Tuesday, October 24, 2017
The season turned last night. We have enjoyed incredibly mild, pleasant weather ever since Attila and I returned from our vacation in mid-September. This past weekend the daytime temperatures were over 20C. We have been enjoying the good weather to the fullest.
Last Saturday we packed tank with extra things, like a vacuum cleaner, and a dehumidifier, and drove off to to the bush early in the morning. A nicer day one could not ask for, the sun shone, the breeze gently rustled the autumn leaves that still clung to the trees, birds sang, and insects cavorted.
We worked hard on Saturday, an unexpected project caught our attention, and we dived into it with enthusiasm. A very large tree had been pushed over and then into the depression at the side of the driveway. It did not obstruct our activities, so it was low on our radar. But for some reason, on Saturday morning, I took a long stick and began to release the earth held so jealously by the fine woven roots. Soon a mound of loosened earth lay at the foot of the stump. Attila shovelled this into the wheelbarrow. I continued, sweetly sweating from morning and into the afternoon sun. We loosed eight wheelbarrows full of soft brown earth from the the twisted, interwoven roots. Each load was unloaded into a carefully chosen dip in the path to Winnie, making for more easily tread nocturnal journeys.
Although Attila could finally roll the stump upright, so light it had become, it has not been rolled to the wood pile beside the camp fire. That stump will demand devotion to burn in its entirety.
We built a camp fire late in the afternoon, and on this Attila cooked grilled cheese sandwiches. They are a rare treat these days, as I am subject to many dietary restrictions. I have discovered a lactose free cheese, which allows me to enjoy cheese occasionally; the cholesterol content is still of some concern.
Our camp fire burned on into the night. And oh, the stars, they seemed to shine just for us, so many and so bright. We could see our breath in the cold as it settled on the Camp, urging us ever closer to the bright flames of our fire.
And then we were to bed. The floor oh so cold on the stockinged foot, the sheets and pillows chilled. We both wore socks to bed, and me a hat. We slept soundly through the night, but for my trip in the early morning to use the facility… my bottomless bucket in the bush. Although it was cold, I sat for quite some time, mesmerized by the night, the silhouettes of tree tops that swayed ever so slightly, conspiring with the winking stars. I stayed so long, admiring the vault of the universe, that I returned to a chilled nest of blankets on the bed. Soon warm again, I slept until morning light.
Sunday was our day to make Grace The Trailer ready for the winter months to come. Attila prepared the slide out for retraction. It was covered with dead leaves, wet and dirty. I gathered all fabrics, bedding, towels, rugs, to bring home to Mist Cottage, to launder and store for the winter. I also gathered all food stuffs that would not freeze well, or were vulnerable to chewing rodents. Dry goods in sealed mason jars were left in the cupboard. The entire trailer was then vacuumed. Then, when all had been removed and piled outside the door, to be loaded into Tank, the dehumidifier was plugged in to remove whatever moisture was left from our sleeping bodies and food preparation. It removed only one half cup of moisture. Finally the door was shut and locked, perhaps not to be opened until April, 2018.
Grace The Trailer has a slide out. It was our intention to find a trailer without a slide out, as they are mechanized and add relatively vulnerability to the structure. The added living space is undeniably pleasant. It was a relief that the mechanical function of the slide out worked flawlessly. It does not sit entirely square though, once retracted, something we did not notice at time of purchase. It is of little consequence to us, as long as the mechanical aspect and the seal are working as they should. Grace The Trailer is, after all, sixteen years old, she is bound to have some issues related to aging.
Just as the sky began to cloud over, in the late afternoon, Tank was packed high, and it was time to be on our way home.
And here it is, Tuesday already! Yesterday was lovely and warm and sunny, which meant that the bedding and fabrics brought home from Grace The Trailer could be washed and hung out on the line to dry. Today all of these items are being folded and stored away until next April. In this tiny house, it is a challenge to discretely store all of the things which came home from Grace The Trailer. Some ingenuity, and not a little time, is required to get the job done.
Wednesday, October 25, 2017
Yesterday I had a nice long chat with a maternal second cousin once removed, who filled me in on his branch of the family history. His maternal Grandparents died long before he was born, they were very young, 37 and 44 years old, both suffering from tuberculosis. His paternal Grandmother passed away long before he was born, suffering from heart problems. His paternal Grandfather lived with his family and passed away at home, when my cousin was a small boy, three years of age. Grandparents are such a wonderful part of life, I can’t imagine my life without them in the world. It was interesting to hear the details of his family history. But it was even more fun talking to him and his wife, lovely people, we talked for hours.
During the summer baking is not practical, the oven heats the house, which is undesirable. The weather has just now turned cooler, it is muffin baking time once more. The first batch was baked Sunday evening, an experiment. I use a recipe with a core of ingredients, which remain the same, while some ingredients change. This particular batch was made with creamed corn, and the muffins were quite tasty, particularly when eaten with homemade chili sauce. The recipe is here, Corn Muffins.
The time-of-use hydro billing significantly interferes with the natural flow of my days. I like to bake whenever it fits into my daily activities, which are not on a particular schedule, but are rather spontaneous, one of the real pleasures of retirement. Unfortunately, the only time of day that I am awake, and it is practical to bake, is after 7:00 p.m. in the evening. I seldom have enthusiasm for kitchen activities this close to bedtime, it is always rushed, with only three hours to get the project into the oven, baked, then cooled sufficiently to store for the night. If and when technology affords itself an affordable solution to this time-of-use impediment, we will jump on it.
Thursday, October 26, 2017
This entry has been growing like a weed. I started it on Tuesday, and now Thursday afternoon has arrived and I am still muddling my way across the page. It is cold today, the sky was clear this morning, but has clouded over as the day progressed. I had a dental appointment, as the issues are still not completely resolved. I suspect I’ll be going back again next week, after the swelling goes down. The book is coming along today, funny how one little piece of information can turn into an avalanche. The notes I took during my telephone conversation on Tuesday were scanned as images, as a reference, and only half of the details are transcribed into the database.
I’ll end this long post with a few pictures from our last camping trip of the season, at the Rideau Camp last weekend.
The tree tops were striped and bare, but closer to the ground the bright leaves clung still to the trees. They were brilliant when the sun came out, just after this photograph was taken.
The stump, after Attila managed to roll it out of the bush. I loosened enough earth from the roots to fill the wheelbarrow eight times, which Attila shovelled, and dumped in low spots on the path to Winnie (the outhouse). I was stiff for two days afterwards, and it felt good.
The camp fire, over which we grilled cheese sandwiches, and around which we sat until the stars were bright in the dark sky, and we could see our breath in the chill of the night. On the upper left some of the earth we took from the roots of the stump can be seen, levelling a low spot.
Date: 10:00 AM EDT Tuesday 24 October 2017
Condition: Mostly Cloudy
Pressure: 100.4 kPa
Dew point: 14.4°C
Wind: SSE 18 km/h
Visibility: 24 km
Date: 3:00 PM EDT Wednesday 25 October 2017
Condition: Partly Cloudy
Pressure: 100.6 kPa
Dew point: 4.1°C
Wind: SW 22 gust 33 km/h
Visibility: 24 km
Date: 3:00 PM EDT Thursday 26 October 2017
Condition: Mostly Cloudy
Pressure: 101.0 kPa
Dew point: 1.6°C
Wind: W 23 gust 34 km/h
Visibility: 24 km
“In a mad world only the mad are sane.”
1910 – 1998