once said in a TV interview that a writer needs to be a little bored in order to write stories.” – The Barefoot Bingo Caller, by Antanas Seleika

Seleika’s book is a collection of short memoirs.

There are lots of pelicans on Margo Lake, right out in front of Karen’s waterside window. They’re so huge and impressive! I looked them up in my Birds of Saskatchewan book:

They lay only two eggs.

They work as a group to herd fish into schools, and then they each take a turn scooping one up.

This morning five of them flew right over the maple tree in our front yard.

Old Moe

034 This is a designated Heritage Site now, Karen tells me. The Old Moe Church northeast of Margo is where our parents were married, and where some of our great-grandparents are buried. Next to them lies the sweet baby whom we’d have known as our aunt if she’d survived her birth. Their tombstones in the graveyard on the hill behind are in good shape, clearly legible, unlike some we encountered in our travels.

A small group of local parishioners have kept the place clean and in good repair. I’m not a churchgoer, but being here made me want to sit down and pray.

I suppose the funerals of our great-grandparents were held here.


The organ even works!

I’d like to say that Karen played something from Phantom of the Opera (because that’s what I was singing), but I don’t think it was.

Oogly Sisses


pessary: see image

ulsterette: any guesses? i think it’s being worn; otherwise i’d guess it’s some kind of furniture

online dictionary:

a small, lightweight ulster

well that’s no help

Popularity: Bottom 10% of words

i can see why

thanks for nothing, merriam-webster

and collins english

and yourdictionary.com

At least freedictionary.com tells us it’s an item of clothing

Ah here we go: Canadian Oxford; ulster: a man’s long, loose overcoat of rough cloth [Ulster, Ireland, where it was originally sold]

This week a thunderstorm left us without electricity from 11pm to 6pm the following day. Not much to do when there’s no power! Not even dishes.

Afterward my iMac wouldn’t come on. It’s 11 years old and, as Joan says, it doesn’t owe me anything. Everything’s backed up on a thumb drive. I’ve got this old laptop of Dad’s that’ll do the trick. Or maybe the iMac will decide to work again, like it did after its last unpaid vacation; ’twas magic. Fingers crossed.

Not that I’m using either computer much lately, with Joan home. We’ve managed to get together for a few hours each day. I went to Karen’s twice to hang out with the seeeeesters. We visited the Margo cemetery and also the Old Moe Church and graveyard. Our relatives and ancestors are buried in both places.

Today they picked me up and we met Everett at the bakery. Joan’s 15-yr-old daughter and Karen’s 10-yr-old grandson were along so a variety of ages were represented. As if soup and sandwiches weren’t enough, we had Boston cremes for dessert.

Emil was having his annual boys’ lunch out with his uncle Gary, who took Emil’s cousin Ben along. They had a meal at one of the Chinese food cafes in town, and then moseyed over to the drive-thru for an ice cream treat.

We did alittle shopping and then all met up in front of MDSI, where Emil went back to work and Gary and Everett were hoping to tour the facility.

Tomorrow morning I’ll go out to the lake for coffee on the deck before Joan’s famdamily heads back to Kelowna. Karen will be back to work by noon and that’ll be the end of the whirlwind visit. Better than none! Joan could’ve used another four days to drop in on our aunts and uncle and her school friends who still live here. Maybe next time scheduling will work out better. But at least we sisters got to see a lot of each other and that’s nothing to shake a stick at.

Light & Pretty

nice pantsOne of the best things about summer weather is wearing summer clothes.

Joan arrived, bearing gifts as usual. I scored five new pairs of earrings and a gorgeous set of pants and top. What a sweetie!

I’ll have to scrub up and put them all on. She’s here for three more days so I’m hoping for some lake time with her and Karen.

“Mom’s Chocolate Chip Cookies” now added to the recipe collection.