Small Moments

November 3, 2016

6:43 a.m.

Attila let me sleep until almost 6 a.m. this morning, so that my routines are offset by about an hour. It is dark outside, and impossible to tell what weather the day will bring. With my chair in its new position, I can watch the morning sky brighten.

Attila now leaves for work in the dark, but arrives home before darkness falls. There is psychological benefit to spending time at home in daylight hours. Yesterday afternoon when Attila arrived home from work there remained enough daylight that he could saw off a dead branch on the tree in the back yard, section it, and bundle it for the upcoming yard waste pickup. We don’t take wood removed from trees to the Rideau Camp, in case it harbours harmful insects, like the Emerald Ash Borer. I would prefer to burn it in situ, but there are bylaws in this town against burning on one’s property.

The fallen leaves are mulched by our lawn mower. When I was here by myself two autumns ago, I just mowed over the leaves and left them where they were. By the time the grass grew in the spring there was no sign of them. Attila gathers them as he mows them, in the bag at the back of the lawn mower, and into the compost pile they go. We have a compost pile for yard waste in a corner of the yard, and a black plastic compost bin for kitchen waste. Since we eat a lot of vegetables, the kitchen compost is almost full, and will soon need to be emptied. Perhaps we will need a second compost bin.

7:11 a.m.

I am sitting with my morning coffee, wondering why it is that I can’t regard things as disposable. With some exceptions, like fingernail clippings and used toilet paper, I feel everything is worth either keeping in case it will be useful, or giving away to someone who can use it. Not everyone feels this way.

The sky is still dark through the living room windows. Dawn won’t be long in coming now.

7:25 a.m.

I glanced up from this screen to find the faint silhouette of the branches discernable through my windows. I love trees. The day has arrived without fanfare.

9:15 a.m.

The rain is coming down slow and steady. The Tamarack needles have turned a bright yellow, though none have yet fallen.

The Tamaracks are at last turning colour, and will soon be bare.

7:00 p.m.

The day slipped by without incident. I went for a walk during a break in the rain. I tried something new for my lunch, pressed cottage cheese and pineapple, dismal failure, ate it anyway. I collected the newspaper in its plastic bag from the end of the driveway. You get the drift, the smallness of my moments overwhelmed the day, as they do on all the best days.

Worldly Distractions


Date: 7:00 PM EDT Thursday 3 November 2016
Condition: Not observed
Pressure: 101.7 kPa
Tendency: Rising
Temperature: 10.6°C
Dew point: 7.3°C
Humidity: 80%
Wind: NW 12 km/h


“Computers are useless. They can only give you answers.”
Pablo Picasso
1881 – 1973

Yard Waste Pickup

The morning brought the sunshine, and it was a welcome sight. It was 5C this morning, when I opened the kitchen curtains to peer out at the thermometer. The day slowly warmed, and by mid afternoon it was quite pleasant.

The municipality where we live conducts a spring yard waste pickup. It will take place this week. During the winter a large branch of the Crabapple Tree in the front yard snapped off and lay suspended in the remaining tree branches. Today Attila took his tree saw and removed branches from it, until it fell to the ground. Then the cleanup began, which took all morning. Finally all the branches were bundled, the twigs gathered up and bagged in paper yard waste bags, and it was all piled at the end of the driveway, ready for yard waste pickup.

Looking out into the sunny back yard this morning, hundreds and hundreds of bright yellow dandelion blooms smiled right back at me. We have neighbours on three sides of us, and they don’t have dandelions in their lawns, which means they are using chemicals of some kind. I don’t want to use chemicals on our lawn. We have had the place for almost six years now, and not a drop of chemical fertilizer, insecticide, or herbicide, has come anywhere near our yard. That means that whatever grows in our yard is for practical purposes organically grown. Why destroy that for the sake of getting rid of a few dandelions. I do spray Wild Parsnip with the vinegar/epsom salt/dawn detergent mixture, so there have been three or four small spots that have been sprayed. But we don’t consider that mixture to be toxic to the environment, or to us.

This is the branch of the Crabapple tree that broke off last winter. Until this morning it hung suspended about 15 feet off the ground. Attila removed smaller branches from it until it came crashing down. It took hours to clean it up, and a chain saw was needed to cut the thick wood into logs. It is all by the curb now, ready for yard waste pickup.
Crabapple branch down
Not all pictures portray the best of me. I have my doubts that this particular selfie will attract a wide range of admirers. Giant Maggie in May, it is interesting how shadows can show us a completely different side to ourselves.
Giant maggie in may
The needles on the Tamarack in the back yard are bursting out, but still dwarfed by the seed cones. I love Tamaracks. We didn’t have any Tamaracks on our tender fruit farm, so I was late in becoming familiar with them. They shed their needles in the fall, the same as deciduous trees shed their leaves in the fall.
The first time I had seen them was around 1970, spotted during a drive to visit my Granny and Grandpa. I remember commenting to my Grandpa that there were a lot of dead coniferous trees along the road. He thought that was hilarious! Of course, they were Tamaracks. He teased me about dead coniferous trees for years, and I’ve never forgotten that Tamaracks shed their needles.

Worldly Distractions


Date: 1:00 PM EDT Tuesday 3 May 2016
Condition: Mostly Cloudy
Pressure: 101.2 kPa
Tendency: falling
Visibility: 24 km
Temperature: 12.4°C
Dewpoint: 3.7°C
Humidity: 55%
Wind: ESE 18 km/h


“The struggle of man against power is the struggle of memory against forgetting”
Milan Kundera
1929 –
The Book of Laughter and Forgetting (1975)