Pen & Paper on Canada’s 150th Birthday

Pen & Paper on Canada’s 150th Birthday

Composed on Canada’s 150th Birthday, Canada Day
July 1st, 2017
Rideau Camp, Ontario, Canada

Today the Dominion of Canada is 150 years old. My ancestors arrived here before the Dominion was formed, they were working people seeking a life where hard work would feed their families. They were pawns in the larger agendas of their day, willing to leave their ancestral lands for the sake of survival. The powerful, responsible for their need, were also responsible for the decisions made in the new land, Upper Canada, where my ancestors arrived to struggle for survival in the wilds.

There is a contrast here, a definitive difference between the infrastructural decision makers, movers and shakers as some would call them, and the people who attempted to survive in the context created by those decision makers.

I am grateful for Canada Day, on Canada’s 150th Birthday, as the spirit of the people of the nation. I do not celebrate the infrastructural government, nor the continued privilege of the likes of the Family Compact or the Chateau Clique and their ilk, nor the monolithic corporations that dominate our life here in Canada, and around the globe. These entities may dominate public celebrations on this day, but those are not my celebrations.

I celebrate the spirit of the people here, living in this place we put a border around and call Canada. I celebrate the land itself, our home, our sustenance, our only hope for the future.

We are at the Rideau Camp on this, Canada’s birthday. When I awoke at first light a gentle rain was falling. I drifted off to sleep again, to the lullaby of the soft patter on the roof. We arose later to the leaden gray skies and intermittent light rain.

Usually this kind of weather would not be welcome. However, it was perfect for our intended project for the weekend, burning green brush in the camp fire pit.

Last night, late into the night, the camp fire burned hot, as the ash and maple branches burned in the coals, the wilted leaves suddenly bursting into flame, rising high above the fire, bright with embers as they descended to earth, extinguishing as they rested on the rain soaked forest floor.

This morning, under the dripping tries, braving the intermittent downpours, Attila built another camp fire from the sodden kindling and wood, slowly building up the embers to sustain the burning of green boughs. In the wet of this day no escaping embers threaten to ignite the forest floor.

Sitting snugly in Grace The Trailer, I am writing this entry, printing actually, on scrap paper. The window beside me is open. With every breath of breeze droplets patter their way down through the leaves from the heights of the tall trees to the forest floor.

I am using today for “nesting” activities inside Grace The Trailer. A whisk and dustpan are the only tools available to clean the corners and nooks and crannies. A surprising volume of debris is collected, including small bits of stone, chips of wood, sawdust, and dry dead ladybugs. These are inherited from the previous owners, invisible to the naked eye. The carpeting in Grace The Trailer hides the dirt. This is the type of carpeting that I would want in any space where I was responsible for cleaning.

Rearranging furniture in Grace The Trailer is rather limited. All but the easy chair, footstool, table, and four chairs have been built in. The table was rearranged the day Grace The Trailer arrived at the camp, so that Attila and I could sit side-by-side, to gaze out the window while we dined. Today the easy chair, footstool, and two of the four dining chairs were rearranged to provide easier access to storage. The amount of storage in the trailer is amazing, there is more storage there than we have in Mist Cottage, excluding the basement, garage, and new garden shed here at home. Grace The Trailer is half the square footage of our very small home, and much better laid out.

We are celebrating Canada Day in our own way, quietly in the bush, with good food, a snug shelter, and the freedom to spend our time together as we please.

Canada Day 2017 Rideau Camp DSCF0810 Canada Day view at the Rideau Camp, raining, cool, and smells like heaven.

Composed July 4, 2017, computer keyboard
Mist Cottage

Today our delivery of bread flour arrived. We have been buying our bread flour from the Arva Mill since 1994. Since Arva is a long drive from where we live, and we no longer have visitors from the area around Arva, I was in a quandary as to how to obtain a fresh supply for my bread making. We are down to the last few loaves of bread with our original supply. Luckily the Arva Mill now offers online ordering and delivery. Unluckily, since our last purchase, the price has risen three fold. Luckily the shipping was free, so we decided to bite the bullet and order our flour for the next year or so. It arrived by courier this morning. The fellow who delivered the box with two 10 kg bags were brought to the door by a fellow who laughed and told me, “this is heavy!” He kindly brought it through the door and placed it on the floor for me, I could not have lifted it.

My day was quite uneventful, I crocheted, washed laundry and hung it out to dry, removed the old wool rug from the back porch, and swept and vacuumed the porch floor. It was purchased around 1969, and has been in constant use ever since. Tattered and deteriorating significantly from being kept out of doors on the covered porch, it was time to let it go. Over 45 years of heavy use, the rug owes me nothing.

We were pleasantly surprised to find Terra and Lares at our door, Grandbabies in arms. What little monkeys they are, so active, so engaging, so determined. They played on the floor while we chatted, and found all kinds of interesting things to do. Eating paper is a favourite pastime apparently, so Grandma needed to gather up her papers and put them out of harms way. Their favourite toys on this visit were plastic vegetable containers, the kind used in grocery stores to sell fruit, and Grandma’s keys. They are both bonny healthy babies. Sunny is wiry and small for her age, a very active little girl. Sky has attained a normal weight for his age, and he too is a very active little person.

Attila is now mowing our lawn, to be called in as soon as dinner is ready. I am preparing roast chicken, with corn. We have already eaten our green salad, which we enjoy every evening.

The weather is beautiful right now, not too hot, not too cool, not too humid… ah, summer!

Worldly Distractions


Date: 8:00 PM EDT Tuesday 4 July 2017
Condition: Mainly Sunny
Pressure: 102.0 kPa
Tendency: Rising
Temperature: 21.9°C
Dew point: 13.6°C
Humidity: 59%
Wind: SW 5 km/h
Humidex: 25
Visibility: 24 km


“Don’t waste yourself in rejection, nor bark against the bad, but chant the beauty of the good.”
Ralph Waldo Emerson
1803 – 1882


  1. Diane, we don’t have a vista, but we can easily see the sky, and we love trees, so it works for us. When we lived at the country house we could not see the sky unless looking directly up, it was beautiful in its way, but I missed the sky. I have come to realize that with a vista view you can see for great distances, and the reverse is also true, you can be seen from great distances. We find we enjoy the privacy a shortened view can offer.

    We do need to find a local vista though, so perhaps down by the water, from which to watch the sunset. We have yet to wander down to the water at sunset to see what the view is like. Our deeded access to the lake is a shallow, weedy lakeshore, not in the least appealing for wading, and suitable only for putting in canoes or very small boats, so it is of limited appeal. So far we have been quite content with spending our time in our little opening in the woods, but once the bulk of the work is done there I would love to have a little boat and go fishing. Our lake is a great fishing lake, so what it lacks in lakeshore appeal it gains in other areas.

  2. Shangri-La. Or is it Shangrila? Whatever it is, I think of that word when I see photos of your camp. Your home-from-home.

    “Shangri-La is a fictional place described in the 1933 novel Lost Horizon by British author James Hilton. Hilton describes Shangri-La as a mystical, harmonious valley, gently guided from a lamasery, enclosed in the western end of the Kunlun Mountains. Shangri-La has become synonymous with any earthly paradise, and particularly a mythical Himalayan utopia – a permanently happy land, isolated from the outside world.”

    Wikipedia has it… your earthly paradise …. a permanently happy land, isolated from the outside world.” Yup.

    I am just a little green with envy at all you’ve accomplished to be able to enjoy this wonderful natural spot on God’s Earth.

    May I ask? What are you current crocheting? (I’m a one-trick pony lately!)

  3. Bex, our Camp does sound very much like a Canadian version of Shangri-La! I don’t think we understood when we bought it just how wonderful it was going to be. When we bought it there were bags and bags of trash all through some parts of the bush, mud, mud, mud everywhere, and a small mountain of bulldozed logs with a field of clothing ripping brambles. the only open spots were the stone driveway, and the area where we have the camp fire pit. It is very different now.

    When Attila took out the ten trees this spring, it seems airy and bright. We have noticed an increased prescence of wildlife, birds in particular, probably because there are more easy to catch insects since the clearing is larger and sunnier.

    I know that part of the charm of the place is that Attila is there with me, it wouldn’t be the same if I were all alone, at least I don’t think it would… I hope to never find out about that!

    I finished crocheting 16 water balloons for the Grandbabies. I gave eight of them to Sunny and Sky when they were here, but they weren’t very interested in them, they like my house keys on the colourful keychain, and plastic fruit containers, which we buy our fruit in from the grocery store, and wash and reuse for our garden produce. That and standing at the front door watching the neighbourhood, they liked doing that to.

    Now I am working on a cotton mesh type top, for myself. I am using a square mesh crochet stitch, two half double crochets, then ch 2, skip two chains, then two half double crochets. I am designing this on the fly, a total experiment. I will create two rectangular mesh panels, join them across one edge, leaving a gap for my head to go through, and I haven’t decided what to do about the sides, it will depend on what it looks like once I try it on. I have quite a way to go on it, about half of the first panel is done.

  4. Bex, I don’t know why I thought to write I was using half double crochet stitches! I am using double crochet stitches.

    dc in third stitch
    dc in next stitch
    skip two stitches
    dc in third stitch
    dc in next stitch
    repeats row by row

  5. Kate, I feel the same way about it, and I do walk down there every day that we are at the Camp. Around that corner is a swamp, and some 20 foot high rock faces, there is always something interesting to see down that road.

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