Tuesday, 13 April 2021

Third winter?

Woke to about 5 inches of snow this morning on top of the inch we had the night before.  This is what it looks like now after a half hour of shovelling.

I'm pretty sure this our third winter!

Have a great day everyone!

Saturday, 10 April 2021

Another week that was

 As I sit down to write this on Friday, I'm looking back and thinking what happened to this week?  I do know it has been a good one.

Before I forget, thank you to all who expressed your concern for D and Eli last week.  I'm happy to report that she's received an e-mail from the insurance company and the settlement is better than she anticipated.  Her car was a 2009 Ford Focus, and the reason for the write-off was the frame was bent in the accident.  It wouldn't be worth it to repair it.  Now she has a 2011 Chevy Cruze. I should note that both of my adult children own vehicles that are newer than mine...I have 2007 Toyota Corolla, and I plan to drive it until I give up driving.  Hope the car agrees with that plan. 

We've had some near summer like temperatures a few days this week and I managed to squeeze in a walk a couple of days in between curling games.  A girl has to have her priorities, right?  I didn't take my camera with me though so no photos to share. The number of geese and ducks are increasing exponentially.  In the backyard the juncos are here too.  I believe they head further north as I don't recall seeing them much in the summer.  

I did get Eli's sweater sewn together, but have yet to finish the button bands. Since I do most of my knitting/crocheting while watching television (curling) and the picking up of stitches takes close attention it will wait until I'm less focused on the television.  So no photo again this week.  I got distracted with some yarn my daughter sent home with me and started a tank top for her.  I'll have to wait until I see her again before I finish it, as I want to be certain of the size. Plus I'm modifying it, as the patterns calls for tie strings and she agreed she'd rather have shoulder straps.  I've just started a third project but will wait until I get into it before I tell you what it is.  

This week, I've also spent a lot of time on Ancestry.  This time not adding people but rather deleting them.  I had been working on tracing my grandfather's first cousins to see if there were any more close connections.  But I made a mistake as there are two individuals named Janet Bell in my tree - and I picked the wrong one, one who is at least two to three generations older than my grandfather.  You would think I would have noticed the age discrepancy but no.  I spent days tracing from this individual and her spouse and ended up adding nearly 5000 people to the tree before it dawned on me I'd made an error.  It took me a day and a half to delete the entire branch!  I've learned to trace backwards first to confirm that I've got the right person before I start another search.   

Did I tell you that I heard from another cousin?  This one from my grandmother's side of the family.  She is starting work on her mother's side and saw that I had her mother in my tree but the information was not correct.  I was working off a Census from 1920 that spelled her name incorrectly.  M was able to correct the spelling and provide additional information that opened up even more hints. I was also able to give her some information along with photos of her great grandparents (my 2X great grandparents) that she hadn't seen previously.  Her mother and my grandmother were first cousins.  

While I was reviewing that information, I noted the name of cemetery in New Westminster, B.C. This piqued my interest because my dad's brother Wilf, lived there in the 60's and 70's and was married to a woman named Ann.  I seem to recall we met her at one point, and I know as a young girl I wrote to Aunt Ann a few times and she was kind enough to write back.  She passed away in the 70's and Uncle Wilf returned to our home town before 1980 after marrying again.  I decided, out of curiousity, to check the cemetery information and searched for Ann and I found her!  The details provided in the Find a grave site noted that she was married to Wilf H. There is something satisfying about being able to give her a proper name, and not just Ann.

I did get outside on Thursday as well, spending about an hour cleaning up pine cones and pine needles around the spruce tree in front.  I managed to gather two small garbage bags of these items in time for the garbage truck weekly pick-up.  Despite the amount of walking I've done, this activity required different muscles, and I figured I'd be feeling it the next day.  But I didn't, at least not much. Hurray for that!

It's now Saturday.  I'm not watching curling this morning because it all came to a screeching halt last night after one of the teams preparing to head home tested positive for Covid-19.  They would have been in the bubble about 3 or 4 days prior to event, and it's been a full week so I have to assume they were exposed just prior to arriving.  All of the teams that are in the playoffs (Canada is not - they lost their qualifying game last night) will be tested today and depending on those results, the games will be rescheduled.  At least I hope they will.  

So rather than sit around the house and mope, I headed out for a walk this morning.  It was just above freezing, but with no wind, overcast but with a promise of warmer temperatures later in the day.  Here are a few photos.

As I started out on my walk, I could hear several ducks calling close by.  Since I'm not that close to the pond, it was a bit unusual.  This female was talking up a storm on the roof of a house about a half block away.

This male mallard was walking on the street just ahead of me.  He wasn't saying much.  

On my way to the creek I spotted a couple of hares closer to a couple of houses.  This one intrigued me -  it almost looks like it has a dark t-shirt and a light pair of pants.

The creek was very quiet, with the water still so low and freezing temperatures overnight, there was a thin sheet of ice still on the water.  Further along I found this solo duck in a wee bit of open water.

I first heard and then saw a red winged blackbird.  I love their song.
The pond was busier, but not nearly as many ducks and geese as I've seen in recent walks.  This one startled me as I didn't notice it right away. 
Speaking of not seeing - I took the photo below as I was walking back through the park and initially hadn't seen the second hare on the left.
Finally, as I walked up the driveway I could hear a robin in the spruce tree.  I turned around and spotted him at the top of the tree.  Another birdsong that I enjoy.

It was a good morning for a walk and probably the last for about a week.  Though we're expecting a high of 17C (63F) this afternoon, there's another storm heading our way that may bring 10-20 cms of snow (4-8 inches) from Sunday through Thursday.  Just when the trees in the back yard are starting to bud out.  Welcome to April in Saskatchewan. 

Have a great week ahead everyone.  Take care and stay well.

Saturday, 3 April 2021

Change of plans

I ought not to suggest that life is quiet around here.  Because when I do, life has a way of turning topsy turvy when I'm feeling too complacent. 

We had an absolutely beautiful day on Sunday.  The sun was shining and the temperature rose to 17C (63F). I had done my morning walk in the house, but couldn't resist the allure of the outdoors.  This time I remembered my camera card so there are photos.

The mallard ducks are back at the creek.  The water level is really low this year.  Hopefully we get some rain in the next few weeks.

Looking back under the bridge, you can see how little water there is. I don't recall it ever being this low.

Despite the low level, it wasn't stopping the ducks and the geese from feeding.

As I walked through the grass from the creek back to the walking path I startled this hare (I still think of it as a rabbit though I know that's the proper name). It didn't go too far as there were lots of people and dogs on the walking path.

Over at the pond the geese were noisy! I'd suggest there were close to a hundred or better on the shore, on the ice and in the water. Many seemed to be napping in the sun but there was lots of chatter and some disagreements too.

This pair were at the far end of the pond where there were fewer geese.  One was grooming while the other kept an eye out. I've never seen a goose dangle a foot like this.  The reflection in the water is pretty interesting too.  

I was so glad I got out for my walk on Sunday because the weather turned downright nasty on Monday.  In the morning, we had blowing snow warnings, though the snow didn't start falling until mid-afternoon. The wind picked up and throughout the evening we had gusts up to 100 kph (62 mph) that kept up through the night. When my son went to work Tuesday morning there was an drift outside the garage about a foot high. For some reason, it always drifts in at the garage while it blows across the driveway.

Tuesday was cool but I got out and did some shoveling and ran a couple of errands for my daughter.  It was really cold Wednesday morning, I awoke to a temperature of -17C (1F)!  Thankfully, it warmed up throughout the day and we topped out at 7C (45F).  That's Saskatchewan weather, if you don't like it, wait 15 minutes.

I was especially grateful for the warm-up as I made a trip to see D and Eli on Thursday.  It wasn't in the plans but became a necessity. On Sunday they were out for a drive, and were involved in a car accident.  Thankfully neither were hurt but the car is a total loss. I was so proud of her, as she dealt with everything, arranging for a tow truck, calling the RCMP, and finding a ride to get back home as they were several miles away.  She was upset, mostly with herself, and not long ago this would have resulted in a melt-down or panic attack. She did call me to ask if I would video chat with Eli as he was still in the car and getting bored with the wait. I was happy to do so and we had a good visit - the little stinker has discovered how to play videos we can watch together as we chat.

Once safely at home, she did some research on line and found two possible vehicles at dealerships in her town.  One of them was a far better price so she arranged to take a test drive on Wednesday morning, when Eli went to school.  The same friend who picked her up on Sunday provided transportation. She liked the car and was able negotiate a better deal than the on-line price.  This may not sound much to many people, but she struggles with any potential situation that could result in conflict.  I can recall a time that phoning anyone she didn't know well was difficult for her.

I drove out early Thursday, in time to spend a little time with Eli before school.  Once we dropped him off, we headed for the insurance agency to arrange the license for the vehicle before she could pick it up.  After the school pickup,  we headed into the nearby city so she could get the rest of the items left in her vehicle at the tow yard.  I drove because she wasn't feeling comfortable driving on the highway. One of the items was the remote control for her garage door - definitely important. Before I left for home we spent some time at the park letting him run off some energy.

I was absolutely exhausted by the time I arrived home.  It's been a long time since I've driven five hours in a day.  I got a chance to relax on Friday as the Worlds Men's curling event started that morning. While watching I finished knitting the pieces for Eli's sweater - first time in almost a week I worked on it. This morning I blocked and pinned it - once it is dried I'll sew the pieces together and finish the collar and button bands. 

I can officially say that spring is here.  On Thursday before I left for D's, I saw my first robin!  This morning there were two blue jays in my yard.  The jays are pretty birds but, oh my, the racket they make.  I couldn't get to my camera fast enough but I'm sure I'll hear them again.  

That wraps up my week...time for more curling!  Have a great week ahead everyone.  Take care and stay well.

Saturday, 27 March 2021

A whole lot of nothing

As I was starting this post, I was thinking, I've got nothing, and truth be told there isn't much going on around here.  So I'll start where almost all conversations in this province starts, the weather.  (You might think I'm kidding, but seriously it's often the opening topic of conversation.)

The photo was taken on Thursday afternoon.  It was raining, since the temperature was above freezing, hooray!  The forecast for overnight was heavy snow until midnight.  Well, they sure got that wrong, there was a light dusting on the grass out back but nothing more.  It was cool Friday but still got above freezing, and by Sunday we're expecting a high of 15C (59F).  I posted this to FB, saying I think Mother Nature is a little confused.  

Or perhaps I was because I woke to snow this morning! Not a lot and it will gone by this afternoon.  I went out to feed the birds this morning and the sun felt lovely and warm.

I didn't get out walking since the curling was on, though managed to get at least 30 minutes of walking in the house.  Nor did I finish any items.  Eli's sweater is progressing nicely, I have one more sleeve to finish before I can sew the raglan and sleeve seams, before finishing the neck and button bands.  I'm sure it will be done sometime next week so will share a photo then.

The mixed doubles curling finished on Thursday evening, with the duo of Gushue and Einarson winning.  Brad Gushue, from Newfoundland, and his team were Team Canada at the men's Brier (which means they won the event last year), and Kerri Einarson and her team won the most recent women's Scotties  and will represent Canada at the Women's Worlds at the end of April.  Now the two will be heading off to Aberdeen, Scotland in the middle of May for the mixed doubles Worlds. I doubt that event will be televised so I'll have to keep track on the results on the internet.

One piece of news, my brother (59) was able to get his vaccine on Sunday.  He had quite the reaction, started getting chilled that afternoon, his temperature rose to 40.4C (104.7F), had a headache, body aches, and felt absolutely awful.  If his temperature had reached 41C, he would have gone to the hospital.  But it only lasted overnight and by morning his temperature was just slightly elevated, and though he felt like he'd been hit by a Mack truck, he was feeling so much better.  He said he'd never felt that sick before and if that's what Covid is like he's grateful it only lasted a few hours.  

His wife had the shot a few days later and had absolutely no reaction.  Now, she's certain he's a wuss. Which, if you knew my brother, you'd know he's not in the least.  I talked to a friend yesterday and her partner also had a similar reaction to the vaccine. I'm grateful I did not.

Our province, and the city where I live in particular, has been hit hard by the B 1.1.7 Covid variant.  As of Friday, there were 800 cases of the variant in the city alone. Restaurants and bars will be closed as of tomorrow, though gyms were able to remain open until the City stepped in and required them to be closed.  Churches remain open, but can have no more than 30 people in attendance.  The scary part is the number of patients in the ICU are high and almost half of the patients are in the age of 20-39. Just on Friday, the province announced 7 more deaths in our area, yet the number of ICU patients increased by 2.  Doing the math, that means another 9 patients were admitted to the ICU in a single day.  

Travel into and out of the city is not recommended, unless it is considered essential.  D and Eli were planning to come to the city this week but she decided as the numbers were climbing to rearrange Eli's doctor's appointment to the end of April.  I had thought I might drive out during Easter break, but will put that off for another week or so beyond then.  Hopefully we'll see the numbers start coming down soon.  I would hate to be the one to inadvertently bring the variant to her home.  Not only is she in the age group that seems to be impacted the most, she has underlying health issues that would make it worse.  Even their small town has been affected as one of the elementary schools was also closed last week due to a grade 3 student who was diagnosed with the variant.  Eli attends the other school and they remain open for now.  For now, we'll play it safe and remain within our small bubbles.  

There isn't much on my plate for today, I'll probably do some knitting, I'm working on a couple of craft items, the kitchen floor needs washing and I'd like to get outdoors for a walk this afternoon.  I saw on the news that someone spotted a Mallard drake this week - perhaps the ducks will be back at the pond.  No robins yet though.

Here's a photo from this morning that made me smile. That's one fat, happy squirrel.  Take care everyone and have a great week ahead!

Saturday, 20 March 2021

It was a good week - welcome to spring!

Back to regular programming. It has been an incredibly busy week and it seemed that Friday arrived before I even blinked. Before I get into the rest of the happenings, I'll mention that our Saskatchewan team came up one rock short and finished the Brier with a bronze medal, as they did last year.  They did us proud, and I know they'll be back to Brier again as they're still a young team.  The winner of the event was the Alberta team, skipped by Brendan Bottcher.  They've been the final four years in a row, and finally won the big game.  They'll be great ambassadors for Canada at the World's in a few weeks.

I finally Since there was no curling to watch, I got a bit of spring cleaning done.  It started with cabinets in the bathrooms.  Although I clean the rest of the bathrooms regularly the drawers and under the sink don't get cleared out very often.  My daughter called as I was doing the main bathroom - since some of the items were hers I was able to sort through and toss some old stuff.  I'm going to look for some peel and stick tiles as the linoleum that was put down 30 odd years ago when the house was built is beginning to pull up.  Note to self: Add to the to-do list.

In the kitchen I pulled out the fridge and stove to clean the sides and behind them.  Generally I do this job around November 1 and April 1, but I didn't think it got done in the fall, so was pleasantly surprised to see it wasn't as bad as I thought it might be.  Still picked up a small kitten of cat hair behind the fridge but none behind the stove.  The spills down the side of the stove were bad enough!  I'm not sure how that happens as the stove is a tight fit between the cupboards; I have to hold my mouth just right in order to put it back in place.  

On Tuesday morning, I'd cleared out the pantry shelves and two lazy Susans of the contents, cleaned the shelves and replaced everything back in order.  I did an inventory of the lazy Susans because things tend to get lost in there.  Only two items had fallen off.  To reach these I have to lay on the floor, put my head and upper body in the cupboard, and stretch out my arm in order to reach the back of the cupboard.  I hate cleaning those cupboards.

As you already know, Tuesday afternoon was spent in line-up waiting for my vaccine.  Other than a little tenderness on Wednesday I had no reaction at all.  I feel for those (thinking of you Connie) who have bad reactions.  I wonder if one vaccine is more likely to cause a reaction than another? 

I did get out walking twice this week, once on Monday and again on Wednesday.  I heard the geese fly over the house in the morning so had to check out the pond.  They're back!  We do have some geese that stay over winter as there is a bit of open water on the man made lake but I'm pretty certain these are returning from the south.

We had such beautiful weather much of the week.  The nights were cool, below freezing but the daytime temperatures were well above it most days.  Best of all we had lots of sunshine, which meant I could open up the sun room for the cats.  The rabbit seemed to be enjoying it too, as it gave itself a bath in the sun.

The creek, and of course the pond, are still frozen over but the snow is melting quickly.

I chuckled at these two napping on the ice.  Close to mirror images of each other.

The mixed doubles curling started on Thursday and will run through to next Thursday.  It's a much different game than the regular four person team curling.  For starters, there are rocks set up at the beginning of the end (not thrown) and each duo throws a total of five rocks.  The first and fifth rock are thrown by the woman, the rest by the man on the team.  Rocks cannot be taken out of play before the third rock of the ten is played, until that point, the rocks that are thrown will be a freeze or a draw.  It means a LOT of rocks are in play so there can be big scores.  Also, there are only 8 ends versus 10 in the men's and women's games.  I quite enjoy watching because the strategy is quite different and I appreciate the fast pace of the game.  This is also an Olympic sport (now) and Canada has to win their place in another event even though we won the gold medal in the last winter Olympics.

While I'm watching curling I worked on a couple of projects; a vest for myself and a cardigan for Eli. The vest I completed late on Friday.  It's made of a chunky yarn so far too warm to wear at the moment. I wanted something I could wear in the house when I feel a little chilled plus it helps use up some of the yarn stash I've built up over the last couple of years.  I still have some left that I can use to make a scarf.  The cardigan for Eli isn't moving as quickly, I should have the back finished today.  

Spring/summer came early on Friday when it reached a high of 19C (66F).  There were records broken all over the province.  It won't last but, boy oh boy, it was fantastic even for a single day. Unfortunately my backyard seems to be flooding again this year likely because the ground beneath is still frozen solid.  

This morning I had several visitors to the front yard. They all seemed happy to pose for a photo or two.  There were four in total - but I couldn't get a shot of all of them together.  

Note how much brown in showing on this one.  

This one is still pretty white, and also smaller than the other one.  It's nibbling on my spruce tree. I can't imagine it tastes that great.

More curling today and I need to run out to pick up some fresh vegetables and a few other items.  That sums up the day ahead for me.  

Take care everyone, have a great week ahead. Happy Spring!!

Wednesday, 17 March 2021

Oh happy day!

First off, Happy St. Patrick's Day!  May the blessings of each day be the blessings you need the most. - Irish blessing.

You're being treated/bombarded with a mid-week post because I'm too excited to wait until the weekend to share this news.  I got my Covid-19 AstraZeneca vaccine yesterday!!!!  It was unexpected, I truly thought I'd have to wait for the opportunity until April sometime.  But with the vaccine not recommended for over 65's*, our province opened it up for 60-64. Here in the city, the health authority opened a drive-in clinic, on a first come first serve basis. On Monday, it was only for 64 years old, but as time went on, they lowered it until the entire age group could attend.  I got a news alert around 11:30 a.m., quickly got ready to go and headed across the city. 

I was in fairly lengthy line-up by 11:50 and received my dose about 3 p.m.  After the shot there was a 15 minute wait in the parking lot to ensure I didn't have an adverse reaction - I didn't.  I never had to park in the line-up, as the vehicles kept moving but the loop took us through and around the parking lot, past various buildings and then a couple of switchbacks before we reached the building where the vaccines were being administered.  I'm pretty sure I've seen every square inch of the property.

There was sign here that said 90 minute wait from this point in the picture on the left. Note the porta-potties! But it only took 10 minutes to make it to the next sign that read 60 minute wait.  It did take close to an hour between the first sign and when I reached the building.  Inside there were six lanes set up, with three stations in each row for the vehicles.  When it was my turn, I pulled up in the lane, gave the nurse my health card, answered a few questions, and waited for the jab.  It was over in mere minutes and I was on my way to the parking lot for the brief stop before heading home. 

I waited to post this until morning, in case I had any kind of reaction.  There was no immediate reaction, in fact that evening I couldn't tell you where exactly in my arm I got the shot.  It wasn't the least bit sore. This morning, if I push on my arm I can find a little tenderness but that's it.  I'm one of the lucky ones as I know there have been others who haven't had it as easy.

I was excited when I got my vaccine yesterday, and as I told the nurse, I think it's because there seems to finally be an end in sight to this pandemic.  While things won't change immediately or even in a few months, and I certainly won't be giving on masking, social distancing, and washing my hands a lot, the potential for a shift back to more "normal" times is there.  It all adds up to a real sense of relief.

What a blessing!  For those who haven't yet had the chance to be vaccinated, I hope it's available to you soon. 

*An announcement by the NACI - National Advisory Committee on Immunization yesterday that the vaccine is now approved for those over 65 here in Canada.