What happened to September?

Dear Friends,

It’s been awhile…as I’ve been otherwise occupied…and maybe a bit burnt out with writing? Lots of things I’d like to say, but hardly anything got written. You know how that goes, I’m sure. Life happens and sweeps a person on in a flurry of small stuff. Being obsessive-compulsive, it’s so easy for me to get caught up in, and totally distracted by, flurries of small stuff.

Anyway, here’s a quick report of our comings, goings, and doings this month.

I did write about cleaning up and getting rid of things. I went through my craft magazines and bookcase, sent a box of books to the used book sale coming up next month. Bob got in the mood and sent a few boxes of his books as well.

I’ve read a number of books, but mostly e-books, so they still clutter my e-reader and probably always will. My problem is to decide which of the used books I’ve bought at past sales that I’ll actually never read. What is it about used books sales…? 🙂

I cleaned up my sewing room (aka the spare bedroom) so it looks half decent now, and pieced three blanket tops for our Sewing Circle. I also cut out a dress for myself. Next project.

Among the finish-and/or-mend project in my sewing room I found the small storage tub of Socks-to-darn and have been working on those. I don’t repair large holes in sock feet; those get tossed, but most of these have small holes up toward the cuff. These can easily be darned so I’ve thrown a number of them in a “Someday” tub. And now someday has come, as part of my overall clean-and-declutter project.

I’ve dug up a strip for perennials in my former garden, now overgrown with weeds, grass, and tree roots. Replanted my iris into this new spot; they’ve been struggling and straggling for the past few years in long-neglected perennial beds. I actually found a few tiny hollyhocks growing in the garden and have planted these in the new bed beside the iris. Now it’s time to empty the large flowerpots and prepare for winter.

On Tuesday we took a drive up to Naicam to locate the graves of my Falconer great-grandparents, supposedly buried in a cemetery there. Nada. Guess I’ll need to go back to the older family members and ask again.

The trip took several hours; en route we saw some huge flocks of snow geese. One pond, and one hillside, were almost white — hundreds of geese! We drove by the Quill Lakes, hoping to see some birds at the Sanctuary there, but couldn’t drive close enough. That’s canola country and we saw many fields of canola swathed, a few combines going. It’s been wet and harvest has been slow this fall.

Winter is definitely around the next corner; we’ve had predictions of snow flurries already. It was only 2 degrees (36 F) at 6:30 am this morning. Our resident barn swallow pair raised their second batch of young — only two this time — and they’ve stayed in and around the shed until a few days ago. I guess by now they’ve joined the flocks heading south.

My computer’s been giving me problems, slowly getting more sluggish in the past months. At the last it kept shutting off and taking five minutes or so to fire up again. I finally sent it for a checkup on Monday and the tech fellow says the hard drive’s been slowly dying, so he replaced it and I’m good to go. We were dreading having to shell out for a new PC, but the cost for this repair was only $75, thanks be! We fetched the PC home yesterday and Bob got it up and running again. Works smoothly and speedily now.

I’ll celebrate by squashing all this procrastination and doing a blog post. 🙂

Wednesday Morning Hello

Good morning dear friends everywhere!

I have neglected my blog for several weeks now, being occupied with digging up roots both literal and figurative. Now it’s time to give this site a fresh look and get back to regular blogging, much as summer days will allow.

Two weeks ago I finished planting my large outdoor pots and they are all abloom now. I also finished digging the quack grass out of my flowerbed and planted most of it. In my digging I discovered a bunch of iris corms surviving in the quack grass; I’ve stuck a few of those back in among the bedding plants. Though I really don’t really want them there, I hate to throw them away. I’d love to have oodles of flowers and bright blossoms everywhere, if only I had the time to look after it all.

The day I finished the main planting we got a nice shower, breaking our long drought, and we’ve been blessed by a few showers and one good rain since. The countryside is a lush green now, so good to see! Tiny weeds are popping up in my newly dug flowerbed — as one might expect.

The birds are singing from the trees all around us and a few have moved into the bird houses we have put up around the place. I really love our location here, right beside the woods! The windbreak trees planted before our time and the ones we planted when we moved here in Oct 2007 have all grown and branched out, giving us a nicely shaded yard.

As I mentioned in an earlier post, I’ve been digging into family tree roots, discovering a few new things and verifying facts I already knew. Through birth, marriage, and census records I’ve followed the families of several great uncles, brothers of great-grandfather Sam, from Ontario to wherever else they’ve settled. Discovered the roots of great-great grandfather John Falconer and Jemimah Lyons over in Scotland, found out how they both came to Pennsylvania and married there, then went out to “the territories” to farm.

I tell people it’s like putting together a jigsaw puzzle. I work each group and section by itself and finally they’ll all come together to make my Vance & Harmon family history.

Sometimes it wants to depress me, seeing all this “born…lived…died.” However, this is life on planet Earth — I’m just travelling through. So I’ve re-resolved to spend my time carefully, choose the activities I enjoy, enjoy the work I must do — and get rid of the clutter.

I was to the Cancer Clinic at the end of May and learned that my white counts are all staying in the normal range, nothing to be alarmed about, no sign of leukemia. Something to be really thankful for!

I hope you are all enjoying the seasons you have, dear readers. If you’re travelling on holidays, I wish you a safe journey. I know some of you are coping with various health issues and wish you courage to cope. And I’m wishing all of you a special touch of God’s grace today.

Of Bugs & Bucket Lists

I’ve been thinking LOTS but writing little, owing to feeling down in the dumps lately. It’s a type of writer’s block: you know that lingering line: “Why should I bother who cares anyway?”

This started a few days ago as I was reading and admiring a number of online haiku verses. Such talent! A wave of blue (green?) swept over me. I’ll never be able to write meaningful haiku with clever twists of phrase. Here’s a sample of mine:

grasshopper munching
the eye of my daisy
instant mashed

(Historical note: I’ve observed that grasshoppers just love to munch the tender eyes of coneflowers like rudbekia. Justice is dispensed speedily.)

I read a quote by fellow writer “Biff” that made me smile; I think his words will resonate with writers everywhere:

The only item on my bucket list is to someday be satisfied with something I write.

While this quote is part of his reply in the comments, the article itself is something all writers can relate to. Do take a moment to pop over and read his post: A Writer’s Lament.

On the cover of the latest issue of FellowScript Christian writers magazine I read the question, “Should You Write For Free?” And my obvious answer is, “Of course not! I should be getting thousands of dollars for what I write.” Okay, hundreds. I’d even welcome tens.

Do what you love and the money will follow.

Ha!

I’m somewhat cheered today, seeing the haiku I submitted to Troutswirl, the Haiku Foundation’s blog, has been published. Also, I accept that, even though I don’t ever earn a penny, I have the complete freedom to write and post on my blog.

But now that I’ve shared my ups and downs with you, I’d best get back to digging my flower bed in preparation for some pretty blooms.

ducky digging in the flowerbed
trying to win it back
nary a feather to be seen
but sure no lack of quack
🙂

A Week in Review

Good morning Everyone,

All my life I’ve thought of Sunday as the last day of the week but the calendar persistently corrects me. How about you? Are you mentally beginning the new week this morning or will you start it tomorrow?

Here where I live, this week is starting out with some of rain and frost. Yesterday we had enough rain to settle the dust and water the lawn; by afternoon the scenery looked a lot greener. A bit more rain fell in the evening — only a shower, we might say, but after a couple of weeks of nothing, we’re glad for whatever comes.

I was up at 5 am this morning and the garage roof was white. I checked the dish of water I’d set outside on the deck for our cats and there was a thin layer of ice on top, so I’m very glad I took in the one bedding plant my daughter gave me a few days ago. It’s a gerbera, rather tender, and would have been limp today if it had stayed out.

Doing a quick recap of LAST week, starting with Monday’s trip to Moose Jaw:

We first dropped in on my husband’s cousin and his wife and had a nice visit with them. They’re into bird-watching as well and have feeders up, so we had that in common to visit about. Also the Family tree info, since they’ve done the DNA test, too. No surprises, as they already have the Goodnough history back to England circa 1620 and records on the Letkeman side go back many generations as well. Bob and his Goodnough cousins share the same genetics, as their fathers were brothers and their mothers sisters.

Seeing my sisters was the main reason for this trip. We took my sister Donna out for dinner and caught up with each other’s lives. It’s been a year since I’ve last talked with her — shame on me!

Two weeks ago I called my sister Rose, who also lives in Moose Jaw, and she told me about her bout with lung cancer last winter. She had chemo and radiation in January; also, her husband was recently diagnosed with cancer and has started chemotherapy. Rose’s husband wasn’t feeling well enough to come, but we met her for afternoon coffee at a Tim Horton’s and did some catching up.

We’d left early in the morning, done our visiting by 5pm, and managed to get home again before dark. I’m so thankful for these long prairie evenings!

Tuesday I made both meals at the Villa, which took up most of my day. Wednesday we went into the city. Among other things I bought a couple of bird houses and hung one up for the tree swallows when we got home. Didn’t take them long to find it and by the next day one pair had claimed it for their own.

We had a pair of barn swallows return to our garage and start to set up house, but something happened to the one. Now I see the other sitting forlornly on the yard light post during the day. He has come to the aid of the tree swallows when they’re being menaced by English sparrows.

Thursday morning found me digging my flowerbed in the front, trying to reclaim it from the ever-encroaching quack grass. The dirt was like powder, a bit of moisture about 6″/15 cm down. I managed to “discover” two of the three peonies, dig out the quackgrass and water them, so they will get the full benefit of yesterday’s rain. In the afternoon I painted a wren house and hung it in the Russian olive out back; the next morning a pair of wrens were busy furnishing it.

Apart from that I’ve done a bit of general housework, some blogging, reread a book, The Face of the Earth, by Deborah Raney. I found it just as great the second time around, well written and the tension maintained throughout. I’ll do a book review in my next post.

Friday evening I was helping a friend to get her life story down on paper for posterity. Yesterday afternoon I wrote and polished the story I posted yesterday, The Abduction. In the evening I had a long visit over the phone with a cousin in Saskatoon, someone I also haven’t connected with for awhile. How does the time slip away?

And now it’s 7:30am and I must get ready for church and whatever else this new day holds. I hope you’re all having an enjoyable day of refreshment and will be ready to face the first day of a new work-week tomorrow. 🙂

Taking A Trip

It’s Monday morning and the Victoria Day holiday here in Canada.

Officially the celebration of Queen Victoria’s birthday, over the years it’s morphed into the celebration of another long weekend. And here on the prairies, the Victoria Day weekend is considered the unofficial date for planting gardens. There are a few “cool-weather” veggies like peas and radishes that can be seeded at the the end of April, but most seeds won’t do well in the cold ground, so it’s best to wait until after Victoria Day when the ground has warmed up enough to encourage sprouting of “warm weather” seeds like carrots, corn and beans.

We retired folks don’t need a holiday weekend to take a trip, but hubby and I are planning to leave early this morning and go visit family in Moose Jaw. Last week my sister told me of some serious health issues they’ve been facing this year and we decided it’s about time to take that two-and-a-half hour trip down to visit our kin.

Do you feel like taking a trip this morning? A little bird-spotting trip to Michigan? I happened upon a blog post with the inspiring title, Housework Can Wait, so I checked out this blog and am happy to report the sighting of some beautiful birds. If you have a moment, you might enjoy one of this blogger’s Picture Walks.

Cleaning Up The Yard

from the earth they came
to earth the trees return
ashes in the wind

Yesterday morning there was no wind and the grass was sparkling with a heavy dew, a perfect morning for a little fire, so I worked for awhile at returning to earth all the dead branches the winter winds dropped around our lawn and all the trimmings we collected last summer and fall.

I enjoy sitting beside a small fire; it feels so cozy. And the idea always intrigues me, as I watch a fire devouring bunches of twigs and logs, how a whole tree can be reduced to such a small pile of ashes. Of course I must write a poem about this. 😉

Last year it was so dry in our area the RM (rural municipality) put on a burning ban all summer. Even at that our menfolks on the volunteer fire department were called out a number of times. This spring it’s been so dry here that we have to be very careful about fires. In fact, if things continue this way, we’ll likely have another all-summer burning ban.  I’ve been raking dead grass and there’s always debris on the lawn in spring, plus we have a pile of dead branches from the broken-off spruce tree. I’m glad for every opportunity to burn this stuff before summer comes and there’s standing crop nearby.

This morning I woke up feeling like I was hit by a truck: arthritis having its say, I guess. Plus I have to cook both meals at the seniors’ home today, so no fire even if we have another perfect morning for one. Some pain pills, toast and a cup of coffee, and I’ll be off to work.

I hope you’re enjoying a lovely day—or evening—and heading into a great weekend.