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.

Rideau Camp And Mayflowers

Yesterday Attila and I arose early, packed Tank, ate a hearty breakfast, and drove off towards the camp early in the morning. It was a glorious day! The journey to the camp took us though a landscape lush with green grasses, and there were even a few trees that looked as if the buds were about to burst.

Upon arrival my first task was to get a camp fire going in the fire pit. Luckily Attila had dragged a dead pine tree over near the fire pit, during out last visit several weeks ago. The branches were brittle and dry, broke easily, and made perfect kindling. The fire started on the first try. The rest of my day was spent burning the pine boards that had been under the back deck at Mist Cottage, and collecting and burning fallen branches from around the perimeter of the clearing where we spend our time at the Camp. I even grabbed the rake and spent fifteen minutes raking crushed stone, which was quite a chore, some of the pieces of stone are four or five inches in diameter, and quite heavy.

On a walk down the driveway to our pond I collected fallen branches, which I burned in the fire pit. Along the way I enjoyed the Mayflowers scattered at the side of the drive, and off into the bush. There were also clumps of bright yellow Coltsfoot in and around the end of the driveway, near the pond. All day we were serenaded by the frogs in our pond, the one by the road, and the two further back on the property. The ponds dried up over the course of the summer last year, as it was a very dry year. This spring the ponds are full to capacity, and full of life.

Attila felled three dead trees that we had marked last autumn, and released a fallen dead tree which was caught up in the branches of living trees at the perimeter of the open area. He worked on releasing more logs from the log pile, digging them out and throwing them into sorted piles by size, so that he could easily stack them when they dried out a bit, later in the spring. As well, he moved a few barrels worth of crushed stone into the area we marked out to be covered with stone and gravel. We will work on this project slowly, moving a little bit of crushed stone every time we visit the Camp, and eventually the job will get done. We are hoping it gets done before the weather is nice enough to go camping!

DSCF0561 Here is what is left of the original towering pile of logs. Attila fished out another four or five dozen logs from the pile of dirt show here. The wood at the forefront of the photo will be burned in the fire pit after it dries out a bit more. To the right the pile of crushed stone can be seen, it will be getting smaller as the weeks go by.

With so many restrictions on my diet, it is difficult to find food to consume for portable picnics. We decided on homemade hummus, sodium-free, with low sodium crackers for me, and pita bread for Attila. Commercial bread has too much sodium in it for me to be able to eat it, and I haven’t ventured into making my own, not yet anyway. I brought my homemade low-sodium, low-sugar, low-cholesterol muffins as well, for snacks. And I always keep a handy small container of walnuts and chocolate chips in Tank, just in case we hit a low energy situation, which happens from time to time when we are working all day in the outdoors.

When we arrived at the camp the driveway was partially flooded with less than an inch of water from our adjacent pond. Upon investigation, it was discovered that leaves and dead branches had collected at the outlet to the stream, keeping the water level high. Attila spent an hour or so with the rake, clearing the channel, and by the time I went for my walk down the driveway, the water level had gone down by several inches, leaving the drive high and dry.

DSCF0564 I am always delighted to the core of my being to see the Mayflowers in the spring! Growing up, my Mom would take us into the bush to search for them in early spring, what a wonderful memory that is, and the feelings of wonder have never left me. Mayflowers were harbingers of barefoot summers spent playing in the bush around the perimeter of our farm. What lucky children we were!

I was dismayed to find, near the fire pit, that some trespasser on a dirt bike or ATV had done a “donut” at the edge of area of crushed stone, and had torn up the soil, leaving a deep rut about ten feet long. We are now talking about putting up a gate at the end of the driveway.

And oh yes, last but not least, I got my first black fly bite of the season, along the hairline, behind my right ear. Little devils!

Worldly Distractions

Weather

2°C
Date: 8:00 AM EDT Monday 24 April 2017
Condition: Mostly Cloudy
Pressure: 102.4 kPa
Tendency: Rising
Temperature: 2.4°C
Dew point: -2.7°C
Humidity: 69%
Wind: NNE 20 gust 29 km/h
Visibility: 24 km

Quote

“I hate this bizarre policy of protective exclusion, because it effectively writes me off the page.”
Sara Gruen, Water for Elephants

I have borrowed this as an audio book from my local library, and am listening to it as I crochet. The above statement was made by a 90 or 93 year old man in a nursing home, of his family, who don’t tell him things because they don’t want to upset him. The not telling upsets him a lot.

Bright and Early

Attila and I left for the Rideau Camp bright and early. Attila works tonight, so we wanted to come home early enough so that he could get a good “night’s” sleep before heading off to work. We drove along under a cloudy sky, there weren’t many people out and about at 7:30 a.m. on a Sunday morning.

The sun was shining by the time we reached the Camp. It was 7C, but we didn’t really feel the chill because we were so busy with our little projects.

The first task was to take the cold ashes from the fire pit and place them in the ruts left by the bulldozer. The bulldozer, we theorize, was employed to clear the trees and stumps to create the clearing where we park our car. The ruts are deep, so we are filling them with clean fill. So far two pots of dead fall Mums with soil, and the cold ashes from our fire pit, are the only clean fill we have, this might take years. We have time.

There are big spiders at the Rideau Camp. The bodies are about the size of a nickel, and the legs give them the circumference of a Loonie. I am not a fan of spiders, particularly in my personal space, I kill the ones that venture near my feet, or any other part of my body.

Attila spent time saving trees. Wild grapes have grown up some of the mature trees on the property, they compete with the tree for sunlight, will eventually weaken the tree, and may even kill it. Attila cuts through the vines about a foot off the ground, which will kill the vine growing up the tree. Attila then cuts a section from them, so that they hang swaying in the breeze, about a foot overhead. Seven wild grape vines were severed today.

The garbage that we found on the property is almost all in bags now. Attila gathered it all up while I was tending the fire, going so far as to open the apple juice bottles to release the fermented juice, and recycle the bottles. There are two apple juice bottles that would not open, left for another time, and a small pile of mugs and bowls, perfectly serviceable Corning Ware mugs and bowls.

My job as fire tender ties me to the camping area, as I will not leave the fire unattended even for a few minutes. Things are dry out there, the wood catches fire easily, and I want to make sure the fire stays in the fire pit. I keep four large jugs of water, that I bring from home, beside the fire pit, and also two pails full of water filled from the wetland on the property. In addition there is a part bag of sand sitting near the fire pit, in case it is needed to smother the fire. I let the fire burn down entirely at the end of our day at the Camp, stirring it to make sure there are no combustable bits of wood in the ashes. When all the flames are spent, I use all of the water to carefully douse the embers, and soak the soil all around the fire pit. By the time we leave, there is no smoke or steam emanating from the ashes of the day’s fire.

While Attila and I sat chatting around the camp fire, we looked up to see two large birds circling the area. We think they are eagles. Then we saw eight large birds far above them, very high up, so high up that we had to strain our eyes to make them out, they were so small in the distance. They looked like eagles, but they might have been turkey vultures.

Turkey Vultures are carrion birds, they eat animals that are already dead. Eagles hunt for live prey. I don’t think these two types of birds compete with each other in the food chain, and that it is quite possible that we are seeing both Turkey Vultures and Eagles.

We have a few more flowers blooming now at the camp. I spied a white Trillium in the bush, and Attila says there are carpets of them at the back of the property. The wild Coltsfoot is blooming in several spots along the creek, pretty yellow flowers. We also found a flower that we could not identify, a pretty white flower, which I took a photo of and had to look up on the internet when we got home. The carpets of Mayflowers and Trout Lilies are beautiful right now. I have been looking for Hepaticas, but so far I haven’t found any.

I think this flower is Bloodroot, please correct me if I am wrong! There were quite of few of these little flowers lining the edge of the driveway at the Rideau Camp, there were some along the creek as well.
Bloodroot

There were no mosquitoes today at the Camp, I think it was too cold for them. There were a few black flies, but they were not swarming, so they were quite bearable.

Attila is sleeping now. And me, well I’ve been tending an open fire for two days, time for a shower!

Worldly Distractions

Weather

7°C
Date: 5:00 PM EDT Sunday 24 April 2016
Condition: Mostly Cloudy
Pressure: 102.0 kPa
Tendency: falling
Visibility: 24 km
Temperature: 7.4°C
Dewpoint: -7.9°C
Humidity: 33%
Wind: SSW 16 km/h

Quote

“The moment we begin to fear the opinions of others and hesitate to tell the truth that is in us, and from motives of policy are silent when we should speak, the divine floods of light and life no longer flow into our souls.”
Elizabeth Cady Stanton
1815 – 1902