April 18th, 2010:
A wonderful weekend, up to 21°, full sun and not much wind. I walked to coffee today without even wearing a jacket and it felt great!
I had coffee with Mike Tatarynovich and his sister, Donna Kowalchuk, a couple of weeks ago. Mike was passing through on his way home from North Battleford; Donna lives in the city. Mike knows the people who bought Reggie's Restaurant, so of course we went there for coffee. I had talked to the new owners, and knew they ran the Wadena Cafe for many years, but we hadn't been introduced. Their names are Tyler Xie and his wife, Jenny Ip. They seem like very nice, friendly people, and the cafe shines. After twelve years of working eighteen hours a day, they felt it was time to slow down a bit. Reggie's is just open nine hours a day, and closes for statutory holidays.
I asked Mike what moisture conditions were like in his area at Crooked River; he said there was a large, open area just south of his place – several quarters without so much as a tree – and there was no sign of bare ground yet. This at a time when the fields were all bare farther west. I think they got quite a bit more snow than we did, so should be in good shape for spring moisture.
We had a horrible day April 9th, with high winds and blowing snow – the same conditions that hit most of the province. Shingles ripped off, signs blown down, highways closed and lots of fender benders. Visibility was the main problem. We stayed put.
However, the next morning we caught an Odyssey bus to Belcourt, North Dakota to do a bit of gambling. From Saskatoon to about Davidson there was lots of ice on the highway, and snow in the fields. From there on, no snow and no ice. We saw two semis lying on their sides, apparently blown over.
We had a pretty nice trip – we came home with more money than we left with – despite cold and windy weather. However, Belcourt is an Indian reservation and where the casino and hotel were, there was absolutely nothing else to see. Since we didn't have to even step outdoors, we didn't care about the weather. The hotel was nice and had decent sitting and reading facilities – unusual in a casino hotel where they don't want you sitting in your room. The casino was not non-smoking and our clothes smelt strongly at the end of the day. I moved once or twice because of a smoker beside me but otherwise had no problems.
On our way home, we were surprised to see a moose trotting across a wide open field, still down in North Dakota. It seems they are all over the prairies now. We saw several large flocks of small geese in the southern part of Saskatchewan.
Last Tuesday, we got that beautiful rain – almost two inches of the stuff, and it washed down the trees, lawns and roads. It came down hard enough at times to wash the dirt away, but never hard enough to cause problems. We understand that Tisdale got three inches of rain; Nicole said their back yard was a swamp, but I was talking to Shelley Ratcliffe and she didn't know of any flooding problems.
We went to Tisdale Friday to take our income tax stuff. There was still ice on the larger sloughs but the smaller ones were wide open. It was pretty hard to find any snowdrifts. On the way down, we saw two Canadas by a slough, but on the way back there were many huge flocks of small geese and quite a few Canadas. It must have been the time of day when they were looking for something to eat.
We were only in Tisdale long enough to drop off our tax documents, and to have coffee and donut holes at Robin's. In that time, we managed short visits with Donna and Garland Berg, formerly of Porcupine Plain; with Donna and Tom Rudy, who live at Greenwater, and with Gordon Denton.
I asked the Rudys about ice conditions at Greenwater; they tell me the Marina is wide open, and there is a little open water by the shore at their place. Once it opens up a bit and can get blown back and forth, the ice will disappear quickly.
I remembered to take my camera along this trip; there are several interesting old buildings along the way that I wanted pictures of. I was shocked to find I had forgotten how to use my big camera – I usually just take my little waterproof one.
We also drove through Aberdeen, something I hadn't done before. It is quite a thriving little town, with lots of new housing and more being developed. It has an elevator with the old Saskatchewan Pool on the side – there aren't many of them left.
Lots of green tinges in the poplar trees, catkins in the willows, and even a bit of green in the grass by the road. With the last two warm days and sunshine there will be a lot more now.