Saturday 26 March 2022

Small mysteries

First off, the bird in the photos on Wednesday is a Cedar waxwing. I was sitting with Saku in the living room, and we both jumped when we heard a loud thud coming from the sun room. I was afraid when I walked out to the sun room that I'd find a dead or dying bird. Dead I can deal with, dying bothers the heck out of me because I know there is nothing I can do for it and I'm too squeamish to put any wild animal out of its misery. So I was somewhat happy to see the bird was sitting (if not completely upright) with its tail feathers splayed out (the first shot). It appeared to be gasping for air as its beak was open and its chest was heaving. 

I know enough from previous bird strikes to know that if I leave the bird alone, it will often eventually heal itself and be able to fly off.  I checked on it several times through the afternoon, and was a bit worried when afternoon turned into evening and the bird was still there. However, it had moved along the deck and was at least two feet from where it had fallen. I checked again just before dark and it had disappeared. All I was left with were a couple of photos and some bird poop.

To be honest, I had no idea what kind of bird it was at first. I did a quick Google search and identified it based on the yellow fan on the tail and the red on the wings. I've never seen a waxwing in my yard before; obviously they don't eat what I put out in the feeder or I'm sure I would have. In any event, as always I'm amazed at the ability of our bird friends to heal themselves so quickly. I'm certain it had quite the concussion!

I had been hanging out on the couch with the cat most of Monday because I wasn't feeling well. Sunday evening I felt a fever coming on, I felt chilled, a little disoriented, and even in bed I couldn't seem to warm up. Eventually I did fall asleep.  But the weirdest thing was my dreams, or perhaps lack of dreams. I had been working on Ancestry on Sunday and I had gone to bed thinking about a certain individual. I woke several times during the night and every time I was stuck on the same thought about the same person that was in my mind at the end of the evening. It seemed like my brain had frozen in place. Thankfully the fever broke before morning, and though I was tired and felt like I'd been hit by a truck I was feeling much better. I still haven't figured out the puzzle in reference to the ancestor.  He seemingly disappeared.

Since I had no idea what brought on the fever, and I needed to get groceries, I decided to do a rapid test for Covid, just in case. It was negative thankfully, and I headed off to the stores to get what I needed that morning. Curling was scheduled for the afternoon or I might have waited. I know I've mentioned this before - shopping only ever 10 days or so for groceries has made had a positive impact on my budget. I replace what needs replacing and pick up a few sale items, but my impulse purchases have been cut way back. I still get a treat - Easter jelly beans this time. :) 

As for the curling, our Canadian had a slow start with two wins, two losses, but then got a roll and won the next three games, before losing a squeaker to Korea on Thursday. They came back and won their two games on Friday putting them in the play-offs. There were three teams with the same record of 9 wins, 3 losses, so the ranking was done by the total of the measurements of  draw to the button that occurs at the beginning of each game. Canada was .20 of a centimeter (.07 of an inch) being award second place ahead of Korea. So they play this afternoon in a qualifier against Denmark. Their last game with Denmark was close, but I'm positive they'll be able to win again. The next game would be this evening for the semi-finals.

There has been a lot of melting here this week, finally. However, a cold front moved through on Thursday and brought rain and a bit of snow. My brother and I were chatting and of course, this is the weekend he and friend are heading north to go winter camping. The daytime temps will be around -10C (14F), but at least one night will see the temperature drop to -25C (-13F). He has a wood stove they'll use to heat the tent, and with their -40 rated sleeping bags, and layers of clothing they'll be fine. They'll be out ice fishing during the day for trout, and he's taken the ingredients for chili in case the fish are smarter than they are. I'm sure he'll send a photo or two of his adventures that I can share next week.

Thankfully it won't nearly be as cold here. I've been going out every day and chipping away at the ice and tossing snow around to help it melt a little faster. The snow that Eli lost his boot in last week is gone, with a small pond remaining. Of course that doesn't meant there won't be more snow, but at least it won't last for very long.

We did have some lovely temperatures in the afternoon and I was able to open the sun room most days (even on Friday when it was quite cool outdoors). Saku enjoys his naps out there, and likes to tuck himself under the towel. On Friday I took the vacuum out there and rearranged the furniture, and then settled in to read my book, The All-Girl Filling Station's Last Reunion, by Fannie Flagg. A very enjoyable read.

I'm off to do a little thrift store browsing this morning, after I fill the car with gasoline.  At $1.689 per litre (about $6.39 US gallon), I know the fill-up will make a dent. But I'm grateful I don't drive a whole lot and this tank of gas should last me several weeks.  Then it is home to watch the curling. And my son has told me he's ordering in pizza this evening so I'm having a good day.

Have a great week ahead everyone!

Saturday 19 March 2022

Arrivals and departures

It's been a busy week! The Brier ended Sunday evening with a win by the Brad Gushue team out of Newfoundland. The team was our representative at the Olympics in February, and the thought was they'd be tired. Well, they certainly didn't show it winning all their games in round robin play. They did lose in the 1 versus 2 page playoffs but came back and beat the winner of the 3 versus 4 in the semi-final to reach the final. What was even more impressive is their third player was diagnosed with Covid on Saturday and the three team members played the remaining games without him. Mark live tweeted through the game and it was clear he was stressed not being on the ice. :) The team will be off to the Men's Worlds in Las Vegas later in March.

With the curling out of the way (for a few days) it was time to tackle the housework that was somewhat neglected over the past ten days or so. I spent the first few days sweeping, vacuuming, scrubbing, washing and tidying in preparation for my visitors on Thursday. D and Eli arrived in the mid- afternoon. She had planned to leave right after school ended at 11:30, but a friend let her know there was fog on part of the highway. She still ran into fog for about 20 minutes but it wasn't too bad.

Eli was able to get his first Covid vaccine on Tuesday, with the second to follow in about 8 weeks or so. He was very brave little boy; there were some tears but D made it up to him with a trip to Tim Hortons for a doughnut treat and some time at the sledding hill. 

No sledding to be had at Gma's. I might have taken him to the park but the street was a mess and because of the ridges the grader made the sidewalks were ponds as well. Though I'll take the ridges of snow - were the snow still on the street it would be tough going with our smaller vehicles. There is a good reason why most of our neighbours drive trucks and SUVs. This is what the first week or so of spring looks like around here. We're forecast to have daytime temps over freezing so with a little wind it will clear up in the next week or so.

Eli and I did spend some time in the back yard, first on the deck and then he convinced me he could dig a path in the back yard to the bird feeder. He started his little dump truck and a rake and soon was marking out a path. At one point, he lost one of his boots in the snow, and turned around and carried it back to me to get help getting it back on. Silly kid! I grabbed the shovel and cleared out a wider path behind him.

Other visitors to the yard this week included the hare out front on Monday. It was enjoying snacking on the evergreen and then settled down to rest. At least it did until my son pulled out of garage. Then it took off in a big hurry. This next photo is of a little redbreasted nuthatch. For many weeks I've seen this wee bird when I go out to fill the feeder. It sits in the tree close by and talks to me - truly! It has a sweet call and I like to think it is saying thank you. I've tried several times to get a photo and each time it's been camera shy and flown away. Since I got the photo, I haven't seen it at the feeder. Hopefully it's okay and I'll see it again soon. (This was a cellphone photo and I cropped it to see the bird more clearly.)

On Thursday morning, I looked at the kitchen and spotted Hoover at the feeder. I thought the lighting was pretty - it's furs all aglow. 

Of course the camera focused on the branches but I didn't want to take the time to manually focus. I was right, as it spotted me and headed down the fence line.

While Eli was here on Friday morning, he got to see the downy woodpecker as well as the squirrel at the feeder. He told me they have a squirrel in their yard too, named Squirrely. D says it climbs on their neighbour's room and chatters at them.

They both had doctor's appointments Friday afternoon, and headed home once those were complete. D brought the paperwork from the pyschologist for the doctor to add to his file. It was confirmed last week that Eli has ADHD. We're lucky he was diagnosed early as the supports are being provided even before the official diagnosis. Dr. J pronounced Eli a physically healthy little boy and noted he has astigmatism. Not a surprise as we all have it in my family. The three of us, D, C, and I all wear glasses, though my son C has a tendency to only wear them for driving.

Before they left, Eli turned to me and said, "G'ma - you're the best!". I do so love that little boy - he is so sweet. Our visits are always fun, though tiring. I did a couple of loads of laundry after they left, did a little clearing of slush and ice, but did little else for the rest of the day.

Today I've been puttering around this morning, doing a few chores, setting a batch of buns, and catching up on blog reading and television programming. The Women's Worlds curling starts this afternoon at 3 p.m. local, with Canada taking on Italy in draw 1. Next up, is Norway at 8 p.m. I expect both games will be fun to watch. So you know what I'll be doing for the much of this week. The sports network will only air the games Canada is in, until the weekend when the qualification games begin. Fingers crossed, our Canadian team will be in the thick of it!

Of course, I can't forget that the spring equinox occurs tomorrow. It won't be truly spring here for a few more weeks, but I'm happy that the long winter is fading.  Happy Spring everyone!

Saturday 12 March 2022

Pain, pain, go away

I made it home on Sunday by mid-afternoon, just in time for another curling game. In the morning, I'd gone out to shovel a bit more to clear out part of the alley way, as the snow clearing crew had yet to come through. There was enough truck and SUV traffic (neighbours across the way and next door) that I figured I could make my way out with my smaller Corolla. There was one spot right at the street that was heavy going but I made it through. Staying for the extra day meant the highways had been cleared and it was smooth sailing from there.

C had shovelled the driveway while I was gone, but the sidewalk to the backyard needed clearing. On Monday I went out to feed the birds, and shovelled my way there. Unfortunately, I twisted something in my lower back and hip when I lifted some of the snow. I kept moving for most of the day, as I found if I sat it was worse when I got up. Tuesday was slightly better, and that has been the pattern, each day there is less pain and more ease of movement. Though I must admit, I gave up on wearing socks for a few days.

We had blowing snow on Tuesday. It wasn't as bad here in the city but the highways leading in were in rough shape. My brother texted to tell me he was taking the day off because of the highway conditions. It turned out that was a good thing, as he spent much of the morning getting vehicles out of the ditch near his home. His neighbour, pulling a snowmobile trailer, slid into the ditch at the end of his driveway. R went out to help - they were able to get the trailer out with R's truck, but had to get another neighbour with tire chains on his vehicle to pull the truck out. Meanwhile that second neighbour's daughter's vehicle was in the ditch further down the road, and the tow truck arrived just as they finished to winch her vehicle out. Full morning! There are reasons I'm happy to live in the city. (If you've ever heard the Corb Lund song "Truck Got Stuck", you'll know what this scenario reminded me of.)

I did go out that day to the nearby Canadian Tire to have the headlight in my car replaced. I've been driving with a single headlight for awhile now, and finally got around to making an appointment to have it repaired. Did you ever play the game paddidle/perdiddle as a kid? I wonder how many kids scored a point from spotting me. I'm not sure why but when I realized I had a headlight out, I started noticing a lot more vehicles that also had that problem. Back at the store, I wandered the aisles while I waited for the work to be done. I was home within an hour and didn't buy anything else. 

The cold weather has stuck around for the past week, Thursday was cold and the winds picked up again resulting in more blowing snow advisories. D and Eli had planned to go to his therapy in a nearby community but she (wisely) decided to postpone the appointment and stay home.

I headed out early in the morning to pick up a few groceries. The biggest purchase was bird seed. They're going through it quickly, helped by the Hoovers and a rabbit/hare that has found a way to wiggle beneath the gate. The latter leaves clear evidence it has been below the feeder. The photo below includes a bird I'm trying to identify. It's the one on the right and appears to have a red streak on it's back or tail. I've sent the photo to my brother but haven't yet heard back from him. The photo isn't very good, it was obviously shot in low light, and I was shooting through the sun room window, as far away as I could be, because each time I got closer the birds flew away. 

By Thursday evening, my back was giving me grief again. This time it was my upper right shoulder. Darned if I know what I did, but I must have pulled a muscle somehow. It resolved fairly quickly, as I'm feeling much better today. The hip/lower back pain is negligible by this point, only a bit of pain if I make certain movements. 

Thank goodness for curling, as I wasn't up to doing my normal cleaning routine. I did manage to get in my steps though, as sitting for prolonged periods was harder on my back than standing or moving, so I spent a lot of time pacing during the breaks in action. I did manage to get the laundry done, filed my income tax return, and worked on Ancestry. I've been trying to determine how my 3X great grandmother immigrated to Canada about 1852. She wasn't married yet, so I'm assuming she travelled with a family, likely as a domestic. From my research, thus far, it appears she was the only member of her immediate family to immigrate.  

Oh, in answer to a question on the wordless Wednesday, that was a Hungarian partridge. It had perched itself on the top of the pile of snow from the neighbour's driveway. I'm not sure why because it was least sheltered area and the wind was howling at that point. Silly bird. 

I did have a welcome visitor to the yard yesterday.

Check it out - it is mostly brown! Spring must be coming or else it is overly optimistic. Actually the temperatures are on the rise today. We're expecting to reach 3C (36F) later this afternoon. Unfortunately the warmer temp means the possibility of rain. That will help melt the snow, but will freeze overnight. I'd appreciate the wind now as it would dry up the moisture quickly. It's that time of year and it won't be long before, like the hare, there will patches of brown to be seen. 

On the topic of curling, here are two more games today, and two tomorrow. Our Saskatchewan men have made it into the playoffs.  A win this afternoon and they'll have the opportunity to play again tomorrow, a loss will take them out. 

And on that note, I'll wrap this up, wishing you all a good week ahead. 

Saturday 5 March 2022

Snowed in

I'm writing this post from my daughter's home because we are snowed in. Wednesday was our Eli's 5th birthday, but he was in school this week, so I travelled up Thursday afternoon to spend some time with the birthday boy. In Regina, the snow started falling that evening and in less than 48 hours, 20 cms. (about 8 ins.) was on the ground. 

It didn't start snowing here (about 90 minutes away) until Friday morning and we got about 5 or 6 inches in total. Even so, by evening both my daughter and I had been out to shovel the walks and clear a bit of the back yard behind the garage where the cars are parked. It's much easier to clear a few inches at a time than to tackle the full snow fall all at once. However, the back alley is plugged with snow so there is no getting out until the city sends out the cleaning crew. The graders and trucks have been out throughout this morning but alleys will be among the last areas that get cleared. I just have to hope that there will be enough big-ass trucks going through that I can follow in their tracks out to the closest street tomorrow morning. (Her house is about mid-block).

I hadn't realized the storm was going to bring so much snow, but luckily I had tossed in some extra clothing, grabbed my laptop and camera, and my un-finished knitting. We took Eli to the indoor playground Friday morning, and I was able to finish sewing in the ends on the three pairs of mittens. I had some additional yarn and needles too, so started another mitten in the evening.

The curling started up again Friday evening, and I was to watch on my laptop. D doesn't have the same cable line-up as I have, though we might have cast it to her television through her I-Pad, it was just as easy to sit  with my knitting on the couch and watch the computer on the arm of the couch. The first game was terrific - our Saskatchewan team were playing the Alberta team and it was a see-saw game from start to finish. Unfortunately our Sask skip missed his shot to win the game in the 10th end, and Alberta was able to score in the extra end to seal the win.

In other news, earlier in the week, I had done some more research on Ancestry and uncovered another unknown (at least to me) piece of family history. I don't recall my mother every mentioning it, and as she was only a very young child at the time, I doubt she would known about this information either. 

Back in 1931, there were several political parties in Saskatchewan. Two of them were the Labour party and the Farmers Union; these parties merged into the Farmer-Labour party that year. The following year at a convention held in Regina, the Cooperative Commonwealth Federation (CCF) was created as the party to lead the country in its recovery from the depression. Meanwhile, my great-grandfather was selected as a candidate for the Farmer-Labour party to run in the 1934 provincial election. He did not win a seat, in fact came in a distant third. I did find later references to his name in local municipal politics so it appears he turned his attention to local affairs after this attempt.

Using the newspaper archives site has useful too, to identify marriages and deaths. I've been able to add to the tree using this information. Yesterday I heard from a distant cousin who lives in the States, as I had added information for her mother. She was curious how we might be related - I was able to tell her 4X great grandfather and my 2X great grandfather were brothers. She was thrilled to hear we were related through her mother's side of the family too. 

Beyond that it was a quiet week at home - the flooring showed up mid-week, I did housework, and ran to the grocery store.  I initially had planned to pick up fresh fruit and veg for D, but there were a number of sale items that I grabbed for myself too. BOGO on chicken breasts, which is always a great deal was the one I was happiest about. 

Off to help my daughter file her tax return. There's another curling game at 2:30 local time so I want it done well before than.  Have a good week ahead everyone.