Saturday Afternoon on the Prairie

Saturday Afternoon Journal

I have a cold again.  Started with a bang Thursday right after lunch; suddenly my throat was sore and my sinuses burning.  This is my third in three months and the month before that I had a flu; each one lasted a week.  As some wit once said, “I’m sick and tired of being sick and tired.”

Our son-in-law can sympathize: he’s on antibiotics now for the infection that put him in the hospital for a few days last month–then the specialist said he didn’t have one after all.  The specialist he saw the week after he got out said it was all just a virus, his stay in the hospital was a waste.  Now the doctor says he’s had this bladder infection all the while.  Sigh.

I’m grumbling, aren’t I?  Feel free to delete this–but first read the Bible quiz at the end.☺

Yesterday I didn’t get a lot accomplished, but I did take fabric to Church (only 3 miles away down a country road) and cut out two dresses for myself on the nice long kitchen counter there, then made a start at sewing.  When we lived in Ontario I loved to sew, but push has come to shove now and I have to make myself sew. ☹

As I passed the big sloughs east of us I saw a number of phalarope zipping around on the surface of the water, some mallards, pintails, blue teals, coots, and an eared grebe.  In the trees beside us I see the wood thrushes have stopped again on their northward way and I watched another plump little bird bustling in the bushes: a warbling vireo or a phoebe.  Chokecherries shrubs are in blossom, a heavenly scent.

I also walked around the yard to check on my feathered friends, stopped and had a little conversation with the swallow poking out of his hole in our wall “defending his fort.”  That pair seem quite tame; our vet even got a close-up photo of him last summer with her cell phone camera.

I’m wondering if he was the one so persistently at our window two weeks ago.  Perhaps he was scolding me soundly for not having cleaned up their digs while they were away?  This is their third year; it’s probably quite cluttered up in their cubbyhole, but our bathroom fan is firmly attached to the wall; we’d have to rip it off somehow to pull out all that old nesting material.  At the other end is a 2″ pipe even a child could never get her hand in.

It rained in the evening yesterday–not much more than a drizzle, really–3mm or one-tenth of an inch.  Today the sun is shining in a bright blue heaven and the yard looks beautifully refreshed.  Whoops!  What is that lump of critter poo on our lawn over by the flowerbed?  Our neighbours have horses that sometimes roam, but by the looks of it I’d guess moose.

One night last year at 12:30am I got up to go to the bathroom and chanced to look out our bedroom window, wondering if I’d ever catch sight of the deer that leave tracks across our garden.  And there, about ten feet away, looking back at me, was one of our neighbour’s horses.  Hello, peeping Tom!  I saw another wandering over by the garage and one in the back yard.  They slowly drifted off home again.

As I’ve said, this is sandy land, tends to be alkaline, and so often the climate is dry as well.  Consequently a lot of the land isn’t suitable for cultivation; most folks that tried raising grain here gave up in the Dirty Thirties.  So there are large community pastures in this area, one being almost a mile east of us and one to the west across the highway.  Every now and then the farmers –on horseback or in pickups– move their cattle from one pasture to the other along the road in front of our place; during these drives stray cows are apt to wander into our yard en route, adding variety to our usual batch of critters.

One evening when our children & grands were here we were all outside when we saw a skunk scuttling along the fence line.  Our grandson was eager to give chase, but a chorus of NO’s make him give it up.  The skunk hurried along and disappeared behind our garden shed.  A most undesirable neighbour!  We’ll leave him to the “Grand Duke”; apparently great-horned owls are about the only creatures that hunt skunks.  (It’s assumed they have a very poor sense of smell.)

Next week I want to resume my Ancient History, but I’m deliberating just how much you want to know.  I don’t want to do another whiny “Daddy Dearest” but the truth is we did not have a very happy home.  Some folks say, “Don’t rehash it.  Just forget it and go on.”

And now for the Bible quiz:
In Luke 9:23 Jesus told His disciples, “If any man will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross daily, and follow me.”  The same words are repeated in Matthew 16:24 and Mark 8:34

Have you ever thought about their reaction to these words?  Today we look back in history at the crucifixion story and understand perfectly what He meant, but how could the disciples have understood the words “take up his cross and follow me” when they were expecting Jesus to claim the throne of David?  At this point they didn’t expect Him to die – though they perhaps worried the Jewish leaders would stone Him.  But not that He would be crucified.  Can you imagine how puzzling these words must have been to them?