Saturday, December 26, 2009

Merry Christmas!

Well, another Christmas Day has come and gone, and it was wonderful yet again.  Family, friends, food, laughter and love.  Oh, and Copper.  What more can one ask for?

The crowd started trickling in around 3 o'clock.  Rob and Amber arrived first - they had traveled out from the big city.  Shortly after that, the crew from the farm arrived.  (Jason and Terri had driven from Calgary Christmas Eve day, and Ashley had been here for a few days already.  Mom and Dad had also arrived a couple of days early.  We spent Christmas Eve at the farm, and it was so nice to gather there again.  Lisa didn't come from Chile, but we did connect on Skype!)  Aunt Linda and Chris joined us for supper as well.

Jason prepared tur-pork-en, rather than the turducken that we have had before.
This year it was pork tenderloin inside a bacon-wrapped chicken inside a turkey, with layers of dressing in there as well.  We would be able to hear the cholesterol marching to our arteries even as we ate.  He started cooking it at Mom's, and brought it out here to finish.  There was much discussion over how long to cook the poor thing, and when Jason, Mark, and Chris went to retrieve a meat thermometer from cousin Don's,  the real cooks (Mom, Terri, and I) decided it was done and proceeded to prepare the rest of the meal.  We were just about done when the men returned.  It is not a long drive, but I believe cocktails were involved.  So we finally sat down to eat, about two hours later than predicted, but no one was too concerned about the time.  After all, it was good to just be together.  And anyway, there were a few nibblies around all afternoon!

Clem experimented with his new camera all day, and here are a few samplings from that!

Skyping with Auntie Lisa (until Copper decided the microphone was a sucker!)


The Calgary Huck family.



 This puppy barks "Jingle Bells"!

The "turporken" and the crazy chef.


Digging in.

The Saskatoon Hucks, who brought the excellent wine.

(You'll notice there is still lots of food left in the serving dishes.  I had to bungee cord the fridge shut because of all the leftovers!)

Happy pappy.

Copper and Auntie having some fun.

Goofing off!

The girls.


I think this one showcases her attitude exactly!!!

(Come on, you knew there were going to be lots of pictures of the little girl!)

Thanks for stopping by, and from our house to yours, a very Merry Christmas and a healthy and happy 2010!

Tuesday, December 08, 2009

-36 and holding

Brrrrr.  We're all hunkered down here today, trying to avoid going outside.   Except for the boys.  We sent them to school.  Then I went looking for something to remind me why we live out here in the middle of nowhere.  Ah, here it is:

And here we are, back to centered text again.  You will have to bear with me, since I can't for the life of me figure out how to change it!

Not too much new here, just hockey, hockey, hockey.   And I heard somewhere there is a holiday coming up - I'll have to check into that.  You will have surmised that I have enormous amounts of work to do, since I am procrastinating posting again within a week!  A word to the wise - if you happen to stop in during the holidays, please don't look in the corners, or the closets, or under any beds.  It won't be pretty.

While searching for my reminder photo, I came across this one of Derek after the first snow of the season.  This was the sight that greeted me when I drove into the yard that day:

We've had a bit more snow since then, so it really is winter now.  Here is Clem going to work on the new rink:

I was just asked to play for yet another choir for the contata - that makes four.  So I guess I should get going and do some practicing.  It's a free concert, but still...

For any of you reading this who usually receive a Christmas gift from us, please be advised that it won't be happening this year!  I found out a while ago that one of the dormitories at the boarding school in Tanzania had a fire.   Now I saw those dorms before the fire, and was amazed at how they crammed the students in them.  I can't begin to imagine where they are keeping them now.  Fr. Chuwa estimated that it will cost $15,000 to rebuild the dorm.   After a bit of thought, about how neither I nor our children really need anything,  I sent this year's gift money (and baking supplies money!) to Fr. Chuwa.   We feel it is much better spent in that manner.  I hope you will agree!

Thanks for stopping in!

Wednesday, December 02, 2009

It's beginning to look a lot like Christmas...

...and I think it's the snow!  (It's certainly not the house!)  Yep, we finally got some of the white stuff.  It makes spending all that time in a rink a little more acceptable.  Driving was a little treacherous on Monday night, but all is well now.  Good thing, since what would we do around here if we all had to stay home together???

Clem and Derek are busy building a rink near the house.  The dugout is a little low on water this year, so it's mostly muck and weeds down there.  There shouldn't be so much complaining about shoveling now - a nice, small, flat surface.  I'm sure one of them (probably the big one) will rig up some way to do it mechanically - a blade on the quad, perchance?

I have been busy getting two choirs ready for our big Candlelight Contata in a couple of weeks.  I am also playing for two more who are also participating.  Things are sounding pretty good, so if you are close, you might want to check it out at the Catholic church in town on the 13th.  Bring some coin/paper along for the silver collection for our parish's foster child! 

The Midgets are 4 and 0, and looking for the fifth win in Outlook on Friday.  I am going to drive down, and my favorite uncle is coming along for the ride.  Now he has invited his cousin to join us (the cousin's grandson also plays on the team).  These two are the best story-tellers you have ever heard.  They remember people, places and events (at least I think they do - how would I know!) and the stories are hilarious.  I should sell tickets. 

Derek's team plays again on Friday, too, matching up against a North Battleford team.  Clem will stay around for that one.  Hard to tell what will happen there - they split a home and home round with a similar team last year.

I should be getting a little stressed out about Christmas, seeing how we are hosting 16 people or so for supper on the big day.  I guess there is just so much other stuff occupying my time right now that I am in denial!  However, it will come whether I am ready or not, as it has every other year, and things always seem to work out.  I wonder what my mom would think of turkey weiners as a main course...

Bye for now!  Thanks for stopping by!

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Just send my mail to the Kerrobert Arena...

Hola from the Schraefel farm!  Or should I say Gutentag?  Feeling a little international today, for no real reason.
Hockey has hit with a vengeance here.  Derek has started playing again, with no ill effects.  In fact, he looks pretty darn good out there.  As you may recall, his team elected to stay out of the league this year and focus on higher level tournaments and exhibition games.  That has translated into way fewer games (for way more moolah), but they did have a tournament last weekend in Saskatoon.  They won their first game against Red Deer, lost the second against The Pas, which put them in the "C" side.  Two more wins, over Flin Flon and Balgonie, cinched the "C" final.  Not bad for a house team.  They are definitely not used to losing, or even being behind, as evidenced by the poor behaviour of some of our team in the game they lost, but hopefully they will lose a few more and learn how to be better sports!  Bodychecking is allowed again this year, and Derek is taking to it like a duck to water.  I'm so proud...  I was actually a little worried, since he has always concentrated on the puck and never shown much inclination toward physical contact, but something has clicked.  He gives nice clean checks, doesn't seek out the little guys, and stands his ground.  Should be an interesting year.

Since the Pee Wees were done by about 1 o'clock on Sunday afternoon, I was able to high-tail it back to K-town and take in the Junior B game (good hockey, but lost it in the third period, again!), and the Midgets' home-opener against hockey and football arch rivals, Elrose.  It was a fast, hard-hitting, entertaining game, and the Thunder shut out the visitors with five unanswered goals.

We have so far eluded the swine flu in our house, but have gone a few rounds with other flu bugs.  Clem has remained the healthiest.  I thought I was done for the other day, and feared passing out while playing for a funeral, but managed to stay upright and get myself home to bed, arising the next morning feeling quite well. The funeral was for a local 58-year-old lady who died of lung cancer eleven days after being diagnosed.  It was very sad - her grandchildren took it so hard.  She was originally from God's country, or Luseland as it is sometimes called.  She was the daughter of Jack and Helen Bergen, for those of you who will recognize the name.  I saw many faces from the past - people I rode the bus with, people I babysat, and people who still call me Chandra "Hook".  I consider it a gift to be close enough to reconnect occasionally. To that end, I am traveling once a week to the land of my birth to accompany the community choir there.  They have so much fun getting togther and singing, it is a privilege to be part of that.  Plus I get to see my former music teacher and hero, Val Finley.  What a gal!

And that is about all the news from here.  If you need to contact us, just call the rink in town!

Thanks for checking in!

Monday, October 26, 2009

I'm behind again!

 Here it is, nearly a month since my last post.  How do you people put up with me???  I did find a leftover photo from harvest, though.  Thought I'd throw it in because I got a comment on my harvest post from someone in Sweden!  Who'd have thought??

It's been a little crazy around here again.  Shortly after I wrote that last post, I received a phone call saying Derek was being taken to the local hospital by ambulance.  Let me tell you, that is one phone call you don't ever want to get.  It turns out he hit his head again somehow (he doesn't remember what happened - he's lost about three hours of that day), blacked out, and when he came to he ran away from the school.  A wonderful lady (or should I say "angel") found him laying on someone's lawn, and called 911.  When I got to the hospital, he was still very confused and scared, and didn't know where he was or why.  They kept him overnight for observation, but he was coming around to his old self a couple of hours later.  When the nurse asked him if he was allergic to any medications, his reply was that he hadn't tried them all yet!  That's my boy!  He seemed quite a bit better the next morning, although he still had a pretty good headache.  He took it easy for a couple of days, but the headache got worse and the vomiting started again, so we were off to the city for a CT scan. (This Thanksgiving I gave special thanks for our health care system!)  They didn't find anything abnormal on the scan, so he is either suffering the effects of the concussion, or he has a flu, or both.   He hasn't had a headache for about 10 days now, and his eyes look normal again.  All you mothers out there will know what I mean by that.  So if he stays symptom-free for another week or so, he can try skating again.  His team has started without him, and he will have some catching up to do.

Derek came to Weyburn with us to celebrate my dad's cousin's 50th anniversary, and to visit lots of relatives.  We even came across some cousins we had never met before!  And I must say I'm very glad we met, since they are super people and I plan on getting together again sometime.  All of the out-of-town guests stayed at the same hotel, so we had lots of time to visit and laugh.  Dad's nephew lives in Weyburn, as well, and they graciously hosted the crew a couple of times during our stay.  All and all, it was a great weekend.  Here are a few photos.  The first is Dad with his two sisters and their cousin, Oliver.  

This is Oliver and his sister, Dolores.  

Then we have Oliver and his two daughters, Cheryl and Susan.  These are the cousins I had never met before, and let me tell you, they are a lot of fun!  I predict more family gatherings in the future!

Here is Dolores with two of her daughters, Shelley and Cindy, more "new" cousins for the tree!  Shelley's grandson is the same age as Derek, and lives in Kindersley.  He and Derek know each other from hockey - small world!

This is my cousin, Mike, and his wife, Korryn, who live in Weyburn and let us invade their home.  They are good sports!  You'll also note Derek  in the background, on his phone, as usual!

Here are a few shots from the more casual gathering at the hotel.




 And now I can't get the text to align to the left again!   Adam and Stephen are still playing football; their first play-off game is on Saturday versus Central Butte.  Their hockey has also started, although many of the players are hurting from football.  Could be an  interesting couple of games to start with.

Clem has been busy winterizing the machinery and yard.  He is also cleaning wheat while the weather holds.   Then it will be hockey, hockey, hockey, I guess.  The cold room is full of potatoes, carrots, and onions, and the freezer is full of peas, beans, corn, tomatoes, zucchini, and beets.  My cousin got a couple of moose that had been frequenting our yard, so I will have a couple of moose roasts to add to the inventory, as well.
All in all, a good year!

Thanks for stopping by!

Wednesday, September 30, 2009

We're Done!!

We're done, we're done, we're done!  Another harvest finished on the Schraefel farm.  Yahoo!  It is always such a relief when those machines pull into the yard for the last time.  Although now the fun begins - trying to sell all this good grain.  But at least it is dry and safe in the bins.  It's raining this morning, and I feel for the farmers who still have crop out, but wow, it feels good to be done!

In other news, Stephen is now legally driving.  Those of you in the area may want to steer clear of a black Dodge truck for a while.  He is quickly learning that gas is not cheap, though, and may soon go back to hitching a ride on the big yellow bus that he now follows into town each school day!  Of course that would entail actually getting out of bed in time to catch the big yellow bus, so we'll see how that goes.

Adam and Stephen are in the middle of a very successful football season.  The Rebels are 4 and 0, and looking at a good run in the playoffs.  Stephen even made the front page of the local rag, after intercepting a pass and making a "spectacular" 60-yard run for a touchdown.  He and Adam are both on the defensive line this year, and do very well.  Adam was a human wrecking machine the last game, with at least two quarterback sacks. It scares me a little how much they enjoy tackling and pounding other humans into the ground!

Derek has begun his hockey season with a five-day power skating course in town.  He is, of course, enjoying himself, since he is 1) off the farm, 2) with his friends, 3) playing sports, and 4) in close proximity to the local convenience store.  Life is good!  He is presently trying to decide whether he will come with us to Weyburn on the Thanksgiving weekend, or beg for room and board with a friend so he can play the first two hockey games of the season.  Time will tell - either Clem and I will have a nice get-away to celebrate our 20th anniversary (yes, I said 20, folks - ugh), or we will get to stock the vehicle with electronics and listen to our youngest asking "how much longer" for the six-hour drive.  Wish us luck!  And please send some positive energy this way to help ensure our farm is still intact after a weekend of being inhabited solely by two teen-age boys...

 And that's about it around here.  Thanks for checking in!

Friday, September 18, 2009

There's an owl in our yard!

I went out to bring in the clothes from the line this evening, and saw what I thought was a big old crow in the trees.  On closer inspection, I found it was an owl.  A gorgeous, big owl, just sitting there taking in the lovely
It sat, perched on the very tip of a long dead branch, long enough for me to walk around to the other side of the trees to get a better view.  It didn't even mind that Roxy the dog was sniffing around.

After a little computer manipulation of the photo file, here is what I saw:  

Oh the joys of living in the country.  That, and the sunsets:

Good night, all!  Thanks for checking in!

PS:  This blog site has a new editing feature, which I obviously haven't figured out yet.  One day soon I hope to have the text aligned to the left again!!!

Thursday, September 17, 2009

Happy Birthday, Stephen!

My favorite middle son turned 16 today.  It often overwhelms me how fast these boys are growing up!  Older and up, I guess.  Although Stephen seems to have levelled off at 6'2".  Now he just has to put a little meat on those long bones.  He looks like such a toothpick on the football field.  But looks can be deceiving, as some of the opposing team members can attest.  He swung one poor quarterback around and threw him about three yards!  Today's QB was a little more slippery, so Stephen took a more offensive approach, intercepted a pass, and ran about 70 yards for a touchdown.  I wonder if the coach is rethinking his decision to put him on the defensive line....

Anyway, the Rebels are 3 and 0 after today's home opener. And they are having a blast.  I was a little worried that those big heads wouldn't fit in the door when they got home after the big team supper celebration, but both Adam and Stephen are safely in bed.  They have been burning the candle at both ends, trying to harvest and still make most of the football practices.   Stephen was cut from the AAA team he was trying out for, and I think that is a good thing.  He wasn't really sure he wanted to play on that team, or if he wanted to move away to do so.  And he and I were both having second thoughts about the coaching there.  So he will stay home and play on the Midget team here, and will be affiliated with the new Junior B team that is starting here this year.   No pressure - he can just coast.  And that's just how he likes it.

Poor Clem was left combining all by himself today while Derek and I went to watch the game. He and the boys licked up three small fields of barley last night, and it busheled really well.  Imagine having to worry about bin space in the dry year that we've had!  So there is about 150 acres of barley left to go, and then the wheat.  The peas and lentils are safely in the bin, except for a few spots that are still ripening.  They will get cleaned up when the cereal grains are finished.  If it hasn't snowed by then!

We are still enjoying fresh vegetables from the garden, although the variety is more limited!  We had the last few cobs of corn last night for supper.  The tomatoes are starting to slow down.  And then there are just the potatoes, carrots, and onions to bring in.  Not as many as last year, but that is a good thing.  I ended up giving away potatoes and carrots this spring as we wouldn't have been able to finish them before they went bad.  

Derek gave us a scare the other day when he ended up with a concussion after hitting heads with another boy while playing touch football at recess.  Only Derek can have an accident like that.  He was pretty groggy for a couple of days, with a good headache and nausea.  But he seems to be getting over it.  In fact, when I got to the school for the football game today, he was playing touch football with his friends.  Yep.  He was told no physical activity for a week, and the next day he's playing football.  This child will be the end of me, I swear.

And the end sometimes doesn't seem that far away!  Today I received my new BIFOCALS!!!! Talk about feeling old!  The really sad thing is that they work, so I must have really needed them.  I had been trying to convince myself that the optometrist was out to lunch, but no, I need bifocals.  Enjoy your youth while it lasts, kiddies!

Well, the house is quiet, and as much as I enjoy visiting with you, I best be off to bed, to rest before the start of a new day here at the zoo.

Thanks for stopping by!

Sunday, September 06, 2009

A September evening walk

We had a little shower around supper time this evening, which put the kibosh on any more combining (although Clem said the peas were still a little tough) and swathing (which Clem had stopped doing anyway because the lentils are still on the green side).  But it made for a beautiful evening for a walk - not too warm, and a bit of a breeze to keep (most of) the mosquitoes away.  I took the dog and my camera and a desire for a bit of alone time.

This was the view over the west trees.  Talk about "land of living skies"!

And this was the view as I headed out of the yard.

I thought I would check out some of the trees up close, too.  Here's our crabapple tree right behind the house - loaded with apples that need to be picked and sauced!

 Here are some over-ripe chokecherries, which also didn't get picked.  But just check out Mother Nature's color show!

These are buffalo berries, which I don't believe are edible.  Purely for the birds.  And our eyes.

Then I headed down the trail to check out the crops up close.  The barley is coming in nicely.  (Make sure you tell Clem you didn't even notice the weeds!!)

More beautiful sky:

This is my favorite view of the farm, coming up from the south.

The wheat is turning that gorgeous golden hue, and this crop is looking very nice considering the little moisture we've had this year.

Here's proof that crickets take care of grasshoppers.

How can anyone not like the prairies??

And that was my walk in a nutshell.  I must go now and put some Benadryl cream on the mosquito bites on my wrists!!

Good night, and thanks for checking in!