Firefly: “Most species of fireflies thrive as larvae in rotting wood and forest litter at the margins of ponds and streams. And as they grow, they more or less stay where they were born.”

The weekend of July 22/23, and this past weekend July 28/29, our evenings have been enchanted by the light show in the forest around our Rideau Camp. As soon as daylight began to fade, we began to see flashes of light, high and low, near and far among the silhouettes of the tree trunks. Sitting quietly in the forest, we were surrounded by these twinkling lights. Although there were a profusion of the lights on the weekend of July 22/23, the light show on the evenings of the 28/29 were magical in their intensity. It might be that the intense rainfall in the area on July 24 optimized their breeding process, which requires moisture and rotting wood on the forest floor, which were in abundance.

On the weekend of July 22/23 I burned a very large juniper stump, the last remaining stump from the huge log pile present on the property when it was purchased. The campfire burned from noon until 2 am the next morning, before the stump was reduced to ashes.

On Saturday the weather was perfect for burning another stump. The bulldozer that created our driveway pushed over two large trees along the drive, a pine and an ash or elm tree. Early Saturday morning Attila used his chain saw separate the upturned stump from the trunk of the downed tree. I had lit a camp fire, which was quite a challenge as all of the wood in the forest, and in our collection of dead wood beside the camp fire pit, was sodden from last week’s deluge. By the time I had a good hot set of coals ready, Attila had transported the stump up the hill, to deposit it at the edge of the fire. I tended the fire all day long, and well into the evening, until sometime after 9 pm the last of it fell away as hot embers.

Pine stump burn Rideau Camp july 29 The pine stump burning in the camp fire pit on Saturday. I dragged the dead trees, that I am feeding slowly into the fire, from the area we cleared to relocate Grace The Trailer. I believe this will be the last summer where most of my time at the Rideau Camp is spent burning dead wood, felled trees, and brush. We plan on leaving the areas outside the perimeter of the occupied area in natural condition, to allow the wildlife around us to carry on as usual.

Now we have only one large stump left to burn, the last of the bulldozer’s legacy.

This morning, as Attila and I sat to take our breakfast, he gripped my arm and whispered, “look”. Not twenty feet from our window a large female wild turkey strolled into view. Her gait was slow and measured, her gaze swept the landscape, side to side, forward and backward. As she moved forward across our line of vision, poults began to appear. Among the poults a second adult female wild turkey stepped, and behind them a third large female wild turkey surveyed the rear of the group. There were twenty one poults. The windows in Grace are silvered, offering no view through the glass into the trailer, so that we could continue eating as they passed before us, and our movements caused them no distress. Slowly the passed into the swampy area of our property, eating heartily from the forest floor as they went.

Early in the afternoon I heard their distressed calls, and I was distressed, that a predator might be attacking the young ones. Attila headed into the bush to investigate. He put my mind at ease, saying that they had all flown into the trees, and that there were adult males with them as well. I sighed with relief.

We are enjoying Grace The Trailer! Attila has restless leg syndrome, which kept me awake, and/or awakened me multiple times during the night, for over twenty years. Then we bought twin beds and I have slept well every since. But, Grace The Trailer has only a queen size bed. I expected to suffer through the nights again. However, such has not been the case. The queen size mattress in Grace The Trailer rests on solid wood, the movement we found with a box spring just does not exist with a solid base. The other strategy we adopted was separate bedding, each of us uses a twin flat sheet and comforter, we don’t share, again reducing the intrusions of each other’s nocturnal movements. I have slept soundly every night that we have spent in Grace The Trailer. I feel very lucky!

Worldly Distractions


Partly Cloudy
Date: 7:00 PM EDT Sunday 30 July 2017
Condition: Partly Cloudy
Pressure: 101.7 kPa
Tendency: Falling
Temperature: 22.7°C
Dew point: 20.3°C
Humidity: 86%
Wind: SSW 14 km/h
Humidex: 31
Visibility:24 km


“During [these] periods of relaxation after concentrated intellectual activity, the intuitive mind seems to take over and can produce the sudden clarifying insights which give so much joy and delight.”
Fritjof Capra

Pine Stump

On YouTube I just saw an ad for a video game, full of guns, guns guns, muscles, muscles, muscles, bad guys, bad guys, bad guys and gun brandishing heroes, heroes heroes. The bad guys were big and bad, all different kinds of ugly. You could tell who was bad and who was not, just by looking at them.

I guess that is the appeal of these violence based games, the bad guys, the enemy, is obvious, easily defined, easily targeted for killing, and the player is ALWAYS the good guy who wins, even if the game has to be played over and over and over to attain the win.

The true enemies of humanity are more subtle, far more subtle, than that.

I guess that is why I find most video games so very boring, as the complexity of life, even just breathing in and out, is so much more complicated and fascinating than simplistic good guy/bad guy dichotomies.

I wonder if simplistic game playing leads to simplistic analytical skills? I wonder if the use of violence and physical force is a healthy fantasy? I really do not know, and I don’t think anyone else does either. It feels wrong to me.

The sun has been peeking out from behind the clouds off and on all morning. I have already finished the laundry, the cleaning, and everything on my list for today. Attila is at work, working his “short day”, which is usually eight hours long. That will change soon though, as the short day will shorten to four hours, leaving Saturday afternoons for domestic chores, at least in theory.

I am planning my first canning session, which will have to wait until the weather cools a bit. The canner will need to run for 90 minutes, which will create a lot of heat in the house. On a cool autumn day, that heat will be very welcome.

I talked with Harriet this morning, she is at her cottage, sitting and looking out over the lake. She was enjoying some peaceful moments, while the others were out fishing and kayaking.

Attila will be able to focus on indoor domestic chores today, when he comes home from work. Last night he cleared the final bits of sawdust from the front yard. Last week he felled the thirty foot high stump, single handed. That stump has stood in our front yard since the top of the pine was twisted off and thrown to the ground by a wind storm, crushing my little Argosy trailer, on August 20th, 2009. The tree top was removed and the debris cleaned up during the summer of 2009, but the thirty foot high stump was left standing.

Attila, having just felled the thirty foot high pine stump, is removing bark and preparing to section the log.
Pine stump 2014

Over the last five years we have enjoyed watching the wildlife that visited the stump, there have been all kinds of woodpeckers, including Pileated Woodpeckers, Robins and other songbirds, and squirrels. With the house being for sale though, we decided that the stump must come down. Attila felled the stump, sectioned it, carried the logs to the woodshed, cleared away the bark and sawdust from the yard and cut the grass. The pine logs came in very handy during the Grandkids visit, as we used them for seating around the campfire!

For the moment, all the trees that need felling are down. There were also two dead birch trees, which rot quickly because the bark retains moisture in the wood. The birch trees were so rotten that Attila was able to simply push them over by hand. The stumps were left to rot into the ground, which is a good thing for a healthy forest floor.

Terra has been constructing an elaborate and beautiful exterior door frame for their front door, she sent me a photo and it is quite the thing. Terra is gaining impressive skills as a carpenter. She asked for and received fancy power tools for Christmas, and was over the moon about her gifts.

Worldly Distractions


Date: 12:00 PM EDT Saturday 30 August 2014
Condition: Mostly Cloudy
Pressure: 101.5 kPa
Visibility: 16 km
Temperature: 22.5°C
Dewpoint: 16.9°C
Humidity: 70%
Wind: SSE 15 km/h
Humidex: 28


“Some editors are failed writers, but so are most writers.”
T. S. Eliot
1888 – 1965