On Hold

July is less frantic than June, but still very busy.

The garage roof project was put on hold for a few days.

Last weekend we spent our first night at the Rideau Camp in 2018. The mice had been in again, but none were trapped. The cleanup of their droppings took about four hours. I hate mice, no matter how cute they might be, I despise them. Steel wool was stuffed into additional openings, and Attila is researching removing the undercarriage and sealing it with insulation and hardware cloth.

The army worms are no longer on the trunks of trees. The ones we did not manage to destroy have eaten a lot of leaves, but they have not stripped the trees, so there is still a beautiful canopy. Two elm trees died since our last visit, which is sad, but we knew that our elm trees would not live long lives. I have been carefully protecting the maples, birch, oak, and pine trees surrounding the camp, knowing that eventually they would be all that was left as the elms and ashes were destroyed by insects and disease.

The visit to the Camp was a fun one once the unwanted tasks were completed, blue skies, trees, quiet, bird song, and a starry heaven at the end of the day. It was lovely.

Everything was so very dry! Our little swamp was completely dry, giving Attila the opportunity to pull out dead branches and a stump. It was so dry that we decided not to have a camp fire, there was a bit of wind, and it didn’t seem worth the risk. Because it is dry we had only a half a barrel of water in our rain barrel, which we use to douse our camp fire. It was enough to douse a camp fire, but it would not have been enough to deal with a spark catching a dry patch of dead grass, or something similar. We enjoyed sitting under the stars instead, so bright, so reliable, so unconcerned with us, and yet part of us, as we are part of the universe.

Monday was a very exciting day. An early morning call from Lares, they were on their way to the hospital. That evening little Willow was born, 9 pounds, 12 hours of labour. Tuesday evening Terra arrived home with Willow. We visited, and once Willow was in my arms I could not give her up until she demanded to be fed, so back to Mama. I experience falling in love in an instant, I am aware of it happening, such a wonderful, wonderful feeling. Those roving newborn eyes, suddenly fixing on my face, gazing at me with such curiosity, concentration, acceptance, love at first sight. This happened with my children when they were put in my arms after their births, and with every single one of my Grandbabies.

Today is sunny and mild and just about perfect. Early this morning the Installer arrived to replace the broken window pane on our new living room window. The window pane arrived cracked, when it was installed in March, and it has taken this long for the window manufacturer to supply the company, that did the window installation, with the replacement. It took only 30 minutes for the fellow to replace the pane, and he parged one of the basement windows, where I didn’t know it needed it! He will come back to caulk the window when the parge has cured.

I was just watching a video made by a family who rely exclusively on a solar system for their electricity. She said that when they had hydro service, they used 60 kWh per day. I looked up our peak usage, 36.5 kWh per day, used during a month when the temperature was on average -1C, and the ground source heat pump would have provided most of our heat.

The video creator also mentioned that relying on a solar system for their electricity, they use between 4 and 10 kWh per day, running only a refrigerator 24 hours a day. Our lowest usage was 22.3 kWh per day, during a month that required some use of the heat pump for heat, and a few days where only the very basic electrical appliances were operated.

We are in between the two extremes she describes, 4 kWh and 60 kWh. Our usage varies between the monthly average of 22.3 kWh per day and 36.5 kWh per day, which includes our heat source in the winter. I think that here at Mist Cottage the strategies to curtail the use of electricity have been relatively successful.

We could lower our usage by insulating the basement, upgrading the scanty insulation in the walls of the house, replacing the drafty entrance doors, and upgrading to energy efficient appliances. The chest freezer comes to mind. I purchased it from a family moving to another area, for $100. It was very beat up, the lid caved in a bit, and it is far from being energy efficient. But I could afford it at the time, and it works well, although expensively. The energy efficient freezer that I had at the Country House, was much larger, but it stayed with the Country House, a condition of sale. I miss that freezer!

Since I have applied for a grant program that might help us make some of the upgrades to reduce electricity consumption, I am afraid that the measures already taken here are so successful that that it might be deemed that we don’t need the available upgrades. I certainly hope that is not the case… We do need the upgrades, because at some point in the nearing future Attila will retire without a pension, and survival is going to get a lot more challenging than it is now. Also, I would dearly love to use a little more electricity to cook dinner at dinner time, instead of trying to plan meals around hydro prices, and laundry, and vacuuming, and… well the list goes on of what I cannot do at certain times of day.

Worldly Distractions

Weather

22°C
Date: 10:00 AM EDT Wednesday 11 July 2018
Condition: Mainly Sunny
Pressure: 101.9 kPa
Tendency: Rising
Temperature: 22.3°C
Dew point: 9.8°C
Humidity: 44%
Wind: ENE 14 km/h
Humidex: 23
Visibility: 24 km

Quote

“It’s like your batteries get low, and you need to charge them on someone else’s story.”
Margaret Cho

I’m feeling this one right now!

Insect Repellent Clothing

The driveway at the camp is partially in! We were able to park at our camp, for the very first time. That is the good news. The less exciting news is that the driveway will cost almost twice as much as originally anticipated. Sounds wrong, we know, but the estimate was given before the township listed their requirements for the driveway. They insisted it be almost twice as wide as is usual, which requires more culvert, a lot more crushed stone, and more work than anticipated. So we are going ahead with it, but have to decline any further spending in 2014, maybe even 2015.

Still, we are just thrilled to have the driveway. Today was sunny, breezy and warm. We ate our first meal at the camp today, seated on our lawn chairs, looking out at our wonderful view; it was heavenly, quite literally.

We both worked Saturday. In the evening we drove over to Harriet and Hogan’s cottage for a visit, and were delighted to find that Ariel, her special friend Arnie, and her daughter and daughter’s boyfriend were also visiting the cottage for the weekend. We shared a meal of moose burgers. The moose burgers were compliments of our Ariel’s daughter’s boyfriend, who hunts. Since we didn’t know the exact ingredients, I had a carefully cooked chicken breast. By all accounts the moose burgers were delicious!

After our meal, Hogan took us all out on the lake for a boat ride. Ariel’s daughter and her boyfriend fished from the back of the boat, as we slowly toured the lake. Arnie took a turn fishing as well. The fish weren’t really biting, but everyone had a lovely time.

The grand finale of the evening was a campfire by the lake, with a breathtaking view of the sunset across the lake.

Harriet and Hogan are warm and indulgent hosts; one feels very well looked after!

We left late, tired and very happy.

Sunday Attila and I headed to the camp, which is when we discovered that the driveway construction was under way. I dropped Attila off at the camp, and proceeded to Harriet’s cottage for a bit of a visit. I had a chance for a chat with Ariel, and with Harriet; good for the soul.

Then I was off to visit the local dump. I had a few items to drop off at the “dump store”, perfectly good items that someone else might well need. I did not see anything there though, that I thought we could use. It was “slim pickins” at the dump store.

When I returned to the camp, our contractor was there explaining the increased expense to Attila, and we amicably gave the go ahead to complete the job as he suggested.

After we ate a lovely lunch at the camp, we walked down the road to Granny and Grandpa’s house; Attila with his chain saw and come-along, and me with loppers and gloves. While Attila felled the last three dead elms, I began to remove brambles and weeds from my Granny’s gardens. We finished our respective tasks just as Ariel and her crew pulled into the driveway, to have a look at Granny’s house, before driving back to the city. We had a nice tour of the house, and walked down to the camp to have a look at it as well. Then they were waving goodbye, as they drove off into the beautiful sunny evening.

Attila and I continued to work on the garden, until we were both tired. Slowly we returned to the camp, walking down the road with chain saw, loppers, and assorted gear in tow. We had a cold drink, then packed the car and headed into the beautiful sunny evening ourselves.

Now I would like to share a discovery that I made, one of great import to Attila and I. Attila had a birthday in the first weeks of June. I wanted to get him a present that would make his life more pleasant. I looked at bug shirts, and different types of insect repellents. I rejected special netted clothing immediately; Attila would not tolerate cumbersome clothing. Insect repellents work temporarily, until the hard work begins, and sweat carries most of the protection away.

Then I discovered insect repellent clothing! Who knew! Intrigued, my research began. I found shirts that claimed to repell mosquitoes! The reviews of such clothing seemed to support the claims made by the retailers. However, the price of the shirts are prohibitive for persons of average income; particulary if the shirts are meant for working out of doors, rather than for recreation.

“Back to the drawing board!” I found that the chemical used to create these bug repellent shirts is available for the DIY enthusiast. A company, Sawyers, in the USA manufactures the chemical in a spray bottle, which can be used to treat a piece of clothing, rendering it “bug proof.”

So, that is what Attila got for his birthday.

On Saturday I arrived home from work a few hours before Attila. We had pre-selected clothing, a set of shirt and pants, for both Attila and I. The clothing was hung on the line, outside, and the spray was applied to the outer surfaces of the clothing. I took great care not to breath the mist, or to allow the mist to touch my skin. Mist, of course, was safely tucked indoors and well away from the area where I worked. After thoroughly spraying the clothing, it was left to dry overnight.

Please note: This chemical, in its liquid form, is very dangerous for cats. Read the instructions that come with the chemcical carefully, and follow them meticulously!

When we arrived at the camp on Sunday, we donned our mosquito repellent clothing and began our tasks. It was warm. We were working hard, sweating, and attracting mosquitoes, deer flies, black flies, and no see-ums. And… the mosquito repellent clothing worked! Not one bite through the thin cloth of our shirts, or our trousers; not one bite.

And… there was a magical side to the experience. The mosquitoes and flies were attracted to us, but would not land, or come close to our clothing. As we worked, and we sweated, more and more insects honed in on us, and more and more dragonflies darted around us, enjoying a feast as they consumed the hovering and hopeful biting insects. The dragonflies perched near us when we sat to rest, and sprang into action if an insect came near us. I love dragonflies! One even settled on Attila’s shoulder, resting until a mosquito buzzed around Attila’s head, and then swooped in to the rescue.

We were able to sit relatively undisturbed, at the camp lot, in the bush, with the dragonflies keeping watch over us.

My only disappointment for the weekend was, I forgot my camera!

Worldly Distractions

Weather

24°C
Date: 8:00 PM EDT Sunday 22 June 2014
Condition: Sunny
Pressure: 101.5 kPa
Visibility: 16 km
Temperature: 23.8°C
Dewpoint: 8.4°C
Humidity: 37%
Wind: W 5 km/h

Quote

“Whenever I dwell for any length of time on my own shortcomings, they gradually begin to seem mild, harmless, rather engaging little things, not at all like the staring defects in other people’s characters.”
Margaret Halsey