Wednesday, December 31, 2008

The Year in Review

The Bag Lady admires all those bloggers out there who take the time to go through their archives, pick out the posts that they enjoyed, or that got the best responses or the most reaction...... but..... she's too freakin' lazy to do all that!

Some of her posts really stick out in her mind. Unfortunately, she's so lazy, she forgets to label her posts, so can't find any of them to link to. ~~Sigh.~~

Remember this one? Camping was such fun, even if the weather wasn't the best. The Bag Lady loves making videos, but hasn't had any really good subjects lately.

And this post got the most comments.

Okay, enough reminiscing. Most of the Bag Lady's Blather is simply that - blather! Thank you all for reading, though! The Bag Lady enjoys sharing her rather mundane life with you, and hopes that some of what she blathers on about is occasionally interesting, or educational, or at the very least, amusing!

She has decided not to make any New Year's resolutions. (*gasp*) Yes, she is breaking with tradition and will greet the New Year with only a smile. It's too damned hard to find anything new to resolve to do, or not do, or lose, or quit, or start, or..... (all the old ones have been broken and beaten to death - you know you're getting old when you've broken every New Year's resolution ever invented....).

What about you? Have you made a New Year's resolution? And how long before you think you'll break it?

Monday, December 29, 2008


Here, finally, is the finished product!

This is the Bag Lady's niece, who kindly consented to having her picture plastered all over the Bag Lady's blog! (Personally, the Bag Lady thinks her niece could have a second career as an Internet model, but the Bag Lady might be just a wee bit prejudiced!)

As predicted, the fabric was a little difficult to work with, and the lining material was even worse, but the Bag Lady thinks everything turned out well, and her niece was pleased with it. She seemed quite thrilled to have a new, unique dress to bring in 2009. (Doesn't she look good?!)

Monday Morning

This is just a short little post to let you know the Bag Lady survived Christmas! She hopes everyone had a wonderful Christmas. Hers was great; filled with food, family and fun.

She is still a little tired from all the festivities, and has been working on the dress for her niece. She is hoping to have some pictures to share with you a little later on today.

The weather has warmed up slightly, for which the Bag Lady is grateful. The Rancher had a few days off over the Christmas holidays, so he has been doing the chores. Now that he's back to work, the Bag Lady has to take over, and she's glad it isn't as cold as it was! She also really hopes that the temperature doesn't drop back down as low as it was. Minus 40 is just too darned cold!
It is much more tolerable now, only in the minus 20's (Celsius). Of course, the Bag Lady doesn't really like it too cold (or too hot either, for that matter.... must be a Goldilocks thing!)

How was your holiday?

Friday, December 26, 2008

Nice Recovery

During the Christmas festivities at the Bag Lady's house, a Downy Woodpecker got confused when leaving the feeder and smacked into the Bag Lady's kitchen window!

The Rancher went outside to check on him and discovered him nearly unconscious on the snow-covered deck. The Rancher picked him up and held him in his warm hands to help him recover: (click on any of the pictures to enlarge)

The poor little guy was in a stupor for quite some time:

But he did finally manage to lift his head:

The Rancher held him while he got his bearings:

He did eventually recover and the Rancher released him.

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Rudolph, Is That You?

The Bag Lady had a visitor yesterday. He ordinarily only comes around at night, but he is getting bolder, so she managed to get a few pictures of him today. The bird-feeder that he was busy raiding is right at the bottom of the steps going up to the Bag Lady's deck. He was cleaning it out when the Bag Lady caught sight of him:

He looked at her as if to say "Is that all there is?"

Then he slowly went on his way:

(Of course, the Princess realized there was an intruder in "her" yard about then and practically tore the door down, so the Bag Lady let her out and she chased the deer away. It's almost the only exercise she gets when it's this cold....!)

The Bag Lady spent part of the day in the kitchen, making pastry and shortbread. For the amount of time it took her, and the energy expended, it doesn't seem as though she produced very much. Of course, she still has quite a bit of pastry to make other things with....

Here is another photo of the fruits of her labours:

Butter tarts and shortbread....who could ask for anything more?!

And finally, from the Bag Lady's place to yours:

Happy Holidays, everyone!

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Almost Ready

Well, it's coming down to the crunch. The Bag Lady has been such a slacker, she is going to have to really put out today and do some baking, some cleaning and some decorating.

She and the Rancher went to town yesterday and did some grocery shopping. They bought a nice turkey and a ham, and all manner of vegetables and other tasty things. The Bag Lady is going to bake shortbread and some pastry (butter tarts, her favourite!) and do a few other preparatory things today. Tomorrow she has another appointment with the physiotherapist early in the day, then she will come home and do the few last minute things before she and the Rancher sit down in front of the woodstove for a quiet Christmas Eve.

She wanted to share what it looks like when it's really cold in town, so here's a picture she took yesterday:

She was trying to capture the way the smoke from the lumber mill is flattening out due to the warmer air above it. Of course, she missed a whole bunch of really cool pictures, but what else is new?

Monday, December 22, 2008

Aw, Nuts!

The Bag Lady finally started decorating for Christmas....

She decided to display her nutcracker collection on her antique ironing board this year. There are too many of them now for the window ledge.

What about you? Do you collect anything? Do you decorate a lot for Christmas?

Saturday, December 20, 2008

Weather Report

It is cold. Almost minus 40. The Bag Lady's office has ice on the windows. On the inside!

She is hoping to get some holiday baking done today - that should help warm up the house.

She also needs to bundle up and go outside to get more fire wood for her stove. She has a wood-burning stove in her living room that helps heat the whole house. But when it's this cold outside, the furnace has to run, too.

At least the sky is clear. The high pressure system that is bringing the cold weather down from the north is keeping the clouds away. So it is sunny. Not much consolation.

What's the weather like where you are?

Friday, December 19, 2008

Little Link......

The Bag Lady encourages everyone to visit Mizfit's site today for a good cause.

To clarify - for every comment she receives on today's post (from now until Christmas Eve), she will donate a dime to a local shelter in her area (Austin, TX). Such a worthy cause deserves the couple of minutes it takes us to leave a comment on her site!

Thursday, December 18, 2008

Practice Makes Perfect

The Bag Lady has quite a sense of accomplishment today. She was a busy little beaver yesterday! She fed her cows and the calves. She also put out bedding for the calves again. She did some sewing, and, last but definitely not least, managed (finally) to steam-clean her living room carpet.

Then she fell into bed sometime around 1 am. (In fact, immediately after she finished posting this!)

Here is a photo of what she's been so busy sewing:

This is the practice dress for the dress she is going to make for her niece. Actually, this is the second practice dress (the Bag Lady really believes in the old adage "practice makes perfect"!) She first made the dress out of broadcloth and it will be winging it's way to her niece this weekend. She will try it on and see how it's going to fit. When it comes back, the Bag Lady will make note of any adjustments that need to be made, then start on the real dress!

She has another physio appointment today, so will be off to town yet again! This is proving a little trying for the Bag Lady - she's not accustomed to going to town so often. Especially in the winter when the roads aren't always the best. Maybe this time around, she'll finish up her Christmas shopping!

What about the rest of you? Are you finished shopping and all ready for Christmas?

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Wednesday Woes

Oh, the weather outside is frightful, and going to get worse, apparently! It's been in and out of the deep-freeze in the past few days, and heading back in soon. Winter in Alberta.

The Bag Lady took her mother-in-law to town yesterday for appointments. It was a long day, due in part to a mix-up with mother's appointment (the booking office told her to be there at 10 am for a 10:30 appointment, but the clinic didn't have her on their roster until 1:30 pm! And of course, they were running late, anyway!)

The Bag Lady dropped her at the hospital and did some shopping and running around, then went for her own physio appointment and hurried back to the hospital, thinking mother would be done and waiting. She was a little surprised to find that she hadn't gotten in yet because by this time it was after 12 pm. It was only after the nurse called another fellow who had been waiting with mother and had mentioned that his appointment was scheduled for almost an hour after hers that the Bag Lady decided inquire. The nurse who discovered the mix-up was quite accommodating and got mother in right away. It was still quite some time before she was done - lunch was delayed until almost 4 pm!

The Bag Lady is more than happy to stay home today and try to get caught up on some of the chores that have been neglected in the last few days. She has mountains of laundry to attend to, needs to do some more cleaning and start decorating for Christmas. The weather is also making her want to hunker down and hibernate until, oh... April! It's been alternating between really quite cold and slightly warmer. When it warms up slightly, it snows.

The Bag Lady also discovered that she has no sound on her computer. She isn't sure where the problem lies, so will have to do some investigating. Her cat likes to sleep and play amongst the wires under the desk, but the wires all seem to still be connected properly. The Bag Lady will have to crawl under the desk to make sure, but she thinks it is something else. Any suggestions?

Edited to say that the Bag Lady's tried and true* method worked yet again and she can now 'hear' on her computer again! (*turned it off, counted to 100 and turned it back on!) Modern technology - gotta love it!

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Another Quickie!

The Bag Lady has hit the ground running this week. She is off to town today for appointments for herself and her mother-in-law, just as soon as she finishes making the Rancher's lunch for work tonight and feeding cows.

She is hoping that she will have time some time this week to write a proper blog post, but right now, real life is interfering. (Not that she is complaining, mind you!)

The weather has warmed up ever so slightly, for which she is grateful, but apparently this area is going to be plunged back into the deep freeze tomorrow, so the timing is working out fairly well.

Hope everything is going well for everyone else....... and that you are better organized than the Bag Lady! She is just now starting to think she should maybe look around for some ideas for Christmas. Procrastination, thy name is Bag Lady!

Monday, December 15, 2008


The Bag Lady is having a busy morning. She had to run the Rancher's truck to the garage first thing this morning in order to have a tire repaired.

She is now supposed to be going to pick up the meat from the butcher shop from the cow that paid the ultimate price for taking a run at the Bag Lady and various other folks! Unfortunately, the Bag Lady's truck is refusing to start. It's very cold here, and her truck is being obstinate.

She is supposed to be meeting some friends at the abattoir, because there isn't enough room in her little truck for the 10 boxes of meat that the cow turned into. 500 lbs of meat. FIVE HUNDRED pounds of meat. The only good thing about the extreme cold weather is that the Bag Lady can leave the meat outside and not worry about it thawing out while she tries to find a home for it in various deep-freezers.

What a way to spend her birthday!

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Don Your Pith Helmet

And so, once again, we rejoin the Bag Lady in her quest for the perfect......

What the heck? Who was that? The Bag Lady isn't on a quest for the perfect anything!

She spent the day yesterday doing mundane household chores and sewing. 11:00 pm last night found her staggering off to bed, satisfied that she had tamed the back porch closet back into submission. Her back porch closet is a hell-hole of the most fearsome kind. The kind where everything just keeps getting piled on top of what was already there, so that cleaning it is rather like an archeological expedition....

"Hmmm, haven't seen this coat since 1998... had totally forgotten about it!"


"THAT'S where I put the electric organ!!"

It seriously was a stroll down memory lane. That closet contains an amazing array of items, including (but not limited to) the aforementioned electric organ (which is there because middle "C" no longer works, and the Bag Lady can't find anyone who will fix it, but she can't bear to part with it), a fancy clock (that also needs repair work), left-over tiles from the shower-stall, old records that belonged to her parents (and the record player to play them), vintage clothing that belonged to her mother, large table umbrellas, an old sewing machine, a box of nails, old coats, and a variety of medicines for cattle. Oh, and we can't forget the dust and cobwebs, and a few spider carcasses (and one live one that scared the crap out of the Bag Lady!)

With almost Herculean effort, the Bag Lady managed to get everything back into it, minus the dust, cobwebs and spiders. Tonight she plans on tackling steam-cleaning her carpets. Or not. She has to go back to town today for another physio appt., so she'll have to see how she feels when she gets home again. It just might be a night of lolling around in front of the television.

Have a good weekend!

Runnin' on Empty

The Bag Lady is running on empty today. That is to say, perhaps a wee bit sleep-deprived. The Rancher started night shift last night, and the Bag Lady had a hard time getting to sleep without him in the house. Not in a scared-to-be-alone way, but more in a gee-I-can-do-anything-I-want kind of way, which, by the way, turned out to be sewing until all hours. The Bag Lady knows how to have a good time, eh?

When the Rancher got home from work at 4 am, he woke the Bag Lady up to cook him something to eat. Which means the Bag Lady got very little sleep. Which means the Bag Lady might be a little giddy later in the day.

The Bag Lady had her appointment yesterday with the physiotherapist. She got an 'adjustment' on her back, and the therapist gave her a core-strengthening exercise to do at home. The Bag Lady really needs to remember to breathe when she is doing things. She has a tendency to hold her breath when she needs to exert herself, which gives her a false strength. This is something that is going to take a lot of work on the Bag Lady's part, because it has become such an ingrained habit. The Bag Lady has another appointment on Friday.

One more thing. It is the Bag Lady's motivational partners' birthday today, so if you have a moment, slip on over and wish her all the best. You can find Marianne here!
Happy Birthday, Marianne!

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Foiled Again!

Yesterday was a chilly, snowy day. The Rancher had the day off and had planned to take the Bag Lady to town to do some shopping, but fell asleep instead. When he woke up, he insisted on taking the Bag Lady to town for supper. (Oh, like she was going to argue....!)

So off they went. The roads were not in the best condition, but it was no longer snowing, and the driving lanes were reasonable. When they started down the river hill, they could see down into the valley, and the Rancher took the words right out of the Bag Lady's mouth when he said, "Look at all the traffic!"

There were headlights stretching as far as the eye could see. A split second later, both the Rancher and the Bag Lady realized that the headlights were stretching up the other side of the hill, too, and that there were at least 3, perhaps 4 sets of red and blue lights flashing on the bridge. Fortunately, there is one driveway just after you start down the hill, so the Rancher pulled in there and turned around. No point in sitting and waiting for the accident to be cleared out of the way, and that is the only way to get to town from where the ranch is, unless one were to drive across country to a different crossing on a log haul road. But in order to get to that particular road, one would still have to negotiate the snarl of traffic at the intersection leading to the blocked there went the Bag Lady's supper in town!

On the way back to the ranch, they had to pass the Ranchers' mothers' place, so he pulled in there. She hadn't had supper yet, and hadn't really made any decision as to what she was going to have, so the Rancher cooked bacon and scrambled eggs for the women!

Well.... he did promise to take the Bag Lady out for supper, and technically, he did!

The Bag Lady has an appointment today with the physiotherapist, so she will do her shopping too. The Rancher starts night shift tonight, so he may just go with her to town. Or not.

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Tuesday. Just Tuesday.

It's snowing in the Bag Lady's world.

(Fortunately, not this much yet - this was last year!)

That is not at all unusual for this time of year, but this has been such a mild winter so far that it still comes as a bit of a shock. It started snowing a couple days ago and shows no sign of stopping yet. The Bag Lady is getting wimpier and wimpier as the years go by, and hates winter more and more. The cold and snow just make things harder to deal with. Everything becomes a trial (in the Bag Ladys' mind, anyway.)

Enough whining. The Bag Lady is really scraping the bottom of the idea barrel thinking of so many things to write about today, she is finding it difficult to settle on one topic! This post may be all over the place, or it may turn out to be really, really short.......

Monday, December 8, 2008

Weekend Recap

The Bag Lady had another busy weekend. She had to do quite a lot of work outside in the rain (yes, rain in December....crazy weather!) on Friday. Her cows needed to be fed, and her calves needed feed and bedding. She got quite a little work-out on the business end of a pitchfork because she couldn't get close enough with the loader to shake the bale out into the calf shed!

(The first picture shows where she had to stop with the loader)

She had to put this:

In here:

Using this:

To make it look like this:

And put feed in the feeders so the calves can do this:

Don't they look happy?

She did lots of other stuff too, but if she told you now, she'd have nothing to tell you later!

Friday, December 5, 2008


This is my aunt Doris. She was my mom's youngest sister. Doris loved a good time, and loved to goof around. Here she is, all dressed up in a friends' sailor suit.

She sang, played the guitar and enjoyed life. Here she is when she came to visit her sister (my mother) on the farm in the early 1950's. Doris lived in Nova Scotia, and visiting her sister in Alberta was quite an adventure. She even had to travel over the Athabasca river in a basket, because the river was flooding and the ferry couldn't operate, and she had a train to catch!

Most of what I knew about my mom's sisters (there were 7 of them altogether, and one brother) and their families was through photographs like these. Most of the family stayed closer to home in Nova Scotia, unlike my mother, who married an Alberta farm boy and moved far away.

Here is one of my favourite pictures of Aunt Doris, all dressed up for a party or dance. In my childish imagination, Doris was always glamourous, always dressed up and on her way to a party.

Doris passed away yesterday. I hope they remember to put her party shoes on her because, knowing Doris, wherever she is, there will be dancing!

Thursday, December 4, 2008

Tissue of Truths

The Bag Lady saw her physiotherapist for an assessment yesterday and is confident that this woman will help her. She did a very thorough assessment on the Bag Lady and determined from her examination exactly where the problem lies. This in it's turn, made the Bag Lady say "way cool!"

The therapist told her that it was nerve damage in the L4 region of her back, which is exactly where the Xrays showed the damage to be. There was nothing written on the paper the Bag Lady brought from her doctor as to where exactly the problem was! How smart is the therapist to be able to figure that out by rubbing a couple of tissues up and down the Bag Ladys' legs!!? It was like visiting a fortune-teller! (It also surprised the Bag Lady immensely, because until that examination, she had no idea that parts of her legs were numb!)

The Bag Lady is going to have to relearn a whole lot of things, and this wonderful therapist is going to teach her! Therapy-woman seems to have great understanding of how ranchers deal with things, which gives the Bag Lady the impression that perhaps she is NOT as unique as she thought she was......

The Bag Lady did not get any Christmas shopping done, much to her chagrin. But hey, it's early yet.....right?

Wednesday, December 3, 2008


The Bag Lady is off to town this morning. She finally has an appointment for a physiotherapy consultation in regards to her back. She's been on the waiting list since February.

She may get a little Christmas shopping done, too, if the stars are properly aligned.

The weather has turned a little more wintery, which helps put her in the spirit. Of course, she hates winter, hates driving in winter, and hates shopping, so the spirit she's in is more Grinch-like than Santa-like.....Ho Ho Ho....

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Chocolate Caramel Shortbread

Wow, the Bag Lady has some really great folks who read her blog! If you haven't checked out the comment section in yesterday's post, please do so to find some excellent-sounding recipes.

The Bag Lady is going to share a recipe with you today that she makes very rarely because it is so good, she can't stop herself from sitting down and gobbling half of the pan at one sitting!

Chocolate Caramel Shortbread

1 1/2 C softened butter (divided)
1/2 C sifted icing sugar
1/4 tsp salt
1 1/4 C all-purpose flour
1 can Eagle Brand condensed milk
3 Tbsp corn syrup
1 tsp vanilla
3 squares Baker's semi-sweet chocolate (or unsweetened), melted

Pre-heat oven to 350
In large bowl, beat 1 C butter, sugar & salt 'til fluffy. Add flour - mix well. With floured hands, press evenly into greased 9" square pan. Bake 30 - 35 minutes 'til lightly browned. Cool slightly.

In 2 qt glass measuring bowl with handle, melt remaining 1/2 C butter* in microwave on high for 1 minute. Stir in condensed milk and corn syrup. Microwave on high 6 - 8 minutes (stirring after each minute) 'til it turns a light caramel colour. Stir in vanilla. Spread over shortbread, drizzle with melted chocolate. Chill 'til firm.
Store, covered, at room temperature.
*Be sure to use butter. Stir the milk mixture faithfully and watch carefully so it doesn't burn.
It's worth the effort!

Monday, December 1, 2008


Holy crap, have you looked at the calendar? It's December already. Sheesh! Where did this year go?

The Bag Lady has turned her thoughts toward preparations for Christmas. She has to do some baking and is thinking it would be nice to do something a little different this year. She tends to stick to the same old tried and true; but occasionally likes to throw something a little different into the mix. She has her old stand-bys - recipes she learned at her mother's knee, for things like shortbread cookies that melt in your mouth, and butter tarts to die for - but is on the look-out for something to become a new favourite tradition.

Christmas wouldn't be the same for her without the shortbread and the tarts, but she doesn't like fruitcake at all (although her mother did make a light/white fruitcake one year that wasn't too bad), and it wouldn't be the same for the Cow Whisperer without his mothers' carrot pudding. The Bag Lady has to admit that her mother-in-law makes a fabulous carrot pudding, and it rapidly took its' place amongst her favourites! Who needs fruitcake when you have steamed pudding?

What are some of your favourite Christmas foods? Anything unusual that you care to share? Got a recipe for something that will make the Bag Lady swoon and add to her list of favourite things?