Category Archives: Uncategorized

Happy Canada Day!

Belleville Canada Day - 123Dentist

Canada is currently going through many of the same ugly nonsense about the evils of our nation going on in the USA. Our founders were not perfect but they had a great goal and they started a nation with the hope of great things. Just because some Canadians were left behind for a while does not negate with the greatness of the founders’ lofty and high ideals.

I do not accept that Canada is flawed, systematically racist, patriarchal and beyond redemption. I do not accept the title of white colonizer and oppressor nor am I filled with guilt for the color of my skin or for sins committed by others mostly from long before my birth. I am a fourth generation Canadian citizen. I don’t feel I have to explain myself to anyone or apologize to anyone for that fact. I embrace a paraphrased dream of Martin Luther King Jr when he said: I have a dream that my four little children will one day live in a nation where they will not be judged by the color of their skin (or the languages they speak or do not speak or their birth place or their treaty status or their ethnic/ancestral homelands) but by the content of their character.

I am proud of the ideals Canada stands for and I am proud to celebrate Canada Day and to thank the founders for this great nation. And if you don’t like it, tough.

1867 competes with 1812, 1608 and 1982 as ‘founding’ dates ...

Storm Season – One Eye on the Sky


This is today’s Environment Canada thunderstorm outlook. This whole thunderstorm prediction page is new for Canadians. Until recently, there was little to no monitoring of  severe storms and even less warning. I did a post about that back in 2014. Back then I pointed this out:

“The Canadian system of forecasting tornados is so primitive that professional storm trackers from the USA consider finding and tracking a tornado in Canada to be the ultimate test of their ability because they get so little help.”

Canada’s one and only confirmed F5 tornado in Elie touched down without anyone at Environment Canada noticing until someone called them to tell them it was happening. Even if Environment Canada noticed, they had no way to warn the public in those days because well….it was Friday evening and everyone had gone out to the lake.

Much of this has changed. There are still issues with storm warnings. In 2014, a storm crossed over from Detroit into Windsor with no warning. I was actually awake watching this particular storm system on radar and I could see it was dangerous. The folks at NOAA were going crazy with red patches all over the map. A local private weather forecasting and warning system known as Ontario Tornado sent out warning tweets to those lucky enough to have their ap. There was silence out of Environment Canada, not even a watch, as tornados pummelled life. There was a lot of justifiable outrage from the Canadian public over that one. When bad things happen in Ontario the government will fix a problem the west of Canada has been complaining about for decades and we finally got our national AlertReady system.

During the Alonsa tornado of 2018 which actually crossed our property, hit with EF4 strength and killed Jack Furrie, 77. The tornado arrived with no local AlertReady warning because MTS-Bell had recently done “upgrades”. In spite of three months of complaints from residents, including official ones from local government officials like our Reeve, Stan Asham, they were apparently totally unaware their “upgrades” had ended all local cell service. Mr Furrie had a landline and he knew people would not be getting the cell phone warning. He also had no basement so fleeing was his only option. He died fleeing to his truck after spending too much telephoning warnings to his neighbours. (If there is a special place in heaven for those who give their lives savings others, Mr Furrie is there.) Meanwhile, the rest of Manitoba all knew Alonsa was being hit by the tornado. Environment Canada was spot on the job that day and they started issuing warnings almost half an hour before the tornado touched down. On the bright side (yes, I say this with heavy sarcasm) Bell-MTS did finally get our local cell phone service working.

And so June has arrived and tornado season is on us. Today we have to keep one eye on the sky and be situationally aware. The sky is already covering with floating popcorn balls that typically indicate severe storms might happen later in the day. My first chore for this morning is to double check the stuff in our tornado shelter/storage closet and make sure we’re ready, just in case.


In March, we developed indoor drips on the south side of the house. Our neighbour is a retired roofer and he came over even though it was nearing 10:00pm. He and I together got up on the roof and we cleared off some ice dams. He told us we needed a new roof. This May he installed it. Once it was all done he posed for us with his fiddle. We were expecting something like a rousing round from Fiddler on the Roof. Our cultural differences became immediately apparent as they sometimes do around here. He’s Metis and he played Devil Went Down to Georgia. We enjoyed it anyway.


He told us yesterday our new roof, made with all the best possible, highest quality of ice and water underlay and finest shingles Canada makes, combined with his skillful application, can take any hailstorm nature cares to throw at us. I find that comforting as I watch the sky although you must excuse me if I hope we never get to test his boast.

“A fiddler on the roof? Sounds crazy, no? But every one of us is a fiddler on the roof!”

And that is especially true during severe storm season.

Building a GreenHouse – Part 1

I have wanted my own greenhouse for as long as I can recall. To me, greenhouses were places of peace and quiet and the bigger the better. At about age 14 or so I created a place in the basement crawlspace and raised plants on an old door under some lights. It was a truly wonderful but rather short experience. It was the start of my love of gardening, an addiction I have never recovered from. Every time I thought of getting myself my own greenhouse there was always something better and more urgent to spend the money on. So I made due with small portable greenhouses such as my pop up 6X6 tent (I found at a church bizaar for $5.00) and the little $40 four shelf one that fits so nicely on my deck.


Spring was unusually cool though not record breaking. I used my greenhouses daytime but for many nights had to bring plants indoors for the nights. This picture was April 26, 2019 which shows how cold our spring often is.

This year I am finally doing it. A big wind came and knocked over my pop-up tent greenhouse and I lost some tomato plants. I was so upset. I reasoned, well, if I can’t get a real greenhouse when I am retired and no longer traveling, when am I ever going to get one? I started shopping. My dream come true one is made in British Columbia and is aluminum and polycarbonate. However, at a mere $4000 and arriving still needing to be put together, I decided I could do better trying something by myself.

After a lot of youtube video and pininterest research I had my plan. I started with this kit from Amazon. It is a basic 2X4 construction kit with end fitting thingies so you only need to cut straight edges. It looked like something I could manage myself. I then bought the lumber they said I would need. (The frame sits on treated wood which you can not see in the picture.) The frame will be covered by polycarbonate sheets that are no where near as strong as the plywood exterior the shed was designed for. To account for that, I am adding lots of extra screws. I am also planning extra cross pieces. I am going to build in my greenhouse shelving so the shelves add to the strength of the frame as well. (I got that idea from this video by Mike Montgomery of Modern Builds.) I made careful note of two major criticisms of Mike’s build in the comments. I have plans for ventilation and I used some two foot rebar spikes to avoid lack of ground anchoring. I even found polycarbonate sheets at 25% at our local Co-op home hardware. So far I have spent just under $800 for the supplies.

I also decided to leave the bottom open and not have a floor after seeing several videos where that ground space was used to grow cold hardy plants like carrots and lettuce in during early spring and late fall in places like Alaska. Since my home is way up near the 51st parallel and is as cold as Alaska, I’ll take whatever I can get in the way of season extensions.


How is it going? The frame is taking shape and I am really pleased! It wasn’t hard so far and I have even been having fun! The directions on the kit are very clear and easy to follow and it works. I am measuring twice and cutting once . (So far.) This is what it looks like as of today. I am working at a slow pace doing an hour or two a day. It is my retirement hobby project after all and I don’t want to work too hard. I’ll keep updating as I go.

I added this picture of one my soft sided flower pots simply because I am so pleased with how pretty it looks. The pansies and marigolds I grew myself from seed. (Now off to get caught up on my weed whacking.)




When you live up near the 51st parallel as we do, frost in late spring is a constant threat. Here it is May 29 and my tomatoes plants spent the night sitting in their pots because I knew this might happen. Container gardening is much more popular in this region for that reason. Now one might think that our short season means no time for vegetable growing and for some crops that is the case. It is a rare thing to get a full sized watermelon up here. However our days are long enough here that the plants grow at a tremendous rate, My pepper plants are already making peppers and my tomatoes will be transplanted into the garden already blooming. The frost issue is a constant fear though. Last year we had a frost that killed off the tops of my zucchini plants and took several of my tomatoes and cucumbers. This year I have been far more diligent about repotting into larger pots instead of putting things in the garden and keeping things longer in my popup tent greenhouse. Yesterday, after two weeks of lovely frost free summery weather, I moved everything back under cover. I am running out of room and some of the tomatoes plants are getting tall and spindly. We typically get weather that comes in three day rounds. We have a forecast for risk of frost tonight to be followed by hot summer weather in the 30C range (86F) so the plan is tomorrow all the bedding plants get planted. They will love it, growing freely in the garden with heat and sunshine.


The other awful thing about these late frosts is it makes getting fruit problematic at best. A bad frost on the wrong day means that particular fruit tree will not produce any fruit at all. My husband was very disappointed because last year’s late frost happen just when the apple blossoms were in their full glory and we did not get even one single apple. Every tree in town was similarly affected. The strip along the Railway Ave (so named where there used to be a railway there sixty years ago) there is a strip of apple trees planted which are available to anyone who wants the fruit they produce. My husband took great pleasure in making fresh apple juice from them. Last year there was no apple juice. However the saskatoon bushes were not yet blooming and so they produced abundantly. The previous year the last late frost came later and hit the saskatoon bushes and so we had no saskatoons that year.


Now that we have stopped our nomadic life and there is no sign we will start it up again, we are looking at our lovely little home for things that will make life easier and better. I have decided to make myself a proper greenhouse. We were going to buy a professional one but the $4000 price tag for the simplest model that can withstand our prairie wind and snow loads ruled that idea out. I have been consulting Pininterest and youtube for ideas and I now have a plan. I think I should be able to make myself a nice greenhouse for under $800. We shall see.

You may recall I was in a state of fearful despair after a bad diagnosis last September. I planted daffodils and crocuses in response. Not one crocus made it but we enjoyed a glorious and lovely brief blast of daffodils that gave us both great joy. Daffodils can take a late unexpected frost and come out unscathed.


Update on FitMi for Stroke Recovery

It has been two weeks now since we got the FitMi and Music Glove. I thought folks might be interested in where we are at with it. Hubby dearest has been faithfully using it every day. All exercises are done while sitting down. He does ten minutes of each. There are four sets in total, Core, Leg, Arm, Hand. He always picks the three that have the lowest score so that way he gets 3 ten minute sessions but he gets through all four sets of exercises over two days. The four workouts started with only three exercises. He could not access the other seven until he had reached a certain level on the first three. After he passed a certain level a new exercise was “unlocked” and added to the routine. Each unlocked exercise was of increasing complexity and difficulty. Each of the ten exercises for each region also has ten levels. So that is 40 different exercises with 10 levels each for a total of 400 levels.

Once he reached level ten on his first exercise he got a gold star on his chart and his goal is now set to infinity. He still has to do that exercise as he cycles through a workout but he does not have to increase the reps. He likes to add one rep to his current score. Every time you beat your own score this little computer crowd sound cheers for you and it is surprisingly gratifying.

When we first got the FitMi he could not even manage the 10 reps for two of the exercises. One exercise was a leg lift and stomp for the affected leg. There is a video you can watch that explains how to do each exercise. The woman in the video said if you can’t do it, use your hands to lift the leg. That’s what he did. He used his hands to lift the leg. Surprisingly enough, as soon as he could do a few lifts, his brain seemed to remember what it was supposed to do and after only two days he could suddenly do the lift without his hands helping. It was like his brain “woke up” and remembered how to do it. He soon began progressing rapidly through the levels for the leg stomp. He has now reached level ten.

Click to access Updated-Exercise-Library-FitMi-RehabStudio-copy.pdf


My husband now has all the exercises unlocked. He has worked three/ten exercises in each of the four up to the infinity level. It is hard work. Even though he is doing these exercises while sitting down, he works up a sweat and he’s huffing and puffing doing over one hundred reps of the unlocked exercises.

Is it working? YES! The day we got the FitMi we walked down to the store where the truck was ready to deliver. We stopped at the post office. A pair of new slip on style shoes without laces had arrived because he was having so much trouble with laces. While I waited my turn at the store, I watched from across the street as he opened the package and then took out the new shoes, removed the old shoes and tried the news ones on. I was shocked and upset. It was painfully obvious he was really weak on the left side. His body was leaning over at 45 degrees. More alarming, he was not using his left side at all. Everything he did was with his right side except for swinging his left arm to use as a brace. He was letting the weak side slide farther into disuse without either of us realizing it. The FitMi has stopped that because he is forced by the program to consciously use his weak side.

The result has been a remarkable improvement in his overall balance and movement. Just today he made breakfast and was whirling from frying pan to cupboard to take out a plate and spinning back to pick up the spatula (with the weak hand) and then loaded my plate and handed it to me. It was all effortless, thoughtless, with no sign of left weakness. When we take the dog for a walk, the heavy left foot swing stomp is gone. He is now rolling his foot almost normally. He also used to stagger a bit so it looked like he’d been drinking as he walked before the FitMi. That’s gone. His gait is not completely normal but it is close to normal. To be fair, it was not normal before the stroke because of an injury with severe break and a big steel plate in the leg plus some arthritis in his knee. It is nice to not know if his slight limp is due to the stroke or the old injury.  He says the leg, especially the calf still feels kind of weak and numb, not entirely normal. He has to consciously remind the leg how to work. However it is working and that says a lot.

So would I recommend the FitMi? Absolutely with one important caveat. One of our friends had a heart attack and he bought a treadmill. He made many promises to himself to use it. It sits in his bedroom, a very expensive clothes rack. The FitMi is the same. If you aren’t going to use it, it will sit in the computer, a very expensive icon on your desktop. You have to be willing to persist in using it because it is hard work and it is all too easy to just skip it and do it later. My husband is really determined to get better so he’s working hard at it every single day. I have had to remind him some days and he quietly grumbles while he sets it up. I also sit with him and watch him work through his routine every third or fourth time to make sure he has the puck in the right orientation and so forth. I am honestly always amazed at how much he has progressed since the last time.

(I got no discount or special benefit from Flint Rehab for writing this.)

Misty Is Three!

Today our Misty is three years old. That makes her an adult dog. Finally. Cute as puppies are, as wonderful as it has been to go on this three year pathway to her adulthood, I am so glad the puppy days are over. I am a dog person not a puppy person.


I went searching for a quote or a saying to describe Misty as a unique dog among the many dogs I have been privileged to share company with over the years. I found this one and it has our Misty written all over it.


“It is amazing how much love and laughter they bring into our lives and even how much closer we become with each other because of them.” – John Grogan (Author, Marley & Me)

Misty is a wonderful dog. She has that quiet easy going, love all people temperament of a typical golden retriever. (Admittedly only after appropriate introductions.) Yet she also has the resolute stand by and guard attitude of the German Shepard. When you first meet her she is standoffish and cool, acting to assess your personality and how her people feel about you. If she knows we’re good with you, then she is good with you.


I’ll never forget the time she went swimming with dolphins. And Pawdy Gras will also be a special memory. One of the worst moments of life with her was when I saw her attacked by two pit bulls. It was then I learned just how fast and tough she can be. When they attacked, she leapt up like a deer and spun like a dervish so they never did get a good grip. She even had one pit bull on the ground on its back pinned by the throat in fight, yet she did not kill that dog even though she could have and it certainly would have killed her if the situation had been reversed. Once she had one dog pinned the other attacker went after the downed dog instead and we were able to make our escape while they fought each other. Misty was bloodied and punctured but the injuries were all minor.


When Dick had his first query stroke, Misty was the one who stuck right beside him during his recovery, guarded him every second and alerted me if he did anything funny or weird. We had a lot of false alarms. She once came to fetch me because he was yawning and then he sneezed at the same time. One should sneeze or yawn but not do both together. Even so, I was so very glad she was there because I felt comfortable going out and working in the yard with him inside. I knew Misty would fetch me if anything happened. She seemed to be able to sense his blank out spells well before me. If I watched her, I could see one coming and make sure he got to bed safely to rest. As he recovered, she became less and less intense in her minding of him until by December he had reverted to his usual place of ‘mere’ beloved Master.


Misty proved her worth again at the second stroke. I am a heavy sleeper and he collapsed at 3:15 am and could not move or speak. It was Misty who woke me up, fussing and whining because this was not right and he should not be lying on the floor waving one arm feebly. I called an ambulance and she seemed to immediately “get” they were there to help. She greeted them with joy and sat watching nearby, her tail wagging, even though she is usually so wary of strangers at first meeting. While he was in hospital, she stayed with me in the hotel or waited in the truck while I was with him. I would drive to the nearby MacDonald’s going to and from the hospital. She was always sad when I came back without him. I would get myself something and then ask her if she would like her usual, a small plain burger with cheese and bacon. She never said no. She would hang out the truck window watching them in the drive through and bark at them if they didn’t bring that order quickly enough. Even after weeks at lock down if you say “Drive through” she perks up. She almost fell apart in her joy when he finally was helped into the truck to go home.


What else can I say about her? She’s a dog. If it’s weird, bark about it until we come and say it’s all right. She likes to chew on bones. She loves cheese and bacon treats. She likes to play with two big horse balls with handles. She doesn’t like fireworks. She’s indifferent to gunfire. She’s still trying to excavate the foundation and looks so upset when I refill the holes. She has a selection of precious stuffed toys that she tends and guards like a mother dog would her babies. She knows a lot of commands, sit, stay, lie down, heel, come, go get, stop that, go to the truck, wait, stop torturing the cat. (That last one is a toughie.) She has big brown eyes and sharp white teeth and flecks of gold so lovely I sometimes think we should have called her Golddust. She has such an endless variety of vocalizations beyond mere barking that she almost talks. She sheds at an incredible rate, ranking number two of all dogs I have owned. (So glad I got her used to being vacuumed as a puppy.) She’s easily the most beautiful dog I have ever owned. When I was in grade school I drew a picture of the most perfect looking dog imaginable. Misty looks just like that dog from her long noble muzzle with her gold speckled fur down to her elegant fluffy tail. That’s Misty Mine.


Good dog!

Stroke Recovery – FitMi and Music Glove

Due to the impending COVID-19 pandemic, my husband was discharged from the hospital after his stroke with no plans for rehab. I have since read it is very common for people who have pontine strokes to make really remarkable recoveries. My husband went from not being able to roll over to walking with the dog and I in two weeks so he seems to be following that pattern.

However we did notice he was having some issues with his balance, weakness in his left side, and fine motor control of his left hand. We could not do then usual routine of going into town for physiotherapy due to the pandemic lockdown. I went on line to try to find some exercises that would help. I found a product called FitMi and Music Glove from Flint Rehab. It was not cheap! After exchange and shipping and import duties and taxes we ended up shelling out about $1000. Our doctor had not heard of it before but when we told him about it he enthusiastically endorsed the concept and wrote us a prescription so we can claim it as a medical expense next year. The box arrived two days ago.


Hubby dearest likes the music glove better than the FitMi. It specifically concentrates on the weakness in his left hand. He does a kind of air guitar as notes go by on a fret and if he hits it right he gets a cheery blip and some nice words. At first we thought the glove was defective because he could not make it go. I tried it and it was easy. That was a sobering outcome. We both knew his hand was bad but we didn’t realize it was THAT bad. He tried the dexterity test included with the Music Glove and we confirmed he has shocking lack of dexterity. He could only score just under 50% and one finger was a mere 22%. He has been faithfully working his fingers three times a day and he is improving rapidly even with only those few sessions. I don’t like to think about what would have happened if we didn’t have this gadget because we didn’t know there was a problem to work on. The brain has the most plasticity and ability to recover during the first three months after the stroke. While it is possible to get recovery and improvement after that, it is harder and sometimes less complete. Since the physiotherapists are unavailable until the lockdown ends…well I’m just so glad we have this Music Glove. Otherwise we might have missed the window.

He likes the FitMi less. It is more of a workout. As with the Music Glove the FitMi soon showed significant weakness in certain exercises requiring he use the left leg. Some of the leg exercises he could do easily and breeze through. However one in particular he couldn’t manage at all until he had practiced it several times. The FitMi has four areas of exercising including arm, leg, core and hand. The core one is particularly important because core relates to balance and he can’t turn suddenly or step backwards without feeling like he might fall. t’s also a work out all by itself. I made a video showing how it works while he does one of the core exercises. If he can stay motivated and keep up these exercises, this nifty well designed, easy to use gadget should make a significant difference in his recovery. The $1000 Canadian still smarts but if you figure in the cost of driving to town and regular physiotherapists it is probably going to be cheaper over the longer run.

(I got no discount or special benefit from Flint Rehab for writing this.)

Was It COVID-19?

As you may recall, my husband had a right side lateral pontine stroke, apparently his second one, although we still don’t have the straight scoop on the first one. Two specialists said there as no evidence of the first stroke and it was a transient ischemic episode related to the inner carotid artery dissection. One specialist and one other doctor said the first episode was a very mild stroke and our family doctor said it best when he just shrugged and asked who cares? It really doesn’t matter except possibly for insurance companies. Since the second stroke is absolutely for certain a stroke, it doesn’t make any difference now what we call the first episode.

So background: Hubby dearest was released from hospital the first time on a very complex multi drug regimen that caused him all kinds of side effects which made him miserable and made my life feel really hard some days. We eventually weaned him off all the drugs except the blood thinner clopidogrel bisulfate (generic form of Plavix), daily aspirin and his regular blood pressure med cilazapril, and I got my husband back. A January MRI showed the carotid artery had healed, there was no sign of any stroke or micro strokes and he could stop the blood thinners after a final CT confirmed what the MRI showed. That was scheduled for March 10.

On Feb 28th we noticed his toes had turned red/purple and his baby toes looked nearly black. The bottom of his feet were solid bruises and the tops speckled red. After a quick consult with our family doctor we stopped the blood thinner before the confirming CT assuming it was the blood thinner causing this. After two days the awful black and blue look had resolved and his feet looked normal. He felt fine through it all.

March 3rd I came down with an awful bug. I had only a low grade fever (37.6 at the highest) but for four days it was all I could do to get in and out of bed. The bug included a horrific headache that stabbed all the way down my spine. My sense of smell was gone even though I had no runny noise or any cold symptoms but the glands in my neck were swollen and sore and I was wracked by coughing. I also felt short of breath and my usual asthma bronchodilator did little to nothing to fix that sensation. At one point I also called the health department’s number to see if I should get tested for the coronavirus. At that time you only got tested if you have been to China or had a confirmed close contact with someone who had a positive test after being in China.

I also had a bizarre collection of neurological symptoms included come and go weakness on one side, dizziness, weird twitches and my vision came and went in one eye. I recalled thinking I should probably get up and call an ambulance because maybe this was meningitis or encephalitis but I was too tired so I went back to sleep instead. When I woke up a few hours later I was finally feeling better so I reassured my worried husband all was well. The headache finally eased and on the fifth day, March 7th, I felt well enough to get up and go back to my household chores. For the next two weeks I was dragging myself around feeling absolutely awful but functional. I napped and rested a lot. March 8th Dick was feeling a bit off and he had a low grade fever in the evening and I thought, here we go, he got my bug now, but by morning he was feeling fine.

It was the early morning of March 10th when Dick’s second stroke occurred. I was still recovering from the bug I had. I told the paramedics about my recent flu-like bout and they put a mask on my husband before doing anything. He arrived at the hospital with the mask on. A nurse took his temperature, decided he was normal and the mask was gone. I bring all this up because there are now reports out there about COVID-19 causing COVID toes in mild cases. Also COVID-19 infection is associated with stroke. The doctors have poo-poohed my thought on this because my husband is in his seventies, had a previous query stroke and we had no history of confirmed exposure. Admittedly there was nothing in imaging and no reason for him to have had the second stroke. His carotid artery showed as healed in the CT and MRI he had in the immediate aftermath of the stroke so that was deemed not part of the picture. This second stroke had nothing to do with the carotid artery dissection, but could COVID be causing blue toes and a stroke? No way, the doctors said.

We will not know if we have been exposed to COVID-19 until the antibody test finally comes out. Even if we do test positive, we will not know if that was the cause of the stroke. Such is life’s uncertainty. I prefer to think that it was COVID-19 because one of the doctors told me I needed to think about quality of life not quantity during his hospitalization. This whole second stroke episode indicates my husband has diseased brain arteries that are not showing up as such in the imaging. He will likely have repeat strokes and drop dead one day sooner or later, probably sooner. (Okay the doctor said it using far nicer words than that but that is what he said.) That prognosis is far worse than thinking he got it and is now recovering from a stroke caused by COVID-19 unrelated to the carotid artery dissection. In any case, he’s not dead yet.

Be Like a Pansy.


Today was the first time in a very long time that we had nice sunny weather and the forecast is for more of the same. We have ahead of us days of double digit highs (celsius double digit) with the night falling just below freezing. I put my plants out in my mini greenhouse so they get the sun. They still come inside for the night. I will soon need to get my larger pop up greenhouse up as they are all growing so fast I have no room left. No sign yet of the daffodils or crocus I planted last fall when I was wondering if my husband would be around to enjoy them. Well he’s still here and still alive and I’m still waiting.

Two days ago the Manitoba government announced we can look forward to another thirty days of lock down but there is talk of letting up a bit. Our province, in the middle of the country with one airport and a lot of wide open space has had it easy compared to other provinces. Our total of infections is a blessedly low of 257 total cases with a mere six deaths for a million people. We have not had the virus decimate any care homes here. Our curve is flattened. The lockdown happened very early on the curve for us. Other parts of Canada are counting the dead by the hundreds. I was talking to a friend from Holland on line and remarked that the deaths their have finally dropped to a daily total very close to our entire set of active cases to date. That brought home just how lucky we have been in Manitoba.

Very little of my life has changed. Our small town continues to do the small town things except without the organized social events. I see my neighbours out walking or working in their yard. We say hello from a distance. I miss the senior dinners and the local sports. I miss the daily noise of children playing drifting over from the school yard. The trucks still come in making deliveries and we walk the dog around the periphery of town each day. We make a stop at the post office to check for mail. I canceled getting the flyers because I don’t want to be tempted to run into town and spend money. Usually there is no mail.

Today we went to see the nearby Garrick creek. At some point soon the lake will melt enough that the fish will begin migrating up the creek to spawn. If we are careful and avoid the good fish where there are limits, like pike and pickerel, we might be able to dip net a few of the “garbage fish” and make gefilte fish. There’s a local sucker that makes a fabulous gefilte fish. However, as of today the lake is still frozen and the creek, while running with the spring melt, has no fish. Once the official season opens in a couple of weeks we might pack a picnic lunch and try some real angling. If we pick our spot, we can easily maintain a proper social distance.

The robins came back a couple of days ago. I was happy to see them. I am really waiting for the swallows and hummingbirds though. When they arrive it really is spring and summer. They won’t come until there are bugs in the air. The ticks are out. The bugs won’t be far behind. We are hoping to get some canoeing in this summer. Our favourite places to canoe in Riding Mountain National Park are closed because of COVID19. I don’t know if they will open any time soon as parks are not considered essential. Still, we have a few other special spots not regulated by government. Hubby dearest has recovered enough that canoeing is feasible so we are richly blessed.

It is strange to consider our lifestyle and where we live relative to the rest of the world in light of COVID19. We made choices like living small, buying and renovating an old house instead of new one, living simple and debt free. The result is we are mostly content. The virus has not made much of an impact on our daily life. For me it is less what has changed about our life and far more what we can’t choose to go and do that bothers me. I liked having the choice even if I mostly chose to stay home and do nothing when I could choose. Being seniors at risk we face a long stretch of more of this isolation. I expect we won’t be out and about freely until there is a vaccine or we pass an seroconversion test showing we already had this bug and didn’t know it.

I started some pansies from seed and to my delight, one plant is about to bloom and the rest are close behind. Flowers are a poor person’s jewels and I am about to be blessed with the most beautiful jewels of all. I love pansies because they look like cheerful smiling faces when they bloom. Pansies are small and don’t take up much room in the garden. They can grow happily in low light in those little nooks and spaces that just don’t work for much else. They bloom all summer long. Pansies are tough enough they can survive a frost that kills the bigger fancier blooms. Maybe we should all be like pansies.

No More Buying From China

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As the Cornavirus runs through our society, it has become increasingly clear that a large part of our problem is China, or more specifically the communist government of China. I have plenty of Chinese friends and coworkers. They are by in large good decent hard working people. Many have lived in Canada for more generations than my immigrant family has. I know a few immigrants from China who love Canada more than I do because they know what it is like to live under that regime. I have nothing against Chinese people. However the communist Chinese government, Chicom, is a nightmare of evil.

Their activity released the virus. Their denial and cover up caused the world wide spread. They went on a campaign to buy up every bit of personal protective equipment there was. Now they are using the crisis to sell personal protective equipment at grossly inflated prices, much of it defective. They even took Italy’s donation and SOLD it back to them! The same wet markets that they say were the source of the virus are open again! There is a joke running around that because the virus is from Chicom it will quit working soon even if we do nothing. There is a lot of truth to that. Made in Chicom frequently means junk. Worse it means cheap junk supporting an evil empire.

The entire point of opening ourselves up to Chicom was to help the oppressed Chinese people see the glories of freedom and slowly but surely nudge them towards democracy. Plus we got to save some loonies. Instead, the west has been slowly but surely nudged into becoming pale reflections of themselves handing control of our lives over to Chicom. Everything raw resource in Canada, from wood to fish, is now sent to Chicom. From there it is processed, often under dubious conditions that harm the earth, and sold back to us. Chicom has infiltrated our businesses, our media, our universities, our politics, our international organizations and even our cell phones. This virus SARS2 is the second pandemic that started in Chicom not the first. They put lead in our children’s toys. They poisoned our pets. Fool me once, shame on you. Fool me two, three, four, five times and what am I and just who should ashamed?

Enough! It is time we end this. The pathetic response of our government to this COVID19 crisis, their corrupt grovelling to China’s dictates, shows me that we Canadians must depend on ourselves to get through this pandemic. It also shows me that we Canadians must depend on ourselves to get free of Chicom. When I went shopping a few days ago, wearing my mask and keeping my minimum six feet from the next shopper, I paused by the canned mushrooms. The ones from China were $1.39. Beside them were mushrooms from British Columbia for $1.62. I decided right then and there to pay the extra 23 cents/can. I know that it is entirely possible that the purported British Colombia mushrooms came from China and only the label was made in British Columbia but it was a start. I would rather pay 23 cents more for a can of mushroom to support Canadian jobs and Canadian people then save that 23 cents by sending my $1.39 to China.

I decided that from this day forward I will not buy one single thing from China if I can at all avoid it. It won’t be easy because so many thing come from China and no where else. If I can’t find something not made in China that I must have, then I will only buy something second hand from a Canadian so no new money goes to China. I will buy Canadian first. I will buy American second. I will buy Israeli, Indian, British, German, Taiwanese, Danish or any democracy after that. I will buy anything but Made in China. Time to break the evil Chicom hold on the world. My effort is just a small laughable drop in the bucket but if enough of us do it, it will make a difference.