Me And My Water Pots

The Ragtag Daily Prompt word today is VESSEL

Not having a lot to say about fancy pottery or ships on the ocean, I’ll just write about my small vessels and the morning ritual I’ve been carrying out since June, when the local water sources — mainly sloughs — were drying up and there was no water for the birds.

My water containers sit on the wanna-be lawn between the house and the woods to the east. They are: a large round plastic dishpan, a mid-size enamel basin, like the old hand-washing basins of days gone by, and two flat pans about 14″ in diameter. If these are all empty, I quickly fill my pitcher and slip out to refill at least one container for the birds that are still coming regularly to drink and bathe in the early morning. They often seem to be waiting for me to show up. 🙂 Our October weather has been so warm and sunny that the robins are staying longer; I even saw a couple of meadowlarks yesterday!

Later, once properly dressed and fit to be seen by motorists passing by, I fill a vessel in the sink — a five-gallon plastic bucket and/or a one-gallon Rubbermaid pitcher — and head outside to replenish the total supply. Yes, I’m a sympathetic nut, but our prairie is just so dry now! I repeat the refilling at dusk. Some mornings I’ve found all four of my containers licked dry, so I know desperately thirsty creatures have come in the night.

I often wish I could get a glimpse of my nocturnal visitors but I’ve only seen a doe and fawn a few times, and their prints in the soft ground where water has splashed. One night I saw what I thought was a raccoon, and another time a fox (?) ran through the yard, but it was moving pretty fast for ID-ing it. Do these come to drink, or one just happened to run through?

A lot of work, you say? I like the birds and am happy to watch them having a good time out there. Also, I wake up very thirsty in the night sometimes and I don’t wish that kind of thirst on anything else. Deer can drink from cattle troughs, but smaller animals may not be able to, so I’ll keep filling basins as long as the weather holds. I hope and pray there will be at least some snow cover this winter — or our wildlife will really suffer.

And that’s all I have on the subject of VESSELS.

Welcome October

Hello everyone.

The Ragtag Daily Prompt today was STILL. And since there are still a few hours left in this day, I’m going to write a few sentences at least, to let you know I’m still here, still relatively healthy, and still have noble aspirations about being a more faithful blogger. I want to say a hearty thank you to those who are still following me and reading what I have to say, when I do get around to saying it. 🙂 I’ve thought of many things to write about, but my musings would make awfully long articles!

I’m also still painting and enjoying it, though it feels like maybe the initial infatuation with my new hobby isn’t as keen. Hopefully the passion will settle down to a quiet and steady love in my life now.

I got back into doing some genealogical research in Sept and discovered that one of my Allen ancestors was born in Salem, Massachusetts in 1632. That’s twelve years after the Mayflower landed and four years after the Confidence brought the Goodnow-Goodenow (etc.) family to America. Interesting to speculate whether my ninth gr-great Allen may have known my hubby’s thirteenth gr-great Goodenow.

He’s been reading the book Hillbilly Elegy by J D Vance. Vance writes about growing up in a depressed area, a hopeless setting that he was able to find his way through and out of. I gather the conversations have been repeated just as spoken and are littered with the colloquial obscenities.

I’d like to compare Family Tree roots with that James Vance someday. His ancestors possibly came to the US back in the 1700s and were well settled in Kentucky before the Civil War. My Vance ancestor and his three brothers came directly from Scotland around 1830. They obviously passed through New York state, where Joseph met and married Sarah Allen on his way to purchase land in Ontario. Whatever made her follow this widowed Scottish stranger with a small son? I hope they had a good life.

I’m reading the book Call the Nurse, by Mary J MacLeod about a forty-ish couple who were bored with their humdrum life in southern England and decided to pay a visit to the Hebrides island of Papavray, the place his father had left as a teen. They went for a holiday (in the 70s?) with their youngest two boys, fell in love with the remote isle and bought an impossibly run-down shack. Mary had been a home care nurse, so found more than enough work immediately. In this book she tells about the years they spent there, as well as the situation and culture of the people. It’s very interesting reading so far.

Another STILL in our world: it still doesn’t rain. Interesting cloud shapes drift over and catch the eye of this artist, but maybe only a few drops of rain fall once a week. I still put out water basins every day for the wild creatures. The robins seemed to be long gone from this land until a couple of weeks ago; suddenly there are lots of them again. I see them bathing every day in my tubs. At night some other creatures come to drink, mainly deer I’m guessing. I thought I saw a raccoon in our yard one night. Deer can drink from any cattle watering troughs that may be around, but smaller animals can’t, which may be why some mornings all four basins are licked right dry.

Well, enough for this time. I’m going to try again to post daily, even just a few lines. As FlyLady says, just fifteen minutes a day–that’s the key. Yesterday I conquered Mount Wash-more and today I’m chipping at the Ironing Hill. 🙂

Frost & Flame

Prairie Blues

I’m feeling on the blue side this evening, owing to some changes in the air, literal and social.

For one thing, it was a really windy day and the September wind had a bite. When the sky clouded over in the afternoon it was downright cold. Reality blowing in; summer’s gone. 😦 This evening the wind has died down, but the weatherman is predicting frost tonight: -1C should finish off most of our lovely blooms. I’m not rushing out to cover anything, as they’ve been looking straggly for awhile now. They seem to know their season is over.

Here's a poem I wrote long ago about the September Wind:

Damp September wind whistles
through an early August day, chilling
our summer-browned bodies.

Ever the schoolyard bully, it cuffs us
with an almost icy hand.  "Remember!"
It mocks our shivers, our calendar

consultations.  Dismayed, we grab
for hours as they bounce away, August
days slipping out of our lives forever.

With sighs we hunt for sweaters,
check the pockets of our coats,
while we’re at it, wash our gloves.

© Christine Goodnough, August 2012

My husband tells me that, as of tomorrow, here in SK we’re back to wearing masks when we go shopping and to gatherings. THAT is disappointing! When you wear two back-of-the-ear hearing aids, as I do, the last thing you need is elastic getting tangled with the hearing aid’s plastic tubes. But so many people haven’t gotten their COVID vaccination that our province is experiencing another surge in COVID cases.

After a couple of months mask-free, this feels like a giant step backwards. There’s to be a wedding reception Saturday at our church and it just won’t be the same with everyone masked. Another rule will be that you have to provide proof of vaccination before you can dine in a restaurant.

That said, we enjoyed a nice visit with friends from Quebec who came for lunch and stayed awhile this afternoon. And tonight we have a blazing sunset, with a brilliant ring of fire in the west and southwest to brighten up our world for half an hour before dark.

I spent four hours yesterday, give or take, painting another picture; today I submitted it to the Artist’s Atelier on Malcolm Dewey’s website and got some valuable suggestions for improvement. I started doing all my pictures on canvas, but these days I like to paint a “trial run” on watercolor paper and see how it comes out. I always find some changes and improvements I want to make before committing the final picture to canvas.

Well, enough griping. Wishing you a great weekend, everyone.

Times And Seasons

Another Week Joins Misty Yesterday

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. 🙂

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