Category Archives: weather

Pretty Much It

Neck high in the snow drifts is just one problem for a short and stocky bulldog. Over the head scary snowdrifts bank the roadway but smell very nice due to high squirrel traffic. The laneway is short and filled with two cars but it has a build up of ice that slows grandma down when she agrees to a outdoors session. At the end of the lane is a nice little brown collie and shepherd mix dog that has the privilege of sometimes running around loose to play and provides a fun break from the day to day short walks. The rest of the day is a bowl in the morning and one at night, Sleep periods in the sun on the old brown chair, play with the treat kong for a few minutes, brief business trips out the door, sleep periods on the warm floor intermixed with sleep periods on the soft white blanket on the couch and sleep periods on the wooly blue blanket on the best recliner. Spurts of sudden activity randomly engage the little bulldog girl when the ninja cat appears from behind the bedroom door. Grandma is close by, cooking things, doing laundry, tapping on the keyboard of her computer at all hours or sitting, resting, reading and drinking tea.Life in the country is pretty much as expected.

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Creative Recovery

Sleeping arrangements are fluid and depends on who gets the bed or basket or recliner

there will be

no television

when there isn’t enough

room

for both on the recliner so

pretending

to work at the computer is so boring and yet

comforting

it fakes

enough

that sleeping resumes and then television and a cup of tea is manageable

a constant supply of cheap food with pull

back lids set upon

a tea

towel on

a high level is tolerable

as loads

of laundry wind down to floor

mats and duvets and random

socks

yet still there are bins and baskets and bags and general loose ends that are set aside while swollen ankles ache and frozen shoulder seizes

dishes are reasonably clean and dirty

in a cycle of day to day existence in the middle of this shift in family, possessions, luggage, pets and dreams

while here

at the centre is a maternal management

worse for wear and exhausted by worry yet hopeful and proud

ignoring winter salt stains on the boots and the grit by the door for a little while longer until the sun warms and melts and the green shows through

perhaps revealing some

solutions

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Bringing In The Tree

In the week before Christmas,the morning routine was to wait for mom to get into her green wool tartan housecoat and go downstairs to flip the switch on the furnace shaft to send some warm heat upstairs while I stayed in bed warming up my clothes for the day that were rolled up at the foot of the bed.With breakfast started on the stove and the tea made,mom would come back up stairs and supervise the dressing preparations for the day . It was a noteworthy day if the old quilt cover was covered a bit with some drifted snow from the shaky window sill. Outside the evergreen trees in the lane were draped with snow and the path to the road  was filled in until the tractor made it’s way through it.

On such a day, by nightfall, the back shed door would thump and bang while the top part of an evergreen tree from our bush was squeezed through the entrance into the farmhouse kitchen. The tree was freshly cut, covered in snow and ice and still holding abandoned bird nests in it’s top branches. Pushed by the table, it would knock off any dishes or food placed there for supper. With a tighter squeeze it was brought into the ‘parlour’, set into a galvanized pail with water, tied with twine and attached to a nail on the wall.

Decorations were some very old twisted strings of large coloured lights with aluminum star like and pointsetta style reflectors. Some of the lights bubbled with coloured water effect. A few surviving glass baubles and recycled tinsel and silver garland completed the whole thing. Nothing fancy and hardly ever a new ornament purchased, but the remembered tree with the snow, ice and bird nests in it’s branches is a beautiful part of my Christmas heritage.

I think of that tree and I can see my big brother bringing it into the house. It isn’t a memory from a pin and post décor article or a scene from an urban chic lifestyle television program. It is the moment,captured. The back shed door, the cold fresh tree, the snow, ice and bird nests,the cups and plates and food knocked over by the huge branches, my mom standing there dealing with it all and the memory of my big brother, full of fun and bringing some to me.

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Independent Spirit

Late November and heavy

sky just holding

off the rain so that the barn swallow can fly

carrying

so gently on its back

a tiny fairy girl I once knew

as a little one

running along with her sisters on a country road and in the school house lane

orchards on one side, towering evergreens sweeping us kindly with low branches as we played and imagined our stories over and over again using our own words and changing very little when they were told again because of the simple beautiful comfort of knowing each other

today the rain just held

back its tears long enough

for the songs

to make us smile once more and make some feel

the reaching back

to gathering together today for the sake of family, friends and art

a silver butterfly as a spirit

today to connect

with the symbolic appreciation of her monarch of familiar earthy colours

to take the time

to look for the butterflies and let the milkweed grow enough

at the side of the road and in the rough garden patch

all the while thinking that she was right

in wishing and hoping and expecting

that we need to take better care of each other

barn swallows and butterflies and giving each other the chance

peace, our only chance

forever this is home

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Character Building

Light on

at the corner of my yard for the lady next door

who

walks her dog

in the dark

down the village street

the corner light

above

the mailbox is yellowing with age

some of the neighbours had put up some Christmas lights

but some haven’t

it is maybe too early

or maybe too late

it is cold now and nobody wants to do lights

it is cold

snow was here and wind has ripped on through the village a couple of times on wild days this week with rain washing away the snow leaving fallen fences, branches in the lane and newspapers in the wrong places

trying

to stay

warm with extra layers and covering

up

the cat

unexpected but not atypical

demands

tightening

wrinkles

into place

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Leftovers Again

Extension cords in a bundle are heaped on the mudroom bench and three garden rakes lean against the wall in the television room. A truck load of new lumber wrapped in places with duct tape and hammered with a few nails landed in my back yard and helpful neighbours have carried it away to repair their own projects. Other things such as a fat suit and a play sword have just been returned to a dance group. A few useful things such as a small carpet, flashlights and a one dollar charity shop lamp ended up in my son’s apartment. Some things were trashed and some were donated. A few boxes of things are still in the car. A rehearsal hall fan, purchased by me is stored away,somewhere. These things, related by their usefulness in a recent play directed by my son seem almost charged still with some kind of weird energy, like the props and costumes in my years and years and years old dramatic play collection, now totally dispersed. My long acquired collection was for school kids. This recent collection was for theatre.

Something else has arrived here waiting to be dealt with when the energy builds to face it. A form of anti-climatic mood lingers around the place like a distant relative, familiar, welcome enough but a bit tiring after an over extended stay. Time for it to go, run along, clean up after itself,” toodle-loo” and close the door. Routine needs to be enforced and motivation in the form of new projects, hard work and completed tasks should alter the clingy mood sighing to itself in the little piles of stuff in the mudroom and also in the back of the car.

Tomorrow is a new day. Up at sunrise. Clear the decks. Green tea (gag/trying to be healthy), journals, coffee ( finally), emails, scrambled eggs ( with hot sauce) and toast, garden rakes and extension cords. Then clean the car and put the boxes in the mudroom to sit for days and days and days.

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Late August

It’s that time of year again when everyone is either away or busy and they need me to take care of their pets. Actually, it is fun doing that. The old cat has taken over my bedroom while the visiting dog has once more taken over my recliner and I’ve moved myself into the guest room. I’m pretending I’m on holiday in there as well .
Neighbours are always dropping in just for a visit and I’m not even worrying too much about whether the dishes are done or not. The crickets are chirping, squirrels are racing around, bunnies are on the lawn and the Canadian Geese are honking overhead.
There are small piles accumulating here and there which represent projects and events that I’ve either put off during the summer or completed lately but haven’t dealt with tidying away. Books are piled on the table ready to go back to the library in a day or two. There’s no rush. Running to the local libraries is my pastime and actually, its fun doing that too.
Assorted kitchen bowls and antique platters are filled to the brim with assorted vegetables and fruits from the farmer’s market. Some garden goodies are also available from my sister’s farm so it is a time of eating what can be yanked out of the garden, washed off and sprinkled with a little salt.
My garden is feeling a little tired now because I gave up watering it but producing lots of kitchen herbs, peppers, onions and a few tomatoes. Marigolds are making a good show in the back garden along with assorted geraniums, purple petunias, blue morning glories, white and pink Rose of Sharon bushes, pink Himalayan orchids and a jaw dropping white mop headed hydrangea bush.
The side porch has a very laid back vibe with cushioned chairs, asparagus ferns, ivy and fuchsia impatiens. Here and there throughout the yard are small white concrete statues of a hen, frog, swan, horse, cat. A grey concrete squirrel sits by the side door. (Honourable mention also of a broken concrete mother duck without a head which has such sentimental value it remains, discretely placed.) A ceramic Christmas pig wearing a red toque and holding a striped candy cane jauntily looks out from under the bushes from whence he was originally placed by a family member who consistently denies doing such a thing.
Tomorrow is a day to visit with a retired colleague and another neighbour, drink tea and eat oatmeal scones. The dog will be here for another two weeks while his master is in chaotic show mode at the theatre. The old cat will just have to cope as best as she can. I’m planning on doing the dishes sometime tomorrow. The books go back maybe Tuesday. Little piles and projects will sort themselves out as they always do. The garden will fade slowly. Trips to the farmer’s market will increase.
Concrete statues remain the same, unchanged by the seasons.
Broken concrete mother duck, headless, still part of the garden, just hidden
slightly.

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The Odd Little Spark

Tonight there were only two of us at the bonfire on a very quiet August night.
Last week, at a different bonfire there were over a dozen adults plus an assortment of children on a not so quiet August night. The atmosphere at both bonfires was a concentration on the flames and the conversation flickered and fanned itself, dying out at times and then bursting up into little stories or commentaries, even small jokes, an update on the game running televised but unwatched in the house.
Tonight, a quiet night, is a night to let thoughts surface. Instead of coming home to sleep it is a night to drink hot tea and eat whole wheat bread and Sarah’s strawberry jam while writing out the swirl and range of thoughts that surface unbidden. Thoughts from every angle, corner and folded crease just announce themselves and flutter around much like the over excited children at the other bonfire on another night, the noisy one.
Tonight, as it all flew by I wondered if any of these thoughts would catch my interest and ignite a story or a poem. Although interesting enough to me in my mind’s eye, none of the thoughts or images are the right material to expand upon. The other night, I worried about the fire sparking off a dangerous flame as the children whirled about showing off, cooking burnt marshmallows and running around with charred hotdogs on long metal sticks. I found myself mentally reviewing emergency first aid in case it was required and thankfully it wasn’t.
Neither bonfire was mine so as a guest at each one all I could do is share the cool dark night, the brightness of the flames and follow the flow. Hours later at home, on the quiet night, comforted by the second cup of hot tea and homemade jam with fresh, soft bread I write this odd little post that came out of the smoke, unbidden.

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No,Not Now…

Cat adoption, no, have one with issues, already.

Like cats though. Nice , cute cosy ones.

Will take an old winter bedraggled looking like death cat crying at the kitchen door out of a storm and keep the poor thing, sores and all in the basement in a warm place with food and water until granted time to recuperate further at the farm, surrounded by barn cats and made their queen.

Best cat ever, Duster also named Mistral because he was brought home the night of the first autumn storm that brings the dark clouds, wind and snow. Duster kept his fluffy tail poised to collect dust from underneath the chairs and table so the name stuck. Beautiful cat and my friend. My son’s cat too. Duster cared. Duster lived and lived and lived. His ashes are still here. Must find a quiet spot.

Little Buttons tossed on our porch by a crazy person. Alone wee thing,did ok for awhile and seemed ready for vet and the procedure but didn’t make it through the operation. My heart was broken because the wee thing had trusted me and had curled up around my wrist the first night like it knew I would love it like a mother, The neighbour and I cried about the poor little thing and gave it a Celtic burial in the garden.

Then Archie and Frances came along, siblings, from a long line of barn cats .Archie became famous and visited everyone for toast and affection. He was invited to parties. A car hit Archie and there was a big loss for everyone because he was just so nice. Children brought me cards and drawings of Archie and told me he was with God at the top of the big tree.

Frances is still here. Small, delicate, beautiful tortoise coloured, very loving but partly crazy. Frances has a time, almost every night when she has to beat up the bathmat. For an aging cat this is very strenuous. She loves me and wants to be petted however without warning she will swing a paw to scratch or bite an ankle or a hand she perceives as a threat. This early morning writing, she lays softly beside the keypad, just wanting to be beside me, stretching out her little brindle foot to touch my hand, rolling her head onto the edge of the computer and trying not to interfere too much.

Another cat, big and orange and from out of town has requested adoption but no, I have Frances and that is all I need. Out of town cat might be considered a foster cat if needed but I think he wants to just stay at his own house and learn his manners or have his space.

Frances and I, just us, enough.

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Seasoned

While the fluoride treatment completed its adhering process and I couldn’t eat an already postponed meal, I decided to browse for interesting things at the newish charity shop in town. Looking more for that special shabby literary farmhouse item rather than anything else I was ready to be charmed with a quaint but clever treasure.
Despite the large, well presented and clean ambience of the shop there wasn’t much that beckoned to me. Christmas in July was everywhere as a promotion theme and it rather saddened than cheered. In my mind I kept trying to visualize the people long associated with these items, gathered together with friends and family in urban and rural settings experiencing their own celebrations. Hundreds of Christmas mugs mixed together with dusty sprigs of holly has that effect on me.
After a couple of workarounds the entire store realizing rather thankfully there wasn’t anything I really needed or wanted I noticed a little boy with his grandparents. The little fellow was pleased to have found a Christmas bell and was ringing it to the delight of his indulgent grandpa and the aggravation of his less impressed grandma.
As I walked further to the back of the store towards the assorted used books I continued to hear the little bell .
Once engrossed in the books I forgot to listen for the bell and instead focused on finding my own treasure, scanning for titles and authors on my wish list. I found two almost immediately. Instead of being content with just the two I continued on and of course there were many others on the shelves enticing me to save them and take them with me. It was a couple of real oldies that seemed to unnerve me or perhaps it was just my sentimentality coming to the surface once more.
Leaving the book area finally and approaching the clerk’s desk to pay for the two selected books I gave a backward glance to the others but carried on sensibly ready to pay and depart smartly. Engaged in a bookish talk with the friendly clerk I found out that she had a whole collection of the one author and that reaffirmed my interest in the treasure I’d found. The other book by a much more famous author didn’t get discussed. I just wanted it anyway for my shelf. To sit there most likely unread for some bizarre reason. Some books are like that for me.
At my elbow came a soft chuckly and refined voice asking me if I was stocking up for my summer reading. The rather short person there was a long ago school friend. We chatted a little about those school days and neighbourhood and our shared love of books. She looked so much older and past her prime than she should, like some of the Christmas items surrounding us, and suddenly a little bell went off.

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