Wednesday, September 10, 2014


I really loved the name 'Batty' for our new kitten, but when I saw 'Sooty', I fell in love even more.  When I asked my daughter what she thought about 'Sooty', she almost yelled, "Yes! His name has to be Sooty!".  You see, when Kaitlynn was little, I read a book to her called 'Tinka' by Rainy Delhaney.  It is the sweetest children's story about a tiny sheep, and her friend 'Sooty' the crow.  This little crow is a really goofy little character, and back then, we fell in love with him.  Over time my daughter and I have developed a strong love for crows and their raven cousins. So when I brought up that name, it conjured up all sorts of wonderful memories and images, and so our kitten has been renamed 'Sooty'. 
It took a lot of photos to get one that was clear.  He was zipping around the room so fast, even the videos I
took are mostly of bare floor, that is, bare floor with the occasional black streak going across the screen.

In the two days I have had him, Sooty has become infinitely more confident and playful.  My other two cats are starting to warm up to him, and I am letting them take all the time they need.  But each of them gave him a couple of licks today before deciding to step back and watch him play from a 3 foot distance.  It's a good start to what I am sure will be a cuddly friendship. 
This is Crush, and it is taking him a bit longer than my other cat to warm up to Sooty.  This surprises me, because
he is completely comfortable with our 120lb dog.

This gorgeous little princess is Georgie, and although she is still quite unsure of the new addition, her
curiosity is getting the better of her.

Monday, September 8, 2014

His Name is 'Batty'

My blog is about to be taken over by kitten cuteness.  A third black cat has entered my life, and he couldn't have had better timing, what with all the pumpkins kicking around, and Halloween being just around the corner and all.  There will be so many photo opportunities!!!
If to you he looks on the young side, you would not be wrong.  He was born on July 30th, making him only 6 weeks old.  He was weaned too young, as his poor old mama ran out of milk.  But have no fear, he is eating and drinking well, and using the litter box.  He is evening bathing himself, so I have no worries about his all around health.
I have decided to call him Batty, with which most people agree is an adorable name.  The one person who doesn't, will have to suck it up.  You know who you are, and I love you anyway.
I could go into the very long, very boring story of my life and how it has been centered around black cats, but to keep it short, I will plainly tell you that I have a thing, a rather big thing, for black cats.  I'm so very excited to be introducing you to the newest member of our family, so without further adieu, I give you a photo of Batty in a bowl full of Autumn goodness.  By the way, I made those crocheted pumpkins last year.  In case you wanted to know.

Sunday, September 7, 2014

Bountiful Nonetheless

With the colder than usual Spring, and the flooding at the end of June, we lost a good portion of our growing season, no less than 3 weeks is my guess.  Most of my pumpkins and gourds are well behind schedule, several weeks before they can be picked and expected to ripen.  The only thing to do is to hope that Mother Nature is feeling generous with the warm weather this Fall, and that we don't get a killing frost until at least the end of the month.  That's not what the forecast is calling for, but I really can't remember a time when the forecast has been accurate, (crossing fingers).
Out of the 9 varieties of pumpkins and gourds, only the sugar pumpkins and the gremlin gourds are mature enough to pick, so we plucked off 71 of them and lined them up on our deck to sit in the sun and ripen.  It usually doesn't take long for them to slip into their orange skins once they've been fully exposed.
Here are some photos of a few of the patches with my wee model to give you an idea of the size.
The first picking, all washed up and ready to go bask in the sun on the deck.
This variety, Fairytale, are the pumpkin variety I was most excited about this year, but the largest on is
only slightly larger than a softball, and very green.
Buttercup squash are producing well, and we should have quite a few to tuck away for winter.
The giants have grown well up the side of the manure pile.  I'm afraid these will have been grown just for the foliage
as we lost too much of the season for them to fully develop.
This patch is huge, and consists of only 3 plants.  These are Red Warty Things and they have only produced one
mature pumpkin so far.  There are a lot on the vine, but we need a few more weeks.
A close up of the hops vine.  To say it grew in thickly would be an understatement.
All my cosmos fell over this year, but still manages to produce a lot of flowers.
The large leaves spilling onto the path are those of the Cardoon plant.
There is still some color left in the flower gardens...

Tuesday, July 8, 2014

A Hard Winter Followed by a Flood???

It's really not funny.  We had a record breaking cold, and it felt, longer than ever winter.  Went into Spring with a huge smile on my face, only to be greeted with colder than usual temperatures, and then at the end of June, record breaking rainfalls.  Now don't get me wrong, I'm very grateful that not only were my house and outbuildings relatively unaffected, but I think the majority of my gardens will recover too.  That is, providing we don't get a foot of golf ball sized hail next week.  I should also mention, that this year was the first time in my entire life that I witnessed a funnel cloud.  Yes, I had someone with me who can verify my story.
So, if I'm so grateful, why do I sound so whiny?  I really thought that after surviving a winter like that, and not jumping ship, that Mother Nature would remember to take her Valium and dish out some milder, more appropriate weather.  Weather that would allow us to forgive her the all out 5 month bitch-fest.
On a lighter note, aside from being worried just how bad it was going to get, watching my land transform into a lake, was rather beautiful.  The power of it made me feel small and insignificant, which is really quite liberating.  There was nothing to do but watch, wait and see what the next few hours would bring, and deal with it.
My darling husband, fantastic timing as always, was away at work, some 14 hour drive away.  It really does seem he misses all the action out here.
Enough of that, here is the proof in photos.  I should also mention, that aside from still being damp, everything around here is pretty much back to normal.  I wish I could say the same for everyone else.  Too many people are having to rip out their basements, and there are those who still cannot reach their homes.  I hope the old saying, "what doesn't kill you makes you stronger" is true.  If that is the case, then there are many folks gaining a new perspective on life.  I spoke with a lady today from one of the areas hit hardest, and she said, "This sure has brought people together, and there is beauty in that.".  Enough said.  And I'll stop whining.

Both my kids had a lot of fun letting their imaginations run wild as the water built up.  They even wanted
to build a raft.  They were even more amazed when the water disappeared overnight.  That's when
they forgave me for not letting them build a raft.
"My own private island!"  It would have been really cool to have a raft to sail around one's own island.
This is the first day the creek started to overflow.  June 29th.  We were impressed.  Prematurely.
This is 24 hours later.  My garden was already looking pathetic.  But how would it look if the water covered
it with several inches of water?  It never did.  The water started to recede the evening of the 30th.  And I
slept soundly.
The water is inching its way into our formal yard.  You can't see it, but there is an inch of water in all the
grass in the photo.
Standing back, we had no idea what we were looking at.
A little closer, and we discover a raft of ants trying to survive.  They kept crawling over
each other and, it seemed they were taking turns to breathe.  We couldn't help
but feel for the little creatures.  They quickly rebuilt there homes when the
water receded.
A common sight all across South Eastern Saskatchewan and well into Manitoba.
I can honestly say I wasn't all that worried about the water reaching my newly built flower bed.
I was wrong.  Not that worrying would have helped.  I am happy to say, the African daisies that love
hot, dry weather are now starting to bloom!
This all disappeared overnight!  And while I was wiping my brow, whispering, "Wow, that was close!" people in
lower places south of me were just starting to get the worst of it.  All I keep hearing on the radio are stories
of people helping people, and lots of Thank-yous going out to neighboring communities.  Appreciation and
gratitude are not what I'm used to hearing in my local news.  As much destruction as I have seen, I have also in
equal amounts, if not more, seen the good in people brought to the surface.

Wednesday, June 25, 2014


I've been keeping my camera on the kitchen table, ready to go, for the last several days, trying to catch one of these rascals on 'film'.  I never get there in time.  I see them from the sink, move to the window, and by the time I'm in position, they flit off.  They move so fast, it's easy to think they are not wholly of this dimension.
So, this morning, camera (and coffee) in hand, I pulled a chair up to the window, and waited.  Patience soon paid off, as before I could take 2 photos of one, a second little rascal showed up.  There was a bit of a tiff, but they settled on opposite sides, and had their fill.  
I love the sciences, biology in particular.  I'm forever looking up names of plants and birds, interested in their biological classification.  Then doing further research into specifics concerning various feeding/growing habits, origin, etc.  I find it fascinating.  Why then, do you ask, am I not a biologist?  I considered it, but alas, I have not the memory required for it.  A few details about a specific specimen may stick, but most of it is gone moments after I've read it.  
Why the science tangent?  These little critters have an air of magic about them, and no matter how many times science explains their capabilities away, I find myself in awe while watching them.  I hold a similar opinion of bumblebees.

We have had many storms moving through our area, and as such our sunsets have been filled with color and texture.  Vibrant blues, purples and pinks fading across the sky into yet more blues, yellows and even greens.  It is times like this, that I'm glad we don't have a whole lot of trees blocking our view of the skies.

Friday, June 13, 2014


Hello out there blogland friends!  I've been so busy with my yard this Spring, that I haven't had a moment to write or to even stop by and visit my favourite blogs, (which I will be doing as soon as write up this little post).  
So much has changed in my yard - of course, most of that is Mother Nature taking her course and turning my yard into a lush paradise.  But, I have been hard at work, not only maintaining, but creating new spaces as well.  I'll feature one in this post, and then I'll need to go snap a few more photos of the other spaces for the next entry...
Caraganas, chockecherry and lilac shrubs all crammed together create a lovely border in front of the poplars
behind them.  

The old-fashioned lilacs are putting on a wonderful show this year!  And my yard smells amazing!  Heaven!  I also
have a long row of hybrid lilacs, and while lovely, they do not compare with these.  The hybrids bloom later though,
and it is nice to stretch out the lilac season with the 2 different types.
Here is how the garden at the beginning of my driveway looked in April, dead plants and all.  It felt puny,
and I had dreamed up an idea over the winter that I could barely wait to start on.
It needed to be bigger, so out came the sod cutter and shovel, and away I went.  It didn't take me as long
as I thought it would, and I just let the shape evolve...

Here is the finished product.  The wagon wheel is gorgeous being mostly wood with iron strapping and an axle.
My husband spotted it last year while picking stones in a nearby field.  I couldn't be happier with it.
The bench is concrete, and the kids are now using it to wait for the school bus.
The path is gravel with flat rocks sunk in. I really love how it turned out.
There were some daylilies from last year, and I filled the rest of the space with African daisies in shades of red,
yellow and orange.  They have taken root nicely, and I can't wait to see what it will look like in full bloom!

Sunday, May 4, 2014

A Spring Walk

I think the snow is finally gone for good.  If any more falls, it will surely melt as quickly as it has fallen.  There is life in the greenhouse, and garden work is being accomplished.  My legs are sore from a day spent outside, so it has been made official - Spring is here!
At the end of a busy day, I like to indulge in a few moments with my camera, and go for a walk.  Here are a few photos from around my 10 acres, and a little about what moved me to take them...
An overall view of the changing landscape.  It's hard to believe that only a couple of weeks ago, this entire prairie
was under a foot of snow.  All too soon, this pond will dry up, and we will be mowing around the willows.
These red willows line our ditches, and our Spring 'pond'.  From a distance, they are a striking display.  I hope
they start easily from a cutting, because I'd like to spread them to the North side of the house too.
I love the way the grass looks under the water, very dreamlike, and then the way the grass fades into a reflection
of the sky.  
I always stop to admire the bark on these trees.  Large leaf poplar have a silvery green bark, and their leaves
sound wonderful in a breeze, similar to a gentle rain.
I like the way the sun 'starbursted' in this shot.  It's also kind of cute that one of the bubble glares is encircling my dog.