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

This n’ That

Wednesday, June 1, 2016

The skies are blue again today, and the gardens need rain! Attila and I are saving household grey water, which I carry outside and use to water the garden. The only water we are letting go down the drains is when we flush the toilet.

Today was my annual mammogram, which is mildly unpleasant, but doesn’t last long. So far I’ve been lucky, the results have come back clear. It might be my imagination, but sometimes I feel they are disappointed that my results are always good.; nah, couldn’t be.

Today I prepared more clothing for outdoor use, spraying it with permethrin. I sprayed Attila’s running shoes, my sandals, and a third pair of socks for myself.

Thursday, June 2, 2016

This morning I sprayed with permethrin again, two t-shirts and one pair of socks for Attila. Even though it was raining, I managed to apply the spray on the back porch, well out of the rain, allowing the newly inundated fabric to dry on the line.

I am aware of two mosquito bites that drew blood thus far this summer season. The first was through the stretchy pants I wore at the Rideau Camp. The second was this morning in the front yard at Mist Cottage, and I didn’t feel it, but visually caught the nasty little bugger first hand. With any luck, neither of these two enterprising mosquitoes carried West Nile Virus. Frankly, one can take precautions, but it is impossible to completely avoid mosquito bites if they live where you live.

It sure would be handy to have a couple of vaccines, one for West Nile Virus and the other for Lyme Disease; they might drastically reduce the number of people requiring health care services for these chronic illnesses. Since the drug companies won’t find this profitable, perhaps our government could enter the fray and get these things developed for the tax paying population in the country. And then there is the Zika virus, which as far as I know hasn’t been contracted in Canada, but like the others, it may only be a matter of time. Who needs vanity drugs, or GMO foods, neither of which enhance human life here on earth. Humans need to use their intelligence to prevent needless suffering and improve the standard of living for every single member on the planet, which also includes respecting the environment. Did I go off on a tangent here… yep, I guess I did.

Also on my to do list today is hanging out a load of laundry, which now has to wait until the permethrin sprayed clothes have dried on the line.

I worked all day yesterday on my book, it was exhausting. A cousin and her husband have been helping and encouraging me with the book, they have provided a wealth of information on their family, her Grandfather was a brother to my Great Grandfather and they all lived in the same area. My cousin sent me a list of people to contact for more details, and pictures, and stories. Yesterday I called the first person on my list. I wasn’t sure if it was him, the number was for a person with the same first initial, so I took a chance and called anyway. He answered the phone, and we hit is off right away. He is 80 years old and gave me a lot of great information, and says he is going to look up some details and phone me back, and also send some pictures for the book in the mail. I entered data for several hours after chatting with him.

I think the book might take forever if I keep up this sort of research, but really, it is so interesting and the people are so wonderful, that I can’t help but follow every lead.

This morning while researching online, I bumped into the death notice for a woman from my ancestral community. Because I keep records, and reference each record, I knew that Attila and I had met this woman while grocery shopping in the town near my Granny and Grandpa’s house. She was over 90 when we met her, and she asked us to help her with her groceries. We unloaded her cart at the check out, packed the bags, loaded them back into her cart, took the cart out to her car, and loaded the groceries into her car. We chatted the whole time, it was an privilege to assist her, and to have the chance to talk with her. She passed away this spring at the age of 100. I was drawn to her kind face in the death notice picture and read the whole notice, and when I entered the information into my database I saw the reference to our chat in the grocery store, and remembered the pleasant experience.

Attila is allotted a one week holiday this first year on the job. We don’t know when that week will be, since the whole system of allocation changed when he got the new position. Yesterday he applied for a specific week, and we don’t know how long it will take for the application to be either accepted or rejected. It would be nice to know, but we remain flexible about it, because we have our camp sites booked for the whole summer… we own them. If we had to reserve a campsite at a Provincial or Private Park we would be very upset by now, as we would have missed any opportunity to book a site, the campgrounds are booked solid during the summer months. Things have worked out well for us.

Local Natural Hazards of My Youth:

poison ivy
poison oak
rattle snakes (Granny and Grandpa’s house)

Local Natural Hazards Today:

poison ivy
poison oak
rattle snakes (Ancestral Camp)
mosquitoes (West Nile)
ticks (Lyme Disease)
Giant Hogweed (phototoxic)
Wild Parsnip (phototoxic)

Worldly Distractions

Weather

12°C
Date: 7:00 AM EDT Wednesday 1 June 2016
Condition: Partly Cloudy
Pressure: 102.2 kPa
Tendency: rising
Visibility: 24 km
Temperature: 12.3°C
Dewpoint: 8.0°C
Humidity: 75%
Wind: NNE 13 km/h
Today
Mainly sunny. High 23. UV index 7 or high.
Tonight
A few clouds. Increasing cloudiness overnight. Low 16.

After a cool night, Mist Cottage did not cool down even 1C. She is holding on to that heat.

17°C
Date: 9:07 AM EDT Thursday 2 June 2016
Condition: Light Rainshower
Pressure: 101.6 kPa
Tendency: rising
Visibility: 16 km
Temperature: 16.9°C
Dewpoint: 14.4°C
Humidity: 85%
Wind: SSE 15 km/h
Today
Mainly cloudy with 60 percent chance of showers and risk of a thunderstorm. Clearing this afternoon. High 25 except 21 near Lake Ontario. UV index 6 or high.
Tonight
A few clouds. Low 15.

Quote

“I am not afraid of storms, for I am learning how to sail my ship.”
Louisa May Alcott
1832 – 1888

Ticks

Thinking About Ticks and Lyme Disease

You can treat your clothes to repel, and even kill, ticks. I knew this treated clothing would repel ticks, mosquitoes, black flies, deer flies, and just about all biting insects, but I did not know it would kill the ticks. That is good news in my book. What it means is that Attila and I were walking tick killers all weekend up at the Rideau Camp. Bravo!

I found this web site tickencounter.org that seems to offer good advice and sound information about ticks, Lyme Disease, and treating clothing with permethrin. Research the method I use before you use it, my method is to make a mixture using 10% permethrin, 1 teaspoon to 4 cups of water in a spray bottle. Caution is advised, research the safe way to do this before giving it a try. I spray clothing hung up on the outdoor clothes line on a calm day, I wear long sleeved clothing, latex gloves, safety glasses, and a breathing mask when I am treating the clothing. This site is interesting, the first I’ve encountered with details on how to treat your own clothing, but even more important to me is all the information on ticks, what they look like, and tips on keeping them under control.

Over the weekend when I was wearing the stretchy pants that did not protect me very well, I did receive “bites” of some kind, although I did not find any ticks, nor did I have any ticks attached to me when we did our nightly tick check, nor have I any of the telltale rings of rash that are common, and have no other symptoms. I did have one small bug biting my finger, and it was very small, so small I could not see it well enough to identify it. At the time I thought it was a no-see-um and killed it; I had no idea ticks could be that small. There is no rash around that bite. Attila and I perform tick checks every night when we prepare for bed, which will be effective for larger ticks, but the teeny tiny ones will be impossible to detect on our freckled skin. We hope for the best, and continue to wear our protective clothing.

I am thinking of creating a bunch of tick tubes to place around Mist Cottage, and around the perimeter of our Rideau Camp, to help keep the tick population under control. It will make the lives of the mice a lot more comfortable, but really, I wouldn’t do it just for the mice, I hate them.

My conclusion, after spending a few hours reading on this topic of ticks and Lyme Disease, is that you can reduce the likelihood of contracting the disease, but in the end it can be contracted by anyone, anywhere in the outdoors, and if you have pets that spend time outside, anywhere in the indoors as well. It isn’t entirely preventable, you are merely able to reduce the odds that you will become infected. I feel the same way about West Nile Virus. It is worth educating oneself, and taking the appropriate precautions, but beyond that it is an act of God as to whether you contract these diseases or not. I’d like to make preventative measures routine, and then just carry on living without thinking much about the threat aspect of the issue.

Luna’s dog Benny was bitten by a black tick, probably near Turkey Point in southern Ontario, contracted Lyme Disease, and died as a result of it. That was very bad luck, particularly since there is a vaccine for dogs to prevent this infection.

It is another hot and sunny day. Yesterday and last night there was a possibility of thunder storms, but they did not materialize. No rain came for the gardens. Attila was up early this morning watering the vegetable and perennial gardens so that they can make it through another day. By the time I had enjoyed my morning cup of coffee, hung out a load of laundry, stewed the rhubarb from the garden, and eaten my breakfast, it was 9:30 a.m. and already 24C and very humid. I scurried out to take my walk before the heat of the day set in, wearing long pants, a long sleeved cotton shirt, sun glasses, and a sun hat to protect me from the intense rays of the sun. I find the sunglasses and the hat necessary, as I am more light sensitive now than I was in my youth… or maybe the quality of the sunlight has changed that much.

Our plans for the humanure system continue. Next Attila will build a composting bin, we have a spot chosen for it that exceeds the cautionary rules in the codes and online suggestions. Hopefully Attila will have it built next weekend, long before we actually need it. Right now we are considering what to use as bottom and top dressing material. Our choices are more restricted because we are do not live at the property, and will probably need to bring in materials, rather than cut them from a lawn, or field.

The two toilet system we have come up with continues to meet our expectations.

Joseph Jenkins, who wrote the book on Humanure, writes that he approached Bill Gates with his system and the ideas were rejected.
“It [Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation] had an endowment of US$44.3 billion as of 31 December 2014. The scale of the foundation and the way it seeks to apply business techniques to giving makes it one of the leaders in venture philanthropy, though the foundation itself notes that the philanthropic role has limitations. In 2007, its founders were ranked as the second most generous philanthropists in America, and Warren Buffett the first. As of May 16, 2013, Bill Gates had donated US$28 billion to the foundation.”
Source: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bill_%26_Melinda_Gates_Foundation

I don’t have any details about why the Humanure system was rejected by Gates, but it seems a shame to me, since the Humanure system can be used in urban settings, public institutions like schools, and in most land based residential situations, with excellent results. The Humanure system does not offer a large corporate profit opportunity, it is not useful to the corporation for venture philanthropy, regardless of how effective and useful it might be, so it continues to be a grass roots approach to dealing with human body waste. I feel Mr. Gates is wrong not to endorse and fund the humanure system of dealing with human waste. I will say that Mr. Jenkins has a very political outlook on the Humanure system, assigning it great moral virtue, and some have written that it will save the world. Personally I find the official Humanure promotional approach off putting, but that doesn’t prevent me from recognizing how practical, inexpensive, environmentally friendly, and easily implemented it is. I am a girl who has used outhouses off and on all of my life, and I like the humanure system a LOT better! There may be a few minutes of bad smells while dumping the buckets, but that is small price to pay for not having to sit in a horrid smelling building each and every time you need to do your business.

I’ve been trying to assess the results from my lab tests in relation to Chronic Kidney Disease, as I haven’t heard from the country GP who requisitioned the tests. One of the indicators is consistent with mildly decreased kidney function, and when considered with the other indicators, it looks like I don’t have much of a problem, particularly considering my age. Of course that is my uninformed conclusion, based on what I’ve read, rather than on experience, and it could be wishful thinking, so I am waiting for feedback from the country GP. It doesn’t seem that I am in any immediate danger, as far as I can tell. I will continue to make my own condiments, to limit the amount of potassium phosphate in my diet, and to eat lots of vegetables, particularly the ones on the kidney friendly list, green beans, corn niblets, peas, and carrots. It won’t hurt me to eat more vegetables! And soon there will be fresh berries!

The heat of the day has not yet dissipated, so I am staying indoors. Atilla is out in the yard “relaxing”, planting additional Scarlet Runner Beans along the fence. They should make for wonderful eye candy while I stand at the sink doing dishes through the rest of the summer.

Worldly Distractions

Weather

28°C
Date: 7:00 PM EDT Monday 30 May 2016
Condition:
Partly Cloudy
Pressure: 101.1 kPa
Tendency: falling
Visibility: 24 km
Temperature: 23.2°C
Dewpoint: 14.6°C
Humidity: 58%
Wind: WSW 16 gust 29 km/h
Humidex: 32

Quote

“There’s a difference between a philosophy and a bumper sticker.”
Charles M. Schulz
1922 – 2000

The last time I was on Facebook, quite a while ago now, most of what was shared was the equivalent of bumper stickers, with pictures added. I like personal notes a lot better, but then I don’t approve of giving the corporation of Facebook exact records of ones personal relationships. The more things change the more they stay the same.

Heat Wave

We headed to the Rideau Camp with Iris in tow after Attila arrived home from work on Friday night.

There is a complete fire ban in force at the moment, so there was no campfire. That worked out perfectly, because it was far to hot to even think about being near the heat of a camp fire. Things are dry in Eastern Ontario, very, very, very dry. It would not surprise me that if we do not get rain soon, it will be called a drought. As we drove home from the Rideau Camp we passed large lawns that were brown and dead.

The temperature was too hot for me by 11 a.m. on Saturday morning, and the same thing happened again this morning. The humidity was high, always a potent combination with hot temperatures. Attila is not bothered by the heat, he just kept on working around the camp, happy as a clam. I sat in the shade, closed my eyes, and waited for the day to be over.

While we sat at the picnic table at the Camp on Friday night, eating our dinner, we heard something travelling through the bush behind the table. We looked into the bush and not twenty feet away stood a deer, staring right back at us. It stood for about a minute watching us, then continued on its way.

The projects I tackled at the camp were to cut branches from the trees from the bottom up, so that the lowest branches were well over my head, and I could walk through the forest without ducking. I did this to about a depth of 20 feet into the bush around the perimeter of the camping area. Attila took over after 11 a.m., to remove the smaller trees that formed the underbrush in the same area around the camp. This serves several purposes. It provides us with more “living space”. There is no place for the mosquitoes to lurk, so that they must venture into the open to attack us, which makes them vulnerable to dragonflies. I love dragonflies, and we have plenty of them at the Rideau Camp. Another advantage of keeping the underbrush under control, is that there isn’t as much danger of coming into contact with the wood ticks, and apparently they are very bad in the area this year. The removal of the underbrush also allows for easier air flow, so the breezes flow through the area more freely.

When Attila removed the smaller trees, I requested that he save the trunks for me, as I wanted to try using them. He did so. I chose three trees that formed a line, then began to weave the fresh small diameter trunks around the three trees to create a crude wattle wall. It will provide limited visual protection for our compost bucket toilet.

Thankfully, after the blistering hot days, the nights cooled to about 17C. We slept in t-shirts, with light sheets and were quite comfortable. Because I was so overheated from the heat of the day, the battery operated fan was a huge help in cooling my core body temperature so that I could sleep. My new air mattress was a big success. I had 30 year old closed cell foam pads from my tent camping days with the kids, so I took two of them and put one on both Attila’s and my trailer cushion. Attila’s said it was noticeably more comfortable for him. On my cushion I placed the foam pad, with the new air mattress on top of it. It was very comfortable, more comfortable than the 4 inches of memory foam I had tried previously. I can tell you that in the heat wave I was more than a little thankful that I had removed the memory foam and used the air mattress!

My new sandals worked well, and this weekend was a real test. I wore them to work in the bush in the mornings, and my feet were comfortable, my footing sound, and there were no issues with toes stubbing, or sticks injuring my feet. I wore socks sprayed with permethrin, which kept insects from bothering my feet through the openings in the sandals. The sandals were warm to wear in the heat, but any footwear would have been. They were definitely bearable in the heat, which is a vast improvement on rubber boots.

I discovered an interesting thing about clothing sprayed with permethrin. We have had 100% success keeping insects from biting us through clothing sprayed with permethrin. But that is because we have only sprayed clothing made of plain woven cotton cloth. On Friday I sprayed a pair of stretch pants, thinking they would be more comfortable in the heat. It was a big mistake. Once the fabric was stretched while wearing it, the mosquitoes had no trouble at all finding my delicate flesh. It only took a few mosquito bites to send me into Iris to change into my woven cotton pants, which worked to keep the bites at bay.

There were lots of tent caterpillars, and Attila destroyed every nest of them that he found on our property. As well there were swarms of army worms on some of our trees, and again Attila destroyed every swarm that we found.

Another discovery made on this trip to the Rideau Camp, is that crows are one of the most annoying birds I have ever come across. At 5:05 a.m., on Saturday morning and this morning, hundreds of crows gathered in the treetops not far from our camp area. Then they began to caw, together, in unison, at each other… it was a cacophony no human could sleep through. Their concert lasted for about 45 minutes. The only time they were silent during the concert was when an owl hooted; there was a sudden hush, a long pause, and the crows started up again. And then suddenly they dispersed, flying off in all directions.

We checked on our composting toilet this weekend, and it is working as it should, no odour, no interference from animals. The next step is to build the composting bins. We have chosen our location carefully, far from the well and the camp fire area, and in an area with deep soil suitable for a base. We have decided that our compost will sit for four years after the bin is full, rather than the recommended two, because it will be frozen for six months of the year. We plan on using the compost to enrich the soil for ornamentals.

On Saturday night we were surrounded by fireflies, what fun! They danced around Iris, and provided great entertainment, which was welcome as we could not have a camp fire.

We enjoyed our weekend, but I did not enjoy the heat of the day during the heat wave on Saturday and Sunday. It will be easier to tolerate the heat in July and August, when the mosquitoes have died down and protective clothing no longer has to be worn.

This is the Rideau Camp early in May. There is a lot of undergrowth and walking through the woods involves contact with leaves, lots of leaves.
May 3 Rideau camp
This is the same area of the camp as shown in the last photo. The branches have been trimmed from the bottom up, so that one can walk underneath the lowest branches left on the trees. The beauty of this approach to opening up an area for human use, is that it does not affect the tree canopy, although it does affect the forest floor. We notice that the dragonflies like it a lot, and that the birds don’t seem to notice any difference at all.
DSCF8682
This is my crude wattle wall, built from the culled small tree trunks we took from the same area. It is of limited use, but I had fun building it. I did not use stakes, but the trunks of three live trees as the warp for my weaving.
DSCF8657
These might be the tallest dandelion flower heads I have ever seen, they were just over two feet high. Not exactly the bumper crop of my dreams, but interesting.
DSCF8654

Worldly Distractions

Weather

32°C
Date: 2:00 PM EDT Sunday 29 May 2016
Condition: Mostly Cloudy
Pressure: 101.6 kPa
Tendency: falling
Visibility: 19 km
Temperature: 22.2°C
Dewpoint: 18.3°C
Humidity: 78%
Wind: S 16 km/h
Humidex: 41

Today
Increasing cloudiness near noon. 30 percent chance of showers late this afternoon with risk of a thunderstorm. Wind southwest 20 km/h gusting to 40. High 29 except 22 near Lake Ontario. UV index 8 or very high.

Tonight
Mainly cloudy. 40 percent chance of showers this evening and after midnight with risk of a thunderstorm. Wind southwest 20 km/h gusting to 40 becoming light before morning. Low 16.

Quote

“Children should feel loved because they exist, not because they’ve behaved in a certain way.”
Julie A., M.A. Ross and Judy Corcoran

I think this is a statement that must work two ways, to say also that parents should feel loved because they exist, not because they’ve behaved in a certain way.

How many diatribes by the young have I read and heard, in newspaper articles and blogs, criticizing their parents for not being what they “should” be or should have been, for not living up to the adult child’s expectations; these are children that grew up in loving homes, who did not experience real want or need. Elder abuse is a social problem, too often committed by the elderly person’s children.

Oh What A Beautiful Day

I continue to attack the mildew odour in Iris’ cushions. The worst affected are the back cushions of the dinette. The foam has been removed from the covers, the covers washed and one of the foams was soaked and washed. This morning the covers still retained a memory of mildew, and the foam has not dried, so that it is not possible to tell just yet if the washing has succeeded. I washed the covers for a second time, which seemed to marginally improve their aroma. I fear that these 39 year old cushions and covers cannot be restored to an acceptable quality for use. New cushions and covers are expensive, I am currently looking for a local source of good quality foam. I am considering covering new foam with makeshift “cases” made from shower curtains; it wouldn’t be pretty, but it just might be functional. If we do manage to get new cushions they won’t be stored in Iris over the winter!

We have a few mosquitoes here at Mist Cottage. They are a lethargic lot, easy to kill, if spotted before they have a chance to bite. I notice that they are stirred up when I walk through the grass on the lawn. There is no standing water here, so I wonder where they are breeding!

When we were visiting with Mom a few weeks ago, staying with my sister-the-oldest-girl, my sister gave us some rhubarb that had thrived in her garden. Tuesday morning the last of it was used to make a rhubarb crisp for Attila’s lunches; it was in and out of the oven before 7:00 a.m., when the cost of hydro increases.

The call came on Wednesday afternoon from the country GP’s office, he requisitioned tests to find out what is going on with the Chronic Kidney Disease diagnosis. I dropped in at the lab to see if the requisition for the tests had come to them, it hadn’t yet. It wasn’t a worry though. At the local lab’s suggestion I called the customer service number on Thursday morning. The requisition had indeed arrived at the central office, and was distributed to the labs immediately, I was good to go. Now I will wait for a call from the GP’s office to let me know about his assessment of the test results. This GP is a real gem, I wish all of them had his skill, sense of ethics, and compassion, it is really a shame I am so far away from his office!

It was definitely chilly this morning, 4C, but I think the weather will now warm up substantially, the high today of 23 will be lovely.

The preparation for our evening visit to the Rideau Camp is under way. I sprayed four pairs of cotton gloves with permethrin yesterday and set them aside this morning to put in the camp box. This morning I sprayed one of my light coloured t-shirts, and two pairs of light coloured socks with permethrin, all to be worn when we visit the camp. This should prevent mosquitoes from biting under my large man’s shirt, our hands as we work, and offer some protection from ticks as well. We now have two serious diseases to worry about from the biting insects in Ontario, whereas during my youth there were none. Both diseases are the indirect compliments of human progress.

For a few years I spent time as a volunteer on the stage and sound crew for the Mariposa Folk Festival. It was fun, I met a lot of great people, learned new skills, and enjoyed myself.

There were those at the time that felt it was beneath me to give away my time as a lowly crew member, there were smirks and some low key derision, but I did not understand their point of view, I still don’t. So I have mixed memories of my Mariposa experience, a contrast between hierarchical and non-hierarchical personality types; I bet you can guess who I found pleasant and who I did not find pleasant.

In 1990 I was on the crew for the 30th anniversary of Mariposa, and got the t-shirt. I haven’t worn it more than a few times, and I unearthed it as I was searching for a light coloured t-shirt to spray with permethrin, to wear at the Rideau Camp; this selection offered a perfect blend of past and present.

Mariposa t 1990

I received a call from my sister-the-youngest-girl, her oldest daughter, my niece, an Engineer who is working out of the country at the moment, has just become engaged to be married. No details at this point. It isn’t difficult to understand how old you are with the younger generation around!

Worldly Distractions

Weather

4°C
Date: 6:00 AM EDT Friday 20 May 2016
Condition: Fog
Pressure: 102.3 kPa
Tendency: rising
Visibility: 16 km
Temperature: 4.1°C
Dewpoint: 3.5°C
Humidity: 96%
Wind: ENE 5 km/h
Today Sunny. High 23. UV index 7 or high.
Tonight A few clouds. Low 8.

Quote

“I did not see anything [New York 1886] to help my people. I could see that the Wasichus [white man] did not care for each other the way our people did before the nation’s hoop was broken. They would take everything from each other if they could, and so there were some who had more of everything than they could use, while crowds of people had nothing at all and maybe were starving. This could not be better than the old ways of my people.”
Black Elk 1863-1950
Black Elk Speaks: Being the Life Story of a Holy Man of the Oglala Sioux

I wonder, at what point in history did our branch of the human species begin to think that greed was normal. It seems so ingrained in the way we see the world, history assumes is was always thus, so it must have begun before written records were kept.

“Goats are very hierarchical, they aren’t a social animal, so you need to work out where you are in the pecking order.”
Thomas Thwaites
http://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/calgary/goatman-calgary-thomas-thwaites-1.3590342

That is interesting, hierarchical goats are not considered social animals. It would fit then that hierarchical humans are not social animals, which would mean that the power structures in our present social structure define our species as “not social animals”… it makes sense in an oddly disturbing sort of way.