Mice

I took a whirlwind trip to visit the Rideau Camp, and to check Grace the trailer, to see how she weathered the winter. Attila made the trip with me.

Attila dragged deadwood from the front of the property to the camp fire pit, and I spent my hours there cleaning Grace. Mice had infiltrated and left disgusting droppings in the kitchen drawers, which had to be removed and cleaned out of doors, as well as all the contents sterilized and washed. I think Attila found where they came in, chewed right through the rubber flashing on one of the doors. I am on the search for metal reinforced flashing now, so they can’t chew through it.

It was lovely to drive through the countryside on the way to the Camp. There were bright yellow Coltsfoot blooms along the road in, and the ground at the Camp was covered with emerging Trout Lily leaves.

At Mist Cottage the sunshine saw to the last of the snow on the lawn. It also persuaded a few blooms to emerge from the awakening Lungwort in the front garden. Rabbits have been eating the new growth from the onions and garlic plants in the garden. There are more rabbits about this spring, probably because the wetland forest at the end of the street has been destroyed. A fence around the garden might be required!

I have been working on my genealogy database, allowing myself to wander around through primary documents on ancestry. This morning I reviewed all the deaths in the Parry Sound area for 1918, one of the Spanish Flu epidemic years. There were more than 70 deaths due to influenza, and many deaths due to pneumonia, which in some cases might have been related to influenza. I enjoy following little lines if inquiry like this from time to time, just seeing what the data will reveal. Then, when I have some information, I like to contemplate how it played out in lived lives, the human element, the feelings, the effects on human communities, that sort of thing. My Granny was 16 years old in 1918, with a war on, and a flu epidemic, it must have been a challenging year. I wonder did she have a beau, did she lose friends to the war or the epidemic? I’d love to be able to talk with her again, to find out about her life.

A new ball of yarn was started on the crocheted blanket project. I find I have been picking it up a bit more frequently, when I want to sit and think.

The holding pattern with Attila is working well so far, so that domestic life is relatively comfortable. I am beginning to get my bearings here, feel solid ground under my feet. My affection for Attila is undiminished. I am still leery of the situation, the unexpectedness of the terrible, terrible mistake has shown me the precariousness of my life, any life really, something not easily forgotten.

Today is predicted to be warm, 15C, and sunny. I am very keen to grab my bucket, and a ladder, and give Iris the trailer a good exterior washing. Sitting under a tree, she has accumulated some green algae on her roof, and long one side. A good washing, and an interior cleaning are a very good idea.

As I sit here writing, the sun is streaming in through the living room windows. The beautiful, bug free, maybe even open today windows!

Worldly Distractions

Weather

-1°C
Date: 7:00 AM EDT Monday 23 April 2018
Condition: Sunny
Pressure: 103.2 kPa
Tendency: Rising
Temperature: -1.0°C
Dew point: -1.9°C
Humidity: 94%
Wind: NNE 4 km/h
Wind Chill: -2
Visibility: 24 km

Quote

“It is better to suffer wrong than to do it, and happier to be sometimes cheated than not to trust.”
Samuel Johnson
1709 – 1784

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

Last Day

Friday, September 15, 2017

Tomorrow the weather is supposed to turn hot, and stay that way for a week or so. Go figure, the nicest weather we had on our vacation was the the first day and the last day. The first day led to false hope, the last day let us know what we had missed.

Two projects are consuming the day here at Mist Cottage. The current antivirus software will not work on three computers. There are three computers here that need protection. The current antivirus software license expires in the next few months. A new antivirus software that will protect three computers for one price was purchased this morning, Bitdefender Antivirus. So far it has found viruses and trojans that Intego antivirus software had ignored, probably because they are Windows based viruses and trojans. Since files are sometimes shared with others, all three computers were cleaned of the Windows viruses and trojans. Installing the new software, scanning, and cleaning up all three computers took all morning.

The second task was inspired by a link Kate put on her blog, regarding cleaning dishcloths properly. The web site recommended boiling dishcloths for five minutes to kill all bacteria. Almost all of the dishcloths, and facecloths, are now adequately boiled. They will be laundered, hung out to dry, and then we shall see how effective this boiling method is for destinkifying the fabric.

Wouldn’t it be great if boiling politicians could destinkify politics! It doesn’t work though, similar techniques have been tried throughout history, and the majority of politicians still stink.

Note: My new not-a-real-word of the day, destinkify/ing, I like it!

Sunday, September 10, 2017

The morning of the last day of our vacation dawned with a cloudless sky, it was the nicest weather we have had over the last nine days. The predicted low temperature, of our last night here at the Rideau Camp, was 3C, which was not very warm. We were comfortable last night until bedtime, wearing sweaters and jackets, then retired to sleep under a combination of comforters and wool blankets with the blinds at the windows closed tight to retain as much heat as possible. We awoke to a very chilly room, after having slept soundly through the night. The temperature in Grace The Trailer this morning at 6:30 a.m. was 12C (54F)). We have slept at the country house, that first autumn when we had no heat, at 5C (41F), and found that to be too chilly for comfort, without wearing toques while we slept.

This morning I dressed hurriedly, checked the thermostat, then switched on the heat. We have a propane furnace, which requires electricity to run, which is supplied by the attached battery, or an attached generator. The generator is not left out overnight, because it should not be out in inclement weather, and because theft is always a possibility. This morning the only option was to use the battery to run the furnace. Within ten minutes Grace The Trailer was feeling a lot more comfortable.

Attila has spread almost all of the crushed stone, and it has been quite a job! He used a shovel and a wheel barrow. I would have felt it hard labour to spend my time shovelling and pushing wheel barrows full of crushed stone, but he feels differently about it… he feels he has had a very relaxing vacation.

My time was spent sitting in the sun when it peeked out from behind the clouds, a rare event, reading my book, and working to transcribe the material obtained at the Middleville Museum into my database on the computer.

One of the things that has been interesting is how bad the mosquitoes are this September. Last September there were no mosquitoes here at the Rideau Camp, but this year they abound, a small and sneaky strain of them. This has made sitting out of doors on cloudy days unpleasant. When the sun shines they retreat into the shadows, and one can sit out and enjoy the outdoors… only three days have offered weather suitable for relief from the mosquitoes, the Saturday we arrived, yesterday when it was quite chilly, and today. The weather is magnificent today.

Yesterday was the last full day of our vacation, and the second day of sunny weather. We went for a picnic at a park in a local village, then visited the library. On Friday we visited the Township office to obtain a copy of our tax bill, so that a library card could be obtained. I had forgotten to bring a copy of our tax bill with us. The library near the township office issued me a library card. The libraries are staffed by lovely people, pleasant and helpful. A library card provides me with access to the library WiFi system. I borrowed a book on Friday, on the history of the area, and returned it yesterday at a connected library in another local village, where we had our picnic. Being at the Rideau Camp during the week allows us to explore the local area, and to start making connections with the surrounding infrastructures.

Worldly Distractions

Weather

Sunday, September 10, 2017
Cloudless sky and very cold in the morning, but no frost. A day that warmed with the sun.

20°C
Date: 2:00 PM EDT Friday 15 September 2017
Condition: Mist
Pressure: 101.9 kPa
Tendency: Steady
Temperature: 20.4°C
Dew point: 19.5°C
Humidity: 95%
Wind: SSE 14 km/h
Humidex: 28
Visibility: 8 km

Quote

“Now I must close this rambling account of your mother’s people around here, forgive my blunders and bad writing, and write soon and let us know how you all are. I hope your talk of coming to see us will prove true. We will all be glad to see you.”

A letter written in 1888, from my GGG Uncle Peter in Middleville, Ontario, to his niece Rowena, my first cousin four times removed, in the USA, either in Champion, New York, or Clyde, Ohio, I am not sure of the date that Rowena moved from New York to Ohio.

You Lose Some, You Win Some

Since January I have experienced tummy upsets, gastrointestinal issues. The cause has been a mystery. A partial explanation has been surmised.

I may be lactose intolerant.

In January I began to eat ricotta cheese with some regularity, because it was a low sodium choice. My issues began in mid-January. Experiments have ensued. The problem was relieved when the ricotta cheese was removed from the diet. Next, bocconcini was purchased, another soft, low sodium cheese. Bingo, within twenty four hours all of the symptoms returned. The next experiment is under way, removing all dairy from the diet. Removing milk from my already highly restricted diet is a hardship. To that end I purchased some plain almond beverage to use as a dairy substitute, which seems to agree with me, at least for now.

We are in the grips of another cold snap. The temperature should begin to rise by the end of next week, but most of March Break will be cold for the kids who are off school this coming week in Ontario. It is very windy as well, so the wind chill is significant. Attila and I are cozy here in our little house, with our magnificent thermostat!

On Tuesday, when I took the car in for servicing, I ran a few errands in town while the car was in the shop. One of the things I purchased was garbage tags. On Friday morning Attila asked me where I had put them. I though they were still in my bag, but when I checked I couldn’t see them there. Then I thought I must have put them away somewhere and forgotten about it. We looked everywhere, which does not take long in our small house. Then I though I might have dropped them when I purchased them, or at the garage when I was paying the bill. Not wanting to call the town office or the garage to ask if they had seen them, I continued to search. A few hours later, after I had removed every last item from my bag, I found them tucked between some papers. What a relief.

I was thinking about this little escapade this morning. I was upset at the time, while looking for the tags. It wasn’t the loss of the money, and the additional money that would have to be spent on new tags, that I found upsetting. It was that I might have come home and put the tags away somewhere, and had not been able to remember a thing about it. The degree of memory loss that would represent really threw me into a tizzy! Luckily, there was no memory loss involved, I didn’t remember where I put them because I didn’t put them anywhere and there was nothing to remember. There was just careless placement of the tags at time of purchase, and a search for them that was less than thorough. I made sure I showed Attila where I decided to store the tags!

The work on the book continues. The book includes the families of twelve brothers and sisters, and at last I am working on the images for the youngest child. Much more to do, adding the images to page layout of the book, captioning the images, including references for each image.

I continue to practice my crochet skills every day. The yarn and hook sit by my chair, ready for me to pick them up whenever the whim strikes. I tried my first single crochet stitch yesterday, it did not go well, but I am undeterred. Today I tried again, it was a little easier, a little bit better, and tomorrow I will try again, and the day after that. It will come. I don’t know what inspires me to spend time with my greatest physical weakness, but inspired I am. I guess I want to push my boundaries a little bit, I have time now, to be patient with myself.

Genealogy and crochet, two projects focused on lines that are woven together to make something beautiful.

Worldly Distractions

Weather

-13°C
Date: 11:00 AM EST Saturday 11 March 2017
Condition: Mostly Cloudy
Pressure: 102.4 kPa
Tendency: Rising
Temperature: -12.6°C
Dew point: -22.8°C
Humidity: 43%
Wind: WNW 25 gust 39 km/h
Wind Chill: -22
Visibility: 24 km

Quote
“Remember that there is nothing stable in human affairs; therefore avoid undue elation in prosperity, or undue depression in adversity.”
Socrates
469 BC – 399 BC

“Marilyn: My uncle once told me about a warrior who had a fine stallion. Everybody said how lucky he was to have such a horse. “Maybe,” he said. One day the stallion ran off. The people said the warrior was unlucky. “Maybe,” he said. Next day, the stallion returned, leading a string of fine ponies. The people said it was very lucky. “Maybe,” the warrior said. Later, the warrior’s son was thrown from one of the ponies and broke his leg. The people said it was unlucky. “Maybe,” the warrior said. The next week, the chief led a war party against another tribe. Many young men were killed. But, because of his broken leg, the warrior’s son was left behind, and so was spared.”
A parable told my the character Marilyn Whirlwind on Northern Exposure.

Paying It Forward

Currently I am involved in correspondence with a distant cousin who is reading my book. I have been feeling frustration during this interaction, in having to explain simple concepts, such as the meaning of “ca” (circa, or approximate) which was carefully outlined in the introduction to the book, but it evidently didn’t stick, which is not unusual when someone is learning new things. I rein in my frustration, and methodically address each and every concern presented to me. The first few questions were to attempt to point out to me “mistakes” in the book. Each “mistake” that was presented to me, I considered a possible error on my part, and so each was investigated in that light. As I carefully reviewed these “mistakes” with the person, we discovered that they were actually a result of their not reading the material thoroughly. The “you made a mistake” approach to making an inquiry of this nature is not endearing. Genealogy can be very complex, particularly when given names are used down through the generations. I am very glad that I was assisting this cousin through messaging, as I fear my tone of voice, or facial expression might hint at my frustration.

As I have been struggling along with this interaction today, I have reminded myself how many people have assisted me in my learning. I particularly remember how patient some of the UNIX nerds were with me, when I was at the beginning of that learning curve. They only tolerated me because I was doing the work for myself, reading, studying, researching; had I tried to rely on them to give me information that was readily available in books or online, they would not have given me the time of day. There have been many people who have shared their time with me, some patient, some not so patient. But they all extended themselves to help me, to varying degrees. I feel it behoves me to patiently move through this current interaction with patience and respect. Perhaps this cousin deals with dementia, a severe learning disability, a low IQ; one never knows what challenges other people are facing in their lives.

How dreary the day appeared today! The window was wet the day through from wind driven rain. The sky was grey and dark. As dreary as it was, I felt grateful. Kate in Saskatchewan saw snow falling there! And there was I, watching all of that potential white stuff soak into the earth, leaving nothing to shovel!

Today saw the completion of the linen cupboard reorganization. Sets of sheets and pillowcases are organized according to size, queen or twin, and fabric type, percale or flannelette. Sheets and bedding for use in the trailer were set aside for the next few weeks until Iris is opened up for the summer. Odd sheets were stacked and stored away in the front bedroom closet, as they will not be used. I have collected odd sheets over the years, lots of them, when I could get them used for a few dollars. After visiting Value Village and seeing that they are charging $7 to $10 per worn sheet, I decided I had better hang on to the old ones I have, as they would cost a small fortune to replace.

Worldly Distractions

Weather

5°C
Date: 7:22 PM EST Tuesday 7 March 2017
Condition: Light Rain and Drizzle
Pressure: 101.0 kPa
Tendency: Falling
Temperature: 4.6°C
Dew point: 4.0°C
Humidity: 96%
Wind:S 21 gust 30 km/h
Visibility:10 km

Quote

“Never seem more learned than the people you are with. Wear your learning like a pocket watch and keep it hidden. Do not pull it out to count the hours, but give the time when you are asked.”
Lord Chesterfield
1694-1773