Chaos in the Garden

This is one of my flower beds. It has been over 20 years in the making. In that time, a small tree grew – casting more and more deep shade. The plants that liked sun weren’t so happy about this. Some died – I thought. So I planted others, only to have the dead sometimes reappear (yes, tulips, I’m talking about you and your splashes of red in a bed that once was yellow, blue and purple!)

This year I gave up on order and accepted plant Chaos. Even chaos will take time, though. There are bare spots where some things, like my bleeding hearts, all died this past winter. As George W. Bush said:

Topaz Studio filter “Ghost Town”

What George Bush actually said was “…And, you know, it’ll take time to restore chaos and order – order out of chaos. But we will.” Some media outlets shortened the quote to “It will take time to restore chaos” which triggered the usual crowd to make fun of him – but I think the shortened quote perfectly describes my new gardening mantra.

Topaz Studio filter “HDR”

Chaos was the law of nature; Order was the dream of man.
– Henry Adams –

Topaz Studio filter “Rock”

Chaos is roving through the system and able to undo, at any point, the best laid plans.
– Terence McKenna –

Topaz Studio filter “3D Sketch”

Chaos is not the lack of order, it is merely the absence of order, that the observer is used to.
– Mamur Mustapha –

Topaz Studio filter “Abstract”

All of these photos were altered with Topaz Studio filters.

What say you – which photo is most chaotic?

Ghost in Landscape Mode

A Special Report from our ‘Rover’ reporter, Ghost the Dog:

hi peoplekind!

this photo shows me thinking.   it might look like sleeping.   but you can see I have one eye open.   i do my best thinking.   when I’m in ‘landscape mode’.   what better place to stretch out.   than on a people couch!

right now, I’m thinking about what the gramma dog (owner of this blog but not owner of me) meant.   she told me politicians are sometimes kind of whackadoodle.   it’s an election year and gramma dog tells me all sorts of things.    when we go for a walk.   i don’t think anyone else.   wants to listen to her anymore.   a wackadoodle.   all i’ve come up with so far is that it must be a kind of poodle cross.   that I’ve not seen  at the dog park.

i’m not that impressed with poodles, really.   our ancestor was a prehistoric wolf!   i see a lot of wolf in me.   but a poodle – well let’s just say they developed.   along a branch that should have been lopped off.   before it got as far as it did.

the gramma dog  tells me that because I am a dog.   i don’t see as many colours as some people.   i don’t really remember.   what issue we were discussing.   when we got onto this topic.   i’m red-green colour blind.   grandpa car guy is colour blind too.   so we have that in common.

when I visit their house i am the shop dog.   i don’t get to go into the house.   i thought when I quit piddling a lot,   i might get a house pass.   sadly no.   the Grandma dog says if I could leave my coat outside.   she’d let me in.   i shed a lot… plus, she says I can’t chew sticks in the house.   and I can’t knock stuff off shelves with my tail.   that would be a lot to give up.   just to see if her couch is comfortable.

that’s if for now.   i really have to go to sleep.   but if you want to read more about me, click on the tag below.   with my name in it.   gHosT.

It Was a Quick Trip Home

The best laid plans… When we booked our 2 week trip back to Alberta (from our winter abode in Arizona) we were optimistic that the brutal cold would be over by early March. It wasn’t. The last night we were in the chilly north, the wind chill temperature was -40C (-40F.)

Is wind chill something that the weather man warns you about where you live? Did you know there is a rather complicated formula for determining wind chill?

There is an equivalent formula for degrees Fahrenheit, of course.

But, we’re still old school. We don’t need a complicated formula. We look out the window and use a simple If-Then statement:

If the outdoor thermometer says it is pretty cold and the snow is drifting across the back yard and the visible chimney smoke is not going straight up then the wind chill will be greater than the temperature on the thermometer.

So yes, it was cold out. Of course we are hardy Canucks with over six decades of Alberta winters under our belts. We hauled out the really warm clothing and released The Car Guy’s truck from the garage. We were good to go.

Unfortunately, our house was not quite good to go. We live on an acreage, with our own water and septic systems. Water in – water out is our responsibility. The extreme cold, unfortunately, froze the ‘water out’ system. We hadn’t even unpacked our bags before we discovered this problem. We quickly shut down the ‘water in’ system and booked a ‘discovery meeting’ with the plumber for the next day. When ‘nature started to call’ … urgently… and the extreme cold removed the possibility that I was going to squat outside in the snow, we packed up and headed to a motel for the night. (And the next five nights…)

After several thawing attempts by the plumbers, it was decided that the most cost effective course of action for us was to let Mother Nature thaw the system in the spring, and for us to cut our visit down to 6 busy days.

Besides visits with family, we attended a High School performance of  the musical ‘Chicago’. Actually, we went twice. Our Grandson played ‘Amos’ in this production and though I don’t want to brag too much – he was really good! Did I hum along when he was singing Mr. Cellophane? You bet!

Cellophane
Mister Cellophane
Shoulda been my name
Mister Cellophane
‘Cause you can look right through me
Walk right by me
And never know I’m there…

The rest of the cast was awesome too – such a lot of talent in just one High School. Multiply that by all the rest of the High Schools and all the other disciplines and the young plumbers who advised us on our septic system and the lively youngsters who bounced around the motel dining room at breakfast every morning – well you can’t help but feel optimistic about the future of our Province!

Ghost – That Ended The Card Game

hi again.   my name is gHosT.   i’m this blogger’s daughter’s dog.   the last time i ‘blogged’.   i was back in puppy classes again.    i think they went rather well.   for my owners.   i wasn’t as impressed.   because apparently I am going to have to get used to.   ‘coming when I’m called’.   and all sorts of other limits on  absolute freedom.

freedom to do what I want.   case in point.   is this ‘incident’ from before puppy classes.   i had a sleep-over at the aunt’s house.   the whole family was playing cards.   on this flat topped piece of wood that looked like the floor.    they called it a ‘table’.   but i didn’t have one of those at my house yet.   so how was I to know that it was off limits to me!?

i thought it would be okay.   if I joined the card game.   so with a speed that surprised even me.   i unlocked, launched and landed.   right onto the middle of the table.   then I settled down to wait.   for whatever might happen next.

for a minute, auntie and the family had that look on their faces.   that people  get when something unexpected happens.   even though that unexpected thing.   was within the realm of possibilities.   of what a free spirited puppy might do if it is… curious.

later, when Auntie was asked why she didn’t immediately scoot me down off the table.   she explained, “it was like watching a train wreck.   suddenly there was a dog in the middle of the table.   we could either get the dog off the table.   or we could all get our phones out and take pictures of the ‘damage’…”

For more stories about me, click the the tag below.   that has my name in it.   gHosT.   now you see me on the floor.   now you see me on the table.   now you see me in the dog house… again…

Spotted in my Yard – The Rare Red Couch

It snowed here again. I think this is the 4th time since early September that The Car Guy has had to plow the drive way. I wield the shovel – I am the Cleaner of the Walks and Photographer of the Event. Snow is often an event, especially if there is lots of it and more especially if I find a Red Couch in the yard.

Snow on branches – backlit, it had an almost translucent quality.

Canadian news outlets report snowfall in centimetres (1 inch is 2.54 cm), but like many older Canadians, I was raised with the Imperial system of measurements. Though I am ‘measurement bilingual’, my Snow still falls in inches. It snowed about 6 inches, but hardly any snow fell on the Red Couch.

Snow piled on the picket backs of the lawn chairs.

Canada began metrifying in 1970 because we were expanding trading relationships. Our government decided it should adopt a more universal language of measurements. Some of our Imperial measurements (the capacity units) didn’t even match the Imperial system of the United States. We ‘went metric’ in increments from 1970 to 1980.

Snow on branches with a Topaz Studio filter called E Hopper.

Many Canadians still work in Imperial for many things. They measure their height in feet and inches and their weight in pounds. Our ovens measure temperature in fahrenheit degrees. We measure the size of our homes in square feet and the distance to the rural neighbours house in miles because our land was surveyed in miles and our roads were built on those grids. We measure the elusive Red Couch in inches, of course.

Snow on chairs with a Topaz Studio filter called Degas.

The elusive ‘Red Couch’ is seldom seen on our property, and unknown in just about any other location in the entire world. I found it sitting in the clearing near the front of our property. It was resting, and made no attempt to flee as I approached. Clearly it had arrived after the snow fall. It was only lightly dusted with snowflakes.

Red Couch with a Topaz Studio Cartoon filter.

Would you call it a couch? Or would you say it is a sofa or a chesterfield? I believe a Red Couch is quite rare but maybe you often see couches of a different color, maybe a bland beige or drab brown, on your street or alley. What say you?

If you want to see the Red Couch in action, hop over to Jenifer Sander Photography. You’ll also see a Reindeer and if you scroll down far enough, you will see The Car Guy and I!

9th Blogging Anniversary – What Were You Doing 3287 Days Ago?

Nine years ago (the aforementioned 3287 days) I published my first blog post: Did you Get the H1N1 Flu Shot in 2009. It was not highly successful and has been viewed a grand total of 13 times. At the other end of the scale,  Tricky Questions – Thinking Outside the Box has been quite popular with over 36,000 views. Go figure…

That’s the interesting thing about blogging. While I might have a general idea what my readers might find interesting or when it is a good time to catch them in a reading mood, I  have no idea how the Search Engines will promote or trash my posts! I do know this involves algorithms that judge, filter, penalize and reward content, but that is about the extent of my understanding!

While the stats for the Tricky Questions post are fascinating to watch,  I like the H1N1 post as much and I love the process of researching and writing.  I’m happy with my blog as a whole –  a scrapbook of my photos, thoughts and ideas – my Codex Vitae.

I think the pleasure of completed work is what makes blogging so popular. You have to believe most bloggers have few if any actual readers. The writers are in it for other reasons. Blogging is like work, but without coworkers thwarting you at every turn. All you get is the pleasure of a completed task.
– Scott Adams –

I’ve mapped out a plan for the next year of blogging at Fueled by Chocolate (because 9 years of blogging won’t be as newsworthy as 10 years of blogging!) I’m bringing over all my quotation posts from The Quippery and will roll them out, two every week, for the next six months. I hope you enjoy reading them as much as I’ve enjoyed collecting them.

Old words are reborn with new faces.
– Criss Jami, Killosophy –

My Birds and Bugs will keep being updated.

When you have seen one ant, one bird, one tree, you have not seen them all.
– E. O. Wilson –

I’ll also be taking a Conservative exploration of topics that include politics, the environment, media bias, free speech – but also the exciting possibility of a return to civil discourse!

The reason that free speech is so important… It keeps the balance between those two tendencies. You need the questioning, and you need the order. You think, “how much of each?” The answer is, “the recipe changes day to day.” And so you think, “well, if it changes day to day, how are we going to keep up?” The answer is, “by keeping up! Here we are. We’re alive. We can keep up, but we do that by thinking, and we think by talking, and we think and talk by disagreeing. And we better disagree conceptually, because then we don’t have to act out stupid ideas that would kill us.”
– Jordan Peterson, Oxford Union Address –

What were you doing 3287 days ago? What was the most popular post you have ever written? Which of your posts is your favourite?

Indoor Cold Storage – Project Accomplished!

New fridge

The new fridge finally arrived. Twice actually. The first time, the delivery truck couldn’t negotiate the deep snow in our drive way and had to abort the mission. With little hope that the snow would melt before spring, The Car Guy abandoned his plan to mow the grass one more time this fall. He removed the mower from the tractor and installed the snow blade. I helped him. We had some brief discussions about either buying a new tractor with easier implement changing, or moving to the city…

Two days later the fridge was delivered. If you have been following the Fridge in the Middle Story, you will note that the fridge just fit into the cabinet and all is right in the kitchen again. Now, and here is the ‘cool’ part, we have a water and ice dispenser – and not just cubed ice – crushed ice too!

Think of the summer drink possibilities – except now it is fall.

Fridge with a graphic filter

Or, it should be fall except  winter arrived first. The two seasons have been exchanging blows – snow, some melting, more snow, some more melting. Today we are back into snow.

I tried to dig the potatoes during one of the melting spells, but the garden was one large mud patch. It just wasn’t worth the effort for a bucket full of potatoes. It really is too bad, because the hills I did dig yielded very few potatoes, but they weren’t scabby. First time ever. The weather forecast says we return to normal fall weather next week. Maybe I’ll get the spuds out of the ground yet.

Spuds, taters – is there another word for potatoes in your part of the world?

I bought a big bag of potatoes and it’s growing eyes like crazy. Other foods rot. Potatoes want to see.
– Bill Callahan, Letters to Emma Bowlcut –

Another snow day

First Big Snow – It’s a Home Day!

There is a reason why we talk about the weather so much here in rural Alberta…

Early October, and it is the first big snow of the 2017-2018 Winter. The good news is: the UV and Pollen Counts are really low.

The not so good news is that the tractor is still set up for mowing grass, not plowing snow.  More snow is in the forecast – possibly 20-30 cm (7-12in) in total. The Car Guy is doing an effort/time/temp/risk/reward ‘put blade on tractor’ analysis as I write this. I think he is going to take the optimistic approach – Mother Nature will remove the white burden for him by the end of this week.

The photo above shows most of our ‘fleet’ docked on the driveway. None of them will be going anywhere until the snow melts and they can be moved into the garage for the winter. Hey car buffs – can you identify them with their snow coats on?

Topaz filter
Mountain Ash with a drawing filter

A few days ago, it was still fall, though the temperatures were more like winter. The mountain ash was a glorious gold colour with big blotches of red berries.

The same mountain ash with a different drawing filter – a snowy feel!
Topaz expressionism filter
Another filter – sort of expressionism.

Wow, now it is really snowing. I’d better suit up and shovel a path to the truck again!

Fridge in the Middle

The Car Guy and I decided to replace our refrigerator. It is over 20 years old and well past its ‘best before’ date.

This is a haiku
Haiku’s don’t have to make sense
Refrigerator
– Author Unknown –

The appliance store had so many fridges to choose from – at least, that is what we thought when we first walked in the door! But, as our sales associate, Todd, walked us through the choices, it became clear that our new fridge would be ‘one of a kind’. Yes, if we wanted a fridge with an ice maker/water dispenser, with two upper doors and a lower freezer, that would fit in the space we had, in the colour white (to match the appliances we weren’t replacing) – our selection was one fridge.

So we ordered the fridge. It was supposed to be delivered in a week – two weeks tops! That was almost two months ago.

On a very local scale, a refrigerator is the center of the universe. On the inside is food essential to life, and on the outside of the door is a summary of the life events of the household.
– Robert Fulghum –

In the meantime, my old fridge is in a ‘not so convenient’ place in the kitchen. The Car Guy had to pull it out so that he could add the plumbing for the ice maker/water dispenser. He also had to raise the cabinet above the fridge by one inch.

He didn’t move the fridge back into the fridge ‘home’ because the fridge is heavy, awkward to move and only fits into the space if you give it a mighty shove… and the new fridge might arrive any day now!

Figuring out why people who choose not to do something don’t in fact do it is like attempting to interview the elves who live inside your refrigerator but come out only when the light is off.
– Eileen Pollack –

A fridge in the middle of the room seemed like a huge inconvenience initially. Now it is merely a mild annoyance. We can still use the fridge, even if the doors don’t open all the way. We can still get to the coffee maker and we can squeeze by the fridge to get from one room to another!

My theory on housework is, if the item doesn’t multiply, smell, catch fire, or block the refrigerator door, let it be. No one else cares. Why should you?
– Erma Bombeck –

In the grand scheme of  Red House Renos, the ‘fridge in the middle’ is way down the list of projects that seemed to take forever to finish!

Open your refrigerator door, and you summon forth more light than the total amount enjoyed by most households in the 18th century. The world at night, for much of history, was a very dark place indeed.
– Bill Bryson –

What is the oldest appliance in your house? Which one would you love to replace?

How many times have you been watching an episode of ‘South Park’ and thought, ‘I’d like to be able to watch this on my television while hooked into my mobile device, which is being controlled by my tablet device which is hooked into my oven, all while sitting in the refrigerator?’
– Trey Parker –

Ghost – Looking for Puppy Faces

Puppy Faces Today – our Daughter and her Husband got a dog!

A puppy face – the Grand-dog – right after a bath: “Where is the treat you promised me if I went along with the foolishness of a bath?”
The grand-dog – finally dry and back outside: “My price for not digging in the garden again is… double treats!”

Puppy Faces Before the Dog Came Along:

Promise me you’ll always remember: You’re braver than you believe, and stronger than you seem, and smarter than you think.
– Winnie the Pooh (by A.A. Milne) –

Six years ago I wrote a post called A Perfect Storm – The Motorcycle Accident. It was the story of the day (Friday, July 13!) that The Car Guy and the Harley abruptly parted company – both landing in a farmer’s field, both with considerable damage.

I reread that post yesterday. I also reread all the comments left on posts then and after the event – words of encouragement, concern and prayers for a speedy recovery! Thanks again, from the bottom of my Canadian heart, to all these kind bloggers who reached out to me during those dark days:

The Cvillean
Peg-o-Leg’s Ramblings
Virginia Views
Before Morning Breaks
Joys of Creating
The Other Side of 55
Mark Armstrong Illustration
Coming East
composerinthegarden
Year-Struck
From the Drawing Board
Fear No Weebles
Bless Your Hippie Heart
k8edid
The Sandwich Lady
I Need a Play Date
Philosopher Mouse of the Hedge
Caryn Caldwell

Some of these writers are still blogging! Some have ‘ceased blogging operations’ and moved on.  The ‘ceased’ bloggers – some left a farewell message; some just packed up (I envision it as happening on a dark and stormy night) and disappeared, leaving us all to wonder what they moved on to, or if they are actually ‘deceased’!

Now, for the update on The Car Guy.  There were certainly some interesting and amusing moments during his recovery from a Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI). For  the first few months,  he was unable to retain memories, but more spectacularly – sometimes he saw people that the rest of us couldn’t see!

One afternoon he woke up after a nap in the Guest Room at the Cabin and announced there were puppy faces on the ceiling over the bed. This was a new hallucination. He insisted I come and look. We stretched out on the bed and looked up at the wood paneled ceiling.

“See – there.” He pointed at the wood grain knots and swirls. “Two eyes and a nose. And over there. Two eyes, a nose and ears. And another one over there!”

Relief – yes, I could see puppy faces in the knots and swirls too! Then – I thought about all the people who had slept in that bed, but had never mentioned seeing puppy faces! It takes a certain freedom of thought, I guess, to see things like that.

I think of those puppy faces when I read the news.  Much of Mainstream Media (MMM) has the single goal of telling you what you should think. Often their message is biased and designed to create fear. They want you to only see what they see in their knots and swirls.

Fortunately, there are many  Not Really Mainstream Media (NRMMM) sources of positive messages that encourage the grand diversity of human thought. They encourage you to look beyond the knots and swirls for the other messages.

I try to start my day with positive sites like these: Thoughts of Dog,  Human Progress, Mike Rowe and Regie’s Blog.

Where do you go to get a balanced spin on the news?