Lastly, there is THE ADOPTION (!!), which is the reason why we are here.
Here I am then, sorting them out if not for my own posterity, then for the enjoyment of others.
What's good about it then? Well, Yuliya and I took off five days together, which is the longest stretch of time we have had off together in five years of marriage. We got some good gardening in, replacing a few casualties amongst the roses and a few other annuals. I maintain that I should have the right to sue anyone who markets something as 'hardy' which does not survived a -45c winter. Having said that, Yuliya agreed that it was time to switch to some hardier roses, rather than trying to raise all the prettiest species which dry up and die when the wind blows from the wrong direction. It only took two years of replacing the casualties. Here is some of our handywork so far:
Next good thing, also done in our time off, was some really good fishing. I went and spent a little time with some salty old-timers and learned the tricks of the trade, which resulted in some impressive catches this year:
"This is my catfish (pictured); this is my gun (not pictured)"
Not to be telling fish stories out of school, but the day before these pictures were taken I caught three in an hour and a half that were larger than these ones. It was raining, windy, and cold. I was soaked to the bone when I pulled out what must have been about a 38" monster. I hauled it out of the river by the gills, and it's head was at my chest level with the tip of the tail just brushing my toes. I had no camera, and had left my phone at home. I looked the fish in the eye and told it to be back here tomorrow at the same time. He never showed. Lesson learned, never rely on a catfish to back up your wild claims. To be fair, I did hook another monster that snapped a braided steel leader.
Anywho, catfish season is over, so now we're on the hunt for some good pickerel. For that, we head north to Hecla Island.
We're also taking every spare second to get out of the city and go hiking, usually in the Kenora/Lake of the Woods area. I love the Prairie sky, but the Canadian Shield feels like home to me. Last week we went and met a few bears, a coyote, deer, and had a pair of loons come for a close inspection of us. I seem to have an eye for wildlife - I pick animals out of the forest out of the corner of my eye as we drive by at 110 kph where Yuliya sees nothing at all. Two weeks ago it was the deer and bears, last week it was a massive bald eagle sitting on a dead tree at the lake. Yuliya's excuse is that there is no wildlife in Ukraine, so she's not used to looking for it. The great thing was that the bear took no notice of us after we climbed out of the car for a better view. Not saying we were being stupid - if you're meeting a bear in the wild, make sure that the distance between you and the bear is at least five times the distance between you and the car, because that's how fast they'll close the gap. I also don't set foot in the forest without a bear spray in my pocket, and before we do any serious camping this year I've insisted we get a bear banger. Yes, the flower picture is a wild orchid, which survives our winters and grows in less than an inch of soil. The other one is a bear, taken from about fifty feet away.
In the spirit of honesty - I wrote the intro to this weeks ago, so it all seemed a bit more dire at the time. We're not falling apart, we are recovering. All the hiking, fishing, and gardening is doing wonders. Having said that, there has been some bad.
Namely, that bad was the drama of Yuliya's mom leaving. We had planned on making the move permanent, or at least getting her here for a couple of years. As it happened, she really struggled with the cultural differences and expectations from day to day. One day she was happy and cheery and Canada was great, and literally the next she called her sister to book her flights to go back to Ukraine in five days. It was a real shock, and a disapointment. Since then we've been kicking ourselves, and second guessing decisions we made which may have made things tougher for her. That's as far as I want to go into everything, because we're doing our best to create emotional distance from the whole thing right now, and focus on moving our adoption forward.
When I started this, I thought that would be the only bad to report. Sadly, that was not to be. The last day Yuliya and I went fishing for channel cats, we saw the bar-none worst parents in the world, and they abandoned their children in the river. They were also geese, but we were pretty upset about the whole thing. It was a windy day, and the current was brisk. They were leading their gooselets across the river, and a fish must have grabbed one of the parents feet, because both took off. They honked like crazy, and flew off like they didn't have some flightless, fluffy little babies to worry about. The fluffy, flightless little babies then proceeded to swim in little circles while peeping and utterly panicking. Every couple of minutes a big fish would drag one under and it would pop up a few feet away. Eventually they made it to shore, but for the 40 minutes we stayed there after that the parents never came back. I'm not a romantic about nature, but that was really, really sad. Frickin' geese.
One last minute bad to report - Yuliya was just watering the plants outside, and is now covered in little bumps. Turns out she reacts badly to mosquito bites, and we do have some world famous mosquitos in Manitoba. Really top end, both in quantity and quality. Someone once told me that the Spanish word for mosquito translated literally as "little airplane in the bedroom". I think he was lying, but that's a great description, because this time in the evening it's like the Battle of Britain out there.
This has turned out longer than I intended already, so the adoption update will come later in the week. As a teaser I've updated our timeline. Now I've gone and made a liar out of myself. Shoot.
I digress, Yuliya is peeling a grapefruit, and I don't want to miss out.
I've decided that somehow blogging and eating the juicest grapefruit to yet exist on the same couch is a good idea. If anything goes wrong I've got kleenex, and we all know that if there's anything impenetrable and moisture resistant, it's four layers of tissue paper. What could go wrong?
Quote of the Day
"I'm going on a killing spree."
-Yuliya, as she takes a container of Roundup outside.