February Thaw

mid-winter thaw
the trees in our yard
hopelessly hopeful

At the end of January we were hearing that a Polar vortex was about to descend on us, plunging temps down to -30 C. Last week Monday, January 30th, eighteen young men from different parts of the US and Canada were arriving for a special Preparatory Class* our congregation is hosting. Our home youth were jubilant! Coming from Virginia, Kentucky, Mississippi, Louisiana, Kansas, California, Washington, Idaho and Wisconsin, these young men were about to experience a Canadian winter! (In all fairness, the fellow from WI shouldn’t be too overwhelmed.)

And they did feel the chill to some extent. Monday evening the temp was -20 or below. However, our polar vortex soon moved on; since then we’ve had a really mild spell with temps hovering between -1 and -6. They did get in a game of hockey last Saturday, now the skating rinks are getting slushy. The predicted low tonight is -13 C – that ought to help.

At 7:30 this morning it was -2 C. Yesterday I noticed our poplar trees are budding. Will they never learn!

*This is a class to teach these young men about the faith, to prepare them for Christian life and service. They also get to experience a different environment, maybe a different culture, and mix with other young church brethren. There are Preparatory classes for girls as well.

Chilling Finery

The Ragtag Daily Prompt this morning is MISCHIEF

Image: Anrita170 — Pixabay

I’ve mentioned that we received several heavy snowfalls in December. Some of the drifts across our back yard/garden area, places where wind tunnels go around our tree trunks, would measure maybe 1.5 metres deep. On the open lawn maybe .5m or so. Snow much like we were getting about ten years back. And we’ll gladly take every flake of it.

Old times say prairie weather goes in about ten-year cycles. The worst and most famous of these was the “dirty 30’s” but there have been years of abundant rainfall followed by years of hardly any. Around 2000 folks here were meeting at church to pray for much-needed rain. From about 2005 to 2015 we had enough, sometimes an overdose, of precipitation. Old times said they’d never seen the sloughs so full–half-over the roads in some cases. Since then we’ve been winding down to drier years.

What seems more unusual to me is the fog and frost we’ve been having this past week. Rarely is the weather this mild and this humid for this long–and so wind-less!–in January. Every night the trees capture a new coat of hoary whiteness. We wake up to a newly whitewashed world, and trees are slow to shed this loveliness because of our amazing lack of strong winds.

And what does this have to do with MISCHIEF?

I wasn’t able to fall asleep Sat night, so was up in my recliner about 2:15am when the power went out. the moon was giving enough light that I found my way to the flashlight we keep on the kitchen counter, and went to bed. In the morning we saw that the power had been our for 3.5 hours. It was out for an hour Sunday morning while we were in church, then again Sunday afternoon for several more hours. One town not so far away had no power from about 2-7 pm. The cause: broken branches.

Frost may look delicate, but you can see from the picture below how this gentle coating can weigh down tree branches, which may break and come down on a nearby power line.

Image: Vesa Minkkinen — Pixabay


Today’s Bloganuary Challenge asks the question “What brings you joy in life?”

In a nutshell: my family, my hobbies and interests. At this stage of life I don’t feel a lot of the thrilling kind of joy, but more of a deep contentment and gratitude for the many blessings God has given me. My spouse, my daughter and her family, my grandchildren. Our home, the acreage we live on with the nearby woods full of birds. The blogging community I can be a part of.

I enjoy writing, blogging, poetry, reading, painting, piecing blanket tops, doing jigsaw puzzles, listening to singing. I enjoy visiting, especially with the seniors at the Villa. I was there yesterday helping them with their jigsaw — a really hard one for senior eyes! I enjoy watching the birds. Observing nature, weather, the skies — all this brings me delight. Which is why I’ve used nature themes for my book titles.

Sask prairie & sky

The first thing that came to mind when I read the challenge was this song, which I heartily agree with. Here are the first two verses:

Joyful, Joyful, We Adore Thee

    Joyful, joyful, we adore Thee    
    God of glory, Lord of love;
    Hearts unfold like flow’rs before Thee,
    Op’ning to the sun above.
    Melt the clouds of sin and sadness;
    Drive the dark of doubt away;
    Giver of immortal gladness,
    Fill us with the light of day!
    All Thy works with joy surround Thee,
    Earth and heav’n reflect Thy rays,
    Stars and angels sing around Thee,
    Center of unbroken praise.
    Field and forest, vale and mountain,
    Flow’ry meadow, flashing sea,
    Singing bird and flowing fountain
    Call us to rejoice in Thee.

    Henry J van Dyke


Prairie Wind

Good morning everyone. Hope you’re upbeat about this new week? The Ragtag Daily Prompt today is YAMMER. M-W tells me that to yammer is to
1) utter repeated cries of distress or sorrow: Whimper
2) utter persistent complaints: Whine
3) talk persistently or volubly and often loudly: Grouse or kvetch

So I’ll yammer (2) about the prairie wind. This word is offered by fellow prairie girl, Sgeoil, and I know she will agree that our wind can be rather trying and drying at times. For all that, I love this land and wouldn’t want to live anywhere else on this earth.

Prairie Wind

The wind, the wind
always the wind
lashing and thrashing the trees
endless wind, a friendless wind
wind that will yammer for days

It dries you, fries you
wants to despise you
snatching your own breath away
it pings you and zings you
with knife points of grit and gray.

It silts you, wilts you
when you walk it tilts you,
its howling can drive you insane
and when you can’t stand
any more gritty sand
it hits you with driving rain.

Winter season, more reason
when your blood is freezin’
to abandon this country of woes
cold is deep, snow banks heap
and icy wind pierces your clothes.

Grandpa’s Weather

Happy December 1, everyone!

Image: Hans Benn — Pixabay

I wrote that it snowed Sunday night and most of Monday. Well it snowed again yesterday evening for several hours, fine fluffy stuff. I went out this morning and cleared a space where I could sprinkle birdseed. Now I see it’s snowing again. As usual we’re happy to have precipitation, though we wouldn’t have minded this as rain in late September. Anyway, digging around in my DropBox I unearthed this poem written in Jan 2015.

Grandpa’s Weather Vocabulary

Grandpa never gripes at weather
he observes when we’re together.
Some’s “unique” and some is “curious”;
some is “needful”; some is “serious.”

Some is “cheery”; some is “better”;
some is “warmer”; some is “wetter.”
Yet he finds it all relaxing
though we others call it “taxing.”

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