Busily Recuperating

The summer cold continues to plague me, although the symptoms lessen slowly over time, I am still struggling to keep up my fluids, and go through boxes of tissues. I was only up twice last night coughing, an improvement. This is one miserable cold!

My energy levels are definitely down, but I am managing to remain a it active anyway.

On Saturday Attila and I took a run out to the Rideau Camp. All was well there, except for the hoards of army worms. They were there in much greater numbers than our last visit, even though I had destroyed hundreds and hundreds of them. The spray works really well for the swarms of them, but not so well on individual worms. Attila sprayed, while I used a stick to squish the low lying outliers. I also tended an all day camp fire, burning a lot of the brush that had been brought up from the swamp area near the road, it had dried out. I estimate that I was on my feet dealing with army worms for over seven hours on Saturday. By the time we headed home it was beginning to get dark, after 8:00 p.m., and I could hardly stand I was so tired. I really enjoyed being a passenger on the drive home!

Mice continue to enter Grace the Trailer, I haven’t found the entry point yet. I spent an hour or so spraying their mess with hydrogen peroxide, then collecting and burning it all in the camp fire. Mice are horrid, destructive little beasts! While working on the army worms near Winnie the outhouse, I noticed debris hanging from the ceiling in there. Sure enough, a mouse was building a nest in the ceiling. I chased the mouse away, knocked the nest down, then used tongs to throw it into the camp fire. Critters!

Yesterday was restful by comparison. I spent my day preparing food, using the back porch as an outdoor kitchen. I used the Nesco oven to bake a rhubarb crisp, with fresh rhubarb from the garden. I used the bread machine to bake a loaf of bread. Using the dehydrator fresh oregano from the garden was dried and powdered. The dehydrated tomato seeds and skins, leftover when the tomatoes were processed with the food mill, were powdered as well. Having used appliances out of doors, in a covered area, the house was not heated up at all, and it remained a cool haven all day long.

One of my projects last week involved the sewing machine. While I had it out to stitch up the skirt curtain for the basement window, I also stitched up some cabana curtains, using my stash of old bed sheets. The sheets were all white, but all different sizes, which looks a little haphazard, but does the job nicely. One of the sheets was the one that was sent to summer camp with Terra, when she was in primary school. It still has her initials painted onto it with fingernail polish, and a fingernail polish footprint, where the project got a little out of hand. When these sheets wear out, I’ll look for replacements of the same size, in bright colours. For now though, the white sheets are doing a fine job of keeping the afternoon sun off the deck. No longer does it heat up to unbearable temperatures in late afternoon.

Cabana curtain back porch june 2018 The back porch cabana curtain. The porch gets full sun from about 2 p.m. until sundown, and it gets very hot on the back porch when that happens. I hung old white flat sheets from long curtain rods, to make “cabana curtains” for the back porch. They work wonderfully well, so that I can now sit out on the porch comfortably all afternoon, and the house no longer gets hot in the afternoons. Note that the porch is a sorry affair. The decking is actually hardwood flooring, never meant to be installed without support. Attila added the outer row of short pieces, from scrap we found below the porch. There was no railing when we bought Mist Cottage. The cast iron railing that is there now, was the railing on the front porch, a huge concrete affair that had sunk towards the house and rotted out the sill plates. The railing was saved and installed on the back porch. The back porch is the next project on the list of renovations, another year.

Today I am resting, as I feel quite worn out!

For dinner tonight I need to come up with something using a single chicken breast. I want to use the mini Instantpot that we recently purchased on sale, couldn’t resist it for the back porch summer kitchen! Most of the recipes I find online use ketchup, soy sauce, and other ingredients that are full of sugars and sodium. I am going to attempt to use the techniques, while using completely different ingredients.

Although I was aware of Instantpots, I didn’t give them a second thought. I have a pressure cooker, and a pressure canner, what would I do with an Instantpot pressure cooker. Bex shared some recipes she tried in one, and I was intrigued. Then I found one on sale, and that was it, home it came. It is the smallest one, 3 quart, there are only two of us here. The first recipe tried was Rice Pudding, it was the best rice pudding I have ever made, hands down. The second recipe tried was Vegetarian Baked Beans, very yummy, very easy. The third recipe was spicy kidney beans for Attila, very nice. The Instantpot is perfect for a one-electrical-outlet based, outdoor kitchen on the back porch. It sautés, in addition to pressure cooking, so that it is the only pot needed to prepare a dish. Since I don’t add any sodium to my dishes, and limit condiments like soy sauce, which are high in sodium, finding flavour requires sautéing. Caramelized onions are essential in sodium free savoury cooking.

I received a call this morning, a dumpster became available. Attila called them back later this morning, and the dumpster arrives today! The driveway is not ready for it. Iris the Trailer needs to be relocated, I cannot do it, so I have my fingers crossed that Attila arrives home early enough to move her out of the way before the dumpster arrives. Otherwise, he will have to carry debris around Iris, to deposit it in the dumpster small load by small load, a real waste of precious time, but it is his time, it is his project. I am a person who likes to think ahead and be prepared, I would have moved Iris on the weekend, but Attila does not move to the beat of the same drum. It will all work out somehow, it always does, and the only tension Attila experiences in these situations is due to my reactions, which I diligently try to keep to myself. [Note: Attila arrived home in time to move Iris onto the front lawn, before the dumpster was delivered. It is huge. I think the whole house might fit into it! This will be a good opportunity to do a all out purge.]

I am an ounce of prevention woman, living with a pound of cure man.

Sometimes I waste time on prevention, for circumstances that never materialize. Sometimes Attila wastes time ameliorating situations that might have been prevented. It probably balances itself out.

Attila seems very settled into his life here, which I am finding comfortable. The one true thing, that I live in a house with Attila, is still true. For now, it is enough, perhaps it always will be. I can only hope that future changes in my life are not so jarring as the terrible, terrible mistake. The knowledge that anything could happen is still very close.

Worldly Distractions

Weather

21°C
Date: 12:00 PM EDT Monday 11 June 2018
Condition: Sunny
Pressure: 102.0 kPa
Tendency: Rising
Temperature: 20.8°C
Dew point: 6.2°C
Humidity: 38%
Wind: NE 18 gust 34 km/h
Visibility: 24 km

Quote

“In preparing for battle I have always found that plans are useless, but planning is indispensable.”
Dwight D. Eisenhower
1890 – 1969

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.

Mice

I took a whirlwind trip to visit the Rideau Camp, and to check Grace the trailer, to see how she weathered the winter. Attila made the trip with me.

Attila dragged deadwood from the front of the property to the camp fire pit, and I spent my hours there cleaning Grace. Mice had infiltrated and left disgusting droppings in the kitchen drawers, which had to be removed and cleaned out of doors, as well as all the contents sterilized and washed. I think Attila found where they came in, chewed right through the rubber flashing on one of the doors. I am on the search for metal reinforced flashing now, so they can’t chew through it.

It was lovely to drive through the countryside on the way to the Camp. There were bright yellow Coltsfoot blooms along the road in, and the ground at the Camp was covered with emerging Trout Lily leaves.

At Mist Cottage the sunshine saw to the last of the snow on the lawn. It also persuaded a few blooms to emerge from the awakening Lungwort in the front garden. Rabbits have been eating the new growth from the onions and garlic plants in the garden. There are more rabbits about this spring, probably because the wetland forest at the end of the street has been destroyed. A fence around the garden might be required!

I have been working on my genealogy database, allowing myself to wander around through primary documents on ancestry. This morning I reviewed all the deaths in the Parry Sound area for 1918, one of the Spanish Flu epidemic years. There were more than 70 deaths due to influenza, and many deaths due to pneumonia, which in some cases might have been related to influenza. I enjoy following little lines if inquiry like this from time to time, just seeing what the data will reveal. Then, when I have some information, I like to contemplate how it played out in lived lives, the human element, the feelings, the effects on human communities, that sort of thing. My Granny was 16 years old in 1918, with a war on, and a flu epidemic, it must have been a challenging year. I wonder did she have a beau, did she lose friends to the war or the epidemic? I’d love to be able to talk with her again, to find out about her life.

A new ball of yarn was started on the crocheted blanket project. I find I have been picking it up a bit more frequently, when I want to sit and think.

The holding pattern with Attila is working well so far, so that domestic life is relatively comfortable. I am beginning to get my bearings here, feel solid ground under my feet. My affection for Attila is undiminished. I am still leery of the situation, the unexpectedness of the terrible, terrible mistake has shown me the precariousness of my life, any life really, something not easily forgotten.

Today is predicted to be warm, 15C, and sunny. I am very keen to grab my bucket, and a ladder, and give Iris the trailer a good exterior washing. Sitting under a tree, she has accumulated some green algae on her roof, and long one side. A good washing, and an interior cleaning are a very good idea.

As I sit here writing, the sun is streaming in through the living room windows. The beautiful, bug free, maybe even open today windows!

Worldly Distractions

Weather

-1°C
Date: 7:00 AM EDT Monday 23 April 2018
Condition: Sunny
Pressure: 103.2 kPa
Tendency: Rising
Temperature: -1.0°C
Dew point: -1.9°C
Humidity: 94%
Wind: NNE 4 km/h
Wind Chill: -2
Visibility: 24 km

Quote

“It is better to suffer wrong than to do it, and happier to be sometimes cheated than not to trust.”
Samuel Johnson
1709 – 1784

Not the plan…

Yesterday I was making real headway on my crocheted blanket project. When I woke up at 2:30 p.m., sitting in my easy chair, feet up, crochet hook in hand, blanket warmly draped across my lap and legs, I realized that I had been asleep for nearly two hours. An afternoon nap was not the plan. After a fitful night I try to stay awake the whole day through, the next day. Whatever made me think that I could indulge in the totally relaxing activity of crocheting, cozy and warm beneath the ever lengthening blanket, and stay awake. I am no worse for it either. I slept soundly through the night last night.

A lovely sunny day out there today, with a real nip in the air. We went out to the Rideau Camp this afternoon, leaving as soon as Attila had changed out of his work clothes and into his bush clothes. I was ready to leave when he arrived home, with a packed dinner of hummus and pita bread, and grapes and muffins for snacks.

Attila emptied the compost toilet buckets into the the dedicated compost bin, covering it well with fresh straw and the wire mesh that prevents animals from digging it up. I scooped water out of the full-to-the-brim water barrel that sits below the end of the eves trough installed on Winnie. It, and the screen that covers it, were stored in Winnie, along with the empty compost toilet buckets. We brought the unused peat moss home to winter in the garage. And that was all that was left to accomplish at the Rideau Camp. Just in time too, as tomorrow night the temperature is predicted to dip to -12C, a good hard freeze, making dumping buckets and water barrels far too difficult. The Camp now sits as it will until April, when the snow has melted and warmer weather returns.

By the time we completed our tasks the evening had waned and the stars had come out. Not an artificial light in sight, no other sound than a cackle of geese overhead, the air crisp and tangy with the scent dead wet leaves and earth, how beautiful it was. I admit to a little pang of longing, as I took in the season’s final look at the trees and the sky, a farewell breath of the cold clean air, then bundled into the car, and we drove away.

DSCF1540 The last glance, evening falls at the Rideau Camp, as we ready to leave, not to return until the spring.

Attila found my winter boots last night, sitting where I had left them under the captain’s chair in the basement. I looked there myself last week and could not see them, I could swear they were not there. But I know they were, if Attila says so, and wonder at my ability not to see things, even if I want to. I have always been this way.

My dental issues have improved a bit, but I have distance to travel in that department. I am still on a soft food diet, which I hate, due to its limitations, straining an already highly restricted diet. Patience, and time, is required. This too shall pass.

Well there it is, another day lived to the fullest. Thank you universe.

Worldly Distractions

Weather

8°C
Date: 2:00 PM EST Wednesday 8 November 2017
Condition: Mostly Cloudy
Pressure: 102.4 kPa
Tendency: Falling
Temperature: 7.8°C
Dew point: -1.3°C
Humidity: 52%
Wind: SSW 26 km/h
Visibility: 24 km

Quote

“Yesterday I was a dog. Today I’m a dog. Tomorrow I’ll probably still be a dog. Sigh! There’s so little hope for advancement.”
Charles M. Schulz
1922 – 2000

Woof! 🙂

Turning

Tuesday, October 24, 2017

The season turned last night. We have enjoyed incredibly mild, pleasant weather ever since Attila and I returned from our vacation in mid-September. This past weekend the daytime temperatures were over 20C. We have been enjoying the good weather to the fullest.

Last Saturday we packed tank with extra things, like a vacuum cleaner, and a dehumidifier, and drove off to to the bush early in the morning. A nicer day one could not ask for, the sun shone, the breeze gently rustled the autumn leaves that still clung to the trees, birds sang, and insects cavorted.

We worked hard on Saturday, an unexpected project caught our attention, and we dived into it with enthusiasm. A very large tree had been pushed over and then into the depression at the side of the driveway. It did not obstruct our activities, so it was low on our radar. But for some reason, on Saturday morning, I took a long stick and began to release the earth held so jealously by the fine woven roots. Soon a mound of loosened earth lay at the foot of the stump. Attila shovelled this into the wheelbarrow. I continued, sweetly sweating from morning and into the afternoon sun. We loosed eight wheelbarrows full of soft brown earth from the the twisted, interwoven roots. Each load was unloaded into a carefully chosen dip in the path to Winnie, making for more easily tread nocturnal journeys.

Although Attila could finally roll the stump upright, so light it had become, it has not been rolled to the wood pile beside the camp fire. That stump will demand devotion to burn in its entirety.

We built a camp fire late in the afternoon, and on this Attila cooked grilled cheese sandwiches. They are a rare treat these days, as I am subject to many dietary restrictions. I have discovered a lactose free cheese, which allows me to enjoy cheese occasionally; the cholesterol content is still of some concern.

Our camp fire burned on into the night. And oh, the stars, they seemed to shine just for us, so many and so bright. We could see our breath in the cold as it settled on the Camp, urging us ever closer to the bright flames of our fire.

And then we were to bed. The floor oh so cold on the stockinged foot, the sheets and pillows chilled. We both wore socks to bed, and me a hat. We slept soundly through the night, but for my trip in the early morning to use the facility… my bottomless bucket in the bush. Although it was cold, I sat for quite some time, mesmerized by the night, the silhouettes of tree tops that swayed ever so slightly, conspiring with the winking stars. I stayed so long, admiring the vault of the universe, that I returned to a chilled nest of blankets on the bed. Soon warm again, I slept until morning light.

Sunday was our day to make Grace The Trailer ready for the winter months to come. Attila prepared the slide out for retraction. It was covered with dead leaves, wet and dirty. I gathered all fabrics, bedding, towels, rugs, to bring home to Mist Cottage, to launder and store for the winter. I also gathered all food stuffs that would not freeze well, or were vulnerable to chewing rodents. Dry goods in sealed mason jars were left in the cupboard. The entire trailer was then vacuumed. Then, when all had been removed and piled outside the door, to be loaded into Tank, the dehumidifier was plugged in to remove whatever moisture was left from our sleeping bodies and food preparation. It removed only one half cup of moisture. Finally the door was shut and locked, perhaps not to be opened until April, 2018.

Grace The Trailer has a slide out. It was our intention to find a trailer without a slide out, as they are mechanized and add relatively vulnerability to the structure. The added living space is undeniably pleasant. It was a relief that the mechanical function of the slide out worked flawlessly. It does not sit entirely square though, once retracted, something we did not notice at time of purchase. It is of little consequence to us, as long as the mechanical aspect and the seal are working as they should. Grace The Trailer is, after all, sixteen years old, she is bound to have some issues related to aging.

Just as the sky began to cloud over, in the late afternoon, Tank was packed high, and it was time to be on our way home.

And here it is, Tuesday already! Yesterday was lovely and warm and sunny, which meant that the bedding and fabrics brought home from Grace The Trailer could be washed and hung out on the line to dry. Today all of these items are being folded and stored away until next April. In this tiny house, it is a challenge to discretely store all of the things which came home from Grace The Trailer. Some ingenuity, and not a little time, is required to get the job done.

Wednesday, October 25, 2017

Yesterday I had a nice long chat with a maternal second cousin once removed, who filled me in on his branch of the family history. His maternal Grandparents died long before he was born, they were very young, 37 and 44 years old, both suffering from tuberculosis. His paternal Grandmother passed away long before he was born, suffering from heart problems. His paternal Grandfather lived with his family and passed away at home, when my cousin was a small boy, three years of age. Grandparents are such a wonderful part of life, I can’t imagine my life without them in the world. It was interesting to hear the details of his family history. But it was even more fun talking to him and his wife, lovely people, we talked for hours.

During the summer baking is not practical, the oven heats the house, which is undesirable. The weather has just now turned cooler, it is muffin baking time once more. The first batch was baked Sunday evening, an experiment. I use a recipe with a core of ingredients, which remain the same, while some ingredients change. This particular batch was made with creamed corn, and the muffins were quite tasty, particularly when eaten with homemade chili sauce. The recipe is here, Corn Muffins.

The time-of-use hydro billing significantly interferes with the natural flow of my days. I like to bake whenever it fits into my daily activities, which are not on a particular schedule, but are rather spontaneous, one of the real pleasures of retirement. Unfortunately, the only time of day that I am awake, and it is practical to bake, is after 7:00 p.m. in the evening. I seldom have enthusiasm for kitchen activities this close to bedtime, it is always rushed, with only three hours to get the project into the oven, baked, then cooled sufficiently to store for the night. If and when technology affords itself an affordable solution to this time-of-use impediment, we will jump on it.

Thursday, October 26, 2017

This entry has been growing like a weed. I started it on Tuesday, and now Thursday afternoon has arrived and I am still muddling my way across the page. It is cold today, the sky was clear this morning, but has clouded over as the day progressed. I had a dental appointment, as the issues are still not completely resolved. I suspect I’ll be going back again next week, after the swelling goes down. The book is coming along today, funny how one little piece of information can turn into an avalanche. The notes I took during my telephone conversation on Tuesday were scanned as images, as a reference, and only half of the details are transcribed into the database.

I’ll end this long post with a few pictures from our last camping trip of the season, at the Rideau Camp last weekend.

Rideau Camp Oct 22 DSCF1386 The tree tops were striped and bare, but closer to the ground the bright leaves clung still to the trees. They were brilliant when the sun came out, just after this photograph was taken.

Rideau Camp October 22 DSCF1376 The stump, after Attila managed to roll it out of the bush. I loosened enough earth from the roots to fill the wheelbarrow eight times, which Attila shovelled, and dumped in low spots on the path to Winnie (the outhouse). I was stiff for two days afterwards, and it felt good.

Rideau Camp October 22 DSCF1390 The camp fire, over which we grilled cheese sandwiches, and around which we sat until the stars were bright in the dark sky, and we could see our breath in the chill of the night. On the upper left some of the earth we took from the roots of the stump can be seen, levelling a low spot.

Worldly Distractions

Weather

16°C
Date: 10:00 AM EDT Tuesday 24 October 2017
Condition: Mostly Cloudy
Pressure: 100.4 kPa
Tendency: Falling
Temperature: 15.7°C
Dew point: 14.4°C
Humidity: 92%
Wind: SSE 18 km/h
Visibility: 24 km

13°C
Date: 3:00 PM EDT Wednesday 25 October 2017
Condition: Partly Cloudy
Pressure: 100.6 kPa
Tendency: Falling
Temperature: 12.9°C
Dew point: 4.1°C
Humidity: 55%
Wind: SW 22 gust 33 km/h
Visibility: 24 km

11°C
Date: 3:00 PM EDT Thursday 26 October 2017
Condition: Mostly Cloudy
Pressure: 101.0 kPa
Tendency: Falling
Temperature: 11.2°C
Dew point: 1.6°C
Humidity: 51%
Wind: W 23 gust 34 km/h
Visibility: 24 km

Quote

“In a mad world only the mad are sane.”
Akira Kurosawa
1910 – 1998