Monthly Archiv: October, 2014

Humble considerations from the numbered ones



Boy one:  Kale’s mom is just different.

Me: Different how?

Boy one: Well, she’s like really kind and would do anything for one of her kids

Me: Hmm . . .

Boy one: I mean it’s great now but what is Kale going to do when he grows up and no one does stuff for him?

Me unspoken: Not sure . . .kind of stuck back where Kale’s mom is kind, likes her kids and is NOT LIKE ANYONE YOU KNOW.



Girl one on donning her first pair of glasses:

Wow. The world is just so . . . perky. Everything is really perky now . . . oh my gosh, I just realized, I am really going to love my reflection wearing these. I mean I always liked my reflection, but now it is going to be so clear it is going to look even better!


And lastly, Boy one again. After days and days of illness he propped himself up on his elbow to earnestly share this reflection. One might imagine it had been said with a kind of mortified tone . . . like he was confessing something he wasn’t proud of, but no, he was all in, kind of delighted with himself for figuring out how to sum up his clearly logical approach to living.

You know mom, he said. Really, my life philosophy is –  I’m right until you prove me wrong . . .  that’s it. You have to prove me wrong, or I’m right.


You don’t say.



Sometimes I worry that I will run out of things to write about. I keep lists. When I get an idea or something happens, I write it down. But I when I write about the last thing on the list I wonder what will happen the next day. What if I wake up and there is nothing left to say? Could I get a job writing story problems for math textbooks? I don’t know. Is it not logically inevitable that I will come to the place that is the end of anything new?

And then came Slobergas.

It always means something when the kids get out of the car without me making them close their books. Usually it means they’re hungry. Sometimes it means they have a mission. Last week they had a mission, and his name was Slobergas.

Slobergas is a stray dog (loosely defined as a dog that strays). I’m sure Slobergas has an owner and a proper name, but what Slobergas clearly loves is a good wander. Daily, he wanders over to the school and says hello, saunters around the playground and the parking lot. Teachers apparently aren’t wild about him. The kids think he drools a lot, has a particular kind of smell, and would make an excellent mascot.

A child (named “not mine”) took Slobergas’s two great attractions together and won the playground debates that settled on the dog’s name. Obviously none of them can spell, but they insist that spelling of a proper name is up to the namer and not subject to the normal rules of spelling. Hence, “Slobergas,” not “Slobbergas.”

It was my child that insisted a campaign was in order. That’s why they even knew we had arrived home or bothered to get out of the car that day. They had posters to make, pictures to draw, even a poem to write about the school dog, Slobergas. Not just a dog, but Slobergas, a dog worthy of being a mascot. Every school should have a mascot and Slobergas should be ours says Boy two. The boy who makes pulling teeth with pliers seem like a dream job rather than get him to focus on school work after hours, happily spent hours revising, perfecting, and directing the mascot efforts. The next morning on the way to school, he remained in a dreamy euphoria.

“I really like doing campaigns and stuff. Trying to change things and get people to vote. I’m really happy about Slobergas,” he said.

And really, so am I. Slobergas isn’t something I created. Beautiful, silly, delightful things are everywhere. It’s not my job to make them up, just the work of a lifetime to keep noticing them. And sometimes, to write down what I see.

Why We Don’t Get Bored . . .

Summer 2014 July Aug 058

Recently, Buster wins top spot on this list. He has rapidly developed a taste for whatever’s on the other side of the fence. We don’t have enough money to fix all the fences to perfection. When the pigs started doing this we ended up fixing the fence problem by fixing the pigs. Is there a way to explain to Buster, that that’s why we’re pigless despite our deep and abiding appreciation for pork?

After escaping to the skeet shooting neighbor, Buster kept making his way to our front lawn. Sometimes in the day, sometimes at 10:00 at night. With that escape route was found and fixed, Buster found another. Thursday last week we were just finishing dinner (hoping to leave en masse for choir practice in a few minutes) when a man in a pick-up truck came up the driveway. Turns out Buster, with mother dearest in tow, had gotten out past the skeet shooter and onto the road. Everybody but us seemed to have known about it. The O.P.P. (for the non-Canadians, that would be the Ontario Provincial Police) came. Apparently, our bovines made it a good chase until finally, they were corralled into a nearby pasture with some other cows.

We made minimal attempts to talk Anabelle into coming back that evening, but she was pretty riled up by then. The idea of kids, cars, roads, and half crazed cows against the setting sun seemed more crazy than romantic.

The girls and I took off for choir. My husband made friends with the man who owned the pasture. The boys made friends with his one eyed, three legged dog.

Two days later, new friend (and trailer owner) delivered Anabelle and Buster to the barn, where we left them for a few days to mull over their bad behaviour. After that it was a collar for Buster and we chained him to a tree. Many hours of work on the fence later, they’re both wandering free in the fields again. The only one not wandering free is me, who startles and goes to set eyes on them so I know they haven’t gotten out yet.

I’m working on a letter to Buster.

Dear Buster,

Pick-up truck man offered to buy you straight up for $1500. Feeding you over the winter is worth it as long as we don’t have to sink money into fences. It was before your time, but ask the sheep – we used to have pigs.

Just a little something to think about.

Proclamations and promises a la fall

fall maple

Fall feels like a relief this year. A banner proclaiming mercy en route. I’m struck with what a grand tug of war it all is, all the forces of nature battling it out for survival. The mouse wants a nest, some food, some babies, and more babies. Hawks and skunks and snakes and endless other creatures want mice. I want my house reserved for family and invited guests. The mice want in, the squirrels want in, the wasps want in, the flies have already made it in home free.

We want fields for pasture. Mother Nature prefers a wilder look. You can, she says, never have enough new trees. We want rat free shelter for the chickens, the rats disagree. We want clean hay for the cows, sheep, and pony. The groundhogs and mice burrow in, set up shop and check out the facilities. We want vegetables in the garden reserved for us. So do lots of other things. The squirrels got half the beans one afternoon. We never did figure out who had a taste for kale.

There’s a harshness to winter’s mercy. I grant you that. The woodstove will get a workout, pipes will try to freeze, but it’s a mercy nonetheless. The march of the mad forests will cease. The endless reproduction cycles of uninvited farm guests will go dormant. Those trying to nestle in with us for the coming winter will go elsewhere if we can hold out for a little bit longer. (High pitched rodent noisemakers and mouse traps are working as our current bouncers.)

Nature marches on in winter too, but not in living things. Snow and the cold aren’t willfully engaged in a battle of wits with me, they just get whipped up by swirly winds. Things that go wrong in winter are considered acts of God. They aren’t something you have to look up to figure out what you should have done to keep them from happening. This is a very consoling fact.

So proclaimeth the autumn leaves to me this year.

And if anyone’s curious, Buster has been on a time out since Saturday and is finally allowed to roam the pastures freely again. We’ll see if he’s out by lunch. More coming on Buster getting busted . . . I’ll just add that I have fantasies of late about snow up past his knees and him not wanting to go more than fifty feet from the barn.