Army Worms

Last weekend was the long weekend. Attila spent his time putting in most of the vegetable garden. I spent my time making rhubarb crisp, and cooking. The rhubarb was fresh from our garden, the first produce of the season.

We did make another whirlwind trip out to the camp. I am using “we” again, mostly because Attila continues to involve himself with most of the activities he always involved himself in, just the domestic activities. With both of us being “homebodies”, the domestic covers a lot of ground.

While at the Camp, Attila mowed weeds, there are a lot to mow, and spring is the time to get to them. Ticks and mosquitoes do not like short “grass”, so the weeds are mowed short through the spring. The advantage to this, the third spring of ownership, is that the taller growing plants have mostly died off, and the shorter plants are thriving, including the white clover I planted the first and second spring of ownership. The mowing is getting much easier.

Last summer garlic was planted at the Camp, and it didn’t do well. I assumed it had either been dug up by critters, or died off because the soil it was planted in had a lot of cedar chips in it. Upon arrival at the Camp on the weekend, I was surprised to see the garlic over ten inches high, thriving!

I want as much of a “garden” as possible at the Camp. To this end Attila mounded soil near the area where the garlic was planted, and planted Blue Hubbard Squash. I am hopeful!

While at the Camp I spent my time collecting fallen deadwood around the occupied area, and burning it in a campfire. While tending the fire, I had plenty of time to kill army worms. Last year they attacked the Ash and Elm trees, but this year they are almost exclusively going after the maples. One oak tree was infested.

Army worms in cluster at the camp A colony of Army Worms on a tree at the Rideau Camp.

Army worms at the Camp Army Worms, up close and personal at the Rideau Camp.

My first attempt was to try to eliminate two colonies located on a maple, about 35 feet above ground. I tried the squirt gun, loaded with water, dish soap and bleach, but the worms were out of range. Those colonies were not destroyed. The squirt gun was then tried on a few colonies closer to the ground, it the mixture had little to no effect on the army worms. The clusters increased in circumference, but none of the worms died while we were there. So I reverted to my tall stick, with which I crushed as many of the worms as I could. I spent hours destroying colonies. It was interesting, because these colonies of army worms appeared almost suddenly on the trunks of trees. Areas I had cleared were suddenly teaming with colonies again.

There were two mouse turds in the cupboard in Grace the Trailer, the only evidence of mice I could find. Attila removed them and threw them in the fire, after I had sprayed with hydrogen peroxide. That meant I could proceed in finishing off the spring cleaning in the trailer. The bathroom had an accumulation of moisture, which concerns me. It must be coming up from the on-board septic holding tank. We really need to deal with that. We don’t use the trailer’s water based toilet, we use a composting toilet instead. I spent time with water, soap, and bleach, to clean the bathroom, and left the air vent slightly open in hopes of letting the moisture out over time.

There are no big projects planned for the Camp this year, no funds are available. There are still stumps to be burned, deadwood to collect and burn, and if the swamp dries out this year, I am hoping Attila will take his chain saw in and remove some of the fallen dead trees. The Camp becomes more park like every summer.

At the Camp there were still lots of Trilliums blooming. The Trout Lilies either did not bloom this year, or we missed it entirely, as I didn’t see one blooming Trout Lily. There were Wild Violets, and a small, unidentified, white flower.

Wild violets at the camp Wild Violets at the Rideau Camp

May flower at the camp unknown Little white flowers at the Rideau Camp, unidentified.

Yesterday the Crabapple Tree revealed her finery! The scent was intoxicating. Our lilacs, a light mauve colour, are blooming, Attila cut some for me, and the wonderful scent permeates the living room where I sit to write. The blooms on the apple tree in the back yard are also in full glory. The wild geraniums are getting ready to show their stuff as well.

Crabapple blossoms spring 2018 Crabapple Tree in full bloom and scent.

Worldly Distractions

Weather

13°C
Date: 11:00 AM EDT Wednesday 23 May 2018
Condition: Mainly Sunny
Pressure: 101.6 kPa
Tendency: Rising
Temperature: 12.8°C
Dew point: 11.9°C
Humidity: 94%
Wind: S 18 km/h
Visibility: 16 km

Quote

“Looking forward to things is half the pleasure of them. You mayn’t get the things themselves; but nothing can prevent you from having the fun of looking forward to them.”
L. M. Montgomery
1874 – 1942

A Few Days

Saturday, May 19, 2018

Today I learned that it is not wise to wear crock type footwear on chilly rainy days. Puddles in parking lots, when the temperature is hovering around 10C, are just waiting for the unsuspecting Crock wearer. I will not be a Crock wearer on another such day, nor will I be unsuspecting.

Tonight supper consisted of leftover homemade pizza, and seedless grapes for dessert. I love fast food pizza, ordered and pickup up, but only on the first day. It looses its appeal when reheated. Homemade pizza is good the first night, and just as good the second or third night. The real bonus for me is is that homemade pizza crust contains no sodium, so that a few slices of pizza won’t put me into sodium overload. Although I love it, I don’t put pepperoni on pizza, it is too high sodium. I do like a bit of low-sodium bacon cooked and crumbled on my homemade pizza, with sweet onions, sweet peppers, and mushrooms. I use my homemade Red Pepper Sauce as well, no sodium in that. The cheese, well, it is the cheese I have to watch, high in sodium, and in cholesterol. The biggest drawback to homemade pizza is that I have to make it, but then, so far Attila is willing participant in pizza construction, so it isn’t so bad at all.

Sunday, May 20, 2018

Well, I started this entry yesterday and got distracted. It didn’t take much to distract me either. Attila was going to the garden centre to spend a $20 gift certificate he received, so I decided to go with him. Today he will plant the tomatoes, peppers, and rosemary. The compost toilets at the Rideau Camp use peat moss, so a good supply was purchased for the 2018 season. It was raining the during the entire visit to the garden centre, which was only partially sheltered. I wore a parka and heavy winter boots, which allowed me to remain comfortable while I wandered about. It is lovely to spend time around growing things… the labels are a big bonus, suddenly I know what I am looking at.

I have had Food Mills recommended to me numerous times. I recently found a relatively good quality one on sale, a Cuisinart Food Mill. It arrived this past week. I tried it for the first time last night. Attila had unearthed yet another bag of vintage whole tomatoes from the freezer. I removed the stem and ends, popped them frozen and whole into a large soup pot, then heated them up until they were thawed and warm. They were drained, ladled into the food mill, and in about 20 minutes a lovely tomato sauce was extracted. Two 500 ml jars of tomato sauce are labelled and in the freezer.

Who knew!! I am in love with the Food Mill. It is so easy, I wonder at the decades I’ve lived without it. How did I do that? I wish I had listened to all of you who told me about the Food Mill quite a while ago!

The skins and seeds were left in the food mill. I scraped them onto a piece of waxed paper, spread them thin, and place the waxed paper on the cooking rack. I am hoping to place the dried skin and seeds in the blender to create a powder for flavouring. The results may or may not be satisfactory.

The clean up was super easy.

Inspired by last night’s success in the kitchen, pre-dawn found me in back there, beginning preparations for my complete protein Vegetable Soup. I was happily chopping vegetables, sautéing the beef and onions, grabbing the bits of this and that that I had saved over the last week, adding them to the soup pot, when Attila rose with the sun.

Attila is planting his garden today. I watch. I occasionally offer input, but never criticism. Breakfast on the back porch consisted of a toasted bagel, and a banana smoothie. Funny how how food tastes even better when you are watching someone else work! But really, Attila is playing, not working, he enjoys gardening so much.

Well, here it is, almost noon, and I am still sitting in my pyjamas; quite comfortably I might add.

I think I’ll get dressed now, and go wander in the garden, see if Attila wants any help.

Worldly Distractions

Weather

18°C
Date: 11:00 AM EDT Sunday 20 May 2018
Condition: Mostly Cloudy
Pressure: 101.5 kPa
Tendency: Rising
Temperature: 18.4°C
Dew point: 12.6°C
Humidity: 69%
Wind: NNW 21 gust 32 km/h
Visibility: 24 km

Quote

“The greatest of faults, I should say, is to be conscious of none.”
Thomas Carlyle
1795 – 1881

Learning

Oh the excitement! Well, by modern standards of drama, not really. OK, admittedly by the standards of recent drama in my own life, not really. But I can muster a little bit of excitement over this.

On Wednesday evening, after 7:00 p.m. the dishwasher was doing its thing. The dishwasher generates heat, as it does its thing. Unexpectedly, the dishwasher raised the temperature in the house a whopping 1.5C, which put it at 22.5C. That is too warm for sleeping! The temperature in the house, due to new insulation and new windows, remains constant. Attila suggested turning on the air conditioning. I was resistant. The compromise was to open all the windows in the house until bed time, which brought the temperature down to 21.5. Better. It will take some time to learn how to manage the temperature in the house! I might just open the windows while the dishwasher is running, and see if that keeps the temperature down.

I have been enjoying the beautiful warm sunny afternoons, and chilly clear nights. Everything is green. The leaves are unfurling, the perennials are shooting up towards the sun.

This morning I washed laundry before 7:00 a.m.; it has been hanging out to dry on the back porch clothesline. It has not been a terribly busy day. Attila’s iPad needed some updating, did that. My web sites needed software upgrades, did that. Time is flying by, so I must be having fun.

Things between Attila and I remain friendly, a new rhythm of life is slowly emerging, and I find I am comfortable with that process. The future is unwritten.

Attila’s garden is in the planning stages. The seed packets are spread all over the kitchen table: Swiss Chard, Scarlet Runner Beans, Climbing Peas, Blue Hubbard Squash, Butternut Squash, Basil, Spinach, and a few others yet to be chosen. The Scarlet Runner Beans, Blue Hubbard Squash, and Butternut Squash are seeds we saved from previous harvests at Mist Cottage, originally saved from produce purchased from organic farms. Some of the remaining seeds are Heirloom seeds purchased from Salt Spring Seeds, and some were ordered from William Dam Seeds. This is a gardening weekend for Attila.

I have just come indoors to finish writing this entry. The mosquitoes were beginning to be bothersome. Attila and I had been sitting out on the porch, chatting, and watching the big bonfire that the neighbours had built in their back yard; all the enjoyment, none of the work. There is a party going on around that bonfire tonight, but the revelry won’t disturb me, I’ve been sleeping well most of the time lately.

Worldly Distractions

Weather

17°C
Date: 8:00 PM EDT Friday 18 May 2018
Condition: Partly Cloudy
Pressure: 102.6 kPa
Tendency: Falling
Temperature: 16.5°C
Dew point: -2.6°C
Humidity: 27%
Wind: NE 18 km/h
Visibility: 24 km

Quote

“It’s easier to put on slippers than to carpet the whole world.”
Al Franken

Fly Strip

On the weekend a fly strip was hung on the back porch. The hope was that it would immobilize the wasps who bumble into the area, and might deliver strings that are truly unpleasant. So far it has caught about a half a dozen mosquitoes, no complaints there, and two house flies. Another plan must be devised for the wasps.

It has been an uneventful day, quiet and peaceful. The crochet blanket gained a few rows, some bills were paid, administrative type emails were sent, software was updated, floors were swept, meals were consumed, sunshine was soaked in…

Worldly Distractions

Weather

18°C
Date: 8:00 PM EDT Wednesday 16 May 2018
Condition: Partly Cloudy
Pressure: 101.5 kPa
Tendency: Falling
Temperature: 18.1°C
Dew point: 9.6°C
Humidity: 57%
Wind: WSW 8 km/h
Visibility: 24 km

Quote

“Prosperity is only an instrument to be used, not a deity to be worshipped.”
Calvin Coolidge
1872 – 1933

Leaves and Blackflies

I am happy to see rain this morning. Although the water is diligently watered by Attila, the plants prefer rain.

Yesterday I finished applying marine wax to the top half of Iris the trailer. The bottom half will get done in bits, a little at a time, when the mood strikes me. It could take all summer, and Universe willing I have that kind of time.

I took a flying visit to the Rideau Camp on the weekend, accompanied by Attila. He cut weeds and worked on the last big stump, which needed earth removed from the exposed roots, and to be rolled a long distance to the fire pit. It didn’t make it as far as the fire pit, but progress was made. It is a very large and heavy stump.

My time was spent dealing with the mess the mouse made, as one of them, fingers crossed it was only one, was trapped in Grace the trailer when the slide out was extended. I know this because I found the dead mouse in a cubby behind the range. He/she made quite a mess in one of the cupboards, and in other areas of the trailer. The mouse traps that were set had been overturned to set them off, then the bait eaten. Because there was no source of fluids, the mouse ate every fly and wasp that was trapped in the trailer when it was locked up after the last visit; their remains were everywhere. The mouse’s body was thrown into the bush, where its remains will meet a natural end. Wearing mask and gloves, the urine and faeces, and chewed bits of fabric and plastic, all were sprayed with hydrogen peroxide, cleaned, then washed with soap and water. Using the generator that was brought along, I vacuumed the whole trailer, exhausting the vacuum out the window. the vacuum bag was removed and disposed of.

There may be another mouse in the trailer, that won’t be known until the next visit.

The weekend weather was beautiful, sunny and warm. The leaves are bursting forth and unfurling on the trees. On the Rideau Camp, and along the sides of the road on the journey, carpets of white trilliums bloomed. The Mayflowers were also blooming in carpets on our driveway at the Camp. The Trout Lilies are not quite ready to bloom though.

I have noticed, over my short existence on the planet, that with the spring unfurling of leaves come the blackflies. They were around during the visit to the Camp, I have a few bites, but not yet swarming. It is time to pull out the Camp wardrobe and begin spraying everything with the permethrin mixture. This will require a dry, relatively windless day, and the wearing of long sleeved clothing, a mask, and gloves. It isn’t my favourite task, but the results are worthwhile.

The hydro time-of-use schedule changed on the first of May, which requires a big shift in domestic routines. In keeping with keeping the hydro bill as low as possible, I began preparations to bake muffins yesterday before 6:00 a.m., so that the oven would finish using electricity by the time mid-peak rates began. I didn’t quite make it, but the oven didn’t use very much electricity after 7:00 a.m. I will have to start just a bit earlier. I like the summer time-of-use schedule better, because mid-peak rates start at 7:00 a.m., rather than 11:00 a.m., which is a better fit for my morning person personality. I hate time-of-use because it dictates what I can and cannot do during the day, when I have the energy and free time to do it.

This is a good day for sitting out on the porch, watching the rain run off the roof, the green things grow, and the rabbits, squirrels, birds, bees, and other insects revel in the lushness of spring.

Worldly Distractions

Weather

14°C
Date: 7:00 AM EDT Tuesday 15 May 2018
Condition: Light Rain
Pressure: 100.8 kPa
Tendency: Falling
Temperature: 13.8°C
Dew point: 13.7°C
Humidity: 99%
Wind: NW 8 km/h
Visibility: 3 km

Quote

“The outcome of any serious research can only be to make two questions grow where only one grew before.”
Thorstein Veblen
1857 – 1929

One statement, so many ways to hear it.