Saturday, May 25, 2013

"On either side, those dear old ladies,
the loosening barns, their little windows   
dulled by cataracts of hay and cobwebs   
hide broken tractors under their skirts.

So this is Nebraska. A Sunday   
afternoon; July. Driving along
with your hand out squeezing the air,   
a meadowlark waiting on every post.
Behind a shelterbelt of cedars,
top-deep in hollyhocks, pollen and bees,   
a pickup kicks its fenders off
and settles back to read the clouds.
You feel like that; you feel like letting   
your tires go flat, like letting the mice   
build a nest in your muffler, like being   
no more than a truck in the weeds,"

from This is Nebraska
    Ted Kooser

So after visiting with family in Saskatoon we are back 
on the road to the cabin and farm. It was still a brown 
landscape however in the week we are there the trees 
will leaf out for our green spring.

Helen took the following shots of White Pelicans as they
circled above the cabin. We have lots of positive memories of 
beautiful White Pelicans floating down the river when we
worked on an archaeological site in Nipawin Saskatchewan
so it was great to see these birds here.

"A wonderful bird is the pelican,
His bill will hold more than his belican,
He can take in his beak
Enough food for a week
But I'm damned if I see how the helican!"

I have seen this attributed to Lanier Merritt Dixon 
or Ogden Nash. I do know it was a favorite of my
father-in-law John who farmed this land for many years.

My pictures from the cabin were not great, but I wanted to
include this Bonaparte's Gull because they are fairly common
and I had always wondered were they nest I assumed it was
by the rivers. I finally looked it up and learned they nested in
spruce which we do have but they are not nearly as common
as poplars. So a goal to add to my list, see a nesting Bonaparte's.
Brown Headed Cowbirds were sadly common.
A Yellow Rumped Warbler, the only warbler I saw
but we did spend most of our time working on the
cabin or in the hardware store or driving back and
forth to hardware stores.
The Bufflehead by far the most common duck on our property on this trip.

Another Cowbird I think.
The Phoebes are nesting underneath the cabin, since it is raised
4 ft from the ground they have lots of room. 
You can see a few green leaves,
but it was still mostly a twiggy time of year when we arrived.

"She looks for wiggly fishes,
At least so it appears,
To stuff inside the suitcase
That's swinging from her ears.
And though she's very graceful
When flying round and round,
How does she get that faceful
Of luggage off the ground?"

    The Beak of the Pelican
   J. Patrick Lewis

Monday, May 20, 2013


"We could go there and live, have a place,
a shoulder of earth, watch days
find their way onward in their serious march
where nothing happens but each one is gone.
Some people build cities and live there;
they hurry and shout. We lie on the earth;
to keep from falling into the stars we reach
as wide as we can and hold onto the grass."

from East of Broken Top
William Stafford

We have been on a short trip to the cabin to build a dog run
so Shaun and Whateley can join us on our next trip. Our 
journey took us thru a short stretch of the Badlands along
the Red Deer River.

The Badlands are a type of dry terrain where softer sedimentary rocks and
 clay-rich soils have been extensively eroded by wind and water. ( from link above )
The Badlands around the Drumheller area are especially well known for the extensive
 fossil beds that have been found there and is home to the Royal Tyrrell Museum.

Then we stopped in the HandHills to visit our friends Laraine and Tim.
A visit as always characterized  by great hospitality, beautiful vistas, 
happy white dogs Andi below and Yogi a pair of Akhash-Maremana 

and of course Laraine's beautiful horses.

One of my favorite flowers the Prairie Crocus were in evidence.

Here in a bad photo Yogi walks thru a bed of them on top
of a nearby esker.

They had so much snow this winter Tim had to extend
the fences to keep the horses from walking over them on the

The snowdrifts also allowed the Snowshoe Hares and the 
Mountain or Nuttall's Cottontails to climb over the fencing
and get at the fruit trees.

Here in a low area Tim indicates the damage 
they were able to do to the poplars, yes the 
snow got very deep.

The White Crowned Sparrows were in evidence 
and the prairie landscape was  stunning. 


"Now, in the middle of a limpid evening,
The moon speaks clearly to the hill.
The wheatfields make their simple music,
Praise the quiet sky.

And down the road, the way the stars come home,"
from Evening
Thomas Merton



Friday, May 10, 2013

"One dark and rainy night at the edge 
of a city on the edge of an ocean, 
a stray cat came walking down 
the beach. 

Across from an old hotel covered 
with vines, the cat stopped. As he 
looked at that place, he got a 
strange warm feeling inside him. I 
think, thought the cat, I am tired of 
being a stray cat."

from Mister Got To Go
Story by Lois Simmie
Illustrations by Cynthia Nugent

And so finally we will end our, in blog post time, fairly long
visit to the Sylvia Hotel which I want to mention is also the
setting for the two wonderful books pictured above.

So a quick look at some of characters and sights
we encountered on the trip.


"These plants grew abundantly in the wet coastal 
weather and drooped out over the fronts
of the houses. If a person liked the fog and rain, 
he'd like Seaside. It seemed to Jonathan
to be the sort of place where a chap could 
write great poetry while peering down at the 
fog-shrouded streets from a fourth-floor attic study."

               The Elfin Ship

                             James Blaylock

Tuesday, May 7, 2013

“It doesn't matter what you long as you change
something from the way it was before you touched
it into something that's like you after you take your hands away.”

Fahrenheit 451
Ray Bradbury

As one gets older the deaths of many of the people
who formed the cultural landscape of your youth 
start to add up. I always watch the clip at the 
Academy Awards show of actors who have 
passed away with some interest and much sadness.

As the death of Ray Bradbury in June of 2012 the
death of the great stop motion animator Ray Harryhausen
today at 92 was a great loss from that landscape. The two men
were lifelong lifelong friends and as with Bradbury's stories
Harryhausen's films were a great joy to me and influenced 
my choice of the books and films I love today.

There are many tributes to Harryhausen on the web today so
I will not repeat the information here. 

Some years ago Ray Harryhausen spent some time at the
Royal Tyrrell Museum in Drumheller Alberta upon learning
that he would be giving a talk and sign films Helen and I 
rented a car and went off to spend a weekend with friends in the
area, one of whom worked at the museum, thanks Tim, Laraine 
and of course Helen. Ray gave a talk, showed his figures of  
sword-fighting skeletons from Jason and the Argonauts 
the chess playing baboon from Sinbad and the Eye of the 
Tiger, and I think the Medusa form Clash of the Titans. He also 
patently signed VHS tapes, okay it was a while ago, the event
poster mine is framed and in the basement, and in my case 
he also signed the dedication page of Bradbury's A Graveyard 
for Lunatics which had a character based on Harryhausen and
was dedicated to, among others Ray Harryhausen.

So I have put together some photos of items fron my collection.

The Cyclops from The Seventh Voyage of Sinbad and two of
my favorite of Ray's  films.

“I'll make a voice like all of time and all of the fog 
that ever was; I'll make a voice that is like an empty
bed beside you all night long, and like an empty
house when you open the door, and like trees in
autumn with no leaves. A sound like the birds flying
south, crying, and a sound like November wind and
the sea on the hard, cold shore. I'll make a sound that's
so alone that no one can miss it, that whoever hears it
will weep in their souls,
                                                             From the story The Foghorn by Bradbury
                           which became part of Ray’s film
                         The Beast from 20 Thousand Fathoms

Talos from Jason and the Argonauts.
The small figure is the Ymir from 20
Million Miles to Earth.

My signed copy of Graveyard. 

Goodbye Ray you brought myth  and magic
to life and gave pleasure to a lot of people.

"Once upon a time there were two cities within a city.
One was light and one was dark. One moved restlessly
all day while the other never stirred. One was warm
and filled with ever-changing lights. One was cold
and fixed in place by stones. And when the sun went
down each afternoon on Maximus Films, the city of
the living, it began to resemble Green Glades cemetery
just across the way, which was the city of the dead.

As the lights went out and the motions stopped and
the wind that blew around the corners of the studio
buildings cooled, an incredible melancholy seemed
to sweep from the front gate of the living all the way
along through twilight avenues toward that high brick
wall that separated the two cities within a city. And
suddenly the streets were filled with something one
could speak of only as remembrance. For while the
people had gone away, they left behind them
architectures that were haunted by the ghosts of
incredible happenings.

For indeed it was the most outrageous city in the
world, where anything could happen and always did.
Ten thousand deaths had happened here, and when
the deaths were done, the people got up, laughing,
and strolled away. Whole tenement blocks were set
afire and did not burn. Sirens shrieked and police cars
careened around corners, only to have the officers peel
 off their blues, cold-cream their orange pancake makeup,
 and walk home to small bungalow court apartments out
in that great and mostly boring world.

Dinosaurs prowled here, one moment in miniature,
and the next looming fifty feet tall above half-clad
virgins who screamed on key. From here various
Crusades departed to peg their armor and stash their
spears at Western Costume down the road. From here
Henry the Eighth let drop some heads. From here Dracula
wandered as flesh to return as dust. Here also were the
Stations of the Cross and a trail of ever-replenished blood
as screenwriters groaned by to Calvary carrying a
backbreaking load of revisions, pursued by directors
with scourges and film cutters with razor-sharp knives.
It was from these towers that the Muslim faithful were
called to worship each day at sunset as the limousines
whispered out with faceless powers behind each window,
and peasants averted their gaze, fearing to be struck blind."
  from A Graveyard for Lunatics
                                         Ray Bradbury

Monday, May 6, 2013

" The wind is gusting, the dog runs full speed
towards nothing but happiness...,"

             From Waiting to Wave
                    Jonathan Carroll

Yes another seawall post. One thing Helen and I love is to
watch dogs. We did it when we visited New York City and
we always do it in Vancouver. Both cities figured prominently
in the documentary Dog Dazed about our love affair with dogs
in the city and the consequences of irresponsible owners who let
dogs  run off leash and chase wildlife and poop everywhere.
As much as I love dogs I do control my dogs and cleanup after them
and I am baffled that other people don't. However many of the things
people do baffle me which is why I often prefer animals and being at
the cabin.
So this entire post will go to the  DOGS!!!!!!

“Outside of a dog, a book is man's best friend.
Inside of a dog it's too dark to read.” 

Groucho Marx

The difference is subtle but these are
different dogs one a bit younger. You will
also notice I rarely photograph people
hence the array of knees and ankles.

“If there are no dogs in Heaven, then when I die
I want to go where they went.” 

Will Rogers

“All his life he tried to be a good person.
Many times, however, he failed.
For after all, he was only human.
He wasn't a dog.” 
                                                    Charles M Schulz

I will also admit that while I like most dogs I do enjoy
little foo-foo dogs.

“If you don't own a dog, at least one,
there is not necessarily anything wrong with you,
but there may be something wrong with your life.” 

                                                 Roger Caras

“My little dogs ... heartbeats at my feet.” 

                          Edith Wharton

"I have a dog of Blenheim birth,
With fine long ears and full of mirth;
And sometimes, running o'er the plain,
He tumbles on his nose:
But quickly jumping up again,
Like lightning on he goes! "

John Rusking

And still missing our sweet girl Wendolene I am always
a sucker for Poms.

"Pray steal me not, I'm Mrs. Dingley's,
Whose heart in this four-footed thing lies."

Jonathan Swift (a lapdog's collar inscription)

So as we can see there are many dogs off

leash and chasing things.

We are Shaun and Whateley and we endorsed this message.


What was it again?