Last weekend was perfect, almost.
We decided to take Iris up to the Rideau Camp and stay for two nights. We knew it would be cold at night, so we took lots of blankets. I brought a parka, and a wool hat with me as well.
We arrived well before supper time, I lit a camp fire as soon as we got there. It was a bit tough going getting the camp fire to start, everything was wet as it had rained that day. Luckily I had some excellent kindling, a dead juniper branches, which although wet, were easily ignited by the flames from a few pieces of paper. Attila setup the kitchen tent, and levelled the trailer. After a late supper we settled into our chairs in front of the camp fire, as the day light faded and the stars began to make an appearance. There are no artificial lights in the bush at our camp, so that the heavenly lights were bright above us. Reluctantly we put out the fire and turned in for the night.
I wore flannel pyjamas, and a wool hat, to bed. It was cold! During the night I awoke feeling the cold in my shoulders. I rolled over onto my back to attempt to warm my shoulders, and when I did every bone in my body began to ache. It was most unpleasant. Eventually I dropped off to sleep once more, and arose in the morning without an ache or a pain. I decided, as I got out of bed on that cold morning, that I wasn’t going to change into cold clothing! So I donned my parka over my pyjamas, kept my wool hat snug and warm on my head, slipped my fluffy warm socks into a pair of clogs, and headed into the new day.
I arose well before Attila, and while he slept I managed to get the camp stove going so that he could greet the morning with a hot cup of coffee. The temperature rose as the sun came up over the horizon. I spread my clothes out on a chair in the sun, to warm them, and changed into the warm clothes incrementally, until I had fully donned my daily apparel by noon. This worked so well that Saturday morning, that I did exactly the same thing on Sunday morning.
Saturday was beautiful. The sun shone, there was a gentle breeze all day long, the temperature became warm enough to wear a t-shirt, and there were no bugs.
I spent the day burning the piles of dead branches from the trees that had been felled when we trimmed up the trees around the camp. The leaves were green when the branches were piled high, but had by this time turned brown and crispy. It was perfect weather for burning branches with leaves, everything was wet at the camp, from the recent rain, so that there was no chance that floating sparks from the leaves would ignite any of the debris in the bush around the camp. It took me all day, and I managed to break up and burn both large piles of tree branches with leaves. There were many, many, very, very large spiders in the piles of branches. Only once did I catch one crawling across my chest, it was about the circumference of a Canadian toonie, with thick hairy legs, and it moved like lightning. I flicked it off my chest onto the forest floor and didn’t see it again. As I lifted the last few branches from the ground a garter snake gazed up at me. It was about 18 inches long, and it was only interested in getting away. When the pile was gone a chipmunk kept coming back to the area to collect and move his stash.
Attila spent the day moving crushed stone. He used a shovel, a rake, and a wheelbarrow to move the stone into the lowest area of the clearing. The crushed stone, because the stones are so large, is very difficult to move around, so it was tough going.
After a satisfying day of work, we enjoyed a hearty supper of udon noodles, with corn and peas, spiced up with olive oil and roasted pepper and garlic spice. Udon noodles are very filling. As dark descended we settled once more in front of the camp fire, watching the stars come out, listening to the breeze in the trees. The calm at a time such as this is enveloping. The stars were magnificent on Saturday night, it was difficult to take ourselves off to bed.
Saturday night was much colder than Friday night, the temperature fell below 5C. I wore long underwear under my pyjamas, my wool hat, my thick fluffy socks, and still I was cold through the night. I am very grateful that I could manage camping when the nights were so cold, at my age. Clearly this would be our last night sleeping in the trailer for this year!
The morning warmed quickly though, and before we knew it we were enjoying another lovely day. I spent the day tending the campfire and collecting dead wood from around the perimeter of the camp. Attila split his time between moving crushed stone, and building a lean-to for the extra straw meant for use with the humanure compost bin. The lean-to will keep the straw dry through the winter. Our humanure system is now complete, but we have yet to deposit our first contribution to the compost pile.
While we were washing up the dishes after lunch, we were helloed by a neighbour coming up the drive. She lives across the street from our property, and represents the local property owner’s association, with whom we share joint ownership in the waterfront property and the road allowances. There are annual fees for upkeep, we knew they would find us when they wanted our money! She stayed and chatted for a while, which was nice as we heard more of the history of the property. Apparently the bulldozed piles of trees and logs were the work of the couple we bought the property from, they intended to build a monster house and had the driveway put in, bulldozing everything in the way into a huge pile of debris. The driveway had been put in the summer of 2015, so it is relatively new.
It was such a lovely day on Sunday that we stayed longer than we had planned, and had to tear ourselves away in the end, so that we arrived home early enough for Attila to get a good night’s sleep before returning to work on Monday.
This week has been cold and cloudy and wet, with some sunny interludes. I quite like this weather, as long as I am not camping. Last weekend was so very wonderful at the Rideau Camp, that I have been feeling a little sad that the camping season is over!
Date: 6:00 PM EDT Friday 30 September 2016
Condition: Mostly Cloudy
Pressure: 102.8 kPa
Visibility: 24 km
Wind: NE 18 km/h
“Time is a cruel thief to rob us of our former selves. We lose as much to life as we do to death.”
Elizabeth Forsythe Hailey
This certainly is one aspect to aging, hardly noticable through the middle adult years, but glaring through childhood and maturity.