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

Canada Day Long Weekend

Saturday, June 29, 2013

Saturday morning, after a breakfast of Giant Oven Pancake and fresh strawberries, I sat with my coffee contemplating the bathtub drain. It was disgusting when we bought the property, and it has not changed, still disgusting.

So I did a bit of reading on the internet, went into the bathroom and completely removed the pop up drain mechanism. Eew, gross! Then I got the tweezers and began to remove the disgusting hair clumps. Got all of that out, but the drain was still not draining properly. I poured in a bit of liquid plumber and waited. Still no luck. Then I researched unplugging bathtub drains, which alerted me to the possibility of using a plunger. Bingo! It worked, the drain now runs clear! All I have to now is purchase an inexpensive rubber stopper, and then we are in business for a bath!

But the shower is dripping when I turn on the tap. So I’ll have to fix that before trying to wash my hair or bath in the tub. Or I’ll have to create a plastic bag wall over the bare studs to protect the remaining drywall from moisture. A large shopping bag, cut down the sides and opened up, served the purpose. With the tub clean, the drain cleared, and drywall protected, I am able to bath in the tub!

The plastic bag wall protecting the drywall behind the bathtub plumbing. A temporary and satisfactory solution!
Bathtub shower wall

Thus ended my demolition pursuits for the weekend. Last weekend was a long weekend, Canada Day. Attila had Sunday off, which he always does thank goodness, and he did not have to work on Monday, a statutory holiday in Canada. That meant he had two consecutive days off work!

Attila’s Mom arrived safely at the country house on Friday night. She had a very long drive, it is over six hours in optimal conditions, and conditions were not optimal. She stayed the night and relaxed at our country house while Attila went to work on Saturday. When he arrived home they got themselves ready and headed for the little house in the city, in Mom’s car, Attila driving. They arrived safe and sound after dark.

I had been out visiting at Terra’s house, not knowing when to expect Attila and his Mom. They were home when I arrived, to my great relief.

Sunday, June 30, 2013

Sunday we spent puttering about, and I got to spend a lot of time chatting with Attila’s Mom. It was wonderful, I got to hear all about her experiences caring for Attila’s StepDad, as his dementia progressed. She has been through a harrowing time, but she is tough, and cared for him at home until he was rushed to hospital for the last time. She also caught me up on all of Attila’s family news, two weddings and some of the projects currently occupying Attila’s two brothers.

After lunch we all piled into the car and headed out to Terra and Lare’s place for a visit. It was fun. Luna and Janus and the Grandbabies were there, and my how they have grown! They played happily outdoors all the rest of the day. It was a beautiful day, sunny, warm and breezy. Such a wonderful time. Terra and Lares had the house and garden looking great, they put so much work into making it look nice!

At one point Attila, his Mom, and I sat on the front porch overlooking the lake, watching the water shimmer and a fishing boat slowly make its way up the shoreline. Later, as darkness lowered, we looked into the sky and enjoyed a beautiful display of fireworks, on three sides! We watched the beautiful bursts of light across the water, across the fields of grain and behind the barn at Terra’s. After that there was a campfire at the well-built fire pit that Lares had constructed for the occasion. We drove home that night tired and happy.

Monday, July 1, 2013

On Monday Attila, his Mom and I had a leisurely breakfast, and another long and happy chat. Then Attila and I reviewed the wiring in the bathroom, and sorted out the tools I would need to continue the bathroom project. All too soon it was time for Attila and his Mom to return to the country house! After they departed I missed them terribly, so there was nothing for it but to start working on the bathroom again, to distract myself.

After removing all the contents of the medicine cabinet and below the sink, I turned off the water, and was all set to remove the sink and taps. Or so I thought. After trying every tool in the box, I concluded that a pipe wrench was a necessity for the job. It was getting late so I decided to get ready for bed, testing a new bed for a second night.

On Saturday, when I was on my way back from the grocery store, I drove past a sign that said Estate Sale. I decided to see what was being sold, so I pulled over. It was the end of the event, and I didn’t see anything I really wanted, most of what was left were expensive antiques. But, as I was wandering around the house, one of the daughters of the former owner asked me if I wanted a single bed, for free. Intrigued I went into the spare bedroom to have a look. It was a new bed, and had not been slept in, according to the family it was meant as a guest bed. It was immaculate, so I decided to take it. Since it would not fit into my car, the gentleman helping with the sale agreed to transport it to my house for a fee of $15.00, which I thought a little steep considering we were travelling less than two kilometers. But since the bed was free, this would be the only cost involved, so I readily agreed.

As soon as the gentleman drove off in his pickup truck, I removed all the bedding from the bed, as it was fully decked out with new mattress cover, a full set of sheets and a comforter. I bundled all the linens, and my own dirty laundry into the car and spent an hour washing the lot at the laundromat. I brought it all home wet and hung it up to dry on the rope strung across the back porch.

On Sunday morning Attila and I brought the bed into the bedroom and got it setup, then I made it up with the clean linens washed the day before. I’ve slept on that bed for the last few nights and it is very comfortable. Free is good, very good.

Beds are tough to give away, impossible to sell. Bedbugs are in increasing problem. I took a chance on this bed, but the risk was low. I saw the bed in situ, and could judge for myself what the chances were, that it might be infected with bedbugs. There wasn’t a stain or a mark on the mattress or the box spring, it was like new.

Before retiring I sent a message off to Terra, asking to borrow a pipe wrench and a drill for driving screws into the two additional studs I need to install. She said she would visit on the morrow, and bring the tools with her.

Tuesday, July 2, 2013

This morning I called Attila and his Mom at 5:30 a.m. I wanted to catch them before they left the house, Attila to work, his Mom on her long drive home. We had a cheery hello and goodbye.

After a leisurely cup of coffee, and breakfast, I started on my list of tasks. First on my list was adjusting the new gate. The arm that catches on the latch was shifting, making it impossible to latch the gate shut. Attila showed me on Sunday what needed adjusting, so I took my wrench, loosened the metal clasp holding the arm, adjusted it and tightened it up. That should do it. Time will tell though, it may loosen again, but now I know what to do about it, if it does.

I am waiting on tools, and possibly assistance, to get the bathroom sink, taps and vanity out of the bathroom. What I could accomplish with the tools on hand was the removal of the light fixture. Again, Attila had gone over the process with me, and we had reviewed the electrical panel so that I would be sure about which breaker to turn off before beginning the project.

The light fixture is out! The medicine cabinet is out!
Bathroom medicine cabinet light removal

I had one little surprise. After turning off the power to the bathroom I found, with the line tester, that there is one electrical line that is still live. I labelled it with masking tape, to make sure anyone helping me knows that is a live electrical wire.

Removing a light fixture is a very easy job! I was pleased to get that done. I used Marettes to cap off the electrical wires that were sticking out of the wall when I was finished. I don’t intend on turning the breaker back on though, not during this visit.

The medicine cabinet took a little bit of muscle to remove from the wall, but I got it out without incident or injury.

When I get the sink, taps and vanity out, I will be able to remove the last little bit of tile board, and drywall.

Next on my list is removing the goop that was used as a sealant around the tub. A yucky job but it will be oh so satisfying when it is done.

The goal this trip is to have everything stripped out of the bathroom so that Attila can do any rewiring that needs doing, and install a bathroom fan. After that we start putting in insulation, vapour barrier, duroc and drywall. It will be some time before this bathroom project comes together, but I feel great about giving it a kick start by gutting the bathroom.

Terra dropped by with the Vaders, a family friend, and Isaac, her brother-in-law. She brought tools!

The three of them helped me remove the last of the tile board. First Terra disconnected the hot and cold water lines from the taps, then disconnected the drain, and then lifted the sink, taps and all, off the vanity and placed them out on the back porch for later disposal. Isaac stepped in to remove the vanity, which was attached to the wall, which he carried out to the back porch. Vaders helped remove the tile board, which was really tricky around the electrical boxes, the water supply lines and the drain. Then they were off and running to get a tire fixed. On her way here, Terra had a flat tire! It was replaced on the spot with the spare, she needed take the flat tire in for repair. I was glad of the company, and of the help!

I was ready to tackle the last of the drywall. It too was a bit tricky to remove around the electrical boxes and the plumbing. The nice thing about drywall, is that you can bash it with a hammer and it breaks apart. That is the technique I used to clear the drywall away from the electrical boxes and the plumbing.

Then the clean up! And voila!

Every last bit of tile board and drywall have been removed! Bit of wonky wiring, the light fixture was affixed to the drywall, now it is hanging by a wire. The power is off and will stay that way until further notice.
DSCF2419 bathroom gutted vanity out

I have decided to leave the floor in for now, it is easy to clean, and there will be more clean up needed before this project is done. It is late afternoon now, almost 5:00 p.m., so I think I will slow right down and only work on removing the adhesives that were used to seal the tile board around the tub. That is a terrible mess!

I ran into this on Facebook.

Fun to watch! When Terra was in Grade 7 or 8, her best friend was visiting and they were making weird noises in the basement, and laughing hysterically. I came down the stairs to two girls bouncing off one another, each wearing couch cushions tied all around their bodies. They were having a “ball”, and it was very entertaining from my perspective!

Worldly Distractions


Condition: Haze
Pressure: 101.9 kPa
Tendency: rising
Visibility: 6 km
Temperature: 16.5°C
Dewpoint: 14.4°C
Humidity: 87%
Wind: NNE 19 km/h


“Life can only be understood backwards; but it must be lived forwards.”
Soren Kierkegaard
1813 – 1855

Best Canada Day Ever!

Yesterday was Canada Day. The sun shone, the breezes played gently on the surface of the water, the company was excellent. And what did I go and do? I ate a cookie; the cookie-that-I’ll-never-forget. Not a big deal but for the calories, on most occasions. But this occasion was special because I made a mistake. I didn’t read the label on the bag. I usually do read all the labels and what possessed me to lay aside habitual caution is beyond my understanding. But there it is, I ate the blasted cookie-that-I’ll-never-forget! It was a very, very good cookie. But that is not why I’ll never forget it.

After I ate the cookie-that-I’ll-never-forget, I read the label on the bag.

That is when I discovered that that delicious cookie-that-I’ll-never-forget might contain my allergen. Oops. With anaphylaxis no oops is a small oops. Any oops could be my last oops. Obviously I lucked out (a similar, less genteel phrase came to mind, same syllabic geography, different and yet still appropriate sentiment), this oops didn’t get me, but the next one might.

After consuming the Canada Day cookie-that-I’ll-never-forget I grabbed a glass of water and headed for the nearest toilet, intending to induce vomiting and mediate the effect of the cookie-that-I’ll-never-forget. I failed to induce vomiting, and by all the power in the universe I tried. I tried hard enough that I gagged and gagged but could not vomit. I tried hard enough that my throat was scratched from the effort.

Having failed to induce vomiting I grabbed my epi pen and headed out the door; it was a 30 minute drive to the nearest hospital. Attila drove with quiet concentration, speeding wherever he dared. I remained very calm, emotional turmoil would only hasten any ill effects. At no point, not even once, did I experience fear. My life has been on the line quite a few times in the last few years, mostly as a result of careless dentistry, and what I’ve discovered is that I am not afraid of perishing. I felt lucky to be with someone who was doing everything in their power to bring me to safety. I felt lucky that I was traveling the road my Grandmother traveled on her last journey, to the hospital. I felt lucky that the day was so beautiful, the trees so green, the water so blue. I just felt lucky and I never felt afraid.

We arrived at the hospital and I was immediately checked out. Luckily, since I had no symptoms, I was assigned a doctor and asked to wait in the emergency waiting room until my name was called. The waiting room was spacious and air conditioned. The view out the big picture windows was beautiful, a parking lot set in rugged rock cuts and trees. Attila waited with me for five hours, after which time I signed myself out because there was no longer any fear of a reaction. I made it through the experience without a symptom.

My Canada Day was marvelous!

What does this mean, having no reaction when my allergen was listed on the label? It could have been that the cookie dough was not mixed thoroughly and I ate one of the cookies with no chemical preservative in it. It might mean that there was only a trace amount of my allergen in the cookie. It might mean that the allergy no longer exists, and as you can imagine, that is what I long for. However, there is no way to know why I did not react, there is only to rejoice that I did not.

In all the years I’ve had this allergy, I have only had a few mishaps, and have luckily lived through them. I need to be more diligent though, because I might not be so lucky next time.

The rest of Canada Day was fun. Attila and I headed to Harriet and Hogan’s cottage and shared a meal with them and their company, Debbie and Ron. They all headed out to watch fireworks; Attila and I, exhausted, headed home for an early night.

Today I’ve been updating web sites, calling companies to obtain information the exact amount owed for bills, paying the bills and putzing around doing the odd bit of cleaning and housework here and there. The thunderstorms predicted for this afternoon haven’t arrived yet. Attila has arrived home from work, had a nap and is now out stacking that firewood.

Tomorrow we clean!

Worldly Distractions


28 °C
Pressure: 101.2 kPa
Visibility: 16 km
Temperature: 28.0°C
Dewpoint: 18.6°C
Humidity: 56 %
Wind: SSW 15 km/h
Humidex: 35


“My life has no purpose, no direction, no aim, no meaning, and yet I’m happy. I can’t figure it out. What am I doing right?”
Charles M. Schulz
1922 – 2000


Charles M. Schulz

“…an American cartoonist, whose comic strip Peanuts proved one of the most popular and influential in the history of the medium, and is still widely reprinted on a daily basis…

…Born in Minneapolis, Minnesota, Schulz grew up in Saint Paul. He was the only child of Carl Schulz, who was German, and Dena Halverson, who was Norwegian. His uncle nicknamed him “Sparky” after the horse Spark Plug in the Barney Google comic strip..

…He became a shy, timid teenager, perhaps as a result of being the youngest in his class at Central High School. One episode in his high school life was the rejection of his drawings by his high school yearbook…

…In 1951, Schulz moved to Colorado Springs, Colorado. The same year, Schulz married Joyce Halverson. His son, Monte, was born at this time, with their three further children being born later, in Minnesota. He painted a wall in that home for his adopted daughter Meredith Hodges, featuring Patty, Charlie Brown and Snoopy. The wall was removed in 2001 and donated to the Charles M. Schulz Museum in Santa Rosa, California…

… In his later years, Schulz also suffered from Parkinson’s Disease. As a result, he experienced hand tremors that made his linework shaky. He admitted that the tremors sometimes were so bad that while working, he had to hold onto the side of his desk with one hand to steady himself. In addition, he had to reduce the strip from four panels to three to reduce the amount of drawing.
Charles Schulz died in his sleep at home around 9:45 p.m. on February 12, 2000. The last original Peanuts strip was published the very next day, on Sunday, February 13, 2000, just hours after his death the night before. Schulz was buried at Pleasant Hills Cemetery in Sebastopol, California…

…In personal interviews Schulz mentioned that Linus represented his spiritual side…”