Vacation Plans

For months now I have been checking kijiji for used travel trailers. If the travel trailers are relatively new, people want a lot of money for them; after all they paid a lot of money for them. If the travel trailers are relatively old, people still want thousands of dollars for them. Many of the old trailers really belong at the dump, so that purchasing one of them would mean paying to store them on your property, and then transfer them to the dump.

After all this searching, I realized this morning that what we can really afford right now is a free camping trailer! I do not think there are any free camping trailers, in good condition, that are lurking in the recesses of reality. I will keep looking at what is out there, although I doubt I will find anything suitable, in our price range.

Not to worry though, we are quite happy with day trips to the camp, at least for this year. We have not got our final inspection or approval for the new driveway yet, so we are not good to go with further projects anyway.

We have decided that our vacation this year will be another season of renovation at the little house in the city. With all the rain this summer, our visits to the little house have been dominated by yard work. The lawn needs to be mowed on each and every visit, and our garden needs to be weeded and watered. Any free time we have at the little house in the city has been spent visiting!

Our renovation plans include staining the front porch, touching up the paint on the exterior of the house, finishing the trim in the bathroom, and cleaning out the garage, basement, and back shed in anticipation of the possible sale of the country house. If the country house sells we will need a place to store our belongings, the ones that will not fit into a small apartment.

Of course, our vacation plans are vulnerable to fate, as our country house is for sale, and unexpected activity could alter our plans.

Last May we received an offer to purchase our house, after ten days on the market. The deal fell through due to problems with the purchasers financing. Yesterday another potential buyer viewed the house. We have been relatively diligent about keeping the place neat and tidy, so it only took a few hours to get it looking presentable. We are not getting very excited about a viewing, people tend to look at a lot of houses when they are in the market to buy, and rightly so. Buying a house is a huge purchasing decision, that will affect day-to-day life.

We like our realtor this time around. We do not have a lock-box on the house, as we agreed to the last time we had the house up for sale, and regretted it. Our house is available for viewing by appointment only, and when a realtor is willing to pick up the key from our realtor’s office. That way we know when people are going to view the house, and exactly who they are.

Today I was thinking about John Bailey, writer of theoldgreypoet blog. He hasn’t updated for quite a while now, and I do miss his posts. He is such a positive fellow. Back in 1999 he was not only an inspiration, but also a bit of a mentor, offering feedback and encouragement. I do hope he, and his partner Graham, are doing well! If anyone knows how John fares, I would love to hear!

The weather has cooled again, which suits me to a T! Unfortunately the mosquitoes are quite chuffed about it as well.

I seldom venture out with the biting insects as bad as they are, but this morning I made an exception. Attila put out the garbage this morning, for garbage collection day has arrived. Several hours later I looked outside, and an animal had laid waste to our carefully bagged garbage. Then I saw our neighbour out having a look. I put on my shoes and went out with a garbage bag to gather what was left of our garbage on the driveway and on the road. Then I chatted with our affable neighbour, briefly though, for the mosquitoes swarmed around us in droves. He had found garbage all over his property and was cleaning it up. I headed back indoors, put on my bug-proof clothing, donned a head net, grabbed another garbage bag, some gloves, and went out to give him a hand. It could have been our garbage he was picking up! By the time I got dressed and out there he had completed the task.

It might have been bears, or racoons. I suspect a racoon, because the garbage had not gone far. Bears drag it out into the back acreage, to snack in relative peace.

This year we have bumper crops of everything, greenery, biting insects, and animals.

Apparently, during the thunderstorm Tuesday night, a cottage within walking distance from us caught fire. A propane tank fuelled the flames and there was a great deal of damage. The volunteer firefighters were on hand almost immediately. We didn’t hear a thing!

I read an interesting little tidbit of information today that brought a smile to my face. A crofter in Scotland paints smiley faces on his harvested and wrapped hay bales, to keep the gulls off them!

Worldly Distractions


Date: 5:05 AM EDT Wednesday 23 July 2014
Condition: Cloudy
Pressure: 101.0 kPa
Visibility: 16 km
Temperature: 19.5°C
Dewpoint: 17.8°C
Humidity: 90%
Wind: W 18 gust 30 km/h


“Many years ago Rudyard Kipling gave an address at McGill University in Montreal. He said one striking thing which deserves to be remembered. Warning the students against an over-concern for money, or position, or glory, he said: “Some day you will meet a man who cares for none of these things. Then you will know how poor you are.”
Halford E. Luccock

Path to the Outhouse

On the weekend, Harriet and Ariel cut the grass at Granny and Grandpa’s house. It is a big job! They cut a path to the outhouse, just for me! Harriet has a magnificent heavy-duty, self-propelling lawn mower, which makes the job viable, just. I could not manage the job with the bottom-of-the-line, wobbly little push mower that we own. With the dead Elm gone, the garden cleared of weeds and brambles, and the grass cut, the place looks wonderful. Next on our list for Granny and Grandpa’s house is to repair the support beam for the store porch. The wood was sound, but the winter was severe, and the snow coming off the roof snapped the support beam. We do not have a vehicle that will transport the needed timber, but Attila thinks he can make do with a log from one of our camp’s downed trees, and some short lumber that will fit into our car. This fall Attila will do some pruning on the ornamental bushes around the place, just to spruce it up a bit. This is not a good time of year for pruning.

Granny and Grandpa’s house needs a new roof, which is beyond our time and resources; we do not own the building. Without a new roof working on the interior of the house is futile.

At the camp our plans are to continue felling trees, and to burn the brush created in clearing the lot. Short and sweet to write, long and sweaty to accomplish!

In the meantime, we continue to keep our country house ready for prospective buyers. I do not really like keeping it “showroom” clean. Rushing to get everything shipshape before leaving for work in the morning is a pain! Attila is a little behind with the lawn mowing, but at least we are here most evenings, so there will be an opportunity to get it done quickly if we get a call from the realtor. Our yard has very little grass, and is mostly native natural ground cover, which we keep mowed. Actually, the new reality of insect repellent clothing might give me an opportunity to do a little bit of light yard work myself! I find the push lawn mower is too difficult for me to manage, so Attila will have to do that job.

We will not be doing any major renovations at the little house in the city this summer. One issue is that all of our money, and then some, was spent on the driveway at the camp, the other is that there are a lot of little jobs to complete at the little house in the city, which will not cost a lot of money. We need to stain the front steps that Attila constructed last autumn, and finish the trim in the bathroom and kitchen. Renovation at the little house in the city does not seem as urgent now, since the kitchen and bathroom renovations are completed. We are very comfortable there!

These are the daylilies we planted early in the spring, on one side of the front step, at the little house in the city.
These are the hostas we planted early in teh spring, on the other side of the front step, at the little house in teh city.

We are looking forward to our next trip to the little house in the city, to see how our garden has managed without us! There has been adequate rain, so we are hoping that it is thriving. If it is, so will have been the lawn! So our next visit will again entail cutting the lawn and tending the yard. The spring is the busiest season for tending the yard, as the grass does not grow as quickly in the summer, and very little in the autumn.

Terra and Lares have done a great deal of landscaping around their house, since we last visited. They purchased a riding lawn mower, so the that Terra could do the job easily. I am looking forward to seeing the results of all their hard work. Last I spoke with them, they were still waiting for back-ordered materials to finish the siding on the front of the house. I hope their materials arrived!

Luna posted a photo of Tink at her dance recital. We have not seen them since Christmas, at Terra’s house. I trust that no news is good news; best to be pragmatic.

The weather is beautiful again today. Mist is sleeping peacefully on the sofa, as the birds just outside our window serenade her. Mist is deaf. The birds do not know this.

I have no particular plans for the day. Of course there are the usual tasks, bed making, dish washing, cooking, sweeping, and such.

Tomorrow is another work day, my last scheduled work. It entails two hours of driving (at my own expense) and seven hours of work. The price of fuel is now so high that working at these locations has become untenable. Attila is urging me to hang up the towel, as the job is very stressful, entails a great deal of responsibility, is intrusive in our personal life, is increasingly complicated, and the returns are ever decreasing. There is little to no hope of advancement, or regular hours, contrary to what I was led to believe at hiring. The point at which the costs of transportation become greater than the pay cheque are fast approaching. It is a little unnerving, the thought of having no employment whatsoever, and no pension to speak of. But really, I am nearly in that position with this on-call job, so bowing out would merely remove the stress. The money I manage to make after travel expenses is infinitesimal. I think it is time to follow Attila’s advice.

The retirement years will not be golden for me, in a financial sense. Most younger people today will find themselves in the same predicament, in due course. It wasn’t that I didn’t save for my old age, I did, carefully and meticulously; it was that I had to spend my retirement savings to support my children, as a single parent with no safety net. There was nothing left when the job was done.

Although I do not feel bitter about this, I will not say that I feel happy about it either! Still, this allows us the opportunity to know, without any doubt whatsoever, that any attention we receive from our children is based purely on their affection for us; completely free of the fetters of dollars, cents, and financial assistance.

“Always look on the bright side of life,” as Brian would say.

Good old Brian. I can’t imagine life without Brian.

Worldly Distractions


Date: 9:00 AM EDT Monday 23 June 2014
Condition: Sunny
Pressure: 101.7 kPa
Visibility: 16 km
Temperature: 19.6°C
Dewpoint: 9.8°C
Humidity: 53%
Wind: SSE 13 km/h


“If you really want something, and really work hard, and take advantage of opportunities, and never give up, you will find a way.”
Jane Goodall

[I do not agree at all! I think that if you really want something, and really work hard, and take advantage of opportunities, and never give up, you have a chance to find a way. But only a chance; it isn’t a guarantee, it isn’t a certainty, that you will find a way. There is no magic bullet, no sure-fire formula. If you are one of the fortunate ones that does find a way as a result of your wanting and doing, it doesn’t mean that your experience is a universal truth. You didn’t necessarily want, or work any harder than others, who met with less spectacular results. The experience of personal success cannot be extrapolated into a magic formula. It is not true that if it “worked for me”, it will “work for you.” Life is too random for that. Lots of people, possibly millions of people, want, work hard, take advantage of opportunities, never give up… and do not find a way. Not finding a way, after all of that effort, may be the norm, and the finding of the way the shining and desirable rare event, enjoyed by few, sought by many. I will say though, that it is my experience that there are some wonderful things to be discovered along the way when you really want something, and really work hard, and take advantage of opportunities, and never give up… it is worth doing!]

Side by Side

Home Baked Bread December 2012

You know your closet reorganization has completely failed when five minutes after you finish you cannot find the clothes you wanted wear!

I will have to search through everything, find the items I want and then reorganize again. I hope I do a better job the second time round! We do not have a lot of storage space, and neither of us can part with our books, old clothes etc. It is challenging to keep on top of it all.

We had snow, a bad storm last Wednesday with tricky driving conditions. Today is the second day of remarkably mild weather and most of the snow has disappeared. The sun is not to be seen. Here it is 7:25 a.m., I’ve been up for hours and the light is just beginning to bring the trees outside the window into view.

Side by Side, my all time favorite song!!! My Grandparents had a wind up gramophone and an old 78 rpm recording of this song, loved it then, love it now. It was written in 1927, and still rings true.

We talked to Terra last night, she and Lares have a new addition to their family, a dog called Dash. They “rescued” him from the pound, he is a hound mix and very good natured Terra says. We will meet him on our next visit south. Terra and Lares continue to deal with immediate issues in their new house. Their new furnace was installed over the weekend, by Lares who is qualified to do so. They had been heating exclusively with wood, using conventional North American wood stoves, because the existing furnace would not run. Wood heat is a lot of work for people with jobs outside the home. I remember the traditional wood stoves weren’t too bad to deal with when one person was home, and on farms everyone worked on the property and so were around to keep things running as they should. Modern off-site employment makes heating with wood a real challenge.

I think when you have a “fixer upper”, like our little house in the city, the first years are focused on renovation as opposed to decoration. Renovating a house is far more time consuming and expensive than decorating a house; even more so when you are doing all the work yourself, while holding down full time jobs. Sweat equity is made up of… sweat. Cinderella’s fairy godmother is definitely not sprinkling stardust around with her wand to get the work done. Attila and I have found that patience and pacing are important if one is to maintain quality of life while doing our own renovating. We may never get as far as decorating! What’s worse I suppose is that we don’t care as long as we are “Just traveling along singing our song, Side by side”

Luna and Janus continue with their third renovation. They move frequently and seem to thrive on that kind of change. The home they are currently renovating is really cute, in a thriving city with lots of neighbourhoods full of young families. They have altered the floor plan of the house to change rooms from being cramped and dark to bright, beautiful and functional. If it was me, I wouldn’t want to move from such a wonderfully transformed house! Everyone is different though, and they are following their own dreams and plans.

Yesterday was filled with domestic activity here at home in the country house. The two loaves of bread I baked are back to my usual standard, tasty with a good crumb, slices well for sandwiches. This is the third batch since I started baking all our bread again, so it didn’t take too long to get back into the swing of things. I also baked a cranberry/apple crisp which I like for breakfast and snacks. Since we purchased a bushel of seconds, Spy apples, it made sense to use some of them for Mincemeat. I love Mincemeat, but cannot eat the commercial brands because they have so many additives in them. I went without for years and years until I discovered how to make my own Mincemeat. It is time consuming, tastes great and is full of good nutrients. It does contain sugar, salt and butter too, but at least these things would be well down on the ingredient list by volume or weight.

Worldly Distractions


11 °C
Condition:Light Rain
Pressure:101.1 kPa
Visibility:8 km
Humidity:93 %
Wind:S 17 km/h


“When you are on your deathbed, what others think of you is a long way from your mind. How wonderful to be able to let go and smile again, long before you are dying.”
Source: Bonnie Ware

Something to consider when overwhelmed by other people’s expectations. We are all just doing our best, when others fall short of their best, the kindest thing is to forgive and kindly go about doing things our own way.