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

I Love The Month of May

There are a lot of reasons I love the month of May.

One is that my Mom’s birthday falls in the the month of May, and I love my Mom. Another is that Mother’s Day falls in the month of May, and I love my Mom.

Spring weather is another reason I love the month of May. The nights are cool, so even if it gets stinking hot during the day, the temperature at night is pleasant for sleeping.

The month of May looks and smells wonderful. There are flowers in bloom; Wild Violets, Lungwort, Dandelions, Trout Lilies, Lilacs, Trilliums, Blood Root, and my absolute favourite, tree blossoms, apple and cherry and peach.

Having the windows open for the first time since the previous fall is another thing I love about the month of May.

I love asparagus and rhubarb, both ready for harvest in the month of May.

I love camping, an activity that can begin during the month of May.

Yesterday I spent the day trying to organize Iris for the next camping excursion. I purchased cheap plastic containers to contain our belongings when Iris is in motion. On our first trip there was a lot of shifting going on, nothing damaged, but not desirable just the same. To further the organizing project, Attila and I visited Canadian tire where we found two smallish totes to use for setting up our kitchen on weekends; one will contain food and the other dishes and pots and pans. Iris sits quite a distance from the fire pit and the picnic table, so that transporting needed objects one by one is not practical. I also purchased a D size battery to operate a Caframo portable fan. I suffer in the heat, really suffer, and a fan makes a big difference to my comfort during a hot night.

This morning I rushed first thing to Canadian Tire, yet again. The sale that starts today featured a decent quality air mattress. I decided that because campers complain about air mattresses being cold to sleep on, they might be great for sleeping on hot nights. Holy cow, if this works while sleeping in Iris, it might work at home in my very own bed too, wouldn’t that be cool. The memory foam is hot to sleep on, it can be used in late September and October when the nights are cold, but not during the summer. I couldn’t resist picking up a pie iron, since all of our camping meals are cooked over the open fire, this should add some variety to our diet, now to find healthy recipes that include vegetables! I managed to pay for most of the cost of the air mattress and the pie iron with my credit card points, which was very satisfying.

Worldly Distractions

Weather

13°C
Date: 8:00 AM EDT Wednesday 25 May 2016
Condition: Mostly Cloudy
Pressure: 101.6 kPa
Tendency: rising
Visibility: 24 km
Temperature: 13.4°C
Dewpoint: 9.9°C
Humidity: 79%
Wind: S 21 km/hr
Today
Cloudy. Becoming a mix of sun and cloud near noon with 30 percent chance of showers this afternoon. Risk of a thunderstorm late this afternoon. Wind becoming southwest 20 km/h gusting to 40 late this morning. High 26 except 21 near Lake Ontario. UV index 7 or high.
Tonight
Partly cloudy. Low 14.

21°C
Date: 10:00 AM EDT Thursday 26 May 2016
Condition: Mostly Cloudy
Pressure: 101.8 kPa
Tendency: falling
Visibility: 24 km
Temperature: 20.6°C
Dewpoint: 13.2°C
Humidity: 62%
Wind: SE 18 km/h
Humidex: 24
Today
A mix of sun and cloud. 60 percent chance of showers late this afternoon with risk of a thunderstorm. High 24 except 19 near Lake Ontario. UV index 8 or very high.
Tonight
Mainly cloudy with 60 percent chance of showers and risk of a thunderstorm. Low 16.

Quote

“Conscience is the inner voice that warns us somebody may be looking.”
H. L. Mencken
1880 – 1956

I’d like to believe that this is not true of many people, but I fear that it is. However, I don’t agree that this definition is universal. I feel that a conscience is that inner voice that represents our capacity for compassion, tolerance, and kindness… and it has nothing whatsoever to do with the concept that somebody may be looking. I also feel that my definition of a conscience is active and admirable in the people I respect and love. Mr. Mencken does not speak for me.

Double Celebrations

I am just thinking this morning, as I send off digital Mother’s Day cards, how very fortunate both Attila and I are to be able to say Happy Mother’s Day! Thanks Mom for putting my needs before yours when I couldn’t fend for myself, I wouldn’t be here without you! Thanks Attila’s Mom for bringing him into the world at large, and my world in particular! Happy Mother’s Day to both of you!

Yesterday Attila and I worked hard! I built a cedar arbour from a “kit”, and Attila build a set of exterior stairs to the second story deck. We haven’t finished the projects yet, and are hoping to get them done this morning! Attila still needs to install the railing and spindles, and to paint. I need to square my structure, put in the last screws, and with Attila’s assistance, install the arbour in the front garden. The idea is to add visual appeal to the front of the house, or “curb appeal”. I hope it works.

Not only is it Mother’s Day today, it is also my Mom’s Birthday. Happy Birthday Mom! Today is a double celebration.

To celebrate my sisters Harriet and Helena; their respective partners Hogan and Bob; two of my nieces; Luna, Lares, and the Grandbabies; and my Mom, are coming for a feast, here at the country house. Terra and Lares could not come, Terra worked through the night last night, and will work through the night again tonight, and so must sleep today. I have been planning the meal for a week now, as I needed to buy all ingredients well ahead of time, no shopping here in the bush!

We will have cold cuts, cheese, and condiments, with fresh rolls. We will have Squash Soup. We will have Chili. We will have roasted carrots, potatoes, and onions. We will have raw vegetables and dip. We will have ice cream cones, and some small pastries I bought for the occasion. This morning I already have the onions simmering for the Squash Soup, and all the ingredients for the Chili assembled on the counter. The only real preparation left is to prepare the carrots, potatoes, and onions for roasting!

It is now 6:30 a.m., and I must get back to my soup making!

Happy Mother’s Day to all of you out there who are putting (or have put) another living entities’ needs before your own! Thank goodness you are there!

Worldly Distractions

Weather

15°C
Date: 6:00 AM EDT Sunday 10 May 2015
Condition: Mist
Pressure: 101.8 kPa
Visibility: 5 km
Temperature: 15.0°C
Dewpoint: 14.7°C
Humidity: 98%
Wind: WNW 5 km/h

Quote

“Never have so many, done so much, with so little.”
Maggie Turner on the subject of mothering.

Jingle Bells for Mother’s Day

Happy Mother’s Day to all Mothers!

We made a lighting trip to visit with my mother yesterday, it was her birthday after all. We left after Attila got home from work, drove three hours, had a wonderful time and a fantastic meal at my sister’s home, with Mom and nieces et al and nephew in attendance.

My Mom owns property which she and one of my brothers are clearing. One of Mom’s birthday presents was, as you can see below, a tool to make clearing land easier. Mom is 82, and is always, always busy with a project!

Mom’s Machete
Momsmachete

We drove back last night, arriving sometime after midnight. It began to spit snow and blow as we travelled north. The temperature went down to around 2C, but that doesn’t take into account the wind chill factor. We spent a cold night under our blankets and were comfortable enough.

This morning it has been even windier, and the snow is blowing hard across the sky. We should be singing Jingle Bells for Mother’s Day. It is still below 5C, so Attila has started a fire in the little cast iron stove in the basement, to try and warm things up. Mist is down there now, in front of the blaze, resting comfortably. Of course, we heard about our lack of appropriate attention to providing heat; she wore herself right out.

I am keeping this from Mist, it might inspire further rebellion!

Terra called to wish me Happy Mother’s Day, before she headed for some much needed sleep. She is working nights on weekends and must sleep during the day.

Harriet and Hogan dropped by for a cup of tea and a chat. They were on their way home from their cottage, taking the scenic route. It was lovely! Their cottage was not damaged by the floods, but they did have a few repair and maintenance projects to tackle.

Worldly Distractions

Weather

5C
Condition: Mist
Pressure: 100.7 kPa
Visibility: 10 km
Temperature: 5.0°C
Dewpoint: 4.6°C
Humidity: 97%
Wind: WNW 15 km/h

Quote

“God will not look you over for medals, diplomas, or degrees – but for scars.”
Elbert Hubbard
1856 – 1915

Note

Elbert Hubbard

“Elbert Green Hubbard (June 19, 1856 – May 7, 1915) was an American writer, publisher, artist, and philosopher. Raised in Hudson, Illinois, he met early success as a traveling salesman with the Larkin soap company. Today Hubbard is mostly known as the founder of the Roycroft artisan community in East Aurora, New York, an influential exponent of the Arts and Crafts Movement. Among his many publications were the nine-volume work Little Journeys to the Homes of the Great and the short story A Message to Garcia. He and his second wife, Alice Moore Hubbard, died aboard the RMS Lusitania, which was sunk by a German submarine off the coast of Ireland on May 7, 1915…
…Hubbard was born in Bloomington, Illinois, to Silas Hubbard and Juliana Frances Read on June 19, 1856. In the fall of 1855, his parents had relocated to Bloomington from Buffalo, New York, where his father had a medical practice…
Ironically, a little more than three years after the sinking of the Titanic, the Hubbards had boarded the RMS Lusitania in New York City. On May 7, 1915, while at sea 11 miles (18 km) off the Old Head of Kinsale, Ireland, it was torpedoed and sunk by the German u-boat U-20.

In a letter to Elbert Hubbard II dated 12 March 1916, Ernest C. Cowper, a survivor of this event, wrote:

I cannot say specifically where your father and Mrs. Hubbard were when the torpedoes hit, but I can tell you just what happened after that. They emerged from their room, which was on the port side of the vessel, and came on to the boat-deck.
Neither appeared perturbed in the least. Your father and Mrs. Hubbard linked arms—the fashion in which they always walked the deck—and stood apparently wondering what to do. I passed him with a baby which I was taking to a lifeboat when he said, ‘Well, Jack, they have got us. They are a damn sight worse than I ever thought they were.’

They did not move very far away from where they originally stood. As I moved to the other side of the ship, in preparation for a jump when the right moment came, I called to him, ‘What are you going to do?’ and he just shook his head, while Mrs. Hubbard smiled and said, ‘There does not seem to be anything to do.’

The expression seemed to produce action on the part of your father, for then he did one of the most dramatic things I ever saw done. He simply turned with Mrs. Hubbard and entered a room on the top deck, the door of which was open, and closed it behind him.

It was apparent that his idea was that they should die together, and not risk being parted on going into the water. ”
Source: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Elbert_Hubbard

Roycroft

“Roycroft was a reformist community of craft workers and artists which formed part of the Arts and Crafts movement in the USA. Elbert Hubbard founded the community in 1895 in the village of East Aurora, Erie County, New York, near Buffalo. Participants were known as Roycrofters. The work and philosophy of the group, often referred to as the Roycroft movement, had a strong influence on the development of American architecture and design in the early 20th century.”
Source: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Roycroft