Sunny Days

Thursday, April 28, 2016

It temperature dipped below freezing last night, but bounced back up after the light of dawn. Although this cold weather is not much to my liking, I am grateful not be on the west coast of Scotland right now, where some areas have received three inches of snow, and it has been described as the heaviest snow fall of the winter; on April 28th, imagine that.

Yesterday I watched a YouTube video, “Elizabeth at 90 – A Family Tribute”. When returning to get the link to include here, the video was gone, with the message “This video contains content from BBC Worldwide, who has blocked it on copyright grounds.” Such a shame really, as we can’t get the BBC programming here in Canada, and now I can’t share the link. I enjoyed the tribute very much, it showed me a side of Queen Elizabeth I hadn’t really seen before, it was chiefly narrated by Prince Charles, in conversation with Queen Elizabeth, and includes comments from many members of the Royal Family.

Friday, April 29, 2016

Today dawned sunny, and slightly colder than yesterday morning. However, the temperature had not fallen below freezing last night, so the temperature rose through morning at a quicker pace.

This morning I was thinking of a story a friend of mine told me about his daughter. When she was quite young they were playing hide and seek. To avoid being found she would cover her eyes and shout, “you can’t see me.” In her innocence she believed that this tactic worked.

Next door to us live two little boys. They are as different as “chalk and cheese”. The older loves to talk, he makes eye contact, smiles a lot, and is affectionate. The younger loves to explore, he asks questions, and will walk through any door that is open, anywhere. When I arrived home in the car last week, after having been out, the older boy ran up to the car door as I emerged, threw his arms around my neck and gave me a big hug. Then off he ran to join his mother and brother, as they headed down the street for their walk. He whispered to his mother, “I have a secret. I hugged her.” Then he giggled. Who wouldn’t be completely charmed by such a boy.

Today I searched for “Elizabeth at 90 – A Family Tribute”, and found that someone else had posted it to YouTube. I guess the BBC is going to have their hands full trying to put the Genie back in the box. Really though, it is such a lovely tribute to the Queen that I feel it should be freely available to the public. As I watched it I realized that what I appreciate about the Queen is the continuity she has provided. My whole life her picture has officiated the classrooms where I was taught, the libraries I visited, and many other public places. One of my Aunts kept a Royal Scrapbook, which I loved to look at when I was young. The Royal Family didn’t play an active role in my existence, but the Queen has always been there, actively demonstrating that with privilege and honour came responsibility and consideration.

Projects that needed to be accomplished before our next visit to the Rideau Camp were tackled.

First, there have been various media alerts that tick season has begun. While the Lyme Disease carrying black ticks are not found near Mist Cottage, or our Ancestral Camp, the Rideau Camp is in black tick territory. This means that we need to exercise caution while working, or recreating, at the Rideau Camp. To that end, Attila’s coveralls needed to be treated with permethrin, to aid in repelling ticks. This morning, when I carefully applied the permethrin spray to Attila’s coveralls, I treated an old pair of pants of mine. That gives me two pairs of pants that will repel ticks, mosquitoes, and black flies. I only have one treated shirt, an old, large man’s shirt that I picked up at a used clothing store. A second one is called for, and is on the shopping list for the next visit to the charity shops. In addition, a pair of sharp tweezers for tick removal was added to the first aid kit. Best to be prepared.

Second, the driveway and parking area at the Rideau camp are crushed stone. There are a lot of tall weeds growing up out of the crushed stone. I am going to spray the area of crushed stone with a mixture of epsom salts, vinegar, and Dawn detergent, to get rid of the weeds there.

Here is a photo to warm the cockles of your heart, our very own septic tank at the Rideau Camp. This gem was part of the deal, it came with the camp. Unfortunately it is garbage, it leaks, it is cracked. We won’t be stuffing this 5 foot high inheritance into a green garbage bag, throwing a tag on the bag, and putting it on the curb to go out with the trash! It might come in handy during a flood, we could stand on it.
Septic tank

Worldly Distractions

Weather

5°C
Date: 10:00 AM EDT Thursday 28 April 2016
Condition: Mostly Cloudy
Pressure: 102.1 kPa
Tendency: rising
Visibility: 24 km
Temperature: 5.2°C
Dewpoint: -6.4°C
Humidity: 43%
Wind: NNE 17 gust 30 km/h

4°C
Date: 8:00 AM EDT Friday 29 April 2016
Condition: Mostly Cloudy
Pressure: 102.0 kPa
Tendency: rising
Visibility: 24 km
Temperature: 4.4°C
Dewpoint: -7.4°C
Humidity: 42%
Wind: NE 26 gust 37 km/h

Quote

“Anything that has real and lasting value is always a gift from within.”
Franz Kafka
1883 – 1924

April Snow Showers

It was raining when I arose early this morning. The earth and things that grow in the earth needed the moisture, it was getting very dry. Shortly before 10:00 a.m. the rain turned to sleet, and then soon thereafter into snow. The snow melted on contact, there was no accumulation. The wind came up, and it was biting cold outside. By noon the sun was trying to peek out from behind the clouds, but it was still just above freezing. By the time Attila was awake and moving around the wind had died down and there wasn’t a cloud in the sky.

Last Friday Attila split and transplanted three lilac bushes. The idea is to have them growing between our yard and view across the back neighbour’s yard out to the street on the other side. Attila also transplanted day lilies to a spot along the back fence, and prepared a sunny bed at the back of the yard for the Irises, which we transplanted from the front of the house when we had the perimeter of the basement dug up. We want to plant vegetables in the garden this year, so the Irises are being moved yet again. The snow and the rain were a welcome event, now all the transplants have had a good soaking in their new locations.

While grocery shopping Attila stopped to look at sweets. Oh dear, I have been neglecting him! I mentioned to him that I could bake him something sweet, and he readily opted for the home baked goodies. This afternoon I baked Blueberry Squares, one of Attila’s favourites.

My diet altered when I received the false diagnosis of Chronic Kidney Disease, and I have to say it altered for the better. I now keep containers of cooked rice, macaroni, peas and corn, and beans and carrots in the refrigerator. I eat one cup of vegetables mixed with a half a cup of either rice or macaroni. To this mixture I add two teaspoons of olive oil and either two tablespoons of Sweet Thai Chili Sauce, or two teaspoons of Roasted Garlic and Peppers herb mixture. I eat whatever combination suits my fancy for breakfast and lunch, so that I am eating two cups of vegetables every day, at a minimum. The olive oil is an important element of the dish, as it gives the meal lasting power, as fat digests slowly. Eventually I will try additional kinds of herbs or sauces. These ingredients make for quick and easy meals, and offer a lot of on-the-spot variations.

The Sweet Thai Chili Sauce that we have on hand contains Potassium Sorbate and glucose/fructose, both of which I have decided to avoid when possible. I have found a recipe to make my own Sweet Thai Chili Sauce, without any preservatives or glucose/fructose, and I am looking forward to giving it a try when the current supply is gone.

I love pastries, and the grocery store always has quite a selection. Attila and I were looking at the labels on the pastries today, they all contained glucose/fructose, paragraphs of chemicals, and the calorie count was shocking. I have decided that a Muesli bun, at 220 calories, with a little margarine and honey on it, will suit me just as well, be much lower in calories, have fewer chemicals in it, and be more nutritious than any of the pastries we saw in the store.

We are back to making our homemade pizza every once and a while, one large pizza will serve as two meals. I like to make the pizza for the night before we are to head for the Rideau Camp. The next evening, when we arrive home from the Camp, tired and ready for a meal, Attila makes a salad, and I heat up the pizza. Perfect.

Worldly Distractions

Weather

0°C
Date: 9:42 AM EDT Tuesday 26 April 2016
Condition: Mostly Cloudy
Pressure: 101.0 kPa
Tendency: falling
Visibility: 11 km
Temperature: 0.0°C
Dewpoint: -1.9°C
Humidity: 87%
Wind: NNE 31 gust 50 km/h
Wind Chill: -7

Quote

“It is not the strongest of the species that survives, nor the most intelligent, but the one most responsive to change.”
Charles Darwin
1809 – 1882

Why the narrowness of greed might eventually die out in the human species, if we last long enough.

Bright and Early

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.

I think this flower is Bloodroot, please correct me if I am wrong! There were quite of few of these little flowers lining the edge of the driveway at the Rideau Camp, there were some along the creek as well.
Bloodroot

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!

Worldly Distractions

Weather

7°C
Date: 5:00 PM EDT Sunday 24 April 2016
Condition: Mostly Cloudy
Pressure: 102.0 kPa
Tendency: falling
Visibility: 24 km
Temperature: 7.4°C
Dewpoint: -7.9°C
Humidity: 33%
Wind: SSW 16 km/h

Quote

“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

Chopping Down Trees

We spent the day at the Rideau Camp. It was sunny, beautiful, and chilly, with a high of 10C. I kept the fire going, which is job of constant activity, breaking sticks into lengths and feeding them into the fire. Attila brought his chain saw and felled two dead trees, chopped them up, pulled the brush near the fire pit so that I could break the branches up and burn them, and stacked the logs neatly. A good days work. The Camp looks better every time we visit it, and it feels like home already.

We saw large birds circling in the sky, as we did last weekend. We think they might be eagles, or perhaps they are turkey vultures, we don’t know. We heard owls hooting off in the bush. We saw a Mallard Duck swimming in our little wetland. We heard the call of two Pileated Woodpeckers. And we were visited by a half dozen black flies as the evening drew near, around 6 p.m. As long as the black flies do not swarm, I don’t mind them too much.

My Mom was in to see her doctor, and the doctor says that everything is good. She will go for a CT Scan in a few weeks time, just to check it out. The healing is progressing slowly. Mom should be feeling tickety boo by the time the warm weather finally arrives.

One of the two trees that Attila felled today. He thinks it was an Elm, it had been dead for quite some time.
Felled tree
The brush pile and stacked firewood, all done at the end of the day. The sun was beginning to set as we packed up to leave, just after this photo was taken.
Stacked firewood
When I was a child the bush around the farm was carpeted with these flowers every spring. What fond memories I have of wandering in the bush with my brothers and sisters. We called these flowers Tiger Lilies, Mom called them Dog Tooth Violets, their official name is Erythronium Americanum, they are also sometimes called Trout Lilies.
Tigerlily

Worldly Distractions

Weather

5°C
Date: 9:00 PM EDT Saturday 23 April 2016
Condition: Mainly Clear
Pressure: 102.0 kPa
Visibility: 24 km
Temperature: 5.4°C
Dewpoint: 0.4°C
Humidity: 70%
Wind: NNE 7 km/h

Quote

“We must be willing to get rid of the life we’ve planned, so as to have the life that is waiting for us.”
Joseph Campbell
1904 – 1987

It took a long time for this piece of wisdom to play out in my life, thank goodness I lived long enough for it to come to fruition.