The Ragtag Prompt word for today is SPLENDOUR, and it’s very fitting for the season we’re in.
Folks who’ve lived in this area for years say they’ve never seen the poplar trees clothed in such golden beauty. Maybe it’s because this fall the frosts have been quite minor so far, nippy mornings at times, but no real “killing frosts.” The leaves are ripening to a richer gold than usual and staying on the trees longer than they usually do? We have a row of young poplars along the west side of our driveway and they’re just stunning in the afternoon sun.
The robins that disappeared in August are back again and staying around until a deeper chill tells them to go. I’ve only seen a few small flocks of sandhill cranes and one large flock of snow geese came through a couple of weeks ago. Owing to the lack of serious frost I still have some hardier annuals like verbena blooming in my planters — that I need to deal with before the snow flies. If it flies. As dry as it’s been this year, I’m beginning to wonder how much we’ll see.
Sadly, another forest fire is raging and the air currents have brought the smoke down our way today. There’s a grey haze over the land that ressembles a fog lying over the countryside. Not pleasant to breathe!
I’ve mentioned before that I get e-mails from Marla the FlyLady, advising me what I should be cleaning this week. Her monthly projects for October is PAPER CLUTTER. Go through and file or get rid of all those loose papers lying around. So I’ll likely be posting some of my random scribbles as one way of filing them. 🙂
And here’s a sprinkle of sage recently rediscovered:
The clouds that sneezed on us earlier this week — 3mm or about 1/10″ in fact — have rolled away, the sun has come out with a blazing heat — moderately — and the combines are lumbering across grain fields again. I was out after supper watching one chomping its way through the field behind our neighbour’s farmyard; mostly watching the moving light and listening to the motor roar. Darkness comes so early these days — it’s 8:30 and very dark already.
While I was outside in the dusk I saw three cranes fly over. I thought I’d heard the unique croaking of sand hill cranes, but it seems so early for them to be here. Maybe they follow the sound of the combines? I still see the odd mourning dove but almost all of our other birds left a few weeks ago. The hummers left August 28th and we haven’t seen robins or warblers for several weeks. Did they get weary of the smoky air and move south? We’ve had relief from that lingering smoke for a couple of weeks, but I noticed some smell in the air again this morning.
The Ragtag Daily Prompt this morning was PING PONG. A very apt prompt for me because it feels like my mind ping-pongs a lot, mainly between “I just don’t feel like it” and “But I really should.” Today “I really should” won out and here I an doing a blog post again. When I sit down with my morning coffee and try to plan my day, my thoughts start to ping-pong from one “Needs doing ASP” to another five or six in that category and my energy wants to drain away. I’m sure you organized types will have no idea. 😉
I’ve been enjoying painting — and yet even with such a pleasant hobby there’s some serious ping-ponging. I’m very much a fan of Malcolm Dewy and the painterly or impressionist style he demonstrates in his You Tube videos. I’d like to paint like that! I also admire the works of Ian Harris and Clive5Art, who paint more realistic pictures. Bob Ross-type scenes. Yes! I’d like my pictures to be that realistic, too! So when I pick up a brush, I land somewhere in the middle, neither as impressionist, or as realistic, as I’d wish. Here’s my “Park.” As you can see, too much sharp detail for a Van Goh.
However, I’ve already let analysis and indecision ruin a lot of productivity and fun in my life, so I’ll just squash those bouncing ping pong balls and get at it. 🙂
this sad country
bird bath emptied in the night
by a thirsty doe
The prairies are definitely in a dry cycle this year. Most of our “Possibility of thunder showers” forecasts have evaporated and all the sloughs are dry. Since there’s no water lying anywhere near, I’ve been taking pity on the birds in our yard and putting out several basins of water in the back yard for them. It’s been a joy to watch them from my kitchen window, coming and splashing about, as well as dining on hapless insects floating on the surface.
Last week another creature found my water bowls. Early one morning I saw a doe drinking out of the largest basin so I be sure to top it off at dusk every evening. Several mornings now I’ve found it right empty and a number of telltale hoof marks on the ground. Last night I filled it to the brim around 9 pm and there was only a dribble in the bottom this morning.
Our yard light provides another source of nourishment for the birds, too, judging by how many birds are harvesting bugs on the ground below every morning. This morning I saw robins, sparrows, a kingbird and a brown thrasher feasting there.
There are many fires burning in northern forests; I heard of over a hundred burning out of control in BC alone, plus fires in Alberta and northern Sask.. All this week our atmosphere has been hazy with smoke, sometimes it gets rather hard to breathe. Still, I dare not complain when others closer to the fires are in thick smoke every day and many communities have been evacuated because of encroaching infernos. It must seem a daunting, maybe even hopeless, task to fight fires on every hand, but I’m so thankful for those brave souls out there doing that work.
We’re taking a holiday this week, going to a part of our country where rain is plentiful. In fact, there’s rain in the forecast almost every day this week — I just wish we could bring some back with us! Meanwhile, I hope the creatures around our yard can find another source while we’re away.
In yesterday’s post I mentioned an old Japanese haiku legend about the haikai master, Saikaku: he supposedly composed 23,500 verses in 24 hours. So I compose an hour’s worth of verses myself. Here are a few “looking out my window” haiku:
in my garden an unwanted rooter pig weed
north wind this morning the scarecrow sheds his flowered shirt for a white pullover
two dozen sparrows cling to the caraganas ornamental visitors
Reading Dale’s response to Crimson’s Creative Challenge has inspired me to have a go at it as well. Like Dale wrote, it’s been awhile since I’ve done one of these. You can read all about the CHALLENGE here, and this is the photo meant to inspire us:
And here’s my 150-word true-to-life tale:
“Mom, why’s that duck’s head and front blue? Did somebody dye it?” “Why doesn’t the other have a blue head, too? Are they different kinds?” “How come the one’s beak is yellow?” “Why’s the brown duck’s feathers sticking up like that? Is it mad?” “If they aren’t mad at each other, why aren’t they swimming together?” “Why are the ducks only here in summer?” “What do ducks eat when there’s no popcorn?” “Where do ducks sleep at night?” “If they fall asleep in the water, will they drown?” “Why aren’t there any baby ducks? And why…”
Randi was trying her best to answer Frankie’s many questions as they strolled along the creek, but was feeling rather brain-strained when an older woman approached them on the walk.
The elderly lady gave Frankie a big smile and told Randi, “Someday you’ll think of this as the best time of your life.”