A Trip in the Dark

This weekend thing is a great invention!

Friday night Attila and I made a pizza and watched Star Trek. It doesn’t sound very exciting I know, but it really does it for us.

Saturday morning we packed up Tank and headed out to the Rideau Camp. It was a cloudy day, and warm, around 20C. We had our list of things we wanted to accomplish. Attila wanted to cut the grass, which is really using the weed eater to keep the weeds low. He then used a leaf blower and cleared the area of crushed stone, and the driveway. Then he headed down to our swamp at the entrance to the property.

The swamp was formed when the cottagers association built the private road. At that time the natural drainage was blocked by the new road, and a swamp was created. The trees that had grown there died, and fell into the swamp. Other trees were bulldozed into the swamp when the driveway was created. It is quite a mess, which is lucky for us, because it made the property look undesirable at the entrance, very little curb appeal.

Attila has been slowly clearing dead wood from either side of the driveway, where it was bulldozed into piles. Having reached the edge of the swamp this weekend, he found that the water level had gone down sufficiently to allow him to begin removing waterlogged trees. He spent the rest of the day Saturday pulling dead trees out of the swamp, and piling them at the side of the driveway, where they will slowly dry.

Attila also removed quite a few wild grape plants that had grown into the dead trees that were still standing at the water’s edge. I dragged these up the driveway to the fire pit. I spent my day burning the last of the dry dead wood from earlier driveway clearances, and burning the wild grapes. The fire burned from around eight in the morning until it started to rain around six in the evening. There was also quite a bit of fallen deadwood in the forest around the perimeter of the camp site, so I collected that and burned it as well.

One thing about tending a fire all day long, you end up smelling like smoke, and any exposed skin gets gritty and salty. There are no bathing facilities at the Rideau Camp, so a basin wash is as good as it gets. The grunge factor is bearable on an overnight visit, but it can feel disgusting pretty fast on longer visits.

It is a beautiful time of year to spend time out of doors. At times leaves are gently released, floating to the ground. When the wind blows, and it did blow in great gusts all weekend, the leaves are ripped from the trees with great force, driven down, up, across, in whatever direction the wind takes them. When we took our breaks, we sat at the edge of the bush and soaked in the aroma of autumn, the fallen leaves, the damp earth.

With the coming of the rain we retreated into Grace The Trailer, to prepare a simple dinner, instant Chinese egg noodles with green beans. Then by the light of our small battery operated lanterns, we played cards. We spent the rest of our evening playing cribbage, Attila won the first game, I won the second game. We laugh a lot when we play cards together, although I can’t really say what we find funny.

It is an unusually mild mid-October. We stayed the night in Grace The Trailer quite comfortably. The clouds held the dark close, so that as we lay in our bed we could hold our hands in front of our faces, and see nothing.

I awoke at 5 a.m. and was awake for the day. It was still pitch black at that time in the morning. The night had been mild, warm enough so that I could turn on the lantern and comfortably dress, before taking myself to the living area to let Attila sleep for several more hours.

At 6 a.m. it was still very dark, and as luck would have it, I needed to visit Winnie (the outhouse). I took my little lantern, closed the door to the trailer behind me and headed towards Winnie. The morning was mild, and windy. The lantern lit the path so that my footing was sure. When I reached Winnie I hung the lantern on the nail Attila had hammered into the roof raft. The compost toilets are not left out, so each time we use them we need to set the system up. It is a simple process. The toilet paper is kept in an empty plastic coffee can with a lid, it sits at the top of the pyramid of joy. Under the toilet paper is a covered five gallon pail that contains peat moss and a scoop. Under the peat moss bucket is a very large plastic tote with a lid. Inside are the two compost toilet buckets, his n’ hers. There are no bad smells. It was quite magical really, sitting there looking out into the forest, the wind blowing in my hair, autumn leaves lying on the ground, lit and glistening with rain by the light of the lantern. A rather surprising memorable moment.

Attila arose after a few hours. It was quite a windy day, so we decided to return to Mist Cottage for lunch. Attila wanted to pull more trees out of the swamp, so he tackled that project.

I wanted to gather together the fabrics and extra beverages and food we have in Grace The Trailer, to bring home for the winter. Mice will chew away at fabrics over the course of a winter. We found evidence on a small mouse under the kitchen cupboard, two tiny turds, and the roll of toilet paper by the door had been chewed. I have a glue trap setup under the sink, but it was empty. We wondered how the mouse gained entry, as we had diligently plugged all of the trailer’s orifices with steel wool. I discovered later in the day, that the steel wool under the slideout had been disturbed, pulled out. We surmise it was probably the red squirrel, a very aggressive little fellow, who pulled it out, although it was of no use to him. The little mouse took the opportunity to pay us a visit. Hopefully the steel wool will stay in place now, and the mice will have no entry point. We will be taking mouse traps out with us on our next visit.

I left a few cans of food there, a few cans of beverages, and the bedding for our bed. We hope to spend another weekend there before the snow flies.

This evening we had a very intense wind storm, with lots of rain. We heard a very strange sound, a bit like an airplane. It was the wind howling through the awning outside the dining area windows. We had not heard anything like it before.

The power flickered, went out, then came back, several times. Our internet service is down, but we still have power. I am writing this on a Sunday, but I won’t be able to post it until the internet service is restored, who knows when.

Worldly Distractions

Weather

No access to weather reports, internet down.

Quote

“So I weave back and
forth, forth and back,
a rug patterned of warmth
and light, and when I find
a new scarlet thread shining
to add to the design,
I smile.”
Marge Piercy, The Twelve-Spoked Wheel Flasing: How I weave trouble.

4 Comments

  1. I wonder if you have any chipmunks up there at the Camp? Could they be getting in to Grace TT? We have an over-abundance of those cute little critters here and I’m sure they’ve wrecked havoc on the root systems of our trees in the front garden – we may even have to cut down the crabapple tree as the roots seem to be damaged and the tree looks forlorn. I blame the multitude of chipmunks!

  2. TopsyTurvy (Teri)

    Oops! I missed this post the first time around.

    Lol! I can’t say anything negative about you and Attila watching Star Trek, since the first of the year DH and I have been watching episodes of Next Generation, Deep Space Nine, and now Voyager on Netflix. We had both seen the odd episode of each Star Trek series here and there when they were on regular TV but we never got into them the way we did the original series. We’re now up to season 3 of Voyager, and after that we’ll do Enterprise.

    Sounds like you had a nice weekend. Hopefully, your little swamp will drain. If not, you might want to get some bacillus thuringiensis (sp?) tablets next spring to combat mosquitoes.

    Over at the cottage we’ve taken in all the outdoor furniture, getting things ready for winter. Looks like Mother Nature isn’t quite ready to let go of some of the warmth, though.

    We’ll probably go back to the cottage for a few more weekends before the end of the year. Not too much more, though. Our little dog, a sheltie, gets car sick on long drives and the constant drives have been causing him to lose weight. We’ve been trying to combat it with Gravol and no meals before travelling but it’s not working. 🙁

  3. Chipmunks! Bex, I am hesitant to get started on how much I dislike chipmunks! They don’t even look cute to me anymore, just evil! Yes, it might have been a chipmunk, we see them around the woodpiles frequently. The red squirrel though, peers at us through the window, hops on the roof, explores all the vents up there etc., so he is the most likely culprit. Critters in the wild, stay out of my houses! 🙂

  4. Teri, we are still watching The Next Generation. When Terra was a little girl, she and I would share a pizza and watch Star Trek on Friday nights, a ritual, she loved it, so did I. It was our relaxing together time, something to savour in a very busy life. I don’t even remember which Star Trek it was, but is a fond memory.

    The swamp doesn’t drain completely, it is too deep for that, it is almost a pond, but too shallow for that. Last summer it did go completely dry in the drought, but we weren’t at the point where we could drag any wood out of it. If we get another drought that will be our priority project. With all the downed trees in there, sprinking Bacillus thuringiensis wouldn’t work very well, largely a waste of time. With the trees out it should work though, so we are working towards that.

    I think our next overnight stay at the Camp will be the last of the season, we will be packing things up and bringing the bedding home. We will make day trips out there until the snow gets deep enough that getting through the snowbank with the vehicle is a challenge, we won’t be shovelling, lol.

    Poor little sheltie! Perhaps when the internet works at the cottage there will be less travelling. One of the reasons we decided not to have a cat at the moment is that we knew we wanted to spend a lot of our spring/summer/fall at the Camp, and it isn’t safe out there for a kitty, too many predators, I would worry all the time about the kitty getting out of the trailer! I hope something works out for your wee dog!

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