Monday, 27 August 2012

Summer Storms

Memories from a Past

We had a hail storm the other day.  It was not too bad.  The hail was about the size of marbles. It did not scare me too much this time.  I felt safe and secure in a solid brick building. When I was in Dauphin,  I lived in a mobile home which I loved very much.  A mobile home is light and airy, not like a regular house.  What also helped to make it pleasant was that I liked the area I was in.  We all owned our lots so our subdivision was always well landscaped and meticulously manicured by owners who took pride in their yards as well as their homes.

Then came that fateful day in August of 2007 when a viscous storm rolled in from the northwest and trashed us mercilessly, leaving the whole town of Dauphin devastated.  No home was spared, no car was undamaged and no garden or flowerbed was salvageable.  The baseball sized hail whipped by forceful winds left me with a lasting fear of summer storms.  As I sat cowering in my mobile that day, I felt totally exposed and vulnerable to elements I had no way of escaping.  Fearing a tornado, I vividly recalled a whirlwind I had seen when I was a child.  I watched it pick up a frantically flapping chicken and carry it up into the wild sky.  I never did see that chicken come down.  As this storm raged around me and I heard the glass shattering under the onslaught of the hail, I imagined myself, in my mobile home, being hurled into the great beyond of outer space.

Luckily, both my mobile and I escaped irreparable damage. After replacing the siding, windows, fences and repairing the fist-sized holes in my roof, my life returned fairly well to normal except for my uncontrollable fear of  storms.  My love for my mobile home was now tainted with a feeling of vulnerability and helplessness.  Coupled with some other factors, I decided to move away.  I am happy here and I love my apartment, but I still think of that "home" I had in Dauphin where I enjoyed so many good times.  Only during that hailstorm last week, did I thank my lucky stars that I had moved and escaped that irrational terror!  

Wednesday, 22 August 2012

Success or What

From the time I read my first book ("The Boxcar Children"), I had a dream.  The original "Boxcar Children"  was  an orange-coloured hardcover book like an adult novel-type book, with no pictures.  Last year, when I heard it was still in print, I looked for it but found it was only available on loan from another library.  Of course I ordered it immediately.  I could hardly wait to see the book that had inspired me so much almost sixty-five years ago.  Alas, when I got it, it was not the book I was expecting, but a children's picture book revised for children.  I think even the wording was more child-like, but perhaps my memory is exaggerating that part. Naturally, I was disappointed. I shouldn't have been, nor should I have been surprised.   Children's picture books were not "in vogue" those days and perhaps my childhood mind may have conjured up a glorified picture of that "adult" book also, though I can vividly picture the orange hard cover with the black title on it.

 As a child, I hated "Literature" as a "subject" until I actually went teaching myself.  I didn't want to "dissect" the stories.  I just wanted to enjoy them.  I probably read every book in that small Kulish library. They made me want to write my own books someday.  Now in retirement, I have finally achieved that goal to a small degree.  I have  published two memoir books, one children's picture book and am hoping to have a novel published by Christmas. I am now working on two more books.  Now I realize that to many people, this is a mere drop in the ocean.  And so it is.  But to me it is

The Fulfilment of a Dream

I used to dream a wistful dream.
Fulfilment I would find
In a vague goal not yet complete
A silent wish not yet defined

A haunting dream, persistent
Of a goal that once was bated
By authors, poets, sonnets
That thirst that must be sated

The simplest hint of glory
Success of late achieved
A victory in minute doses
My yearning soul relieved

I'm grateful for this blessing
The fulfilment of this dream
It may not be a monument
But 'tis my own sunbeam!

My books are at

Friday, 17 August 2012

Sweet Wild Blackberries

Luscious Blackberries from Mother Nature     

We just came back from Abbotsford BC and I was fascinated by all the blackberries that grow wild along the roadsides, in empty lots and along the fences. The roadsides are just loaded and obviously no one is interested in picking these delectable fruits that are free for the picking.  Mind you, you need a suit of armour to get into the middle of that bush where the best and biggest berries are.  These berries grow on the thorniest bushes you can possibly imagine and that is not an exaggeration!  The thorns literally grab you and entrap you so that you need to physically extricate yourself from their tenacious hold.  But I tell you, those berries are worth the battle.  When ripe, they are so sweet and juicy and they literally just fall into the palm of your hand.

The red ones in the top picture are not yet ripe but the picture shows you how prolific they are.  The bush in lower right is positively black with ripe berries.  The middle picture on the left is a close-up of some ripe fruit. 

We found the the ones that fall into your palm at the slightest touch are VERY sweet because they are so ripe.  If you have to pull them off, they are sour!  I guess that is why the store bought ones are always so sour -- because in order to withstand the shipping, they have to be picked before they are fully ripe.
I have sometimes purchased blackberries in the store but they were always so sour that I was not too eager to try these freebies from nature, but tree-ripened fruit is vastly different from what you get in the store.  These sweet berries are definitely worth getting yourself mauled by those ubiquitous sharp thorns!

Thursday, 9 August 2012

My Frustrating Computer

My Frustrating Computer

My computer is a cantankerous soul
Its aim is to unsettle
To bite me when I least expect
To encounter a stinging nettle.

I try so hard to be consistent
Not to ruffle its fine feathers
But still it seems to take offence
And ignores what I think matters.

It hides my curser, or stops it dead
Then makes me type so small
I never did select that font
That was not my fault at all.

My rile is mounting as I type
It makes my blood run cold
It moved this section to the end
And made it all in bold.

It highlights in bright red ink
A somewhat brazen passage
It makes me cringe and hide with shame
That I ever sent that message.

It poings in laughter at my fury
My aggravation, its hilarity
It makes a joke of my persona
And a mockery of my charity.

I am convinced there is a demon
Lurking behind those keystrokes
Its purpose, to torment us
Innocent unsuspecting old folks. 

Saturday, 4 August 2012

Now, That's a Mushroom!

                     Mother Nature's Special Gift
We called this the "Chicken Mushroom" and it actually does taste abit like chicken when fried up with butter and onions. It usually grows on top of a old maple stump cut off at ground level (which is where I found this one). I have also found them growing  on the side of an old maple that is still standing, anywhere from 2 to 5 feet up the trunk.  It can be a light brown to cream colored to this almost deep orange color.  I am told there are no other mushrooms that look like them so you are unlikely to pick a poisonous one.  It is very solid and meaty and can be canned or frozen, which helps because it is so large that unless you have a family of twelve, you cannot possibly consume it in one  meal.  It is fairly rare but a very special treat if you can find one.  I used to find them in the wild where there was a variety of young and old trees, especially maples. A walk in the woods was very rewarding if you came across this treat.