Saturday, October 22, 2016

I ask you, what chance does a girl have?

Especially an old girl like me, who scarcely ever has the willpower to exercise. I'm trying to lose weight, because a cardiologist told me to, and with good reason, because I am shaped like an apple, not an hourglass. But really, one of my daughters is an aspiring pastry chef, and she gets it into her head any old day of the week to make things like eclairs, cream puffs and (above) chocolate trifle. Not for any special occasion, but just because she feels like it. Which is really lovely, and really delicious, but also really calorific. And there are only five of us at home now (where once there were nine), so the temptation lasts for days and days. Self-control was never so difficult! 

Friday, October 21, 2016

The Lord fills the earth with His love

I was going to title this post: "There's so much ugliness in the world," but that's not very positive, is it? (Even if it's true.) But I started writing the post Wednesday night, and then I became too tired to finish it. It was a depressing week (and I started saying that as early as Tuesday, which is never a good sign): sick kids, annoying financial stuff, gloomy weather, the Blue Jays lost, crimes, war...  And then there's the American election (which I won't discuss), but oy-- there is no possible happy outcome on that score, unless the world ends with Christ's Second Coming before Election Day.

And then I went to Mass Thursday morning, after which in our parish we have Adoration of the Blessed Sacrament. The Response to the Psalm was: "The Lord fills the earth with His love," which I thought would make a much better title for a post. Because it's also true, and much of how we live our lives depends on which aspect of truth we choose to focus on. The Lord fills the earth with His love, and some of it comes in the form of Beauty. These are all from my garden.

Prairie storm: the light is always so spectacular.

I can't remember how many years ago I planted this bulb, but this was the first year it bloomed! It only gave me one flower, but hey, who's complaining? Too bad she was splashed by mud, for it had just rained.

My Hollyhocks must have been eight or nine feet tall this year. I wish I'd measured.

If by now, you have concluded lilies are my favourite flower, you are correct. 

But I love Hollyhocks too. The candy-pink ones were lovely this year.

And these! Just gorgeous. I don't know where this strain came from; this is the first year they showed up in my garden, and I couldn't be more delighted. 

A long-shot of my rather messy, un-culled perennial bed.
I call it the "St. Francis bed," because he watches over it, and sometimes gives the birds a snack. 

I love my potted plants too. 

The whole Hollyhock gang, at sunrise. 

When you have insomnia at 5:00 a.m. in July, this is what you do:
 come outside and take pictures of your flowers and the sunrise. 

My pride and joy (actually, one of many): Montenegro Asiatic Lily

Back to Hollyhocks.

A bouquet I made for my Mom and Dad. Everything came from our backyard.

From my rose bush. One of my daughters made this bouquet for me.
Relaxing on the patio at sunset.
"Pace" salsa jars make great tealight holders! (And Pace means "peace" in Latin.)
Good night, sleep tight. The Lord fills the earth with His love.

Tuesday, October 18, 2016

Just how desperately do I miss Nordic Thoughts?

This desperately. I've taken to visiting Danish blogs. And Swedish blogs, and any blog that can give me the same feeling of sublime beauty that Nordic Thoughts and A Polar Bear's Tale once did. Don't bother searching those names: the blogs have been removed and the names have been taken over by other bloggers. (Cue soft and pathetic weeping.)

One such blog is NORDINGÅRDEN

One of the lovely photos at

Which roughly means: "Country life in... decorations, garden, food & wine" (Well, I had figured out the "Vin" part without Google Translate. Thanks, Latin!)

Country life, Decor, Garden, Food and Wine--check, check, check, check and check. I can't speak Danish, but I can look at the pictures.

I also like this Nordic Design blog. And I occasionally watch travel videos from Nordic countries. I hear they are very expensive to visit, but I think it would be tremendously cool (metaphorically) to spend a holiday in one or more of these places. You can keep your Las Vegas. I want to go to Iceland. 

Monday, October 17, 2016

Autumn prairie sunrise

I took this pic last Friday. The sky was much more pink in real life. Somehow a smartphone camera doesn't seem to capture the depth of all the hues. About an hour or so earlier, I had prayed Morning Prayer from the Liturgy of the Hours. Below is the hymn that accompanied the hour. (It must be fairly obscure, since I couldn't find any nice choral renditions of it online.) Have a Happy Monday. 

O God the lamp of heaven high
And source of light: Your shining Hand
Unrolls the banner of the sky,
Upholding it above the land.

Dawn, casting up a crimson tide,
Has veiled the stars that saw its rise;
The morning breezes, far and wide,
With dewy breath the earth baptize.

The darkness from the sky has gone
As nightly shadows pass away;
The morning star, sign of the Son,
Arising, wakes the sleepy day.

O God, O radiance wonderful,
Most glorious day and fairest light:
One God, in all things powerful,
Three Persons, matchless in one might!

To you, our Savior, brightest, best,
On bended knee our prayer we raise;
To Father and to Spirit blest,
With all our pow'r, we offer praise. Amen

Text: Deus qui caeli lumen es
5th-6th century
Translation copyright Thomas Buffer

Saturday, October 15, 2016

I'm not the only one who likes my garden

A reader also messaged to say how much she enjoyed my pictures from the last post. (Okay, okay, so she was my sister!! She still qualifies as a reader!) We were also visited this morning by some Artiodactyl ungulates (I love homeschooling, haha) who availed themselves of the unpicked kohlrabi, the Flowering Almond hedge, the rose bushes, and the cherry tree (though we shooed them away from the last one, because it belongs to Miss P #5 and she is rather protective of her "Romeo" sour cherry. She had a Juliet as well, but --rather true to Shakespearean form-- Juliet shuffled off her mortal coil just months after we brought her home from the greenhouse). 

I kid you not, I've seen far more wildlife in my own backyard on the prairies than I did on our recent trips to the mountains and forests of Banff, AB, and British Columbia.

Friday, October 14, 2016

My garden (again, with the tomatoes!)

Since my yard is currently all-over mud and snow and slush and dead stuff, I decided to go back a few months and relive the sunny warm weather and reminisce about my vegetable garden. The comboxes have been filled with queries about "where I grew all those tomatoes," and so I'm going to answer Daria in a new blog post. 

This is where I grew them. We live in a very small town (population like 70-something), in a fairly large yard (it's a triple lot: the house sits on two lots, and the garden occupies the third lot, east of our house. The dwelling you see in the background is my neighbour across the back alley.)

This was my garden in early July, before things got out of hand. 

Left to Right: 2 rows potatoes, 1 row onions, 2 rows peas, 2 rows beans (one bush bean, one pole bean--they are beside the wrought-iron rail), 1 row carrots. The tomato plants are on the far right. Though you can't see it, they are, at this point, confined to their cages (which were meant to 'support' the plants, a quaint notion to which, if tomato plants could talk, they would have responded, "Bwahahahaha").  

A few weeks later: the peas are finished (hence the empty patch), and the pole beans have swallowed the railing. To the right, the tomatoes are starting to rebel and take over the east side of the garden. (There is a cucumber plant lying low to the left of the tomatoes, but eventually it disappeared.)
Can you spot the tomato cages? Neither can I. The plants became monstrous. They rose up out of the soil, crushed and swallowed the cages, and then proceeded to spread across the garden. Imagine putting a corset of pipe cleaners on a baby boa constrictor, and hoping it would confine him in some way. That was the story of my tomato cages. 

What began as two neat rows of 15 plants became a tangled tomatoey jungle. 

Close-up evidence of a cage on my Roma tomatoes. The plants were so huge and bore so many tomatoes, that the formerly upright cage was wrenched and twisted, and left at a 45-degree angle by the plant. 

Although I'm happy we can grow so many vegetables, my true gardening enjoyment comes from the flowers. Here are a few snaps, with more to come another day.

Tuesday, October 11, 2016

I had planned to blog while on vacation...

But I didn't have time. I had also planned to catch up on some email correspondence with friends, but... I didn't have time. I had also hoped to do a bit of writing, but--you guessed it, I didn't have time. Is there a pattern emerging here? Now that I'm back home after ten days away, I need a rest. So I guess I'd have to say that while it was certainly a "trip" (in numerous ways), it didn't feel exactly, entirely, like a holiday (which I think should be mostly leisurely and relaxing). But there were many wonderful and amazing moments, and it was great being with my family (all but two daughters were able to make the trip), so that is ultimately what counts, holiday or not.

We drove to Vancouver, BC, which (according to Google maps) takes 15 hours and 1 minute (yes, they really did include the 1 minute), but we took a slightly longer route to get there, including a stop in my home town to rendezvous with one of our adult daughters (total 17 hours, 21 minutes).

How can you sum up Vancouver? Well, you really can't, because it's a big city (and I'm not going to glibly "profile," the way many non-prairie dwellers do about the entire province of Saskatchewan, without actually taking the time to get to know anything about it). I will likely post some pics and observations in the days to come.

We arrived home yesterday evening, having begun our return trip early Sunday morning (7:00 a.m. Mass? Yes! I wish we had that option here.) All that sitting in the car took its toll on my lower back, and I can scarcely move today. So it's going to take some time to ease back into the daily grind. But I'm glad to be home--even though it's a bit surreal to have left just as autumn was coming into her glory, and return in full-blown winter.

Our backyard before we left.
This morning.