Reading and Watching

Another cold day here, but at least our basement is dry. Praise to the sump pump! It runs every five minutes.

Scott’s been going over to SouthForks early every morning before I’m awake, before he has his coffee, to make sure the heifers are doing okay with their calving. He’s had to pull one calf so far, and one was stillborn.

I got the large perennial bed cleared off yesterday, and found only one wood tick crawling on my neck so far. Considering the great care I took to cover up, to lotion up, and to check my clothing when I came back in the door, I was surprised there was even one. But it seems there is no escape from the damnable creatures. I want to run away screaming, but where would I run to?


I’ve just finished reading Glenn Skeldon’s book Not Just ANY Green Englishman. If biographical stories are what you like best, as I do, and if you too have ancestors and relatives who homesteaded in Saskatchewan, then Skeldon’s account of the hardworking lives of his great-grandfather, grandparents, and family will be as satisfying to you as it was to me. It’s also a reminder of what an easy life I’ve led, in comparison.

The book includes a number of photographs taken in Saskatoon’s early days, and plenty of historical detail about politics and prevailing attitudes of the time.

As you ought to know by now, I don’t tell you about books I’ve read unless I’m recommending them.


I went to the living room last night after closing the windows in the camper and found Scott 15 minutes into the movie Sully, about the American pilot who landed a passenger jet on a river and all 155 people onboard survived.

Now, I’m cautious in water and alittle nervous when flying, so I was tense during the movie action but shocked to find myself weeping — literally — during the landing on the water, the escape from the plane, and the ensuing rescue of the passengers and crew. Did anyone else have that reaction to the show? Is director Clint Eastwood simply that good at eliciting emotion from viewers, and was that his intention for those scenes? I found actual tears on my part to be an extreme response, usually forthcoming from me only when heartbreak, loss and death are depicted in a film.

Maybe if he’d thrown in a plague of woodticks I really would’ve run screaming from the room.


My Task for May

I decided not to complain. Could I go a week without complaining? How about a month? Why not try a month.

Not just verbal complaining either, but complaining thoughts and written complaints.

I started my new journal with a title page, Only the Good.

What will I do, then, with complaints that pop into my head? I’ll observe them and let them go.

What about the ones that spill out of my mouth before I catch them? I’ll forget them and not beat myself up for having them. I don’t have to be perfect. I just have to keep trying.

And the written ones that masquerade as frustration or resentment or impatience or confusion or anger or even fear or anxiety? How about those? Will they be more difficult to stop, after years of writing down such thoughts in order to feel “heard” or to articulate my experience? Maybe by imposing this no-complaint parameter, I’ll be forced to transform useless whines into something more effective, more creative, more worthwhile, more meaningful, more haiku.

Now, simply to remember.


A pair of yellow-rumped warblers, myrtle variety, has been in our yard for a week. They are small, about the same size as the black-capped chickadees that are the largest population here all winter.

The male: WARBLER

And the female:

There is also a pair of merlins nesting in our spruce trees for the second summer in a row. They’re making a lot of noise. They kill and eat small birds, but Birds of Saskatchewan says they don’t hunt in their nesting ground. I’ll keep my fingers crossed.

The bird life going on outside our door — and there is a lot of it, with ducks and coots delineating their territories in the dugout and sloughs around the yard, and huge flocks of snow geese still in migration — is one of my greatest pleasures.


Karen dropped in yesterday for about an hour. I was to give her lunch. She got bran muffins with butter, oranges cut in wedges, chocolate chip cookies, and tea. We talked non-stop. I fall more in love with my sisters each time I see them. Joan, when you move back home my life will be complete.

This afternoon I’m expecting Bev, who is bringing along a friend. They may stay till the weekend. The friend is here to consult with a local healer.

“You’re my hero,” said Bev, for putting them up. I’m not a hero, though; I’m going to love having them here. Today I’ll be washing sheets, changing bedding, picking up the dog-draggings around the yard (goddamn dog), and making “porcupine” meatballs for supper.

Guess I should get moving.



I Drive 20 km One Way for Miss Vickie’s

I’d been craving Miss Vickie’s potato chips for several days, so decided to break up my first pet-sitting day with an afternoon trip to Foam Lake, a small town almost 20 km south. A quick stop at the Co-op gas bar for a fill, and then the Co-op grocery store, and I was back on the road.

The wait for the train to go by wasn’t long, and afterward I made a short detour off the highway to get a picture of this old schoolhouse. Outhouse and all.

bertdale school

It was a damn cold day though. Once I was back, I walked around outside until the wind drove me into the trees for a few moments of peace and comfort before retreating to the house once more. From this little path into the trees I could look out over the water and listen to the ducks doing their spring thing. It would have been easy to stand there all day but I have woodtick phobia this year and didn’t want to make my tender skin available too long. Even though I’m waging all-out “Keep Off Me” war against them, using essential oils and lotions, I still dread the first time I find one on me. I know it’s going to happen, no matter what I do. Right? But still … slather slather slather.

rotten step

Eventually I wandered back to the house and settled in for some reading, some supper, and an early-into-pyjamas night. And of course, some of those Miss Vickie’s chips.

banner coffee table tray

If You Are Grossed Out by Toenail Clippings, Read No Further

After Emil baths on Sunday mornings, he calls me.

“Mom could you come and put my Band-Aids on please?”

Last year his big toes pushed into the ones beside them and caused blisters; now the blisters are calluses and the Band-Aids are just extra insurance so they don’t blister again.

“But wait,” I say. “I’ll trim your toenails.”

This was done just last weekend when he was here, but he has twisted nails and thick claws; an extra trim won’t hurt these hoofs.wooden muskox.JPG

I’m very careful, getting some sharp points removed, making sure I don’t cut into the quick, but this takes alittle longer than Emil hoped and I can feel or maybe hear him pressing his lips together impatiently.

“Am I taking too long?”

“Well … well … I wanted to have some breakfast.”

“Almost done.”

“Well … well … when Kathy or Sue do it at Aylesbury House, they do it fast.”

What can I say?

“Don’t move your feet while I get the broom and sweep up these clippings.”

If Duckie Doodle is nearby when I clip my toenails, he’ll rush forward and lick them up. No one else’s toenail clippings are as tasty, apparently, because he shows no interest.


Yes, I’m reduced to blogging about toenails.

*** Carved ram graces a table at Vickie’s.

Don’t Watch Your Step

Many people attempt to be efficient by collecting items into groups to move them from one place to another, or by keeping things they need as physically close as possible.

I’m the opposite when it comes to “saving steps.”

If I’m at work and it’s a desk job, I prefer that periodically needed items (like the dictionary or a stylebook) be kept as far from me as possible, so I’ll have to get up and walk over there several times a day. It gets my blood moving and my brain cells sharpened up. Each little jaunt reinvigorates me and thus, I believe, improves my productivity.

At home, I’ll make three trips to a particular kitchen drawer instead of piling the wooden spoons and spatulas on the counter as I dry them and then carrying them over all at once. It would be interesting to try one of those Fitbits (though I never will) that count all your steps in a day. Housework isn’t considered exercise, but surely it contributes. All movement does.

I realize this logic would not apply to someone who is on his or her feet all day. In that case, efficiency of movement would have to come first.

Good quality shoes are essential, either way.

I know, I live the most fascinating life. You’re all learning so much from me. I’m telling you all my secrets of success!

Winter Spring Winter

Snow and cold. Yeah.

So what. It passes.

Oh yeah, it’s Easter Sunday. I’ve already eaten too many chocolate eggs — thanks for that, Gord!

We’ve just sat for several hours at the kitchen table visiting with my ex, who always arrives bearing treats of some kind, and soon we’re off to Scott’s sister’s for a big family gathering complete with delicious eats.

My sister Karen put on a huge spread yesterday. I’m fed right to the top, and our fridge is still full of leftovers from the Wednesday supper over at SouthForks.

There was mail to drop off for Everett so I stopped in at his work one day this week. He was busy so I could only admire him from afar:

everett in action r

Gotta go … someone appears to be starving!