Thursday, April 30, 2015

Scavenger Hunt: April, 2015 ~ Changes

April is a changeable month 
on the High Plains next to the Rockies;
and this year it seems that change is everywhere:
weather, landscapes, life style.


With Terry's retiring, 
the schizophrenic weather, 
and my rapidly changing neighborhood,
it's been so unsettled that I hunted down 
all the photos for February instead of April.

I thought the categories had a familiar ring!

Fresh Snow on New Leaves 

A Corner of My Home

So now, with the end of the month bearing down,
it has been raining for several days.

A Gentle Spring Rain

Welcome Rain in a Dry Land

So I'll have to see what I can find 
in the photos I've already taken this month!
And share some major changes taking place around me.

For almost a year now, 
whenever I walked on the prairie,
I've been playing a game.

I've been carefully averting my eyes
and looking from selected angles,
so I can pretend that what was still is.

New Growth

I can walk on the prairie and see the first flush
of color in the bushes and new leaves on the cottonwoods.

But, like it or not, change is coming
with a different form of growth.

A Starkly Beautiful and Haunting Landscape
With a Hint of What is Coming


These feet
may be gentle ...

But these are not.

My prairie world has literally been turned upside down.

Upside Down

Almost everywhere I look,
from horizon to horizon,
the high plains' prairie is
being transformed into housing.

Clouds above.  
Earthmovers below.

Along the tributaries of Piney Creek,
you can still find pockets of unripped ground.

The Sweet Green of Baby Leaves

Along the banks in reeds
and among the prairie grasses
you can still hear the chuck-trill of the redwings 
and the sweet song of the meadowlarks.


I've spent time sitting in this chair this month
watching the big machines work.


I'm thankful that the economy is improving,
and I'm thankful that well-paying 
construction jobs are coming back.

Whenever I walk by the sites
and watch the men at work,
they wave at me through their glass windows.

Hot under Glass

Childhood Bedroom Classic

When I was a small child,
I loved the story of Mike Mulligan 
and His Steam Shovel, Mary Anne.

At least one copy of this
classic children's book
was in a bookcase in
one of our bedrooms
during my childhood.

It's hard to resist watching a big shovel at work!

With each shovel bite and bulldozer load,
infrastructure for future homes is laid.
A development takes shape step by step.


A Rain of Dirt Covers Pipe for New Homes

Despite my sadness at the disappearing prairie,
I can't resist returning over and over to watch.

Some things make me laugh, 
like this bright collection of honey pots on a trailer
waiting to be placed for the convenience
of the construction workers;
just imagine bumping and banging around
in that heavy machinery all day!

The honey pots on a trailer make me think
of an Easter basket filled with bright eggs.

One item left on my changes scavenger hunt:
Whatever You Want.

Here are some of those February items,
I collected thinking they were for April!

A new road takes shape along a walking trail.

On the Road

That cool tap I was so excited to find!


A new sign advertises one of the several developments
underway in my neighborhood.


Fortunately in this area, land along the creek beds 
is being left in a semi-natural state and 
links up with parks, open space, and regional trails.
So we have wetlands and wildlife corridors for animals.
It's not the same, but it's something.

We shall see.

May's List:
Blue,  Crystal,  Vintage,  Fluff,  Global,  Mask,  Bus,
Frame,  Collection,  Poster,  Ribbon,  Whatever you want.

Friday, April 24, 2015

The Lansdowne Letters ~ Freeze-up Approaches

Fifty years ago two events loomed large
in isolated, fly-in communities 
throughout northern Ontario,
throughout all of the Canadian north 
for that matter:
the annual freeze-up and break-up

During these times bush planes
could not fly in or out of places 
like Lansdowne House, 
and shortwave radio provided 
the only contact with The Outside.

Bush Plane with Pontoons or Floats

To land, a bush plane required
a stretch of open water or thick ice.
While the ice was freezing or melting,
people were essentially cut-off from The Outside.

If a person needed to get in or out
during freeze-up or break-up,
he faced a long, hard, wilderness journey
with a dog team, a canoe, or both.
For most people this was not possible.

Lake and Forest, James Bay Area

As long as a person didn't have a medical emergency,
these freezing and melting periods were inconvenient:
no supplies, no mail, no visitors.
You had what you had, and you made do.

As either period approached,
the big questions were when and how long.
Everyone was guessing, speculating,
especially those for whom it was the first time.

My father looked at the worsening weather
and approaching freeze-up with a mixture
of fascination and trepidation.

Snow on Lake Attawapiskat
Painting by Donald B. MacBeath, Fall 1960
© M. Louise (MacBeath) Barbour/Fundy Blue
All Rights Reserved 

On Monday, October 17, 1960 
My father wrote:
How’s everyone tonight?
I had a new experience today, 
and let me tell you something.  
You just haven’t lived till you have tried 
paddling a canoe in a snowstorm.  

It snowed on and off all day today, 
but it always seemed to be snowing 
whenever I had to cross the water in the canoe.  

When I got to school though, 
it always cleared and stayed pretty well clear 
till it was time for another canoe trip. 

flickr ~ Lyndsay Esson    license

It was on 
but good 
when I started 
going home at noon.
It was snowing
and blowing 
so hard when 
I started across 
that I couldn’t 
see the island; 
and when I got
about the middle, 
I couldn’t see either shore.

I was scared for a while that I might be 
blown out on the lake or something, 
so I just prayed and paddled like hell.  

I was even tempted to say a couple of ‘Hail Marys,’ 
seeing as my roommate and landlord have such faith in them.  

However, as you can see, I arrived safe and sound; 
and by the time I had to go back, it had cleared 
to the extent that I could see the mainland from the island.

It won’t be too long before it freezes 
from the look of things.  
Any water that splashes into the canoe 
the last couple of days has frozen in the bottom.
The top edge and the sides of the canoe 
above the waterline are quite heavily encrusted with ice.  
I’ll have to get a de-icer like an airplane if I am not careful.

The water fascinates me these days.  
It is so cold that the water is sort of viscous 
like maple syrup or thin molasses.  
It doesn’t run off the paddle like it normally does, 
but sort of oozes off like maple syrup would ooze off a knife.  

The paddle even seems to move through the water 
less freely than normally.  
The Father tells me that this is a sure sign 
that freeze-up is not too far off.

I see that I have made a few mistakes in spelling.  
Some of them, like ‘watter,’ are typographical errors; 
but others I must take full credit for.  
Oh but I wish that Sara was here 
to tell me how to spell certain words. 


Uno is making 
like Rembrandt 
and is trying 
to paint a picture. 

This wouldn’t be so bad, except he has been trying 
to paint the same damned picture ever since I arrived.  
I am getting sick of the sight of it 
and would like to see him start something else for a change.

Today was the first day back at school after the flu, 
and my goodness, but you’d think it was the first day again.  

Three days away from those Indian children, 
and I have lost all the ground that I had gained 
in overcoming their shyness.  
I sometimes wonder if I will overcome it.

We lit the big stove last night for the first time 
in an effort to keep the cottage warm all night.  
It isn’t very nice getting up in a house that is as cold as charity.  

I think, though, that we have a lot to learn about regulating it, 
for we nearly roasted for the first part of the night, 
and by morning the fire was burned out, 
and it was as cold as ever here this morning.  
Oh well, we have the whole winter to learn, haven’t we?

Well, I guess that winds it up for tonight.

Bye now,

I'm laughing as I think of all the years
I shared a small bedroom and/or a bed
with my sister Donnie ~ 
We had our testy moments too! 

Well, I guess that winds it up for me tonight also! 

Till next time ~
Fundy Blue

Wednesday, April 22, 2015

A Big Retirement Plus!

We were hit with
another winter snow
a few days ago.

This was the first time 
since the Ever-Patient retired 
that he didn't have to commute 
a long way over stressful, 
snowy roads to get to work.

He took one look at the wet snow
and the freezing fog,
ran to the bedroom,
jumped into bed,
and pulled the covers over his head.

I heard a muffled shout:
"I'm so glad I'm retired!"

That makes two of us!

While Terry burrowed deeper,
I snapped some photos 
from the front porch and back windows.


No need to even step outside.
Just aim my camera,
and then run to warm up by the fire.

This may be winter's last hurrah,
so I wanted to enjoy the privilege 
of being snug as a bug under an afghan 
with a good book and hot coffee.

It's hard to believe that Terry and I are both retired.  
Where did the decades go?

I'm grateful for this time in life.

And I am grateful for the beauty
of a last shot of winter,
when the world is stripped of color
and tinted like an antique photo.

What a relief!
What a big retirement plus!

No more worries about Terry
getting to work,
when winter piles it on.
Woop!  Woop!

Tuesday, April 21, 2015

Hunters Who Stalk Waikiki


This is the fourth year 
in a row that my husband 
and I have traveled 
to the beautiful
Hawaiian island of Oʻahu.

We've spent much of our time
in Hawaii's capital city, Honolulu.

Hawaii State Capitol

Some of our family and friends remark, 
"Really?  I think I'd rather go to one 
of the other islands and see more 
of the real Hawaii.  Honolulu?
It's just a big city on a crowded beach."

Just a Big City on a Crowded Beach 

From the Kapahulu Groin

Ah!  But what a beach!  I think.  
Golden sands, turquoise waters,
smooth curling waves,
warm tropical breezes.

Yes, Paradise 
is transforming 
with development,
as people flock
to Honolulu
from all corners 
of the globe.

Yes, at first I turned my nose up
at the throngs of people in, on, beside, 
and along those smooth, glassy waves.
Really?  This is how you choose 
to spend your precious vacation days?
But then I began to look a little closer
and dig a little deeper.

Camera in hand, I became a hunter
stalking the city and shore.
I began to explore with an open mind,
and I discovered a city and strand
with all kinds of fascinating things.

               I discovered 
               other hunters
               stalking Waikiki. 

Come see what I found in the heart 
of the huge, crowded, and busy
Hilton Hawaiian Village Waikiki Beach Resort.

 Hunters Stalking the Hunter

Koi Pond


Palm Trees


On the Lam

                                               Mom on Patrol!

Pockets of Quiet

White Bird of Paradise

I can't wait to return to this vibrant city 
in the middle of the vast Pacific Ocean.

And in Honolulu after a day of hunting,
you are never far from a delicious mai tai!