What I Get Up To

purple ball in the back yard called wallyball

This is the purple ball that blew into our yard some time ago. It blows from place to place with the passing winds, and I enjoy watching what it is up to. Attila has named it Wallyball.

chimes hanging on the back porch

These are chimes I bought at the dollar store. They pass along whispered messages from the wind. I love them.

perper lunch bags containing seeds haning on the clothsline

These paper lunch bags contain seed heads from the Cosmos, the Giant Marigolds, and the Marigolds. The bags are labelled and hanging out to dry. This method of drying seeds seems to be working rather well!

Giant Marigolds, yellow, and Cosmos, White

These Giant Marigolds are so very beautiful! Behind them are Cosmos. I am really enjoying the flowers this year!

clump of wild flowers, small white flowers, left standing as the lawn was mowed around them

When Attila mowed the lawn this week, he left a bouquet of flowers just for me. This bouquet sits prominently in the middle of the back yard! It is the little things.

nasturiums

The Nasturtiums are doing very well, nestled up against the compost bin. I have been plucking the blooms, washing them, then popping them into my mouth. They taste sweet and peppery. I love them, the way they look, and the way they taste!

Canning assembly line.

The tomato canning assembly line. Top to bottom, the tomatoes were washed in a sink in cold water, then set in the next sink to drain, then cut into pieces on the cutting board, then placed in a large pot (in which they were boiled until soft), then ladled into a food mill which was placed on the 16 quart stock pot.  The tomato skins that were removed from the food mill were placed in the white bowl.

tomato puree

Cooking the tomato puree, in the 16 quart pot. The smaller pot was used for boiling water to sterilize the jars, rings, lids, and attachments for canning.

tomato skins spread out in pan and cleaned egg-shell on small plate

The tomato skins, having been dried in a warm oven, in a pan lined with a silicon sheet, and an egg-shell, drying on a plate. The tomato skins were separated from the pulp using the food mill, then spread in the pan and dried at 200F in the oven, off and on, over the course of a few days. All egg shells are cleaned and dried, then crushed to use as a soil amendment.

jars of tomatoes on kitchen counter

The results of the canning marathon! 12 one litre jars of Tomato Puree. And there is my All American Pressure Canner, resting after all its hard work, and behind it the Instant pot, waiting patiently to prepare our dinner.

Attila’s ankle is getting better, bit by bit, day by day. He will begin physiotherapy soon, and hopefully that will help alleviate the pain. He has two issues, one an injury to his back, and the other an old injury that has been flaring up in his ankle. He seems to be able to control the pain using Voltaran (Diclofenac) rubbed on his ankle, this allows him to sleep at night. I think that applying this locally is much better for him than taking Ibuprofen tablets, as those could affect his stomach.

Yesterday was very hot and muggy, and it did not cool down much during the night. It was, and still is, very windy. The wind toppled the Giant Marigold plants, and one of the Cosmos plants. They were then staked, and fingers are crossed that the plants will suffer no ill effects.

The garden continues to yield a small but steady harvest of tiny tomatoes. They are washed and frozen after they are harvested, to be processed all at once when the harvest season is over, and any green tomatoes have ripened. A total harvest of about two six-quart baskets is anticipated. The tomatoes from our garden will be organic tomatoes, heritage varieties, no GMO.

Last night we ate a quick supper of leftover Lebanese Instant Pot Beef and Green Beans over rice, then loaded the car and headed out to Grace the trailer. On the last visit Attila applied Mouse Free compound to the undercarriage of the trailer, and I set out numerous cotton balls infused with Peppermint Essential Oil. Two bucket type mouse traps were set and left to catch any remaining mice in Grace.

I looked for an image of the setup for the mouse trap, and found only one image, which included the deceased mice, which I didn’t need to see, and probably you don’t either. All of the other bucket mouse traps were more elaborate than ours, involving beer or pop cans. They may be more efficient, I don’t know. I am very happy with the efficacy of the trap we set. The first time we set it we caught two mature mice, while the traditional snap traps were all empty.

To create the Mouse Trap that works for us:

Materials
5 gallon bucket
two tablespoons peanut butter
table knife
water
piece of wood for a ramp

Instructions
Using the table knife, smear peanut butter horzontally to the inside of the bucket about six inches down from the rim.  A one inch by three inch smear works nicely. Pour water into the bucket to a level about in inch below the peanut butter.  Place the wood as a ramp up to the rim of the bucket, resting  just above the smeared peanut butter.  I make sure the ramp rests just on the rim, firmly.  Check occasionally for dead mice.

When I opened the door to Grace last night, I knew from the smell that we had caught mice. They must have passed away the first night we were gone, more than a week ago. In this heat, well, it wasn’t pleasant. Four mice were caught in the living room. There were no mice caught in the boot or in the bathroom traps. Although less humane, the bucket allows for much easier clean up. We burn or bury the mice we catch in the trailer, because we have warfarin laid out. It is undesirable that animals further up the food chain eat any of the mice caught in the trailer. The trap was washed with bleach, sun-dried, reloaded and set back in place, in case there are any more mice in the trailer.

When Attila applied the Mouse Free he found two hidden entry points that hadn’t been located or blocked previously. Those entry points were plugged, so that in theory any mice in the trailer from that time forth would be trapped there. The Mouse Free, in theory again, will repel further attempts by mice to enter the trailer. We are hoping that the recently trapped four mice were the last mice in the trailer.

We sat under the trees at the Camp until dark, letting the trailer air out. It was hot, humid, and windy. A flock of geese flew overhead, in V formation, heading away from the lake, probably to a nearby wetland to shelter for the night, or perhaps they would press on. It is getting to be that time of year, when the geese begin thinking of migration. Oh how I love the quiet of the bush.

Worldly

Weather

26°C
Date: 10:00 AM EDT Wednesday 29 August 2018
Condition: Partly Cloudy
Pressure: 101.1 kPa
Tendency: Falling
Temperature: 26.2°C
Dew point: 23.9°C
Humidity: 87%
Wind: S 25 km/h
Humidex: 37
Visibility: 24 km

Quote

“It is impossible to live without failing at something, unless you live so cautiously that you might as well not lived at all. In which case, you’ve failed by default.”
J. K. Rowling

Roof Vent

We set the mouse traps with peanut butter last night, placing one of them in the kitchen sink. Sure enough, when we got up this morning there was a dead mouse in the trap. I think we may have more mice, so the traps are going out again and again until weeks go by without catching any mice.

It was like summer here at Mist Cottage today! Attila spent the day removing the old roof vent on Iris the trailer, and installing a new one. It was a long, painstaking procedure, as each step needed to be done very carefully to ensure a good seal. While Attila worked on Iris, I raked pine cones from the front yard. The pine tree in our front yard is shedding a lot of pine cones this year, so it was a big job.

It was nice to be out of doors for the day. One of the things I enjoy about our little neighbourhood here at Mist Cottage is chatting with the neighbours. I stopped my raking twice to chat with friendly neighbours, learning more about their lives and interests.

It was disappointing to hear our neighbour two doors down, a retired gentleman who is very fussy about his yard, dressing down the young father who lives next door to us. The young couple next door have their own way of looking at things, and they are often a bit messy about the yard. They do make some effort, the husband was out raking his back yard yesterday. But that was not good enough the young man’s other neighbour. We could hear the older man loudly criticizing the young man, who responded that he had done yard work yesterday. The fact that the young man offered a relatively polite response speaks well of his character; he owed the older man no response at all. It was sad to hear such silliness going on. Attila and I made a point of being friendly with the young couple a few hours later, when they were getting their sons into the car to go out somewhere.

We also managed to hang out a large load of laundry this morning, which dried completely by early evening. It makes for a lot less clutter in a small house when the drying lines are outside instead of inside.

And… we had the windows open for the first time this spring!

Attila’s project, removing the old roof vent. A big hole was left when the roof vent came out, and Attila took advantage of that. He stood on a stool and stood up through the hole in the roof to remove the old butyl tape and caulking, and clean the area.
Roof vent opening
The end result, a new roof vent for Iris. Now she can be left without the tarp draped over her to protect her from the rain. It will be much easier for me to get in and out of her now, to continue my cleaning project.
Roof vent installed
Our Hoya is in bloom. The Hoya does not bloom often. Although I find the flowers quite beautiful, I do not care for the strong scent.
Hoya bloom
The Lungwort is in bloom in the front garden at Mist Cottage. I stop to look at it frequently when I am outside, blooming flowers are such a welcome sight.
Lungwort
At the Rideau Camp on Saturday I found these blooms in the forest, Mayflowers. My Mom used to send us out into the bush in the spring, to search for the first Mayflowers. It was always a time of great excitement.
Mayflowers

Worldly Distractions

Weather

16°C (our thermometer read 22C)
Date: 5:00 PM EDT Sunday 17 April 2016
Condition: Partly Cloudy
Pressure: 102.8 kPa
Tendency: falling
Visibility: 24 km
Temperature: 16.4°C
Dewpoint: 2.5°C
Humidity: 39%
Wind: S 20 km/h

Quote

“If you don’t know where you are going, any road will take you there.”
Lewis Carroll
1832 – 1898