First Iris Flower Of The Season

It is a lazy weekend here at Mist Cottage. Rain was predicted, but only a few drops fell yesterday, and it looks like it will be a partially cloudy and dry day today.

Attila is preserving resources by using bath water for watering the garden. He has a large plastic garbage can that he fills, bucketful by bucketful, after he bathes. Within 24 hours the water is used to water the garden, and the garbage can is cleaned for the next time. Our rain barrels are empty now, so this is his preferred way to water the gardens. He feels it is going to be a hot, dry summer. I take showers, so I can see the time coming soon when I will be asked to shower with the plug in the drain, so that the water can be retained and carried out to the gardens. Attila is a keen gardener, a keen recycler, and a keen bargain seeker. Our water bills are substantial enough already, without adding garden watering to the bill.

I am still learning the idiosyncrasies of keeping the house cool during hot sunny days. Last night the house was unpleasantly warm during the night, 25C, and we both slept poorly as a result. I had the windows open all day yesterday. Today I am taking a different approach. I had the windows open at 7:00 a.m., and the interior temperature dropped to 23C by 10:00 a.m. At 10:30 a.m. the interior temperature began to rise, to 23.5C, as the outdoor temperature climbed. I then closed all the windows, and hope to retain the interior temperature at 23.5C. I will open the windows again when the exterior temperature falls below the interior temperature of the house.

The mosquitoes were out in force this morning. This is very strange, as there has been little rain, and everything is dry out there. There are no ponds or uncovered water sources anywhere about. They are swarming out of the grass in the front yard, and in the shady spots in the back yard. They have to be hatching in the lawn, not in water as is commonly believed. I have been bitten twice already this morning.

Our first Iris of the season has bloomed. It had few blooms last summer, as it had just been transplanted to a sunnier spot. It has copious blooms this spring, and will be a real pleasure to behold from the kitchen window, for the next week or so. The Lungwort continues to bloom in the front yard. The Crabapple blossoms are almost all spent, the hum of the bees outside my window is diminishing. The Lilacs are still blooming, providing a heavenly scent as I sit on the back porch.

Iris may 2018 The first Iris of the 2018 season, with many more to come!

The vegetable garden is coming along. The recently planted climbing beans and peas are peeking out of the soil. They are on the inside of the fence.

Over the past few weeks, Attila and I have both been plotting to keep the rabbits out of the fenced in area, so that they will not eat our emerging, tender and tasty, bean and pea plants. Square lengths of posts were laid along the bottom of gates to block entry. A large concrete block was used to cover the gap under the fence by the yard waste compost pile. Stakes were pounded in between gaps in fence posts, and anywhere where it seemed entry might be gained.

Despite all of these precautions, early last week I looked out to see another little rabbit in the fenced in area. Quickly shoving my feet in to my rubber boots, out I went. I calmly followed that little bunny around the yard, as he/she attempted to escape through all the usual entry points, now blocked. Eventually that little bunny found a gap that had been left vulnerable, and escaped the way she/he had entered. That forgotten gap was immediately blocked, and I haven’t seen a rabbit in the fenced in area since.

Yesterday I baked a second Rhubarb Crisp. I had two helpings, and quite honestly, by evening the sugar made me feel polluted. During the night I awoke several times feeling off, with a horrid taste in my mouth. I love eating the Rhubarb Crisp, but will have to limit myself to one serving… or less if that doesn’t resolve the polluted feeling. Rhubarb needs a lot of sugar to make it palatable, as it is low in sugar, and tastes tart, which is unpleasant to my palate.

Time to go sit out on the back porch and read, or listen to the breeze in the trees, or watch for rabbits, or watch the birds… great day for it! There are freshly washed sheets strung on the clothesline across the porch, which means it will be shady, cool, and breezy on the porch.

Worldly Distractions

Weather

19°C
Date: 8:00 AM EDT Sunday 27 May 2018
Condition: Mostly Cloudy
Pressure: 101.4 kPa
Tendency: Rising
Temperature: 19.2°C
Dew point: 14.4°C
Humidity: 73%
Wind: NE 14 km/h
Visibility: 24 km
(Note: these readings are taken by the shores of Lake Ontario, they are hotter in summer and cooler in winter a short distance north of the lake.)

Quote

“The way you define yourself as a writer is that you write every time you have a free minute. If you didn’t behave that way you would never do anything.”
John Irving
1942 –

Leaves and Blackflies

I am happy to see rain this morning. Although the water is diligently watered by Attila, the plants prefer rain.

Yesterday I finished applying marine wax to the top half of Iris the trailer. The bottom half will get done in bits, a little at a time, when the mood strikes me. It could take all summer, and Universe willing I have that kind of time.

I took a flying visit to the Rideau Camp on the weekend, accompanied by Attila. He cut weeds and worked on the last big stump, which needed earth removed from the exposed roots, and to be rolled a long distance to the fire pit. It didn’t make it as far as the fire pit, but progress was made. It is a very large and heavy stump.

My time was spent dealing with the mess the mouse made, as one of them, fingers crossed it was only one, was trapped in Grace the trailer when the slide out was extended. I know this because I found the dead mouse in a cubby behind the range. He/she made quite a mess in one of the cupboards, and in other areas of the trailer. The mouse traps that were set had been overturned to set them off, then the bait eaten. Because there was no source of fluids, the mouse ate every fly and wasp that was trapped in the trailer when it was locked up after the last visit; their remains were everywhere. The mouse’s body was thrown into the bush, where its remains will meet a natural end. Wearing mask and gloves, the urine and faeces, and chewed bits of fabric and plastic, all were sprayed with hydrogen peroxide, cleaned, then washed with soap and water. Using the generator that was brought along, I vacuumed the whole trailer, exhausting the vacuum out the window. the vacuum bag was removed and disposed of.

There may be another mouse in the trailer, that won’t be known until the next visit.

The weekend weather was beautiful, sunny and warm. The leaves are bursting forth and unfurling on the trees. On the Rideau Camp, and along the sides of the road on the journey, carpets of white trilliums bloomed. The Mayflowers were also blooming in carpets on our driveway at the Camp. The Trout Lilies are not quite ready to bloom though.

I have noticed, over my short existence on the planet, that with the spring unfurling of leaves come the blackflies. They were around during the visit to the Camp, I have a few bites, but not yet swarming. It is time to pull out the Camp wardrobe and begin spraying everything with the permethrin mixture. This will require a dry, relatively windless day, and the wearing of long sleeved clothing, a mask, and gloves. It isn’t my favourite task, but the results are worthwhile.

The hydro time-of-use schedule changed on the first of May, which requires a big shift in domestic routines. In keeping with keeping the hydro bill as low as possible, I began preparations to bake muffins yesterday before 6:00 a.m., so that the oven would finish using electricity by the time mid-peak rates began. I didn’t quite make it, but the oven didn’t use very much electricity after 7:00 a.m. I will have to start just a bit earlier. I like the summer time-of-use schedule better, because mid-peak rates start at 7:00 a.m., rather than 11:00 a.m., which is a better fit for my morning person personality. I hate time-of-use because it dictates what I can and cannot do during the day, when I have the energy and free time to do it.

This is a good day for sitting out on the porch, watching the rain run off the roof, the green things grow, and the rabbits, squirrels, birds, bees, and other insects revel in the lushness of spring.

Worldly Distractions

Weather

14°C
Date: 7:00 AM EDT Tuesday 15 May 2018
Condition: Light Rain
Pressure: 100.8 kPa
Tendency: Falling
Temperature: 13.8°C
Dew point: 13.7°C
Humidity: 99%
Wind: NW 8 km/h
Visibility: 3 km

Quote

“The outcome of any serious research can only be to make two questions grow where only one grew before.”
Thorstein Veblen
1857 – 1929

One statement, so many ways to hear it.

Iris The Clean

The first day of May has arrived. The sun is struggling to penetrate the clouds, I watch helplessly. Yesterday there was false promise, the weather people predicted a high of 20C, and here it is, the afternoon is passing and the temperature has reached, and is holding at, 10C. How wrong can they be!

Finished cleaning the fiberglass shell on my vintage trailer today. Got wet.

The neighbour had a stroke last week. Her husband came across the lawn this morning, I turned to talk to him, garden hose in hand. Turning off the water, I could listen respectfully. She isn’t coming home, although the only affect he reports is movement in her right arm. They are keeping her in the hospital, waiting for a room at a rehab centre. There must be more to this than I understand, when only her arm is affected, why can’t she come home until an opening for rehab comes up?

After talking to the neighbour, I turned the water back on, and finished the job. Then I came into the house, took off my soaking wet jacket, found the box of greeting cards, addressed and signed a Get Well Soon card, and walked over the neighbour’s house to hand deliver the card. He will give it to his wife when he visits her in the hospital today.

The exterior of Iris the trailer is now as clean as it is going to get. My next project, in a week or so, is to apply marine wax to the exterior of the fiberglass shell. This will mean more ladder work. I spread ladder work over a series of days, as standing for a length of time, on the rungs of the ladder, causes strain on my arthritic knee. Slow and steady gets the job done.

Worldly Distractions

Weather

10°C
Date: 3:00 PM EDT Tuesday 1 May 2018
Condition: Mostly Cloudy
Pressure: 101.6 kPa
Tendency: Falling
Temperature: 9.6°C
Dew point: 2.0°C
Humidity: 59%
Wind: S 22 gust 33 km/h
Visibility: 19 km

Quote

“Man must evolve for all human conflict a method which rejects revenge, aggression and retaliation. The foundation of such a method is love.”
Martin Luther King Jr.
1929 – 1968

Mug Cake

Sometimes I just want to eat something sweet. This morning was one of those times. I love Danish Pastry, and that is what I craved. But the only store bought pastries that work for me, with comprehensive labels, come in packages of four or six. I cannot purchase in individual pastry. Herein lies the problem. If I buy four, I will eat four. If I buy six, I will eat six. If I buy one, I will eat one. I only want to buy one, which I cannot do. So instead, I found a recipe for a mug cake, skipped the Nutella, added a dollop of peanut butter, and a dollop of raspberry jam, then sprinkled chocolate chips over it, and baked it in the microwave. It hit the spot, scratched the itch, quenched my craving.

I am careful of sugar laden treats, as I feel sugar contributes significantly to my high blood pressure. I’m not sure it works this way for everyone, but I certainly found it to be the case, after monitoring my diet and my blood pressure daily, for more than a year. I love sugar, but it is something I have to be very careful with. My mug cake had a total of two tablespoons, or six teaspoons, of sugar in it. That is my daily quota! So today I am over quota, because I also added a teaspoon of maple syrup to my morning coffee. I enjoyed that cake, and won’t need to bake another for a while.

It is raining today, providing the newly washed Iris The Trailer with a thorough rinse. The weather reports say that next week we will see sunshine again, and then I will be up there on the ladder, scrubbing away to remove the black dots left by the lichen. When the surfaces are clean, marine wax will be applied and buffed. Slow but sure, that’s me.

Green, a very welcome colour. The day gets greener as the rain falls. Sometimes it is wonderful to live in the universe’s colouring book.

Worldly Distractions

Weather

11°C
Date: 11:00 AM EDT Wednesday 25 April 2018
Condition: Light Rain
Pressure: 101.2 kPa
Tendency: Falling
Temperature: 10.5°C
Dew point: 9.7°C
Humidity: 95%
Wind: ENE 17 km/h
Visibility: 5 km

Quote

“If you limit your choices only to what seems possible or reasonable, you disconnect yourself from what you truly want, and all that is left is a compromise.”
Robert Fritz

Very Strange

Just now an older man, over 70, stiff gait, came to my door, after parking his very large, very new, tan coloured SUV in my driveway. He knocked, and I got up immediately to answer the door. He had tried to open the screen door, which was locked. I hate that, people trying to open doors to houses that don’t belong to them. Anyway, he was heading back to his car lickety-split when I got the door open. He knocked and wasn’t waiting for anyone to answer the door, the first bit of strangeness.

He asked me if I was Michelle, who did hairdressing and nails. Nope. And you know what, no one on this street is Michelle who does hairdressing and nails. He said he was sorry to bother me, and then left quickly, getting in his SUV and driving away. He left our street. I got his license number, sent it to a friend to keep a record of it. Very, very strange.

Yesterday the weather was lovely, and this morning it was lovely again! The sky has clouded over now, and rain is predicted for this evening.

Wanting to spend time out of doors during these first few days of lovely weather, I got out my bucket and ladder and began the process of washing the exterior of Iris the trailer. The top of the Iris is covered in lichens, which when washed disintegrate to leave stubborn black polka dots. The sides of Iris sported significant patches of green algae. Yesterday the sides were washed with a mixture of Dawn detergent and 1/4 cup of bleach in a bucket of water. This morning the roof was tackled. The first pass was completed, removing chunks of lichen, that left behind large black dots that need a lot of scrubbing to get off. Most of the black dots were removed from perimeter of the roof that was easy to reach. The rest were scrubbed with a brush, then rinsed. It will take another few days of elbow grease to remove all of the black dots. After that task is completed, a marine wax will be applied. This whole process will take more than a week of sunny days to complete.

The lichen, (Foliose Lichen), comes from the ash tree branches, that hang high above Iris, and has been accumulating since she arrived in our driveway. Hopefully a good coating of marine wax will prevent this from happening again!

Yesterday evening I sat out on the back porch for the first time in 2018. Attila joined me and we spent a pleasant half hour soaking in the setting sun. But we were not alone. Mosquitoes! Those little biting buddies are back. Sitting out on the porch was wonderful, despite having to share it with small and sneaky companions.

After a bit of a break, dinner preparations will begin. Tonight’s meal will consist of Coconut Lime Fish, rice, and two vegetables.

Worldly Distractions

Weather

11°C
Date: 1:00 PM EDT Tuesday 24 April 2018
Condition: Mostly Cloudy
Pressure: 102.3 kPa
Tendency: Falling
Temperature: 11.3°C
Dew point: 2.2°C
Humidity: 54%
Wind: SSW 18 km/h
Visibility: 24 km

Quote

“Silence is a text easy to misread.”
A. A. Attanasio