End of Covid summer and into fall

Our dear birding bud, Don from Broadview, sent us this photo of a buffalo mom & calf.

Near the end of Aug Karen & Harold dropped in for a short visit. Even though they’re divorced, they remain friends & spend time together regularly.

It was near Karen’s BD, so she sent me this photo of her with her creme brulee “birthday cake”. Her grandson, Branson, made them in his sous vide cooker – aren’t they amazing! One for each birthday party attendee!

We did a little fall birding to see what we could find in the way of migrants heading south. Luckily we were alerted to the large numbers of Sandhill Cranes near Harold’s farm near Hazlet. We chalked up near a thousand on that outing where we headed east then north from Gull Lake. Lots in flight.

Several Greater White-fronted Geese in the mix of cranes in this area, along with the usual ducks.

Found a White-faced Ibis still around among the ducks.

Such a nice scene where most seem to be facing the same direction against a tan field.

Meanwhile, back in town, we had a very unusual visitor in our yard! This Sora is usually found in wetlands. We figure that with the drought there is little water so perhaps our yard offered something worthwhile!

We were so happy that Mom came for a visit during the Covid epidemic at the end of September, although she had to pay by quarantining for 14 days when she got home. Karen also came for dinner 1 nite & stayed over with us. Thank goodness we haven’t had any cases here in Maple Creek!

Karen brought a little treat, having just been visiting the farm – some vine-ripened, home-grown tomatoes! Oh – just yummmm! (Peeled & served w/ fleur de sel!).

We did a little birding out toward Morse & Chaplin where, at Reed Lake, there are usually lots of migrating Snow Geese. If you look closely, you may see a few Tundra Swans along the back edge.

It was a beautiful sight watching flights of hundreds of white geese against the gray sky.

This small herd of white-tailed deer watched us when we stopped to take their photo.

On Oct. 12th Ron & Julie dropped in for a visit – to return some of the stuff we lended them for their trip to NZ (which they took in our place due to Bill being on oxygen). I served them a couple of my sugar-free carrot cupcakes with a London fog. We got to hear a bit more about the trip first-hand. They had just been to visit Julie’s sister in Swift Current for Thanksgiving & wanted to stop in before they went home to S’toon.

I knew everyone would really enjoy a look at me getting my annual perm on Halloween day in Calgary! Nothing lovelier while wearing face mask along with head coverings. I may have won a prize had I entered a costume competition. LOL. It was a very quick trip with an overnight on Brian’s beautiful spare, queen-sized air mattress – as well as dinner at Villa Firenze w/ he & Mom.

On Nov. 8th we received nearly 3 feet of snow. It’s the most I can ever remember at one time. It blew & drifted, nearly covering my birdbath.

Two days later we received another foot of blowing snow. My birdbath (pictured above) is now completely covered! (Photos taken through the window which is covered with small square dots which prevent birds from crashing into them).

I couldn’t get out of my garage side-door which is how I feed the birds. Luckily a couple of strong young boys came to my front door & asked if I wanted my walk shovelled. I said “NO!” Please come to the back & shovel me a path out of my garage past my bird feeders & birdbath. So they did (& I paid them nicely).

Path past the feeders & a poor little White-throated Sparrow who didn’t get south! For anyone who doesn’t know, this is one of our native sparrows. House sparrows are an introduced species from Europe (& not really a sparrow – a finch) & we’re not so happy that they’ve infiltrated the world!

Our ranching friends, Kevin & Rhonda, sent us this photo of a Northern Saw-whet Owl which was noticed by a friend on their daughter’s ranch. They are only 8” from head to tail – little guys!

Sad times. We lost one of our little kitties – Natasha (she was Bill’s little girl) on Nov. 10th. This was his computer screen-saver.

Here she is with her hand on her sister’s shoulder.

Lovely Nola (our local florist) sent us these lovely flowers to say how sorry she was.

On Nov. 22nd we lost our dear Uncle Bud, Mom’s last living sibling. His 99th birthday was to have been a week later with zoom phone calls from all his family, so we were very sad we didn’t get to have that time with him. He went very peacefully, so we are all thankful for that. His family carried on with a zoom meeeting on his BD, making Granny Larson’s marshmallows with his kids & grandkids. What a wonderful thing to do!

I love this old photo of Uncle Bud with David & I.

My dear cousin Steven sent me this photo – remembering Uncle Bud. Bud was a true war hero – flying Lancaster bombers in WWII. A fitting tribute!

On Nov. 26th we also lost our dear Auntie Willie (although she preferred Wilma in later life – we grew up calling her Willie). She also slipped away peacefully – so we are very thankful for that. She was so pretty & I found an old photo of she & Uncle Ted (Dad’s brother). Her 95th burthday would have been Dec. 14th.

So here we are, getting close to Christmas & no one will be going anywhere. Oh well, I’m pretty sure (but not positive) Brian will be able to go over to Mom’s & cook her dinner. He’s been doing this for awhile now. He is really becoming an accomplished cook & enjoys the challenge. This from the kid who was one of the pickiest eaters we knew! He’s doing a bit of sous vide (like he did for my BD) & has been practicing his roast chicken, which I believe is what he is going ot make.

David & Inga are post-poning Christmas – until things are safe. This is such a good decision.

Bill & I will be on our own, although dear Penny & Wilf invited us to their place with the kids, like last year. We’re not feeling secure enough about Bill’s health to take a chance going out there. We are happy to both be here to celebrate! We hope everyone stays safe & counts their blessings this Christmas, no matter what they are doing.

Love to all of you for a much happier 2021!

PS – Latest News from Bill directly. I have a new girl in my life. Rebecca Parsley or Becca, for short. (The last name is courtesy of the SPCA and is associated with her chip identifier so need to remember it, just in case.) After several months of what seemed like serious decline, I am on the mend. The problem was not that I was getting “terminally worse.” It was just that I had pneumonia—AGAIN. That is now “removed,” but that is not all. It seems likely that steroids will greatly improve my condition. A test result indicates that and a seven-day trial confirms it. Now more tests to get the COPD treatment team on the job. Found ways to do this that don’t involve going to Saskatoon, which is locked down. 
Things are looking up. Not cured, of course. Never will be but a more optimistic future. Becca has her own personality. She will not replace Natasha directly but she does a great “job” in her own way. Never had a cat—and I have had many—quite as affectionate and outgoing. She already cuddles with me and sleeps with me for hours. While just a “plain old” Tabby, she is also beautiful. Already knows, “no,” sort of.

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