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


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.

Down to Earth

white mountains tremble
fall before the conquerors
rays of spring sun

Hello, faithful readers! And welcome to all my new subscribers.

Yes, I have returned to blog another day. For the past two weeks I’ve been like a child exploring a candy store, poking into this case and that, sampling this and that. (Actually I’ve been cleaning out closets, reading, drawing, painting.) Now it’s time to settle down and re-establish the old routine before I completely lose touch. I have some serious things I’d like to write about, but I’ll start by opening a window on our world.

It’s definitely spring in our land. Canada geese are flying over; returning small birds are adding their sweeter notes to the house sparrows’ chirps. We’re seeing a lot of bare ground and our yard, for all our heaps of snow, didn’t turn into a quagmire. Last fall was dry enough that now the snow is soaking straight into the soil without much runoff. We still have heaps of snow in the back yard, but the highest banks through the garden are now not much more than a metre or four feet high — and shrinking back every day. Our cats are delighted to explore the snow-free yard and fields.

This morning I was reading a book of ancient haiku verses, with brief bios of the writers. One of these was Saikaku, a haikai master in old Japan. There’s a legend that this poet once wrote 23,500 verses in one day — which would be almost 1000 per hour! Can it be? Even in Japanese, where one curved pen-stoke might be a word, that’s still an amazing feat, if it’s true. Just for fun I tried to see how many (sensible) haiku I could write in an hour — turning the beauties of our land into poetry — and came up with a dozen. Not to say they’re all poignant and full of meaning, mind you, but it was a fun challenge. I’ll post them in the coming days.

While I was doing this, Bob went for his first immunization shot. My turn comes up March 31st. This morning we read the statistic that to date here in Canada over 90% of the deaths from COVID-19 were among those 65 and over — about like one would imagine. Even at that, most Canadians who’ve gotten it have recovered, thankfully. Precautions and restrictions have done a lot to prevent the spread.

Enough rambling for this time. I hope your world is looking brighter in 2021 than it did last year.

Illustration done by Pixaline at Pixabay

Spring Fever?

What is so rare as a day in March,
when sunshine knocks out stiff winter’s starch
when the blanket of snow spills into a trickle
and bloggers once faithful to post become fickle?
Eschewing my blog I now lounge in the light
and – making things worse – have been painting at night.

Spring came to our land last week. In a few days the temp went from -30 to +3. The citizens went from parkas to light jackets. We love the sunny skies and seeing more and more of our lawns appearing!

Looking out the back window yesterday, I noticed a black dot like a stone, lying in the deep snow behind the house and realized that it was the tip of the fence post, buried for months under six feet of snow, now poking through. Two days ago I walked through the back yard, picking the spot where the bank was lowest. It was pretty hard-packed, but where my feet sank in, the snow was knee-deep, so we have a ways to go yet before the back lawn appears.

I’m not sure what’s with me these days, that I’ve abandoned writing and posting for a week. Is this spring fever? The utter abandonment of responsibilities? Too many irons in the fire? But I want to peek in today and say “Hi. Yes, I am alive and reasonably healthy.” To my newest followers, “Thanks for following. I hope you’re finding stuff to read in my archives.”

And I’ve gone from blogging every morning to cleaning house, getting rid of excess stuff, and spending a few hours splashing paint on canvas. Mediocre scenes maybe, but I’m just a beginner. After watching a few demonstrations I tried doing an impressionist style – which didn’t impress friends or hubby – but I think I’ll keep on splashing and dabbing. It looks so easy when I watch the pros do it!

OCD I have: everywhere I turn now, I see something I want to paint! So I reach for a new canvas, then my perfectionism kicks in and I’m afraid to start because I may make a mess of it. I spend too much time looking for a picture I think I could manage, but still have to tell myself often, “It’s okay to make an unrecognizable mess. That’s how you’ll learn.” Do any of you readers have these inner battles that keep you from starting some bold adventure?

Anyway, I hope you’re all enjoying life, in fairly good health, seeing lots of sunshine and blue skies wherever you are.

Ragtag Daily Prompt: BLANKET
Yesterday’s Prompt: CLEAR SKIES

Happy Feb 1

Good morning everyone! We have the first day of a new month, the first day of a new week. To top it off, we’re getting a bit more daylight every day. Last night I refreshed my blog with a new header and I’m on the cusp of a new hobby. Some things to be optimistic about.

Yesterday I listened to a speaker who talked about being grateful for the small things in life, like the beauties of nature our Creator has made for us to enjoy. Right now we have lovely white snowbanks everywhere, sparkling in the sunshine. And a resident something-or-other hibernating under the back of our garage. I see its warm breath is maintaining an air hole in the snow.

The Ragtag Daily Prompt this morning is ELOQUENT.
According to LEXICO this means:
Fluent or persuasive in speaking or writing. (A first cousin to LOQUACIOUS)
Clearly expressing or indicating something.

I came across an image at Pixabay one day, taken by Radovan Zierki. I imagined it fitting well with a writing prompt word like THIRST, so I downloaded it. Since I didn’t use it for an RDP, I’ll post it here.

Wouldn’t you agree that there’s something eloquent about this scene? I think of a river of mercy that flows, providing for even the smallest creatures. I tried to capture my feeling, perhaps not so eloquently, in a haiku.

 the heavens open
 rivers of blessing flow
 free samples