Small Miracle

orange marigolds in the sun

The Marigols this morning.

What a beautiful day! It is cool, cool enough that I am wearing a long sleeve shirt. But not so cool that I feel chilly. Perfect. Another heat wave is on the way, so say the weather people. I suspect they are right, the first week of September often brings hot humid weather.

Today it doesn’t feel as if I have done much. BUT, I must remind myself that this is simply not true.

First of all, I dealt with the dead mice in the trap that I set on the back porch last night. Mice are usually caught at night. When checking the bucket trap this morning, I was surprised to find two deceased mice. It took me a while to figure out what I was going to do with them. I settled for flushing them down the toilet. The trap has been reset.

bucket and ramp mouse trap setup

This is the mouse trap on the back porch. Fancy it ain’t! The water is roof runoff, the ramp is a piece of scrap wood from the garage roof project, set from the step to the bucket. The peanut butter is about all I had to invest in this very effective mouse trap. NOTE: no mice in this picture of the trap!

More traps need to be set for tonight, in the garden shed and in the garage. This is the time of year the mice are coming into buildings to setup their winter homes, and I intend to stop as many of them as I can from taking up residence at Mist Cottage.

The barriers we setup around the fenced in yard have been effective for keeping out the rabbits. The squirrels, birds, mice, and cats remain undeterred. This morning I watched the neighbours cat prowling around the fenced in yard, in search of mice. Sometimes he catches a mouse, as he did this last week in our compost pile. Today he had no such luck. He is a fat cat, well fed and loved by his people, so he needn’t catch anything, he is never really hungry. To date he hasn’t caught any birds. I would disapprove of the recreational hunting of our birds.

Another little project that kept me busy this morning was installing a contraption to catch drips under the bathtub drain. It leaks occasionally, and Attila’s adjustments haven’t succeeded in solving the issue. The thing is, that is where my canning supplies reside, right under the bathtub drain, and the leak creates quite a mess. So I decided I wanted some sort of catchment system, to prevent the leaks from reaching my canning equipment.

To that end I purchased a lightweight plastic serving tray from the Dollar Store, and some inexpensive bungee cords. The bungee cords gave off a horrid and overpowering odour when I opened the package, and so have been hanging outside on the clothesline for four or five days. They still smell a little, but nothing like their original stench. The project had to wait for them.

Now, here is where the true enjoyment of the new garage roof comes into play at Mist Cottage. I found old cup hooks for part of the job, but I didn’t have enough and needed nails for my project. Attila has his nails stored in clear plastic peanut butter jars (cleaned of course, labels removed). To find nails of the size I wanted, it was a simple as perusing the shelves along the back wall of the garage, where all the nails are on display. It took only seconds to spy the nails I wanted to use, easily grab the jar, unscrew the lid, take what I needed, put the lid back on, and the return the jar to its place on the shelf. It’s a miracle!! Not once in the last 25 years have I been able to easily find a nail when I needed one. A miracle I say!

I have my own little toolbox underneath the cabinet in the kitchen, so my hammer is exactly where I left it. My list was complete, hammer and nails, plastic tray and bungee cords. The wood on the floor joists, where I wanted to hammer in the nails to attach the ends of the bungee cords, was really, really hard. I dropped and lost one nail down behind the shelving, as I struggle above my head to hammer it in. But it didn’t take long to go out to the garage to replace it, voila! It was a little disturbing that old and dusty debris fell on me every time the hammer hit the nail. I persevered. And eventually the job was done. Now the tray will catch any intermittent drips, and it can easily be taken down and cleaned, if that is ever needed. The drips are bad enough to cause damage to cardboard over time, but not so bad that they will fill the tray to its brim. The water will evaporate away between baths and showers.

aa plastic tray suspended from the floor joists under the bathtub

This is the drip tray that will catch any of the small but annoying leaks from the bathtub drain. Now I can store my cardboard boxes of mason jars and canning equipment without risk of water damage!

So, that is how I spent most of my day. Of course, I did enjoy sitting in my easy chair, with the windows wide open all day long, writing this entry, crocheting, and contemplating life, the universe, and everything.

And tonight, another lovely Spicy Chicken with Rice and Mixed Vegetable for dinner. I think I will make this with fresh Scarlet Runner Beans from the garden, we have all winter to eat frozen vegetables.

Worldly

Weather

19°C
Date: 2:00 PM EDT Thursday 30 August 2018
Condition: Mostly Cloudy
Pressure: 102.3 kPa
Tendency: Rising
Temperature: 19.0°C
Dew point: 12.7°C
Humidity: 67%
Wind: NNE 12 gust 27 km/h
Visibility: 24 km

Quote

“You are going to let the fear of poverty govern your life and your reward will be that you will eat, but you will not live.”
George Bernard Shaw
1856 – 1950

It seems to me this is true of only of those with the means to avoid poverty. No one chooses it. (Well there are a few monks etc. but they aren’t facing starvation.)

Ups & Downs

Wednesday, 10:30 a.m.

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 Spring 2018 Ontario Canada Tamarack in spring, Ontario, Canada.

Worldly Distractions

Weather

23°C
Date: 10:00 AM EDT Wednesday 30 May 2018
Condition: Partly Cloudy
Pressure: 101.7 kPa
Tendency: Rising
Temperature: 22.9°C
Dew point: 10.5°C
Humidity: 45%
Wind: SSE 5 gust 28 km/h
Humidex: 24
Visibility: 24 km

Quote

“Take calculated risks. That is quite different from being rash.”
George S. Patton
1885 – 1945

Very Strange

Just now an older man, over 70, stiff gait, came to my door, after parking his very large, very new, tan coloured SUV in my driveway. He knocked, and I got up immediately to answer the door. He had tried to open the screen door, which was locked. I hate that, people trying to open doors to houses that don’t belong to them. Anyway, he was heading back to his car lickety-split when I got the door open. He knocked and wasn’t waiting for anyone to answer the door, the first bit of strangeness.

He asked me if I was Michelle, who did hairdressing and nails. Nope. And you know what, no one on this street is Michelle who does hairdressing and nails. He said he was sorry to bother me, and then left quickly, getting in his SUV and driving away. He left our street. I got his license number, sent it to a friend to keep a record of it. Very, very strange.

Yesterday the weather was lovely, and this morning it was lovely again! The sky has clouded over now, and rain is predicted for this evening.

Wanting to spend time out of doors during these first few days of lovely weather, I got out my bucket and ladder and began the process of washing the exterior of Iris the trailer. The top of the Iris is covered in lichens, which when washed disintegrate to leave stubborn black polka dots. The sides of Iris sported significant patches of green algae. Yesterday the sides were washed with a mixture of Dawn detergent and 1/4 cup of bleach in a bucket of water. This morning the roof was tackled. The first pass was completed, removing chunks of lichen, that left behind large black dots that need a lot of scrubbing to get off. Most of the black dots were removed from perimeter of the roof that was easy to reach. The rest were scrubbed with a brush, then rinsed. It will take another few days of elbow grease to remove all of the black dots. After that task is completed, a marine wax will be applied. This whole process will take more than a week of sunny days to complete.

The lichen, (Foliose Lichen), comes from the ash tree branches, that hang high above Iris, and has been accumulating since she arrived in our driveway. Hopefully a good coating of marine wax will prevent this from happening again!

Yesterday evening I sat out on the back porch for the first time in 2018. Attila joined me and we spent a pleasant half hour soaking in the setting sun. But we were not alone. Mosquitoes! Those little biting buddies are back. Sitting out on the porch was wonderful, despite having to share it with small and sneaky companions.

After a bit of a break, dinner preparations will begin. Tonight’s meal will consist of Coconut Lime Fish, rice, and two vegetables.

Worldly Distractions

Weather

11°C
Date: 1:00 PM EDT Tuesday 24 April 2018
Condition: Mostly Cloudy
Pressure: 102.3 kPa
Tendency: Falling
Temperature: 11.3°C
Dew point: 2.2°C
Humidity: 54%
Wind: SSW 18 km/h
Visibility: 24 km

Quote

“Silence is a text easy to misread.”
A. A. Attanasio

Sittin’ On The Back Porch

I am sitting on the back porch to write this entry, at least the beginning of it. It is 10:41 a.m., and the heat is beginning to close in. I’ve washed and just hung to dry a load of laundry, which has been sitting messily on the floor for over a week. It was time to deal with it. A quickening breeze is making the air more comfortable, but soon, I can tell, the heat and humidity will increase beyond my ability to physically compensate for it, and I will be driven indoors, where the heat pump keeps the temperature at 23C, and below 55% humidity. But for now, for the first time since Sunday, it is now Wednesday, I am out of doors.

Our back porch is lovely in the morning. In the afternoon the sun shines into the porch and it becomes uncomfortably hot, in the summer it becomes unbearably hot. In my dreams we renovate the porch to extend the roof so that much of the porch will remain shaded in the afternoons, making it a viable space in which to spend time all day long.

Even thought the heat wave carries on, the leaves are turning on the trees, and beginning to fall. They rustle, a familiar autumn sound.

We have lost our third family of neighbours in the house next door. When we first bought Mist Cottage, a family with three children lived there. As soon as we painted the exterior of our house, and it looked acceptable, they put their house on the market, and moved to a larger house in town. The people who bought it were an unmarried couple, he much older than she, who eventually married, and eventually stopped making their mortgage payments, renting the house out. The family that rented the house, a couple with two small sons and a brother in the basement, managed to buy it as the bank was foreclosing, and struggled to keep up with the expenses and maintenance. They chopped down every tree on their property, except the very tall one that required a professional to remove it. They gutted part of the house to “renovate”, and did not make progress after tearing things apart. The couple with their children disappeared in the spring, saying that they were going to spend the summer in a large trailer they had purchased at a seasonal camp site, leaving the brother in the basement and a tenant on the main floor of the house. Apparently this did not work out all that well, the tenant has moved out, all the furniture has been moved out, and the brother and father have been working on the house, and moving things out at intervals. It now sits empty. We wonder who will be there next, and hope for the best.

Our garden continues to provide us with fresh green beans and tomatoes, and the occasional zucchini. The few squash that have grown are sizeable, and it seems the mild weather will hold long enough for most of them to mature, so that they can be harvested. Sadly, the scarlet runner beans are no longer putting out blooms, so that as we harvest the beans as the come of size, there are no more coming behind them.

The day is sunny, but rain is predicted this afternoon, which the gardens will be glad of. Attila has been watering them every day, using bath water, which he carried out in a large five gallon bucket. It hasn’t rained since we arrived home from our cold, wet vacation.

My days are passing quickly at the moment. The genealogy book that I stopped working on last spring is in need of careful thought. Yesterday was spent editing references. They are a real mess, after 22 years of making entries. Over those 22 years technology has required many changes. At first, all my records were paper, and a lot of the information I acquired was garnered from painstakingly reading microfiches at libraries. The database computer software I used was relatively rudimentary, and has undergone a myriad of updates and improvements. Each time the software changed, so did the way I could enter my sources, and my researched information. There are still restrictions in the software, for instance the source field will accept only 225 characters, not nearly enough! I spend a lot of time butchering the source material so that it conforms to the 225 character restriction. Conventions changed as well, evolved you could say. My sources needed serious editing to make them consistent. Although they will never be totally consistent, they are within acceptable limits now.

My crochet project, a blanket/afghan, is so relaxing. The colours are soothing, the yarn soft and yielding to the touch. The stitch I am using is very plain, the Suzette Stitch, and very easy. Because the stitch is dense, the blanket is thick, and will be very warm. I am thinking of doing another in washable wool, wool blankets are so lovely and warm.

I have begun my book by Sigrid Undset, Kristin Lavransdatter. The introduction was disappointing, it described the plot too carefully, revealing details that I would rather discover myself as I moved through the book. Having begun the first chapter, I encountered Norwegian words that my mind pronounced, or tried to, and decided to find an online service to provide pronunciations of the names of the main characters and places. I will eventually be able to pronounce these words correctly, but for now I must refer to the audio example every time. auditory learning is not my strong point. Which is interesting because Luna, my eldest, find auditory learning extremely easy. Everyone is so different!

Sound! From my seat on the back porch I can hear, the songs of cicadas, a cement truck, the backup warning beeps of a large truck at a distant construction site, stationary saws at the house under construction a few doors away, the neighbour raking leaves, a bird chirping, a train whistle, two neighbours chatting over the hedge between their yards. We do not live in a quiet place, but the neighbourhood itself is relatively quiet.

Worldly Distractions

Weather

24C
Date: 10:00 AM EDT Wednesday 27 September 2017
Condition: Partly Cloudy
Pressure: 101.1 kPa
Tendency: Falling
Temperature: 23.8°C
Dew point: 22.4°C
Humidity: 92%
Wind: S 20 km/h
Humidex: 33
Visibility: 13 km

Today
Increasing cloudiness late this morning. 40 percent chance of showers. Wind southwest 20 km/h becoming northwest 20 gusting to 40 this afternoon. High 28 with temperature falling to 24 this afternoon. Humidex 36. UV index 5 or moderate.
Tonight
A few clouds. Wind northwest 20 km/h gusting to 40 becoming light late this evening. Low 10.

Quote

“Time does not change us. It just unfolds us.”
Max Frisch
1911 – 1991