Long Weekend

We had a lovely Victoria Day long weekend. On Friday night we made a pizza from scratch, low-sodium, low-cholesterol of course, and watched a film on Netflix.

On Saturday, the only sunny warmish day of the entire long weekend, we went to the Rideau Camp early in the morning and spent the day burning brush in the camp fire pit, and moving a bit of crushed stone.

On Sunday it rained, so we stayed home, puttered around the house, and enjoyed a visit from Sister-The-Youngest-Girl and Beau Bob, who dropped in on their way home after attending a family function to the East of us. They dropped of a big bag of clothing my Mom bought for me, she is an amazing shopper! I have numerous new summer blouses, a summer dress, two new sweat shirt jackets, and lots of new pairs of pants. I am enjoying trying things on, and so far everything fits.

On Monday it was cold and wet out of doors, another good day to stay in our nice warm house, rather than working outside at the Rideau Camp. Domestic chores aren’t boring to us, but they are repetitive. Cooking for the week to come, we made muffins for lunches, salad dressing for salads, croutons for salads, and topped up many of our canisters. And then we went shopping. We began at Rona, where we went to look at sheets of lattice. We did buy a sheet of lattice, grey to add privacy to our back porch, but we didn’t stop there. Ever since I sat with my sisters and my Mom on my sister’s back deck swing, I have wanted one here at Mist Cottage. Every spring when we visit the building material stores I sit on the swings in the display section of the store. Usually I find them either uncomfortable, or far too large for our minimized lifestyle. But on Monday, at Rona, I sat down in a small swing and knew that it was the one. So we bought it. It is smallish, lowish, and will someday fit on the back porch when it is renovated. Until that time it will sit under a sun tent on the back lawn.

We didn’t stop there. After leaving Rona we dropped into Costco. Our neighbour calls it the $500 store with good reason. We don’t visit it often because our bank account is always drained by the time we walk out the door. This visit was no exception. We didn’t buy anything we didn’t need, or anything we wouldn’t use. Our purchases were primarily food, fresh vegetables and baking ingredients. We even found some frozen burgers that were low sodium, although their frozen chicken is all seasoned, and so there is sodium where I can’t afford it with the chicken. Our most surprising purchase was a new cell phone for Attila. I have been looking at cell phones for Attila for about three years, as the one he uses was purchased the August before our first Grandbabies were born, in 2006. The cell phone still functioned, but the battery would not hold a charge for more than an hour or so once it was turned on, and the cell phone towers upon which it relies are being phased out in favour of newer technology. We were walking by the cell phone kiosk, and I stopped to ask if they had any flip phones, and the did! We looked at it, and instantly decided that it was time to replace the old cell phone. In fifteen minutes they had Attila up and running on the new cell phone, his account transferred, and it only cost $67. Hopefully Attila will be good for another few years now.

I have been pondering what crochet project to begin since I finished my market bag. As I was sitting at home having a look at Attila’s new cell phone, I thought it would be a good thing if it were protected from the rough and ready pockets of Attila. I looked on Amazon and couldn’t find anything low enough priced to interest me. Later I was putzing around looking at crochet stitches, and saw a new stitch pattern that I though I would like to try, and the pieces fell together, I would use that interesting stitch pattern to create a cell phone case for Attila’s new phone.

I didn’t really think much about it, I just started practising the new stitch pattern, the Lemon Peel Stitch, ripped it out a few times, then started to make the cell phone case.

DSCF0661 Attila’s new flip phone, a pay as you go wonder. We pay $100 for the year, and since we don’t use the phone much we seldom need to buy additional time. Beside the phone is the cell phone case I crocheted. I like it, as the phone slides out very easily if the bottom of the case is squeezed. The case is machine washable cotton.

Once I finished the cell phone case I decided I should write down what I had done. But my method of writing these kinds of things down is erratic. I decided to look at software to record the steps that were followed. I ended up finding some chart software at ravelry.com, where these two links were recommended in the forum:

Stitch Works Software

Windows: Windows: https://drive.google.com/file/d/0B7CaX7Dz9k8GTlhVNThlSVpBY1k/view
Os X: https://drive.google.com/file/d/0B7CaX7Dz9k8GSGxlRG5JNm1XNnM/view?usp=sharing

I downloaded the software and started to play with it.

I am just tickled to have produced my first crochet pattern in chart form!

Flip Phone Case Open Ended: Left-Handed

I have had a lot of fun today!

Worldly Distractions

Weather

14°C
Date: 2:00 PM EDT Tuesday 23 May 2017
Condition: Mostly Cloudy
Pressure: 101.1 kPa
Tendency: Falling
Temperature: 13.8°C
Dew point: 9.1°C
Humidity: 73%
Wind: S 18 km/h
Visibility: 24 km

Quote

“The important thing is this: to be able at any moment to sacrifice what we are for what we could become.”
Charles Du Bos

To Camp or Not To Camp

Last night I dreamt of my brother Carl. We were young again, he was the happy little boy I remember and love. We were at my Granny’s house, a place where we were loved unconditionally, a place we felt safe, a place we thought was heaven. The summer’s day was warm, the breeze tousled our fine blond hair, we swept it back from our eyes as played by the back door. My Granny was in the kitchen, we could hear her through the screen door. Place. Some places are imbued with the spirits of those who loved and were loved in them. I look forward to sitting on my Granny’s porch again this summer, feeling that energy that seeped into the place over time, knowing.

Yesterday’s fine weather is still with us today. The neighbourhood is noisy though. The Hydro people are chopping down trees all up and down the street. Down came the front half of the beautiful white birch tree across the street from us. Down came the beautiful red maple two doors down and across the street from us. I cannot see further down the street from my windows, but I know the massacre continues because of the constant drone of the chain saw, and the roar of the chipper as the live branches are fed into its yawning maw. This spring is a season of destruction on our street. Earlier the immediate neighbours to one side of us chopped down a beautiful flowering crabapple tree. They explained it by saying that the bees were coming into their house, the children didn’t like the bees. But we live beside this tree too, and we know there was no issue with bees. They stated their intention to remove all the trees on their property within weeks of moving in, I remember. The real irony is that the family has moved to a trailer park near the husband’s employment for the summer, and rented out their house to a single woman. They aren’t even there during the blossom season! Luckily the trees on our property are not near the hydro lines, so we will keep them!

The new colour coordinated curtains for the trailer (tea towels bought on sale last year) have been ironed and will replace the mismatched tea towels that are currently covering the windows. Measurements have been taken to create a mattress cover for Attila’s bunk, which will be sewn from a queen size flat sheet. When these tasks are complete the rest of the gear for the trailer that was stored in the basement for the winter will be packed into Iris and we will be ready for summer camping.

We are toying with the idea of camping in Iris this weekend, but the nights are predicted to be a chilly 10C, certainly not comfortable. We have heavier eiderdowns that could be put to use, but the lure of our own warm comfy beds at home, and the handy bathroom, will probably win out until the temperature at night rises to at least 15C.

DSCF0641 market bag one The Market Bag, finished at last. The light coloured yarn was a virtual nightmare to work with, it frayed and split into fine hairlike strands constantly. The yarn for the band was lovely, it held its shape, looked very nice contrasted with the light coloured yarn. The handle is made from two different yarns, both bulkier than the bottom of the bag, both more difficult to work with, and I am not fond of the colours which are a darker brown. But, this bag represents yarn that has moved around with me over the last 45 years, and now all that is left are a few feet of of each type. I would make this market bag again, using yarn that I like, texture, weight, and colour. This pattern was made and displayed first by Bex, who made a lovely market bag, which inspired me to try it.

I am looking forward to using up all the spare yarn I have, so that I can justify choosing a project and buying yarn that I like specifically for that pattern.

Worldly Distractions

Weather

16°C
Date: 9:00 AM EDT Thursday 18 May 2017
Condition: Mostly Cloudy
Pressure: 100.9 kPa
Tendency: Rising
Temperature:15.6°C
Dew point: 10.8°C
Humidity: 73%
Wind: S 15 km/h
Visibility: 24 km

Quote

“The easiest way for your children to learn about money is for you not to have any.”
Katharine Whitehorn

My children should be well versed!

The Little Black Fly

I was lucky enough to spend Mother’s Day with my Mom. My Sister-The-Youngest-Girl is staying with her Beau Bob at the moment while they renovate her kitchen. Beau Bob kindly let us come to stay for a night, and hosted a family celebration with my Mom, my two sisters and my niece and fiancé. My Mom and my niece also recently celebrated birthdays, so we honoured that occasion as well. We had a lovely time, Sister-The-Youngest-Girl cooked a wonderful roast beef dinner, and made a Black Forest Cake, gifts were given to Mom and my niece. My Mom and Sister-The-Middle-Girl took me to their garden and loaded me up with all kinds of goodies: a rhubarb plant, rhubarb to eat, dill plants, an oregano plant, garlic buds to plant, onions to plant, and green onions to eat. Attila and I enjoyed the green onions on Sunday night in our green salad. Garden vegetables are the best tasting!

My niece invited us to their place for muffins Sunday afternoon, they just purchased a house in the country. Their house is lovely, they are renovating, and the views are heavenly. It was a wonderful Mother’s Day.

Luna, from a dialup up connection in Amsterdam, sent a Mother’s Day email greeting, and Terra send a message in the morning, dropped off a card, and called via FaceTime in the afternoon so that we could talk to Sunny and Sky. Sunny is standing by herself for brief moments now, and is so delighted with herself. Sky is beginning to crawl, and to move from a crawl into a sitting position, and once accomplished, he flashes a heart catching joyful smile.

The drive to visit my sisters and my Mom is not really such a great distance, but it does involve passing through the city of Toronto. This adds an hour or more to the journey, as we always run into stop and go traffic somewhere as we pass through. I have been in several motor vehicle accidents, and am not the most relaxed passenger there ever was. So it was a happy discovery that I could take along my crochet project (a carry all bag), and work on it blissfully as Attila operated the vehicle. That freed him from any concern about how I was feeling. Attila is sensitive to my feelings, which is usually a good thing, but in this instance it is counter-productive. We both experienced an easier journey.

When we arrived home on Sunday afternoon, Attila went right to work planting all the wonderful things we had been given, and I washed, chopped, and cooked the rhubarb to make 2 ½ quarts. Attila enjoys stewed rhubarb in his lunches.

Yesterday I called the bank to reschedule an appointment. The original was for Monday morning, and I happily spent my day with no awareness whatsoever of my commitment. On Tuesday morning I looked at the calendar and found that I had missed the appointment, but thought that I was only hours late, this time not realizing it was already Tuesday. Calling the bank, I apologized for inconsiderately missing the arranged appointment, and asked for another. Luckily she had an opening the same day, so that chore is now done and dusted.

Yesterday evening, as soon as Attila arrived home from work, we headed in Tank towards the Rideau Camp. He had been warned by co-workers living in the countryside, that the black flies had started and that were bad this year. We were prepared. During the day I hung a set of work clothes each on the clothesline and sprayed them liberally with permethrin, wearing a mask, latex gloves, and a long sleeved shirt. They were dry in good time to be worn at the camp that evening. I also packed our evening meal, consisting of homemade sodium-free hummus, low-sodium rice crackers for me, pita bread for Attila, seedless grapes, coconut pineapple muffins, and low-sodium lime flavoured soda water. Attila had the gardening tools ready by the door, so that they could be loaded into Tank in a few minutes. I donned a “bug jacket” at home, ready for the hoards of little black biters.

The water level in our swamp was down a bit, and the creek was running at a trickle. I zipped up the head segment of the bug jacket before getting out of Tank, and was glad I had. The black flies were well represented, but Attila noted that they really “weren’t that bad”. We had become accustomed to the black flies at the country house, which were worse by a hundredfold, than they were at the Rideau Camp. Still, I was glad of the full cover bug jacket, and Attila used insect repellent on any of his exposed flesh. Neither of us received a bite.

Attila has two projects in mind for this visit. The first was to whipper snip the open areas, which took almost two hours, as there is quite an area to cover now. The second was to prepare the dirt where the wood pile had been, and then to do some planting. My Mom and Sister-The-Middle-Girl loaded us up with goodies while we were visiting for Mother’s Day. At the Camp Attila planted 20 garlic buds, and three mounds of squash. We will see how they do, we aren’t expecting much but you never know. At one point the land was used as pasture, and you just never know where those cow patties landed.

While Attila was busy with his projects, I wandered down to the end of the driveway, enjoying all the flora and fauna. Coming back to the cleared area I dragged along with me two small dead trees, piling them up near the camp fire pit, ready for the next camp fire. I continued my forays for dead wood, and amassed quite a sizeable pile of it for future camp fires. Only a brief time was spent raking crushed stone, it is such hard labour, I don’t want to push myself past my limit. The crushed stone project is going to take a very long time to complete.

DSCF0629 The driveway at the Rideau Camp, a nice place for a stroll. Most but not all of the brush piles, left by the previous owners, have been collected and burned in the camp fire pit. It certainly looks a lot nicer than it did a year ago, when we first owned and began to work on the property.

The Trout Lilies were spent, but we found many small violets in bloom all around the Camp. The Trilliums were at their peak, masses of them at the sides of the road as we drove in, and masses of them on our property. The birds have at last arrived, we heard owls in the distance, saw geese fly overhead, watched four Blue Jays kibitz around in the trees, and as the evening shadows lengthened murders of crows flew in and settled in one of the huge oak trees on our property. We have hundreds of crows on and around our property.

DSCF0622 The Trilliums were in bloom!

We found no signs of unwelcome visitors. The young boys who had trespassed with their motor bikes and ATV had not returned. We have a No Trespassing sign to put up next time we go to the Camp. I noticed a neighbour had put up a sign prohibiting dirt bikes, snowmobiles and ATVs, so I am going to look into getting one of those signs as well. There will always be new crops of boys heading out to “God’s Country” with their motorized toys.

As the light began to fail, we sat contentedly in Tank, eating our meal where the black flies do not roam. Black flies do not like enclosed spaces, they will head for an opening to escape. It was possible to eat, and breath, without concerning ourselves with small beings flying into our mouths and noses. Mosquito season is not so kind, they have no foibles about hanging around in enclosed spaces, and actually like them as their targets are usually immobile and easier to attack.

We arrived home just before bed time. I slept deeply. Usually I wake up when Attila does in the morning, but this morning Attila had to wake me.

Terra called, and then dropped by with Sunny and Sky. We are seeing more of Sunny and Sky now that they are older. Terra has been cautious, during their first preemie months at home, about exposing them unnecessarily to illnesses that might affect them more seriously full-term babies. Today they were going out with Terra’s friend, but the friend is not up so early, so they came here for their breakfast to wait for her. Sunny and Sky seem to like it here. They enjoy the two baby toys that I keep in the kitchen drawer for them: a red silicone basting brush, and a yellow plastic ice cream scoop. I had to run around putting away things that might fall on them, as Sunny now pulls herself up on furniture or anything she can reach. She actually got the kitchen chair working as a walker, moving it across the floor as if it was on wheels. Sky is crawling, and today he learned how to sit from a crawling position. Lots of first for these wee folk.

It is a beautiful summer day today. Sunshine, and warm breezes mean that I have thrown open the windows to let in the blossom scented air.

Worldly Distractions

Weather

24°C
Date: 12:00 PM EDT Wednesday 17 May 2017
Condition: Partly Cloudy
Pressure: 101.0 kPa
Tendency: Falling
Temperature: 23.5°C
Dew point: 15.7°C
Humidity: 61%
Wind: SW 28 gust 44 km/h
Humidex: 28
Visibility: 24 km

Quote

“I look to the future because that’s where I’m going to spend the rest of my life.”
George Burns
1896 – 1996

Cotton Caps

The days pass quietly. After yesterday’s bright sunshine, the partial cloud cover of today struggles to dampen, the earth, human spirits. But it is Friday. Friday now brings cheer into our little world. The afternoon will bring Attila home, for two whole days. Although the rhythm of this experience called weekends is familiar, having experienced a five day work/school week through most of my life, weekends have a new sweetness to them, having been long lost, and now found.

Yesterday I crocheted a second cotton cap. The first was densely stitched, odd shaped, and tight fitting; perfect for tending camp fires, and working in the bush at the Rideau Camp. Its only fault was that it could be mistaken for a chemo cap, which could be misleading. What was needed for public adornment was a cap that would reveal my head of hair, to make it obvious that it was merely a pedestrian sort of cap.

The second cap is a crocheted mesh, fitting loosely. It should not be mistaken for a chemo cap, and therefore is more suitable for a quick trip to the grocery store, or a walk in the park.

Neither cap is meant for warmth. They are both created with cotton yarn, so that they are absorbent, cool, and will control unruly hair. I don’t look good in hats, but on bad hair days (most days) it is nice to have something to contain the chaos.

DSCF0612 cotton hats Two crocheted caps. They are made with the same cotton yarn, using a single crochet stitch on the left, and a half double crochet stitch on the right. The cap on the right was made yesterday, and is meant for public appearances. The cap on the left was one of my first real crochet projects, was quite experimental, and will be worn working in the bush.

Worldly Distractions

Weather

7°C
Date: 5:00 AM EDT Friday 12 May 2017
Condition: Not observed
Pressure: 101.6 kPa
Tendency: Falling
Temperature: 7.4°C
Dew point: 5.7°C
Humidity: 89%
Wind: NE 4 km/h

Quote

“To see the earth as it truly is, small and blue and beautiful in that eternal silence where it floats, is to see ourselves as riders on the earth together, brothers on that bright loveliness in the eternal cold.”
Archibald MacLeish
1892 – 1982

My Body Remembers

The Obus seat cover is complete! It is made with a simple stitch, and of a simple design. A single crochet stitch was used to create a “cylinder” to slip over the seat cushion, using worsted cotton yarn and a 5 mm crochet hook. The seat cover “cylinder” is open at both ends, designed to stretch slightly across the width of the cushion. It will not shift or bunch, and can be removed and thrown in the washing machine for cleaning. It has taken a very long time to complete this project. I may forget how to do a single crochet in future, but relearning it will be like riding a bycycle, my body will remember how as soon as I get going.

Last month I purchased an Artbin Yarn Drum from amazon dot ca. The only issue with it has been that the soft fabric sides collapse, so that the yarn does not rotate well when used from the outside of the skein. An 8 ½ by 11 sheet of cardboard worked until the drum was moved, then it shifted and failed to hold the walls of the drum rigid. A visit to the Dollar Store solved the problem for $1.25, the cost of a round plastic basket that now acts as a liner for the drum.

There are four devices that will record images in this household. One is an iPad, the sole domain of Attila. Two are computers with built in cameras. One is a digital camera, which must be connected by a cable to the usb port of one of the computers to download images. The iPad and computers are seldom used to record images. The camera requires connecting cables, and exporting images from proprietary Apple software, before they can be worked with. More and more these multiple steps act to impede the inclusion of images on the pages of this journal. The completion of the seat cushion has inspired an effort to take photographs and export them so that they can be shared.

DSCF0585 seat cushionThis is the newly crocheted cushion cover on the Obus seat. Since my skin reacts to synthetic fibres, and the original covering on the seat is made of synthetic fibres, the 100% cotton cover means there will be no worries about bare skin coming into contact with synthetics. Now, to consider how to crochet a cover for the Obus back support. It need not be so sturdy and close stitched as the seat, as it will receive less wear. It will not be made with single crochet stitch, that is for certain!

DSCF0592 artbin plastic linerThe yarn drum, sporting a lovely lime green plastic liner.

The temperature remains below average, but the clouds and the rain have finally moved on, and the sun is shining this morning. Yesterday morning it was snowing, with no accumulation, but snowing. The rain was intense this past week, and there was flooding in our area, but nothing so drastic as that experienced in Quebec and Ottawa. We had installed a sump pump some years ago, when water was coming into the basement due to a broken water main, in our front yard. It hadn’t run again until this past week, and it has had a good workout. The ground water level beneath the house rose to the level of the basement floor, at which point the sump pump worked for hours to lower the level of water. Now the water level is down a few feet below the level of the floor, our battle with groundwater was won, this time. The basement is dry, for now.

Outfitting Iris the trailer for the camping season had begun before the cold and rain arrived last week. Since there was no evidence of rodents having entered the trailer over the winter, it was safe to bring in the foam twin mattress, purchased from IKEA last year. After the mattress roll was uncoiled from its packaging, and had a few days to fully expand, it was covered with a full mattress cover, meant to prevent bed bugs from getting in, but intended in this case to prevent insects of any kind getting near the mattress itself. That is as far as the camping preparations went before the weather turned very nasty.

My thoughts are roving towards Iris once again. There are new curtains to press and hang. Attila’s front bunk needs a lot of attention. The seat cushions that I slept on last summer were moved to the front bunk, which is now three cushions deep, and hopefully will be more comfortable for Attila. But the catch is that the added cushions are not full length, so that supports must be found and installed under them so that Attila will sleep on a level surface. To that end, a very nifty wood box was snatched up out of the box bin at the local grocery store, the corner posts sawed off, to be used as a support under the bottom layer of cushions.

DSCF0594 iris trailer front bunkThis is the front bunk with all three seat cushions piled up high. The shortest one is on the bottom, with the wooden box beside it. The middle one is longer, but not full length, and it is propped up with a plastic tray, a discard from a produce department. The top cushion is slightly raised at the foot. It remains to be seen if this arrangement will be comfortable for Attila. We are looking forward to our first night out to find out.

DSCF0599 lungwort in bloom

The Lungwort in front of the house, blooming. The dandelions are a riot of yellow in our yard. I like it, but the neighbours use some chemical to prevent them from growing in their yards. The birds and the bees like to be around us, that counts for a lot in our universe.

Weather

5°C
Date: 8:00 AM EDT Wednesday 10 May 2017
Condition: Partly Cloudy
Pressure: 102.1 kPa
Tendency: Rising
Temperature: 5.2°C
Dew point: 0.4°C
Humidity: 71%
Wind: N 8 km/h
Visibility: 24 km

Quote

“Our houses are such unwieldy property that we are often imprisoned rather than housed in them.”
Henry David Thoreau
1817 – 1862

This is one of those statements that is only true under certain circumstances. Attila and I felt the country house to be an unwieldy property, because it was so much work and held us so close. Mist Cottage is almost the opposite, a haven and sn anchor point to return to after a wander.
I think of all those people in their huge houses, all over Canada, and how much care and expense those houses exact, and I think that Mr. Thoreau’s point very apt in such instances.