Stifling

Sunday, July 1, 2018

Hot!

This morning I slept in. It was just after 6:00 a.m. when I opened my eyes. Morning routines, rise, dress, make the bed, put the kettle on, make coffee, then sit and gaze out the window at the trees. While sipping coffee, the thought that a trip to the Rideau Camp was needed, and could be accomplished, there and back, in the early morning, before the heat of the day turned the world into an oven.

Attila was fast asleep at 7:40 a.m., but I decided to rouse him earlier than his usual 8:00 a.m., to ask him if he wanted to go to the Camp this morning. He did!

We left Mist Cottage just after 8:30 a.m., and arrived at the Camp an hour or so later. The journey was lovely, green fields, blue skies, light traffic.

We were there until noon, when it was beginning to get really hot.

The last time we visited the Rideau Camp, four mouse traps were set in the trailer, and two dishes of warfarin as well. Today there three of the mouse traps held dead mice, and one of the dishes of warfarin was empty, the others were untouched. Attila brought the mouse traps with the mice out to the camp fire pit, placing them on a rock, so that I could deal with them.

The weeds had grown high since the last visit, so Attila spent his time at the camp cutting weeds with the weed whacker.

I was busy also, I watered the garlic and the four Blue Hubbard Squash plants, and picked the garlic scapes.

Then I brought kindling, a sheet of newspaper, a lighter, and some firewood to the fire pit, to build a camp fire. It was really too hot for a camp fire, but it was a necessity. The mice had consumed some warfarin, so I wanted to ensure that they did not become food for another animal. The dead mice were cremated in the camp fire. The mouse traps were doused in water, then cleaned by brushing them with weeds, that had been plucked out of the crushed stone. The traps were baited once more with peanut butter and placed back into Grace the Trailer.

There were some gruesome bits to be cleaned after the traps were taken out. After spraying the areas in question with hydrogen peroxide, and pulling on some latex gloves, I set to work cleaning, using paper towels which I could then burn in the camp fire.

Grace smelled bad. Dead and decomposing mice do not smell pleasant. Windows were opened, roof vents opened as well, to give Grace a good airing out. If more mice are caught, the next visit will involve more cremations, cleaning, and airing out of the trailer.

I really hope that we discover where the mice are coming into the trailer!!

I enjoyed watering the garlic and the four Blue Hubbard Squash plants, there is something very satisfying about watering plants. The garlic scapes were ready for harvesting, they are such a wonderful ingredient in the Instant Pot meals I’ve been making recently.

By noon we were both soaking wet, from working in the heat and humidity, so we packed everything up and retreated to the car, to make the trip home in a much appreciated air conditioned vehicle.

After unpacking the car, Attila was back on the job. The new wall studs on the front wall were constructed, and siding installed. He even managed to paint the the new siding. It looks as if it has always been as it is now.

It is so hot outside that when Attila came in at one point, his clothes were completely, down to the last fibre, soaked in sweat. After changing, back out he went. His plan to finish the wall above the garage doors today was accomplished.

Iris has been sitting on the front lawn since June 15, 2018. Now that the front of the garage roof project is completed, she will be moved back into her rightful place in the driveway.

Attila has now reached the stage in the project, where he feels peace of mind, confident that the remaining touches will proceed smoothly. There will still be much to do, but the big push is over.

While removing the old roof the week before last, carpenter ant nests were found in the wet rotted wood. They were destroyed. When the rotting sill plate above the front garage doors was removed this afternoon, another nest of carpenter ants was found. They were destroyed. The theory is, and I like this theory, that now that the wood will remain dry and sound, there will be no more carpenter ants.

My eyes are bothering me tonight. It started when we were at the camp, I think perhaps the UV index has something to do with my discomfort. My eyes are teary, and my vision is blurry. There are no other symptoms. I will be sure to wear sunglasses out of doors from now on.

Happy Canada Day to my Canadian friends. I heard fireworks in the distance last night, but could see no signs of them through any of the windows. The celebration here at Mist Cottage consisted of Nachos with salsa and sour cream, perfect for us after a hot day in the bush, and Attila working on the roofing project.

Sunday, July 2, 2018

Yesterday Attila finished installing the siding on the front of the garage, and painted it too. Just the trim to be added, and the presentation is complete. Although the front is not really complete, it does look as if it is from the outside, which is what the neighbours care about, so Attila is feeling a lot more relaxed about the project now. Having it look finished from the outside was his turning point. Having the metal on the roof so that it would shed water was my turning point. Both have been accomplished.

I was going to vacuum in the garage early this morning, but I got sidetracked. Last evening Attila picked an armful of rhubarb from the garden, which I covered and put into the refrigerator for the night. This morning, when I opened the refrigerator door to get the milk for my coffee, there it was, waiting for me. I began the process of baking a rhubarb crisp, and preparing the left over rhubarb for the freezer. The rhubarb crisp was baked in the Nesco on the back porch. There was enough cubed rhubarb left over for two more rhubarb crisps, so I bagged, labelled, and stowed it in the freezer.

While I was busy with the rhubarb, I noticed that there was only one baked potato left in the refrigerator. Attila snacks on baked potatoes, if they are there, so it was time to bake more, in the Instant Pot of course!

The hydro is roughly half price today, because it is a statutory holiday. It is the perfect time to bake a loaf of bread. I baked the the loaf in the kitchen, even though the heat from the bread machine would mean that the air conditioning would have to work harder. Attila needed the electrical outlet on the back porch, for his equipment to work on the garage roof project, and bread takes about three hours, much too long for him to lose access to electricity for his tools.

It is another stinker of a day out there today. The second day in a row that the government is posting very inaccurate information about the temperature. The government weather web site says it is 26C with a humidex of 36C. That is false. Our thermometer, in the shade, reads 31C, who knows what the humidex is; it is high. Attila knows, he is out there working in this heat, and he says today is hotter and more humid than yesterday.

The rabbits are breaking my heart! There are only four pea plants left, of more than a dozen. Now they are killing the Scarlet Runner beans too. They reach through the fence and pull the stems over, near ground level, and bite through the stems to kill the plants. They don’t eat the plants, they just kill them and leave them. There are three of these rabbits, and they are bold as brass. My water canon ultimately has little effect. They run when the realize I am around, but they come back and decimate our food crop when I am busy elsewhere.

After reading a lot of different suggestions on how to control them, I decided that a chicken wire fence, attached at the top to our yard fence, and held down with garden stakes, would be the best option. I even sourced the materials, and drove to Canadian Tire to purchase what was needed, but everything is closed today. Tomorrow I plan on finding the chicken wire and garden stakes, and installing them! I sure hope there are a few plants left to save by then.

Wildlife is cute, but losing our high quality food is not cute. We need a fence around the garden area of our yard, which would protect the climbing food plants on the existing fence, because it would enclose that stretch of fence.

Worldly Distractions

Weather

Sunday, July 1, 2018
The weather people say it is 26C at 3:40 p.m., with a humidex of 34C. Where are they taking these measurements!!!
WRONG WRONG WRONG!!!!!!!
It is 34 in the shade here at Mist Cottage, our thermometer has been accurate for years, I trust it, and the humidex must be very much higher than that, 40C at least. I wonder why the temperature posted by Environment Canada is so very different than the temperature on local thermometers! Is their reading under estimated, read on the lakeshore, under reported… it isn’t accurate whatever their problem is.

Quote

“Spare no expense to save money on this one.”
Samuel Goldwyn
1882 – 1974

Still Coughing

I don’t remember feeling this raunchy for this long! Here it is Monday, a week and a day since the first symptoms appeared, and I am still hacking away, with a runny nose, with reduced energy levels. I am feeling better, no doubt about it, the sore throat is just a little bit sore from the hacking cough, and the headache has all but disappeared, just short flashes of it now. My shortness of breath has improved.

The cough is intrusive, so much so that when it woke me up at midnight, I could not go back to sleep, having to sit up and cough so often allowed for no rest. I was finally so exhausted I fell asleep shortly after Attila awoke to begin his day, shortly after 5:00 a.m. and slept for a few hours.

I feel better, and I keep expecting to be back to normal now!

Saturday was a busy day at Mist Cottage. Attila loves to BBQ with charcoal. Many moons ago I bought him a Weber portable charcoal BBQ for his birthday. This is the second weekend he fired it up and cooked chicken and beef. The coals last a long time, so three to four meals worth of meat is cooked while the coals are hot, one meal to be shared with me on the day of the BBQ, and the rest to be refrigerated, for quick mid-week microwave meals.

While BBQing, Attila worked on his garden. He decided against growing green beans, because the rabbits will not leave them alone. No need to fence in part of the garden then, so that project was abandoned. Instead, potatoes were planted in the last section of the garden. Also planted were marigolds, cosmos, and zucchini. Attila is really enjoying his garden, it is something that brings him peace of mind, and a great deal of satisfaction.

My activities involved more sedentary projects. I paid bills, updated web sites, hung laundry out to dry, and baked a rhubarb crisp with fresh rhubarb from the garden. I followed a new recipe, calling for 4 cups of rhubarb and 1 1/2 cups of sugar… wayyyy too sweet! It weighed in at about 8 teaspoons of sugar per serving, over the daily limit of 6 teaspoons, and the taste was sweeter than my palate is currently used to, making it less appealing. The recipe will be adjusted for the next batch, reducing the total sugar added to 1 cup only. Attila will take it in his lunches this week.

Sunday arrived cloudy, and cool but not chilly. What to do with Sunday. We dropped off some birthday cards and presents for Sunny and Sky, but did not go in. Whatever I have is awful, not something I want to share with a pregnant Terra, or two bouncy two year olds. Then it was off to the Rideau Camp, which had two weeks to revert to long weeds and dozens and dozens of darks masses of Army Worms in the forest around the perimeter.

Attila cut weeds. I killed Army Worms. I mixed a quarter cup of Dawn Detergent, four cups of bleach, and six litres of water in a pump sprayer and went to it. Wow, that worked so well that I managed to kill off every mass of worms up to the height of 10 feet, higher than that was beyond reach of the sprayer. There were three or four masses above the level I could reach, there was nothing to be done about them. We worked from around noon until 5 p.m., when it started to sprinkle. By the time we packed up to leave it was raining. On the trip home the rain turned into a downpour, which continued all the way home, and then on into the night.

The last two times we arrived at the Camp, we noticed someone had tried to the door to Grace the trailer. Someone has been trespassing. So far there has been no damage, and nothing has been tampered with. Since there are no trespassing signs on the property, this seems inconsiderate at best, aggressive at worst, and illegal however you look at it. We have a few ideas on how to proceed in dealing with this, but are still deciding how to move forward.

The garlic planted at the Camp is thriving! Two weeks ago Attila planted four Blue Hubbard Squash plants; they are up and also thriving. If our Blue Hubbard Squash plants at the Camp, and here at Mist Cottage, bear fruit as well as last year, we will have a surplus of Blue Hubbard Squash. As for garlic, we can never have too much garlic.

Being on my feet and spraying into the trees for five hours on Sunday may have set me back a little, recovering from whatever is ailing me. It may be why my cough worsened to the point where I could not sleep. But perhaps not. My energy levels are rising, and I was truly enjoying myself while at the Camp, being out in the bush, in the fresh air, so busy that time passed unnoticed.

Well, here it is noon, and all I’ve managed is to drink my morning cup of coffee. Eating isn’t appealing at this point, but it is time to spend time in the kitchen, and attend to my breakfast, which it turns out is also my midday meal.

Worldly Distractions

Weather

18°C
Date: 12:00 PM EDT Monday 4 June 2018
Condition: Mostly Cloudy
Pressure: 100.3 kPa
Tendency: Falling
Temperature: 17.6°C
Dew point: 15.4°C
Humidity: 87%
Wind: SW 21 gust 36 km/h
Visibility: 24 km

Quote

“Climbing out of poverty by your own efforts that is something on which to pride yourself, but poverty itself is romanticized only by fools.”
J. K. Rowling

The majority of the population on planet earth have very limited opportunity to climb out of poverty, regardless of their efforts. I think only those who have opportunities could ever romanticize poverty.

Blue Hubbard Squash

The temperature dipped below freezing last night, we are past the point where the frost is on the pumpkins. Our heating needs, at this mild initial stage of the season of snow and ice, is completely taken care of by our air source heat pump. It will continue to heat our home until the outdoor temperature falls to -7C, then the oil furnace will take over. It will be interesting to note the date when the oil furnace starts up for the first time.

We thought about taking a drive out to the Rideau Camp today, but decided against it. Well, Attila decided against it, I didn’t really have a preference one way or the other. The bedroom window project needs to be finished and the curtains rehung for the winter, and he says he has a long list of small projects he wants to tackle this weekend. Who am I to deter a man with a mission.

When I look out the front window of our house, I can see 11 large pumpkins on people’s front steps, which have now been exposed to a night of below freezing temperature, rendering them unsuitable for processing as food. They will be thrown into the garbage. It seems a shame, that is a lot of food to throw away. It is difficult to believe that children go hungry in a country where food is used as a disposable decoration. But they do. They don’t usually live in pleasant urban subdivisions, or have adults around them who would know how to cook a pumpkin, even if they had the facilities to do it in.

Waste Not, Want Not
“This proverbial saying was first recorded in 1772 but had an earlier, even more alliterative version, willful waste makes woeful want (1576).”
The American Heritage® Dictionary of Idioms by Christine Ammer. Copyright © 2003, 1997 by The Christine Ammer 1992 Trust. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.

Does our species believe we have outgrown this adage?

It never gets old, or does it! We are processing the large Blue Hubbard Squash today. Attila estimates it weighs over 40 pounds, he is usually quite accurate in these kinds of estimations. It is difficult to cut, so Attila took on most of that job. Personally, I think a wielded machete or ax would be the most appropriate way to get these monsters cracked open. Attila used a small knife very effectively. After removing the seeds, the sectioned squash filled two large roasting pans, the ones we cook 20 lb. turkeys in. I managed to lift them into the oven, and luckily they both fit on the rack. The rack sagged under the weight of the squash, but retained its integrity. After baking for an hour and half the squash was ready to be removed from the skin, to be processed in the food processor. I always wait until the squash is completely cooled to begin this process, which is tedious and time consuming. This squash yielded eight litres of squash puree.

DSCF1503 Blue Hubbard Squash: The Big One

DSCF1526 Blue Hubbard Squash: Ready To Puree

We have three more Blue Hubbard Squash, and two Butternut Squash, still to process.

Sister-The-Middle-Girl is visiting her daughter, who is in Medical School, and there is a nearby Maple Syrup producer that I have favoured for the last 25 years. She just texted me that she has picked up two 4 litre jugs of maple syrup for us, which I can reimburse her for the next time we connect. What a treat this will be. I do not consume much sugar, but I do enjoy a teaspoon of real Canadian maple syrup in my morning coffee. Maple syrup just like Grandpa used to make.

Worldly Distractions

Weather

4°C
Date: 11:00 AM EDT Saturday 4 November 2017
Condition: Mostly Cloudy
Pressure: 103.0 kPa
Tendency: Rising
Temperature: 4.0°C
Dew point: 0.6°C
Humidity: 78%
Wind: ENE 14 km/h
Visibility: 24 km

Quote

“It is great wealth to a soul to live frugally with a contented mind.”
Lucretius
First century BC

“Frugality includes all the other virtues.”
Cicero
106 BC – 43 BC

“Thrift is the best means of thriving.”
Charles J. Hare
1796 – 1855

“The cost of a thing is the amount of what I call life which is required to be exchanged for it, immediately or in the long run.”
Henry David Thoreau
1817 – 1862

“I’d like to live as a poor man with lots of money.”
Pablo Picasso
1881 – 1973

Funny though, I doubt any of these fellows would be preserving pumpkins, or squash, for the winter.