Sunday: TOM JONES & CROSBY, STILLS, NASH AND YOUNG

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Friday: WILDLIFE IN THE YARD

DSCF9531 There’s been a moose in our back yard (on the other side of the dugout; perhaps that’s not technically our back yard) all day. It was there, lying down, when I got out of bed, and was still there a couple hours later. Once it stood and started grazing, I took a picture. Now it’s in the trees, reaching up high for its lunch — a long lunch. It’s been nibbling quite a while now. Scott’s been in and out of the yard several times and I’ve been out to the Quonset for a bag of frozen tomatoes (Classic Cabbage Stew‘s on the stove for supper), and that moose remains.

I didn’t take a picture of the coyote scat that was deposited a few feet in front of my car during the night. Aren’t I good to you? It might be time to get serious about bringing a farm dog home. Can’t say as we’ve minded not having one this winter but when coyotes are marking their territory in the middle of your yard, it’s not a good thing. Plus a good dog will keep rabbits out of the garden, and will hunt down moles that make holes in the lawn, and if the dog’s not too old and complacent it will chase away deer and moose from the flowerbeds and possibly keep the barn cats safe from foxes and coyotes when they’re not roaming the pasture. Unfortunately it might also bark all damn night. Six o’ one, half a dozen o’ the other … .

Blackheaded, orange-beaked Harris’s sparrows and pine siskins have arrived at my feeders this week. I await the soras anxiously, knowing they always come later than the rest but worried that one day they won’t come at all. It’s rare to see them, but we sure hear them! They nest around the dugout and call to each other throughout the night.

The squirrel has disappeared. I figure when the weather warmed up and the cats came out of the barn, the squirrel thought better of nesting here. I hope they didn’t catch it.

Today a trip to town’s in order. I have an armload of library books to return and one to pick up. Little Green is getting some rubber moulding replaced at the body shop. I might drop into the store for a few groceries, but Emil’s not coming out till tomorrow (he’s got a dance and a Chinese food supper tonight) and he loves to prance up and down the store aisles scouting for people he knows, so I should wait and do it then. I’m out of wine, and Bev’s coming on Sunday so a stop at the liquor store is in order. There are refundable containers to donate to the food bank, and I’ll leave a loaf of bread with my Everett at work so I’ll see him for about 30 seconds.

Lots to do, though it doesn’t feel like much. I’ve got a work file to finish up first, so had best get at it. Sayonara, sweeties!

Thursday: FIREFIGHTERS R US

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Mr. X, Scott, Linda

Scott noticed fire in the bush along the gravel road. We had no pails, so drove to the nearest community and looked for someone who might know what authority to contact. No one seemed to be around till we saw a woman and several girls in a truck and flagged them down to ask. “I live out that way,” she said. “I’ll go home for some water and drive there and put it out.”

We followed her south of the hamlet and when she went past the turnoff where we’d directed her to go (where we would’ve turned west to come home), we thought she might’ve misunderstood about the location and we’d better make sure the fire was stopped before it got bigger. There are fire bans in various places in the province right now, as it’s extremely dry. We saw several “big smokes” over farm fields as we travelled.  Some farmers apparently aren’t too worried about their stubble fires getting away on them, even in these conditions.DSCF9525

We drove into a farmyard and alerted the lady of the house, who was likely in the middle of her supper. She gathered up four large pails to fill from the outside tap, got a rake, spade, and chainsaw, and followed us 10 miles back to the fire. There we emptied the pails and refilled them from water in the ditch along the road. A truck with two men in it came along; they got out to help. Fire was burning up high inside two dead trees; we cut them down and soaked them.

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No one wanted to call 911 or a local fire department to report, believing they’d be on the hook for thousands of dollars if firefighters came out. As crazy as that sounds … they were certain that whoever calls in a sighting will get the bill. This seems unlikely, as it would be counter-productive. You want the public to make the fire department aware of it if they see a wildfire unattended.

*I’ve just gotten off the phone with the RM of Preeceville, who have assured me that there is no truth to the wrongful-billing business and was appalled that the public is thus misinformed. I suggested they put something in the local paper to clear that up, because if three locals are so sure of it, there are bound to be a lot more who think the same.

We did the best we could; before we left, one of the men drove to the neighbours’ (had we known they were there we wouldn’t have driven so far for help) so they might keep an eye on the burnt grass and trees (the fire appeared to be out, but when it’s this dry and we’ve had so much wind …) or let the RM and/or landowner know, and we came on home.

We all wondered how the fire could have started. A cigarette thrown from a passing vehicle would have had to get quite a-ways across the grassy ditch to reach the trees, where the burn was. A man standing at the side of the road having a pee might’ve tossed a cigarette butt into the bush, but he’d’ve had to be a mighty stupid ass to do such a thing. There’s no shortage of those in this world.

I didn’t see the fire when we first drove past it. Where was I looking, then? I don’t think I had my book (Letters of Flannery O’Connor) open at the time. I must’ve been gazing off in another direction altogether. Granted there weren’t many flames and the smoking spots were small, but the burn’s width was about 20 feet and it went back at least 10 feet into the trees. (Okay Scott, you’re right: sometimes it’s a good thing you’re not watching “just” the road while you drive!)

We were plenty hungry by the time we got home at 8:30 or 9. (Reminder to self: Next time take food along.) Little Duckie Doodle had been alone in the house since mid-morning or we probably would’ve detoured to the nearest restaurant, as our stomachs were rumbling.

 

Wednesday: QUICK ‘N’ DIRTY

Helen's Pink Lady Dessert

The most recent entry to my recipe blog: Helen’s Pink Lady Dessert. See http://stubblejumperscafe.blogspot.com .

We were a couple hours late getting home from Yorkton last night after a detour to Preeceville and then, on the correction line headed back to Wadena, running into a burning bush alongside the road. More about that later.

A message on the answering machine when we arrived was that internet service would be interrupted all day today. In that case I won’t be spending much time, if any, working or playing on the computer but instead will do laundry, bake bread, wash dishes, and read. There’s quite a stack of books awaiting me. I ordered a shitload from the library and they all came in at once.

There is a cold wind blowing and if it continues I’ll go outside only as far as the barn to feed the kitties.

If you haven’t seen this delightful thing yet, do go have a little fun with it:

http://www.dennyweb.com/singing_horses.htm

xoxo(etc),

Kate

Monday: EMIL GOES WALKABOUT

As you can plainly see, I’ve never spent any time whatsoever editing video or learning how to record anything in an interesting way. However, for those of you who might be curious about how Emil gets around, I took this video through the kitchen window on Saturday. (Notice at one point he turns and looks, as if he can feel my eyes on him. I swear that boy and I have a powerful psychic connection.) He walked about the yard for four hours that afternoon.

 

That “boy” will be 30 years old in June. Again I say: best thing that ever happened to me. Or more rightly: best thing I ever did. Or made. One of two best things.

***

Birdie:

Usually I click “Like” below people’s comments on my entries here to be sure that if they happen to check back, they know I appreciate their remarks. After reading your comment following my last entry I couldn’t bring myself to “Like” learning that every day you fret about going to hell. As an adult who didn’t have an awful childhood (like yours) to blame it on, and because I’m not a Christian, a belief in the Christian “hell” is something that doesn’t make sense to me.

As I hear news from around the world and read about events and conditions throughout history, I am reminded there has been and still is a lot of hellish bullshit. The cruelty of some people is horrifying and I can’t help feeling that I must live in some kind of bubble. I was never abused, neglected, molested, beaten (childhood spankings, yes, which literally are beatings, but not the kind that leave bruises or broken bones), hungry, alone … all these things that many kids experience. I’ve had a charmed life in comparison and am grateful. But I’m in no position to really understand what you are going through with long-term depression that has grown from your early years. I’ve had only fleeting glimpses of depression, or of what I think it is, in myself.

I only know that you must be incredibly resilient to keep attempting different therapies, as I saw in the long list of methods you’ve already tried, many of which I assume you’re continuing to employ in the ongoing struggle. A lot of people would have given up — and many have. May you never be one of them. All I can do is keep on rooting for you, Birdie, and hope that you never, ever give up.

 

 

Friday: FEAR AND HOW WE GET IT

Parked at the drive-thru window, waiting for a snack

“He was a fire and brimstone preacher,” Mom said, reminiscing about a minister I’d liked a lot as a small child attending his Sunday School.

A memory surfaced of myself, sometime between the ages of 8 and 10, crying in bed after dark, imagining burning in hell for something I’d done wrong — some “sin” I’d committed.

It made me wonder what I picked up as a child, but no longer remembered, that might still be in me as an adult without me realizing it was affecting my view of life. How often do kids accept that reality is what someone else thinks it is? Why, all the time. And how often do they carry those beliefs into adulthood without questioning them; blind to them, unaware they’re even there?

And what about when religious instruction has taught us as children that our own minds aren’t reliable when it comes to examining beliefs that are not those of the church dogma, that we must guard against ideas that are a threat to the supremacy of patriarchal religions, that only the church is good and true and the path to salvation, that if we step one inch off its prescribed path we are in danger of losing our souls and everything we hold dear? What if they’ve told us we dare not think for ourselves, that our own minds cannot be trusted to sensibly explore and examine the world around us, that if we choose to do so we are laying ourselves open to evil? How much of what we were taught as children still lurks in our subconscious and, though consciously rejected as adults, colours our consideration of anything that is even slightly outside Christian boundaries?

I don’t believe there’s a fiery hell, but perhaps my childhood fear of punishment and retribution for my imperfections lays like a shadow in my subconscious. My terror as a misbehaving child seems to be long gone. But is it? Or is it still there somewhere, simmering beneath my 59-year-old common sense?

Underlying fears and assumptions often remain, well beyond childhood.

When I was about 12, Mom was trying to lose a few pounds by counting calories. She shared her weight-loss method with me, a youngster with no meat on my bones, probably thinking that early lessons about food intake would inoculate me against obesity for the rest of my life.

It wasn’t until my twenties or thirties that I understood the warning I’d filed away in my subconscious. It was that unless I guarded against it, as an adult I’d inevitably get fat. My body would let me down if I didn’t control it. I wasn’t sure to stay healthy and fit. Discipline and effort would be required, for ideal weight and fitness don’t come naturally. We have to work diligently for them.

Sensible eating and regular exercise are good habits to have. I can’t argue with that. But I can do without the conflict, set up in my pre-teen years, between what I naturally was and what I had to work to be, or would have to as an adult. I can do without the fear of sliding into a pile of soft blubber if I don’t drive myself forcefully for the rest of my life. Maybe I can believe that it’s safe to relax and trust my body. It’s done a pretty good job so far.

My point? I don’t really have one.

Actually I have two. Both on my chest.

Tuesday: I SHOULDN’T HAVE

DSCF9515Things a gal carries in her purse:

1. wallet for cash, credit card, ID, library card, driver’s licence, etc.
2. banking wallet
3. Emil’s wallet
3. keys
4. migraine meds
5. moisturizing lotion
6. lip balm
7. phone
8. camera
9. lense-cleaning cloth
10. instant stain remover stick
11. mini measuring tape
12. cinnamon toothpicks 13. lighter in case of emergency
14. notebook and pen

And when the purse is large enough, a bottle of water.

I could tuck some cash into my pockets along with lip balm, phone and keys for a quick trip into town, and leave the purse at home. But I don’t like to stuff my pockets unless they’re jacket pockets. With a bag ready to go and a good shoulder strap, I’d rather grab the purse, be on my way, and have everything at hand that I could possibly want.

A good purse isn’t that easy to come by. There is nothing that drives me more crazy in a purse than one that doesn’t have enough compartments, so that I have to dig and search or dump everything out to find what I’m after. Even with the fairly short list above, in many purses it’s not that easy to find something when it’s all a-jumble in a cavernous bag.

That’s why when I spotted this baby while waiting for the florist to make a bouquet for Karen on her birthday, I had hardly more than a second thought (that being that I sure as hell don’t need another purse; not really). The bag has nine compartments and isn’t heavy like the best one I’ve owned till now — which has every compartment you could ask for but, being twice the size, is heavy even when empty. Fill ‘er up and I might as well be carrying a packed suitcase.

This purse is smaller but has a separate compartment for most everything, so finding stuff is quick.

I already have a number of purses no longer in use, and soon will do a closet purge and give them all away, except for a few favourites.

Maybe it wasn’t wise to spend the money just now, but my regrets are few. Who can pass up a seriously good purse? I mean, come on. Maybe I should have … but I didn’t.

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Monday: PILLS GONE TO WASTE

DSCF9512Two out of these three bottles are the reason I don’t buy many supplements anymore. They have been up in the cupboard where I don’t remember to take them and so the bottles are full, and expired.

I could leave them on the counter in hopes of being reminded, but two things: 1. I get accustomed to seeing them there and soon ignore them, and 2. they’re ugly plastic things and I don’t like them on the counter. (Hey, you have your silly quirks, I have mine.)

I’m trying to remember to take Omega-3s; not doing too badly. How? Keeping the bottle on the shelf below my favourite coffee mugs. First thing in the morning I reach for the mug and the bottle at the same time, take out two capsules, set them on the counter to take with breakfast a little later, and stick the bottle back in the cupboard. It works pretty well. Not always, but better than never.

I’m not a big believer in dietary supplements if one eats well, but we rarely have fish so the Omega-3s are a little insurance. Also I’m not sure we eat all that healthily. I intend to start consuming mineral supplements soon. I’ll keep a close watch on what difference they make to my overall state of being, and will report all miraculous improvements here. Watch this space.

Oh the excitement that is this blog. Next thing you know I’ll start bragging about the spectacular frequency and regularity of my bowel movements. (No I won’t, don’t worry. That’s more of a “man” thing to do, isn’t it? Am I right, ladies?)

***

Maggie, cats are decimating the bird population, which is already in serious decline. I hate it. Have thought of putting a collar and bell on the barn cats I can catch, but aside from that see no solution. Without cats on the farm, we’d be overrun by rodents because we have field on all sides. A bell might give birds a slightly better chance of survival. Unfortunately it might also give the mice a leg up, too.

Lorna, my niece sometimes goes to a dog/cat shelter to cuddle the rescue animals. You could do that! You get to enjoy their company and then you get to leave them and their poop-scoopin’ hair and vet-bill business there. Seems an excellent option.

Alex and Christine, sorry I had to run out on the videochat yesterday. I was to pick Pat up at one o’clock and it was time to get moving! I don’t like to be late, and when I got there she was standing in the yard waiting for me.

Saturday: PEACHES IN THE BARN

DSCF9501 Of the eight cats in the barn, five of which are the offspring of a tortoiseshell mama, this is the only white one. I call her Peaches (short for Peaches ‘n’ Cream because of her orange ears and face, but whether she’s a she I don’t know; she’s come within a foot of me once but is too frightened to stay close for long) and am enamoured of her blue eyes, but not her bird-catching prowess.

One day she was crouched by the trunk of an oak tree, watching and waiting, and I saw her twitch at a shadow on the snow and I thought haha, she’s not going to catch anything, and the next moment she leapt at that spot and took off with a bird in her mouth. Back to the barn, I think. It seems when they catch something (we saw one with a mouse this morning, trotting toward the barn), they take it to share with the kittens rather than devouring it alone. Peaches is only a year old, herself.

I go to the barn (cat house and carpenter’s storage shed) every afternoon to feed the cats and, in the winter, keep their water bowl filled. Lately they’re more hungry than usual. Maybe it’s a growth spurt for the young ones. This time I’m sitting in the doorway with my camera and they’re too busy eating to want my attention. When they’re all present, there are three that run to me to play and rub against my legs or climb into my lap or tell me a story. The rest are curious and watchful but too wild to be petted.

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A few weeks ago while in town I dropped off our refundable containers as a donation for the food bank. I came out of the building, got behind the wheel, and nearly jumped out of my skin when the car’s dash moved. A fluffy grey cat blended in so perfectly with the grey dash that I hadn’t noticed it lounging there. It’s the recycling depot’s resident stray. Another time there was a young man laughing and shooing it from the back of his truck. I hope that cat has a collar with i.d. because it’s going to end up miles away one of these days.

Maybe that’s why it jumped into my car. Maybe it was hoping I’d give it a ride back to its original home.