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

Black Flies!

They’re here! Black file season has officially begun for us. We spent Friday and Saturday at the Rideau Camp. Friday was cloudy, and not terribly warm. We kept busy all day, Attila finishing the camp fire pit, and me burning wood and broken bits of brush in the camp fire pit. We had our usual lunch, grilled cheese sandwiches over the embers of the camp fire. I managed to go for a walk with Attila around the periphery of the property, it is pretty hard going in some places, lots of rocks, fallen trees, and hills. The day was a long one, just couldn’t tear ourselves away, so many interesting things to do.

The black flies were noticeable, but not too bad, we had no trouble tolerating them.

Our camp fire pit, finished. This is best camp fire pit I have ever used or designed. In the picture at the bottom of the pit is the air trench, this trench allows air to be sucked up from below the level of the burning fire, oxygen! On either side of the burning wood are two large pieces of granite, between which the fire burns. The granite rocks circling the fire pit prevent logs from rolling out, and helps to channel the wind into the burning fire. The air trench faces in the direction of the dominant wind flow, so that the wind blows in through the trench, hits the taller rocks across from the trench and creates a draft parallel to the predominant wind. This fire pit is so effective that I have only needed to use one match, a sheet of newspaper, some dry kindling and some sticks to get it going. It burns the wood completely and keeps the burning wood well confined. When I want to cook I put the grill across the two large granite rocks inside the ring, and I am all set up. Over the course of the weekend I burned all the wood from two of the dead trees that Attila felled last weekend.
Camp fire pit
The trilliums are out in full bloom. We are careful not to tread on them as we hike through the bush, but sometimes it can’t be helped, there are just so many of them. We have a few of these Red Trilliums on the property, so pretty. The Trillium is Ontario’s official Provincial Flower (white Trillium).
Trillium

Saturday I wanted to walk down to the waterfront to which we have deeded access. It was a bright sunny day, perfect for a little walk. We observed something on a beech tree that neither one of us had seen before, and we still haven’t identified what we were looking at.

We looked up into this 60 foot high beech tree on our walk to the waterfront yesterday. The objects attached to the branches of the tree look ominous, we don’t know what they are. If anyone can identify what they are I’d love to know. I couldn’t get a closer picture, with more detail, because they were so far up.
Nests in tree

The waterfront is not idyllic, and it is obvious that the ownership is shared by many. There are discarded tires lying under the water, old boards and lumber pushed into the bush along the driveway, and the dock is literally falling apart, I won’t venture out on it. The shoreline is mucky, with a sand bottom further out. It is shallow, so that one might launch a canoe or small boat, but nothing larger. The view is lovely. I think Attila and I will eventually put in a bit of time cleaning things up down there, bit by bit. It doesn’t look like anyone else really cares. Most of the properties sharing this access point are waterfront properties, so they don’t really use it.

Our waterfront. We have deeded access to this waterfront, which we share with many others. It is shallow, and quite mucky along the shore, but I think we would enjoy bringing a picnic down here during late summer, when the bugs have died down. I don’t see us boating, although we may eventually get a small aluminium or fibreglass boat for fishing. We both like to fish. I used to canoe, but the arthritis in my coccyx makes it difficult to find a comfortable sitting position in a canoe, and my wonky knees mean that kneeling on my knees isn’t much fun either. Paddle boats work for me, but are too bulky to move around on land to and from storage. Wading is a good option on a hot day!
Water access

Attila had a look at the neighbouring property, and he says the view from the hill is lovely, but I would have trouble getting up there with my knees being what they are. Perhaps when bug season is over I might give it a try, wearing my knee brace. I tended the camp fire, burning the last of the dead trees that Attila felled last weekend. I also sprayed the weeds on the core area of the driveway with the vinegar/epsom salt/dawn detergent mixture. It worked right away with some of the weeds, and not at all with others. This will be an ongoing project. I also planted many clover seeds around the open area where we park, hoping it will grow as ground cover.

The black flies became more numerous as the day went by. By the time we left at 7 p.m. they were swarming around our heads. May and June are usually months when biting bugs are at their worst in Ontario. We won’t be doing as much work at the Rideau Camp for a few months. There is lots to be done at home, and Iris is waiting for attention, to ready her for the camping season, which we hope will begin in July and extend into October.

We headed home tired and happy after our day in the bush.

On the drive home we observed another phenomena that neither of us had seen before. It was a short rainbow in the sky, just a short straight line of faint colours, high above and to the right of the setting sun. It wasn’t raining.

Today, Sunday, we stayed home. It was raining when we got up this morning, making a day out of doors less appealing, particularly when the temperature was only going to rise to 9C. So Attila spent his time organizing the garage so that he can get the lawn more out, it will soon be needed. I spent the day making croutons, cooking vegetables for my meals this week, and baking Blueberry Squares for Attila’s lunches.

A dreary looking day out there today, but our little world needed it. The grass got greener as the day wore on, and the gardens are looking happy.

Worldly Distractions

Weather

9°C
Date: 4:23 PM EDT Sunday 1 May 2016
Condition: Light Rain
Pressure: 101.7 kPa
Tendency: falling
Visibility: 3 km
Temperature: 8.5°C
Dewpoint: 7.4°C
Humidity: 93%
Wind: ENE 11 km/h

Quote

“Peace is when time doesn’t matter as it passes by.”
Maria Schell

black flies

Yesterday we started early and cleaned until we dropped. The realtor was showing the house at 1:45 p.m., and we managed to get a lot done and to leave before they arrived. Tired and satisfied, we headed towards Harriet and Hogan’s cottage, to visit with them while they were there for the long weekend. Since we heard nothing from the realtor, we were left to accept a dinner invitation, and enjoyed a wonderful BBQ chicken dinner.

During our visit Attia and I, and Harriet and Hogan, all bundled into our car and drove over to the camp. The black flies were out in full force, they swarmed in clouds around our heads, but for some reason they did not bite me! The camp looked quite different than it had on our last visit. Yesterday the leaves were budding, and the forest floor was a carpet of trilliums and Mayflowers. Hogan and Attila went off a ways into the bush, behind the camp, which had been owned by my Grandparents and is now owned by my Mom and Uncle.

We are still waiting to see if the purchase goes through for the camp, but perhaps we will find out by this coming Friday.

We also wandered around my Grandparent’s house and were relieved and happy to find that it had not been broken into again, and nothing had been disturbed! Harriet and Hogan had cut the “grass” and straightened things up, so everything looked neat and tidy.

Today is sunny and warm. We are still working on our country house today, but are only puttering, as oppposed to working with an intense focus on completing a particular task. Attila is transplanting ferns to the shady area of the front garden, and working to spruce up the yard. I am cleaning the windows exposed when the “boards” were removed from the windows. We had boarded up the windows for the winter to help reduce heating costs and Attila’s work load. I have stewed fresh rhubarb and finished all the picky jobs like washing dishes and making beds.

The Periwinkle is in bloom!
Periwinkle

Attila and I really enjoy the results of our labour, a clean house feels and smells so good!

Worldly Distractions

Weather

14°C
Date: 11:00 AM EDT Monday 19 May 2014
Condition: Mostly Cloudy
Pressure: 102.4 kPa
Visibility: 16 km
Temperature: 13.8°C
Dewpoint: 4.1°C
Humidity: 52%
Wind: W 17 km/h

Quote

“Early bird

Oh, if you’re a bird, be an early bird
And catch the worm for your breakfast plate.
If you’re a bird, be an early bird—
But if you’re a worm, sleep late.”

Shel Silverstein

Optimism

The big news in our day is that Emmi, Otto, Lilt and Skipper are all safe and sound. They live in Calgary, Alberta, where there is severe flooding. Emmi sent us a message this morning to let us know they are all doing well, staying with friends, because they were evacuated from their home near the Bow River. Great news!

The black flies are proliferating again! I moved the basil seedlings to the deck, hoping that all threats of frost are now behind us. As I was watering them, I was surprised and dismayed to feel black flies crawling into the sleeves of my short sleeved blouse, and up the pant legs of my shorts. The mosquitoes didn’t take long to find me either. They buzzed my face, choosing to hover between my glasses and my eyelids. There is no lazing about on the deck here.

My head spins as I adjust to working then not working, then working, then not working, and on and on.

Working with the public, in a rigid corporate structure, requires a certain mind set, in which I clothe myself, while I am at work. This requires a deep adjustment in the way I see the world, I enter a trance like state of self-denial and suspend disbelief for the hours I am at work. The more hours I spend at work, the more oppressive the state of denial becomes. Psychic calluses can form over time, making work relatively comfortable. But the calluses do not form when work is intermittent. Psychic blisters form every time I go back to work, making the experience endlessly unpleasant, and a little bit painful.

Not working requires complete independence of mind and spirit. With no “other” definable connections to the world at large, one has to define oneself. Defining oneself, in a world where few value your existence, is challenging. It requires inner integrity. This develops over time. When the process of self-knowledge is interrupted, by working periods of self-denial and suspended disbelief, it becomes more challenging.

Yesterday I was the smiling face of service, and today I am just me, magnificently me. Today I am actively engaged in mindfully returning to my spirit and my peace of mind.

Can you buy optimism? I wonder. For instance, if I read my daily astrological predictions, written by a particular Astrologer, I am always made aware of the potential of the day. It is a pleasant experience, to read that things are going to be OK, that I have choices and can impact my own life in a positive way. I don’t have to believe what the astrologer says, in a literal sense, to hear the encouragement written in the message. I could pay to hear audio predictions. The voice is calming and sane, the words always put a positive spin on the world. I would be spending time listening to positive thoughts. In a sense, I would be buying optimism. I like to think about buying those pleasant words, but I will not be buying my optimism today, or tomorrow, or the next day. I will just have to generate my own positive words, in my own head, relating to my own life. I will not spend money for optimism, nor will I make money from optimism.

The Solstice is bringing a heat wave, and storms! We have experienced cool temperatures in June, almost needing to turn on the heat at night. I have been sleeping under my winter comforter, until now. The temperature began to rise yesterday morning and we will have humid heat for the next week. Heat can be pleasant, but humid heat I find difficult to endure. I suffer a great deal in hot, humid conditions.

For Attila’s birthday this year I gave him a cobber. I ordered one for myself, while I was at it. This heat wave will give me an opportunity to test it, to see if it really does help keep the body cool.

I have been feeling a bit under the weather for the last week or so. I must have come down with some sort of bug. I am slightly nauseous from time to time, and the ladies’s room is one of my current favourite places. This added a layer of complexity to working this past week, but I got through it, my distress undetected by my coworkers and customers.

Attila’s Mom is coming for a visit next week. Today I am doing a little bit of tidying, in anticipation. Attila will take on the bulk of the cleaning though, particularly in his work area, which is the entire lower floor of the house. I pay no attention to the state of affairs on the lower floor of the house, as that is Attila’s domain. I have become surprisingly adept at “letting go”, when it comes to Attila’s work areas. The only way to get to the living area is to walk through the lower floor of the house. Visitors are greeted with a certain informal glory, when they enter our humble abode.

Worldly Distractions

Weather

21°C
Condition: Cloudy
Pressure: 101.8 kPa
Visibility: 16 km
Temperature: 20.6°C
Dewpoint: 15.2°C
Humidity: 71%
Wind: S 11 km/h
Humidex: 25

Quote

“It is no measure of health to be well adjusted to a profoundly sick society.”
Krishnamurti

Perfect Day

Another beautiful, perfect day: sunny, breezy, warm. Enjoyed by all, including the black flies. Actually, during the heat of the day the black flies aren’t out and about much. But in the morning, or late in the afternoon, they are fierce and hungry.

I received a surprise call last night asking me to work today, five whole hours, a miracle shift. I accepted immediately and enjoyed my day at work. I have another five five-hour days scheduled between now and the end of June.

My cleanup this week has left the screened in porch tidy and functional. I am sitting in it to write this entry. I can hear birds calling, and the breeze in the trees. In truth I can only hear the breeze in the trees some of the time, the seasonal people are on the move! It is Friday afternoon, so people are arriving from the city, for the weekend. I can hear the high speed traffic in the distance, growing more and more continuous as the day wears on, and it drowns out the gentler sounds of the forest. Overnight we have gone from almost complete isolation, to being surrounded by weekend vacationers. The black flies and the seasonal residents arrived at the same time this year.

We are still working on getting our firewood into the woodshed. The black flies are out, but if we work through the heat of the day, they will not bother us. So, Sunday, our “weekend” will be spent toting and stacking wood.

Tomorrow is the Memorial Service for Attila’s Stepdad. We will be thinking of him, and of Attila’s mother. We cannot travel so far to be with her, because Attila could not get enough time off work to get there and back. It would be lovely to be with Attila’s Mom at this time, and she says she understands why we cannot. We hope to have her visit with us this summer.

The leaves are beginning to unfurl! So far I can see some distance into the forest, but soon, very soon, a veil of green life will be drawn down over the landscape. Beautiful!

Ontario Barns April 21, 2013 [Taken at 90 km an hour, through a closed car window.]
Web 006 lean to

Worldly Distractions

Weather

26C
Date: 4:00 PM EDT Friday 3 May 2013
Condition: Sunny
Pressure: 102.3 kPa
Visibility: 16 km
Temperature: 25.7°C
Dewpoint: 2.5°C
Humidity: 22%
Wind: S 28 gust 39 km/h

Quote

“Better by far you should forget and smile than you should remember and be sad.”
Christina Rossetti
1830 – 1894