Tree Felling At The Rideau Camp

What a beautiful weekend we had. Saturday and Sunday were bright and sunny and warm.

On Friday evening we packed Tank and headed out to the Rideau Camp. Packing is now done from a list, and a running list is kept at both ends of our journey, one for items to take to the Camp, and one for items to bring back to Mist Cottage. Slowly Grace The Trailer is being outfitted so that few items besides clean clothing, food, and beverages will need to be brought with us. The evening at the Camp was spent organizing the items that had been packed.

Although the temperature was cool Friday overnight, we were warm enough and slept well and comfortably. I awoke at dawn, just before the birds, and could hear the light rain that ended just as the birds began to call. By the time Attila awoke, and we breakfasted, the sky was blue and the sun was peeking over the ridge in the bush, filtering and sparkling through the raindrop laden leaves.

Last weekend the lot preparations for placing Grace The Trailer began. Attila needed to fell eight 45 foot tall trees to clear the area where she will be placed. It was a project that took two days, and even so there are still branches and logs left to stack. Attila worked very hard all weekend.

Usually I start a camp fire first thing in the morning, to burn brush. However, I was on a mission Saturday morning, visiting the local building supply store in search of patio stones. I was in luck, they were on sale! I purchased eight, two by two foot patio stones. The fellow loaded the in to Tank for me, and I secured them with two ratchet straps. Attila unloaded them at the Rideau Camp, placing four of them on the prepared bed in Winnie the outhouse, to give us a clean floor for our compost toilet setup. The other four were placed at the foot of the entrance to Grace The Trailer, saving us from having to remove our work boots on the crushed stone, which is quite sharp and hard on a stockinged foot.

After changing back into my work clothing, I noticed a huge number of tent caterpillars climbing our trees, headed for their dinner, the leaves. Not able to reach most of them with a spray bottle, I opted for a long stick, to reach up and crush them against the bark of the trees. In addition, an extremely long stick was used to destroy the caterpillars up to 20 feet high on the trunks of trees. Little did I know when I began with a few patches of these pests, that I would spend the entire two day weekend killing tent caterpillars, stumbling through the bush, sticks raised above my head and brought into contact with the tree trunks strategically. What a job! Even as we left the Camp on Sunday afternoon, we stopped Tank on the driveway to destroy a few hundred caterpillars on a tree I had missed over the weekend.

All of Sunday evening, Sunday night, and Monday, if I closed my eyes, I saw tent caterpillars!

The weather was perfect throughout the visit. Saturday afternoon I did start a camp fire, managing to burn a few dead trees that I had pulled down and dragged out of the bush while killing caterpillars, and parts of a tree stump and roots from a long ago uprooted tree. Attila felled all of the trees safely, and they all came down where he wanted them to, well away from Grace The Trailer. He did a great job. We sat around the camp fire as evening fell, waiting for the stars, which came in faint as the sky was bright late into the evening. To our surprise we saw the silhouettes of a few bats flying high above us. Bats are a welcome sight, they eat a lot of mosquitoes! We were very tired from our efforts of the day, so we went to bed early.

Sometime during the night I heard three loud beeps. I got out of bed, turned on the lantern, and went to investigate. It was our refrigerator, I couldn’t figure out what was wrong with just the lantern, so I turned it off. In the morning we surmised that the battery that runs the LED control panel had died. We also discovered that one of our two propane tanks was empty. We brought the empty propane tank home with us on Sunday, and took it to be refilled on Monday evening, to discover that it expired in 2001! The tanks that came with Grace The Trailer cannot be filled. Since the people we bought it from used it to tour the US, they probably had not tried to fill the propane tanks in Canada, where they are more tightly regulated. We will need to purchase new propane tanks.

Sunday Attila cut the branches from the felled trees, stacked the branches, sectioned the trunks and stacked most of them. I continued to destroy tent caterpillars. The day was very, very windy, so that often tent caterpillars would fall from the branches on to me, it was their unlucky day. It was too windy to contemplate a campfire.

Our cleared area at the Camp has expanded, letting in more sunshine, allowing more air movement. We now have a big sunny area to enjoy, and so do the dragonflies. Dragonflies eat mosquitoes. I love dragonflies. To be honest, the mosquitoes have not been too bad so far this year at the Camp. They were much worse last spring, which is surprising because this spring has been so wet.

We discovered that someone had cut down one of our trees along the road, a beautiful cedar tree, to gain access to our property for their ATVs. We really need to get the No Trespassing signs up! Cutting down a tree on private property is really going over the top in my opinion, we suspect someone local. The felled trunks were laid carefully to provide a “track” over a wet spot, so it was a very deliberate action. Also, while we were working on Sunday, a young male on a golf cart came merrily up the driveway to explore. When he saw Attila he apologized, turned around, and left. We really, really need to get the No Trespassing signs up! I doubt any of the young males will return on their vehicles, but the tree felling was done with a chain saw, and is not the work of young adventurous males, an adult had to be involved with that intrusion. If we see any more such activity by adults, we will contact the authorities. Sometimes it is not much of a stretch to think of people as animals.

We arrived home Sunday evening tired, and happy with our progress over the weekend!

Worldly Distractions

Weather

21°C
Date: 7:00 AM EDT Tuesday 13 June 2017
Condition: Mostly Cloudy
Pressure: 101.3 kPa
Tendency: Rising
Temperature: 21.0°C
Dew point: 18.6°C
Humidity: 86%
Wind: N 6 km/h
Humidex: 27
Visibility: 16 km

Quote

“If you cannot convince them, confuse them.”
Harry S Truman
1884 – 1972

Perhaps the one who shall not be named has taken advice from a page of the Democratic Party book.

A Perfect Weekend

Not everyone gets along with the ex-husbands/wives.

My first marriage was more than regrettable. I don’t hold a grudge, but I also don’t want to spend time with people who make me unhappy. My ex, and his ex, and his other ex, and his current wife all make me unhappy. I bit the bullet for Terra’s wedding, and attended, even though my ex also attended with his current wife. There was civility. He took videos of me from the other side of the dance floor, thinking he wasn’t noticed. Totally creepy.

So, when Terra said she was having a huge first birthday party for Sunny and Sky on Saturday, and asked if it was OK with me if she invited my ex and his wife, I said yes, if we weren’t at the party at the same time. I agreed to come early, and leave early, to accommodate his schedule. I did this for Terra, as she said it meant a lot to her to have him there. Terra let me know on Thursday that he had decided to come early to help them setup, and to stay late, attending all the hours of the party. I told her we would drop by sometime this week, and wished her well with her party, we did not attend. It seems that passive aggression won the day. Compared to the insanities of the past, this is a small bit of silliness, with no police and no lawyers involved. I think I am mentioning this situation to clarify that all is not rosy in my world, there are pockets of misery that I do not dwell on, but that are an ongoing source of pain and disappointment. What I will say is, be very, very, very careful who you have children with girls!!

On Thursday our plans for the weekend changed. We spent the evening packing Tank with all sorts of things to be kept in Grace the trailer at the Rideau Camp. Things like bandaids, and plastic bags etc. Friday I prepared clothing for a weekend at the Rideau Camp, spraying some pants, overalls, shirts, and socks to ward of mosquitoes, black flies, and ticks.

DSCF0715 The clothing to be sprayed with a 10% permethrin solution were laid out on the back lawn in the back yard. After donning a long sleeved work shirt, long pants, rubber boots, a cap, latex gloves and a breathing mask, one side of the clothing was sprayed, mindful of the occasional breeze. Then the clothing was turned over to accommodate spraying the other side. The clothing was hung until completely dry, then folded, and packed for our Rideau Camp visits.

On Friday we were loaded and off to the Camp as soon as Attila got home from work. We arrived with plenty of daylight left to unload Tank, and store all the items we had brought with us in Grace. Because our plans changed so quickly, and I was feeling a little distracted by the way in which the change had come about, I didn’t pay a lot of attention to the food situation. I had planned on only one meal on Saturday night, as we would have headed for the Camp when we left Terra’s party. So, our meals for the weekend were, shall we say, spartan. While I organized things inside Grace, Attila got a camp fire burning, and after a quick supper consisting of cheese and crackers and muffins, we enjoyed sitting around the campfire until the stars came out.

It was a beautiful night Friday night. The bright moon peeked out from behind varied layers of racing clouds, occasionally stepping right out onto an un-curtained stage. The fire warmed us as it threw dancing shadows into the forest. We could hear coyotes nearby. The air gradually became crisp and sharp with each intake of breath.

After putting out the camp fire we retired to our bed. Changing into cold night clothes was shocking, but we soon warmed under our comforters. I wore a beanie to bed, and we both wore socks. Still, I awoke several times in the night, cold, having uncovered an arm, or a bit of shoulder. The temperature fell below 8C, very cool for sleeping. I should have brought my hooded sweater with me, it is great for sleeping when it is really cold, as it retains the heat around my head, neck, and shoulders. But alas, I had not thought to bring it!

Saturday morning brought the sun, and milder temperatures. It was a beautiful day. I arose many hours before Attila, so I sat with a cup of hot coffee, and watched four blue jays foraging for food on the forest floor right outside the window. Then I headed outside. I started a camp fire, burning it bright and hot for the day’s work. When Attila arose we ate a quick breakfast of morning rounds (bread) and coffee, and began our day of projects. Attila gathered and brought to the wood pile all of the branches he had trimmed off the trees to accommodate getting Grace onto the property. The branches were green, with green leaves, and pine needles, so that they needed careful tending as they burned. Leaves and pine needles burn brightly, and lightly, so that hot bits of ash will rise up out of the fire pit. It is important to monitor them all, to make sure no flames exist outside the fire pit. Since it had rained recently, everything was wet, and there was almost no danger. But still, I kept a close eye. My day was spent tending the camp fire, with small forays to perform other short tasks.

There were a lot of tent caterpillars crawling in swarms on our trees. We killed them with long sticks, and continued to kill them as we found them for the entire visit. Attila used a weed killer to spray poison ivy that had invaded our property along the entrance driveway. I spent some time searching for, pulling out, and burning brambles and wild grape. The brambles make moving around on the property unpleasant, as they are quite barbed. The wild grape grows up trees and eventually kills them. I also had to empty the tote where we keep our humanure buckets, which were totally undisturbed. A colony of big black ants had decided the tote would be a wonderful place to establish a nest, I thought otherwise. I took the tote and emptied the ants into the forest where they belong.

In keeping with our continued vigilance against domestic intrusions, Attila spent a great part of the day working on the exterior underbelly of Grace, putting steel wool in larger entry points, and caulking smaller entry points.

Attila filled a pothole that had developed near the culvert in the driveway. He also whipper snipped to the end of the driveway and along the road in front of the property.

As we worked the sun shone, the birds sang, the wind blew, the sparse clouds raced across the sky, and the leaves whispered home. A pair of beautiful hawks flew over us, screeching, clearly disturbed about something. We do not recognize many of the bird calls, unless we see the birds. There were four very loud blue jays who travelled above us, stopping to inspect our activities. We heard pileated woodpeckers deep in the forest, and owls. As usual a pair of turkey vultures flew over head to see what we were up to, checking for any possibility of a meal. And of course, as evening drew near, the crows began to gather in one of the huge oak trees near the back of our property, they are always very loud.

Our dinner consisted of bean burritos that Attila prepared from the homemade refried beans, and homemade salsa, all sodium free, which we brought with us. We decided to let the camp fire die early in the evening, so that we could enjoy an early night. As dusk fell we retreated to Grace. I changed into my night clothes at that point, as it was still relatively warm, and so avoided a repeat performance of donning chilled garments at bed time. We slept well and soundly through the night, warm and comfortable at around 11C.

Sunday we awoke to cloudy skies. We spent our morning stacking firewood, Attila, and pulling brambles, me. We also came to a decision about where we will place Grace on our property. Before we move her, a half dozen trees will need to be felled, and several more loads of crushed stone will be needed to level the site. All in good time, she is fine where she is for now.

After lunch it was time to go home. A steady, all-day rain had set in. We arrived home in time to do laundry and cook a nice hot chicken dinner.

It was a perfect weekend.

All the while I continue to work on my crochet projects. Last week I began a kitchen hand towel, to hang from the oven door handle. We had one that I bought at a Church Bazaar years and years ago, and wore it out. I finished it this morning, and love it! Now to make one for Grace, and one for Iris, our two old trailers.

DSCF0717 My latest crochet project completed. A kitchen towel, that will hang from the oven door. We use this towel to dry our hands, as we go about with various kitchen tasks. This began from a pattern, which I found beyond my skill set, so I altered the pattern, using the lemon peel stitch for the towel, and single crochet for the tab. I am finding that crochet offers an opportunity for constant learning!

Worldly Distractions

Weather

14°C
Date: 9:00 AM EDT Monday 5 June 2017
Condition: Mostly Cloudy
Pressure: 100.6 kPa
Tendency: Rising
Temperature: 14.2°C
Dew point: 12.6°C
Humidity: 90%
Wind: NE 11 km/h
Visibility: 24 km

Quote

“Reality is the leading cause of stress amongst those in touch with it.”
Jane Wagner

Heat Wave

We headed to the Rideau Camp with Iris in tow after Attila arrived home from work on Friday night.

There is a complete fire ban in force at the moment, so there was no campfire. That worked out perfectly, because it was far to hot to even think about being near the heat of a camp fire. Things are dry in Eastern Ontario, very, very, very dry. It would not surprise me that if we do not get rain soon, it will be called a drought. As we drove home from the Rideau Camp we passed large lawns that were brown and dead.

The temperature was too hot for me by 11 a.m. on Saturday morning, and the same thing happened again this morning. The humidity was high, always a potent combination with hot temperatures. Attila is not bothered by the heat, he just kept on working around the camp, happy as a clam. I sat in the shade, closed my eyes, and waited for the day to be over.

While we sat at the picnic table at the Camp on Friday night, eating our dinner, we heard something travelling through the bush behind the table. We looked into the bush and not twenty feet away stood a deer, staring right back at us. It stood for about a minute watching us, then continued on its way.

The projects I tackled at the camp were to cut branches from the trees from the bottom up, so that the lowest branches were well over my head, and I could walk through the forest without ducking. I did this to about a depth of 20 feet into the bush around the perimeter of the camping area. Attila took over after 11 a.m., to remove the smaller trees that formed the underbrush in the same area around the camp. This serves several purposes. It provides us with more “living space”. There is no place for the mosquitoes to lurk, so that they must venture into the open to attack us, which makes them vulnerable to dragonflies. I love dragonflies, and we have plenty of them at the Rideau Camp. Another advantage of keeping the underbrush under control, is that there isn’t as much danger of coming into contact with the wood ticks, and apparently they are very bad in the area this year. The removal of the underbrush also allows for easier air flow, so the breezes flow through the area more freely.

When Attila removed the smaller trees, I requested that he save the trunks for me, as I wanted to try using them. He did so. I chose three trees that formed a line, then began to weave the fresh small diameter trunks around the three trees to create a crude wattle wall. It will provide limited visual protection for our compost bucket toilet.

Thankfully, after the blistering hot days, the nights cooled to about 17C. We slept in t-shirts, with light sheets and were quite comfortable. Because I was so overheated from the heat of the day, the battery operated fan was a huge help in cooling my core body temperature so that I could sleep. My new air mattress was a big success. I had 30 year old closed cell foam pads from my tent camping days with the kids, so I took two of them and put one on both Attila’s and my trailer cushion. Attila’s said it was noticeably more comfortable for him. On my cushion I placed the foam pad, with the new air mattress on top of it. It was very comfortable, more comfortable than the 4 inches of memory foam I had tried previously. I can tell you that in the heat wave I was more than a little thankful that I had removed the memory foam and used the air mattress!

My new sandals worked well, and this weekend was a real test. I wore them to work in the bush in the mornings, and my feet were comfortable, my footing sound, and there were no issues with toes stubbing, or sticks injuring my feet. I wore socks sprayed with permethrin, which kept insects from bothering my feet through the openings in the sandals. The sandals were warm to wear in the heat, but any footwear would have been. They were definitely bearable in the heat, which is a vast improvement on rubber boots.

I discovered an interesting thing about clothing sprayed with permethrin. We have had 100% success keeping insects from biting us through clothing sprayed with permethrin. But that is because we have only sprayed clothing made of plain woven cotton cloth. On Friday I sprayed a pair of stretch pants, thinking they would be more comfortable in the heat. It was a big mistake. Once the fabric was stretched while wearing it, the mosquitoes had no trouble at all finding my delicate flesh. It only took a few mosquito bites to send me into Iris to change into my woven cotton pants, which worked to keep the bites at bay.

There were lots of tent caterpillars, and Attila destroyed every nest of them that he found on our property. As well there were swarms of army worms on some of our trees, and again Attila destroyed every swarm that we found.

Another discovery made on this trip to the Rideau Camp, is that crows are one of the most annoying birds I have ever come across. At 5:05 a.m., on Saturday morning and this morning, hundreds of crows gathered in the treetops not far from our camp area. Then they began to caw, together, in unison, at each other… it was a cacophony no human could sleep through. Their concert lasted for about 45 minutes. The only time they were silent during the concert was when an owl hooted; there was a sudden hush, a long pause, and the crows started up again. And then suddenly they dispersed, flying off in all directions.

We checked on our composting toilet this weekend, and it is working as it should, no odour, no interference from animals. The next step is to build the composting bins. We have chosen our location carefully, far from the well and the camp fire area, and in an area with deep soil suitable for a base. We have decided that our compost will sit for four years after the bin is full, rather than the recommended two, because it will be frozen for six months of the year. We plan on using the compost to enrich the soil for ornamentals.

On Saturday night we were surrounded by fireflies, what fun! They danced around Iris, and provided great entertainment, which was welcome as we could not have a camp fire.

We enjoyed our weekend, but I did not enjoy the heat of the day during the heat wave on Saturday and Sunday. It will be easier to tolerate the heat in July and August, when the mosquitoes have died down and protective clothing no longer has to be worn.

This is the Rideau Camp early in May. There is a lot of undergrowth and walking through the woods involves contact with leaves, lots of leaves.
May 3 Rideau camp
This is the same area of the camp as shown in the last photo. The branches have been trimmed from the bottom up, so that one can walk underneath the lowest branches left on the trees. The beauty of this approach to opening up an area for human use, is that it does not affect the tree canopy, although it does affect the forest floor. We notice that the dragonflies like it a lot, and that the birds don’t seem to notice any difference at all.
DSCF8682
This is my crude wattle wall, built from the culled small tree trunks we took from the same area. It is of limited use, but I had fun building it. I did not use stakes, but the trunks of three live trees as the warp for my weaving.
DSCF8657
These might be the tallest dandelion flower heads I have ever seen, they were just over two feet high. Not exactly the bumper crop of my dreams, but interesting.
DSCF8654

Worldly Distractions

Weather

32°C
Date: 2:00 PM EDT Sunday 29 May 2016
Condition: Mostly Cloudy
Pressure: 101.6 kPa
Tendency: falling
Visibility: 19 km
Temperature: 22.2°C
Dewpoint: 18.3°C
Humidity: 78%
Wind: S 16 km/h
Humidex: 41

Today
Increasing cloudiness near noon. 30 percent chance of showers late this afternoon with risk of a thunderstorm. Wind southwest 20 km/h gusting to 40. High 29 except 22 near Lake Ontario. UV index 8 or very high.

Tonight
Mainly cloudy. 40 percent chance of showers this evening and after midnight with risk of a thunderstorm. Wind southwest 20 km/h gusting to 40 becoming light before morning. Low 16.

Quote

“Children should feel loved because they exist, not because they’ve behaved in a certain way.”
Julie A., M.A. Ross and Judy Corcoran

I think this is a statement that must work two ways, to say also that parents should feel loved because they exist, not because they’ve behaved in a certain way.

How many diatribes by the young have I read and heard, in newspaper articles and blogs, criticizing their parents for not being what they “should” be or should have been, for not living up to the adult child’s expectations; these are children that grew up in loving homes, who did not experience real want or need. Elder abuse is a social problem, too often committed by the elderly person’s children.