Autumn Splendour

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.

This is a beech tree, but you get the idea. 🙂 Photo by Hans Braxmeier at Pixabay

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:

Image from Oberholtzer Venita at Pixabay


When Day Is Done

A poem by Mrs. Roy L Peifer
(nee Mae Belle Feese)

Isn’t it fine, when the day is done,
To rest in the rays of the setting sun,
Gently fanned by a western breeze;
To list to the hum of the drowsy bees,
To gaze at the earth and the skies of blue
And know that it all belongs to you?

Isn’t it fine, at the close of day,
To scent the breath of the new-mown hay
And the mellow sweetness of golden grain,
To stroll in the dust down a country lane,
To watch the moon rise round and gold,
And know that is all is yours to hold?

When all the sounds of the day are stilled,
I like to stroll through the fields I’ve tilled
Where I’ve laboured with brain and heart and hand
To wrest my food from this vibrant land,
To gaze at the earth and the sky’s blue dome
And to know that it all is mine to own.

Oh, I’m glad that you need no gold to buy
The earth or the stars or the friendly sky;
The scent of a rose or a night bird’s trill
Or the sun sinking slowly behind a hill;
Now I am as rich as a man can be
For the whole wide world belongs to me!

I’ve tried to find information online about this poet, when and where she lived, etc. I see she, or her descendants, published a book of poems in 1982. Unavailable, says Amazon.
I couldn’t find this particular verse online, just in a friend’s Summer ‘Ideals’ magazine from May 1955. I see that if you want a copy, you can order it from Amazon for about $7.

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.

Afternoon Storm

A wild electrical storm came up at 1 pm this afternoon, just as I was leaving work. Soon after I got home the system settled right above us for about fifteen minutes. Fierce winds and lightning flashes all around, but the ones right over our heads were worrisome. However, we got at least 3 cm of much-needed rain, so we’re thankful. (Our neighbour’s rain gauge showed 1 1/2″ when all was said and done. Nice! ) A friend who lives +/- 40 km north of us got not a drop.

Now here’s a quickly composed verse about the event:

In constant waves the pouring rain
sweeps over the field, the road;
the tree tops thrashed by the onslaught,
spring back, to be bullied down again.
The overshadowing turbulence
hurls jagged streaks our way,
followed closely – so closely! –
by the cannon roars of thunder.
With each boom we shudder, praying
neither we nor the trees will be zapped,
sizzled or uprooted by the ferocity
clamoring above our heads.
We cringe, yet count this not
the malevolence of a foe;
rather we rejoice in the storm
and bless the sheets of driven rain
bringing life to this thirsty land.
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
Image by Terry McGraw at Pixabay

Gr-Gr-Uncle’s Sad Fate

Our Ragtag Daily Prompt this morning was WIDOWMAKER. I’ve never heard of this word, though I grasped the idea soon enough. Still, what might I might write in response to this prompt?

About ten minutes later our cat, Angus, came around the corner of the house with a mouse in his jaws. He rushed up the steps, intending to bring his prize inside, but that’s not allowed. The creature’s tail hung limp and lifeless, but you never know. They can fake it until the chance comes to dash under some furniture.

Anyway, my mind went back to the prompt and I thought, “Okay, here’s a tale…”

Widow-Makers

“”Quiet, children! Did you hear that sound?” Our mother trembled. Most of us froze, ears alert to the faint sound coming down through our tree stump.

Some of our siblings were still tumbling around, pulling each others’ tails. “Stop squeaking,” she hissed, reaching over to box their ears. “Everyone listen.”

The plucking, rasping sound was louder now and we all trembled a bit, wondering what it could be. She started shoving us into the corner farthest away from the door, whispering, “Don’t any of you dare squeak, or put so much as a whisker out the door.”

We all huddled in the corner until the sound stopped. Still Mother wouldn’t let us move around for a long time after.

“Mother, what was that sound,” one of our sisters finally asked.

“That, little ones, is the sound of THE CAT, a furious beast, sharpening its claws on a tree nearby. We must be silent whenever it’s near because if it hears any rustling, that monster will be over here in a flash, reaching in to snag whoever it can.”

By now we were all trembling. We’d heard many fur-raising tales about “THE CAT.”

Mother’s whiskers twitched wildly as she described the beast. “Its claws are viciously barbed. We call them widow-makers. Few mice ever escape those clutches. THE CAT has massacred dozens of our relatives.” She began wringing her hands “I do hope your father and brothers are safe. Snitching grain from the harvest field won’t be worth it if they lose their lives doing it.”

After awhile Father and our brothers came back and we could all relax. They told us all how they’d seen THE CAT and had hidden in another stump until the beast had moved on. Our brothers described THE CAT for us: a big furry monster with fiery golden eyes, HUGE paws and a long tail that it whipped around constantly. Oh, we were glad they hadn’t fallen prey to a beast like that!

But the sad news went round that evening when we mice gathered among the trees to visit our clan. We’d lost our great-great-uncle to THE CAT. Our great-great aunt is years younger than gr-gr-uncle and has perfect hearing; she shuddered as told us how she’d squealed a warning to him, but gr-gr-uncle hadn’t understood it. He’d poked his head out to see what was making that noise and spotted the cat. He’s kind of slow in his old age and didn’t duck back inside soon enough. THE CAT spied him and dived toward their hole, reaching in to snag gr-gr-uncle with its vicious barbs and carry him away in its jaws.

The mouse clan offered many sympathies to great-great-aunt, another widow in the daily battle for mouse survival. We’re all twice as cautious now. None of us want to be caught by those widow-maker claws.

Remembering Tuffy

We have another beautiful day ahead of us. Our two older cats have been out exploring and just came in for breakfast.

A month since he left us, I’m remembering our little Tuffy on this beautiful spring morning that he would have loved.

such a small creature
such a big hole left
to catch all the rain