Rideau Camp

We had a lovely weekend at the Rideau Camp. Arriving on Friday afternoon, Attila immediately started a camp fire. We had ten trees worth of brush to burn, and since it had rained most of the day, it was the ideal time to burn fresh tree branches. While Attila was busy starting a fire from wet wood, I heated up our dinner of vegetables, pasts, olive oil, and seasonings. After the meal, brush burning began in earnest. The camp fire burned until past midnight, burning about one third of the branches.

First thing Saturday morning I was off to the local building centre to make a few purchases.

The first item purchased was Diatomaceous Earth powder. The ants have found the interior of Grace the Trailer. Small pans were created with aluminium foil, one placed at each of the four jack supports, where I suspect the ants have been coming in. On Saturday I killed quite a few ants in the trailer, the powder was employed by mid-morning, then ant activity slowed. On Sunday there were no large ants in the trailer. There were however a few small ants, so when the air is calm on another visit, powder will be applied around the wheels.

The second item purchased was two seven foot steel fence posts, with holes. After finding someone had cut down trees to gain access to our property, for their ATVs, and having young boys on motorized vehicles come onto the property to recreate without permission, we were advised at the local building centre to put up No Trespassing signs. Attila mounted two signs on boards, which were affixed to the fence posts. The signs are up, and hopefully this will curb further trespassing. Time will tell.

Felling ten trees generates a lot of work. The chain saw was busy all weekend, sectioning tree trunks. Then the logs needed to be stacked. Attila did most of this work, but today we devised a way that I could participate. He loaded logs into the wheelbarrow, and brought them to the wood pile where I stacked them, returning the empty wheelbarrow for another load. This worked very well.

Log stacking june 2017 DSCF0787 My log stacking setup. These are logs from one of the ten trees Attila felled more than a week ago. They will not make good firewood this summer, but next summer they will be ready for the campfire.

The trees were felled to prepare the area where Grace The Trailer will sit. There is a lot of work to do, Attila was busy all weekend with his chain saw. After cleaning up the felled trees, the stumps need to be removed. Then the land must be levelled, which will require an investment in crushed stone, and perhaps a machine to level the stone.

We had a visitor at the Camp on Saturday. The fellow who sold us Grace The Trailer dropped by to drop off the hitch. It had been connected to his pickup truck, and he had to take it in to the garage to have it removed. The hitch will be stored here at Mist Cottage, in the garage.

Soon it will be one year since my brother passed away. My sleeping is fitful lately, and I am often feeling distracted. I think I am grieving. Since he has been gone I have been increasingly aware of how much experience we shared, and how alone with some difficult memories, and situations, his passing has left me.

Suddenly on Sunday, as I was sitting quietly under the trees, watching the blustery wind sway the topmost branches, that old feeling of connectedness came to me. When I was a child the bush was my friend, the trees and the wind confidantes and playmates. I was surrounded by wordless acceptance and belonging, as that little girl, perched in a tree, enjoying the touch and sound of the living wood and leaves; knowing who I was, how small I was, how important I was in my smallness. Like a gift, it came to me.

Rideau Camp June 25 2017 DSCF0772 Rideau Camp. The log pile is gone, it was to the right in this photo. The loads of crushed stone are diminishing, they are at the right of the photo. Grace The Trailer casts a shadow on the left of the photo. This area was choked with brambles, and a building size pile of logs and bulldozed trees in the area between the photographer and the trees. This is the view we will have as we sit at the table to eat our meals in Grace the Trailer, after she is moved into her final position. We love camping here!

Worldly Distractions

Weather

17°C
Date: 12:00 PM EDT Monday 26 June 2017
Condition: Mostly Cloudy
Pressure: 101.6 kPa
Tendency: Rising
Temperature: 17.1°C
Dew point: 13.4°C
Humidity: 79%
Wind: S 16 km/h
Visibility: 24 km

Quote

“It is not much for its beauty that makes a claim upon men’s hearts, as for that subtle something, that quality of air that emanates from old trees, that so wonderfully changes and renews a weary spirit.”
Robert Louis Stevenson
1850 – 1894

“By desiring little, a poor man makes himself rich.”
Democritus
460 BC – 370 BC

Carrot Muffins

The sun was shining again this morning. The light breeze tickled the leaves, they laughed gently and cast frivolity across the living room floor. It was cool, which was refreshing after the recent spell of heat and humidity. Clouds appeared on the blue canvas above, they slowly coloured the sky grey as the day wore on.

A quiet day is developing.

A few days ago I made chili, for dinner that night, and some to freeze in mason jars, two servings in each jar, to enjoy as quick suppers at the Rideau Camp. Dishes like chili lend themselves to the adventurous use of food odds and ends, things found in the refrigerator that will go bad soon, if they are not used up. The recent chili included onions from an older bag of onions that had been sitting far too long waiting for inclusion in a recipe, and part of an older bag of carrots. The bag of onions was emptied into a large metal bowl, all of the soft onions were separated into another metal bowl for the compost, and the remaining sound onions were either used for the chili, or stored in the vegetable crisper in the refrigerator. The entire bag of carrots was trimmed, peeled, and reduced to small granules in the food processor. Two cups of carrot bits were added to the chili, and two cups were placed in a container in the refrigerator. This morning the carrots in the refrigerator were added to a muffin recipe, and the resulting muffins were very pleasant.

When it is cool I can bake in the morning, my favoured time of day for projects. I am a morning person. The summer time-of-use hydro billing allow me to bake at mid-peak prices for electricity, so I take advantage of this to do my baking at a time of day when I will enjoy it, rather than it feeling like a chore. When it is hot outside in the summer, I tend not to bake at all, since the heat from the oven would necessitate hard work from the air conditioning. It seems pointless, and expensive, to heat the air with the oven, while cooling it with the air conditioner. If I need to bake on a hot day, I will resort to using the Nesco on the back porch, and the air it heats will not need to be cooled.

The crocheted “water balloon” project continues. I have been following the pattern using my laptop, which is not really convenient. The laptop is five years old now and not so portable as it was, the battery does not hold a charge for very long, so that the unit needs to be tethered to an electrical cord and outlet. I like to carry my project bag with me to the back porch in the morning, so a printed copy of the pattern seemed just the thing.

My printer has been misbehaving. I haven’t taken the time to figure out why the new black ink cartridge would not print properly, a few feeble attempts were made to remedy the problem, but it persisted. A few hours of fiddling around with it, and having a google around the internet to see what other’s were saying about this particular printer, and the problem was solved. Apparently ALL FOUR ink cartridges have to have adequate ink in them, to print black and white. Two of the three colour cartridges were spent, making it impossible to print in black and white. I had been using the cartridges that came with the printer, but they were small volume sample cartridges and were spent easily. Luckily I had ordered full sized cartridges from 123 Ink Cartridges when the printer was purchased, so I was able to replace the spent cartridges, and print my one page of black and white text. It will be interesting to see how much Costco will charge to refill the full size colour cartridges, when the time comes.

Attila and I have been talking about getting a water gun. It is a child’s toy that will shoot a stream of water quite a distance. Last summer a red fox circled us for an entire afternoon, boldly coming towards us as we ate our lunch, and our then our dinner. Attila would scare him off, but he would sit in the shadow of the trees watching us, and return again. The neighbours told us about the nearby cottager on the lake who feeds the wild foxes, teaching them to approach humans for food. I regard this as highly disrespectful of wild animals. We eventually had to throw rocks at the poor thing, to get it to retreat into its own world of the forest. At the time I researched possible solutions, and many people experiencing similar issues recommended a water gun.

Canadian Tire have water guns on sale at the moment, so off we went after work last night to buy one. It shoots a stream of water 38 feet, which should give the fox lots of warning that his/her company is not wanted.

The last time we stayed at the Rideau Camp we could hear coyotes, more than one, yipping and howling nearby. It did not seem that they were actually on our property, but we knew they were close. I had been reading about various problems with coyotes in southern Ontario, e.g. Oakville and Mississauga, and feel that we had best be prepared for the worst case scenario, no matter how unlikely it seems. We surmise that the local coyotes are hunting rodents, and young farm animals from the surrounding farms. Last summer we passed a dead lamb, partially eaten, at the side of the highway near the camp. Our guess was that it was coyotes, who were scared away from their kill by traffic. The water gun will be a part of our strategy if coyotes come too close. We will also be purchasing bear spray, which will probably never be used, but will be available in the unlikely event that a coyote or bear becomes aggressive when we are in the bush. We already own a bear horn, but luckily did not have to use it when we lived at the country house.

I actually posted a query on Facebook about water guns, and was mildly mocked by a few of my urban friends; not all, Teri responded with thoughtful and useful information. This type of mild mockery of cautionary measures has happened to me many times in my life, because I do take the unlikely seriously, which many people would rather not do, rather not think about. I can think of many, many instances where those who mocked ran into the very situation they assumed was unlikely, and were unprepared to deal with it effectively. I have never offered them my sympathy. I don’t say “I told you so”, I just quietly give myself a little hug of appreciation that had it happened to me, the outcome would have been more positive.

Worldly Distractions

Weather

19°C
Date: 9:00 AM EDT Thursday 22 June 2017
Condition: Mostly Cloudy
Pressure: 101.5 kPa
Tendency: Rising
Temperature: 18.5°C
Dew point: 12.3°C
Humidity: 67%
Wind: WSW 8 km/h
Visibility: 24 km

Quote

“An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.”
Sometimes attributed to Benjamin Franklin

Balance

My niece is getting married this weekend, at a resort near my sister’s cottage. My two sisters, and my Mom, are pretty excited, and are leaving for the cottage for the celebration this morning. I have wished them well. Attila and I, and my brothers, were not invited, for the weekend, or to the wedding, and so are not attending.

Yesterday all of the crocheted cotton projects were subjected to a process to set the dye, according to instructions found on the internet. The first crocheted wash cloths faded after a few washings, so hopefully this will keep the other items, wash cloths, kitchen towels, beanies, colourful through many washings.

Because there were severe storms in Ontario over last weekend, on Monday evening we decided to take a jaunt out to the Rideau Camp to check on Grace The Trailer. Funny how suddenly the Camp is a place we need to consider when the weather gets nasty, demonstrating once again that what you own, owns you.

The evening was fine, sunny with a light breeze, and warm but not hot. We found that all was well with Grace The Trailer. Attila brought his chain saw and continued to section the trees he had felled, and some large oak branches he had removed from the trees, to let Grace The Trailer navigate the driveway in safety. I put away the things I brought to keep in the trailer, such as a small sewing kit, and the kitchen towel I crocheted for the oven door handle. My biggest job was to use cover the hitch with a plastic bag, and seal all the openings to the bag with duct tape. I did this crouching under the trailer with my arms raised above my head, for about a half an hour. This will keep the wasps, spiders, ants, and mice out of the hitch, and the openings around the hitch. At least I hope it will. I placed a section of flea collar inside the hitch before sealing it up, so that if any insects do attempt an intrusion, they will be roundly discouraged. Next I cut up plastic bags and stuffed them into every opening in the frame of the trailer that I could find, to keep out wasps in particular, as they like to build nests in spaces protected from the weather.

I overdid it. The weather was very hot and humid, which has always affected me adversely. I felt quite ill until we were home again in the air conditioned house. I speculated, as this is the first time this has happened, that I had not ingested enough sodium during the day, so that working and perspiring in the heat depleted my sodium levels, and thus my electrolyte balance was probably out of whack. When I got home I had one piece of toast, using store bought bread, with peanut butter, the regular sugary kind, which gave me the full day’s compliment of sodium, and I felt much better. I am going to have to watch my sodium intake much more carefully in the hot humid weather!

Since the heat wave had ended here yesterday, it was the perfect opportunity to make a big batch of chili. It simmered all day long on the stove, made a lovely dinner last night, and four more meals were frozen in mason jars for quick suppers at the Rideau Camp.

The crocheted “water balloons” are coming along nicely, seven completed. Someone wrote in to a crochet group that they had created 22 of these “water balloons” in one day, I feel accomplished if I manage two of them. The yarn, bulky blanket yarn, is not as pleasant to work with as I had hoped, but that may be because of the pattern, which becomes very tightly stitched at the nozzle end of the balloon.

The longest day of the year is upon us, dawning with a blue sky, and moderate temperature. I love sunny mornings, my favourite time of the day. This just might be the day the sewing machine gets set up in the front bedroom. The desk is clear at last. The pile of mending has been growing since a year ago last September, and some of the items are needed. My permethrin treated work pants are rather torn, they are on the top of the mending pile.

The peonies in the front yard are blooming in all their glory. On Sunday Attila brought two blooms in for the vase on the table, to replace the two that were spent. In the backyard the two Columbine plants that self seeded at the step are still blooming. There are still a few blooms on the Wild Geraniums. The frivolous heads of Yellow Hawkweed wave in the breeze in the fenced in back yard, where Attila did not mow, so as to leave them in their beauty, and to avoid walking over the patches of wild strawberries. The Irises are spent. The purple Clematis is laden with buds, and about to bloom any day now.

Attila finished planting the garden this week, with Scarlet Runner Beans along the fence, and Squash near the compost heap. There are blooms on the tomato plants, and there have been several harvests of rhubarb. Attila loves to garden, I think I will call it his garden. I have input into choosing and placing the plants, but Attila has the final word, and does the physical work, so I will call it his garden.

My Mom has a garden at her farm, cared for by my brother who lives there. She tells me they haven’t had a drop of rain since the plants went into the ground. My brother waters the plants every day using water from the well, a lot of work. I sure hope they get more rain down there in Niagara! We have had rain either constantly for days, or every few days, all spring, so that Attila hasn’t needed to water the garden at all. We purchased a rainbarrel, and I am hoping we will soon have it set up, so that we will be ready if the rain ceases to fall on a regular basis.

Worldly Distractions

Weather

16°C
Date: 8:00 AM EDT Wednesday 21 June 2017
Condition: Mostly Cloudy
Pressure: 101.3 kPa
Tendency: Rising
Temperature: 15.8°C
Dew point: 12.9°C
Humidity: 83%
Wind: WSW 17 km/h
Visibility: 24 km

Quote

“Farming looks mighty easy when your plow is a pencil, and you’re a thousand miles from the corn field.”
Dwight D. Eisenhower
1890 – 1969

Shame and Responsibility

Yesterday was cloudy, hot, and muggy.

We decided to stay home for the weekend, and tackle small projects around the house.

My projects included paying bills, collecting items on the list of things to take out to the Rideau Camp on the next visit, and crocheting water balloons.

Attila’s projects yesterday included planting the squash and the scarlet runner beans, weeding the garden, and installing a lattice screen across the end of the back porch, for privacy from the road. The fir tree used to provide adequate privacy, but the bottom branches have died back since we had the basement perimeter dug up to waterproof the basement, and the water main leak was repaired by the municipality, just too much change for the tree.

Today I am remembering my greatest shame. It is an incident from my early years, Grade One or Two, and the only person who called it was my teacher, bless her heart. Her response to my unkindness to another human being, performed to impress the clique of small town girls, for their approval, set me on the social path I have followed ever since.

I don’t remember the details of the incident very clearly any more, but I do remember the feelings. We ate our lunches, those of us who stayed at school for lunch, at our desks. My desk was near a little girl who was new, and only there on a temporary basis, her family were farm labourers who migrated to follow the harvests. I too lived on a farm, and the small town girls were not very nice to those few of us who came in to school from the outlying farms. One day at lunch, the small town girls were friendly with me, and persuaded me to be mean to the little girl sitting near me. Hoping for acceptance, my young self let herself be persuaded, let that longing for acceptance override natural tendency. It was a small mean thing I did, hiding her lunch bag, or her milk bottle, or something like that. The little girl’s reaction was only to lower her head, to cry. I felt terrible, and found that the small town girls were laughing, not just at the little girl’s pain, but at me as well, for playing the fool. The teacher came to hear about the incident, and took me aside for a quiet word. She asked me how I thought the little girl felt, she asked me how I felt, then she put her arm around my shoulders, gave me a quick hug, and sent me on my way.

I don’t think the clique of girls, who used my longing for acceptance, ever felt bad about that incident. As I grew older I observed these types of girls, in elementary school, in high school, in university. They always looked ugly to me, no matter what they looked like on the outside.

Ever since, I have carefully considered the issue of approval and reward, and just how much the who and why matter when it comes to affirmations. My conclusion has been that the only people worthy of providing valuable feedback are those who are busy being themselves, to the point where they have developed internal integrity. Having come to this conclusion, these beautiful people have come into focus, and into my life.

At a Celebration of Life for a dear companion and friend, Pat Logier, one of the musicians said of myself with Attila, “where does she find them!” The answer is, I don’t, these connections are a gift from the universe, and have not been found by seeking, only by being true to myself.

There is another issue that comes to mind, when I explore the issue of shame in my life. It is concerning that which I have participated in, in innocence of malice, or ill will, that may have caused harm to some people. Being blind to the strategies and machinations of the intolerant, the greedy, and the ambitious is not something I am ashamed of, but it is something that I feel compelled to acknowledge, and whenever possible to avoid. I did not create our social ills due to single unknowing acts of complicity, with well organized, often entrenched and cloaked designs for power, and wealth creation and maintenance. I can not change these designs through single knowing acts. It is my choice, once I am aware of how a social ill evolves, and what role I have been assigned to play in the process, to do what I can, wherever and whenever I can, to act with personal integrity.

I feel I should provide an example of this abstract description, if only to remind myself, years from now, upon rereading this entry, what meaning this has in a material sense.

A glaring example would be racial prejudice. I grew up in an environment that did not display or express racial hatred. When I ran into it for the first time, I did not know it for what it was. I participated in it as a member of a group, following the leader without question. I was a cheerleader in high school. My first year as a cheerleader saw me with my team at the side the football field, in front of the bleachers, during games played with other high school football teams. One of the schools was a Catholic School, and the student population was almost entirely of Italian descent; which I didn’t know or even notice at the time. One of the cheers the team leader led had an ending that went like this: “wop, wop, wop“. It was meant to be a racial insult. We were supervised by teachers I might add, and at no point was this particular cheer, used only for competitions with this particular school, questioned. I do not feel shame for trusting my team captain, and my teachers, to behave honourably. I do not feel shame for not knowing that the competing team was Catholic or Italian in descent, these were not what the game of football was about, these attributes were not mentioned overtly in my presence, and I had no experience with disdain for other nationalities or religions. I do feel that it was, and is, my personal responsibility to learn from the experience, and not to trust the status quo, authority figures, or media figures, to provide the checks and balances needed to ensure that all members of society are treated with respect.

I feel that the greatest gift I have ever received has been a sense of personal responsibility for my own actions and words, a sense that what I do and and what I say matters, even if no one else sees or hears me. I own my words and actions. I think some people regard this a relationship with God, for me it is a relationship with myself. And perhaps that fits, as some people feel that God exists in all of us.

Is it ever too late in life to commit yourself to owning your own words and actions?

I don’t know.

Worldly Distractions

Weather

20°C
Date: 7:00 AM EDT Sunday 18 June 2017
Condition: Partly Cloudy
Pressure: 100.5 kPa
Tendency: Falling
Temperature: 19.6°C
Dew point:18.4°C
Humidity: 93%
Wind: SSE 27 km/h
Visibility: 19 km

Quote

“Guard well within yourself that treasure, kindness. Know how to give without hesitation, how to lose without regret, how to acquire without meanness.”
George Sand
1804 – 1876

Seeing The Light

The big adventure of the day began when my glasses fell to the floor. Out popped the left lens. I need my glasses.

I phoned Costco, they said they would try to put the lens back in for me, no charge, and were quite pleasant on the telephone. It is 40 km drive to Costco, not ideal.

The attempt to fix the glasses myself began with trying to find my glasses repair tools. They have not been used since the move, almost two years ago. The search spanned two hours, and was finally abandoned. A small screwdriver that came with the sewing machine, and the matching brush, were fished out of the sewing equipment.

The light was inadequate for the job. The only available working glasses were quite old, and not as helpful as they were when new. It seemed the time to setup the magnifying lamp, purchased many years ago. To setup the magnifying lamp the desk where it would be attached had to be cleared off. To clear off the desk the front bedroom needed to be organized so that the items on the desk could be put away. First the room was organized, then the desk was cleared, then the lamp was installed on the desk. It was time for lunch!

After taking refreshment, an attempt was made to place the lens back in the glasses frame, using the sewing equipment. The screwdriver was too large for the screw head. Another extended search for the glasses repair tools began. An hour or so later, the tools were found at the bottom of a satchel, at the back of the linen closet.

Begin again.

On close examination, with the aid of magnification, the glasses frame appeared to need cleaning. This took about an hour. Finally, the attempt to insert the lens into the frame began. It failed.

Time for a another break.

An hour or so later, I returned to the task. After repeated attempts, I finally secured the lens in the frame. It is not in there quite the way it should be, but it is in, and I can now wear the glasses.

DSCF0728 Maggie’s Awesome Glasses Repair Workshop. Magnifying lamps are amazing and really worth having around for finer work when aging eyes just can’t manage the job on their own. The little white screwdriver was too big for the job, the longer one was just right.

As a treat to myself, I crocheted a second water balloon for the Grandbabies. Yesterday I crocheted the first one, tried it out in a bowl of water, and decided that it was worth my time to create a bunch of these balloons for the Grandbabies to play with on hot summer days.

DSCF0732 Water Balloons. These are crocheted using a 9 mm crochet hook, Bernat Blanket Brights yarn, and a pattern created by Left In Knots.

Worldly Distractions

Weather

20°C
Date: 3:00 PM EDT Friday 16 June 2017
Condition: Partly Cloudy
Pressure: 101.0 kPa
Tendency: Falling
Temperature: 20.2°C
Dew point: 16.9°C
Humidity: 81%
Wind: SSE 14 km/h
Humidex: 25
Visibility: 24 km

Quote

“I will not let anyone walk through my mind with their dirty feet.”
Mahatma Gandhi