At Twelve per Hour

Yesterday my husband and I started doing a jigsaw puzzle, one given to us sometime in the past six months by I forget who. This is a Cobble Hill puzzle, one brand we always enjoy doing, where every puzzle piece is a different shape. Looking at their site, I see they have some really beautiful puzzles listed. 🙂

With each piece being a unique shape, the putting-together should be easy-peasy, right? Nope. Not this one, because it’s such a collage of vines and leaves, fruits and butterflies. In fact it’s call Fruits & Flutterbies.

Pretty? Yes. Easy? No. Click Here if you want to see the picture we’re trying to put together.

My hubby worked at it for an hour before dinner and put in twelve pieces. Then he calculated: 1000 pieces at 12 per hour, with each of us putting in a couple of hours every day, should take us clear through til spring. Somewhat like retyping WAR & PEACE.

However, with the outside temp hovering around -30 C we may as well occupy ourselves with something appealing indoors. It’s a sunny day and with sunbeams making all the snowbanks glisten, a person could almost go snow-blind. I imagine this country when settlers first came, not a tree or anything to break the view for twenty miles. And then sunshine on snowy fields!

One early arrival, coming from Wales, commented that “Back home I always like to face the road ahead so I could see what was coming up. But when I’m travelling here on the flat prairie it doesn’t matter what direction I face because the view’s the same whichever way you look.”

Appealing

The Ragtag Daily Prompt this morning is APPEALING

Have you heard that new singer, McLeod?
He’s able to draw quite a crowd
with his lyrics appealing
infused with such feeling
He soon has his audience wowed.


And on a quite different vein, in her last letter my penpal from England feels sympathy for the birds at their feeder when she writes: “…by the end of January the UK will be affected by an icy blast from Siberia, which will send our temperatures plummeting to -5̊ C.”

I watch our local birds fluttering around the feeder this morning – English sparrows, I might add – all puffed up, bravely facing our chilly -33̊C. However, our predicted high today is a more appealing -24. I guess our sparrows have had over a century and many generations to adapt to our climate, though.

Monday’s Clean Scene

Good morning everyone! Here in Sask it’s a dazzling Monday morning — the perfect opportunity to stay home and enjoy family life or visit friends online. And we have some great writing prompts to work with:

Ragtag Daily Prompt: TOUGH
Your Daily Word Prompt: CAPABLE
Word of the Day Challenge: TRIUMPH
Fandango’s FOWC: HYSTERICAL

I can picture farmers all over this region looking outside and smiling. That which we have longed for all summer — more precipitation — has come to pass by the bucket-full. Above and beyond our fondest wish. I hear that a number of highways were shut down yesterday because of the blizzard, so it isn’t only our area that’s enjoying the bounty. Now the wild wind has ceased, the sun has come out and we can enjoy the brilliance of our scenery.

This is perfect COVID weather, you could say: a great opportunity to self-isolate. All across the province schools will be closed today, repurposed as polling stations for municipal elections. So children don’t have to straggle to school through the snowbanks; teachers and school bus drivers can put their feet up until the road have been properly cleared. Yesterday’s wind straight from the north piled a big bank of snow, maybe a metre deep, right in front of our garage door, so we’re not going anywhere very soon, either.

Getting about will be tough for some this morning, but prairie folk are a hardy lot and we now have equipment more than capable of blasting through snowbanks. Our son-in-law and his little crew are occupied at that very task this morning. The Dept of Highways crews will be on the job, too. School yards will be cleared so voters can get to polls.

Thinking of the homesteaders who settled this land, a storm like this might have shut them down for weeks. Yesterday, as I tried to shove our outside screen door open with a foot of hard-packed snow piled against it, I thought of one account I read. Early settlers soon discovered that your cabin door must open inward — because, depending on the direction of the wind, a storm may pack five or six feet of snow against it! Some folks with “a delicate mental state” became hysterical finding themselves embalmed in a white cocoon.

One of the Neatby family tells in his memoir about how, the morning after a snowstorm, they tried to open their cabin door and found the storm had closed it tight with several feet of hard-packed snow. They managed to shove it open just enough to scoop handfuls from that wall of snow, melting them on the stove. Thus they worked most of the day, inch by inch, until it was open far enough that they could get out. After a moment to celebrate their triumph, the boys floundered through the snowbanks to feed their livestock. Yes, those were tough times, but most homesteaders persevered. The options were few back then.

Before the settlers came, the natives found a sheltered valley where they could set up their teepees and relax until spring came again. They didn’t have the rush-rush mindset of the Europeans and were content to wrap up in buffalo robes, sit and visit around the fire, tell stories. I wonder if they ever had election results to discuss? Talking about the weather would get old fast.

No car, no phone, no internet. No housework to speak of. No novel, notebook, or jigsaw puzzle. I fear most of us would go bananas, crackers, completely bonkersbarmy, the Brits would say — after a couple of days of this kind of relaxation. 🙂

An Interesting Tidbit

Ragtag Daily Prompt: TIDBIT
Merriam-Webster’s Word of the Day: OCTOTHORPE

Thanks to M-W, we have this tidbit of information today: the proper name for this critter #, aka a hashtag/ pound/ number sign, is OCTOTHORPE.

Another tidbit, while we’re at it: this / is a VIRGULE. Commonly known as a slash.
According to Lexico, virgule comes from the French word ‘comma’, and originally from the Latin virgula.

Today was a day of small things for me; I listened in on two church services and both pastors talked about small or simple things. In fact both of them stressed that Christian life doesn’t have to be complicated.

There’s a verse in Proverbs that one of the newer translations paraphrases as: “God made man simple. All of his complex problems are of his own devising.” The KJV text reads: “God made man upright, but they have sought out many inventions.”

Earlier I read — more skimmed, but still — an online article on exercise. Christine Carter writes about how she did simple steps toward getting into shape. Read it here if you like. Her thought: don’t start with an ambition program, like a half-hour jog every morning, but then get weary after a couple of weeks and give up. She rather committed herself to jog for one minute every morning. After a week or so she felt like doing a few minutes more rather than giving up.

This is very much like the FlyLady telling you to start by shining your sink and taking other baby steps. “Don’t try to tackle so much that you crash.” Ms Carter takes the same approach. She repeats a wise thought from the Dalai Lama: “Our goal is not to be better than other people; it’s just to be better than our previous selves.”

And now, in honour of winter’s arrival this weekend, especially the raging blizzard that has descended on us today, I’m going to redo my Header with a wintry scene. One of the sermons we listened to this morning was a wedding here at our church — attendance restricted due to Covid. I hope the bride and groom haven’t spent their first hours together slithering on a snow-drifted highway, just trying to stay on the road!

Friday’s CTV News for Saskatoon has come to pass:
The City of Saskatoon is gearing up for what could be a record-breaking snowstorm over the weekend, which may force residents to ‘stay home for a few days’ and could cause power outages.

Imagine this scene whited out by snow blowing almost vertically and you’ll have an idea what our outdoors looks like today. 🙂

A Slap of Diverse Weather

The Ragtag Daily Prompt for today is DIVERSITY

Which we have today. After a couple of weeks of mild Indian summer warmth with temps around 10-14 C (50-55 F, give or take) a diverse weather system arrived in the night and fine snow began sifting down on us. The temp today has hovered below 0C or 32F, so a lot of the precipitation has liquefied. But new snow started this afternoon and now we’ve a fluffy white blanket.

Quite diverse from the balmy day yesterday. I was refilling my shallow basin of water for the sparrows that I have in front of our living room window and they took great delight in splashing in it. I probably won’t need to set water out for the birds for a good long while. Mind you, we really welcome this snow. It’s been so dry here for so long.

Two days ago I listened to a webinar about Scrivener writing programme and found it very interesting. It’s one huge organizational writing “notebook” package plus, storing your manuscript broken into scenes, all your reference material, imports and exports files, compiles your work as an e-book, etc. I see it comes complete with various “how to” tutorials. My husband is definitely interested in giving it a whirl. Has anyone else out there tried it and did you like it?