Tuesday, 31 March 2009


Freed Adjectivers wave to onlookers as they leave their prison.


Blogland, North America
March 31st, 2009

A small crowd of onlookers applauded today as the imprisoned Latinate adjectives were freed. Negotiations between JAPE and Blogland authorities continue and are expected to last far into the night. The status of constrained 'which' clauses is believed to be under consideration. Sources confirm that the matter of metaphors has been abridged too far.
The fate of Mary G is still unclear at this time.

The word 'nonplussed' comes to you via Sarah at Slouching Past Forty. Although her Word of the Day list is actually on Facebook, I do not know how to get you there to see the gems she comes up with and so I am sending you to her blog as it is just as much fun.

I figured I had better put the credit in because she's down there in the comments section, snarling.

Monday, 30 March 2009

A Monday Mission Announcement




Your Monday Mission. Brought to you by Painted Maypole.

P.S. If you want the Monday Mission button, Kaye at the road goes ever on designed it and she has it up on her website. I am sure that if you ask nicely, she will share. Thank you, Kaye!

Tuesday, 24 March 2009

Grama Considers a Bit

This post is up at GNM Parents as a guest blog courtesy of Slouching Mom (whose slot I am subbing in for a couple of posts) and the technical whizzes who run the site. There are some really, really fascinating posts there and it is well worth taking a run through.

Our five (almost six!) year old granddaughter, whom I can't keep calling "Little Stuff" much longer, staying with us last weekend while her parents were away. When we took her home on Monday night, the house looked like a daycare from hell. A puzzle on the coffee table and another on the record cabinet, her drawing table and chair surrounded by ink sticks and paper and feathers and plastic eyes and stickers, her cross stitch pieces on the couch, her paint by number on my sewing table, assorted pine cones, pieces of moss and other treasures in bags here and there....... well, you get the picture.

I spent Tuesday alternately putting stuff away, wiping sticky finger prints off the windows, vacuuming up grit and collapsing in my reading chair where I promptly went to sleep. However, she had a good time. I got an email from her mother that said she had talked non stop from the time we delivered her until her bedtime, telling her parents all she had done and seen. And that's all good; if she likes to stay with us, her parents don't have to worry about her while they are away.
Little Stuff will turn six this spring. Watching her grow is a bit like seeing a speed video of a flower unfolding.
Still reading? Pop over to Grandparenting: Building Memories to see the rest.

Monday, 23 March 2009

Monday Mission - The Playoff Game

We're now in the second half of the semi-final Canadian winter vs spring annual play-off game. You will recall that in the second quarter spring scored a really big one by raising the temperature high enough that we all went out in sweatshirts and running shoes. The sap plunked merrily into the collecting vats; the chickadees started their 'Hey Sweetie!' spring calls.

However, after a regrouping at half time, winter is now fighting back. Ignoring the date on the calendar, it is producing -15ºC temperatures, holding on to every last scrap of black scruffy ice it can find and really hitting back. The tiny shoots of spring flowers are cowering underground; Canada geese are on hold waiting for the ice to go out.

Wait a minute. I see a huddle of robins on the soft ground the sun has thawed. I hear one forward jay giving its spring 'Doink-doink' call. Will a female answer, beak agape for a courting sunflower kernel? Will tomorrow be warmer? Can I put my snowmobile boots away?

We have a time-out called here. Things may change very quickly now.

Or not. This is eastern Ontario, after all.

Thursday, 19 March 2009

One of Those Days

How in the dickens did it get to be Thursday. And me with no more accomplished than if it were last Thursday. Crock. I have just been reading an article on procrastination in a magazine called Scientific American Mind. (I should have been doing laundry, but there I was in my reading chair enjoying the sun on my lap and face and reading about not getting on with things.) It tells the reader that one of the best techniques to cure putting off doing something is to break the whole task up into manageable portions. Hmm. I guess I will go out and fill the bird feeders and put out deer food. Then I can come back and put some work in.

We have a flock of ten wild turkeys hanging about the place these days. Little Stuff thought at first that they were moving rocks when she spotted them at sunrise. She was also highly unimpressed with the turkey droppings all around the feeding station and picked her way through the goo with her little face screwed up into a most unladylike expression. They are scratching up the soggy grass newly emerging from the snow in the maintained field and JG is now thinking we should chase them away. It's an all female flock at present and I am hoping that they will stay long enough for a Tom to catch up with them and display. That's quite a sight.

We also have a big, big flock of mixed redpolls and American goldfinch who are eating huge amounts of Niger seed the last while; they are emptying the big feeder every day. When they are full they hang about and twitter among themselves (non electronically), sounding very cheerful. JG is not cheerful; the price of good Niger seed is way up and he thinks they are being piggy.

I don't know whether I am happy or depressed at this stage of spring. The air is warming up and the snow is melting. A winter's worth of crud is appearing and the footing is terrible. The red wing blackbirds and robins are back; huddled around fluffing up their feathers and looking cranky. The days are longer. The house is cold because we've switched from the wood furnace to the wood stoves and if the day is cold and the wind is blowing, as it is today, the only really warm places in it are near the stove and where the sun is shining in. So I am just like the robins, wearing two sweaters and feeling cold.

I'm just grumpy today. I don't want to be here waiting for slow poke Eastern Ontario spring. I want robins and cardinals singing, little green shoots poking inquisitive noses out of the ground, warm winds blowing. Somewhere south of me these things are happening. I want to open the windows and smell fresh grass and lilac and I don't want to vacuum a pile of muddy gravel out of the front entrance again. I want to be somewhere else, someplace where I am handed a menu and find my bed made with fresh sheets and look out the window at a beautiful view.

Bored and cranky and cold and fed up. Oh well. Tomorrow, as someone famously remarked, is another day.

Saturday, 14 March 2009

A Picture Perfect Day

Grandpa wanted to drive back to the back hundred (100 acre parcel of land; we have three) and cut up some logs and Little Stuff and I went with him. It was a perfect day -- I could describe it, but the pictures tell it all.
We went to Grandpa's woodpiles. He has two 'landings' at the back; 'landings' are small clearings where logs can be stacked and stored before becoming firewood. He and two friends culled a fair sized area here last fall and Grandpa has been cutting up the logs and splitting them all winter as weather permitted. And so the trails to the back are, unusually, ploughed out. We drove back in our little ATV truck (wearing its tire chains) to the first landing, where Grandpa has finished his work.
While he sawed up logs at the second landing, Little Stuff and I went for a walk. We found that one of the small streams that runs out of the big beaver flood* at the back of our property had partly opened up and Little Stuff had a wonderful time exploring, splashing and gathering moss while Grama took photographs.
You can see a small pink Little Stuff exploring in this shot; it also shows what our woodland looks like. In the very back is a bit of the bay that sits at upper right in the first of the photos of where we live. Check out the footprints in the foreground. Little Stuff was not sinking at all.
Grama, on the other hand, was. After Little Stuff finished playing in the stream we walked upstream following some fox tracks. She went where the fox had gone. Grama mushed along, far behind, seeking higher ground and easier walking. We went all the way to the back beaver pond, along it and cut straight back, following the sound of Grandpa sawing, to end up at the second landing.
A really big hit was a huge wolf dropping, full of hair from some small animal. Luckily my pockets were so full of pine cones, large and small, by the time we inspected it that there was no room left to bring it along.
Boots, leggings and hat are now all drying over a hot air vent. And Grama is contemplating putting a hot pad on her back.
* The lower of a series of two ponds formed by industrious beavers. This shot shows about a quarter of it. The whole expanse was skatable today.

Friday, 13 March 2009

A Little Weak in the Knees

I have been boasting, here and there around the place, about what a laissez faire mother I was, how I let my girls try out unusual things, have adventures with risk involved, and all that. How I cheerfully watched the YD make her first parachute jump, following her progress with my camera.
That was then. The now is somewhat different. We are looking after Little Stuff this weekend while her parents are overseas. This afternoon, although cold, was a blaze of glorious sunshine. You could walk anywhere on the snow. Grandpa went out to cut down a tree at the edge of the maintained field so that he could haul it away while everything was still frozen. Little Stuff and I went out to watch, take pictures and follow deer trails.
After Grandpa hauled the tree away, I headed for the nearest deer path. Looked around for the five year old, who had been poking around the base of a tree. Heard a giggle. Looked up. Way up. See that little pink blob about ten feet off the ground?
Erk. 'Grama,' said the little monster darling, 'take my picture up here.' I obliged, but it took me several tries to get my finger on the button.
'Do you want me to come down now?' said the cheerful voice.
'Yes!' said Grama.

Wednesday, 11 March 2009

Where We Live - Wordless Wednesday

Here are two views from a helicopter of where we live; the house is on the right side of the wide shot in the photo above.
The weather when these were taken was much like it is now. Minus the wind.

Monday, 9 March 2009

Monday Mision -- Wheeeee!

This week's Mission is to describe a theme park ride or attraction. Thanks to Painted Maypole for organizing this. You can find all the players on Mr Linky at her website.

Welcome to Eastern Ontario's Wonderland. Step right up to our main attraction. That's right, it's the Change in Temperature Roller coaster.

Let me strap you onto your block of ice seat. Safety regulations, you know. Don't worry if you feel a bit cold because now we start the ride. Ah, see that temperature climb. From 0ºC to 10º C in one thrilling swoop. See the snow and ice melt. Feel the rain come down. Duck! You are now passing under the blocked eave trough which is, of course, the source of the ice cold stream of water running down your neck.

Are you slipping around on your seat a bit? Never fear. In what will seem like seconds, the temperature is going to drop back to -10º C. You will freeze to your seat in a flash.

You want to get off the ride? Okay. Watch the path as you are leaving -- it's a bit slipp... Oh dear.

What do you mean, you are going to sue? You can't sue Mother Nature, my dear. She'll just slip away into the fog, or snow, or rain.

Saturday, 7 March 2009

Things are Going Swimmingly

Two years ago today I tentatively stuck a toe into the blogging ocean and shortly thereafter got sucked right out to sea. That's 239 posts and although there are a fair number that are photos or memes, a lot of them have cost me time, skull sweat and frustration. A few of them have garnered me some much needed and gratefully received compliments. It is scary to put parts of yourself on public display, and I find myself at times very insecure about it. Especially since I am an old, gray fish in a school of glittering young ones. I sometimes feel very diffident about hanging about with the mommy bloggers. They all seem to have better stocked minds, intimidating writing skills and a level of technical competence that I struggle to attain.

It is such a wonderful ocean, warm and full of ticklish bubbles, vast and ever changing. [Don't you think you have taken that metaphor far enough? hisses my internal editor.] As I slowly began to find my way around the place, I discovered that the voices and opinions I liked best, the writers with whom I had empathy, were 'mommy bloggers'. I discovered blog after blog sparkling with wit and erudition, funny, wistful, sad. And every one had something to teach me. Most of these blogs are on the blogroll on the lower right hand side of this screen; not all of them because a few, for some reason I can't fathom, won't load into my 'Following' gizmo. I am contemplating trying to find and load a widget I see around the places I go that allows you to list favourite posts. I need courage, coffee and a lot of time before I tackle adding gadgets.

I am only going to mention one blog in particular because we share the blogiversary - her third and my second. This is Under the Mad Hat (Happy third to you, Mad!), who is one of the cleverest bloggers out there. Her posts are amazingly good; she has one of the quicksilver minds I cherish and an understated and somewhat wry humour that sets you off laughing an hour or a day after you have signed off.

This on line world is not a natural fit for me. For quite some time I printed a hard copy of every draft post and went over it with the dreaded red pen. After two years, I no longer do that, but when I put a post up and see a typo or infelicity or bad cut sneering at me, I wonder if I still should. The brain does not function with the speed it had a quarter century ago, that's for sure. And I never have had the kind of concentration and dedication a professional writer needs. [I just leapt up and grabbed the field glasses to check out a bird that flew by my office window. Now, where was I?]

I was I was both surprised and flattered lately when a group of mommybloggers headed by Catherine of Her Bad Mother and Katie of Motherbumper asked me to join a group concern called Canada Moms Blog. I have joined and as I sit here, I have a pile of printouts beside me on the desk detailing all the steps to take to get enrolled and use Typepad. Oh, my aching head. The printouts are already dog-eared and marked up in red with stars and arrows and I did one major goof in my first post on the site that I don't know how to fix. Setting aside the fact that I have to learn how to do Technorati tags, the style of post they want is different from my usual ramble along twisting paths and I am editing, rewriting, second, third and fourth guessing myself and gulping down yet more coffee. And loving every moment, do not get me wrong. They do say that intellectual activity is good for ageing brains, don't they?

I guess I have swum come a long way in two years, eh?

The first ending of this post has been edited and is shown below. Daysgoby has just told me how to do this. Heartfelt thanks and I will share the cookies.

Now, if I could just figure out how to do that cross out thing, I could have written swum, crossed it out and put in come. Which would make a lovely metaphor bracket. I'm going to learn how to do that. Someday. Soon. More coffee, I need more coffee.

And maybe a chocolate raspberry marshmallow cookie.

Friday, 6 March 2009

It's Still Winter Here

Here are some more photos of winter in Eastern Ontario, just for the fun of it. The first one is Little Stuff's mother, the ED, tapping a 'spile' into a tree in maple syrup season. A very long ago maple syrup season. I think she was around twelve in this shot.
Here is a shot of the trails the deer make when they come in to feed on the corn and 'deer ration' we spread out for them.
And here is Little Stuff on her spandy new high tech snowshoes. This was a different day than the one when she took off running across the field in them, caught a snowshoe and had her little red clad foot pull out of the snowshoe and boot. She lay on her back with the red foot up in the air like a danger flag and laughed and laughed. Until I waded out to her and shoved the foot back into the boot, snow and all. 'That's COLD Grama' she shrieked. We went back inside.
I'm really thrilled to be posting at Canada Moms Blog and have just put up my first post there which references this one, or would if I had not typed the link improperly. I will try to figure out how to get the button attachement for this site onto my blog --- as soon as I recover from my first experience with Typepad. This recovery may take a while and some black coffee and maybe some chocolate. But the Canada Moms Blog is a really neat concept and has some super good bloggers on it (besides me, of course. Erm?). Take a look if you can.

Another sign of spring!

PhotoStory Friday
Hosted by Cecily and MamaGeek

My summer resting spot has reappeared!

You can find Photosstory Friday information here, and a list of people who posted here or here.

Thursday, 5 March 2009


I just did a 'Wordle' 'Wordcloud'.
Wordle: First?
If you haven't heard of this, you will find it at Wordle. Some of the formats are awesome. But why, she asked in a soft and whimpery tone, did my main word come up as 'first'? Hah! Figured it out. It just used the top three posts published, in one of which I talked about a lot of 'firsts'. I think I will do it again after a few more less word biased posts. If I ever write any.

Wednesday, 4 March 2009

The Power of Magical Thinking

For Wordless Wednesday, I just changed my header photo. And posting this.

Edited to add -- I put this same photo up this time last year. And we got 20" of snow. Well, once is a coincidence.

Sunday, 1 March 2009

Cold Lamb

March came in here like a lamb. Of sorts. Sunny, windless and c c c cold! JG remarked that it would have to be an extra wooly lamb, so I gave it a sweater, tuque and snowbank to stand in.

Canadian lamb, I guess.