A Season of New Things

Spring Has Sprung and So Have the Cats

Our cats are so happy to be released from their long winter’s confinement. We’ve had some lovely weather lately and they’re making the best of it. Other creatures, too, are popping out of hibernation.

Yesterday afternoon I looked out and saw Pookie sitting on his haunches on the lawn, with a magpie facing him about two metres away and another one standing about that far away on his right. Lying between the three of them was the limp body of a full-grown gopher. (Aka, thirteen-striped Richardson ground squirrel.) Whatever it was once known as, the dead critter had become the object of a property dispute.

Magpies are thieves; we see it all the time. If the cats catch something and haven’t eaten it yet, there’s usually a magpie peering hopefully from the garage roof or strutting in the grass nearby. And they often work in pairs. Like: “You distract the cat and I’ll grab the corpse.” Even if there’s no loot magpies often work in teams to torment cats.

So when I saw this standoff I opened the window and shooed the magpies away. With the birds gone Pook went back to playing with the thing awhile, even if it offered no exciting resistance. As soon as he got tired of the game and wandered off the magpie was back, snatching bites of the prize, which Pook didn’t tolerate. He rushed back to reclaim the gopher, then a few minutes later our black cat Angus sauntered up and began gnawing on it. Pook went back to wait beside the gopher hole for another one to pop out. Poor gophers. It’s a hard life at the bottom of the food chain.

Angus likely caught the thing in the first place. Pook is a bit of a thief himself. As I said in an earlier post, he’s an invasive species; he has this habit of pushing his nose into whatever interesting meal Angus is eating and slowly takes over the dish. Or mouse. Or whatever. Anyway, an hour later all trace of the victim was gone, so I imagine whatever remains remained when Angus left the magpies snatched.

Tuesday en route to the city we saw ducks in the ponds. This morning my husband opened the window and heard a meadowlark singing. Bliss! I went outside a bit later and heard the honking of a goose. I looked up and saw a line of snow geese headed by what looked like a Canada goose and he was the cheerleader. So spring has returned to our land.

A New Home for My Stuff

Since spring’s a time of beginning again, I’m going to catch that wave and move to a new blog home.

I’ve been contemplating this for awhile, wanting to bring all my writings under one roof but not quite sure how. I shut down Swallow in the Wind a few months back, but still have Christine Composes for my fiction, plus this site. Now I’m going to bring all my writing to Christine’s Collection’s new home. I contemplated a major renovation, but the categories and tags on my posts would all need reworking to fit the new plan. Easier to start from scratch, I decided.

I’ve had a “spare” private blog for a couple of years, using it to test out new themes before going to all the work of installing them on my public sites. Last week I enlisted the help of Bruce at WordPress Support and he’s been guiding me through this move, bless his heart.

Bruce says it’s no problem to switch the domain name for both active sites so that anyone who types in christinegoodnough.com or christine composes.com will land up there. All subscribers from both sites will be switched to the new one. And I will only have one better-organized blog to contend with. This sounds great to me now, given my health issues.

So I’ve been going back and forth for a few days now, carrying and unpacking a few files, scheduling future posts and generally preparing the site for visitors. I’m delighted with the new look, though I’m sticking with this basic layout. I’ve learned how to build Categories into the main menu, now my category “closets” are easily accessible and every genre will have its proper place in the grand scheme.

I thought I’d give you this heads-up a week or so before I do the final move and open the new site for public viewing. But the only difference you’ll find is that this current site will revert back to the pre-domain address of christinegoodnough.wordpress.com, so if you want to check out some post in these archives you’ll need to type in that address. Christine Composes will go back to christineevelynvance.wordpress.com.

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Turn, turn, turn

Fellow blogger Stacey LePage shares her thoughts and feelings about life in general and how cancer has affected hers. When I read this uplifting post on her blog this morning I just knew my readers would find it an inspiration, too. thanks, Stacey, for letting me Reblog it.

In The Corner

“To everything – turn, turn, turn
There is a season – turn, turn, turn
And a time to every purpose under Heaven

A time to be born, a time to die
A time to plant, a time to reap
A time to kill, a time to heal
A time to laugh, a time to weep”

I have always loved this song, by Pete Seeger, and well, kind of heavily inspired by the Book of Ecclesiastes. The words, I remember, were read by the Minister at both my parents’ funerals.  I didn’t really hear the words during the service for my Mom – but I sure did for my Dad.  A time for everything and everything in its time.

It is time… but for what?

What I don’t like is that I never know what time it is!  What season is it?  The calendar will tell me it is winter – and…

View original post 533 more words

Welcome September!

To think the second day of September is almost gone! Not hard to tell fall’s coming when I look out and see the leaves on the lawn. The weather has held fair so far; today was quite warm in fact, but it’s supposed to cool of steadily during the next few days.

Some hummingbirds are still around. When I first stuck my nose out the door this morning, after I’d let Pookie in, I noticed a hummer peering down at me from the feeder just outside the door. And he stayed put as I shut the door and went past the hallway window and into the kitchen. I don’t know how long they’ll be with us, nor how many there are still around, but they were so frequent at the feeder today that I made fresh juice for them.

Swainson’s Hawk Drops In

Yesterday morning a hawk dropped into the yard and settled on the far side of our driveway not far from the garage. We had a young great-horned owl wander around our yard one morning a few years back, but have never seen a hawk land here before. In fact, when it first lit and strutted around a bit my first thought was “Turkey vulture.” It was dark and had a funny white “patch” on its nose, but I realized that no, this is nowhere near big enough to be a vulture and it has no red on its head.

I eyed it for a few minutes, picking up what particulars I could, then grabbed the binoculars. After a couple of minutes it caught sight of me peering at it through the hallway window — birds have amazing eyesight! — and decided it had a pressing engagement elsewhere.

For those who don’t know what a Swainson’s hawk looks like, here’s an article that describes it. The bird I saw was one of the dark phase, somewhat mottled but mostly dark brown, like the last two in the line of photos.

Our cats are bad for catching things, then leaving them around for other creatures to deal with. Yesterday Pookie must have caught a mother mouse (or shrew?) with a couple of wee babies with her, because he gnawed on the adult and left the little ones lying dead beside her. And left it all near our sidewalk. Yuck! I cleaned the mess up and tossed it, but it gave me a queer dream early this morning. (We were trying to raise a batch of baby gerbils and it was a frustrating with three cats ready to pounce on them. We’d try to find hiding places but it was a futile effort.) Silly how real life things work their way into your dreams.

This afternoon I noticed a couple more birds hopping around in the chokecherry bushes. Good luck to them if they’re hoping for a few berries; I think the robins cleaned every one up before they left. Haven’t seen a robin for about ten days now.

The birds I saw today were migrating warblers. The one could have been a fall blackpoll. They nest further north so we see a few of them coming through in spring when they’re black and white. In fall they are more yellow with distinct black & white wing bars, as this one had. Another warbler I saw today was more solid brown/olive, white tummy, and with a noticeable dot of yellow on its back end. And what fancy name does Audubon have for this one? A “yellow-rump warbler.” (Unless it’s a myrtle warbler. The thing wouldn’t sit still so identification was more guesswork than good vision.)

I also saw a hermit thrush sitting on a fence rail this evening. They are cute, plump little guys with grey coats and white fronts speckled at the throat. Again, we only see them passing through.

To change the subject entirely, I’ve recently gotten interested in an old book series: the Tommy & Tuppence mysteries written by Agatha Christie. I’ve read several; there are only about half a dozen — which is too bad. This series is much milder than her usual murder mysteries; in the one I’m reading now, titled N or M, the year is 1940 and T & T are trying to ferret out a German spy who’s plotting toward an invasion of England. Has anyone else read them?

Apart from that I’ve been working on sewing a dress — very slowly — and planning in my mind the party I’ve going to have at the end of the month to celebrate the end of my chemotherapy. Any suggestions what I should have written on my cake? Something like “THE END” or “It’s OVER!” or “SURVIVOR” or “It’s A Wonderful Life”?

An Autumn Landscape

by Canadian poet Archibald Lampman

No wind there is that either pipes or moans;
The fields are cold and still; the sky
Is covered with a blue-gray sheet
Of motionless cloud; and at my feet
The river, curling softly by,
Whispers and dimples round its quiet gray stones.

Along the chill green slope that dips and heaves
The road runs rough and silent, lined
With plum-trees, misty and blue-gray,
And poplars pallid as the day,
In masses spectral, undefined,
Pale greenish stems half hid in dry gray leaves.

And on beside the river’s sober edge
A long fresh field lies black. Beyond,
Low thickets gray and reddish stand,
Stroked white with birch; and near at hand,
Over a little steel-smooth pond,
Hang multitudes of thin and withering sedge.

Across a waste and solitary rise
A ploughman urges his dull team,
A stooped gray figure with prone brow
That plunges bending to the plough
With strong, uneven steps. The stream
Rings and re-echoes with his furious cries.

Sometimes the lowing of a cow, long-drawn,
Comes from far off; and crows in strings
Pass on the upper silences.
A flock of small gray goldfinches,
Flown down with silvery twitterings,
Rustle among the birch-cones and are gone.

This day the season seems like one that heeds,
With fixed ear and lifted hand,
All moods that yet are known on earth,
All motions that have faintest birth,
If haply she may understand
The utmost inward sense of all her deeds.

Nature Notes: Sandhill Cranes

Silent Flight

a line of dark shapes
graces the sombre dawn sky
cranes in migration
respect the sleeping prairie
with their silence

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

An exquisite view from my window early this morning. Their silence was indeed amazing — if you know sandhill cranes.

It’s amazing how they always return to the same spot, spring and fall—and we live in the middle of that spot. Spring and fall, hundreds of them gather in the field right across the road from us to catch up with their kin.  But what a racket!

God Made This Day for Me

by Edgar Guest

Just the sort of weather
and just the sort of sky
which seem to suit my fancy,
with the white clouds drifting by
on a sea of smooth blue water.
Oh, I ain’t an egotist
with an “I” in all my thinking
but I’m willing to insist
that the Lord who made us humans
and the birds in every tree
knows my special sort of weather
and He made this day for me.

And the breezes from the eastward
blowing gently on my face,
and the woods chock full of singing
till you’d think birds never had
a single care to fret them
or a grief to make them sad.
Oh, I settle down contented
in the shadow of a tree
and tell myself right proudly
that the day was made for me.

It’s my day, my sky and sunshine
and the temper of the breeze—
here’s the weather I would fashion
could I run things as I please.
Beauty dancing all around me,
music ringing everywhere,
like a wedding celebration—
why, I’ve plumb forgot my care
and the tasks I should be doing
for the rainy days to be
while I’m hugging the delusion
that God made this day for me.

From the book Collected Verse of Edgar A. Guest,
©1934 by the Reilly & Lee Co

(And we have just this sort of a summer day here in southern Sask. today! — Christine)