Best Seat In The House

Listening to music is always a journey into the unknown paths within. There is joy there, there is pain, the road is not a golden path of euphoria. But it is my path, my journey, and I love it in there. Music holds my hand, in places no one else can go with me, where I am my only company.

Music plays all day long at the Rideau Camp. Wind, trees, birds, and insects share their experience of life. It is my favourite music, every varying, infinitely interesting. There is no ego, no pretension, no delusion, in nature’s music.

I love some of the music created by humans.

My favourite is the sound of a home, a home without electricity, where the wood creaks in the wind, the rain is heard as it falls on the roof, and the wind-up clock ticking in the living room is the only mechanical evidence of monotonous civilization. It was only a few short generations ago that this was the dominant experience of home.

I also love the sounds of our current home, the refrigerator cycling, the neighbours slamming their car doors, the lawn mower droning across someone’s lawn, an airplane passing overhead, the whine of traffic on the nearby highway, the rumble of a passing train, the battery operated wall clock ticking loudly as the arms reach endlessly to circle time. Oh yes, and the grackles tirelessly pecking at the wood on the facia that covers their former favourite nesting site. These are sounds of the small, familiar patterns of life, life in my home.

The crafted music of the musician can be beautiful, particularly when it opens wide the doors to experiencing my own humanity. To be honest, I seldom listen to lyrics unless they liken to poetry. The sounds of voice, inflection, range, repetition, formed into patterns with other sounds, usually instruments, are endlessly fascinating. The words to most songs are, for me, a veil, and I connect to what is behind the veil, what is not clearly seen but heard in the whispers of musical construction.

My days are filled with music, of different origins.

Attila and I decided we needed to make a weekday visit to the Rideau Camp. Our motivation is related to a “rain barrel”. We do not have a water supply at the camp, unless you consider taking a bucket down to the swamp, to fill with stagnant water, a water supply. We have a well, but it is a deep well and not in current operation, as that would require quite an investment. So I wanted a rain barrel to collect water from the roof of Winnie The Outhouse. We have an old plastic garbage can which we will use as a rain barrel, it is big and it is bulky, and needed to be taken to the camp in a separate trip. We had thought to go out on Tuesday evening, but it was raining, so we waited for good weather, which arrived Wednesday, yesterday, to make the trip.

The visit to the Rideau Camp was only a few hours long, but a lot was accomplished. Laundered tea towels and bed linens were returned to Grace The Trailer, fresh drinking water jugs were filled at home and transported to the Camp for future use, and a list of small needful items were brought to make camping even more comfortable… like a bar of soap. Attila spent some time clearing a thicket of what I am guessing are White Alders, many of them dead. His efforts have cleared a lot of the underbrush surrounding our cleared camping area, letting the air flow more freely, and eliminating hiding spots for the much hated mosquitoes.

We have a very small garden at the Rideau Camp, consisting of two short rows of garlic and one short row of onions. This garden is planted in the soil left in place, after the huge log pile was dismantled by Attila. So far it is seems to be doing quite well, surviving the tree felling, and log stacking, which went on all around it. I weed it from time to time. Last summer I sowed white clover seed all over the open areas of the camp, focusing on the area where hundreds of bramble plants had been pulled up by the roots. This summer the clover has come into its own, providing a lovely soft carpet of green. I am still finding brambles though, and pulled out quite a few when we were there last evening.

Today dawned cloudy and cool, time to get some baking done!

P station DSCF0782 A privilege of privacy, indiscretion. This is my outdoor p station, yep it has everything a girl could want except walls. Attila does not need this, he has the whole bush to water. All last summer I used the bush too, but every time I did I worried about ticks. Now that would be unpleasant, picking up a tick during a squat in the bush! So I bought myself a bright orange five gallon bucket from Home Depot and now I have a throne. The skid was left by the fellow who we bought the trailer from, when he dropped off the hitch last weekend. The boards that sit on the skid to form a rough, uneven floor are lumber scraps leftover from various projects. Above, the end of Grace The Trailer forms a roof, to protect me from the rain while I sit on my throne. The white bucket is for paper, used paper, and I dump those bits of dried paper into the campfire to dispose of them. The roll of fresh paper is conveniently held by the handle of the levelling jack. I have a panoramic view out at the Camp! Would tickety-boo be a little too corny here?

Worldly Distractions

Weather

17°C
Date: 8:00 AM EDT Thursday 29 June 2017
Condition: Light Rain
Pressure: 101.6 kPa
Tendency: Falling
Temperature: 16.5°C
Dew point: 15.3°C
Humidity: 93%
Wind: NE 6 km/h
Visibility: 24 km

Quote

“Nobody sees a flower – really – it is so small it takes time – we haven’t time – and to see takes time, like to have a friend takes time.”
Georgia O’Keeffe
1887 – 1986

Sun!

Yesterday the weather was miserable. It rained all day and it was cold to boot.

This morning the sun rose and shines still. Although it is still sweater weather, it is beginning to warm.

We visited Terra and Lares on Monday evening for a few hours, to share time with our Grandbabies Sunny and Sky, it was their first birthday. They are both doing very well, happy and healthy, and still a bit small for their age. Sunny, the girl, is a going concern, very active and engaged with the world around her. Sky, the boy, is laid back and mellow, and quick to grin, and oh what a smile. Sunny is almost walking, holding on to a push wagon for now, but not for long. Sky has no interest in standing, and is crawling when he sees something he wants to play with. They are so much fun! I lay on the floor with them the whole time we were there, they crawled around me, on me, and over me, what fun! It was a treat at the close of a dreary day.

Terra tells me that Luna, Janus and their Grandbabies are staying in Paris at the moment. Luna is not one to keep up contact, so Terra was very pleased to have received a video from Sunny and Sky’s cousins in Paris, singing happy birthday to them. I have been sending messages to the Grandbabies in Europe, and even received a reply the first week, but have not heard from any of them since, and don’t expect to. I continue to send messages though, just in case they read them.

Today I am busy crocheting a second cotton beanie to use while working in the bush, at the Rideau Camp. The first cotton beanie, a green and white cap, was great for keeping my hair out of my eyes, and for keeping the mosquitoes from biting my head. The yellow jackets thought I was a flower, and kept buzzing my head in confusion. I would stand very still and allow their winged investigations, as they would soon loose interest and move on. It is important not to frighten them, for then they might sting. The second cotton beanie is a brown and white one, and it remains to be seen if it will attract the wildlife.

I’ve just come out onto the back porch to sit in the sun for a while. The birds are singing all around, one little fellow is sitting on the fence near me, so only my fingers are moving so as not to frighten him away. There are insects flying to and fro, which is probably part of the reason there are so many birds about. In the garden five yellow and purple irises are blooming, as are the pink wild geraniums. Two columbine plants seeded themselves at the bottom of the the back step, and have put out profuse blooms. The clematis has climbed the fence, and it growing its way across the fence railing, it will be very pretty when it blooms. I can see the wild grape growing up the center of the Mugo Pine, again, every other year I make an attempt to kill it, and every other year it comes back again.

The laundry I hung up on Monday afternoon, when it was raining, is finally dry, and ready to be folded and put away.

The neighbour who backs onto our back yard has had magnificent children’s playground equipment set up for their only child, a daughter. She has just become a teenager, started high school, and they have now erected a basketball net on a stand on the driveway. Over the weekend the playground was dismantled, and sold segments of it were carted away to be reconstructed in other back yards, played on by other happy children. Some bits are still there, but they will soon be gone, as the landscaper who cares for their yard will soon be there to mow their large lawn, and keep everything looking manicured for them.

Our garden is doing well, but we still have not got our beans and squash planted! Our garlic, given to us by my Mom and Sister-The-Middle-Girl, is doing very well, as are the onions. Attila loves to garden, it relaxes him. I am different, to me the garden is work, and I think that comes of growing up on a farm, and working as a farm labourer during my teenage years; too much time spent stooped on the ground in the hot sun, or on ladders in trees on still humid days. I am very grateful that Attila finds it relaxing!!

It looks like we are in for some milder weather, at last!

Worldly Distractions

Weather

15°C
Date: 12:00 PM EDT Wednesday 7 June 2017
Condition: Mainly Sunny
Pressure: 101.9 kPa
Tendency: Rising
Temperature: 14.9°C
Dew point: 10.7°C
Humidity: 75%
Wind: S 17 km/h
Visibility: 24 km

Quote

“Thank God men cannot as yet fly and lay waste the sky as well as the earth!”
Henry David Thoreau
1817 – 1862

Maybe the past truly was the good old days.

Weather

I am on a mental ramble here, which is how undisciplined I have become since leaving the academy. Sometimes I feel concerned about it, but most of the time I am having the time of my life, and I value the joy of living.

The last few weeks have been mild, and one might think spring arrived early. I know better, as we experienced this sort of interlude in 1994 when we moved into our house in the little city. That warm spell was shorter than this one, but no less memorable. Yesterday began with spitting rain falling from the overcast sky. By mid-afternoon the sun came out, and the temperature soared to 15C on our back porch. And where was I? I was out on the back porch, soaking up every ray of sunshine that came my way. I cuddled in my jacket, as the brisk wind was keen on robbing the warmth the sun provided. That is where Attila found when he returned from work, and where he joined me. I know this warm weather is not meant to last, but it is a lovely reprieve, and reminder that soon spring will arrive.

DSCF0438 This is the morning view out the living room window, to which I have become so attached. The colours don’t last very long, and I am always grateful when I happen to be looking out the window when they are at the height of intensity.

In mid-January I experienced a gastrointestinal upset that lasted for a month. It was puzzling, and worrisome. I had a few theories as to what it might be, some of them downright scary, and others not so much. The problem cleared up a week or so ago, to my great relief. But my system swung the other way to experience the opposite extreme, which has been equally uncomfortable. An experiment was in order. Yesterday I consumed a 70g portion of the ricotta cheese I like so well. Sure enough, during the night my gastrointestinal system swung right back to the original extreme condition. I am in a see-saw situation.

I had used this ricotta cheese in baking, and it did not affect me at all. I froze some of the ricotta cheese, thawed it and consumed it, and it did not affect me at all. I drink milk, and eat other cheeses, and they do not affect me at all. But eating this ricotta cheese fresh does affect me, distinctly and unmistakably. Going forward it can be my own fool-proof cure for constipation. My next experiment will be to try different brands of ricotta cheese to see if I can tolerate any of the alternatives.

My son-in-law Janus has expressed an interest in my 2007 iMac. It will only run operating systems up to and including El Capitan, and so has become a less flexible solution for us, which is important because we rely on computers and not cell phones. I spent yesterday cleaning up the hard drive, removing the last vestiges of my files, updating the software that I was leaving on the machine, and creating a login account for Janus to use, since he should not use the admin login account for day-to-day use. Attila brought the computer box in from the new shed, after he got home from work, and now the computer, the OSX install disk, the keyboard and the mouse are nicely packed and ready for pickup or delivery, whichever comes first. I will miss the old iMac, it is a beautiful machine. But we really need to keep current with our technology, and we do not have room for more than one computer in our little Mist Cottage.

DSCF0432 The Ontario grown garlic we bought at the farmer’s market last Sunday, it cost $2, which is quite expensive, but it was an outing so we indulged. Attila stir fried it with the $2 organic cabbage we bought from a different vendor at the market. I am really looking forward to having a garden this summer. We will be able to eat as much as we can grow!

Today I am baking my first loaf of Finnish Pulla, using the yogurt sourdough starter my friend Auntie Mame sent me. I learned a few little things with the first loaf of sourdough I baked last week, with the rye starter. It is important in my Bosch mixer to add the dry ingredients first, the starter will smear and fail to incorporate itself into the dough if added to the mixer bowl first. Adding the dry ingredients first really worked well, and the dough was very easy to work with when it came out of the bowl. The recipe I used was sent to me along with a sample loaf of Finnish Pulla by Auntie Mame, and I am looking forward to seeing how my first loaf will turn out.

DSCF0469 My very first loaf of Sourdough Finnish Pulla. I put 1/8 tsp of salt, as opposed to the 1 tsp called for in the recipe. I also used canola oil instead of butter, as cholesterol is an issue for me. I added no commercial yeast to this, the rise is completely due to the sourdough.

Attila does not like sourdough bread. I love sourdough bread. All for me is what I say! He likes the Finnish Pulla though, and I will have to share that. The loaf of bread I baked with the rye starter was very nice, it had a very good crumb, and was nice for sandwiches. But Attila doesn’t like it. Since I was the only one eating the loaf, it was in danger of spoiling, so the last half of it was used for croutons. The result was disappointing, the croutons were rock hard, and very hard to crack with out teeth, not really very pleasant on a green salad. But we will eat them, nothing goes to waste here, our mistakes are usually consumed. Thank goodness we don’t have many serious failures in the kitchen!

Lately I have been watching a channel on youtube, about a family who moved into a yurt with three small children and built a small house over the course of three years, which they moved into. I enjoyed the mountain dream home series Fouch-o-matic, which featured the whole family. They are very likeable people, and I enjoyed hearing about how they met their challenges and made progress.

The wife Esther did another series which featured just herself, and other homesteading wives, all around her own age. This series I found tedious, there was nothing new to me in anything that they were talking about, which is not really a problem. One positive aspect of it was that the information “taught” held no glaring areas of misinformation. I think my problem was more that they thought of themselves as teaching others, when in fact they were only just learning themselves. I would have enjoyed hearing about what they were learning, but could not get past their belief that they were in a position to teach, when all they were doing was sharing their learning experience. Trained as a teacher I know how carefully one needs to structure information and delivery in order to make it easily understood, and what a thorough knowledge one needs of the subject at hand to successfully teach others. We can learn from sharing, but the act of sharing is focused on the me, and not the same as teaching, which is student centric.

Worldly Distractions

Weather

3°C
Date: 10:00 AM EST Friday 24 February 2017
Condition: Light Rain
Pressure: 101.1 kPa
Tendency: Falling
Temperature: 2.5°C
Dew point: 1.2°C
Humidity: 91%
Wind: NE 22 km/h
Visibility: 24 km

Quote

“Just because your voice reaches halfway around the world doesn’t mean you are wiser than when it reached only to the end of the bar.”
Edward R. Murrow
1908 – 1965