Worlds Old and New

We started out the morning on a dreary note: cool, cloudy, rain in the night left the lawn wet. I was up at 5:30 am and went out to feed and water the resident birds. We get mostly grackles, sparrows and finches, the odd mourning dove, sometimes a brown thrasher will join the birds on the lawn. During the day robins, goldfinches, northern flickers and western kingbirds also visit my water bowls.

It’s so nice to step outside and hear a rousing cheer, even if it is just birds waiting for me and all excited when I appear. Sometimes I get a surprise, like three mornings ago when I looked out the half-open door and saw a young buck on my lawn maybe twenty meters away. He must be a yearling, not very big yet and just growing his first set of antlers.

The Ragtag Daily Prompt this morning is ANCIENT. Well, My Heritage has supplied me with a bit of ancient this morning: my grandfather nine generations back, Samuel Allen II, was born in Braintree, Massachusetts Bay Colony in 1632. (Now the city of Boston.) So I guess I have some Puritan ancestry.
Their children’s names were also ancient. One record lists them as:
Samuel, Asahel, Mehitable, Sarah, Bethiah, Nathaniel, Ebenezer, Josiah, Elisha, Nehemiah. (I also have record of a Benjamin, Jonathan, Joseph, and a few others, but family records do sometimes get scrambled.)

Another e-mail, a newsletter from Malwarebytes, fast-forwards me four centuries, bringing me to the cutting edge of technology: “How to free your cell phone from ad-ware.”

The sun has come out now and I shall be on my way to the Villa seniors home for Wed morning Coffee time. Wishing you all a great day.

This Week Chez Nous

Hello everyone! I hope you’ve been having a good week? The past couple of days haven’t been so great at our house, what with a pain in the arm as well as severe pain in the wallet and chaos in the office. Hopefully we’ll recover; my arm injected with the Covid booster (Moderna) on Monday, is already improved, but it was very sore yesterday. I felt light headed, listless, and had several long naps; hopefully the effects have worn off and I can resume normal life now.

I wasn’t hearing the latest news, but Bob was telling me that the Premier of Quebec just announced there will be a tax levied on residents who have declined to be immunized, since these folks are giving half the cases straining provincial hospitals now. “Desperate times call for desperate measures,” I guess?

I cooked dinner for the residents at the Villa on Sunday, inviting two couples to join us and the residents. (For those of you who know folks here, they were Wendel & Heather and their four sons — Heather brought dessert & corn — and Ben & Lucille.) Usually when families are invited for Sunday dinner at the Villa, they bring some part of the meal, which is very helpful for the cook!

Monday we up-heaved the office some when I took my PC to the computer doctor in Outlook before going for my booster shot. Remember the old expression, “slow as molasses in January”? I’d turn it on and wait and wait! So it needs an upgrade, and the repair man is also fixing a few programs that don’t work. It will be great to have my mail G-mail account accessible again, but I may probably cry when I get his bill. I’m still whimpering over yesterday’s shell-out.

Yesterday, while I was taking life easy at home, Bob went to the city. Among other things, he got a replacement for the key I lost last week. Beware, everyone. These high-tech keys may be small things, but a replacement costs plenty — in the neighbourhood of $700 CDN!

Worth their weight in gold?

When he got home from the city a package had come in the mail: a mounting bracket for his monitor. Now he can adjust the height. However, to install this, he had to empty and remove a shelving unit that sat along the back of his desk, which means the office is in chaos this morning. (One used shelving unit for sale. What offers?) Chaos can actually be good in the long run, seeing how things never used can so easily get stored away and become part of the decor until you have to move them for some reason.

Our “severe cold spell” is past and we’re into a “severe” mild spell now, though I doubt the weatherman would ever call it that. The temp went above freezing yesterday; it’s -4 now at 10 am; the ice has melted off our windows. Out cats are acting rather squirrelly and are eager to go outside. Stepping outside now, it feels like spring — but we’re not deceived 🙂

Forecast: Dry and Smoky

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.

One More Day of To-Do’s

Hi Everyone,

I thought I’d give you another glimpse of life at my house, as I prepare for the grand event on Tuesday. I’m to be at the hospital and ready for my minor surgery at 7am, which means I have only this evening and tomorrow to accomplish a dozen things in preparation for having limited mobility for 4 to 6 weeks.

I’ve borrowed a few books from the library and downloaded a couple from Kindle Unlimited. (Not that I was ever lacking.) I’ve a tub of articles and verses to-key-in-someday, and this I’ve set on a dresser so I won’t have to lift it. I’ve visited Michael’s and bought a few more paints. I was going to buy canvas board, which is quite stiff, but then I spied a “Canvas Pad” – something I haven’t come across before. It turns out to be ten sheets of stiff prepped canvas duck, about the weight of card stock and ready to paint on. I bought this more for practice, but we’ll see how the finished painting looks.

One of the books I borrowed from the library is HOW TO WRITE A MYSTERY — © 1996 by Larry Bienhart. Random House. I’m finding it delightfully humorous! He starts by explaining the impulse that started him on his mystery-writing career: he read two mysteries in one day and both of them were awful. A conviction settled: if he wrote a mystery, no matter how pathetic it was, someone would buy it. “What was exciting, thrilling, illuminating, was that someone had published these meandering, illogical, poorly constructed, cliche-ridden manuscripts and – I presumed – actually paid the writers! This was attainable.”

I’m only in the first chapter and already he’s mentioned one of my biggest peeves in story lines: people acting irrationally, or contrary to human nature, just to make life easier for Syl the sleuth. Since the points he makes about mysteries is applicable to other genres as well, I’m eager to read more. Any story has to hang together and needs to offer the reader a reason to keep reading.

I also have a few jigsaw puzzles that I could do during my enforced idleness, and have invited a couple of seniors from the Villa here to play Mexican Train (a dominoes game) with me once I’ve up and around. I’ve a half dozen Sudoku and Word puzzle books to work on, and a few sewing projects I should complete. Actually, having reviewed all the things I could do, I’ve realized what I really need is six months on a desert island! Covid-19 hasn’t done it for me because there’s so much that can be done at home, right?

Reading FlyLady’s latest post, I’m encouraged to take small steps toward specific goals, rather than taking huge chomps of everything at once. We’ll see how I manage that in the coming month. One of my first steps will be to varnish the paintings I have finished.

Thanks to the live streaming we can access these days, I listened to a church service in Annapolis Valley, Nova Scotia, which started at 7:30 am this morning, then we listened to our church service here at 10:45. In the afternoon I listened to a Christian Endeavor program from Fleetwood, PA, then our evening service here at 7 pm. Altogether a very inspiring day! Because Covid cases are dropping in a big way here in Saskatchewan, the govt is saying things will be opening up more by the end of this month, including more people allowed in meetings.

First thing tomorrow morning I want to do some loads of laundry and pack a bag for my over-night stay at the hospital Tuesday night. Yesterday I filled some flowerpots with fresh dirt; tomorrow – Victoria Day here in Canada – I want to visit a local greenhouse and get some bedding plants for them. We had a light dusting of snow Friday morning, which settled the dust for awhile; this evening we’re enjoying a drizzle and hoping the prediction of more rain tonight and tomorrow will pan out.

Well, that’s enough for tonight. It may be a few days until I’m back at the computer. Meanwhile, I’ll be hoping that you all have a great week.

Image from Pixabay

Catch-Up Time!

Welcome to everyone and especially to the various people who have just started following my blog. I see it’s been over two weeks since I last posted — and seems like a month — so it’s high time to write at least a few lines and tell you all what’s up in my world.

No, I haven’t had COVID-19 or been sick otherwise. We both have had our first immunization shots and neither of us had serious repercussions, thankfully. I recovered from the minor discomfort of a sore arm after a few days. Earlier this month was in a kind of slump and didn’t feel like doing much of anything.

I did check the writing prompts this month, but nothing inspired me. Actually, don’t you think SLUMP would be a good writing prompt? I think everyone feels rather slump-ish at times. 🙂

Maybe our weather has something to do with my outlook? We all keep looking out for rain clouds, but they all skirt around us here. This has become “a dry and thirsty land where no water is.” (See Psalm 63:1) We have not had rain once this spring, only a few minutes of spitting. The ground was dampened once or twice.

I’ve been setting out basins of water for a couple of weeks now and refilling them several times a day so the birds will have something to drink. It’s a joy to watch robins, blackbirds, grackles, the odd magpie or mourning dove, and misc sparrows drinking and dunking themselves in the shallow basins.

Most of our sloughs are bone dry; one of the largest in this area has only a small puddle of water now. The air is often filled with fine dust, blowing in the wind or raised by vehicles on gravel roads or farmers seeding crops. This year they’re really planting in hope. Trees are greening up as usual and the dandelions are blooming, though they’re short, scrubby things with small flowers.

In view of the scenery before me lately, I decided to change the header on my blog. That bright little chipmunk in a field of lush lavender didn’t at all fit our landscape. Last night I tried to install a new header but for some reason WordPress wouldn’t cooperate so I went with a picture already in the files. Here were two Pixabay images I chose, but WordPress wouldn’t do the CROP & PUBLISH: Not sure what their issue is. I’ll see what Unsplash has to offer.

However, the Word of the Day Challenge today is TWIST. We had a bizarre twist in precipitation, having such heaps of snow last winter and now drought. I can also write about the sudden twist in my month of June.

I’ve been dealing with a health issue — a type of hernia — and it’s been getting more bothersome. I’m finding it harder to be on my feet for any length of time. I called the doctor’s office last week just to check, but the secretary at Surgery Bookings told me an opening probably wouldn’t come up before fall. Groan! However, this morning she called, said they had a cancellation, the opening was for May 25th, and would I take it? Well, YES! She explained that I’ll have to spend a night in hospital and be somewhat laid up for about six weeks, but I’ll sure be glad to have this taken care of.

As it turns out, this spring was a great time to take up painting; hopefully I’ll get lots done while I’ve mostly off my feet for the next weeks. I have so much to learn about the techniques and whatnot.

This concludes my update. I hope you are all enjoying good health and lovely weather. ( And will you folks in the south-eastern US please send us some of that rain you’re being deluged with! 😉 )

End of Year Shuffle

The Ragtag Daily Prompt for today is SHUFFLE, and a very fitting one it is. Two weeks after Christmas find me shuffling a lot of stuff — organizing, tidying, hopefully boxing up some things to be donated. “Out with the old and in with the new. Or, as FlyLady says, “If you aren’t using it, give it away so it can bless someone else’s life.”

When you have so and so much space and it’s already full to overflowing, then Christmas gifts come in, something’s gotta give. So we shuffle through cupboards to see which things we should part with to make room for the new. Hopefully by the first week in January most objects have all settled into the best place for them.

This morning I went through my stack of jigsaw puzzles. I collect and distribute to the folks at the Villa and other friends who like to do them, but somehow they come back in greater numbers than they go out. I spread them out on the bed and sorted out the ones I still hope to do someday myself, then piled the rest into laundry baskets. I took these — about thirty puzzles — to church, sending a WhatsAp message around for anyone who wants puzzles to help themselves. Now to say a prayer that they will all disappear. 🙂

Books and puzzles are best circulated; they get musty sitting around waiting to be opened and used.

Which reminds me that I did a shuffle in my closet last week and pulled out a dress I haven’t worn in awhile. It’s been a little..ahem..snug. It has — or had — elastic at the waist. But the moment I stretched it out to look at the dress, the brittle elastic just disintegrated. Ah, yes! There really is no point in storing clothes that don’t fit, either, because if elastic isn’t regularly washed, it dries up and crackles like the autumn leaves. (Ditto with the elastic in sheets that have been stored.)

Things are not made to be hoarded. Ornaments can sit around and the worst that will happen is they will fade — unless they get broken. But I’ve learned that most fabrics and paper, like food, can’t take continual non-use/storage and stay good-as-new.