December 23, 2018
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1. Sparkling landscapes. The timing is unpredictable, but every once in a while every tree, bush and weed is turned into a dazzling crystalline structure by hoar frost.
2. The purity of the snow. All that is ugly is buried under a white blanket.
3. The absence of flies, ants and beetles. They will return in spring, but our winters have so far kept fire ants, killer bees and Burmese pythons from venturing into the province.
4. The absence of road construction crews. No more detours and delays.
5. Birds at our feeders. Many have left for the season but chickadees, woodpeckers and other birds are still here and appreciate the food we offer.
6. Children skating on outdoor rinks. I remember when I had that kind of enthusiasm and like to see the young ones for whom it is much more than just a memory.
7. Coming in to warm up. Somehow, coming in to cool off on a hot summer day just doesn’t have the same charm.
8. Christmas carollers. Hearing car doors slam and the sound of happy voices, then a couple of the old carols sung heartily just outside our door is a heartwarming part of growing old.
9. The shining faces of children singing and saying their parts at a Christmas concert. We love to hear the program presented by the children of our Christian school and so do many of our neighbours.
10. Spring. How can one truly appreciate spring if he hasn’t survived a real winter?
March 5, 2018
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Snow is such beautiful stuff, so sparkly bright and clean, a symbol of purity. We just got another 30 cm of it over the weekend to mark the beginning of month 5 of winter.
Perhaps you can tell that my enthusiasm is somewhat less than it would have been when I was a seven year old boy. So I try to remind myself of the benefits of snow. When there is snow on the ground we don’t have a bug problem and I don’t have to cut grass or weed flower beds. Plus, this fresh blanket of snow should be thick enough to muffle the mumblings and grumblings about drought – for a few weeks at least.
Honestly, though, I won’t be disappointed when it leaves. Our cats are getting cabin fever, and so are we.
July 12, 2014
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We congratulate ourselves sometimes that we live in a country where winter protects us from the kind of bug problems they have in some other places, say the southern USA for instance.
Nevertheless, short though our summers may be, there are bugs that thrive in that season. Mosquitoes, grasshoppers and ticks, for instance. The vet clinic for which I do the bookkeeping is seeing more dogs with ticks this year than ever before.
A young man in our congregation was diagnosed with MS a few years ago and has been steadily growing weaker despite taking heavy doses of medication. Earlier this year he saw a doctor who tested him for Lyme Disease and got a positive result. This brother is now on long-term antibiotic therapy and is slowly reagaining strength. This treatment is controversial, first of all because the experts say Saskatchewan doesn’t have the kind of ticks that carry Lyme disease, secondly because the medical profession is highly skeptical of treating chronic Lyme disease. Whatever the experts say, it would be a real blessing if theis brother could regain his strength.
I’m not sure if this is really a saffron-winged meaadowhawk, but it’s the closest I could get from pixabay.
Some insects are more attractive than others, and I’m not just thinking of butterflies. The saffron-winged meadowhawks have just made their appearance, skimming over water and land. The reddish body and shimmering amber wings make them a beautiful sight, but what makes them even more attractive is that their diet consists largely of mosquitoes. There are other dragonflies around, including the equally striking blue darner, but none are as abundant as the saffron-winged meadowhawk. If only they would eat grasshoppers!