Summer Baled

Driving along a country road these days, you’re apt to see many round bales, either dotting the field or lined up end to end in neat rows. Many of these are straw bales, used for bedding cattle during the winter; my verse is about bales of hay. In winter the deer bother these, cutting the mesh with their sharp hooves and pulling out tufts of hay.

Summer, Baled

Richness of earth,
warmth of sunshine,
rains of heaven, farmer sweat.
Summer, captured in clover.

Cut, sun-ripened,
then rolled and bound.
Scattered in prairie fields
at random or neatly aligned.
Summer, bundled in bronze.

Snow-disguised, benign lumps
wind-dusted betimes, garnished
with a hawk, a raven or two.
Summer, frozen and frosted.

Hungry deer pull and munch
the sweet strands of summer,
certain it’s all done for them.
Complacent cows nosing
disrupt cozy-nesting families
of summer-fattened mice.

Image: Artificial OG — Pixabay

A Birder’s Dream!

Something quite interesting happened today and I thought I’d share it with you, dear readers. If you’re a bird lover like me you’ll wish you’d been here and seen it, too.

Image: Robbi Drake — Pixabay

I don’t recall why I stepped outside not long after dinner, but when I did, I heard the characteristic rusty-hinge croak of sandhill cranes. The sound was far off, so I looked around and spotted a very large flock coming in from the north, flying fairly low. Their course would bring them almost over our yard, so I stood on the open deck and watched them come.

Just before they reached our yard, part of the flock veered off eastward, but then circled back until they, as well as the others, were almost over our mobile home. As I watched them, it seemed like they stopped and just sort of hovered for a couple of minutes – maybe studying this odd creature below?

It seemed rather amazing that I was looking up at them and they were almost stationary, looking down on me. They didn’t get close enough for me to have a really good look, but were flying about the height of our tall poplars. Pausing for a moment before carrying on southward, likely for a stop by the river – the Saskatchewan River is not far south of us as the crane flies. This flock will likely go on to the bird sanctuary near Martha Kennedy’s home in Colorado. She blogs HERE

The snow we got on Sunday is almost gone; just a few patches left here and there. A few warm days ahead and then we’re back to chilly temps, the weather man says.

Tomorrow is our daughter’s birthday. How do the years roll by so fast?! I can’t call myself a spring chicken anymore, if my daughter’s over 50. Maybe I should start wearing purple and join the Red Hat club, if there’s one around. 🙂

I wonder how many of you are doing NanoWrimo this year? It starts in four days, at the stroke of midnight Nov 1st, so you’d best get your pencils sharpened, or keyboard dusted, and your outline completed. Buy a bunch of frozen dinners and pizzas.

Recent Comings & Goings

Hello everyone!

It’s been awhile since I’ve done a journal post so I decided I’d do one this morning. We have another bright and sunny morning coming down, one of very many. Yes, we sometimes have clouds, but I can’t remember the last time it rained right here. This is indeed a dry and thirsty land: lawns are brown; roads throw up dust clouds.

Thankfully there was rain in the summer; I’ve heard that the crops have been okay here – and better some other spots in the province that got more rain. We seem to be in a pocket right here; due to the general flow of air currents above us, the rain clouds pass us by. Grasshoppers are growing long and brown this fall.

I suppose this is a common complaint of mankind, but the days seem to fly by and I get so little accomplished! Though my white cell count hasn’t gone up that much in the last few months, my energy level has dropped. I was rather wiped out in July, so I’m thankful the doctors discovered that I’m diabetic. I’m now on pills to treat that, and they definitely help. My oncologist is holding off on treatment my CLL and I’m okay with that.

I finished my casual cooking job at the Villa at the end of August; You could say I’m footloose and fancy free now. Wanting to do more painting. Wanting to do more writing – though you can’t tell from this poor neglected blog! Sadly, wanting isn’t doing. I get pretty depressed about that sometimes; seems my attention deficit syndrome gets worse every day. 😦

I’ve been visiting Critique Circle again and offering my two-cents’-worth to writers who post their stories on that website, hoping for feedback. It often takes a few hours to read a story and leave comments. I’m intrigued at the differences in North American writers and writers from India. Writing “by the book” maybe? Seem much more formal. No, “Hey, you. Whatcha doin’?” And different words: “He was relishing his meal of curried chicken.”

Bob’s taking a writing course and we’re told readers these days “have the attention span of a gnat.” In other words, no patience for a lot of loopy or formal wording. We’re learning to cut out EVERY unnecessary word. No double adjectives, like “an interesting little story.” No unnecessary adverbs like “he jogged slowly down the trail.” “A very good time was had by all” becomes “They all enjoyed themselves.”

Most of my flower pots are still nice, but the temp is supposed to drop to -3 C tomorrow night. According to the weatherman, we’ve come to the end of our mild fall and our nights will be frosty now. I’m still up every morning letting the cats out and filling water basins for the birds. Deer started coming in August and often drink them dry in the night. A lot of our birds have gone, but we still see mourning doves and oodles of sparrows. A flock of grouse have been foraging nearby; I saw them across the field Sunday and yesterday they were in our side yard, a dozen or more of them.

When I cooked at the Villa, I often worked on Sunday and could invite company to join us for dinner. That opportunity is gone so I’ve decided to get with it at home. This past Sunday we invited Ron & Laurie, friends who’ve just moved/retired here from Quebec, as well as Ray & Sandra, whom we’ve known for almost fifty years.

Two Sundays ago we had our children come for dinner. This was right after the terrible hurricane in the Maritimes so we discussed the clean-up work that would be needed after that. Our oldest grandson had to leave for Roblin, MB, soon after dinner; he’s working for a farmer there during harvest. Our oldest granddaughter was missing, too; she’s gone to teach school in Carrot River. You like to see them grow up but they tend to fly away on other adventures and their chairs at the table are empty. 😦 Last weekend the youth group from here, including our youngest granddaughter, went to Cartwright, MB for a youth rally. Since the Roblin youth went, too, she got to see her brother there – if that matters at all to teens. 😉

I’ve just started reading Drawing Near* by John Bevere and am finding the first chapter thought-provoking.

.
Maybe this is enough musing. I’ll end by wishing you all a great day.

*Copyright 2004 by John Bevere
Thomas Nelson Publishers

Hot & Hazy Haiku

Here on the Canadian prairies the weather is a favorite conversation-opener. As one book character puts it, “There’s so much of it about.” And our beloved Saskatchewan is the driest province in Canada — overall and especially some years.

It’s not the coldest part of the country, obviously; the far north holds that honor. Still, a week of -40 C/F at the end of December is the norm. My husband recalls back in the 50s seeing the temp dip to -50 F in south-central SK. According to one book of SK trivia, our provincial record is -56.7 C — that’s -70 F — at Prince Albert in 1893.

Our summer so far has consisted of a few really warm days and a lot of moderate one, for which we’re very thankful when we read about heat waves elsewhere. We’ve had more rain this summer than in the past couple of summers, which means the crops are looking great.

And now a couple of weather-ish haiku verses I hope you’ll enjoy:

Image by M Ameen — Pixabay
gray dawn
all the way to the sun
trying...trying

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

sizzling day
some kid has to try
asphalt eggs
Image by Richard Eisenmenger — Pixabay

Bumpy Blue Day

Clicker Free image from Pixabay. My Expression.

Warning: Moan Ahead

On June 27th I mentioned in a text to my daughter that “I still have a sore throat.” Well, I STILL have a sore throat. It has waxed and waned, but persists in paining me, especially in the mornings. In fact when I got up this morning the node on the right side was so swollen I could hardly swallow, so I knew it was time to see a doctor.

This started the morning after I did a jigsaw puzzle from Value Village. The puzzle must have been stored and had a bit of mustiness in it, and I’m VERY sensitive to the faintest trace of must or mould. Though I couldn’t smell anything, I woke up the next morning with a really sore throat. In fact I could barely swallow. Drank a lot of chicken broth, took decongestants and the problem almost cleared up. However, a week later I began working with some fabrics someone had stored away, then donated to charity. I cut squares for a blanket top one day and that night already my throat was raw. If only I’d remember to wear my dust mask for any of these activities I could avoid this!

A seemingly unavoidable woe this summer is that I’m allergic to the bite of mites — mainly bird mites such as the cats bring home. Practically invisible, the bite of these pests produces in me a hive-like reaction that’s gotten so much worse over time. Mosquito bites give me dime-size red bumps, but some mite bites can swell up to about the diameter of a mandarin orange in my sensitive flesh. They itch like crazy for a few days, then slowly subside. A week later there’ll be a red scar about an inch in diameter. Our cats pick up mites from lying around where birds or infested stray cats sit, or when they catch a bird. I even got a few bites one day from refilling the bird feeder.

A few mornings back I brushed against a shrub in passing and later felt something on my face. I brushed off a small blossom or leaf, but it must have hosted a mite because an hour later the characteristic blister showed up on the right side of my cheek close to my ear. It’s grown into a huge hard bump, pink with a reddish center, and it’s blocking my ear canal and swelling the node in my neck underneath. This is why I could barely swallow when I woke up this morning. I’ve a smaller bite on my arm now too, which is really itchy and I showed the doctor all the healing ones on my legs. She has given me prednisone and told me to keep taking my antihistamine as well.

Now I have an over-the-phone visit with my Oncologist on Monday. Had a blood test Thursday in preparation, so I’m eager to hear what those results are. Also, I wonder what that doctor will say about all my swollen lymph nodes. How much is due to allergy and how much to the lymphocytic leukemia that’s starting to show up again this year?

We’re in a mini heat wave here in Sask. Not the 100-108 degree (38 to 42 Celsius) July weeks I recall from back in my teen years, but today it was 34 C (94-95 F) and that’s hot enough for us old fogys. Our cats are outside lying in any shady spot they can find — maybe collecting a few mites? 😦 Need to dose them with anti-parasitic stuff again.

I like to stay upbeat, but sometimes reality hits hard. My energy level is low lately. Forecast is for some cooler days ahead, like 28 C, which may not please seriously devoted heat lovers, but we’re looking forward to the slight drop. Hard to believe July is over half gone! Things outdoors, crops, etc, are looking great right now; the woods are filled with bird songs; harried parent birds are being trailed by open-mouthed offspring. Lovely time of year if it weren’t for bug bites!

White, White Everywhere!

Clipped By A “Clipper”

“Alberta Clipper” is an interesting expression for a blizzard. Maybe more quaint than saying “a snow storm coming in from the northwest.” I actually like to watch a snowstorm, but you don’t ever want to get caught out on the roads when a “clipper” blows through.

We didn’t see it coming, though Bob did see in the forecast that snow was to start in the afternoon. The temp read -4 C when we headed off to the city Monday morning with the confidence that “snow starting” couldn’t be that bad — at least not until after dark. We’d be home long before that. We had a proper lunch at Boston Pizza, seeing fat flakes drift down; before we’d finished our meal it was snowing fairly seriously. “We’d best get our groceries and head for home before the wind picks up,” Bob said.

I hurried through my shopping but by the time we were loading the car it was snowing heavily and the wind was a force to be reckoned with. As we left Saskatoon around 1:30, the main highway was still okay. Visibility was reduced and drifts starting to build up on the few curves but our lane was okay most of the way to Delisle. Still, we knew we were heading into a genuine blizzard!

By the time we reached Delisle traffic was just creeping along with visibility almost nil. When we turned onto the highway south, heading home, we faced a complete white-out. Not a trace of a road anywhere. We barely saw the tip of a stop sign and the top of the railway crossing. It was a real challenge to get turned around without getting hit; we were very thankful when we made it safely back into Delisle.

We called friends who live there but they were in the city, just starting for home. The storm had moved eastward rapidly, though; they soon turned around and got a motel room in the city. There they met their boarder who was likewise storm-stayed. Rays were kind enough to let us stay at their home even if they weren’t there. Even getting to their place wasn’t easy, with big drifts building up on the more open streets, but we finally made it and settled in for the duration.

All highways hereabouts were soon closed. Our daughter, in another town for an appointment, had tried to get home but gave up and ended up getting the last motel room. After seeing emergency vehicles heading to accidents and calling 911 for a driver who drove into the ditch in front of her! I’m so thankful none of us had to spend the night in our car in a ditch! This storm blew in so suddenly, though, I wonder how many people did?

The temp was -33 this morning, slightly breezy with brilliant sunshine. Ah, the variety of a prairie winter! 🙂