Winnie

We spent yesterday at the Rideau Camp. Attila alternately shovelled crushed stone, removed small debris from the large pile of logs and dead trees for me to burn, and stacked the cedar logs that he extracted from the large pile. Occasionally he would bring a few armfuls of dead branches over to the camp fire area, for me to break into pieces and burn. My task for the day was to burn the debris.

We also tackled emptying our compost toilet buckets into our humanure composter on Saturday. We gathered all the needful things, the full buckets, the long handled brush, liquid soap, and some loose hay that we had stored in “Winnie”. We had prepared the bed of the composter on a previous trip the Camp, so everything was set up and ready to go. I emptied my bucket first, I have my own bucket! Then Attila dumped his bucket. We were prepared to deal with some pretty horrendous aromas… and there were none! No bad smells, not even a whiff. We rinsed our buckets and dumped the rinse water on the deposits, still no smell. Then we used soap and the long handled brush to wash the buckets and lids, and dumped the wash water onto the deposits. Finally we covered the deposits with a fresh layer of straw, then lay the heavy metal rack over all. The metal rack will prevent animals, such as the neighbour’s dog, from digging the whole thing up!

I am extremely impressed with the composting toilet system!

We used 12 litres of water to process a whole summers worth of waste for two people. Years from now we will have rich compost for shrubbery.

We have been using our five gallon buckets “as is”, no seats. Eventually I would like to build seating for our buckets, but there is no rush for that.

Now, you may ask, what is “Winnie”?

The outbuilding that Attila built to house the compost toilet buckets is called “Winnie”, after Winnie the Pooh.

We doused our fire around 4 p.m., then packed our things and headed for home. The day had been quite chilly, and it sprinkled rain on us as we ate our lunch, but otherwise was cloudy and dry. We were grateful to get home to a hot spaghetti supper and our own warm beds.

Today Attila prepared a turkey dinner, including dressing, gravy, potatoes, squash, and green beans. It takes Attila most of the day to accomplish this, and I NEVER complain!

Worldly Distractions

Weather

17°C
Date: 9:00 PM EDT Sunday 2 October 2016
Condition: Mostly Cloudy
Pressure: 101.5 kPa
Tendency: rising
Visibility: 24 km
Temperature: 17.2°C
Dewpoint: 14.9°C
Humidity: 86%
Wind: S 13 km/h

Quote

“While the fates permit, live happily; life speeds on with hurried step, and with winged days the wheel of the headlong year is turned.”
Seneca
5 BC – 65 AD

Farewell To Winter Feast and The First Day of Spring

After enjoying some lovely mild weather, where temperatures actually rose as high as 10C, colder weather has returned. A little dip back towards winter. By the end of next week milder weather is expected.

Yesterday, the last day of winter, Attila cooked a turkey dinner; the last turkey dinner of the 2015/2016 winter season, our Farewell To Winter Feast and a week of leftovers.

So here we are, enjoying the first day of spring! It is sunny, the temperature is around 0C, and with the wind the air has a real nip to it. We stepped along lively when we went out for our walk.

Today I baked a batch of Peanut Butter Oatmeal Cookies, and in so doing finally used the last of the Mist Cottage peanut butter. Now I move on to using the supply of peanut butter we brought with us on the move from the country house. Slowly but surely we are consuming the duplicate food stores! Not that it is a hardship to eat such wonderful food, it is just a relief not to have to store it.

Attila and I had an exciting week. We want to camp this summer, and after looking at the bookings in the parks I realized that we would find it stressful to book ahead for a camping spot because of Attila’s unpredictable overtime schedule. What to do? Well, our solution was to buy a plot of land to use as a private camp site, no booking necessary. It is an hour and fifteen minute drive from Mist Cottage, has no facilities at all, is completely off-grid, and is basically just a patch of bush. And we love it. Our camping dilemma is solved.

We have been thinking about having a camp near this area ever since we bought Mist Cottage and started to renovate. However, it just made no sense at all until we moved here last fall. We have been looking at property for camping in this area for the last five years, and found nothing we liked and could afford. Until last week. I found the piece of property by accident, and almost dismissed it as it looked dull and unappealing in the online pictures. It is near but not on the Rideau waterway system. It had come onto the market on March 14th, so on the 16th we drove out to have a look at it. We fell in love. We bought it. Low interest rates make many things possible.

We plan on spending our vacation at our first camp, the little piece of land we bought near our previous country house. It is just down the road from my Granny and Grandpa’s house, near my sister’s cottage, and has a view over the fields, a view I have been gazing at all of my life. When we have extended periods of time for recreation, we will head for the ancestral camp. When we have short periods of recreational time, we will head for the Rideau camp.

This is where Iris enters the picture. She is light and easy to tow anywhere. She has everything we will need to camp completely off-grid. With her we will carry in our cooking, eating, and sleeping gear, and our portable privy. Each time we leave one of our camps we will carry everything out with us again, to leave it exactly as we found it, a little piece of bush with a clearing in it.

Attila and I feel blessed.

The Rideau Camp. Iris will be very happy here!
RideauCamp

I am waiting, not so patiently, to get back to giving Iris a thorough cleaning. I decided to put my cleaning on hold until the temperature stays above freezing.

I have however, managed to complete one task. The back of the refrigerator in Iris is accessed through an opening in the side of the trailer, covered by a vent cover. On removing the vent cover for inspection, moisture was found. Yesterday the vent cover was removed and brought indoors, where it warmed enough to remove the disintegrating, leaking flashing. It was thoroughly washed and dried, then received new flashing. A snippet of a flea collar was placed in the access cavity in Iris before screwing the vent cover back into place. The flea collar, some claim, and I have yet to verify, is supposed to prevent wasps from building nests. It would be very handy if it works, as placing a fresh snippet of flea collar each spring would take very little effort; certainly a lot less effort than trying to remove an active wasp’s nest.

Attila is keeping his eyes open for new tires for Iris, we have decided that they are necessary before we take her out for her maiden camping voyage.

Mom has been increasingly active, making trips to the bank, the library, and who knows where else! She looks great, Sister-the-middle-girl sent me a photo of Mom, who was up and about, taken on Thursday. Mom’s is on a steady course to recovery, she really knows how to pace herself!

And now to post this, and thereafter discover what ravages autocorrect has bestowed upon this missive.

Worldly Distractions

Weather

0°C
Date: 2:00 PM EDT Sunday 20 March 2016
Condition: Mostly Cloudy
Pressure: 102.1 kPa
Tendency: falling
Visibility: 24 km
Temperature: 0.3°C
Dewpoint: -12.1°C
Humidity: 39%
Wind: SE 19 km/h

Quote

“An education isn’t how much you have committed to memory, or even how much you know. It’s being able to differentiate between what you do know and what you don’t.”
Anatole France
1844 – 1924

Sticker Shock and Turkey Dinner

Well, here we are at Mist Cottage, planning our first Thanksgiving Dinner as permanent residents. Today we will have the full feast, roast turkey, potatoes, green beans, and pumpkin squares for dessert. All this prepared on about two square feet of counter space. All of the food will come from our freezer or our garden. We can do it!

The car maintenance has changed our financial landscape for the moment. It was close to $1000, yikes, a new wheel bearing and new rear wheel brake pads were installed, and they did an oil, lube, and filter. I admit to reacting with sticker shock. All of this was needed to keep the car running well, as Attila relies on it to get to and from work, it isn’t a luxury, it is a necessity.

So, the reality of living on minimum wage is sinking in. We have a LOT of adjusting to do. Attila has not been spending time looking for higher paid work, he tends to settle into a situation and make the best of it. Our adjustments just might be a permanent lifestyle change.

The first draft of my book looks very good, and I am pleased with it. The layout needs extensive tweaking, so I will be spending quite a bit of time getting that sorted out. I am tickled to have gotten this far with it.

Attila has a three day weekend this weekend! We plan on taking one of those days as a recreation day. The activity we decide upon will have to be free, and fairly local, so as not to use very much fuel in the car. We are thinking of going for a long walk, and sharing a picnic. My research brought to light a nearby Conservation area that does not charge people to walk there, most of the other Conservation areas charge $5.50 per person per day, beyond our present means.

The weekend is shaping up: turkey dinner with all the trimmings today, and a picnic in the park tomorrow. I love living here!

News Flash: 🙂 We ate our first meal, since the beginning of the move at the beginning of September, at the kitchen table! We had been eating with our plates on our laps up until now. Thanksgiving Dinner at the table, yay!

Worldly Distractions

Weather

9°C
Date: 1:00 PM EDT Saturday 10 October 2015
Condition: Partly Cloudy
Pressure: 102.2 kPa
Tendency: falling
Visibility: 24 km
Temperature: 8.9°C
Dewpoint: 2.3°C
Humidity: 63%
Wind: SSW 14 km/h

Quote

“I am not afraid of storms, for I am learning how to sail my ship.”
Louisa May Alcott
1832 – 1888

The Christmas Feast

I wonder if my spelling has always been this atrocious! I am spelling at least one word in every paragraph incorrectly. I can not tell if this is due to old age, if this has always been the case, or if there is a decline due to the use of a keyboard rather than a pen. Whatever the reason, I do not like making spelling errors. Typing errors and faulty autocorrects I can live with, but my spelling errors are getting on my nerves!

Apple has a dictation service, but they keep records of everything dictated, on their servers, which is not acceptable in my view. So I do not use that service. Why would I willingly agree to have all my correspondence recorded by a mega corporation?

The new cell phone is holding its charge. I charged it when I first set it up, last week, and it is registering a half charge, which I interpret to mean a 50% charge. That would make it necessary to charge the cell phone twice a month, not bad. Of course, I don’t use the cell phone much. It has received morning calls from Attila, which I do not answer but take note of, to alert me that he is ready for our FaceTime chat, and one call from Terra. So far, so good. It was the cheapest cell phone available near the little house in the city, so I did not know what to expect. The ratings on this phone were poor, but that was based on it not performing the complex functions used by persons who use their cell phones as more than just an emergency call device. The ratings did not pertain to the features I needed.

This past week, here at the little house without Attila, has passed slowly and peacefully. I do miss Attila when he isn’t here, but I have to keep reminding myself that if I were at the country house with him, I would not see very much of him there either. He is busy, busy, busy with his wood chopping, snow removal, and attending to home maintenance projects. This past week, since the masonry heater had cooled for a week while we were away, Attila began to empty the ash dump for the masonry heater. The ash dump is huge, and has not been cleaned out for over five years. By the end of last winter is was full, and interfering with a good burn in the heater. So Attila removed thirty or so buckets of fine ash, and feels he is only half finished the project. The rest will need to wait until spring, when the heating season is over, and the ashes have cooled.

Attila got up at 3:00 a.m. yesterday morning, to begin firing in the masonry heater, then he went back to bed for two hours. When he arose the firing was almost complete, so that he could close the dampers, turn on the electric heaters, and begin his journey to the little house in the city. He arrived here at the little house shortly before noon.

We had a quick bite to eat, we loaded the car with the gifts, and my baking, and I drove us out to Terra’s house for our Christmas get together. Shortly after we arrived Luna and Janus, the Grandbabies, and Bim the dog arrived. They were late because as they were driving along the highway, the back window suddenly exploded and shattered. No one was hurt, thankfully. They had to return home, secure the back window with plastic, then remove and load all of their gear into the family car, a much smaller vehicle. This occurrence was not preceded by any warning that the window was not sound, nor did it receive a blow, so the cause will remain unknown.

The Grandbabies, as ever, are delightful. Terra cooked a turkey dinner, which was fantastic. After dinner we retired to the living room and opened the gifts. It was a lot of fun, and the children seemed genuinely excited with their gifts. After an evening visiting, Attila and I headed back to the little house in the city, and retired for the night shortly after arriving home. Attila was exhausted all afternoon and evening, if he sat down for any length of time, he fell asleep. He was grateful to lie down at last!

This morning I arose very early and puttered about for a few hours, letting Attila sleep until he woke up on his own. He slept in until almost 8:00 a.m., which was a real treat for him. Then it was time to pack the car, in readiness for Attila’s drive home. He left shortly before noon, and called me four and half hours later to let me know that he had arrived safely. The roads had been clear and dry, no visibility problems, a sunny day. We only spoke a few minutes, as he was headed out to the wood shed with his ax, to prepare wood to fire the masonry heater.

Attila will return to the little house in the city for Christmas.

After Attila left this morning, Tank and I headed back to Terra’s house. I spent a pleasant afternoon there, chatting with my girls, and their husbands and friends, and the Grandbabies.

The gifts we gave the Grandbabies provided entertainment for all this morning. Imp received a baking set, and she baked cupcakes for the family. Elf received an Aquapod launcher, which they all had a great time with, launching pop bottles across the farm fields. Tink received a puppet tent, which was too complicated to assemble at Terra’s house, they needed to take it home to assemble it. We are hoping for a video of her first production.

I am back at the little house now, taking a quiet moment with the computer, and Mist sleeping in the chair beside me.

I has been a lovely weekend.

Worldly Distractions

Weather

-1°C
Date: 7:00 AM EST Thursday 18 December 2014
Condition: Light Snow
Pressure: 101.5 kPa
Tendency: rising
Visibility: 24 km
Temperature: -0.6°C
Dewpoint: -3.0°C
Humidity: 84%
Wind: NW 19 km/h
Wind Chill: -6

-3°C
Date: 5:00 PM EST Sunday 21 December 2014
Condition: Partly Cloudy
Pressure: 102.8 kPa
Tendency: rising
Visibility: 19 km
Temperature: -2.8°C
Dewpoint: -6.6°C
Humidity: 75%
Wind: NE 7 km/h
Wind Chill: -6

Quote

“The universal brotherhood of man is our most precious possession.”
Mark Twain
1835 – 1910

[For most men in North America, although language at the time alluded to including all of the human species under the umbrella of “man”, the universal brotherhood really only included affluent white men, or in other cultures, affluent men of the ruling class. Mark Twain may have included “others” under the umbrella of “man”, and his personal use of “universal” may have been a valid adjective, but most men did not, and were not even aware that they did not.]

Unkind

We have at last arrived at the last of the winter, only four weeks of full-blown winter weather to manage! The first of March blew in cold through the night, and then warmed enough to deliver blowing wind and heavy snowfall. Attila spent part of his day shovelling snow off the roofs of the woodshed and the utility shed. This is the first time he has shovelled those roofs, and the snow is deep and high on them. They are being shovelled now in anticipation of warmer weather to come, bringing with it rain, which will weigh heavily as it soaks the snow; the weight could collapse the buildings. So off comes the winter’s snow load today!

To celebrate the first of March Attila prepared a turkey dinner, with all the trimmings. The vegetables are delicious, the last local farm grown squash, green beans, potatoes, and sweet potato.

Considering that I have spent weeks and weeks and weeks living in one room, remaining relatively inactive within the confines of this small space, my health is excellent. Attila noted that I had put on weight over the winter, but happily it is only five pounds, which will melt away when spring releases me from these four walls. My daily standing is helpful, as are the routine breaks I take from the computer and my chair. I am pleased with myself, for hanging on so well, through one of the worst winters on record.

I have finished my apron! Attila has the dining room table back just in time for the turkey dinner!

This morning Attila slept in until 8:00 am, a rare and happy event. Mist however, felt differently about things. She sat in front of the masonry heater, shooting meaningful looks my way. She paced in front of the masonry heater. It wasn’t really cold in the room, ranging from 14C at the perimeter to 19C near the masonry heater. Still, Mist had her mind made up, an immediate firing was required. Thinking to build the fire myself, I opened the masonry heater to a five inch thick bed of hot coals. The ash dump channel is blocked, and the ashes are accumulating in the firebox! I fetched the ash bucket and loaded it full with red hot coals, then put it downstairs by the little wood stove, then thought better of that, put on warm clothing, and carried it outside to sit in a snowbank. By the time I had accomplished all this Attila was up and about.

We decided that it was not practical to try to free the blockage in the ash dump while the heater is fully charged and hot, that will need to be done later in the season, when we can switch to using the little wood stove downstairs to keep us warm, and the masonry heater has cooled a bit. We have a few more nights of cold temperatures, heading down below -25C, and we will need full firings until this cold snap has run its course. Nothing for it now, but to remove the ashes manually every day! More work generated to make this cold, cold winter even more intrusive and challenging than it already is!

Maggie and Alison, good times and good company in the early 1990s.
Alison maggie 1992 web

I posted this photo on Facebook, taken in the early 90s, of myself and a friend Alison, Steve-Paul’s Mom, who was a truly wonderful human being. When on my timeline, an unkind comment was made, which took me by surprise; I am hoping the person who wrote that was trying to be funny. Then the photo was posted on another wall, where an inconsiderate comment was made about me, again this took me by surprise, in fact, the comment may have had malicious intent. My dear friend Steve-Paul responded with a funny quip that was in turn interpreted and responded to in an unkind way. The quip was withdrawn, as I know it was not meant to be unkind, or to invite further unkindness; only the interpretation was unkind, borne of a long-standing, and in my opinion undeserved, grudge against me. It is interesting how some people allow the pettiness in their personalities get the better of their mouths and fingers, allowing pettiness to represent them in public places. Sigh.

What do I think about being publicly disrespected? Well, it is not an easy thing to deal with, sitting alone with my thoughts, for weeks at a time in the bush, I can tell you. But really, I am not sure it would be pleasanter if I had to spend any of my time with the pettiness barons themselves. I am reminded of a passage I learned as a child, and it must have sunk into my unconscious, and influenced me ever since, as I considered it wise at the time: “forgive us our trespasses, as we forgive those who trespass against us…” And that is exactly what I will do, forgive the trespass against me, and remember to respect the individual’s weaknesses in future.

As it is, today is sunny and milder, there is a warm fire burning brightly in the hearth, yesterday’s five inches of snow has been shovelled off the cars and driveway, and Attila is here to spend a pleasant day with me. Life is good.

Worldly Distractions

Weather

-19°C
Date: 7:00 AM EST Sunday 2 March 2014
Condition: Mostly Cloudy
Pressure: 102.6 kPa
Visibility: 16 km
Temperature: -18.6°C
Dewpoint: -20.7°C
Humidity: 84%
Wind: NNW 9 km/h
Wind Chill: -25

Quote

“Be master of your petty annoyances and conserve your energies for the big, worthwhile things. It isn’t the mountain ahead that wears you out – it’s the grain of sand in your shoe.”
Robert Service
1874 – 1958