Adventures

Attila had a vacation day, so we enjoyed a three day weekend, this past weekend.

The drive out to the Rideau Camp on Friday night was uneventful, quite pleasant actually. It began to rain just as we carried the last of our luggage into Grace The Trailer. We enjoyed a quick supper, and as darkness fell we lit our LED lanterns to wash up and finish unpacking. I had stocked Grace The Trailer with a deck of cards, so a card game seemed like a good idea. The only game we could remember was Go Fish, it has been that long since we have played cards! The card deck turned out to be two Euchre decks. What ensued was a hilariously silly game of Go Fish, with one of us winning in either one or two hands. We were constantly laughing at ourselves.

Saturday dawned with sunny blue skies. An outing had been planned. We were set to attend a day at the Stewart Park Festival in Perth. A lunch was packed, and we set out for Perth. About a mile from the chosen parking area in Perth, all of Tanks warning lights suddenly lit up, and the engine sounded awful. Attila managed to get Tank into the Salvation Army parking lot, where he popped the hood, and tried to trouble shoot the problem, with no success. CAA was called, and we waited for about an hour and a half for a tow truck, which was worth the wait because the cab was big enough to tranport both of us back to the garage near home with Tank. We found a pleasant shady spot in the parking lot, and ate our packed lunch. The woman in the Salvation Army store was lovely, letting us use the washroom, we were very grateful.

It was a long drive back to the garage. We thoroughly enjoyed it! The driver was a young man, a millennial, who was also a farmer. He was interesting to talk with, and I mean talk with, he talked, we listened, he responded, we listened, we talked, he listened, he talked… and on it went. Conversations with people other than Attila are so rare in my life, exchanges where people listen, as well as talk. Before we knew it an hour and a half had flown by, and we were happily dropped off at the garage with Tank. One of the owners of the garage was there, but it was closed. He took the keys to Grace The Trailer, and allowed Attila to use the telephone to call a taxi to transport us the rest of the way home.

The taxi driver, a boomer, picked us up at the garage, and we had a very pleasant chat with him as he navigated the streets to our house.

What I enjoyed about both the tow truck driver, and the taxi driver, was that both were inclusive, interacting with Attila and with me. I have become very accustomed to spending time in situations where men speak only to Attila, rendering me an invisible mute beside him, where anything I say is ignored (not by Attila), usually not even acknowledged.

Our planned outing was a complete failure. Our discovered outing was a great deal of fun, full of pleasant interesting people.

After arriving at home, we showered, and returned to the Rideau Camp in our car.

Although I had already decided that I would not burn brush on the weekend, that is what I did on Saturday. There were more live branches to burn, lower branches on trees removed to open up the area, allow air to flow freely into the out of the camp area. There were whole dead trees to burn, and some small live trees that had to be removed because they would not grow properly, having lost their crowns. As darkness fell the fire still burned in the camp fire pit, and we sat up very late to watch the flames, then the embers, and finally the stars. We witnessed a magic show of fireflies as darkness fell. They flickered deep into the forest, high and low, all around us.

Sunday dawned hot, humid, and cloudy. Again a camp fire was lit and brush was collected and burned. While I tended the fire, Attila worked on removing a large stump from the area where Grace The Trailer will be parked. Stump removal by hand is a lot of work, he made a good start. As darkness fell, our plan to sit around the camp fire into the night was extinguished early by a heavy rain, with thunder and lightening. It stormed through the night, and one lightning strike was near enough to us that we could feel the earth shake under us.

Monday was a very hot, humid, cloudy day. Attila worked on his stump removal project, and I relaxed with a book for a while before going outside to putter around doing little jobs. It was a bad idea, my tackling any project on such a day! I became overheated, soaked two changes of clothing, and ended up moving all the items from the refrigerator to the cooler, turning the refrigerator off, stripping down to my underwear, and using a battery operated fan by the open door to cool myself. It worked. I also ate some salty peanuts, and drank about a litre of water. We decided to head home to Mist Cottage, where there is air conditioning.

We dropped in at the garage to see if Tank had been assessed, and were shocked to find that Tank was ready to go, and that there was no charge. Apparently a bit if grit had lodged in some kind of chain, requiring only a few seconds to dislodge. The fellow who owns this garage is amazing, truly amazing. We have taken our vehicles there ever since I discovered the business when the battery in Tank died, when I was spending the winter alone at Mist Cottage. We take either vehicle there for work, and return to pay whatever the charge is, we don’t even need to discuss what work will be done, we trust this fellow to only do what is necessary, and at a reasonable cost.

All weekend long we came into contact with interesting forthright people, all decent working people.

This short week is a week of appointments for me. I need new eyeglasses, my present pair fell apart twice over the weekend. Thankfully Attila was able to put them together for me in a rudimentary fashion, so I could still function. After looking at various options, Costco was chosen, I am giving them a try. A dental appointment is scheduled for today. As my Mom says, it takes up a lot of our time getting our parts fixed. Love my Mom!

The weather is hot and humid again today, and it looks as if this will continue for the next week or so. It is not my favourite weather, but summer does usually bring at least some of this to us. I stay in the air conditioned house, or vehicle, so that spending a few hours in the heat isn’t too taxing. I thought that losing a bit of weight, and getting my blood pressure under control would help me tolerate the humid heat more easily. Such is not the case, this summer I become quite fatigued and disoriented, if I spend too many hours in the hot humid outdoors.

My MacBook Air is getting long in the tooth, as technology does very quickly. It is a 2012 machine, and it still does everything I need it to do, but it is slowing down. I assume that is because increasingly complex web sites demands more and more memory, and increased demand on the CPU. The battery in the laptop is completely dead, if unplugged it instantly dies. This isn’t a problem at home, but it does mean the computer is no longer viable for travel, so I miss that. The cost to replace the battery is $329.00, and they “promised” to look for other problems… my guess is that they would find them. An low end Mac laptop replacement is looking like the most viable option, so I am beginning to think about it now. While I am thinking and waiting, I have backed up the MacBook Air, and will continue to do do frequently.

Of course for a little less money, I could own a new iPhone… not for me, very little that is interesting to me to do on an iPhone.

Worldly Distractions

Weather

21°C
Date: 7:00 AM EDT Wednesday 19 July 2017
Condition: Mainly Sunny
Pressure: 101.7 kPa
Tendency: Rising
Temperature: 20.9°C
Dew point: 19.1°C
Humidity: 89%
Wind: SW 13 km/h
Humidex: 28
Visibility: 24 km

Quote

“True love brings up everything – you’re allowing a mirror to be held up to you daily.”
Jennifer Aniston

Picnic

Today I am rethinking my crochet project. The cover-up top is not turning out quite the way I had envisioned it. The original concept was to create two mesh panels and join them at one end to create shoulders and an opening for the neck, a very simple design. The opening is bunched and will be uncomfortable, not to mention unattractive, the design is flawed. The front panel is complete, the back panel about a third of the way done, and the yarn is almost completely gone. It is decision time. Shall more yarn be purchased to complete the project as envisioned, or will the project be partially or totally frogged, either redesigned or abandoned. When trying something experimental, these are the kinds of decisions that arise.

It is time to get back into the health care treadmill again. Today it is a blood test, which will need a followup appointment in the city. There are a few questions to be asked, and further appointments to schedule. Dental care is also on my list of things to research today. It has yet to be determined if I am covered under Attila’s plan where he works, so cost is a major issue.

This evening we plan to picnic at the Rideau Camp. Attila has a list of items he wants to transport to the Camp, so a short weekday visit is in order. Now that we have some storage space in Grace The Trailer, there are items we will leave at the Camp, such as the cushion for the lounge chair. The lounge chair has been with us since 1999, as has the cushion, but thus far we have seldom used them, so that they are in very good condition. We have seen, over the last ten years or so, the exact same chair at dumps, many times actually, discarded due to lack of style, not due to lack of function.

The weather is turning warm, with daily highs in the high-twenties. This would be lovely, but the humidity transforms this into a humidex reading in the mid-thirties, which is not comfortable. This means I will suffer in the outdoors. My hands and feet will swell significantly, and I will feel lethargic and distressed much of the time. Our visits to the Rideau Camp now will see me resting in the shade through the heat of the afternoons, drinking lots of water. There will be no burning of dead wood or brush through the heat of the day, no projects. As I grow older the heat and humidity of the summers has a greater impact on my health. This slows me down, but it doesn’t stop me.

Worldly Distractions

Weather

24°C
Date: 11:09 AM EDT Wednesday 12 July 2017
Condition: Mostly Cloudy
Pressure: 101.6 kPa
Tendency: Falling
Temperature: 23.9°C
Dew point: 20.1°C
Humidity: 79%
Wind: SSE 10 km/h
Humidex: 32
Visibility: 24 km

Quote

“It is said that power corrupts, but actually it’s more true that power attracts the corruptible. The sane are usually attracted by other things than power.”
David Brin
1950 –

Traditional Camp

The sun comes out and the sun goes in behind the clouds this morning. It is the beginning of what both Attila and I hope will be a quiet and uneventful week.

We made a brief visit to our Traditional Camp in Parry Sound on the weekend, where everything is looking as we left it, thank goodness. The last time we were there was last summer, when we were on our first one week vacation in over 20 years, and it was a disaster. That was the week my brother had a sudden heart attack and passed away. This year, around the same time of year we were in the area to attend a reunion of cousins at my sister’s cottage. Thoughts of my brother and how much my Granny and Grandpa’s house meant to him were at the back of my mind all weekend.

The reunion was organized by my Sister-The-Middle-Girl, and my cousin who is renting a cottage on the same beach as my sister’s cottage. Together with my Sister-The-Youngest-Girl they organized and hosted a get together of all of my Grandpa and Granny’s living Granddaughters, seven of us, except for one Granddaughter who did not attend. We all drove over from the cottages to my Granny and Grandpa’s house and multiple photos were taken of the group. I hadn’t seen one of my cousins for over 30 years, it was wonderful to catch up. My newlywed niece and her husband were there; they treated us to a slide show of their beautiful wedding. My Mom was there, and I got to spend a lovely evening chatting with her. Mom and her daughters, and our spouses but one, all stayed Saturday night at Sister-The-Middle-Girl’s cottage, it was comfortable, and the cottage and beach are beautiful. My Sister-The-Middle-Girl has a beautiful cottage facing west on the lake, the sunsets are stunning.

It is now a 5 ½ to 6 hour drive, one way, to reach our Traditional Camp. We decided to take a scenic journey, heading straight north for quite a distance before turning west to travel through hills and forests. The drive was a treat, the scenery was so beautiful. We took the same route home, but there was quite a bit more traffic, many slower moving RVs on the road, that crawled up the many hills. We were very tired when we arrived home.

I have been growing my hair out for what seems like forever. The idea was to have long hair with no bangs. It is driving me to distraction at times, and at its present length it looks awful all of the time. Usually I do not care, as no one sees me here in the house, or at the camp, save for Attila. It was too bad though that it was looking the way it did for those once in a lifetime pictures at the reunion. I will be very glad indeed when the bangs grow long enough to at least stay tucked neatly behind my ears.

Worldly Distractions

Weather

22°C
Date: 10:00 AM EDT Monday 10 July 2017
Condition: Mostly Cloudy
Pressure: 101.4 kPa
Tendency: Rising
Temperature: 21.9°C
Dew point: 17.6°C
Humidity: 76%
Wind: SSW 19 km/h
Humidex: 28
Visibility: 24 km

Quote

“My definition of an expert in any field is a person who knows enough about what’s really going on to be scared.”
P. J. Plauger

Pen & Paper on Canada’s 150th Birthday

Composed on Canada’s 150th Birthday, Canada Day
July 1st, 2017
Rideau Camp, Ontario, Canada

Today the Dominion of Canada is 150 years old. My ancestors arrived here before the Dominion was formed, they were working people seeking a life where hard work would feed their families. They were pawns in the larger agendas of their day, willing to leave their ancestral lands for the sake of survival. The powerful, responsible for their need, were also responsible for the decisions made in the new land, Upper Canada, where my ancestors arrived to struggle for survival in the wilds.

There is a contrast here, a definitive difference between the infrastructural decision makers, movers and shakers as some would call them, and the people who attempted to survive in the context created by those decision makers.

I am grateful for Canada Day, on Canada’s 150th Birthday, as the spirit of the people of the nation. I do not celebrate the infrastructural government, nor the continued privilege of the likes of the Family Compact or the Chateau Clique and their ilk, nor the monolithic corporations that dominate our life here in Canada, and around the globe. These entities may dominate public celebrations on this day, but those are not my celebrations.

I celebrate the spirit of the people here, living in this place we put a border around and call Canada. I celebrate the land itself, our home, our sustenance, our only hope for the future.

We are at the Rideau Camp on this, Canada’s birthday. When I awoke at first light a gentle rain was falling. I drifted off to sleep again, to the lullaby of the soft patter on the roof. We arose later to the leaden gray skies and intermittent light rain.

Usually this kind of weather would not be welcome. However, it was perfect for our intended project for the weekend, burning green brush in the camp fire pit.

Last night, late into the night, the camp fire burned hot, as the ash and maple branches burned in the coals, the wilted leaves suddenly bursting into flame, rising high above the fire, bright with embers as they descended to earth, extinguishing as they rested on the rain soaked forest floor.

This morning, under the dripping tries, braving the intermittent downpours, Attila built another camp fire from the sodden kindling and wood, slowly building up the embers to sustain the burning of green boughs. In the wet of this day no escaping embers threaten to ignite the forest floor.

Sitting snugly in Grace The Trailer, I am writing this entry, printing actually, on scrap paper. The window beside me is open. With every breath of breeze droplets patter their way down through the leaves from the heights of the tall trees to the forest floor.

I am using today for “nesting” activities inside Grace The Trailer. A whisk and dustpan are the only tools available to clean the corners and nooks and crannies. A surprising volume of debris is collected, including small bits of stone, chips of wood, sawdust, and dry dead ladybugs. These are inherited from the previous owners, invisible to the naked eye. The carpeting in Grace The Trailer hides the dirt. This is the type of carpeting that I would want in any space where I was responsible for cleaning.

Rearranging furniture in Grace The Trailer is rather limited. All but the easy chair, footstool, table, and four chairs have been built in. The table was rearranged the day Grace The Trailer arrived at the camp, so that Attila and I could sit side-by-side, to gaze out the window while we dined. Today the easy chair, footstool, and two of the four dining chairs were rearranged to provide easier access to storage. The amount of storage in the trailer is amazing, there is more storage there than we have in Mist Cottage, excluding the basement, garage, and new garden shed here at home. Grace The Trailer is half the square footage of our very small home, and much better laid out.

We are celebrating Canada Day in our own way, quietly in the bush, with good food, a snug shelter, and the freedom to spend our time together as we please.

Canada Day 2017 Rideau Camp DSCF0810 Canada Day view at the Rideau Camp, raining, cool, and smells like heaven.

Composed July 4, 2017, computer keyboard
Mist Cottage

Today our delivery of bread flour arrived. We have been buying our bread flour from the Arva Mill since 1994. Since Arva is a long drive from where we live, and we no longer have visitors from the area around Arva, I was in a quandary as to how to obtain a fresh supply for my bread making. We are down to the last few loaves of bread with our original supply. Luckily the Arva Mill now offers online ordering and delivery. Unluckily, since our last purchase, the price has risen three fold. Luckily the shipping was free, so we decided to bite the bullet and order our flour for the next year or so. It arrived by courier this morning. The fellow who delivered the box with two 10 kg bags were brought to the door by a fellow who laughed and told me, “this is heavy!” He kindly brought it through the door and placed it on the floor for me, I could not have lifted it.

My day was quite uneventful, I crocheted, washed laundry and hung it out to dry, removed the old wool rug from the back porch, and swept and vacuumed the porch floor. It was purchased around 1969, and has been in constant use ever since. Tattered and deteriorating significantly from being kept out of doors on the covered porch, it was time to let it go. Over 45 years of heavy use, the rug owes me nothing.

We were pleasantly surprised to find Terra and Lares at our door, Grandbabies in arms. What little monkeys they are, so active, so engaging, so determined. They played on the floor while we chatted, and found all kinds of interesting things to do. Eating paper is a favourite pastime apparently, so Grandma needed to gather up her papers and put them out of harms way. Their favourite toys on this visit were plastic vegetable containers, the kind used in grocery stores to sell fruit, and Grandma’s keys. They are both bonny healthy babies. Sunny is wiry and small for her age, a very active little girl. Sky has attained a normal weight for his age, and he too is a very active little person.

Attila is now mowing our lawn, to be called in as soon as dinner is ready. I am preparing roast chicken, with corn. We have already eaten our green salad, which we enjoy every evening.

The weather is beautiful right now, not too hot, not too cool, not too humid… ah, summer!

Worldly Distractions

Weather

22°C
Date: 8:00 PM EDT Tuesday 4 July 2017
Condition: Mainly Sunny
Pressure: 102.0 kPa
Tendency: Rising
Temperature: 21.9°C
Dew point: 13.6°C
Humidity: 59%
Wind: SW 5 km/h
Humidex: 25
Visibility: 24 km

Quote

“Don’t waste yourself in rejection, nor bark against the bad, but chant the beauty of the good.”
Ralph Waldo Emerson
1803 – 1882

Best Seat In The House

Listening to music is always a journey into the unknown paths within. There is joy there, there is pain, the road is not a golden path of euphoria. But it is my path, my journey, and I love it in there. Music holds my hand, in places no one else can go with me, where I am my only company.

Music plays all day long at the Rideau Camp. Wind, trees, birds, and insects share their experience of life. It is my favourite music, every varying, infinitely interesting. There is no ego, no pretension, no delusion, in nature’s music.

I love some of the music created by humans.

My favourite is the sound of a home, a home without electricity, where the wood creaks in the wind, the rain is heard as it falls on the roof, and the wind-up clock ticking in the living room is the only mechanical evidence of monotonous civilization. It was only a few short generations ago that this was the dominant experience of home.

I also love the sounds of our current home, the refrigerator cycling, the neighbours slamming their car doors, the lawn mower droning across someone’s lawn, an airplane passing overhead, the whine of traffic on the nearby highway, the rumble of a passing train, the battery operated wall clock ticking loudly as the arms reach endlessly to circle time. Oh yes, and the grackles tirelessly pecking at the wood on the facia that covers their former favourite nesting site. These are sounds of the small, familiar patterns of life, life in my home.

The crafted music of the musician can be beautiful, particularly when it opens wide the doors to experiencing my own humanity. To be honest, I seldom listen to lyrics unless they liken to poetry. The sounds of voice, inflection, range, repetition, formed into patterns with other sounds, usually instruments, are endlessly fascinating. The words to most songs are, for me, a veil, and I connect to what is behind the veil, what is not clearly seen but heard in the whispers of musical construction.

My days are filled with music, of different origins.

Attila and I decided we needed to make a weekday visit to the Rideau Camp. Our motivation is related to a “rain barrel”. We do not have a water supply at the camp, unless you consider taking a bucket down to the swamp, to fill with stagnant water, a water supply. We have a well, but it is a deep well and not in current operation, as that would require quite an investment. So I wanted a rain barrel to collect water from the roof of Winnie The Outhouse. We have an old plastic garbage can which we will use as a rain barrel, it is big and it is bulky, and needed to be taken to the camp in a separate trip. We had thought to go out on Tuesday evening, but it was raining, so we waited for good weather, which arrived Wednesday, yesterday, to make the trip.

The visit to the Rideau Camp was only a few hours long, but a lot was accomplished. Laundered tea towels and bed linens were returned to Grace The Trailer, fresh drinking water jugs were filled at home and transported to the Camp for future use, and a list of small needful items were brought to make camping even more comfortable… like a bar of soap. Attila spent some time clearing a thicket of what I am guessing are White Alders, many of them dead. His efforts have cleared a lot of the underbrush surrounding our cleared camping area, letting the air flow more freely, and eliminating hiding spots for the much hated mosquitoes.

We have a very small garden at the Rideau Camp, consisting of two short rows of garlic and one short row of onions. This garden is planted in the soil left in place, after the huge log pile was dismantled by Attila. So far it is seems to be doing quite well, surviving the tree felling, and log stacking, which went on all around it. I weed it from time to time. Last summer I sowed white clover seed all over the open areas of the camp, focusing on the area where hundreds of bramble plants had been pulled up by the roots. This summer the clover has come into its own, providing a lovely soft carpet of green. I am still finding brambles though, and pulled out quite a few when we were there last evening.

Today dawned cloudy and cool, time to get some baking done!

P station DSCF0782 A privilege of privacy, indiscretion. This is my outdoor p station, yep it has everything a girl could want except walls. Attila does not need this, he has the whole bush to water. All last summer I used the bush too, but every time I did I worried about ticks. Now that would be unpleasant, picking up a tick during a squat in the bush! So I bought myself a bright orange five gallon bucket from Home Depot and now I have a throne. The skid was left by the fellow who we bought the trailer from, when he dropped off the hitch last weekend. The boards that sit on the skid to form a rough, uneven floor are lumber scraps leftover from various projects. Above, the end of Grace The Trailer forms a roof, to protect me from the rain while I sit on my throne. The white bucket is for paper, used paper, and I dump those bits of dried paper into the campfire to dispose of them. The roll of fresh paper is conveniently held by the handle of the levelling jack. I have a panoramic view out at the Camp! Would tickety-boo be a little too corny here?

Worldly Distractions

Weather

17°C
Date: 8:00 AM EDT Thursday 29 June 2017
Condition: Light Rain
Pressure: 101.6 kPa
Tendency: Falling
Temperature: 16.5°C
Dew point: 15.3°C
Humidity: 93%
Wind: NE 6 km/h
Visibility: 24 km

Quote

“Nobody sees a flower – really – it is so small it takes time – we haven’t time – and to see takes time, like to have a friend takes time.”
Georgia O’Keeffe
1887 – 1986