Prairie Dictionairie

I like words.
I notice them. They get stuck in my head as often as songs. Every place I go there’s new vocabulary, preferred lingo, expressions or pronunciations that leave me intrigued.

Today, I put together a collection of Prairie words.
I hear them and I know I’m in a different place. 


A large open area of grassland, especially in North America.
(Oxford Dictionary.)


Mourning Dove: What I thought was an owl the first time I heard it, the call of the mourning dove is nearly constantly cooing. This diurnal bird (note: not owl!) builds the soundtrack to my days, as I can hear calling from both indoors or out.

Secretly, it makes me feel like I’m living a part of Oregon Trail or a certain hunting computer game we played growing up.
But you didn’t hear that from me. ; )

The coulee. [Yes Mom, I pulled over.]
Coulee:  [koo-lee]
1. Chiefly used in Western U.S. and Western Canada; a deep ravine or gulch, usually dry, that has been formed by running water.
2. One of very few landmarks in pretty big, flat, neighbourhoods.

Seeder/s:  The piece of equipment towed behind a tractor that actually plants the seeds in the ground. Not to be confused with “Cedar/s,” which is where my brain kept jumping to for the first few days they came up in discussion. Looking for giant trees in the rolling fields…. needless to say, I didn’t find them.

Quonset:  A curved, corrugated tin  shed distinct to prairie regions.

This is located next to the shop, but is different than the shop. Which is different from the garage – not to be confused with the old garage – or the new shop – or any of the numerous the buildings or sheds around the yard. See? Ya really gotta know your words, or suddenly you’ll be trying to park the lawn mower in the chicken coop.

Except, the chicken coop has a pen. And chickens.  So I’ve got that one down, at least!


Caraganas: A popular bush-like tree used to create windbreaks around yards and houses. Despite never interacting with them before, I’ve had lots of opportunity to get up close and personal with them these days, as I’ve been focusing on cleaning them out of all dead branches and debris.


Lunch, Dinner, Supper: Hold on to your hangry here, this one is a little bit complicated!

Now: growing up, the noon meal to me was always called lunch. We usually called the evening meal supper, but “dinner” somehow slipped in there too and the titles were pretty interchangeable.
HERE, however, rumour has it lunch is always the noon meal, supper is the evening meal, and dinner is a larger lunch. (in place of lunch. Not in addition to.) Make sense? I’m still working on it.

Gus and Willa:
 The names of two little kids next to me at a baseball practice. (Or softball. They play those here – unlike my hometown.) Names are always fun to take note of and see how they change depending on place. Some names are new to me here (Braxton, for instance) and others are older, more distinct, or simply just filled with a different flavour than some of the other neighbourhoods you might meet here in Canada.

Muckboots: The equivalent of gumboots. (Technically, a brand name.)
So also known as rubber boots.

Which are galoshes, if you want to get really fancy I suppose.
But I feel like galoshes are shiny. Muckboots…maybe not.


Of course, I’m quite familiar with my own favourite gumboots. Whatever you call them, gumboots are gumboots, muckboots are muckboots. They all do the same job. So reliable, so familiar.

I guess it’s not all that different here after all.


One Comment Add yours

  1. Sarah says:

    Welly boots!

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