Attila and I left for the Rideau Camp bright and early. Attila works tonight, so we wanted to come home early enough so that he could get a good “night’s” sleep before heading off to work. We drove along under a cloudy sky, there weren’t many people out and about at 7:30 a.m. on a Sunday morning.
The sun was shining by the time we reached the Camp. It was 7C, but we didn’t really feel the chill because we were so busy with our little projects.
The first task was to take the cold ashes from the fire pit and place them in the ruts left by the bulldozer. The bulldozer, we theorize, was employed to clear the trees and stumps to create the clearing where we park our car. The ruts are deep, so we are filling them with clean fill. So far two pots of dead fall Mums with soil, and the cold ashes from our fire pit, are the only clean fill we have, this might take years. We have time.
There are big spiders at the Rideau Camp. The bodies are about the size of a nickel, and the legs give them the circumference of a Loonie. I am not a fan of spiders, particularly in my personal space, I kill the ones that venture near my feet, or any other part of my body.
Attila spent time saving trees. Wild grapes have grown up some of the mature trees on the property, they compete with the tree for sunlight, will eventually weaken the tree, and may even kill it. Attila cuts through the vines about a foot off the ground, which will kill the vine growing up the tree. Attila then cuts a section from them, so that they hang swaying in the breeze, about a foot overhead. Seven wild grape vines were severed today.
The garbage that we found on the property is almost all in bags now. Attila gathered it all up while I was tending the fire, going so far as to open the apple juice bottles to release the fermented juice, and recycle the bottles. There are two apple juice bottles that would not open, left for another time, and a small pile of mugs and bowls, perfectly serviceable Corning Ware mugs and bowls.
My job as fire tender ties me to the camping area, as I will not leave the fire unattended even for a few minutes. Things are dry out there, the wood catches fire easily, and I want to make sure the fire stays in the fire pit. I keep four large jugs of water, that I bring from home, beside the fire pit, and also two pails full of water filled from the wetland on the property. In addition there is a part bag of sand sitting near the fire pit, in case it is needed to smother the fire. I let the fire burn down entirely at the end of our day at the Camp, stirring it to make sure there are no combustable bits of wood in the ashes. When all the flames are spent, I use all of the water to carefully douse the embers, and soak the soil all around the fire pit. By the time we leave, there is no smoke or steam emanating from the ashes of the day’s fire.
While Attila and I sat chatting around the camp fire, we looked up to see two large birds circling the area. We think they are eagles. Then we saw eight large birds far above them, very high up, so high up that we had to strain our eyes to make them out, they were so small in the distance. They looked like eagles, but they might have been turkey vultures.
Turkey Vultures are carrion birds, they eat animals that are already dead. Eagles hunt for live prey. I don’t think these two types of birds compete with each other in the food chain, and that it is quite possible that we are seeing both Turkey Vultures and Eagles.
We have a few more flowers blooming now at the camp. I spied a white Trillium in the bush, and Attila says there are carpets of them at the back of the property. The wild Coltsfoot is blooming in several spots along the creek, pretty yellow flowers. We also found a flower that we could not identify, a pretty white flower, which I took a photo of and had to look up on the internet when we got home. The carpets of Mayflowers and Trout Lilies are beautiful right now. I have been looking for Hepaticas, but so far I haven’t found any.
There were no mosquitoes today at the Camp, I think it was too cold for them. There were a few black flies, but they were not swarming, so they were quite bearable.
Attila is sleeping now. And me, well I’ve been tending an open fire for two days, time for a shower!
Date: 5:00 PM EDT Sunday 24 April 2016
Condition: Mostly Cloudy
Pressure: 102.0 kPa
Visibility: 24 km
Wind: SSW 16 km/h
“The moment we begin to fear the opinions of others and hesitate to tell the truth that is in us, and from motives of policy are silent when we should speak, the divine floods of light and life no longer flow into our souls.”
Elizabeth Cady Stanton
1815 – 1902