Winnie

We spent yesterday at the Rideau Camp. Attila alternately shovelled crushed stone, removed small debris from the large pile of logs and dead trees for me to burn, and stacked the cedar logs that he extracted from the large pile. Occasionally he would bring a few armfuls of dead branches over to the camp fire area, for me to break into pieces and burn. My task for the day was to burn the debris.

We also tackled emptying our compost toilet buckets into our humanure composter on Saturday. We gathered all the needful things, the full buckets, the long handled brush, liquid soap, and some loose hay that we had stored in “Winnie”. We had prepared the bed of the composter on a previous trip the Camp, so everything was set up and ready to go. I emptied my bucket first, I have my own bucket! Then Attila dumped his bucket. We were prepared to deal with some pretty horrendous aromas… and there were none! No bad smells, not even a whiff. We rinsed our buckets and dumped the rinse water on the deposits, still no smell. Then we used soap and the long handled brush to wash the buckets and lids, and dumped the wash water onto the deposits. Finally we covered the deposits with a fresh layer of straw, then lay the heavy metal rack over all. The metal rack will prevent animals, such as the neighbour’s dog, from digging the whole thing up!

I am extremely impressed with the composting toilet system!

We used 12 litres of water to process a whole summers worth of waste for two people. Years from now we will have rich compost for shrubbery.

We have been using our five gallon buckets “as is”, no seats. Eventually I would like to build seating for our buckets, but there is no rush for that.

Now, you may ask, what is “Winnie”?

The outbuilding that Attila built to house the compost toilet buckets is called “Winnie”, after Winnie the Pooh.

We doused our fire around 4 p.m., then packed our things and headed for home. The day had been quite chilly, and it sprinkled rain on us as we ate our lunch, but otherwise was cloudy and dry. We were grateful to get home to a hot spaghetti supper and our own warm beds.

Today Attila prepared a turkey dinner, including dressing, gravy, potatoes, squash, and green beans. It takes Attila most of the day to accomplish this, and I NEVER complain!

Worldly Distractions

Weather

17°C
Date: 9:00 PM EDT Sunday 2 October 2016
Condition: Mostly Cloudy
Pressure: 101.5 kPa
Tendency: rising
Visibility: 24 km
Temperature: 17.2°C
Dewpoint: 14.9°C
Humidity: 86%
Wind: S 13 km/h

Quote

“While the fates permit, live happily; life speeds on with hurried step, and with winged days the wheel of the headlong year is turned.”
Seneca
5 BC – 65 AD

Tonic

Sometimes a change is as good as a rest. The past weekend was one of those times.

On Thursday night of last week, Attila and I loaded Iris the trailer with our belongings, and hooked her up to Tank the FJ Cruiser. When Attila got home from work on Friday, it took us less than an hour to get out the door, and be on our way to the Rideau Camp. We thought that since it was the Labour Day long weekend, that the roads would be busy. It seems though, that very few people consider the area where our Rideau Camp is located a holiday destination. Perfect! The roads were no busier than they have been all summer.

We arrived at the Rideau Camp relatively early, got Iris set up, a camp fire started, the kitchen tent erected, and dinner on the stove. And then it was dark. We sat for a few hours staring into the flickering flames of the camp fire, then watching the twinkling embers when the fire burned itself out. But the stars, the real pleasure of the evening was the starry heaven above us. There are no towns or villages near our camp, so there is little in the way of artificial light to fade the heavens. Just before we turned in for the night, a shooting star caught my eye. It was an omen, the weekend was to be perfect.

We are still working out a few wrinkles in the camping department. One thing I really miss on the three day camping trip is a refrigerator. A cooler just will not stay cold over the course of three hot days. Next year I am hoping we can come up with a way to power our Koolatron, perhaps a battery with a solar trickle charger. Water is another issue, we bring it in in 4 litre bottles, but we need quite a bit for cooking, washing up, and putting out camp fires. I would like a rain barrel catchment system of some kind, at least for the purposes of putting out camp fires. Another issue is our beds. The old cushions in Iris are not comfortable. Having new cushions made runs into more than $1000, not going to happen. I haven’t found a good place to get replacement foam yet, I am still looking, and haven’t yet decided what type of foam I want, or how to cover it when I get it. In the meantime, the beds just aren’t comfortable for our old bones. All of these things are minor, it is fun to think about these little non-problems though, trying to come up with solutions.

The composting toilet with the humanure composting system is working out very well so far. No smell, no flies. We have yet to do our first bucket dump though, so it isn’t fully tested yet.

I had thought that Attila would use this long weekend to tackle the huge pile of cedar logs, stacking them into neat rows. However, Saturday morning he needed to bring me more brush to burn in the campfire, which led him to tackle one of the large brush piles left by the bulldozer when the driveway was put in. That got him started on clearing brush piles. There are about a dozen of them, piles of dirt and gravel, and stumps, and trees, and branches. The piles make the terrain on the south end of the camp rough and almost impassable. Over the course of three days Attila dug up and removed three brush piles. I burned most of it Saturday, as it was a lovely cool day. A half a dozen large stumps with roots were burned, several trees, and dozens and dozens of branches. Sunday was a much warmer day, and I found it just too hot to be anywhere near a campfire. Attila took over feeding the fire, and I kept watch over it when he headed back to his brush piles to bring back more wood. We spent a second evening watching our fire, but letting it burn out as the light of day died, watching only the embers for hours before bedtime. The lovely thing about watching the embers, is that they emit little light, and allow for wonderful star gazing. Again, I spotted a falling star just before we turned in for the night.

This morning we decided to forego a camp fire, partly because it was such a warm day, and partly because we prefer to stay the night after putting out a camp fire, to make sure it is well and truly out by the time we leave the property. Attila finished working on the brush pile at the entry to the property, under the hydro line. The hydro had clear cut the area beneath the lines, and left the trees and brush where they fell, years ago. The pile of brush was several feet thick. Attila dragged out large branches and piled them up, so that I could drag them further into the property and stack them where they would stay dry next spring for burning. When the brush was removed from under the hydro lines, Attila took the weed whacker and demolished the chest high growth of weeds. It looked very nice, but we have a lot of frontage, so it was but a drop in the bucket of the total job. We might get to the rest some other year, then again, maybe not.

As we were sitting down to eat our lunch, a healthy looking fox approached the camp. Attila yelled at him, but he was very bold and kept on coming. I waved a stick at him, but he wasn’t phased by that at all. We realized that he was the culprit who had come into our camp while we were sleeping and overturned our water bottles, which were thankfully sealed. He was probably searching for food. We both rushed at him waving sticks, and he finally retreated. I saw him sitting a few hundred feet off in the bush, then watched him try to climb a tall oak tree to get at whatever was in a hollow in the trunk, but he couldn’t reach it and gave up. Then he came back to the camp. We couldn’t believe it! We chased him again, and he would only retreat a few feet at a time. Finally Attila threw a rock towards him, not hitting him but hitting the ground near him and off he went at a quick trot. I don’t mind wild foxes, but I don’t want them approaching me in my kitchen! We talked to our neighbours later in the day and they told us that the people down the road feed the wild foxes. People! No wonder the fox was approaching us, he has learned to beg.

A wild fox. This enterprising fellow was not ten feet from me, he knew I was there and he didn’t care. He was looking for food, and begging. We are very careful with food around our campsite. It is never left out, and is locked away in the vehicle every night. We eat only at the picnic table, so there are no food droppings around the camp, and our dishwater, which might contain bits of food, is poured onto the campfire at night to put it out, burning the small food particles instantly. This fox has been given no reason to believe there is any food at our campsite. And yet here he is, sniffing around, boldly refusing to leave. We finally chased him away, and found out later that some of the cottagers have been feeding the wild foxes in the area, thinking it great fun.
DSCF9454
The wild fox finally decided to leave, as we became more aggressive in our request that he depart. I imagine he returned as soon as we left, but he wouldn’t find any food. We are hoping he eventually loses interest, after repeated failures to find anything edible at the site. Of course, he can eat as many mice and chipmunks as he can find around our campsite, we would not miss either of those little foragers.
DSCF9455

As the heat of the day set in, we decided to head home. It took a few hours to get everything packed up and ready to go, and by the time we left we were grateful to be sitting in an air conditioned vehicle.

We had turned off the air conditioning at Mist Cottage, and closed all the curtains for the weekend, since we would not be here, and it was lovely and cool in the house when we arrived home.

The weekend acted as a tonic, I feel much better for having sat in the bush by camp fires and star light.

Worldly Distractions

Weather

22°C
Date: 8:00 PM EDT Monday 5 September 2016
Condition: Mainly Clear
Pressure: 102.0 kPa
Tendency: falling
Visibility: 24 km
Temperature: 22.3°C
Dewpoint: 16.7°C
Humidity: 70%
Wind: S 12 km/h
Humidex: 27

Quote

“That’s who you really like. The people you can think out loud in front of.”
John Green

Ticks

Thinking About Ticks and Lyme Disease

You can treat your clothes to repel, and even kill, ticks. I knew this treated clothing would repel ticks, mosquitoes, black flies, deer flies, and just about all biting insects, but I did not know it would kill the ticks. That is good news in my book. What it means is that Attila and I were walking tick killers all weekend up at the Rideau Camp. Bravo!

I found this web site tickencounter.org that seems to offer good advice and sound information about ticks, Lyme Disease, and treating clothing with permethrin. Research the method I use before you use it, my method is to make a mixture using 10% permethrin, 1 teaspoon to 4 cups of water in a spray bottle. Caution is advised, research the safe way to do this before giving it a try. I spray clothing hung up on the outdoor clothes line on a calm day, I wear long sleeved clothing, latex gloves, safety glasses, and a breathing mask when I am treating the clothing. This site is interesting, the first I’ve encountered with details on how to treat your own clothing, but even more important to me is all the information on ticks, what they look like, and tips on keeping them under control.

Over the weekend when I was wearing the stretchy pants that did not protect me very well, I did receive “bites” of some kind, although I did not find any ticks, nor did I have any ticks attached to me when we did our nightly tick check, nor have I any of the telltale rings of rash that are common, and have no other symptoms. I did have one small bug biting my finger, and it was very small, so small I could not see it well enough to identify it. At the time I thought it was a no-see-um and killed it; I had no idea ticks could be that small. There is no rash around that bite. Attila and I perform tick checks every night when we prepare for bed, which will be effective for larger ticks, but the teeny tiny ones will be impossible to detect on our freckled skin. We hope for the best, and continue to wear our protective clothing.

I am thinking of creating a bunch of tick tubes to place around Mist Cottage, and around the perimeter of our Rideau Camp, to help keep the tick population under control. It will make the lives of the mice a lot more comfortable, but really, I wouldn’t do it just for the mice, I hate them.

My conclusion, after spending a few hours reading on this topic of ticks and Lyme Disease, is that you can reduce the likelihood of contracting the disease, but in the end it can be contracted by anyone, anywhere in the outdoors, and if you have pets that spend time outside, anywhere in the indoors as well. It isn’t entirely preventable, you are merely able to reduce the odds that you will become infected. I feel the same way about West Nile Virus. It is worth educating oneself, and taking the appropriate precautions, but beyond that it is an act of God as to whether you contract these diseases or not. I’d like to make preventative measures routine, and then just carry on living without thinking much about the threat aspect of the issue.

Luna’s dog Benny was bitten by a black tick, probably near Turkey Point in southern Ontario, contracted Lyme Disease, and died as a result of it. That was very bad luck, particularly since there is a vaccine for dogs to prevent this infection.

It is another hot and sunny day. Yesterday and last night there was a possibility of thunder storms, but they did not materialize. No rain came for the gardens. Attila was up early this morning watering the vegetable and perennial gardens so that they can make it through another day. By the time I had enjoyed my morning cup of coffee, hung out a load of laundry, stewed the rhubarb from the garden, and eaten my breakfast, it was 9:30 a.m. and already 24C and very humid. I scurried out to take my walk before the heat of the day set in, wearing long pants, a long sleeved cotton shirt, sun glasses, and a sun hat to protect me from the intense rays of the sun. I find the sunglasses and the hat necessary, as I am more light sensitive now than I was in my youth… or maybe the quality of the sunlight has changed that much.

Our plans for the humanure system continue. Next Attila will build a composting bin, we have a spot chosen for it that exceeds the cautionary rules in the codes and online suggestions. Hopefully Attila will have it built next weekend, long before we actually need it. Right now we are considering what to use as bottom and top dressing material. Our choices are more restricted because we are do not live at the property, and will probably need to bring in materials, rather than cut them from a lawn, or field.

The two toilet system we have come up with continues to meet our expectations.

Joseph Jenkins, who wrote the book on Humanure, writes that he approached Bill Gates with his system and the ideas were rejected.
“It [Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation] had an endowment of US$44.3 billion as of 31 December 2014. The scale of the foundation and the way it seeks to apply business techniques to giving makes it one of the leaders in venture philanthropy, though the foundation itself notes that the philanthropic role has limitations. In 2007, its founders were ranked as the second most generous philanthropists in America, and Warren Buffett the first. As of May 16, 2013, Bill Gates had donated US$28 billion to the foundation.”
Source: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bill_%26_Melinda_Gates_Foundation

I don’t have any details about why the Humanure system was rejected by Gates, but it seems a shame to me, since the Humanure system can be used in urban settings, public institutions like schools, and in most land based residential situations, with excellent results. The Humanure system does not offer a large corporate profit opportunity, it is not useful to the corporation for venture philanthropy, regardless of how effective and useful it might be, so it continues to be a grass roots approach to dealing with human body waste. I feel Mr. Gates is wrong not to endorse and fund the humanure system of dealing with human waste. I will say that Mr. Jenkins has a very political outlook on the Humanure system, assigning it great moral virtue, and some have written that it will save the world. Personally I find the official Humanure promotional approach off putting, but that doesn’t prevent me from recognizing how practical, inexpensive, environmentally friendly, and easily implemented it is. I am a girl who has used outhouses off and on all of my life, and I like the humanure system a LOT better! There may be a few minutes of bad smells while dumping the buckets, but that is small price to pay for not having to sit in a horrid smelling building each and every time you need to do your business.

I’ve been trying to assess the results from my lab tests in relation to Chronic Kidney Disease, as I haven’t heard from the country GP who requisitioned the tests. One of the indicators is consistent with mildly decreased kidney function, and when considered with the other indicators, it looks like I don’t have much of a problem, particularly considering my age. Of course that is my uninformed conclusion, based on what I’ve read, rather than on experience, and it could be wishful thinking, so I am waiting for feedback from the country GP. It doesn’t seem that I am in any immediate danger, as far as I can tell. I will continue to make my own condiments, to limit the amount of potassium phosphate in my diet, and to eat lots of vegetables, particularly the ones on the kidney friendly list, green beans, corn niblets, peas, and carrots. It won’t hurt me to eat more vegetables! And soon there will be fresh berries!

The heat of the day has not yet dissipated, so I am staying indoors. Atilla is out in the yard “relaxing”, planting additional Scarlet Runner Beans along the fence. They should make for wonderful eye candy while I stand at the sink doing dishes through the rest of the summer.

Worldly Distractions

Weather

28°C
Date: 7:00 PM EDT Monday 30 May 2016
Condition:
Partly Cloudy
Pressure: 101.1 kPa
Tendency: falling
Visibility: 24 km
Temperature: 23.2°C
Dewpoint: 14.6°C
Humidity: 58%
Wind: WSW 16 gust 29 km/h
Humidex: 32

Quote

“There’s a difference between a philosophy and a bumper sticker.”
Charles M. Schulz
1922 – 2000

The last time I was on Facebook, quite a while ago now, most of what was shared was the equivalent of bumper stickers, with pictures added. I like personal notes a lot better, but then I don’t approve of giving the corporation of Facebook exact records of ones personal relationships. The more things change the more they stay the same.

Tale of Two Toilets

Attila and I have just had our first real long weekend in about twenty three years. To say it felt good would be an understatement!

On Friday evening we headed for the Rideau Camp to see how things were progressing there. It was beautiful, we hadn’t seen it with leaves on the trees, and we loved it. There were very few black flies, and very few mosquitoes. We were in shock, as we had arrived in biting bug season gear, permethrin sprayed shirts and pants, gloves, and hats, high rubber boots, the works. On our Friday evening visit Attila used the gas string trimmer to cut the weeds, after three hours there was a sizeable area that looked neat and tidy. We decided, before we left the camp that night, that we would bring Iris with us in the morning, and stay for two nights.
It was a last minute decision, to go camping for the long weekend, and we weren’t really prepared for it, but that didn’t stop us from heading for the camp with Iris.

On Saturday morning it took us hours to pack the trailer, and put the new tires on. Our trip began just after noon. The drive was much longer towing the trailer, not only do we drive more slowly, but we stopped several times to tighten the lug nuts on the trailer, as the tires had just been installed. The traffic was light, we tend to travel on the smaller highways and byways where the speed limits are low, so that people who are in a hurry avoid them, and most people are in a hurry it seems, for we seldom shared the road with other vehicles.

When we arrived at the camp there was a party going on down the road, we passed it going in. Loud! The music continued into the night, and the bass was still vibrating through the trailer as I fell asleep, I’ve no idea when they turned it off, it didn’t keep me awake.

It took some time for Attila to maneuver the trailer into place, there is quite a steep drop off the edge of the gravel where he needed to swing the trailer around. I did not watch, nor did I try to help, but relaxed by the picnic table until I heard Tank’s engine switch off. Iris was nicely positioned on the gravelled area. When we bought Iris the sales staff mentioned that to avoid mice and crawling insects entering the trailer, it was a good idea to park the vehicle on gravel rather than grass. Since we have a gravelled area, it can’t hurt to take the advice.

After detaching Tank from Iris, levelling, and stabilizing Iris, we set up the picnic table near the fire pit, where I proceeded to build a fire to cook our dinner. Attila roasted wieners over the coals, and we had our first hot dogs at the Rideau Camp.

Toilets and Sewage Systems

We spent a lot of time researching and discussing sewage systems for the Rideau Camp. An outhouse would require a considerable investment in time and money, it would need to be built to code. Another option was to simply use the Thedford chemical toilet we purchased for use at night in Iris, our investment there has already been made. A third option was a composting toilet, an inexpensive and seemingly simple solution that is well proven by many homesteaders across North America.

I decided, and Attila told me he would go along with any decision I made, was to give the third option a try, the composting toilet. You can purchase an expensive composting toilet unit, but that would require a building, so it wouldn’t be any less expensive than an outhouse, and it would be LOT more work. Another downside of the expensive composting toilet unit is that it might be prone to theft when we are absent from the camp… too much to worry about! One wonders what sort of person would steal a toilet, and it does seem unlikely, but the unlikely is not necessarily impossible. I researched the Luggable Loo systems, and went to Canadian Tire to have a look at them; the lids were hinged with plastic, Attila would break that in no time flat, not high enough quality for us. So I researched DIY composting toilet systems, read the humanure book, and came up with a plan.

The first part of the plan was implemented on our long weekend visit, it provided us with a rudimentary composting toilet system. First I bought two heavy duty five gallon buckets with lids, one coloured, the other white, a large bag of peat moss, and a super sized tote with a lid. In the first bucket, the coloured bucket, I placed 3 inches of peat moss, put the lid on and set it aside. In the second bucket, the white bucket, I place a large kitchen garbage bag, filled it in the bucket with peat moss, sealed the bag with a twist tie, and put the lid on the bucket. Now I had the basic human interface for a composting toilet system.

We plan of using the coloured bucket for solid waste only. The idea is that you do your business, then cover it with one inch of peat moss. On Saturday afternoon Attila chose a flat spot in the forest, a short walk in from the cleared area, cleared it of sticks and then whacked out the grass and weeds. There he placed our coloured bucket, with the white bucket beside it. We don’t need to build walls around it, because the forest surrounds us, and we don’t need that kind of privacy from each other.

The coloured bucket was used on Saturday and Sunday, and I can honestly say that there was not one whiff of bad odour, not one, in or around that bucket, nor did it attract any flies at all. I’d say the first stage of the composting toilet is a resounding success.

We did not want to leave the coloured bucket sitting out when we are absent, in case an animal takes an interest. Our solution to that problem was to place the coloured bucket, covered with the lid, in the super sized tote, place large granite rocks beside it in the tote, to prevent the tote from being moved or tipped over, placing the lid on the tote, and finally placing a large rock on the lid of the tote to prevent it from either blowing off or being removed by an animal. We brought the peat moss home with us.

Stage two in the composting toilet plan is to build a frame and box to contain the coloured bucket, and attach a toilet seat to the hinged lid of the box. There are many plans to be found online for this arrangement. This will be far more comfortable than using just the bucket. The box will be left under a tarp when we are not there, the coloured bucket will be removed and put in its tote when we are not there.

The third stage in the composting toilet plan is to create the compost bin for the contents of the coloured bucket. I will draw up my plans, Attila will build it for me, and then I will properly prepare it for its first use. More on that later.

Two years after the last offering to that compost bin is made, the contents can be used for garden flowers, and other non-edible garden plants.

The fourth stage in the composting toilet plan is to build a shed in which to shelter the box and coloured bucket, and the peat moss. The shed involves quite an investment, so I am not sure when that will be built, certainly not this summer.

As if that weren’t enough information about toilets, I will continue with my praise of the Thedford toilet. This toilet is a chemical toilet, a deodorizer is used to control the smell when it is used for all toilet needs. The way we will use it, at night only in Iris, it seems that for the most part chemicals will not be needed. To avoid having to venture out into the dark after bedtime while camping in Iris, the Thedford sits on the floor and is a a comfort in the night. With no solid waste there is no odour during the night when the Thedford is used. Instead of filling the flushing tank with water, which would make it heavier for me to carry for dumping, I filled empty plastic pop bottles with water, set them beside the Thedford, and used a little water to rinse the bowl a few times after each use. Paper was kept in a garbage bag beside the Thedford. Each morning I easily dumped the contents of the Thedford, rinsed it thoroughly, then placed it back in Iris for the next night’s use.

Of course a $20,000 septic system, with a $150,000 cabin to go with it would accomplish the same thing, but that isn’t in our budget, nor is it something we desire.

The quality of our beds were also something we needed to experience in order to assess and make plans. The worst mildewed cushions were the back cushions, they will not be placed back in Iris at all. That left the three seat cushions. The bench seat at the front was Attila’s bed, and my bed was the area where we had collapsed the table to form a double sized sleeping platform, then used the two bench cushions to form a single bed on the platform. Attila’s bed was made up on the bench cushion, but I made mu my bed with 4 inches of memory foam placed on top of the cushions.

Attila was not uncomfortable, but he wasn’t comfortable either, not the best mattress, but passable. I was equally neither comfortable nor uncomfortable on the cushion with memory foam, but for one serious issue. Memory foam is HOT to sleep on. It went down to 10C/50F and I was sweating all night long. I can’t imagine it in the heat of summer, egads! Another solution must be found for me before our next overnight trip with Iris. I am considering an air mattress, as they are supposed to be cool to sleep on, and I will be shopping this week to see what I can find.

Our diet was tasty if not a bit boring over the weekend. With no time to plan meals, we ended up with only two choices, grilled cheese sandwiches, or hot dogs, both cooked over the campfire. We enjoyed our meals, but more variety would be nice. I brought cooked peas and corn, so we ate vegetables with every meal. I will be spending time planning our food for the next trip out.

The weather was ideal, truly magnificent. Each day was sunny and warm, with a lovely breeze blowing all day long. The camping area is surrounded by trees, so it was easy enough to move our lawn chairs around under the overhanging branches as the sun moved across the sky. The weather was perfect for our first trip out!

There were many birds in the forest around us, filling the days with bird song, and leaves rustling in the breeze. We saw blue jays, crows, and the turkey vultures that always visit to check us out just after the camp fire has been lit. We heard all kinds of other birds, but only other we caught sight of was a male Scarlet Tanager. Neither Attila nor I had ever seen a Scarlet Tanager before, in our whole lives. There it was, high up in the tree tops, unbelievably colourful and beautiful. Also during the day we heard the eagles, there are a pair of eagles that must be nesting close by in one of the oak trees in the forest. At night we heard owls, two of them. I awoke at 2:00 a.m. on Saturday night to use the facilities, and could hear the owls hooting very loudly to the north and east of us, they must have been hunting.

What did we do with our time? We organized our sewage systems, set up the kitchen area on the picnic table, and kept a camp fire burning over which we would cook our meals.

Attila spent Saturday evening and all day Sunday first clearing dead brush around the camp area and driveway, then using his gas powered string mower to cut short the grass and weeds. He also used the ax to remove small trees from the underbrush around the camp fire area, where pesky mosquitoes and insects might lurk. I spent the weekend burning a fraction of the brush, that Attila collected, in the camp fire pit. When the driveway was put in, many years ago, the bulldozer just knocked down trees and bulldozed them to the sides of the driveway. We don’t really like that, so we are clearing the dead wood, and when that is done we will level the earth that was piled up. This is a project that will take years and years to accomplish, and there is not rush to complete it, so it is more like play than work.

The weekend was wonderful, we enjoyed ourselves, frequently sitting in our chairs, looking up into the sky and trees, exclaiming to each other how very lucky we felt to be alive, and to be at the Rideau Camp.

We had such a great time that I completely forgot to take any pictures!

I discovered an unpleasantness in my world. All spring I had been wearing high rubber boots to work around the camp, and they worked well. But the last two visits were in warmer weather. My feet and calves sweated so much that my feet were literally standing in a pool of salt water in my boots. The smell was, ahem, overpowering. I now need to clean the boots out to eliminate the smell, and I won’t be putting them back on again until the weather turns cold in late October. My problem is that now I need to wear something rugged and cool on my feet for camping. My running shoes are not cool enough. When my feet are too hot they sweat copiously, my face turns read, my ears ring, and I am extremely uncomfortable; I cannot tolerate hot feet.

Upon searching for boots that were rubber but could breath, I found none. I looked at sandals, which would allow my feet to remain as cool as possible, but they would have to be quite rugged considering the terrain at our Rideau and Ancestral Camps. I finally found a pair of hiking sandals that migh do the trick, and actually found a store within driving distance that had them in stock. This morning I hopped in Tank and headed out to try on those sandals. At the store, my feet were instantly at home in the sandals, which offer rugged soles and great support for hiking and working at the camp; they will be very good for walking as well, even shopping. They only had one pair my size, there was no choice in colour, so I bought the pair they had, they were on sale. The sandals are made by Keen, the model is Newport H2. I have a feeling these will wear well, and may still be going strong in twenty years or so. They are washable, which is a read bonus.

Just to note, I had a pair of Finn Comfort sandals, they were great, but after around 15 years the souls disintegrated in my hands. This was very disappointing, as I have cheap sandals that cost less than $10 that were purchased long before that, and I still wear them. I won’t be buying Finn Comfort shoes again.

The past weekend was the longest holiday we have had in warm weather for decades, with the exception of the time off Attila took as bereavement time when his father passed away. That was the summer before last, and we used the time to travel to Attila’s Dad’s place of birth, locate Attila’s Grandmother’s grave to lay flowers on it, purchased and dedicated a local history book to Attila’s Dad and Grandmother, and talked to people who knew Attila’s Grandmother, who died when he was a babe in arms. At that time someone incredulously asked what Attila had done to get time off in the summer, and Attila truthfully answered, “someone had to die”, because quite literally that is what it took to get a three day break from work.

Not anymore!

The CrabApple tree in our yard is in full bloom, it smells heavenly, and is alive with movement and sound as the bees lavish it with attention.
CrabappleBlossom

Worldly Distractions

Weather

16°C
Date: 9:00 AM EDT Tuesday 24 May 2016
Condition: Mainly Sunny
Pressure: 101.5 kPa
Tendency: rising
Visibility: 24 km
Temperature: 16.2°C
Dewpoint: 8.5°C
Humidity: 60%
Wind: S 7 km/h

Today Sunny. Wind becoming southwest 20 km/h near noon. High 27 except 20 near Lake Ontario. UV index 7 or high.
Tonight Partly cloudy. Wind southwest 20 km/h becoming light this evening. Low 15.

Quote

“I stopped believing in Santa Claus when my mother took me to see him in a department store, and he asked for my autograph.”
Shirley Temple
1928-2014