Monday, November 28, 2011

Quick Takes

1.  It feels like spring here.  The temperatures have been above freezing for nearly a week, which is rather a rarity in these parts in late November.

2.  A shout out to two of my favourite aunts (aren't they all?), who are celebrating their birthdays today.  They are fabulous ladies, and I am blessed to be part of such a wonderful family. 

3.  It is also my parents' anniversary today, so "Happy Anniversary", you two!  Thanks for getting hitched and staying that way!

4.  Adam came to visit yesterday.  He was hungry.  His new room-mate doesn't like to pay rent or buy groceries, but he really likes eating.  Makes for not so nice living arrangements and an empty fridge.  On the upside, Adam drove himself here!  Yessirree, he has his license back.  And his brother's car.  That may be another reason he can't afford groceries...

5.  Stephen came to visit yesterday, too.  Well, not so much visit as take things.  He needed some warm duds for work, where he goes tomorrow.  He didn't eat, though, as he apparently had a really good time the night before and was feeling a little under the weather.  He got in a few hockey games while he was on days off, but his presence didn't seem to help, and the Rage remains in bottom place in the league with very few marks in the win column.  We've got heart, though!

6.  We now have only one billet, a very nice young man from Hay River, NWT.  He has a part-time job in town.  It's supposed to be full-time, but he has a getting-up problem.  I'm thinking he will shortly have a no-time job.

7.  Derek continues to amuse us with his teen-age antics.  (Excuse me while I remove my tongue from my cheek.)  He's having another great hockey year, and his team remains undefeated at 6 and 0.   His report card wasn't nearly as scary as I thought it would be - he will live another day.

8.  Clem's friend is building us new doors for the kitchen cupboards.  I am excited.  And sick about the work that entails - cleaning, rearranging, painting.  Oh well, I will add it to the list!

9.  I got to see my nephew the other day for a wee visit.  He really is adorable, and so bright.  And he has the most gorgeous big brown eyes.  Almost perfect, really, especially if you ask his dad.  And we will all get to enjoy him and my cute-patootie niece for Christmas this year, when my whole family will join us Christmas Day.  Well, except Lisa, unless she surprises us from Chile.  But we will have the Skype ready. 

10.  I've been busy with the Junior hockey team, three choirs, and my work at the library.  Clem is, as he likes to say, on days off.  Although he is getting a few little jobs done around here.  He hurt his wrist at harvest, though, and it has been giving him a lot of grief.  He's been doctoring, and hopefully they can soon diagnose and treat it!

So that's about it from the Schaefel ranch.  Thanks for stopping by!

Monday, October 17, 2011


I'm feeling a little 'unanchored' these days.  Fall has always been my favourite season (although I have been known to waffle a bit with spring), but this year I am resenting it for some reason.  Maybe I am resisting change in all forms, or perhaps the idea of fall is just hitting too close to home in the age department.  Whatever.  But I started taking early morning walks with a friend again, and I'm coming around to the beauty of the season.  So I got my camera out - and realized I've been missing being behind the lens.  Here is a bit of what I've seen from there!

 I love the skies!

Finally took some time to get some shots of this old bin that has been calling me for a while now!

And here are some photos from Derek's football, which, as you can tell by the smile on his face, he loves!!!

He's a little bigger than the rest!

Best buds.

 When I went to download the pictures from the camera, I found that Derek had been using it, and captured some great shots!!

Thanks for checking in!  Please sign your name if you leave a comment - I'm sure you aren't all named "anonymous"!!


Friday, October 07, 2011

Anniversary day

Twenty-two years ago, I married my best friend.  It was a gorgeous fall day - unlike today - and we were surrounded by friends and family.  Literally.  Do you have any idea how big my family is?  When we watch the video of the wedding, it always appears as though the church is leaning to one side - the bride's side!  Luckily, many friends came from Calgary and other parts to even things out.  I recall suggesting we just put a general invite in the local paper, as it would have saved a lot of time and postage!!   But seriously, it was incredible to have all those people come to help us celebrate.  And we did celebrate.  The evening was full of humour and song, and my mom always says it was one of the nicest weddings she had ever attended.

And speaking of my mom, it's her birthday today, and it's a big one.  Let's just say she's eyeing up a spot at the public trough.  Two of my brothers are enroute to help her celebrate the big day, although it is my belief they are just going for the turkey supper.

It was Clem's birthday yesterday.  When we were picking a wedding date, I thought having his birthday the day before our anniversary would help him to remember.  I was wrong.   But that's OK.  He's perfect in (almost) every other way.  I really lucked out.  I couldn't have found a kinder, more thoughtful and loving life partner.   I often hear women complaining about their husbands, and I am always so grateful that I really don't have anything to complain about!

Adam is getting his license back!  Originally they said he would have to wait another six months and take more counselling, but he went through an appeal process and prevailed!  Apparently the system is somewhat skewed against teen drivers,  but the lady he worked with found him very honest and sincere, and went to bat for him.  She rocks!  He is now working at a local oilfield service business which pays quite well while he decides what he really wants to do with his life.   It is so good to see him smiling and laughing again!

Stephen is on his second shift up north.  He seems to like the job, and is catching on to how things work.   He and his room-mate were busy setting up house while he was home, and I giggled to myself as I watched yet another of my sons discover the high cost of living on one's own!  Stephen is playing with the local junior hockey team when he is home.  Two of the other players are billeting here.  They are from Kelowna, and we are kept amused (?) as the all-knowing teen-age city slickers learn about farm life and small-town Saskatchewan.

Derek enjoys having other kids around, although the feeling may not always be mutual.   He is back in the thick of things with school, football, and hockey.  He is also looking for ways to make money, so if you need a big strong boy with the gift of the gab for any small job, he's your man!

I went looking for a picture from our wedding to put on here, but I'm too old and tired to dig through the boxes piled up in the still-to-be-refinished basement.   So here's a more recent one.  Just think younger and thinner.  And I was wearing white.

Thanks for stopping by, and we wish you many Thanksgiving blessings!

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Quick takes

1.  Stephen is arriving home today from his two-week stint up north.  He's an operator in an oilfield near Fort Nelson, but that is absolutely all I know about his work.  That, and his quad doesn't have power steering.  Perhaps he'll be more forthcoming in person than he was while texting.   I will ply him with food - we are planning a belated birthday supper for him this week.  He celebrated his 18th birthday in a dry camp.  Oh, the irony.

2.  We are getting two Jr. B hockey billets.  I've been cleaning.

3.  Clem and I attended my aunt's funeral last week.  It was a beautiful service.  Clem sang a very moving hymn, and later had little old ladies coming up to book him for their funerals.  He could be a busy guy!  It was so good to reconnect with most of my paternal relatives, even if it was such a sad occasion.  More good memories were created.

4.  I traveled with a friend to the big lights of Saskatoon to meet some of the others with whom we traveled to Africa.  Norm was bringing back the boy he had been sponsoring at Ussongo for a few years.  Kisamo, 18, has a two-year visa, and will go to school in Humboldt and possibly university if he can qualify.   It was great to see some of the 'gang', and Norm was touched that we would drive in to meet them.  

5.  Harvest has been interrupted for a couple of days due to the weather.  The machinery has been holding up, thank goodness, and the flax is almost all swathed.  I finally got out to take a few photos; unfortunately, it was when I was supposed to be at choir practice.  Oops.  

Here's Derek picking up some lentil swaths.

 And posing for the camera.  Mr Hollywood with his fancy Oakleys!

And here's Adam straight-cutting wheat (which this year is hard to find in the wild oats!!) 

Such a pretty sky - even a few geese in the distance! 

6.  My cana lily bloomed before it froze this year, something of a rarity here.  Such a beautiful flower.

7.  Derek had to get new skates - again.  His shoe size is the same as his age - 13 - and I see no light at the end of the tunnel.  I have heard horror stories from other parents about special-ordering skates.  I don't even want to think about it.

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

Wednesday, September 07, 2011


That's how I feel right now.  We just learned that Brad McCrimmon died in a plane crash in Russia, along with most of the hockey team he was coaching there.  Brad is from Plenty, and although I only met him once, was by all accounts a great guy.  He will be sorely missed.  My brothers met him, and had their picture taken with him, when he brought the Stanley Cup to Plenty one year.  Good memories.   RIP Brad.

Add to that the fact that my aunt is very ill, and the yucky feeling grows.  I made a quick trip to visit her the other day, and although it was hard to see her like that, I'm glad I went.  She has had a tough life, and fought many health issues over the years.  My favorite memory of her is helping her wash vegetables one summer day when we stopped at their farm.  She told me many stories about her mom, the grandma I never knew.  It was such a special time.  So we are praying hard for her and for her family.   You can, too, if you like!

Poor Clem is still fighting with the combine.  It's too early to tell who will win, but I hope it's Clem, because with this hot weather, the crops will be ready in no time!

Thanks for stopping by.

Wednesday, August 31, 2011

My glamorous life.

I feel so privileged to not have a real job.  Instead, I get to stay home and do fun things like scrub the garbage cans (because my guys have as good an aim there are they do in the bathroom!)  But I also get to be home when my baby leaves for his first day of Grade 8.  I was informed last night that there would be NO pictures taken of his first day of school this year. None.  Nada.  End of discussion.  So you will just have to imagine the idyllic scene - 6 foot, husky 'boy' running out the door, almost forgetting his lunch and book bag, to get on the bus that was waiting in the yard (yep, the one he had heard drive down the road and then remarked "bus is here").  I had to 'lovingly' rouse him from his bed an hour earlier, and then 'lovingly' remind him to not take too long in the shower as the house was filling with steam, and then 'lovingly' ask him to feed his dog (the one that has taken to sleeping in the front flower bed again).  Oh, what glamour.  My spidey sense is telling me that this is going to be another looooong school year.  That, and the talk mail informing us that there will be early dismissal the first Thursday of each month.  You know what tomorrow is?  The second day of school, and THE FIRST THURSDAY OF THE MONTH.  Seriously.  Early dismissal on the second day of school.  I think I will start a pool to see who can guess how soon I will receive the first "Mrs. Schraefel" phone call from the school.  Got to keep this glamorous lifestyle going!

Well, Stephen made it home from Australia - eventually.  My favourite national airline got him from Calgary to Sydney and back to Vancouver before deciding to make my life hell again.   We had gone to Calgary the night before he was to arrive, and knew he had landed in Vancouver at 9 in the morning.  The next text said he missed his connection, that he was on stand-by, and it would probably be 8:30 that night before he could get on a flight.  So, after spending $3000, we spent another $200 and got another, much easier-to-deal-with airline to fly him home.  I think I will start a Westjet fan club.   Just after he got home, he started looking for another place to call his own.  He and a buddy are renting a house in K-town, and he starts his sort-of-new job on Tuesday.  He is going back to work at Fort Nelson, where he had a summer job last year.  He works two weeks in and then has two weeks off, and they now have a charter flight out of Kindersley.  The only thing I'm too worried about is what he'll do with two weeks off!

I've been spending some time at the lake.  Clem graciously got me a laptop (there's that glamorous life again!) so that I could do the farm books while holidaying in the camper!  Actually, I've quite enjoyed it - lots of me time, in the fresh air, no mosquitoes, and hardly any other campers.  And I got the books caught up!

While I was lazing at the lake, Clem and the boys have been attempting to harvest.  It's been swather tag around here - as Clem gets one swather going, the other one breaks down.  He said if we had any money he'd have bought a new one by now.  He probably could have with what he's spent on parts!   The upside is that to keep the operators busy, the summerfallowing is also getting done.  Thanks, Adam!  The peas have been combined and are in the bin awaiting purchase by some lucky buyer.  They are really nice this year.  Derek is the newest combine operator on the Schraefel ranch, and is loving it.  He was just pumped when he got the call from dad to fill his water jug and head out!  Hope that excitement for the job lasts for a few years.

We have been enjoying the bounty from the garden again this year - corn, cucumbers, and tomatoes right now.  The freezer is full of beans, and the cold room will be stuffed with potatoes and carrots.  I grew kohlrabi this year for the first time - it will get planted again next year!  There is absolutely nothing like fresh garden produce!!

That's about all the glamour for now.  Stay tuned for harvest pictures!
Thanks for checking in!

Sunday, August 07, 2011

Stephen is American???

I just saw on Facebook - herald of all that is true and occurring - that the USA Eagles beat the Central Coast Rhinos in the final game of the Australian International Ice Hockey Cup.   And, lo and behold, there was my son, wearing an American jersey, in the team's victory picture.   Will wonders never cease?  Actually, I need one more wonder, at least.  I need Stephen to be on the plane that lands in Calgary tomorrow morning.  We haven't heard anything at all from him since before the final game, so I really hope he makes his flight!

Saturday, August 06, 2011

Hmmm....what's on my camera?

My goodness, what a busy month.  It felt busy, and then when I looked to see what pictures were on the camera, it was confirmed!

Stephen has been having a blast 'down under'.  They played their last game last night, and I imagine they are 'celebrating", to put it mildly.  There are some photos and videos on the website (click here) if you are interested.  Stephen is #15, and you'll see him banging his stick on the ice after allowing the other team to score!  He flies into Calgary Monday morning, so Clem and I will go tomorrow and do a little visiting before we pick him up at the airport.

Derek has been having a wonderful summer.  His good friend's family has invited him twice to go to the lake with them.  He is there now.   He also got to go with Lisa to visit Rob and family at Amber's family cabin for a few days.  It was good for him to get some one-on-one time with his aunts and uncle, and they didn't seem to mind too much!

Lisa was here from Chile for a couple of weeks.  It is 'winter' there, so to speak, so she was happy to enjoy some Saskatchewan/Alberta sunshine.  It was great to see her again, too!

Kerrobert celebrated its Centennial in July.  Clem and I were rather involved with many of the events, so it was somewhat exhausting.  But it was great to see so many people here, especially some of the Schraefel clan.  All of Clem's siblings were home, even Carl!  We had a wonderful visit here at the farm the night before the festivities began.

Chris' son, Brendan, and his partner, Kristy, were here from Toronto.  Some of you will recognize him from "Men With Brooms" or the Trident Splash commercials.   He is just starting his new role as a daddy - yahoo! 

Mark's family visited a couple of weeks prior to the Centennial, although not all at once.  They arrived in shifts, so to speak.  It was so good to see them all again, especially little Sara, Nick's daughter.  I love being an auntie!

I always like to get a shot of these birthday 'twins'.  They are never quite as thrilled! 

Clem was very busy designing and building a portable stage, with the help of many others.  It belongs to our Jr. B hockey team, and was to be used for the Centennial street dance that got rained out.  Like, really rained out - two inches in a very short time.  But we managed to keep the party going in the rink, and the stage worked well the next day for the sod-turning for our new hospital.  

We had fun getting it into town! 

I have been keeping busy in the garden, although this year has been extra fun because a good friend is joining me in the work in exchange for some of the harvest.  There is always more than we can use anyway, so it is a very advantageous arrangement for me!  

Here is what the garden looked like on July 7:

And here it is at the end of July:

It's amazing what some heat and rain will do!  We are so enjoying all the fresh goodies.  Clem always says he feels so good at this time of the year.

I also spend a big of time in the flower gardens.  They are looking quite fine this year, as well!

Found this lupine growing in the back of the garden - not sure how it got there, but it is a welcome addition! 

 The last photo found on the camera is of the infamous Grad barn outside of town.   You can see Stephen's name on the very top left side.  (He calls himself Steve.)  I'm glad I wasn't there to see him do the painting!  Yikes!

And that's it  - you're all caught up!  Feels good, doesn't it?  ;)
Thanks for stopping in!