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Thank Goodness For Warm Homes

18 Dec
Deer wallows outside our bedroom window

Deer wallows outside our bedroom window

One week to Christmas. The recent cold snap is almost over. -30 before the windchill isn’t much fun.

Yet our ‘deer’ friends somehow survive without blankets, heaters, furnaces and the like. Incredible! The photo is of eight wallows where they hunker down for the night just outside our bedroom: belly on the frozen ground, backs to the cold stars. Quite the herd.


No Water. The Well’s Gone Dry! We’re All Gonna Die! Or Maybe Not.

29 Sep

At this time of year I sometimes think back to our early years here, soon after we had bought our house.

It started one weekend afternoon when S-S turned on the kitchen tap. The usual flow of expected water soon turned to a trickle, then a dribble, then nothing.

The Pump that Whirrs and Slushes and Gurgles

The Pump that Whirrs and Slushes and Gurgles

Civilized and educated people that we are we immediately knew that something was wrong. Education is such a marvelous analysis platform. Immediately we leapt to civilized problem analysis: the well’s gone dry; the pump is broken, there is a leak somewhere in the system; it’s the Second Coming. Our panic was only mild. Well, maybe a bit more. Oh the humanity: no water; the money to fix it; something’s broken; the money to fix it; we can’t flush the toilet; the money to fix it! I already had visions of building an illegal outhouse. Comfort and sanitation before thirst.

After an hour or so we entered “problem solving” mode. Who might know how to fix it. Well Uncle G used to have a cottage, let’s ask him. Uncle G says, “Maybe you should check under the house.” Our pipes are all in the crawl space under the house, so down under I go. S-S asks “Why are you going down there?” I wisely reply, “I dunno, Uncle G said to.”  After a half hour squirming around in dust dirt and spiders I find nothing. We need a Plan B.

Plan B is calling Mr. L, a local handyman we know but he costs. Mr. L will come out right away so he is the choice. Well Mr. L always comes along with “the wife.” It was about three years before we actually found out “the wife’s” name. While S-S and “the wife” talked about country wife stuff Mr. L and I went back under the house. After an interminable 15 seconds Mr. L asks, “What’s that?” “That” was an electrical line. Since Mr. L is also and electrician we have to check out “that.” Personally, I thought, “what has an electric wire got to do with water flow?”

The Pump Switch with Instructions for City Morons

The Pump Switch with New Instructions for City Morons

The Pump Switch Sneaking a Peek From Behind the Ironing Board

The Pump Switch Sneaking a Peek From Behind the Ironing Board

Back in the house we trace the line to the laundry room right above where we first saw the line. Hmmm. An ironing board is resting against the wall. Hmmm. S-S is not a fan of ironing so the ironing board has never been moved. Behind the ironing board a “Swiffer” and its long handle has slipped.  Hmmm. Mr. L moves the ironing board, then the Swiffer. Underneath the Swiffer is a wall toggle switch. “What’s that?” asks Mr. L. I, in my profound wisdom, say, “I dunno.” Boldly, fearlessly, Mr. L flicks the switch. We hear the pump begin to whirr and slush and fill up. We have a pump switch, Lordy, Lordy! More importantly we have water. We have a switch we knew nothing about. So as tip to those of you who buy a new house, check behind the ironing board. And watch out for wobbly Swiffers.

Victoriously we return to “the wife” times two who promptly roll their eyes wondering why it took us so long to fix. Laughs all round. Mr. L only charged us $30, giving me the city moron discount.

But we have a pump switch. Switch on, switch off, switch on, switch off, switch on, switch off …


Miscellany On The Joys Of Summer in July

20 Jul

It’s the third week of July Summer has finally arrived! The temperature has finally crawled above 20 degrees. I didn’t get the veggie garden in until June 15 this year.

Some of you might have been suffering from withdrawal symptoms lately since there have been so few posts lately. Suffer no more. I am back with a new internet provider. A thunderstorm knocked out our previous provider who then refused to fix the wifi tower repairs. One of the joys of rural living is having so few options to choose from. But after two weeks your favourite blog and blogger are back. I know, I know, I have to stay modest but I can already feel your joy.

Overland Flooding

Overland Flooding

The rains of June produced much standing water. You might have heard about the flooding in Manitoba. Fortunately we were not affected by that. Overland flooding did hit many of the fields around us, so much so that with the depth of the water and the high winds – one weekend at 100 km/hr – produced whitecaps on the fields. The water also produced many, many, many mosquitoes. Normally we have very few. This year, however, has been something else, to put it mildly. I’ve been slapping myself silly. No comments please. Deet, and more Deet have no effect when you are trying to sleep.

The mosquitoes seem to be going. But the fishflies have arrived! Nature has a perverse sense of humour.

Bandstand, Winnipeg Beach

Bandstand, Winnipeg Beach

Went to Winnipeg Beach Boardwalk Days this past weekend. Great time: rides, hotdogs, min-donuts, and free concerts. I spent all of $15 on treating S-S. I know how to give a girl a great time. I did learn one lesson, though: don’t boogie to the music in your chair with a large full cup of very hot coffee in your lap! I felt the pain only a man can feel, plus my pants looked like I had an ‘old guy’ accident. Got lottsa looks on the long walk back to the car.

Summer Solstice, Adventures in Gardening, and a 3 for 3 Strikeout

21 Jun

Summer solstice and long days, at least when you can see the sun. Daylight from before 5:00 am to well after 10:00 pm, at least when you can see the sun. Oh, I said that already.

Today was actually a gloriously sunny and warm day. S-S wanted to go to the local market and visiting. The local market was almost empty but then we went late. Visit number one was to in-laws in Spruce Sands. Nobody there. Visit number two to relatives in Loni Beach, again nada. Visit number three to friends in Lake Forest, zip. Three for three, well nothing else to do but do something around the house.

The Garden Jungle I Removed

The Garden Jungle I Removed

Major revelation: sun, warmth, no rain, 3 for 3 strikeout; why not fix the garden? Duh, OK if you say so. Summer solstice and this is the first opportunity to do anything major in the garden. If life has given you procrastination lemons then  make lemonade, or in this case iced tea, powdered version.

Plantains, dandelions and grass. The wicked trio. Yank, curse, pull, curse, dig, curse. Getting into a rhythm is what it’s all about. That is what was going on as I did the “big” garden. Tomatoes, zucchini, spaghetti squash, swiss shard and bush beans to start

Oh, The Humanity! Petunias Decapitated By Deer.

Oh, The Humanity! Petunias Decapitated By Deer.

S-S was working on redoing the old strawberry patch to turn it into an herb garden. She hasn’t let on yet what was going on in her mind. More lady-like thoughts perhaps?  Basil, parsley, thyme to start. However, she did notice that the petunias in a tub planter had been decapitated by deer. Then there was some unlady-like muttering, including talking about getting a gun. Don’t mess with S-S.

Summer Solstice Irises Only Three Weeks Late

Summer Solstice Irises Only Three Weeks Late

But there is good news. The irises have finally come out, only three weeks late but they have arrived. Columbines reach through the forest of ferns to add a delicate touch of colour.

Seems everything survived the long, bitter winter. Life is amazing

Happy Victoria Day Weekend

19 May
Victoria Day 2014

Victoria Day 2014

Grass, that cultivated weed, is growing and green. Brute is happy to get out of the shed to mow and mulch. The first of the flower pots is swinging from the branches. Ice still covers the lake.

‘Nuff said.

Happy New Year! Thank you for your patience. Your readership is Important to us.

7 Mar


Happy New Year! What, in March, you say? Shut the front door! Well, being the kind, considerate person I am, I have waited until all of you have awakened from your deep-freeze state of suspended animation to spread the joy. And it’s been a long, long time since my last post. I’ve been busy, on my website.


I have been nowhere near the frigid, ice-age weather of Gimli. Since I don’t drink – alcohol, that is – I don’t have the anti-freeze solution that others liberally use, especially at this time of year. Took a trip to Cabo instead over Christmas and New Years. Below is link for a video I took of part of the New Year’s fireworks on the beach. Enjoy. Add some colour to your life.


I look forward to the ice being off Lake Winnipeg, maybe in May, or June, or ……

New Year’s Fireworks


Winter Has Finally Arrived

17 Nov
Snow and grey lake, November 17, 2013

Snow and grey lake, November 17, 2013

Driveway and snow, November 17, 2013

Driveway and snow, November 17, 2013

Rant time! At the risk of sounding repetitive winter has shown its face early again. Although not as early as last year – that was October 5th – it’s still early. Now don’t quibble those of you who live in the balmier, semi-tropical climes of southern Ontario or BC. This is early! Winter is not supposed to arrive until December 21, four days before Christmas, and is supposed to exit March 21, on the dot! Instead we have something that generally lasts from October to May, in a good year. Quit whining you may say. You live in Manitoba for crying out loud! Well it’s my blog and I am a winter weenie. There, I’ve said it, confessed, admitted it. I am a winter weenie. Cold and snow are no longer fun. Brute is snug in his shed, hibernating, probably dreaming of new adventures in mowing next spring, with a new spark plug, of course. Me, I have to deal with frozen boogers.

Where I'd like to  be right now

Where I’d like to be right now

Gone are the days of skiing, ice-fishing, snowshoeing and the like. What was I thinking? Now I watch the Northern Lights from  inside the house since they only appear when its -20° C before the windchill.  Darkness, pitch black, comes at 5:00 pm. I have come to the realization I like sun, warmth, blue skies, palm trees, golden  sunsets. Mexico is looking better all the time. Primal scream alert! Aaaaaaaarrrrggh!!!

There, I almost feel better. Pass the Tequila.


Canadian Snowbird Song


Of Snow Fences and Sore Thumbs

29 Oct
Hammer Meets Thumb

Hammer Meets Thumb

Ah, the joy of preparing for winter, the snow, the storms, the -40°C temperatures, sunset at 4:00 pm. I so look forward to it all. Yeah right! Mexico here we come, some time in the distant future. So distant future. Sooo long in the future.

But stuff has to be done in the meantime. Brute has to hibernate for the winter. The garden has to be turned over. The well-head covered. Leaves raked for ground cover over water lines. Along with the leaves comes the snow fence.

This year the snow fence is a true work of art. Straight, tall, an orange splash of colour to catch the inevitable drifts to insulate the ground. All the tools that are required are orange plastic snow fence, steel posts, plastic ties, step stool or ladder, miniature sledge hammer, and the motivation to just get up and do it. Fortunately I have the last in abundance. She’s my motivational speaker, S-S. The sequence usually runs something like this: “When are you going to do the snowfence?”, to “Are you going to do the snowfence?”, to “Do the snowfence!” My pleas that it is too cold, that I have a cold, that I am too old don’t seem to work. So the work gets done. Two steps up on the ladder I get vertigo; my vision goes blurry, hammer hits my thumb. S-S turns a deaf ear to my pain. She calls it whining. “Just do it!”

The Snowfence and Me

The Snowfence and Me

The job gets done. I can stand proud before my winter masterpiece. Master of my domain. I knew all along that I could do it. I wallow in my virile accomplishment. S-S makes me a nice hot cup of cocoa with little marshmallows and kisses the boo-boo on my thumb. I tell her my arm and shoulder are sore. She says that I can go and have a nap. Life is good again.

The Other Side of Boating. What the Brochures Don’t Tell You

18 Sep

It’s that time of the year, boat winterizing. Not only does the house need winter preparations but so does the boat. Yes, we have a 30 foot sailboat, a Grampian 30. Today my friend, Mr. Bill, and I were fixing the tarp to cover the boat while it sits outside for the winter. Protecting it from rain and snow is not the ultimate purpose; rather, it’s protecting it from the freeze-thaw cycle of late winter and spring. Nonetheless, it’s an annual chore since I can’t afford a nice, warm, dry space inside the storage hangars.

Yours Truly Winterizing the Boat

Yours Truly Winterizing the Boat

Mr Bill and I seemed to have picked the windiest day of the year to handle the tarps. At times I thought Mr. Bill was going to go para-sailing to the other side of the lake as the tarp billowed like a parachute, trying to lift him off the ground. We thought we would be in the quiet lee of the storage hangars but nature had other plans: gusts right down between the hangars like a wind tunnel. Talk about an exercise in frustration! After watching Mr Bill levitate, he was not chanting mantras at the the time, and feeling myself get almost blown of the top of the boat after being wrapped and almost strangled by a flapping, twisting, beating tarp, we decided to call it a day. The picture of me taping the tarp shows me at my intellectual and physical peak of the day, safely at an almost ground level. My hair, what there is of it, is merely blowing in the gale even though it looks as  though I have just french-kissed an electrical outlet.  But this is a no-nonsense blog sight that does not hide from showing harsh reality, at least today.

What the boating brochures and ads show is the glamour and romance of life and play on the water, with  distant shores, palm trees, and laughing crew and guests. Hah! The reality is engines that conk out at inconvenient times (usually when you have a harbour full of an audience, witnesses, or whatever); heads (toilets for the uninitiated) that love to plug up and not flush without blanketing the harbour in a bouquet of methane; scatalogically-challenged seagulls and pelicans; and the joy of the annual launch and haul-out saga, relishing the sight of your mother-ship dangling twenty feet in the air on the end of a thin crane cable;  boats do not like to winter in almost two metres of ice for months on end. But here in Gimli the season is so short. Sometimes it feels like it’s as much as two weeks, although I am sure it is longer by a week or two. Even then the wind is a dead calm or a howling gale, invariably dead on the nose.

You might ask why do I do it? The  answer is because. Why do people race cars, skydive, golf? To me these are all illogical activities but I respect their foolish, nonsensical, pointless choices even if they are incapable of respecting mine.

When there is an eventual, windless day the rest of the tarping will be completed, hopefully before the first snow. Last year it happened on October 5th. Brrr!

It Was A Dark And Stormy Night

1 Sep

I t was quite the storm that blew through a couple of nights ago. The storm lasted over an hour!  What a light show! Fortunately no house or property damage. The frequency of the flashes was like a paparazzi convention at the red carpet on Oscar Night.  Check out the video I made looking east, out over the lake. It’s just over a minute long.

Lightning, quiet storm.

Wind-blown hail pounds maple trees.

Silent-thunder night.