Canadians Invented Everything

stop On these hot, humid days, it would be uncomfortable and unwise to be out walking in the sun. I try to go early (happened to wake at seven this morning so got out for a mile and a half) before the air heats up, and sometimes late after it’s begun to cool, though the mosquitoes are out then and what I really want is to put my pyjamas on and read.

During the day I amble only to the end of the driveway several times, for the pure pleasure of it.


This week a national TV show spotlighted Manitou Beach, where Emil goes every summer to Camp Easter Seal for five days. It’s a popular concept in this country — not a new one, but with its own twist: visiting small towns across Canada (Rick Mercer’s doing it, with great success; On the Road Again did it for years) but in this case the towns are only shadows of their former selves, yet Still Standing. During the filming, various residents help Harris tell the story of the community; much like Stuart McLean did on his annual tours with “The Vinyl Cafe” for CBC Radio. Host Jonny Harris also does a comedy routine about his time there, which the locals particularly appreciate. Small-town Canadians love goodnatured teasing.

Harris also co-stars in the weekly detective series Murdoch Mysteries, set in early 20th-century Toronto. It’s a family show, not grizzly, but progressive and humorous. The detectives and other characters often employ newfangled gizmos — precursors to those now in use every day —  that “the world” hadn’t yet invented. The show’s writers have imagined these little moments in our past in such a way as to give viewers a giggle and make us laugh at the idea that indeed Canadians invented every practical gadget there is.

Pelican Pulchritude

pelicans Wouldn’t ya know it, the one time the camera’s not hanging on my belt loop is when pelicans are hanging around in front of Karen’s deck and moving out of zoom-in range by the time I get back.

We’re smitten.

They were showing off, gliding low over the water for a surprisingly long way.

I like Karen’s view, which extends to the shore on the other side of the lake and also to some of the buildings in Margo — the grain elevator, the old school among them — and she can also see fields and of course the lake, which glitters and shines with waterfowl.

Moms and Kids

woody A question commonly asked of the tarot is “How can I most help my child right now?”

I love the way people care so much about their kids. It’s only natural and right, and it’s a beautiful thing about the human spirit.

Today I drew only one card in response to that question about one of my sons. The Two of Cups was drawn. It’s all about communication, about the sharing of truth and heart.

*Photo: Everett wanted the Woody doll from Toy Story.

II Cups“Keep the conversation flow going. Be open, listen with respect and, where there is lack of understanding or agreement, let it be. All communication isn’t verbal. Just because it isn’t said aloud doesn’t mean you aren’t honest or brave. Be who you are and accept it when he does the same.”

Simple enough. I already try to do that. Keep it up, then?

Gotta get going. I’ve roped myself into a visit and some errands. Otherwise I’d gladly stay home all day. It’s a perfect one. I spent the first two hours on the back step and/or pruning flowers. The breakfast dishes will have to wait. Emil’s already outside, keeping to the shade. We’re off and at ‘er … .



Sunny, Sunny, Sunny Day-ays

camperThink I’ll stroll out to the camper (she sings, instead of “Think I’ll go out to Alberta”) and see how the day’s going to be, i.e. how to dress. On the step with my coffee this morning it was shady, windy and cool; but the step is never a reliable indicator of anything. Once you’re in the sun and out of the wind, it could be in the nineties — which it was, yesterday. I wore shorts in the house, where it was only 73 degrees, for a couple hours … and Grandpa’s sweater. Go figure.

Emil sleeps in. As soon as he gets up, he comes to me and says Good Morning, Mom, and asks “How was your sleep?” Then he tells me that he didn’t stay in bed too late, he hasn’t wasted half the day, he’s “only slept till” whatever-o’clock today.” Sleep, young fella, I say. Sleep all you want and don’t worry about it for one moment.

He’s up at six on weekdays in order to get to work on time and I’ve no doubt he’s not getting eight hours a night, and probably needs to catch up on his rest.


We need moisture. I’ve set the hose out to soak the lawn, and will water the flower beds again tonight. It may be time to do a rain dance … first one this year. I’ll let you know how it goes.



Friendly to Invaders

aven It’s probably foolish to let wildflowers grow in my flower garden, but … they’re pretty! they might be medicinal! they can be yanked out if they get out of hand! (she says to herself, fearing what the yarrow may choke out if she doesn’t stay on top of it).

This is the yellow aven, a member of the rose family.

Speaking of roses, I have four in memory of Mom (and as a memory prompt they are effective; I think of her each time there is a new bloom) and they are going great guns for the first time ever. This is probably because I finally listened, this spring, when they “told” me they’ve been too crowded to do their thing properly. I pulled out the oriental poppies and pink dianthus and painted daisies and maltese crosses they’ve been sharing their spots with, and voila! Whodathunk! Pay attention to your feelings; they’ll tell you what your plants need.


Cathy and I are planning a trip to Regina to see the Body Worlds exhibit. She’s a massage therapist and has studied human anatomy, and I’m just curious to see how everything fits together inside our bags of skin. I couldn’t attend an autopsy or anything like that, no matter how interested I am, but this should be doable for someone as finicky as me. The nerves behind my knees go wild at the sight of blood, wounds and any physical carnage in general, but these bodies are all plasticized. Wish me luck.



A cup of hot coffee was delivered bedside this morning so I was out on the step at 8 o’clock, watching and listening to the birds. They’re very busy that time of day! I try not to go off the step wearing my slippers, but occasionally can’t resist. A stroll past the flower beds and around the back of the house brought me to a large garter snake laying next to a hose. I jumped and squealed, but only because it surprised me.

“Don’t move,” I said, “or the dogs will be on you!”

And it remained motionless as I walked away.


Yesterday I wrote an entry around transplanting flowers, kind of, and so maybe it’s time to quit this blogging thing because all I’m doing is a writing exercise about nothing much. No story, really. No big questions; definitely no answers. Why you guys keep coming back is beyond me. Glad you do, though.




Holidaying at Home

blue flax He knew for months that this week was a holiday for his workplace, but was determined to spend it at the group home in town. Until, that is, he was here for a day this weekend. Then it became “I think I’ll just stay here the rest of my holiday instead of at Aylesbury House. Then you and I get to have a whole week together. Would you like that, Mom?”

Well hell yeah. Apparently I didn’t think of it — though I’d suggested it before, since I’m home anyway.

Not that we’ve been out gallavanting much so far, as Emil would prefer. We drove over to the closest greenhouse yesterday and although it’s closed for the season, I was permitted to buy what I didn’t know I wanted till I got there and saw what was left. Sadly, there was a lot; I wanted to bring them all home, but that would never do: there’s enough weeding, watering, staking and deadheading on my plate already. I nabbed three packs of gazanias already stretched tall and beginning to dry out from lack of attention.

The blue flax in the photo was spread across the middle-to-front of the flower garden, and when it’s not blooming during a certain part of the day it looks like a weed and blocks the display of painted daisies behind it, which are now bent toward the ground in many places due to the wind.

Yesterday in spite of the heat I worked beneath the oak trees to prepare a spot for three of the flax, and in the early evening I moved them over. They have a long taproot so I wasn’t sure how well they’d transplant at this late date, but they look okay today, don’t they? Then again, the other three that I ripped up by the roots and threw in the bush were blooming this morning too, so we shall see.

In their place are the gazanias.

Is there any more pleasing activity, once you’ve had your morning coffee (and sometimes with it in your hand), than strolling past your flower beds to see what’s popped open since yesterday, pulling a few weeds, and tying some of your delphiniums to a trellis? It’s one of the best things about summer, and it’s one reason why I don’t want to go anywhere else to vacation at this time of year. This is where I want to be.

Don’t Laugh: It’s a HodgePodge

collage 1 The days have been suitable for escaping to the camper’s screened windows and peace.

You’d think the house isn’t an oasis, the way I talk. It is! Not a lot of commotion in here either. But being in the camper is as good as being outside. I don’t know why it’s different than being in the house, but it is. Maybe that’s because the windows in the camper are open and I’m sat right between them, while the house windows are closed to keep the hot daytime air out, and there isn’t one we could sit by even if they were open.

One of the doors to the house porch is in bad shape cosmetically. It’s an eyesore and I decided to cover it with a collage. I go out to the camper, slide open the windows, listen to the birds, cut, trim and paste.

Sometimes it would take forever to place a tiny image, and I’d remind myself just to get the damn bristol board covered. This isn’t meant to be a masterpiece. It’s a collection of graphics and photos that I like. Sure they could be placed in a way that is more pleasing to the eye, but I’d need classes, people. Someone to show me even the simplest design techniques, which are the ones you figure out over time and with experience unless you are instructed. For instance, I made my border first. I think now it should have been the last thing I glued on.

collage two

Another of my little quirks is a love of wrapping paper. I can’t part with pretty paper; that’s the way it is. And I want it out where I can see it, not buried in a book in a closet or on a shelf. So that’s what’s below the collage at the moment.

collage three

I’ve seen collages that are artistic and beautiful. I don’t know how to make those. I only know I’m happy to have this one virtually finished and tacked up so that ugly door no longer gets on my nerves and I can admire some of my favourite things to look at.

Slow on Sunday

painted daisy in brassThe farm work was put off so we could’ve joined in Canada Day celebrations yesterday, but beer on the back step seemed a more appealing option. To me, that is. My companions found other occupations indoors.

And so it was a quiet evening spent at home. We had a late supper of spaghetti with tomato sauce, and for dessert there was vanilla ice cream and home-made chocolate syrup. I went out and pruned some of the spent perennials, then got into bed to read. The door had to be closed to keep TV noise out so I could concentrate. I used to be able to read through anything! Sometimes people could speak directly to me when I was reading, and I wouldn’t hear them. But now, it can’t be done. It’s too bad because if I could read while the TV’s on, we could pretend we’re spending time together in the evenings. We’d at least be in the same room. Oh well. C’est la vie.

Emil knocked on the bedroom door.

“Can I come in? I’ll keep you company for a while.” And he sat on the bed and chatted till I went to floss and brush my teeth in preparation for sleep.

This morning I discovered Goddamn Dog had pulled the only blooming cosmo off its stem. She appears to be unable to resist the fabric I’ve used to tie them to the stake (windy on the step, gotta stake tall things), and every few days I’ll find she’s been at it again. I hate her for a few seconds then, but can’t really. She’s too much of a sweetie. I do hope she survives her own puppy behaviour long enough to grow into adulthood.

I’ll pour hot sauce on the fabric now. It seems to be keeping her from chewing the corners of plastic planters, so it’s worth a try.


July Already

bedroom doorRoasted pork tenderloin instead of roast beef … yeah! I got behind that right quickly. Sometimes that fella of mine has the best ideas, given time.

Bev brought five books she’s just finished reading. When it comes to books, I’m blessed with an embarrassment of riches: five borrowed from the library, five purchased at a library sale, and five delivered last night. I’m in heaven.

Your gal here was in her pyjamas and reading in bed by 10:30 or so. But not for long. I was texting Cathy a few words after being out of touch for a couple days, and couldn’t keep my eyes open.

There are Canada Day celebrations in town and I thought it might be a good idea, since it’s sunny, to go to the beer gardens. You never know what old friends you might meet up with on a long weekend in summer, home for the big event. Then I heard the beer gardens are probably held inside the arena, where — I don’t know about you, but I don’t want to sit indoors on a warm summer day. Unless it’s too warm. Then being shaded by a roof would be appealing.

As usual around here, we’ll talk about it but be unlikely to do it. There is always farm work to be done. And truth be told, I’d probably enjoy a cold beer far more on my own back step, listening to and watching all the birds.

I haven’t seen a woodtick for several days. Could it be the phase is over? Nevertheless, I continue the daily slathering of Laura’s lemongrass lotion because next it will be mosquitoes that need to be held off. It’s been quite dry here so we haven’t seen many, but that will change. It always does.

It’s soon time to tackle last night’s supper dishes. They’re all stacked neatly into and beside the sink, waiting for me. And I don’t mind at all; after all these years, I’ve come to enjoy doing the dishes, if you can believe that. Except that it’s pretty much perfect out in the yard right now — not too hot, not too cold — and I’d rather be outside.

The cosmos need some fertilizer because the blooms are tiny, like they were last year, instead of the large beauties they should be. Or could it be there are ants living inside the pots? I’ve only seen one but it could be an indication. Sigh. I miss those huge cosmos; they’re among my favourites.



Not an Everyday Day

Up at 6:30, out of the house by 8:15, sitting in front of the mechanic’s before he arrived to open up, and strolling around town for something to do till it was time to pick up the truck.

three deer

There isn’t a lot open before nine. I’d already had coffee and toast, so didn’t want to sit in a restaurant. I dropped off a book through the wall slot but couldn’t pick up new ones that await, because the library wouldn’t open till 10.

I walked around town for a bit, running into Everett on his way to work. We had a wee visit while I accompanied him for several blocks, to his place of employment. By then businesses were open so I could stop at the liquor store and buy a couple bottles of shiraz for supper (company’s coming), and at the drugstore for some sunscreen (taking your advice, Sandy). When our friendly neighbourhood mechanic called to say the truck was ready to go, I got it and drove to the store for a few groceries.

I arrived home shortly after, to discover the coffee pot on. Good thing I wasn’t gone for the entire day. I do have to go back in at 4:30 to get Emil, who wants to spend “a long weekend” with us. Between now and then I’ve got to whip the house into shape and figure out what to make for supper.

Wine: check.
Dessert, rhubarb pie: check.
Nibblies, chicken wings: check.

I’m not one of those people who can throw together, without a second thought, a meal fit for company. Others make it look easy. For me, it’s pressure. What else will we have? Potatoes and a beef roast, my partner suggests. That combo makes him happy, though it bores the hell out of me. I like to make something special when we have guests; something that’s a treat for me as well as, I hope, for them. The chicken wings and the rhubarb pie will satisfy my needs in that department; the beef and potatoes will suit my mister; Emil will be here and he’s just happy to get fed (and he really wants to see Bev and Paul); and our friends Bev and Paul? Whatever we serve, they’ll say it was tasty and thank you very much, as polite folks always do. If they’re anything like me, they’ll simply be glad someone else — anyone else — is doing the cooking.

I’d also better haul some wood up to the house and go find lawn chairs, as Bev is a bonfire-lovin’ gal and tonight could be just right for that.

***Photo*** We went for a drive one evening to see how the crops were coming along, and these three mule deer got up from their rest and stood waiting for us to leave. We saw a lot of deer that night.