Tuesday, April 29, 2014

I’m getting too old for this

Yesterday we helped my brother move, and I’ve gotta tell you my back is killing me and everything else is stiff. Carm doesn’t seem too bad, and he did the lions share of carrying heavy stuff (not bad for an __ guy). And my mom… lets just say that she’s amazing. She has tons more energy than I do, and can keep carrying on without a break for a whole day.

The truck was of course handy, but we also had a hand cart tucked in the back of the garage that we remembered about in the nick of time. Being able to carry 3-4 heavy boxes at a time was a godsend – we’d probably still be there if we hadn’t remembered it.

The whole moving process has made me look around my own house and gasp at the amount of work it would take to move us! There would have to be some serious purging before things got placed on a truck… not to worry though – we aren’t going anywhere soon.

It was a beautiful sunny day yesterday, and when we left home I remarked that the grass was starting to green up a bit. When we got home I was surprised by how much greener it was. There are noticeable buds on the trees. The earth is coming to life, no matter what the weather is (the day before it was cold and rainy – not weather to tempt the life out of the earth).



And Spring arose on the garden fair,
Like the Spirit of Love felt everywhere;
And each flower and herb on Earth’s dark breast
rose from the dreams of its wintry rest.
~Percy Bysshe Shelley, "The Sensitive Plant"

Thursday, April 24, 2014

Better than Hoarded Gold

I finally decided to change dentists to one more local. It wasn't a decision that I made easily as I really like Dr. B., my current dentist. She has treated me well, sending me to the hospital when I needed to go; fixing fillings and other unpleasant procedures as comfortably as possible. But as Carm dropped me off, the appeal of going into my old office building (29 years I worked there!) had not only waned, but I felt actual reversion. The fact that there was construction everywhere downtown, most notably across the street where they were digging a tunnel for the new train, made the decision even easier.

One advantage of being downtown in that particular location is the proximity of the Green Papaya, the purveyor of the best Pad Ki Mao anywhere.  Today I had time to get takeout before Carm picked me up so we had that with bubbles for supper. It was good... no... it was FANTASTIC! Each bite was savoured, as I tried to figure out what spices were used to make such ambrosia. If only I could reproduce it at home...

I used to eat takeout from Green Papaya at least once a week (and sometimes ate inside the restaurant with friends) - it was my lure to get me out of bed Monday mornings. During camping season I'd pick it up on Thursday nights to have at the campground - we'd race home to get the camper - and be having supper before it even had a chance to cool.

We'll have to make a special trip for takeout now and again ;-)

If more of us valued food and cheer and song above hoarded gold, it would be a merrier world. ~ J.R.R. Tolkien

Wednesday, April 23, 2014

the human soul is apt to revive also

I was looking back at last springs blog posts to see if I mentioned anything about the weather. I didn’t say much about it, but I do get the impression that it was nicer than it is this year. Last year we made our first little camp on May 1st. It doesn’t like we will be doing the same this year.


I will, however, start getting the camper ready, just in case. I’ll leave the stuff that can freeze till the end, but there is a lot that can be done in the meantime. (my to-do list is seriously long!)

We had our last dance class last night. I think we are starting to get it! We must keep practicing and practicing to cement it into our minds. The teacher talked us into signing up for the next round of classes – we chose an 8 week class with 4 weeks of Cha Cha, followed by 4 weeks of Rumba. Yes, I know it is more Rumba, but we’ll be missing 2 of those classes, and the other two will be a good review!

I’m stealing today’s quote from a blog entry last spring. The weather hasn’t quite stopped teetering between winter and spring, but I feel sure that it will soon. The endless grey skies have slipped my mood into a murky fog, which isn’t normal for me this time of year. Needless to say, I’m anxiously awaiting the beautiful spring so my soul can revive.


The beautiful spring came; and when Nature resumes her loveliness, the human soul is apt to revive also. ~Harriet Ann Jacobs

Tuesday, April 22, 2014


Today on Facebook there was a post from the woman who bought one of the last foals we bred. Fiorgyn was the cumulation of our breeding program. Her father, Felix, was a top stallion in the country with a proven record in Norway for producing quality offspring. Her mother, LFF Valena, was sired by another Norwegian stallion, also well-known.

We had purchased Valena as a young foal from breeders in Upper New York state. She was a beauty, with big eyes and a beautiful face. The first photos we saw of her had us making an 18 hour return trip to see her in person, and finalize the sale.

Over the next four years we watched and waited for her to grow up. We already had the stallion that we felt would be a good match. Finally the time came.

May 16, 2005, at 5:30 am Fiorgyn made her way into the world. Both Carm and I were present – I had slept in the tent at the side of the paddock for 4 nights to make sure of that! She was gorgeous!

That was the year after I got sick, and scaling down my commitments was recommended by my doctor. At the same time we started camping, which I found somewhat therapeutic. So… Fiorgyn was sold, along with her mother and all the rest of our horses.

Anyway, back to the Facebook post – one of Fiorgyn’s offspring (a stallion)is expecting his first foal crop this spring. If Felles’ offspring are anything like him, they will be lovely. She has another colt that was exported to New Zealand.

And the regret? Sure there are times when I wish things had been different. But they weren’t. And now I get the pleasure of seeing our dreams be followed by someone else (at least that’s what I tell myself).

Today is a dreary, on and off again rainy day. Perhaps not the best for going back in time… But! The grass is clearly getting greener, and I can see the beginnings of buds on the trees. The tulips are out of the earth an inch or two, and the peonies are making their way back into life.

An even more sure sign of spring is the “to-do” list that I’ve started for getting the camper loaded for its first trip!


"Old times" never come back and I suppose it's just as well. What comes back is a new morning every day in the year, and that's better. ~George E. Woodberry

Sunday, April 20, 2014

So let it be written

Last night we finished watching one of my favourite movies, one shown every year at Easter. You may have already guessed it from the title of this post... "The 10 Commandments". It has to be the movie with the most quotable lines, in fact I would love to memorize the whole script as there are quote worthy lines in every scene. Charleton Heston and Yul Brenner are fantastically melodramatic (on purpose?). I can just imagine the writers falling off their chairs laughing as they came up with some of the lines.

Does she... grate garlic on her skin?
Or is it soft... as mine?
Are her lips chafed and dry as the desert sand,
or are they moist and red
like a pomegranate?
Is it the fragrance of myrrh that scents her hair...
...or is it the odour of sheep?

God opens the sea with the breath from his nostril.

Seriously! The movie is filled with lines like this :-)  I even found a site with the whole script. The movie is an annual "must see".

Yesterday was one of those days that I just couldn't summon up the energy to do much. When I finally made it outside we decided to move a few things from the garage into the back of the barn (which is really just moving stuff that should go to the dump to another location, one out of sight). We found a dead raccoon back there - just a little one, that didn't look like it had been dead for long. It had a healthy hair coat (no mange), and no obvious signs of trauma. Perhaps the long winter starved it.  A few other gardening tasks got done, and the coloured lights from the spruce got put away. We left the white fairy lights up in the trees in front of the house - they are pretty, and I think will look really nice once the leaves are out. All in all, much more productive than I thought the day would be (I only wrote about the highlights.)


Saturday, April 19, 2014

Let them eat Cake... ummm... raw meat

I'm  writing this post using Blogger's tablet tool, and I'm afraid it is lacking in functionality, such as the ability to attach photos inline. I used to use another product called BlogPost, but it hasn't been maintained for a couple of years, and no longer works at all (woe is me). These days I do most of my posts from my laptop, but sometimes it just isn't convenient.

It was a dog food run again - 200 pounds of raw meat ground with bone. Yum... the dogs scarf this stuff down as if it were candy, and since it is healthier than kibble, that's a good thing!

At one of our stops this morning I watched a woman with a service dog enter the department store. As she was walking outside, the dog was sniffing and not being particularly attentive. I thought back to the days when Spike went about with me and remembered how strict I was with him. Possibly because I had done his training myself, and also because service dogs for people with mental illness were not that common, I was very conscious of him having exemplary behaviour.  He was always well groomed, and his vest always clean (unlike the dog this morning). I felt that we were representing all service animals and I'm happy to say that Spike was up to the task.

Yesterday we were helping my brother move out of his high-rise apartment, and while I was outside waiting by the truck a family that was obviously new to Canada, came outside. They stood outside not far from me (within earshot) while the kids played around. I was impressed that they were making a big attempt at learning English - many of their words to each other were spoken in stilted English, the words not comfortably rolling off the tongue. It would have been easier for them to speak their native language, but they were obviously working to make a new life in Canada. I thought of all the immigrants that make up our nation, including my grand-parents, and Carm's parents; coming to a new country, not knowing anybody, not knowing the language, nor the culture, is a bravery that I'm not sure I have.

Merikay - I hear you about not missing TV. I wouldn't either, as long as I had some movies. Last night we got home from supper at my parents past 8:30. After all the beasts were fed we sat down and turned on the TV, of course there wasn't much on... except "Easter Parade" with Judy Garland and Fred Astaire. We enjoyed the light-hearted movie, especially the dance scenes - how do they get their feet to move so lightly? We laughed about how clumsy we are with our simple rumba steps :-)

The weather has still not been particularly spring like, although the sun was shining periodically today. There is one hopeful sign of spring - the barn swallows are back! I hope they stick around and make our barn their home for the summer.

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

I Love to Laugh

Like most people, I love to laugh. These days there isn't much on TV that I find funny - most of the sitcoms are too artificial and forced feeling, even Big Bang Theory is starting to lose the laughs. Recently though we made a discovery on BBC Canada that gives us a few chuckles most nights. "The Graham Norton Show", is a British talk show that generally has 3 or 4 guests, plus a musical guest. It is somewhat off the wall, as British shows often are. I am always impressed by someone who can come up with one liners, and funny quips off the cuff, and it seems that there is often someone skilled on the show. So far we've been watching re-runs, so I'm happy to know there is lots for us to catch up with.

The rest of our TV watching (when we aren't  watching CNN - anyone hear the breaking news on the plane...), is educational. It seems we've seen how everything on earth is made, and there are interesting shows on the Cosmos on occasionally. Of course there is Business News Network, and the auto show, and I can't forget golf. You can see why some old BBC comedy show holds appeal!

We were happy to get out of the house for a while today as yesterday I made 2 batches of dehydrated hotdog treats... the smell of over-cooked hotdogs is slow to dissipate. Carm dropped me off at my parents so that I could catch up with them as they just returned from their trip to NZ. After we left their place we went to the fabric store, which is certainly Carm's favorite place - seriously? how could anyone not love looking at all those interesting fabrics? It didn't take me too long though to find what I was looking for, so he didn't have to suffer for long.

The weather was sunny, but windy and below zero. Nice if you were just looking out the window. Yuck if you had to stick your nose outside into the wind. Oh Spring, where art thou?

Our dance class last night was fun. Yes, we were bumbling idiots, but the teachers are great, and don't make us feel too stupid. We learned a few more fancy steps, including a spin that is sure to have me on the floor!

Laughter is the sound of the soul dancing. My soul probably looks like Fred Astaire.” ― Jarod Kintz, This Book is Not for Sale

Tuesday, April 15, 2014


Yesterday it was a balmy (hot!) 25C... today it is below freezing and snowing; the forecast is calling for a few days below zero. Blech. It is so miserable that Kabira asked for her "outfit" in the afternoon.

Do you ever go onto Pintrest? It is a site which has hundreds of thousands of ideas for your house, home, cooking, exercise, etc. Seemingly aimed at making you feel dissatisfied with your own life (the stuff about party organizing was totally depressing in its complex, work-intensive, must set the perfect scene, ideas).  I was poking around it the other day, with no particular aim, when Carm commented about how much data I'd been using - Yowzers! For people with a limited data cap (us), Pintrest is a giant bandwidth user. Giant. That quickly curtailed my browsing!

I haven't been working with Spike much on his new trick. We may just give up on it as he doesn't seem keen. This afternoon we were practicing (with fresh hotdog treats - very coveted)... it went well until the door banged a few times, at which point he just walked away. Have I mentioned how much of a chicken he is? I'll have to think of something else to teach him - he does love learning something new... as long as it isn't scary.

For the last few weeks, probably since Carm's party, I have been having trouble motivating myself to eat healthily and keep up with exercise. I'm not sure how to get back to where I was - I felt so great, but now I don't really care. Is it the bad food that is causing a drop in mood? Or a drop in mood that is causing the bad eating? Either way, I've got to get back on track. Help! I know that what I have to do is just MAKE myself do it for a few days... but that MAKE just isn't happening.

We have our third Rumba class tonight. We've actually practiced this week, so we won't look like total clods! We aren't exactly floating on our feet though, and in case you are wondering, my toes do sometimes get stepped on :-o  All in good fun though! I think we learn a twirl tonight - that should have me tripping over my own feet!

Come Fairies, take me out of this dull world, for I would ride with you upon the wind and dance upon the mountains like a flame!  ~William Butler Yeats

Friday, April 11, 2014

Slip Sliding Away

It is official! Spring is here. Almost all of the snow has disappeared (overnight it seems), the sun was strong, and... we put out the slides on the camper! (those are the bits that slide out to make it bigger inside). Dead flies and ladybugs were everywhere, so before anything else was done I got out the vacuum and got to work. It seemed that I'd do an area, move on to the next bit, and then there'd be more in the last area I vacuumed. I think it will take a few days to get them all out.

But in the meantime, we made our plans to have our first "camping" supper! I felt excited and energized (or was that the cup of coffee that I had this afternoon?). Regardless, I ran around getting things ready -  LED candles that I got for Christmas, mp3 music player, bubbles in the fridge... you get the idea. Playing house.

It was a lovely evening with shwarma and icy bubbles. No TV, just lovely music. Kinda like a date night. We talked about our trip last summer, and looked forward to our trips this summer.

We usually put a mouse trap in the camper for the winter. This year was no exception - we think. At one point there were signs of mice - we were sure we had already put a trap out, but couldn't find it. Put a few more traps in place, but never caught a mouse, and no more sign that one was there? We figured it had gotten caught in the first trap, but didn't get killed and dragged the trap somewhere. Today there was no sign of it anywhere. And there are seriously not that many places for one to hide - especially dragging a trap. No doubt it will turn up under the covers in the bed or some other equally awful place!

Thursday, April 10, 2014

Blustery Spring Day

Although the thermometer says it is 12C, when I stepped outside the door it did not feel that way. The wind is raging, shaking the house and flexing the windows - nothing quite like the sight of windows flexing to prove the strength of the wind...

The flood has risen to its maximum and has now receded. Not to within its banks, but no longer blocking access to "homestead" hill. Enough water remains to make comfortable spaces for the flotillas of honking geese. Other birds are returning, singing their joyful songs. The earth comes alive!

We haven't seen the skunk for a few days now - our fingers are crossed, hoping that he has found somewhere more suitable to hang out.

Oh joy, oh joy  - it is Masters week... in case you are lucky enough to be unfamiliar with it, this is the week where hours and hours of golf drones on. The sound of the broadcast has an almost instant "it's time for a nap" effect. With the pvr we can record the earlier play, so that we can watch it into the night - spreading the misery into the darkness. Hummm... might be a reason for a bottle of bubbles sometime in the next few days - to numb the effects!

At the beginning of the week was Bella's ninth birthday! She is as spry as she has always been, ready for a game or hunt at the slightest provocation. Bella has always enjoyed watching TV, and this has not changed. She has all the commercials with dogs or cats memorized, and stops whatever she is doing to run over to watch. A few years back we used to watch Ceasar Milan - Bella thought this was wonderful and would sit through an entire episode... unless it was a repeat!

Monday, April 7, 2014

It is the sun shining on the rain and the rain falling on the sunshine

Slowly the snow is melting, exposing the brown earth beneath. More creatures are making their faces shown – a raccoon by the bridge, and flocks of Canada geese on the flooded creek. Spring is slowly arriving. Not in a glorious burst as in some years, instead, a subdued entrance.

We have seen the skunk a few times, most recently yesterday, so it still hasn’t moved on. We are still not safe from Le Pe-u.

Carm is outside changing the winter tires off the car. His optimism that the snow will not revisit us is boundless. I wish I could catch it, but it still feels very much like winter to me, even though we could (theoretically) be camping in just over 3 weeks. Impossible.


I’ve been talking with a friend lately about our commitment to healthy eating and having clear boundaries. I am not one for absolutes, I’m more for compromise, and will allow for some leeway in what I eat, especially if I’m not trying hard to lose weight. She is more strict, and allows for no deviations. She won’t eat meat, no matter what. I’m thinking that I have to move more towards this strictness if health is important to me. Currently I am “flexible” in what I’ll eat, which leads to chicken shwarma, and burgers. Neither which are vegan, or healthy. Too much wiggle room.

Is it easier to stick with no wiggle room? Perhaps the slide from just one day a month to once a week, to several times a week is just too slippery a slope. If you don’t get on the slide at all, you can’t slide down…

If I really believe what I’ve read from Eat to Live (Dr. Fuhrman), Dr. Greger, Dr. Campbell, and others, then I must get serious again about what goes in my mouth.

What is your approach?


“Is the spring coming?" he said. "What is it like?"...
"It is the sun shining on the rain and the rain falling on the sunshine...”
~ Frances Hodgson Burnett, The Secret Garden

Thursday, April 3, 2014

C'est les ridiculous. C'est impossible pew, no. No Pew!

We just caught sight of the skunk in the “back 20” – still within dog range. Yesterday, when we saw that the skunk had vacated beneath the deck, Carm used the massive amount of snow left to block access to the shelter. We saw it soon after, making its way down the laneway and off the property. We hoped.

Last night and this morning when the dogs needed out they were on their leashes – if you’ve ever had 150lbs of unruly dogs that know there are critters out there, you will know what a pain that is. Shame on me for not training them better, but their usual procedure is to rocket out of the house. Thankfully they were slightly better by the third time out.

By this afternoon we hadn’t seen it so figured it was gone and the dogs got out loose to play in the AMAZING spring day! It wasn’t long after we got inside that I saw it making its way across the snow in the back. DARN.

I joked yesterday on facebook that the next option is to have friends with firearms come to visit. Well, I haven’t resorted to that yet… and probably won’t, but skunks can carry rabies, mange, fleas, and of course have the most stinky weapon. My first responsibility is to those under my dominion (the dogs), and secondly, those creatures that aren’t.


We had our dance lesson on Tuesday night. I was fun, but exhausting – not physically, but mentally. My gosh we are stunned! One of our difficulties is learning how to lead. It was surely a light bulb moment for me. It was obvious that while we are learning, a firm and clear signal is required, and it finally dawned on me where some of my riding problems existed. I always strived for very light aids, but what I was missing, is that first, while we were learning, the aids had to be very clear and distinct. I’m pretty certain that I fell down in this regard.



OH CRAP! While I am writing this I stopped in the kitchen to top up my tea. I glanced out of the kitchen window, and there it was… waddling itself close to the house and up past the trailer.

I popped on my shoes, grabbed my camera and headed outside to see where it was going. As I was carefully walking to the side of the truck – yikes, there it was about 6’ from me, coming over the snowbank. I slowly backed away ;-)  It wasn’t too concerned about me though, and headed to the apple trees where it feasted on last years apples. Oh bother, a food source :-(


You can see by the gravel in this photo that it is just across the laneway from the front door – distance? Maybe 30 feet.

I don’t really know what to do… perhaps a live trap, but then there is the question – what do we do when it’s trapped! It isn’t like you can just walk up to the trap, throw it in the truck and drive to a safer location… How far can I throw a blanket? And where do we release it?

One thing FOR SURE, the dogs will be leashed until we are sure it has vacated the premises.


Pepé le Pew: I must find out what this 'pew' means every time I appear.
[scanning a dictionary]
Pepé le Pew: Pew, pew. Ah, here it is. Pew. It means... No! No, not me! C'est les ridiculous. C'est impossible pew, no. No Pew!

Wednesday, April 2, 2014

The Awakening of Earth (and its creatures)

As I got out of the car to open the gate this afternoon, I noticed that the wind had blown a black, with a bit of white, bit of plastic against the snowbank along the laneway. Perhaps you are seeing where this is going already… but that plastic bag started walking, and waving it’s big tail in the air. SKUNK!!! IN THE YARD!!! Yikes. With three dogs this is a BIG PROBLEM.

We followed the skunk down the laneway from a safe distance. I tried yelling and clapping my hands – it just lifted its tail higher. As we neared the house, it veered off to the right, and slipped along side the snowbank against the house… till it was right under the front deck. From which it did not emerge. Oh dear.

I’ve been watching since and haven’t seen it emerge. Does it have babies down there? How will I know if it has vacated the area unless I stay watching? Meanwhile, the dogs are going crazy as they must have seen it through the window. And I’ve double checked our stock of “Skunk Kleen”.

Creatures emerging from their sleep is a sure sign of spring. Yesterday we saw a scruffy groundhog running across the snow in the backyard, and into the barn. How many days till it is either dead or moved out? When we drove past the river this afternoon I think I saw four or five geese down by the water. If not geese, they were pretty darn big birds with long necks.

Other birds that have long been away are making their appearances. Little sparrows, robins, red-wing blackbirds, and more, are moving back into the area.

The earth reawakens.

An hour later… I looked out the window and saw it on the other side of the laneway, so Carm ran out and started throwing snowballs at it hoping it would leave. Instead,  it started running TOWARDS him so after lobbing a few more snowballs at it, Carm ran into the house (dogs are going crazy at this point). It’s just a little scrap of a thing, but sure has the power to make a grown man run!

It went back under the deck… which makes me think there is something down there for it to protect :-( 

Reawaken is not always good… if it is a mother skunk. (double check Skunk Kleen… think of a plan b for getting the dogs out… realize there is no plan b… wish the dogs were toilet trained… realize that if there are babies we are screwed.)


Awake, thou wintry earth -
Fling off thy sadness!
Fair vernal flowers, laugh forth
Your ancient gladness!

~Thomas Blackburn, "An Easter Hymn"

Tuesday, April 1, 2014

April Fools

I will never be a good liar or trickster. I just can’t keep a straight face, no matter what! This morning I was up before Carm, and since it is April 1st, I decided to play a trick on him. I got the idea from my brother to put a little piece of tape over the sensor underneath his mouse. Well, I could hardly wait for him to turn on his computer… wouldn’t you know it, this morning he putzed around the kitchen for ages before sitting down…

And when he finally did… after all that anticipation… his mouse worked perfectly! So much for that fool!

The sun has been shining and the temperatures have been above zero for the last few days. Perfect weather for making maple syrup. It is glorious!

With the melting snow comes flooding. Safely away from our house, the creek and river overflow their banks this time of year. It means extra vigilance over Spike.

Tonight we have our first dance class – we’ll be learning the Rumba for 4 weeks! Hilarity will ensue!

We're fools whether we dance or not, so we might as well dance. ~ Japanese Proverb