April Snow Showers

It was raining when I arose early this morning. The earth and things that grow in the earth needed the moisture, it was getting very dry. Shortly before 10:00 a.m. the rain turned to sleet, and then soon thereafter into snow. The snow melted on contact, there was no accumulation. The wind came up, and it was biting cold outside. By noon the sun was trying to peek out from behind the clouds, but it was still just above freezing. By the time Attila was awake and moving around the wind had died down and there wasn’t a cloud in the sky.

Last Friday Attila split and transplanted three lilac bushes. The idea is to have them growing between our yard and view across the back neighbour’s yard out to the street on the other side. Attila also transplanted day lilies to a spot along the back fence, and prepared a sunny bed at the back of the yard for the Irises, which we transplanted from the front of the house when we had the perimeter of the basement dug up. We want to plant vegetables in the garden this year, so the Irises are being moved yet again. The snow and the rain were a welcome event, now all the transplants have had a good soaking in their new locations.

While grocery shopping Attila stopped to look at sweets. Oh dear, I have been neglecting him! I mentioned to him that I could bake him something sweet, and he readily opted for the home baked goodies. This afternoon I baked Blueberry Squares, one of Attila’s favourites.

My diet altered when I received the false diagnosis of Chronic Kidney Disease, and I have to say it altered for the better. I now keep containers of cooked rice, macaroni, peas and corn, and beans and carrots in the refrigerator. I eat one cup of vegetables mixed with a half a cup of either rice or macaroni. To this mixture I add two teaspoons of olive oil and either two tablespoons of Sweet Thai Chili Sauce, or two teaspoons of Roasted Garlic and Peppers herb mixture. I eat whatever combination suits my fancy for breakfast and lunch, so that I am eating two cups of vegetables every day, at a minimum. The olive oil is an important element of the dish, as it gives the meal lasting power, as fat digests slowly. Eventually I will try additional kinds of herbs or sauces. These ingredients make for quick and easy meals, and offer a lot of on-the-spot variations.

The Sweet Thai Chili Sauce that we have on hand contains Potassium Sorbate and glucose/fructose, both of which I have decided to avoid when possible. I have found a recipe to make my own Sweet Thai Chili Sauce, without any preservatives or glucose/fructose, and I am looking forward to giving it a try when the current supply is gone.

I love pastries, and the grocery store always has quite a selection. Attila and I were looking at the labels on the pastries today, they all contained glucose/fructose, paragraphs of chemicals, and the calorie count was shocking. I have decided that a Muesli bun, at 220 calories, with a little margarine and honey on it, will suit me just as well, be much lower in calories, have fewer chemicals in it, and be more nutritious than any of the pastries we saw in the store.

We are back to making our homemade pizza every once and a while, one large pizza will serve as two meals. I like to make the pizza for the night before we are to head for the Rideau Camp. The next evening, when we arrive home from the Camp, tired and ready for a meal, Attila makes a salad, and I heat up the pizza. Perfect.

Worldly Distractions


Date: 9:42 AM EDT Tuesday 26 April 2016
Condition: Mostly Cloudy
Pressure: 101.0 kPa
Tendency: falling
Visibility: 11 km
Temperature: 0.0°C
Dewpoint: -1.9°C
Humidity: 87%
Wind: NNE 31 gust 50 km/h
Wind Chill: -7


“It is not the strongest of the species that survives, nor the most intelligent, but the one most responsive to change.”
Charles Darwin
1809 – 1882

Why the narrowness of greed might eventually die out in the human species, if we last long enough.

Dream Our Own Dreams

Yesterday, Sunday, Attila and I spent the most peaceful, happy day of our years together. We arose early, ate a hearty breakfast, me a bowl of oatmeal, Attila sausages and an bagel. We puttered around the house, gathering more items that I am to take to the little house on my lone visit. Attila headed into town when the store opened to purchase milk, because there was none left, and Mist was having none of that! When he arrived back, Mist had her milk, and we packed the car for a day trip to the camp.

The day was sunny and warm. The leaves on the trees are at their peak right now, the beauty was almost overwhelming. We had a pleasant drive, and arrived at the camp before lunch time. There were no damages from the storms the weekend before, thank goodness.

There was no pressure to accomplish anything. This is unusual for us, we usually have a list of “must get dones”, but not yesterday. Attila puttered about, preparing the ground for the transplants he brought from home. He planted Ajuga in the bed under the tree. He planted Periwinkle along the driveway, and he transplanted one of Granny’s Roses, out of the driveway at Granny and Grandpa’s house, planting it in the sunniest location on our camp lot.

I puttered about, taking several walks down to Granny and Grandpa’s house, where everything seemed just fine, again no ill effects from the storm last weekend. At one point, as I was walking back to the camp, a group of ATVs roared by, the lead individual coming to a halt, pointing at Granny and Grandpa’s house, and shouting at the top of his lungs, “creepy”. Then they drove away. I think horror movies have had a real effect on the perceptions of some people! Later I was walking along the road on my way down to Granny and Grandpa’s house, and three lycra-tighted cyclists rode by the house, pointing and calling loudly to one another that it was a “great old place”. There are all kinds of people recreating in Ontario’s northland.

While Attila was finishing up his planting, I took the water jugs and headed out for a refill at the local public water supply. Before filling up though, I stopped in at the dump store, my favourite place to “shop”. I found: a rusty old metal rake, good for raking gravel at the camp; two books, one of 1937 vintage called Blackie’s Sports Series: Lawn Tennis; and two very large glass canisters with lids, made by Ball. There were other items of great interest to me that I did not scoop up: such as an old wooden chest of drawers, extremely well made, but we don’t need a chest of drawers; large plastic barrels that would be good as rain barrels; plastic lawn chairs, ugly and stained and otherwise perfectly serviceable, but we already have enough; a electric pasta maker, which seemed complete, but I already have a manual pasta maker.

After making my donation at the dump store, I headed for the public water supply. I filled all six 4 litre containers, loaded them into the car and back to the camp I went. We used three of the containers to water the new transplants.

One of my little projects at the camp was to create a small table, on which to prepare meals. Attila obtained a scrap of wood, a small square of 1″ thick pine. We brought a small saw with us, and I went to work on one of the ironwood stumps, sawing it flat to make a pedestal for the table. It took quite a while, the wood is green, the stump is still alive. When I was done and the top of the stump was flat, Attila took three nails and nailed the square of pine to the top of the stump. And there we had a little table in the bush.

Attila has plans to build a larger wooden table out of lumber scraps that he is slowly collecting. That will be a welcome addition to the camp. It will be left there, and hopefully left alone when we are absent. Someone goes through our belongings when we are not there. The old plastic car top carrier, where we store our pots and pans and water jugs, was deliberately opened, and not closed up again. It had copious amounts of water in it. It could be someone local, or it might be one of those people who see themselves as a great adventurer, exploring what they consider to be abandoned buildings and properties. There are whole groups of people who boast about trespassing on private property, under the guise of exploring abandoned buildings. There was nothing taken, nor was there any damage; they merely failed to re-close the car top carrier, and if they had done that we would not have known they had been there. I wonder if they are the same person/persons who break into Granny and Grandpa’s house, to rummage through their things, pocketing items, which is theft. It is a serious problem in the area around the camp, which is sparsely populated.

Attila and I were both feeling peckish by this time, so I rebuilt the rocket stove to fix us a bit of lunch. Attila gathered some dead pine branches, and soon we had a lovely little fire going. I washed out the frying pan, which we keep at the camp, which came from the dump store. As a wash basin, I used the plastic tote picked up at the dump store on a past visit, using another container of water, dish soap we brought from home, and a dish cloth we brought from home. I dried the frying pan over the fire, then assembled the bread and cheese for our grilled cheese sandwiches. There is nothing quite like a grilled cheese sandwich cooked over a wood stove! While the fire was still hot, I cooked two hot dogs as well. How wonderful, how simple, to sit eating sandwiches in our worn dump-store lawn chairs, our dirty old work clothes, side by side, looking out over the fields at the distant hills of red and yellow and orange. Other people might enjoy big houses, fast cars, big boats, beautiful clothes, media touted “livin’ the dream” stuff… Attila and I find perfection in the bush, we dream our own dreams.

On the road to the camp. I have been travelling this highway for over sixty years, all of my life. As a child I believed it was the road to heaven, heaven being Granny and Grandpa’s house. I never tire of it. It is much safer now, there used to be no paved shoulders, and the rock cuts were much closer to the road. Now those wide paved shoulders are often occupied by pedestrians and cyclists, who usually keep well back from the speeding vehicles. Not always though, occasionally they walk or ride “the line”, forcing vehicles to swerve around them. That is risky business, as I well know. On this highway my young cousin died when struck by a car, while riding his bicycle when there were no paved shoulders. It used to be a very dangerous highway, and still can be for the careless, or the ignorant.
Tothecamp 1
The same highway, with rock cuts and full fall colours.
Tothecamp 2
Another Highway on the way to the camp. This highway has a speed limit of 80 km per hour. Cyclists and pedestrians here are at greater risk, than those travelling the paved shoulder highway. This cyclist is using good practise, hugging the side of the road as high speed traffic pass them by. This is a new phenomena on the highways, recreational cyclists. They do not need licenses to ride these highways, and pay no taxes to maintain them. Some of them are responsible and respectful, many are ignorant and can be confrontational towards motorists. There are no regulations on how to cycle on high speed highways, and no knowledge of road safety required by cyclists. Personally, I dread coming across them on the highways, because you just never know what they are going to do, they are unpredictable, and many are foolhardy.
Tothecamp 3
The road into the camp, again a high speed, paved road. It dips and dives and winds around rock cuts and swamps, a beautiful drive. There are no paved shoulders on this road! We came across pedestrians walking two abreast, who refused to vacate our lane as we approached. We had to slow down to get around them, cottagers, again people without respect for the road.
Tothecamp 4
This is what I have been leading up to in my mention of pedestrians and cyclists. This is a high speed road, at times there have been people travelling over 100 km an hour along this road, we see them flash by while at our camp. This is a blind turn in the road, note that there are NO shoulders here at all, pedestrians and cyclists will be in the travel lane here, they have no other choice. Vehicles, travelling at the legal speed limit, might come around this corner and suddenly come upon a pedestrian or cyclist, with no warning. If there were an oncoming vehicle, one could not move into the other lane to avoid hitting the pedestrian or cyclist, nor could one stop quickly enough to avoid hitting them. I do not know which I would choose, to hit the other car head on at full speed, or to hit the pedestrian or cyclist, both options will result in serious injury or death. When I drive these roads, I slow down to a crawl coming through these corners, I know where they are. Often there is an expensive SUV, or sports car, or a huge new pickup truck, right on my rear bumper, angry that I have slowed down. I don’t care, I slow down every time!
Tothecamp 5
After our pleasant drive we arrive at the camp. Several of our trees are in full colour, like this maple. I take a snap shot of what I see when I look into the sky.
Tothecamp 6
Granny and Grandpa’s house on an autumn afternoon. My Grandparent’s moved into this house in 1930, it overlooks the fields where my Grandfather tended sheep, away across the fields, as a young boy, at the turn of the century, over 100 years ago. Both of my Grandparents were born near here, as were their parents. My Great Great Grandparents came to this wild landscape, to take advantage of the first land grants in the area.
Tothecamp 7
This is my Granny and Grandpa’s house, shortly after it was built in 1894, as the Railway Store at Maple Lake Station, later renamed Swords. The trains were still running when I was little, and I played in the station house, the building on the right. It was grand, with polished benches along three of the four walls. It was a forbidden playground though, because the trains were still running at that time, and playing near moving trains is not advisable for children.
Tothecamp maplelake
You can’t see me! This little fellow sat frozen in position until I had walked past him, on my way back to the camp. As soon as I had passed, he disappeared in a flash.
Tothecamp 8
My new little table at the camp. On top of it is the section of wood that was sawed off to make the top of the stump level.
Tothecamp 9
After a wonderful day together at the camp, Attila and I took one last look out over the fields, as we drove out onto the highway.
Tothecamp 10

Worldly Distractions


Date: 8:00 AM EDT Monday 29 September 2014
Condition: Fog
Pressure: 101.7 kPa
Visibility: 0 km
Temperature: 10.1°C
Dewpoint: 10.1°C
Humidity: 100%
Wind: calm


“What we think, or what we know, or what we believe is, in the end, of little consequence. The only consequence is what we do.”
John Ruskin
1819 – 1900