Rain At Last

The temperature has dropped a bit, an unpleasant blanket of humidity remains. Another indoor day today. This evening it began to rain, thank goodness. This gives the newly installed rain collection system a chance to strut its stuff, and it worked perfectly. We have collected about 200 liters of water in it so far. Ideally, more rain will fall over the course of the night, and will fill it right up.

This morning was spent milling flour. The frequency of baking bread has increased with Attila back to work. Two gallon jars are filled during the milling session. The mill, a Wondermill, is given a chance to cool down after grinding 8 cups of wheat berries, and I usually have to mill four times, waiting a half an hour between each milling session.

Attila brought in a bowl freshly picked Swiss Chard and a garlic scape for my breakfast this morning. However, for breakfast I indulged in the slice of Rhubarb Squares that he left for me after packaging the rest for the freezer, for this week’s lunches. I come from a long line of sugar lovers. My Grandpa used to pour heavy cream over his slice of fruit pie, then sprinkle white sugar over it. He lived to be 90 years old, and enjoyed excellent health his whole life through. He also smoked cigarettes his whole adult life. Lucky genes I guess. Anyway, I love sugar, but keep consumption down to 6 teaspoons a day, or usually much less. The Rhubarb Squares are rare treat!

Ordering groceries online is becoming easier. The wait times are only a few days, and as long as we don’t order fresh produce our items are just fine. We find we only shop twice a month now, and it is a big job, everything has to be sanitized. Shopping online, wearing masks, keeping social distance, sanitizing everything that arrives at the house from the outside, these things are becoming familiar routines. Like anything else, once you know how to do something, it is much easier to do it.

Worldly

Weather

21°C
Date: 9:00 PM EDT Tuesday 23 June 2020
Condition: Mostly Cloudy
Pressure: 100.1 kPa
Tendency: Falling
Temperature: 20.5°C
Dew point: 19.4°C
Humidity: 94%
Wind: SSW 16 km/h
Humidex: 28
Visibility: 24 km

Quote

Derive happiness in oneself from a good day’s work, from illuminating the fog that surrounds us.
Henri Matisse
1869 – 1954

Settling In

Another week of work begins for Attila. The adjustment to getting back to work is going well. When we ordered the 1000 liter rain tank Attila was home after being laid off work, so he had ample time to work on fixing the fascia on the house, installing rain gutters, and the rain tank. But when the call suddenly came to go back to work, his discretionary time shrank to the weekends. This disjunction between the water collection system project, and available time, has been a significant bottleneck in adjusting to the return to work. Thank goodness for weekends.

This past weekend Attila went into overdrive on the garden and water collection system. The heat wave meant that he was completely soaked with sweat from early Saturday morning, till dusk Saturday night, and the same on Sunday. It was a real push, but he did get the evestrough and 1000 liter tank installed and ready for rain, when it comes. And he did get all but a few small plants from his greenhouse planted in the ground. And he kept up with watering all the plants, by hand, with a watering can. At some distant date I hope he will install a drip water system using water from the 1000 liter tank, which would save him hours and hours of work daily watering the garden.

The garden is a manageable project for Attila when he works full time. The rain tank was an extra project we thought he had time for, but that time evaporated when he was called back to work, so that getting the water collection system working became a high pressure project. I am so glad he got it all accomplished this past weekend, and can now concentrate on what he enjoys most, his garden. We can now move forward with projects that fit the new time regime.

I putter a bit in the garden, but it is only puttering. My two raised beds are planted with a variety of Sweet and Jalapeno Peppers, and one row of climbing edible pod Peas. I weed these beds every few days, and occasionally use the swing hoe to weed the Potatoes, Zucchini, Tomatoes, Rhubarb, Garlic, Melons, and Squash that are planted in the ground. I also keep an eye on our new shrubs, the High Bush Cranberry and the Red Currant, spraying with insecticidal soap to slow down the aphid infestations that they came with, from the nursery where we purchased them. I have been using insecticidal soap on a lot of the garden, including my Granny’s Rose, to keep the little critters-that-kill under control.

The Heliopsis I got from my Granny’s garden is higher than the fence now. Granny’s Rose is showing rosebuds this year for the first time, and they will soon bloom.

The Gladiola bulbs planted last year suffered from mildew, and were not expected to survive the winter. But there they are, five of them. Hopefully the insecticidal soap will control the mildew.

The Chamomile self-seeded and is already blooming. The Catnip and Lemon Balm are doing well, they self-seed every year. Another plant that self-seeded was the ground cherries. Some are coming up in my raised bed, so I think that those were actually squirrel, chipmunk, and bird seeded.

The birds are amazing this summer! The Blue Jays have a nest in our back yard Ash tree, which they protect from all comers, from Crows to Grackles, to Robins. The Grackles and Robins all have nests in our evergreen trees. There are Doves, Chickadees, Warblers, and Cardinals. Geese, Crows, and Turkey Vultures fly over us every day.

There is a bird bath in the back yard, the water is emptied and replaced every morning by Attila. Last summer it was hardly used. This summer it is in constant use by all of the bird species. I love to stand at the kitchen sink looking out at the backyard through the window, or sit on the back porch, and watch them land for a sip. The species do not mix at the bird bath, it is a one at a time activity. I am learning that there is a real politic to bird life!

We see many Squirrels, Chipmunks, and Rabbits. Our yard is very popular, they love to eat our garden plants, dig up our garden plants, and raid our strawberry and tomato harvest. There is a lot of competition for our food supply!

This is Attila’s busiest time of year, putting the garden in. My busy time of year arrives later in the summer, when the bounty from the garden begins to come into the house. Food preservation is a big part of my life from mid-July into November.

The emptied jars from last years bounty are waiting to see what this year’s harvest season will bring.

Stay safe dear friends!

Breakfast this morning!
I awoke this morning to find that Attila had been out in the garden since early light, and he brought me Swiss Chard and a Garlic Scape for my breakfast, and strawberries for a pre-breakfast treat.

Worldly

Weather

HEAT WARNING
Mainly sunny. High 30. Humidex 37. UV index 9 or very high.
23°C
Date: 8:00 AM EDT Monday 22 June 2020
Condition: Partly Cloudy
Pressure: 101.3 kPa
Tendency: Rising
Temperature: 22.5°C
Dew point: 20.1°C
Humidity: 86%
Wind: S 16 km/h
Humidex: 30
Visibility: 24 km

Quote

“Every patient carries her or his own doctor inside.”
Albert Schweitzer
1875 – 1965

Let It Rain!

Attila spent the day planting some of the last plants from his little greenhouse, and finishing the install of the evestrough and the 1000 liter rain tank. Now all we need is rain. He enjoyed his day.

Happy Father’s Day Attila, you did a great job!

Worldly

Weather

HEAT WARNING – it was 33C in the shade this afternoon! Humidex unknown.
23°C
Date: 9:00 PM EDT Sunday 21 June 2020
Condition: Partly Cloudy
Pressure: 101.2 kPa
Tendency: Rising
Temperature: 23.4°C
Dew point: 20.5°C
Humidity: 84%
Wind: SSE 5 km/h
Humidex: 31
Visibility: 24 km

Quote

“Never despair; but if you do, work on in despair.”
Edmund Burke
1729 – 1797

Garden of Delights

This morning Attila picked and brought in for me five red strawberries from the ever-bearing strawberry plant. They were sweet and delicious! A few fresh strawberries now and then are all I will be able to get this year, so I will be enjoying them whenever I can. And I feel grateful to Attila for building a frame with netting over the strawberry plant, so that the squirrels, chipmunks and birds could not get to the ripe strawberries before we did. The netting is very effective. Yesterday morning I watched a small black squirrel attempt to get through the netting to the strawberries. He failed to gain entry, and after many attempts, gave up and started digging up another part of the garden. So this morning I got to eat those strawberries. Me five, squirrel zero.

Attila also thinned the Swiss chard, and the beets, bringing in the pulled plants for my breakfast. Also from the garden this morning, two small basil plants that were thinned, and two garlic scapes. All of this made a wonderful breakfast, sauteed in olive oil, with onion and an egg.

But there was more to come from the garden. Another four pounds of rhubarb were harvested this morning. Two pounds were transformed into a Rhubarb Upside Down Cake, and two pounds were packaged, labelled, and frozen.

Thank goodness for weekends! Attila is crazy busy, as we’ve had no rain recently, so the garden must be watered, and it is a big job. He is also working on installing an evestrough, so that he can fill his new 1000 liter rain tank when the next rain finally does arrive. First though, the fascia had to be painted, and then waited on until the paint dried, and only then could he begin the installation of the evestrough. With any luck he will complete the rainwater collection system by the end of the weekend, so that when next week’s predicted rain arrives there will be some good water stored to garden watering during the next dry period.

Attila is doing all this work in the garden and on the water collection system in the heat and humidity. He seems to tolerate heat very well, and seems energized when the weather is like this. I am the opposite, losing energy quickly as the temperature rises. So I am concentrating on indoor activities today, and will again tomorrow, when it will be even warmer out there!

I am tackling our seed collection today. We have seeds collected as far back as the early 90s, when we first met and got together. Some seeds Attila brought into our relationship, they are even older. Our first joint planting project all those years ago was Morning Glories, and we still have some seeds from those first beautiful blooming plants. For more than 25 years we have collected seeds from our gardens, and seeds gifted to us by other gardeners. The are stored in all kinds of envelopes and packets, which are in turn stored in all kinds of boxes and bins, in no particular order. So today they are being sorted, provided with new envelopes where needed, and be will organized and stored according to type of seed. It is a big job. I am creating this entry as I take a break from it, because I got to feeling overwhelmed. Best to tackle it in stages I reckon.

This morning’s greens, Swiss Chard and Beets.
Seasonings for my breakfast greens, basil and garlic scapes.

Worldly

Weather

HEAT WARNING
22°C
Date: 1:00 PM EDT Saturday 20 June 2020
Condition: Mainly Sunny
Pressure: 101.7 kPa
Tendency: Falling
Temperature: 22.1°C
Dew point: 18.4°C
Humidity: 79%
Wind: S 17 km/h
Humidex: 28
Visibility: 24 km
Today: Mainly sunny. High 32. Humidex 36. UV index 9 or very high.

Quote

“Do not go where the path may lead, go instead where there is no path and leave a trail.”
Ralph Waldo Emerson
1803 – 1882

Heat Wave

These were delivered to us by the local grocery store, part of the last online order. THIS is why we are not eating fresh produce this summer, unless it comes out of our garden. I want strawberries! But I dare not order them from the grocery store. So unless I venture into public areas, which is ill advised and I refuse to do, quality strawberries are not to be had.

The temperature is climbing, as is the humidity. I took a turn around the garden this morning, weeding here and there, soaking in the sun before the heat of the day set in. The ever-bearing strawberry plant has a mesh cage around it, and a good thing too, as a squirrel was attempting to break through it this morning to get at those few ripening strawberries. Little beast. He failed, thank goodness. There are no local places that deliver high quality fresh produce to those of us self-isolating, so no strawberries here this year. I am really feeling the loss of access to fresh food.

While wandering about the yard, I observed that our two Ash trees are dying, that the Ash tree in our next door neighbour’s yard is dying, and that the Ash trees in our back neighbour’s yard are also dying. This is so sad, they have been such beautiful trees! It will cost a small fortune to have these trees removed safely, as they are all near buildings. Probably by next summer, or the summer after that, these trees will be completely dead. The birds will miss them as much as I will, maybe more.

The interior of Mist Cottage is quite comfortable, so the focus is on indoor tasks.

I was able to can a lot of produce last summer and autumn. The empty jars seem to accumulate on the counter in the kitchen. A few factors contribute to this, one is the trip down the tricky stairs to the basement carrying glass jars, and the other is that the basement is still in chaos. We decided to paint the floor while things were moved around, and that is a project that is on hold while Attila continues to get the garden in. So finding a place to store empty jars in the basement is not a pleasant experience. But today I tackled it, climbed over piles of items to find empty boxes for the empty jars, phew, got that sorted! Soon it will be time to start filling those jars again, hopefully the garden will give us a good harvest… and the basement will be more organized.

Filing is another one of those jobs that gets put off. Today was the day! The clutter of the last few weeks, since Attila went back to work, is beginning to disappear.

Heat waves are good for puttering indoors, if you have air conditioning!

Worldly

Weather

Heat Warning In Effect
Maximum daytime temperatures: 31 to 33 degrees Celsius (Humidex 37 to 40)
Current Temperature: 21°C
Date: 11:00 AM EDT Friday 19 June 2020
Condition: Mainly Sunny
Pressure: 101.9 kPa
Tendency: Falling
Temperature: 21.2°C
Dew point: 17.9°C
Humidity: 82%
Wind: S 14 km/h
Humidex: 27
Visibility: 24 km

Quote

“Have no fear of perfection – you’ll never reach it.”
Salvador Dali
1904 – 1989