Rambling: on the ground and the page.

I have been rambling about this week.

Thursday I had a lovely and relaxing visit with Harriet and my cousin Sali, and Sali’s husband and son. We spent a lovely day sitting in the sun, and chatting, catching up on news, making acquaintance. Just one of those quiet days that shine in memory. Hogan was busy, he felled several trees, sectioned them, cleared the brush, pulled out the stumps, and filled the holes that were left with gravel, which he brought back in his pickup truck from the local gravel yard.

Friday was quiet for me, catching up on housework, paying bills. The paying of bills was particularly satisfying, as I had been robbing Peter to pay Paul since we paid for the driveway at the camp. So, finally paying all the bills cleared away those little bits of worry that settle into my subconscious when I have to juggle my books.

Attila, well he is working 12 hour days, five days a week. Saturdays are supposed to be short days, but they are so busy that he heads in for 5:30 a.m. to get ahead of things before things get really busy, and then works late to catch things up to the point where he can feel relaxed on his Sunday off, and not worry about Monday morning.

Saturday I worked at the greatest little location! I love this location, the “boss” is super organized, knows her stuff, and is positive, exacting, and considerate. The customers are relaxed, friendly, and always pleasant, even if things aren’t going exactly as they would like. While I was there, Harriet and Ariel dropped in to say hello. They were on their way to obtain drinking water for Harriet’s cottage. It was lovely to see them, and Ariel even ran into an old acquaintance.

Saturday afternoon Attila came home from work at 2:00 p.m. This is so rare, it was a real treat! We packed up the car and headed for the little house in the city. The drive was beautiful, sunny and mild, everything green, green, green! The traffic was insane, people doing silly things, impatient things, dangerous things. As soon as we left the area where the affluent recreate, the traffic, and driver behaviour, improved.

We arrived at the little house well before dark. There was a sprinkling of rain, but Attila was determined to get the grass cut on Saturday, so he began the task immediately. It took him an hour and half, and it was almost dark by the time the job was complete. I had a hot meal waiting for him when he came in. We had beet greens with our dinner, which we regard as a real treat. The farm that is close to the little house in the city, and along our travel route, had two bunches of beets and a zucchini left for sale. We bought it all!

So, Attila’s Saturday began at 5:00 a.m., when he arose to get ready to go in to work for 5:30 a.m. He worked till 2:00 p.m., then came home, packed the car, changed, then he drove until about 7:30 p.m. When he arrived at the little house, he cut the lawn for an hour and half, and finally sat down to dinner and rest at 9:00 p.m. And not one grumpy moment!

Sunday morning we slept in until 7:00 a.m., had a peaceful chat as we drank our morning coffee, and enjoyed a big breakfast. Then Luna, Janus and the Grandbabies arrived for a short visit. They had been camping at Lake Placid, and were on their way home, and had spending the night with Terra and Lares. Terra and Lares dropped in soon after Luna and gang arrived, so we were all here.

Oh how we love those Grandbabies!

I have always been like this, and known it. My children, and now my Grandbabies, were, and are, the most beautiful children in the world. When my daughter’s were born I even felt sorry for the other Moms, whose babies were so red and wrinkly, while my baby was so very cute. I could see such a difference! I laugh at myself now, because I have pictures of the hospital nursery, where my daughters would lie in clear plastic tubs or “bassinets”, lined up with all the other newborns. Now I cannot tell which ones were my daughters, all the babies in the nurseries look the same!

The highlight of our visit with the Grandbabies was the short drive to Walmart. Now tall enough to be belted into a car without car seats, we could take them with us in our car; for the very first time in their lives! Luna and Janus and Benny and Bim lead the way in their van, while we followed with the Grandbabies. And how wonderful it was! We sang, as I had wanted to sing with them since they were born. I explained to them that their Great Grandmother had sung this song in the car with me, when I was a little girl.

When I was a child, the eldest of six children, the first five born about one year apart, our visits to Granny and Grandpa’s house involved a six hour car ride. That is a long trip, with five small children. My Mom used to keep us busy by playing games like I Spy, and singing songs with us. One of our favourite songs was “Paw-paw patch”.

As Attila and I drove down the road with the Grandbabies, we all sang, quite heartily, the “Paw-paw patch” song. It was so much fun! We all loved it.

After a bit of shopping at WalMart, for a birthday gift for a party they were attending later in the day, Luna and Janus, the Grandbabies, and the dogs, were off on their journey home. We waved goodbye in the Walmart parking lot, having had a lovely visit. We hope to see them again in August.

Attila and I headed to the grocery store for supplies, then back to the little house for a quick lunch. Attila decided to take a nap, while I puttered in the kitchen, and pulled a few weeds out of the gardens.

The vegetable garden is doing very well, in particular the tomatoes and the cucumbers. The healthiest plants are those next to the few marigolds we planted in the vegetable garden. The peppers are struggling a bit, competing with the weeds, portulaca the non-flowering weed, hogweed, and bindweed. Also, in the backyard, our clematis and marigolds are thriving and blooming. All of this with so very little attention and care!

Cucumbers love marigolds!
CucumbersLOVEmarigolds
The clematis surprised us with these blooms!
Clematis2014

The front garden, where we planted flowering portulaca, is doing very well. The hosta lilies and day lilies on either side of the front step are doing incredibly well.

Day lily!
Daylilly2014

So, here I am writing the last of this entry as we prepare for the drive back to the country house. It has been a busy week, good busy, wonderful busy, mostly up and a little bit of down because my knee still bothers me a bit.

Worldly Distractions

Weather

22°C
Date: 1:47 PM EDT Sunday 20 July 2014
Condition: Cloudy
Pressure: 101.9 kPa
Visibility: 16 km
Temperature: 21.8°C
Dewpoint: 18.0°C
Humidity: 79%
Wind: SE 9 km/h
Humidex: 28

Quote

“One’s age should be tranquil, as childhood should be playful. Hard work at either extremity of life seems out of place. At midday the sun may burn, and men labor under it; but the morning and evening should be alike calm and cheerful.”
Dr. Thomas Arnold

Insect Repellent Clothing

The driveway at the camp is partially in! We were able to park at our camp, for the very first time. That is the good news. The less exciting news is that the driveway will cost almost twice as much as originally anticipated. Sounds wrong, we know, but the estimate was given before the township listed their requirements for the driveway. They insisted it be almost twice as wide as is usual, which requires more culvert, a lot more crushed stone, and more work than anticipated. So we are going ahead with it, but have to decline any further spending in 2014, maybe even 2015.

Still, we are just thrilled to have the driveway. Today was sunny, breezy and warm. We ate our first meal at the camp today, seated on our lawn chairs, looking out at our wonderful view; it was heavenly, quite literally.

We both worked Saturday. In the evening we drove over to Harriet and Hogan’s cottage for a visit, and were delighted to find that Ariel, her special friend Arnie, and her daughter and daughter’s boyfriend were also visiting the cottage for the weekend. We shared a meal of moose burgers. The moose burgers were compliments of our Ariel’s daughter’s boyfriend, who hunts. Since we didn’t know the exact ingredients, I had a carefully cooked chicken breast. By all accounts the moose burgers were delicious!

After our meal, Hogan took us all out on the lake for a boat ride. Ariel’s daughter and her boyfriend fished from the back of the boat, as we slowly toured the lake. Arnie took a turn fishing as well. The fish weren’t really biting, but everyone had a lovely time.

The grand finale of the evening was a campfire by the lake, with a breathtaking view of the sunset across the lake.

Harriet and Hogan are warm and indulgent hosts; one feels very well looked after!

We left late, tired and very happy.

Sunday Attila and I headed to the camp, which is when we discovered that the driveway construction was under way. I dropped Attila off at the camp, and proceeded to Harriet’s cottage for a bit of a visit. I had a chance for a chat with Ariel, and with Harriet; good for the soul.

Then I was off to visit the local dump. I had a few items to drop off at the “dump store”, perfectly good items that someone else might well need. I did not see anything there though, that I thought we could use. It was “slim pickins” at the dump store.

When I returned to the camp, our contractor was there explaining the increased expense to Attila, and we amicably gave the go ahead to complete the job as he suggested.

After we ate a lovely lunch at the camp, we walked down the road to Granny and Grandpa’s house; Attila with his chain saw and come-along, and me with loppers and gloves. While Attila felled the last three dead elms, I began to remove brambles and weeds from my Granny’s gardens. We finished our respective tasks just as Ariel and her crew pulled into the driveway, to have a look at Granny’s house, before driving back to the city. We had a nice tour of the house, and walked down to the camp to have a look at it as well. Then they were waving goodbye, as they drove off into the beautiful sunny evening.

Attila and I continued to work on the garden, until we were both tired. Slowly we returned to the camp, walking down the road with chain saw, loppers, and assorted gear in tow. We had a cold drink, then packed the car and headed into the beautiful sunny evening ourselves.

Now I would like to share a discovery that I made, one of great import to Attila and I. Attila had a birthday in the first weeks of June. I wanted to get him a present that would make his life more pleasant. I looked at bug shirts, and different types of insect repellents. I rejected special netted clothing immediately; Attila would not tolerate cumbersome clothing. Insect repellents work temporarily, until the hard work begins, and sweat carries most of the protection away.

Then I discovered insect repellent clothing! Who knew! Intrigued, my research began. I found shirts that claimed to repell mosquitoes! The reviews of such clothing seemed to support the claims made by the retailers. However, the price of the shirts are prohibitive for persons of average income; particulary if the shirts are meant for working out of doors, rather than for recreation.

“Back to the drawing board!” I found that the chemical used to create these bug repellent shirts is available for the DIY enthusiast. A company, Sawyers, in the USA manufactures the chemical in a spray bottle, which can be used to treat a piece of clothing, rendering it “bug proof.”

So, that is what Attila got for his birthday.

On Saturday I arrived home from work a few hours before Attila. We had pre-selected clothing, a set of shirt and pants, for both Attila and I. The clothing was hung on the line, outside, and the spray was applied to the outer surfaces of the clothing. I took great care not to breath the mist, or to allow the mist to touch my skin. Mist, of course, was safely tucked indoors and well away from the area where I worked. After thoroughly spraying the clothing, it was left to dry overnight.

Please note: This chemical, in its liquid form, is very dangerous for cats. Read the instructions that come with the chemcical carefully, and follow them meticulously!

When we arrived at the camp on Sunday, we donned our mosquito repellent clothing and began our tasks. It was warm. We were working hard, sweating, and attracting mosquitoes, deer flies, black flies, and no see-ums. And… the mosquito repellent clothing worked! Not one bite through the thin cloth of our shirts, or our trousers; not one bite.

And… there was a magical side to the experience. The mosquitoes and flies were attracted to us, but would not land, or come close to our clothing. As we worked, and we sweated, more and more insects honed in on us, and more and more dragonflies darted around us, enjoying a feast as they consumed the hovering and hopeful biting insects. The dragonflies perched near us when we sat to rest, and sprang into action if an insect came near us. I love dragonflies! One even settled on Attila’s shoulder, resting until a mosquito buzzed around Attila’s head, and then swooped in to the rescue.

We were able to sit relatively undisturbed, at the camp lot, in the bush, with the dragonflies keeping watch over us.

My only disappointment for the weekend was, I forgot my camera!

Worldly Distractions

Weather

24°C
Date: 8:00 PM EDT Sunday 22 June 2014
Condition: Sunny
Pressure: 101.5 kPa
Visibility: 16 km
Temperature: 23.8°C
Dewpoint: 8.4°C
Humidity: 37%
Wind: W 5 km/h

Quote

“Whenever I dwell for any length of time on my own shortcomings, they gradually begin to seem mild, harmless, rather engaging little things, not at all like the staring defects in other people’s characters.”
Margaret Halsey