And so it begins. Attila ordered the new roofing material. It will be delivered. Two more large scale orders to go, the lumber for the project, and the large dumpster. Fiddly bits will be needed as well, but they are an in situ decision. We will be leaking $$$$ for a while. Attila’s attention is shifting from the garden to the garage, spending time now moving things out and sorting for throwing things out. From now on, he will be busy with this project every single moment he isn’t at work, eating, bathing, attending to hygiene, or sleeping.
I am girding my loins, preparing for the wave of renovation that will soon hit the house. At least this isn’t taking place inside the house!
It was cold today. Sitting on the back porch became uncomfortably chilly after a short time, even with a jacket on. Yesterday’s rain seems to have pleased the garden. The new Cosmos are already blooming, and in the yard the Hawkweed and the White Clover look beautiful. The Wild Geranium, Columbine, and Irises continue to bloom beautifully and profusely.
The rabbits have not found a way into the fenced in portion of the yard. That inner sanctum was made even more impenetrable with large granite rocks that Attila brought home from the Rideau Camp on Sunday. Birds still wander there at will, and squirrels scale the fence without effort. Next year I am voting that he plant strawberries, protected by chicken wire, or those birds and squirrels will eat the lot on me!
It looks like most of the climbing beans and peas have survived inside the fence, as the squirrels have taken no interest in them. I’ve realized why the bunnies like our yard. The diversity of the plants in our “lawn” is extensive, and the plants are native and wild. This is fast becoming the only natural field of plants in the area, where rabbits can find suitable food, and eat in peace. It is difficult to tell what they are currently eating out there in the yard, it isn’t the white clover, could it be dandelion greens. Wouldn’t that be wonderful!
Date: 7:00 PM EDT Tuesday 5 June 2018
Condition: Not observed
Pressure: 100.6 kPa
Dew point: 10.5°C
Wind: SW 11 km/h
“We are alone, absolutely alone on this chance planet: and, amid all the forms of life that surround us, not one, excepting the dog, has made an alliance with us.”
1862 – 1949
I will say though, we are tolerated by cats, as long as we keep our service standards up to scratch.
The only outing I had last week was to have a mammogram at the hospital. Two days later, a sudden onset of cold symptoms began, that was Sunday afternoon. All week the cough, sore throat, headache, and more recently a runny nose as well, have been annoying. During the night last night, annoying became painful. Swallowing was downright painful, painful enough to awaken me. I sucked on lozenges for a long time, and finally fell asleep again. This morning the throat is less painful, but the voice is almost gone, only a rasping gasping simile of words emerge. And it hurts, to talk, to cough. Still, no fever.
I had a few plans for today, but instead I’ll be sitting in my favourite chair, or out on the porch, wrapped warmly, sipping lemon and honey.
The heat wave is over, it is 16C this morning. The garden has perked right up, due to yesterday’s heavy rain.
The tomatoes, peppers, squash, onions, oregano, rhubarb, borage, onions and garlic are all doing well after the big refresh yesterday.
The Scarlet Runner Beans, Climbing Snap Peas, and Climbing Pod Peas are all doing well, beginning to grope their way towards the fence. The rabbits haven’t been able to get into the fenced in area of the yard to decimate them. Something did eat the emergent leaves from three of the Scarlet Runner Beans, leaving just stumps of stems behind. My guess is squirrels! I think they should make mesh plant cages, about a foot high, completely enclosed with mesh, similar to the tomato cage idea, to keep the nibblers away from vulnerable new plants. I might devise something of my own at some point.
The blooms on the Crabapple Tree, and the Lungwort, are spent. They are now in full leaf. At the moment we have Columbine, two varieties of Wild Geranium, and Irises blooming. Soon the Yellow Day Lillies will bloom soon, not quite yet.
I would like to get a hanging plant to live just outside the kitchen window. Something that flowers all season. Remembering to water plants is one of my weaknesses, I have good intentions, the plants do not thrive on good intentions. Recently I found a package of two clay waterers, that allow that attachment of a plastic coke bottle full of water to trickle slowly into the soil. I tried this with the Chrysanthemum purchased last winter, and it is thriving! When I went back to the dollar store to look for more, they were sold out. Luckily, Attila found a package of them, that had been removed from the shelf and placed in a cart with a cardboard box over it. He grabbed it, and now there are three of these unused handy little devices, and one of them is slated for a hanging basket outside the kitchen window.
Sometimes I wander aimlessly around the internet, looking at a wide variety of things that I find of passing interest. I watched a video about a fellow who was renting a condo in downtown Vancouver for $3500 a month, emphasizing how cheaply he was living. I doubt that half of the population of Canada could afford that kind of cheap lifestyle.
To affirm that I was looking at a situation that does not represent the majority of Canadians, I looked for some statistics. Then I checked out the median income for Canadians, closest I found was 2015, $80,940 annual family income, before taxes and deductions.. I find the median income more interesting than the average, because it less skewed by the very rich, and the very poor. My personal poverty is much less significant using the median income figures.
Half of the 2015 population had a family income below $80,940. My income falls at the very bottom of the bottom half… Attila’s income is much higher than mine at the moment, so although we have not managed to escape the 25th percentile, it means that living together I fare much better than I would on my own, and so does Attila for a variety of reasons. If we are living together when Attila retires, we will sink close to the bottom of the scale. We know this.
I always find it ironic when younger people target “boomers” as having it all, when that is only true for a certain percentage of the boomers. That would be another statistic to look up, but not today. I ignore the young who think that because I am old my tiny pension makes me wealthy, by definition. I also ignore the judgemental, often condescending, types, of any age, who feel I just didn’t work hard enough… go back to your ignorance-is-bliss bubbles. These are all people I do not want to spend time with. If fate brings them outside their bubbles, I don’t want to be around to hear them whining. No one knows what the future holds.
I found the video of the Millennial guy paying $3500 a month rent interesting, and actually watched it right through to the end. He takes his source of high income for granted, feels it is “normal”, feeling his parent’s generation had it better than he does. Just one affluent family’s experience, valid as an experience, not representative of the population though. Sometimes I wonder if that is how the majority of the population of the rest of the world sees us, as the society of affluence and ease seen in the images portraying the higher income people in the country. Possibly.
I could not afford a parking space, let alone a dwelling of any kind, in Vancouver, or Toronto, or any of the larger cities in Canada; no matter how much I might want to live there, it isn’t in the cards.
So back to bouncing around looking at videos about the different ways people live in Canada. Variety is the spice of life, and that we have in Canada.
I am feeling like crap today! I’ve been lucky that I do not experience this degree of illness very often. I’m drinking lots of fluids, and taking it easy today, postponing any of the projects I was thinking about. Not a hardship, I love sitting on the back porch with a cup of tea, my book, my computer, with my feet up, watching the robins watching me. I feel very lucky today, recuperating in a place I love.
Hawkweed in the back yard. Attila mowed the lawn a few days ago, but at my request he left two round sections long, where the Hawkweed grows. The Hawkweed is blooming!! After it goes to seed, then those patches can be mowed. The Hawkweed blooms are not big or showy, I love their long stems, and enjoy the delicate yellow flowers dotting the yard!
Here are the oh so subtle Wild Geraniums. Small and delicate and very beautiful, they grow close to where I sit on the back porch. There are two varieties, the tall with darker coloured blooms, and leaves that are purple in the centre and green at the edges. The shorter variety has larger blooms, does not grow as tall as the other, and have leaves that are a solid green colour. To the left of the wild geranium is a purple Columbine. Attila transplanted it here this spring, it was growing in the footpath by the back porch, having invited itself there.
The Chrysanthemum from early spring, an indoor plant, and the clay watering device that keeps it watered while it sits in the heat on the back porch. The devices I have are cheaper than these ones at Amazon, but they work well.
It is just me and my companions, the Robins, staring into the distance, enjoying the day.
Date: 5:00 AM EDT Friday 1 June 2018
Condition: Not observed
Pressure: 100.7 kPa
Dew point: 15.6°C
Wind: SSW 8 km/h
“Always be a little kinder than necessary.”
James M. Barrie
1860 – 1937
Believe it or not, yesterday was a down day. I have a summer cold, which began to show itself Sunday evening when I was sitting out on the back porch. I thought the cough, sore throat, and headache were from the citronella candle, made in China, but I haven’t been near that since, and the cough and sore throat persist. There is no fever, thank goodness, just this cough, sore throat, headache, and sneezing. It isn’t debilitating, just annoying.
Yesterday was a down day in another way, emotionally. It wasn’t that there was anything negative happening in my little world, quite the opposite. Attila and I have been amicably living together here at Mist Cottage, no changes there. I’ve been enjoying the open windows, the birdsong, the breezes whispering to me through the leaves outside the open windows, wonderful. But despite all of this good fortune, and good fortune it is, I was feeling a bit anxious. I don’t know what it was about, but this morning it has completely dissipated.
I plan on taking on a difficult project today. I want to apply a plastic film to the new big window in the basement, for privacy. It has a “curtain” at the moment, an old blue plastic shower curtain that I bought at the Dollar Store in 2010 for $1.00. But it does not do the new window justice. Last Friday I measured the window, cut the plastic film pieces to size, then set it all aside for another day. Today is the day. I am all thumbs when it comes to doing this kind of thing, so my patience cup has to be full.
The first part of the project involves cleaning the window. There are lots of bugs in the basement, so I’ll vacuum the bugs off the window, and from around the area around the window. Then I’ll use vinegar in a spray bottle to wash it clean. When it is dry the film will be applied. Two pieces of film needed to be cut for each window, as the glass surface is much larger than the width of the film.
But first, it is time to close the windows! The temperature outside, now, at 10:30 a.m., has risen to 23C. As much as I love the open windows, I enjoy physical comfort even more, so the windows will be closed, the curtains drawn, for the day.
OK, back to the project of the day. I did all the preparation of the windows, and applied the film. Well, what can I say, there are multiple bubbles that, no matter how many times I lifted the stuff and tried again, are still there. And there they will stay! Then I wanted to hang a light coloured curtain. White seemed like a good choice, as that window gets full sun during the day. A rummage through the fabric tote, nothing gets thrown out around here, revealed a beautiful wrap around skirt, that was a gift. It was worn about 35 pounds ago, and it is doubtful that this old body, as long as it remains healthy, will not be returning to that time and place and weight. It fit over the window beautifully, and is so cheerful in the dreary basement. There will be good memories of Joannie on every visit downstairs to retrieve or store cooking equipment, and it will be enjoyed when passing by that window, every time I leave or enter the house. Some solutions are just so very satisfying.
Wednesday, 12:25 p.m.
Hot! It is hot out there, too hot to run errands in town.
One of the two cheques that were “in the mail” has arrived. The grant for the attic insulation is exactly what we were promised. It is such a relief to see it, as I had overextended our financial situation quite a bit to take advantage of the grant program. It required an up front payment for the work done, and when all the paperwork was approved, a cheque would be sent in the mail. A trip to the bank to deposit the cheque will bring closure on the attic insulation project. One more cheque to come, for the new windows. It is a much more significant cheque, the windows were a lot more expensive than the attic insulation. I want to go to the bank, but after opening the door just now, I decided against it. Too hot!
Once the sun hits the back porch in the afternoons, it is too hot to sit out. Yesterday I hung a curtain rod across a portion of the porch and hung a white sheet on it. Shade. That is one section taken care of, there are two more. There are no more curtain rods here, so a purchase will be necessary. Luckily there are a few very old white sheets in the cupboard, as I said, very little gets thrown out around here. In the meantime, cotton sheets will be pinned across the porch clothesline, to provide partial shade. Yesterday afternoon, when two sheets were up on the porch, the temperature fell from 36C to 32C. The difference will be even more noticeable when the rods are in place, and sheets are hung on them, they will block all of the afternoon sun. The clothesline blocks only about 80% of the sunshine, it hangs lower than the curtain rod.
I know that they say don’t keep things just because someday you might need them… but hen’s teeth, we almost always end up using the old stuff… sometimes it takes 30 years to get around to it though. It is a calculated risk.
Posted this entry and forgot the picture I had taken of the Tamarack! It looses its needles for the winter, they are back again.
Tamarack in spring, Ontario, Canada.
Date: 10:00 AM EDT Wednesday 30 May 2018
Condition: Partly Cloudy
Pressure: 101.7 kPa
Dew point: 10.5°C
Wind: SSE 5 gust 28 km/h
Visibility: 24 km
“Take calculated risks. That is quite different from being rash.”
George S. Patton
1885 – 1945
This morning I am watching videos on Youtube. I do this occasionally, usually watching videos related to domestic projects I am either working on, or thinking about. It is amazing what people find film worthy!
The young woman this morning was waxing enthusiastic about her butcher block counter tops. She was demonstrating her once a month routine of removing all of the items from the countertops, cleaning the surface, sanding off the stains from coffee or items set on the countertop, then oiling the countertop, then returning all of the items to the countertop.
“Once a month,” I thought to myself.
“Never,” I exclaimed to myself.
I’ll keep my 60+ year old laminate countertops, with all the gouge marks, that I cleaned once with bleach when we bought the place in 2010. I like wood, yes I do, but it wouldn’t look very nice after a month, and I wouldn’t be inclined to change that.
When I bought the little house in the city, before we moved to the country house, the range was old and tired. The woman, from whom I bought the house, was very considerate, and I appreciated that. She left detailed instructions, and a can of spray paint, to be used to repaint the range top every month. Never happened. The range was used until it could not be reasonably repaired, and then it was replaced, having received no new coats of paint.
When I think of acquiring items to have in my home, I always choose from easy care solutions, because I know I’ll not be spending any more time than absolutely necessary spiffing things up. Around Mist Cottage, renovations, and all items purchased, have to stand the test of time (a relative term in this case, my timeline is one lifetime, and I am on the downward side of that equation).
Bunny. There are four of these little guys visiting our garden. They no longer enter the fenced in area of the yard, but the garden lies outside of that. Attila is planning on building a small chicken wire fence around the green beans he plans on planting. The Bunnies love our yard. I didn’t know they ate dandelions! They do, after the flowers have gone to seed, they will snip off the stem and chew them from the bottom up, with one bite to finish off fluff at the end of the stem. There are dandelion free areas in the yard, now I know why!
Date: 8:00 AM EDT Tuesday 29 May 2018
Pressure: 101.7 kPa
Dew point: 15.9°C
Wind: NNE 19 gust 32 km/h
Visibility: 24 km
“If two men agree on everything, you may be sure that one of them is doing the thinking.”
Lyndon B. Johnson
1908 – 1973
It is a lazy weekend here at Mist Cottage. Rain was predicted, but only a few drops fell yesterday, and it looks like it will be a partially cloudy and dry day today.
Attila is preserving resources by using bath water for watering the garden. He has a large plastic garbage can that he fills, bucketful by bucketful, after he bathes. Within 24 hours the water is used to water the garden, and the garbage can is cleaned for the next time. Our rain barrels are empty now, so this is his preferred way to water the gardens. He feels it is going to be a hot, dry summer. I take showers, so I can see the time coming soon when I will be asked to shower with the plug in the drain, so that the water can be retained and carried out to the gardens. Attila is a keen gardener, a keen recycler, and a keen bargain seeker. Our water bills are substantial enough already, without adding garden watering to the bill.
I am still learning the idiosyncrasies of keeping the house cool during hot sunny days. Last night the house was unpleasantly warm during the night, 25C, and we both slept poorly as a result. I had the windows open all day yesterday. Today I am taking a different approach. I had the windows open at 7:00 a.m., and the interior temperature dropped to 23C by 10:00 a.m. At 10:30 a.m. the interior temperature began to rise, to 23.5C, as the outdoor temperature climbed. I then closed all the windows, and hope to retain the interior temperature at 23.5C. I will open the windows again when the exterior temperature falls below the interior temperature of the house.
The mosquitoes were out in force this morning. This is very strange, as there has been little rain, and everything is dry out there. There are no ponds or uncovered water sources anywhere about. They are swarming out of the grass in the front yard, and in the shady spots in the back yard. They have to be hatching in the lawn, not in water as is commonly believed. I have been bitten twice already this morning.
Our first Iris of the season has bloomed. It had few blooms last summer, as it had just been transplanted to a sunnier spot. It has copious blooms this spring, and will be a real pleasure to behold from the kitchen window, for the next week or so. The Lungwort continues to bloom in the front yard. The Crabapple blossoms are almost all spent, the hum of the bees outside my window is diminishing. The Lilacs are still blooming, providing a heavenly scent as I sit on the back porch.
The first Iris of the 2018 season, with many more to come!
The vegetable garden is coming along. The recently planted climbing beans and peas are peeking out of the soil. They are on the inside of the fence.
Over the past few weeks, Attila and I have both been plotting to keep the rabbits out of the fenced in area, so that they will not eat our emerging, tender and tasty, bean and pea plants. Square lengths of posts were laid along the bottom of gates to block entry. A large concrete block was used to cover the gap under the fence by the yard waste compost pile. Stakes were pounded in between gaps in fence posts, and anywhere where it seemed entry might be gained.
Despite all of these precautions, early last week I looked out to see another little rabbit in the fenced in area. Quickly shoving my feet in to my rubber boots, out I went. I calmly followed that little bunny around the yard, as he/she attempted to escape through all the usual entry points, now blocked. Eventually that little bunny found a gap that had been left vulnerable, and escaped the way she/he had entered. That forgotten gap was immediately blocked, and I haven’t seen a rabbit in the fenced in area since.
Yesterday I baked a second Rhubarb Crisp. I had two helpings, and quite honestly, by evening the sugar made me feel polluted. During the night I awoke several times feeling off, with a horrid taste in my mouth. I love eating the Rhubarb Crisp, but will have to limit myself to one serving… or less if that doesn’t resolve the polluted feeling. Rhubarb needs a lot of sugar to make it palatable, as it is low in sugar, and tastes tart, which is unpleasant to my palate.
Time to go sit out on the back porch and read, or listen to the breeze in the trees, or watch for rabbits, or watch the birds… great day for it! There are freshly washed sheets strung on the clothesline across the porch, which means it will be shady, cool, and breezy on the porch.
Date: 8:00 AM EDT Sunday 27 May 2018
Condition: Mostly Cloudy
Pressure: 101.4 kPa
Dew point: 14.4°C
Wind: NE 14 km/h
Visibility: 24 km
(Note: these readings are taken by the shores of Lake Ontario, they are hotter in summer and cooler in winter a short distance north of the lake.)
“The way you define yourself as a writer is that you write every time you have a free minute. If you didn’t behave that way you would never do anything.”