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!

Best Seat In The House

Listening to music is always a journey into the unknown paths within. There is joy there, there is pain, the road is not a golden path of euphoria. But it is my path, my journey, and I love it in there. Music holds my hand, in places no one else can go with me, where I am my only company.

Music plays all day long at the Rideau Camp. Wind, trees, birds, and insects share their experience of life. It is my favourite music, every varying, infinitely interesting. There is no ego, no pretension, no delusion, in nature’s music.

I love some of the music created by humans.

My favourite is the sound of a home, a home without electricity, where the wood creaks in the wind, the rain is heard as it falls on the roof, and the wind-up clock ticking in the living room is the only mechanical evidence of monotonous civilization. It was only a few short generations ago that this was the dominant experience of home.

I also love the sounds of our current home, the refrigerator cycling, the neighbours slamming their car doors, the lawn mower droning across someone’s lawn, an airplane passing overhead, the whine of traffic on the nearby highway, the rumble of a passing train, the battery operated wall clock ticking loudly as the arms reach endlessly to circle time. Oh yes, and the grackles tirelessly pecking at the wood on the facia that covers their former favourite nesting site. These are sounds of the small, familiar patterns of life, life in my home.

The crafted music of the musician can be beautiful, particularly when it opens wide the doors to experiencing my own humanity. To be honest, I seldom listen to lyrics unless they liken to poetry. The sounds of voice, inflection, range, repetition, formed into patterns with other sounds, usually instruments, are endlessly fascinating. The words to most songs are, for me, a veil, and I connect to what is behind the veil, what is not clearly seen but heard in the whispers of musical construction.

My days are filled with music, of different origins.

Attila and I decided we needed to make a weekday visit to the Rideau Camp. Our motivation is related to a “rain barrel”. We do not have a water supply at the camp, unless you consider taking a bucket down to the swamp, to fill with stagnant water, a water supply. We have a well, but it is a deep well and not in current operation, as that would require quite an investment. So I wanted a rain barrel to collect water from the roof of Winnie The Outhouse. We have an old plastic garbage can which we will use as a rain barrel, it is big and it is bulky, and needed to be taken to the camp in a separate trip. We had thought to go out on Tuesday evening, but it was raining, so we waited for good weather, which arrived Wednesday, yesterday, to make the trip.

The visit to the Rideau Camp was only a few hours long, but a lot was accomplished. Laundered tea towels and bed linens were returned to Grace The Trailer, fresh drinking water jugs were filled at home and transported to the Camp for future use, and a list of small needful items were brought to make camping even more comfortable… like a bar of soap. Attila spent some time clearing a thicket of what I am guessing are White Alders, many of them dead. His efforts have cleared a lot of the underbrush surrounding our cleared camping area, letting the air flow more freely, and eliminating hiding spots for the much hated mosquitoes.

We have a very small garden at the Rideau Camp, consisting of two short rows of garlic and one short row of onions. This garden is planted in the soil left in place, after the huge log pile was dismantled by Attila. So far it is seems to be doing quite well, surviving the tree felling, and log stacking, which went on all around it. I weed it from time to time. Last summer I sowed white clover seed all over the open areas of the camp, focusing on the area where hundreds of bramble plants had been pulled up by the roots. This summer the clover has come into its own, providing a lovely soft carpet of green. I am still finding brambles though, and pulled out quite a few when we were there last evening.

Today dawned cloudy and cool, time to get some baking done!

P station DSCF0782 A privilege of privacy, indiscretion. This is my outdoor p station, yep it has everything a girl could want except walls. Attila does not need this, he has the whole bush to water. All last summer I used the bush too, but every time I did I worried about ticks. Now that would be unpleasant, picking up a tick during a squat in the bush! So I bought myself a bright orange five gallon bucket from Home Depot and now I have a throne. The skid was left by the fellow who we bought the trailer from, when he dropped off the hitch last weekend. The boards that sit on the skid to form a rough, uneven floor are lumber scraps leftover from various projects. Above, the end of Grace The Trailer forms a roof, to protect me from the rain while I sit on my throne. The white bucket is for paper, used paper, and I dump those bits of dried paper into the campfire to dispose of them. The roll of fresh paper is conveniently held by the handle of the levelling jack. I have a panoramic view out at the Camp! Would tickety-boo be a little too corny here?

Worldly Distractions

Weather

17°C
Date: 8:00 AM EDT Thursday 29 June 2017
Condition: Light Rain
Pressure: 101.6 kPa
Tendency: Falling
Temperature: 16.5°C
Dew point: 15.3°C
Humidity: 93%
Wind: NE 6 km/h
Visibility: 24 km

Quote

“Nobody sees a flower – really – it is so small it takes time – we haven’t time – and to see takes time, like to have a friend takes time.”
Georgia O’Keeffe
1887 – 1986