Sunday, July 24, 2016


"Listen, are you breathing just a little, and calling it a life?"

from Have You Ever Tried to Enter the Long Black Branchess
by Mary Oliver

These shots of the Red Squirrel are from last year.
at the cabin. I am still trying for good photos from 
this year.






"Have you ever tried to enter the long black branches 
of other lives --
tried to imagine what the crisp fringes, full of honey, 
hanging 
from the branches of the young locust trees, in early morning, 
feel like?"


from Have You Ever Tried to Enter the Long Black Branchess

by Mary Oliver

Thursday, July 21, 2016

Big slough, waterlily

'And why take ye thought for raiment?
Consider the lilies of the field, how they grow;
they toil not, neither do they spin:'




Saturday, July 16, 2016

Big slough

"But spare the bald young clerks who add
The profits of the stinking cad;
It's not their fault that they are mad, 
They've tasted Hell.

It's not their fault they do not know 
The birdsong from the radio, 
It's not their fault they often go 
To Maidenhead

And talk of sport and makes of cars
In various bogus-Tudor bars 
And daren't look up and see the stars
But belch instead.

In labour-saving homes, with care
Their wives frizz out peroxide hair
And dry it in synthetic air
And paint their nails.

Come, friendly bombs and fall on Slough
To get it ready for the plough.
The cabbages are coming now;
The earth exhales."

from Slough (1937)
by John Betjeman


We took our first canoe trip on the larger slough by my 
brother-in-law’s field. While this year has been wet, last 
year we experienced a drought with early summer marred 
by the smoke and stench of devastating wildfires hundred 
of miles to the north. This drought meant reduced hay yields 
last year and the level of the slough is noticeably lower this 
year. Sloughs or potholes are not feed by springs or part of 
river systems. They obtain water via rain, snow melt and 
groundwater so any reduction can be quickly apparent. 
We did not see any herons or kingfishers which could 
indicate a higher mortality among over wintering fish 
due to reduced oxygen. The water was certainly lower. 
This is always an interesting cycle to watch. My copy 
of Wildfowl Carving Magazine, Winter 2016 (70) noted 
“Blue-winged teal populations dropped by a worrisome 
40 percent in the prairie pothole region North America 
during a prolonged 1990’s drought, but their numbers 
doubled within a decade when the rains returned."
”My wife and I certainly remember this drought when the 
roadside sloughs drained like bathtubs. The beaver population 
also plummeted, it has now recovered, they are literally 
everywhere taking down trees and blocking culverts. 
My mother-in-law mentioned that in earlier droughts 
the family actually hayed parts of the areas we paddled 
over today.







"Come friendly bombs, and fall on Jersey; 
Each town and city along the Mersey; 
Destroy Southampton, the West Midlands, too; 
And, for a starting-point, that ought to do."

............

"Kind bombs, pray smite all points between
The Nullarbor Plain and the Forest of Dean.
And last of all, oh bombs, come fall on me; 
For writing such abysmal poetry :) "

both verses from Slough Revisted
by William Mark 




Tuesday, July 12, 2016

Drive to Shellbrook

"In scenery I like flat country.
In life I don't like much to happen."

from Passing Remark
by William Stafford

I have a new camera, a Canon Rebel T6i with a 18-135 lens, the lens
does allow me to come closer to capturing what I love most about the
prairies, the interaction between sky, space and clouds. And I am glad the
town of Shellbrook still has a grain elevator to stand up against it.







"Pioneers, for whom history was walking through dead grass,
and the main things that happened were miles and the time of day-
you built that town and I have let it pass."

                                   from Prairie Town
                                       by William Stafford


Friday, July 8, 2016

Good morning starshine the earth says hello



“He was thinking what a long and wide thing time is, to have so many happenings in it

from Soonchild

by Russell Hoban

This morning another visitor in front of the cabin.




















"There are mornings when everything brims with promise, 
even my empty cup."

Ted Kooser

Thursday, July 7, 2016

Reflections

"NOW DO U UNDERSTAND WHAT HEAVEN IS
IT IS THE SURROUND OF THE LIVING"

The Changing Light at Sandover
by James Merrill





" but her foundations were set upon the holy hills and her spires touched heaven"

from Gaudy Night
br Dorothy Sayers

Monday, July 4, 2016

Storm


"Swerve me? The path to my fixed purpose is laid with iron rails, 
whereon my soul is grooved to run. Over unsounded gorges, through 
the rifled hearts of mountains, under torrents' beds, unerringly I rush!
 Naught's an obstacle, naught's an angle to the iron way!"

Ahab; Moby Dick 

Last night we had a tremendous storm come thru in the late evening. 
The dark clouds boiled up the lane faster than any I had seen before,
 and then engulfed the slough in front of the cabin. I understand the 
front ranged all the way to Saskatoon which is about 90 kilometres
 away. While it raged we had a couple of very nervous dogs and 
Whateley who had a snack. Both my brother-in-law and my 
mother-in-law up the road lost power but thanks to my wife's
solar panel/battery array we kept our lights on and our cabin
cheery, after it was gone we had received an inch or rain. 







"The drama's done. Why then here does any one step forth? — 
Because one did survive the wreck."

Ishmael