Black Flies!

They’re here! Black file season has officially begun for us. We spent Friday and Saturday at the Rideau Camp. Friday was cloudy, and not terribly warm. We kept busy all day, Attila finishing the camp fire pit, and me burning wood and broken bits of brush in the camp fire pit. We had our usual lunch, grilled cheese sandwiches over the embers of the camp fire. I managed to go for a walk with Attila around the periphery of the property, it is pretty hard going in some places, lots of rocks, fallen trees, and hills. The day was a long one, just couldn’t tear ourselves away, so many interesting things to do.

The black flies were noticeable, but not too bad, we had no trouble tolerating them.

Our camp fire pit, finished. This is best camp fire pit I have ever used or designed. In the picture at the bottom of the pit is the air trench, this trench allows air to be sucked up from below the level of the burning fire, oxygen! On either side of the burning wood are two large pieces of granite, between which the fire burns. The granite rocks circling the fire pit prevent logs from rolling out, and helps to channel the wind into the burning fire. The air trench faces in the direction of the dominant wind flow, so that the wind blows in through the trench, hits the taller rocks across from the trench and creates a draft parallel to the predominant wind. This fire pit is so effective that I have only needed to use one match, a sheet of newspaper, some dry kindling and some sticks to get it going. It burns the wood completely and keeps the burning wood well confined. When I want to cook I put the grill across the two large granite rocks inside the ring, and I am all set up. Over the course of the weekend I burned all the wood from two of the dead trees that Attila felled last weekend.
Camp fire pit
The trilliums are out in full bloom. We are careful not to tread on them as we hike through the bush, but sometimes it can’t be helped, there are just so many of them. We have a few of these Red Trilliums on the property, so pretty. The Trillium is Ontario’s official Provincial Flower (white Trillium).

Saturday I wanted to walk down to the waterfront to which we have deeded access. It was a bright sunny day, perfect for a little walk. We observed something on a beech tree that neither one of us had seen before, and we still haven’t identified what we were looking at.

We looked up into this 60 foot high beech tree on our walk to the waterfront yesterday. The objects attached to the branches of the tree look ominous, we don’t know what they are. If anyone can identify what they are I’d love to know. I couldn’t get a closer picture, with more detail, because they were so far up.
Nests in tree

The waterfront is not idyllic, and it is obvious that the ownership is shared by many. There are discarded tires lying under the water, old boards and lumber pushed into the bush along the driveway, and the dock is literally falling apart, I won’t venture out on it. The shoreline is mucky, with a sand bottom further out. It is shallow, so that one might launch a canoe or small boat, but nothing larger. The view is lovely. I think Attila and I will eventually put in a bit of time cleaning things up down there, bit by bit. It doesn’t look like anyone else really cares. Most of the properties sharing this access point are waterfront properties, so they don’t really use it.

Our waterfront. We have deeded access to this waterfront, which we share with many others. It is shallow, and quite mucky along the shore, but I think we would enjoy bringing a picnic down here during late summer, when the bugs have died down. I don’t see us boating, although we may eventually get a small aluminium or fibreglass boat for fishing. We both like to fish. I used to canoe, but the arthritis in my coccyx makes it difficult to find a comfortable sitting position in a canoe, and my wonky knees mean that kneeling on my knees isn’t much fun either. Paddle boats work for me, but are too bulky to move around on land to and from storage. Wading is a good option on a hot day!
Water access

Attila had a look at the neighbouring property, and he says the view from the hill is lovely, but I would have trouble getting up there with my knees being what they are. Perhaps when bug season is over I might give it a try, wearing my knee brace. I tended the camp fire, burning the last of the dead trees that Attila felled last weekend. I also sprayed the weeds on the core area of the driveway with the vinegar/epsom salt/dawn detergent mixture. It worked right away with some of the weeds, and not at all with others. This will be an ongoing project. I also planted many clover seeds around the open area where we park, hoping it will grow as ground cover.

The black flies became more numerous as the day went by. By the time we left at 7 p.m. they were swarming around our heads. May and June are usually months when biting bugs are at their worst in Ontario. We won’t be doing as much work at the Rideau Camp for a few months. There is lots to be done at home, and Iris is waiting for attention, to ready her for the camping season, which we hope will begin in July and extend into October.

We headed home tired and happy after our day in the bush.

On the drive home we observed another phenomena that neither of us had seen before. It was a short rainbow in the sky, just a short straight line of faint colours, high above and to the right of the setting sun. It wasn’t raining.

Today, Sunday, we stayed home. It was raining when we got up this morning, making a day out of doors less appealing, particularly when the temperature was only going to rise to 9C. So Attila spent his time organizing the garage so that he can get the lawn more out, it will soon be needed. I spent the day making croutons, cooking vegetables for my meals this week, and baking Blueberry Squares for Attila’s lunches.

A dreary looking day out there today, but our little world needed it. The grass got greener as the day wore on, and the gardens are looking happy.

Worldly Distractions


Date: 4:23 PM EDT Sunday 1 May 2016
Condition: Light Rain
Pressure: 101.7 kPa
Tendency: falling
Visibility: 3 km
Temperature: 8.5°C
Dewpoint: 7.4°C
Humidity: 93%
Wind: ENE 11 km/h


“Peace is when time doesn’t matter as it passes by.”
Maria Schell

And The Good News Is…

What a day!

First, near our former residence, the country house, where our Ancestral Camp is located, they are expecting 31 cm of snow today. And the good news is, I am not there!!!!!! It is snowing here at Mist Cottage, and the predicted accumulation is between 2 and 4 cm, tropical!

Next on my good news list is that a visit to the lawyers office, the signing of a stack of papers, and the handing over of funds, means that the Rideau Camp is ours as of the end of this week.

And last, but definitely not least, I received a call back from the nurse at my country GP’s office. My GP went over the hospital reports from my last visit, reviewed all of my records, and has categorically stated that I DO NOT have Chronic Kidney Disease. How cool is that!!!!!!

I intend to follow up the happy diagnosis with some tests and checks when we get a family doctor here at Mist Cottage, but for now I am content with the diagnosis, and very grateful that I have such a thorough and conscientious GP to rely on for information. I think the doctor in the emergency department was just a little too enthusiastic with her diagnosis, she is young, and due to her age must be inexperienced. No harm done. Actually, it was a a wake up call, I have improved my diet as a result of the inaccurate diagnosis, and will continue with some of the moderate dietary changes I have made over the last few weeks, as they are good for general health.

In future I will be insisting on seeing details of test results. It is best to monitor what the health care practitioners are doing, they make mistakes sometimes, they are only human.

So that is me, happy as a clam, celebrating my good fortune with a glass of cranberry juice! Cheers!

Worldly Distractions


A band of snow is moving through the regions north of Lake Ontario early this afternoon.
The snow will be briefly heavy at times, with a quick 2 to 4 centimetres possible in some areas.
Motorists should be prepared for winter driving conditions with low visibility in bursts of heavy snow. Untreated roads may briefly become covered in snow or slush.
The snow is expected to end or change over to some rain later today as milder air arrives from the southwest.

Date: 1:05 PM EDT Wednesday 6 April 2016
Condition: Light Snow
Pressure: 101.9 kPa
Tendency: falling
Visibility: 2 km
Temperature: -0.7°C
Dewpoint: -4.8°C
Humidity: 74%
Wind: S 37 km/h
Wind Chill: -8


“Good judgement comes from experience. Experience comes from bad judgement.”

Need and Want

This morning I decided to fill an hour or so with “virtual shopping”. What I mean by “virtual”, in this instance, is that I had no intention whatsoever of purchasing anything. I was only intending to pretend to shop.

I visited Kijiji, and found nothing I was interested in. I visited, and found nothing I was interested in. The only items I might be interested in, and do not need, could not be purchased sight unseen. I would like to buy comfortable clothing that I feel is attractive. But what attracts me on the rack, or on a model, is not necessarily something that will look reasonable hanging on my body. I need to take my time, to try things on, to consider carefully. That is fun for another time. I would like to buy comfortable casual shoes, as the ones that I have are more than ten years old, and they are beginning to show serious wear. Shoes need to be comfortable and suitable for walking some distance, so trying on shoes before a purchase is a necessity. Again, that is fun for another time. Beyond that, I can think of nothing that I need, and nothing that I want.

How odd, to come to a point in my life where my needs are met, so completely that I feel no want.

Of course, there are larger items that I am interested in. We would love to: rebuild the garden shed in the back yard; gut and rebuild the walls in the bedrooms and the living room; replace the windows and doors in those rooms; install new flooring in every room but the bathroom; renovate the back porch and repair the roof; put a new roof on the garage. Well, you get the picture, there is a lot of renovating yet to be done.

We would also love to find an inexpensive and small travel trailer, so that we can spend our one week vacation at our camp “up north”. YES, we get a one week vacation in the SUMMER with Attila’s new job!

But, all of these larger items are not integral to our happiness, or even our comfort. They are just things to dream about.

We bought two significant items recently, both were needed.

One of the items was a Squatty Potty. The medications I have to take have affected the efficiency of my processing unit. I knew from experience that squat toilets offer a superior experience, but had not devised a way to emulate them in our home. I will say that this product, although I do not find it miraculous, is something I would not want to live without.

The other item is MagicJackGo. We have been using our cell phones as the only means by which businesses and government agencies can contact us. This has been very problematic, as cell phones cost a lot of money to operate, and I find the messaging system inadequate. My pay-as-you-go cell phone costs fifty cents a minute to use. I reviewed many alternatives, and finally decided to try the MagicJackGo. Although the ads boast prices such as $39.95, don’t you believe it! For that price you have to also purchase a power pack, which is supposedly free, but you are billed an additional $19.95 for it, plus almost $18 shipping if you live in Canada. The unit is $69.96, plus 15% sales tax, at the local Walmart. On top of that, whether you buy it online or in the store, one must pay an extra $10 plus 15% sales tax, to obtain a Canadian phone number. The first year of service is free, and includes outgoing and incoming calls within North America, that is in Canada and the continental U.S. All in all we paid almost $100 to get the unit, a Canadian phone number, and one years service.

Local VOIP basic service charges $14.99 per month for the first six months, then $34.99 a month or more forever more. Clearly, if MagicJackGo works out, it is significantly less expensive than our service providers VOIP offering. Local VOIP service, comparable to MagicJackGo costs $52.99 per month for the first six months and $62.99 per month or more thereafter. Add 15% sales tax to all these figures.

We can’t even contemplate a Bell telephone land line, they are priced beyond our means, weighing in from $36.95 to $51.95 plus 15% sales tax.

Setting up MagicJackGo was not as straightforward as I might have hoped. The method for using my computer to set it up failed completely, and I have no idea why. Not to be deterred, I went on to try a direct connection to the modem, which worked on the first try. Now we have a Panasonic phone plugged into the line, a Canadian phone number local to where we live, and an answering machine. I have my fingers crossed that we do not run into technical difficulties in the long run, as I have read about numerous customers reporting this issue.

When I went to bed last night it was just beginning to snow. When I got up this morning several inches had accumulated, and there was a bitter wind. About a half an hour before Attila was to arrive home from work, the snow plough came through.

Winter arrived many days ago, winter weather arrived last night.

I donned my warm clothing and headed out to the garage to see if I could find the snow shovel. I wasn’t sure where it ended up after the big move. Right enough, there it was where I would have expected it to be, leaning up against the wall near the door. I unlocked the door, grabbed the shovel, and began to shovel a narrow path from the door towards the road. Attila drove up and parked across the end of the driveway, when I was about half way down the driveway. He waited until my shovelled path reached the road, then he took over.

After a while Attila decided to take a break, and during that short break he found another snow shovel, meant to be kept in a car. So we both shovelled snow until the driveway was clear.

We are expecting more snow, and freezing drizzle, later today. I have my fingers crossed that the roads will be good by the time Attila has to leave for work. As you can see below, the weather reports are rapidly changing.

Just for fun, have a look at a globe showing active surface wind movement on planet earth, it is fascinating. You can visually understand the storm Frank, and see why York is getting such a lot of rain.

Worldly Distractions


Date: 10:00 AM EST Tuesday 29 December 2015
Condition: Light Freezing Drizzle
Pressure: 101.6 kPa
Tendency: falling
Visibility: 3 km
Temperature: -6.9°C
Dewpoint: -8.6°C
Humidity: 88%
Wind: NE 32 km/h
Wind Chill: -16

Date: 2:08 PM EST Tuesday 29 December 2015
Condition: Not observed
Pressure: 101.3 kPa
Tendency: falling
Temperature: -3.8°C
Dewpoint: -4.8°C
Humidity: 92%
Wind: NE 9 km/h
Wind Chill: -8


“Too many have dispensed with generosity in order to practice charity.”
Albert Camus
1913 – 1960

Imp and Elf and Tink

After a quiet, relaxing Christmas morning, Attila and I were ready for action!  And action is what we got.  Luna, Janus, and the Grandbabies arrived for Christmas dinner.  They stayed until yesterday morning, but truth be told, it felt as if they came and went in just a few hours, the time passed to happily and swiftly.

Imp and Elf and Tink liked the gifts we gave them, which always feels good.  One of the gifts was a $10 gift card for Walmart.  So on Boxing Day off we went to Walmart to see about spending the $10.  The trip turned out to be more of a lesson on how little one can buy for $10!  Imp found one small item that she liked, on which to spend a portion of the $10.  Elf could find nothing he wanted in the $10 range.  Tink had some of her allowance to spend as well, so she found a craft kits that she liked, and bought it.

Of interest to Attila and I, is that the toys at Walmart were very “junky” compared to those at the Mastermind Toys Store where we bought their Christmas Presents, were mostly cheap plastic, and most of them cost, for one item, the same amount of money that we spend on food for the week.  We will definitely be visiting the Mastermind Toys Store again!

Imp remembered that we tried to make paper airplanes to throw into the bonfire earlier in December at Luna’s place.  We didn’t have much success, as none of us had a pattern.  Imp must have done some research to surprise me!  She asked me for a piece of paper, and this is what she left for me!



Tink enjoyed drawing with chalk on the chalkboard.  She drew a beautiful butterfly for us!  She also drew a great caterpillar.


On Boxing Day morning Elf was curious about what I do on the internet.  So I showed him this online journal.  He wanted to write something in the journal, so he dictated and I typed.  I corrected three instances of grammar, and other than that, these are his very words.

Elf: On Living in Ireland last summer.

One day a family was hiking up Mount Donegal. It was a rainy day. We were starting to walk beside a river. The water was very very clean and there was birds and all that. We would hop on the rocks when there was lots of rocks. We had so much fun jumping on the rocks.

One time I saw a bridge, it was very cool and went over the river. It was very rocky. I think we could see rocks like sand in the river from years and years of the rock going away. We couldn’t see the top of the mountain, it was so cloudy at the top.

So we climbed up more of the mountain, and it got beautifuler and beautifuler. You could see more and more of the water in the ocean. When we got up to a place, we had to stop because we didn’t have very much trail left. So we decided to walk on the rocks on the river for half the hike. I would do a whole bunch of silly stuff on the rocks, like meditating, and saying “it’s my teensy island”.

On the way up we could see a quarry where people used to mine. There were little old cabins made of cobblestone. A river would flow into the quarry. It was cool.

The more we got up the mountain it got foggier and foggier and boggier and boggier. We had lunch at a very long and big wall, that went all the way over the twelve bends. We went to almost the top, until one of us needed to use the loo, so we had to go down. But is was a glory to see all the things we saw on our trip.

We all had a lovely time!

Worldly Distractions


Date: 1:00 PM EST Monday 28 December 2015
Condition: Not observed
Pressure: 103.6 kPa
Tendency: falling
Temperature: -7.2°C
Dewpoint: -12.4°C
Humidity: 67%
Wind: NNE 27 km/h
Wind Chill: -16


The Children’s Hour

Between the dark and the daylight,
When the night is beginning to lower,
Comes a pause in the day’s occupations,
That is known as the Children’s Hour.

I hear in the chamber above me
The patter of little feet,
The sound of a door that is opened,
And voices soft and sweet.

From my study I see in the lamplight,
Descending the broad hall stair,
Grave Alice, and laughing Allegra,
And Edith with golden hair.

A whisper, and then a silence:
Yet I know by their merry eyes
They are plotting and planning together
To take me by surprise.

A sudden rush from the stairway,
A sudden raid from the hall!
By three doors left unguarded
They enter my castle wall!

They climb up into my turret
O’er the arms and back of my chair;
If I try to escape, they surround me;
They seem to be everywhere.

They almost devour me with kisses,
Their arms about me entwine,
Till I think of the Bishop of Bingen
In his Mouse-Tower on the Rhine!

Do you think, o blue-eyed banditti,
Because you have scaled the wall,
Such an old mustache as I am
Is not a match for you all!

I have you fast in my fortress,
And will not let you depart,
But put you down into the dungeon
In the round-tower of my heart.

And there will I keep you forever,
Yes, forever and a day,
Till the walls shall crumble to ruin,
And moulder in dust away!!

Henry Wadsworth Longfellow
first published in the September 1860

[When I was a child, Mom would recite this to us at bedtime.  Still when I read it, I hear her voice.]

No Greater Gift

When all is said and done, there is one Christmas gift that remains in my memory and in my heart. It was given to me by my Mom.

Mom made every Christmas special, which was a miraculous feat considering the circumstances of my youth. It was magical. We received gifts, but not necessarily the ones we dreamt of as we wore out the Sears Christmas Catalogue. The real gift, hidden in the crayons and colouring books, the chocolate drops, and the annual banana and orange in the stocking, and the gift at the heart of the wrapped present under the brightly lit tree, was the fierce protection of, and delight in, our innocence and our vulnerabilities. Despite all odds, Santa arrived at our house after we fell asleep on Christmas Eve, no matter what other dramas were playing out in the world.

The message to us was that we belonged to the human race, that we were valued members of the species. To be born, that made us special enough to deserve our innocence, and our sense of belonging.

There is no greater gift.

How I would love to share this gift with every child born to our species, on Christmas Day, or any other day of the year.

Wishing everyone peace and joy!

Worldly Distractions


Date: 9:00 AM EST Friday 25 December 2015
Condition: Cloudy
Pressure: 102.3 kPa
Tendency: rising
Visibility: 24 km
Temperature: 6.6°C
Dewpoint: 4.3°C
Humidity: 85%
Wind: SW 13 km/h


“Then the Grinch thought of something he hadn’t before! What if Christmas, he thought, doesn’t come from a store. What if Christmas…perhaps…means a little bit more!”
Dr. Seuss
How the Grinch Stole Christmas!