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


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


“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 Sunny Day

Today arrived sunny and cool, it was 8C predawn. We continue to turn the thermostat down at night, to 18C this year, a little warmer for my night wandering partner Attila. During the day I set it to 21.5C, which I find comfortable if I wear warm footwear. We do not heat the basement, so that the floors can be quite cool. There was frost everywhere this morning, sparkling in the sunshine.

High Blood Pressure: The Ongoing Saga

Sometimes I write things down in this journal because I know I won’t remember them otherwise. This little tidbit is just such a reminder to myself. Today I halved the quadrupled high blood pressure medication. Instead of 300 mg I am now going to take 150 mg, which is double the dose I was originally taking.

It isn’t logic I am using to do this, it is a fight or flight reaction to the addition of a second medication when the first one is not working. I might have accepted a switch to another medication, but I am balking at the addition of yet another.

There is some logic involved as well, but it is not the deciding factor in my decision, so if it is flawed it doesn’t matter for practical purposes. Here is it anyway. When I found the medication I was taking no longer worked to lower my blood pressure, the doctor doubled the dosage. That had no effect, it did not lower my blood pressure. Since that didn’t work, the doctor doubled the dosage again, quadruple of what I had been taking. That had no effect, it did not lower my blood pressure. So, since this medication does not work, and I don’t want to try adding a second medication unless I absolutely have to, it makes sense to me to get rid of the medication that does not work.

Rather than stop taking the current medication cold turkey, I am going to halve the dosage for a week, then halve it again for another week, then discontinue it. That is the plan if my blood pressure remains relatively stable as I reduce the medication. I will be monitoring my blood pressure twice daily. I take it five consecutive times at one sitting, one to two minutes apart, and average the result. This method was described by a doctor who uses it to try to mediate the rise in blood pressure some people experience due to “white coat syndrome”. I have taken my readings in this manner three times now, and sure enough the initial reading is higher than the subsequent readings.

Yesterday Attila and I drove out to the Rideau Camp for the day. Attila brought along his chain saw and fuel. His project for the visit was to fell the trees we had marked with orange tape. Five of those trees were dead, one was dying, some others had been damaged when the great log pile had been bulldozed into the edge of the bush, and still others shaded out trees we want to flourish.

We are encouraging oak, maple, and pine trees around the perimeter of the Camp.

Attila felled the trees, sectioning them so that I could burn the brush from the branches. The dead wood burned quickly, and the green wood burned slowly, that is the way of it.

I am avoiding bread at the moment, in my quest to reduce sodium in my diet. Bread is very high sodium, a sandwich takes up most of my daily allowance. Attila brought cheese and crackers for his lunch, and I brought RyVita crackers, peanut butter, and fruit spread for my lunch. Lunch wasn’t nearly as exciting as it is when we have grilled cheese sandwiches. But those sandwiches, with two slices of bread, and a couple of cheese slices consumed my entire sodium allowance for the day.

The day was sunny, and the breeze was quite chilly. We were prepared! We had both chosen layers of clothing to wear. The sun became quite hot by early afternoon, so we both found ourselves removing layers down to our shirts by lunch time. Attila warmed by the sun and a lot of exertion; me warmed by the sun, moderate exertion, and the camp fire I was tending. At no point did we feel cold. We stayed until the sun was low on the horizon. As we packed up we did a tour of the Camp, making sure that everything was winter ready. At this time of year we want to leave the Camp in a condition so that if we find we do not return until spring, there will be nothing to worry about.

A few images from the Rideau Camp, taken yesterday.

Stumps, old and blackened, the work of a long ago fire.
Charred Stump with Beech and Oak.
This magnficent little Oak tree is under special consideration. In the early summer it was attacked by army worms, which we dilligently killed around the Camp perimeter. Then yesterday, Attila assessed the lean on one of the dead trees we had decided to fell, and determined that it would severly damage this little Oak as it fell. We made the decision to let the dead tree rot in place, rather than risk damaging the Oak.
Attila sectioning a small tree which was felled across the camp fire pit. The tree chipped a flake off one of the granite perimeter rocks.
Attila taking a break to enjoy his surroundings.

Worldly Distractions


Date: 7:00 PM EST Monday 7 November 2016
Condition: Clear
Pressure: 102.8 kPa
Tendency: Falling
Temperature: 7.3°C
Dew point: 6.1°C
Humidity: 92%
Wind: SSW 7 km/h
Visibility: 24 km


“The really frightening thing about middle age is that you know you’ll grow out of it.”
Doris Day
1924 –