is blooming again

Well it is safe to say Mrs. Carter was quite correct in her analysis of my artistic skills. But what she didn’t understand is that it really doesn’t matter that I can’t draw. I enjoy my time with my friends and if I need to paint to get to do that.. so be it.. The wine certainly helped. It was a wonderful night where we learned all about the art of Joan Miro and then tried our hand at his style.

Today, I started canning my tomatoes, eight pints and two quarts with more coming every day. Not as much as I had hoped but we won’t starve. No pears to speak of this year so I am having to buy some for the pear salsa I like to make every year.

There was rain again over night and much cooler temperatures today. Perfect weather for canning.

We want to finish much of the cabin before we go on our little trip in September. It is unlikely. I have a lot of canning to do and am not of much help to the project at this point. E is working on the plumbing now, then he can finish the drywall and finalize the wiring.

What I did in the garden last winter to the roses worked. The roses have never been as beautiful since I cut them back so drastically. They were quite prolific and disease free during their normal bloom time in June. But today, when I went up to pick my daily tomatoes it was an unexpected treat to discover my Peace rose

is blooming again.

to bind it

It took me most of the morning to find all of my canning supplies. I had to wash all the jars I was going to need, I had found them under my bed. I sorted out the right lids, they were in the studio. I looked for the muslin bag Mary made me for the pickling spices, and I narrowed down which recipes I am going to make this year.

Once I got into the rhythm of it all, the process was smooth and with the loan of my neighbour’s pressure canner fairly quick. As with any other job around here, it is all about having the right tools. There is a lot of fruit available or soon to be available and well worth the effort to can it. There is nothing like “shopping” in my pantry in January.

I do always need to go through my notes and consult my right arm (E) on the finer details of not blowing myself up with the canner the first batch of the season. I’m still here so it all went well, so far.

I never did find the muslin for the pickling spices but my Mom’s friend Evie’s wise words rang in my head. “We are not without resources, Joyce”. Mom’s name was Joyce and I think Evie was talking about driving in an unfamiliar town without a map but still, I felt the phrase an appropriate one for my situation.

I went to our well stocked medicine cabinet and pulled out one of the three First Aid kits I have, the red one. Apparently there is a thing called a triangle bandage that works perfectly as a pickling spice bag for a Chutney.

I started work in the kitchen around 8 am and just finished now at 3:30.. Ugh, I am pooped. But I have 21 wee jars of the most delicious country chutney a girl could ask for. It’s a blend of peaches, plums, apples, dates, cranberries, apricots, raisins and ginger. mmmm

As I see it, the success of the day really depended on having all the right tools available. Raiding the medicine cabinet for my pickling spice bag will only prove regrettable in the unlikely future event that we find ourselves with a triangle shaped wound and only rectanglar shaped bandages

to bind it

draw a sunflower

The last art class I attended was double art on Fridays as a grade seven student in Mrs. Carter’s classroom. First door on the left of the second floor of my elementary school. We called her “bird legs” Carter, which really wasn’t a very nice name but yet accurately descriptive. As the seniors of the school we were given the privilege of going to the store just past the railroad tracks during our lunch hour to buy a bag of penny candy with our meager allowances. Three sickly sweet strawberries or bananas for a penny. Jaw breakers, a penny a piece. A ton of double bubble in the card size pack for a nickel was always a hit.

We would return with our candy to the school and end our week with a full afternoon of studying the finer qualities of art. Or as I understood it to be .. goofing around with my friends with a crayon in my hand while getting high on cheap sugar. I never finished a picture all year and am pretty sure I got the first F ever given to a twelve year old for drawing a garden.

I am so frustrated.. I am sitting here trying to channel my inner artist and there is yet another bird in my living room. Honestly, I am sure it’s the same one from yesterday… He is bigger than the usual visitors and dim as a post. How hard is it to find an open door… ????

Why am I channeling my inner artist? Tonight, I am going to an art class on the island. That’s right.. an art class. I am meant to sit in front of an easel and put crayon/pen/paint to paper… Hell, I’m game. Apparently my dear art teacher friend hasn’t ever heard of Mrs. Carter or seen my Grade seven report card.

I didn’t get any canning done today. I was missing a lot of ingredients when I went to begin. Fortunately E was able to find them in town and so tomorrow I will begin anew. I managed to pass the day with very little to show of value. I made some tomato sauce and some bread but the rest of the day I was distracted with what I will call “research” for my book.

I am really looking forward to tonight. My friend insists we all have an inner artist.. Wouldn’t it be marvelous if after all these years it turns out I can

draw a sunflower?

Land shit done

Full disclosure I might have had a glass or two of wine.. Friends stopped in after dinner and honestly, we were so tired from our day working on the cabin that the few several glasses of wine we shared on the deck have made me very mellow.

We were up early this morning. Finished the insulation on the exterior walls then E started to put up the dry wall on the bedroom interior walls. I then put the insulation behind those walls. Insulation is a dirty job and is right up there with drywall for chores I’d rather not do.

We were so happy to be done the heavy lifting jobs like roofing and tongue and groove but now have landed our selves in the middle of the dirty ickky jobs.. ah well.. The cabin is progressing….

This paragraph is for my friends who I have shared a Belladonna Lily bulb. You know who you are. The bulbs are the size of a softball. The leaves have now died off and you thought the plant was done for the summer and of not much interest. But you were wrong… It will now be coming up in your soil .. It is the last thing to flower in my summer garden and has only just begun its journey to flower. Look in your garden for something which looks like this.

Because it will soon look like this.

E is going to town tomorrow for plumbing supplies. I have plums and apples and tomatoes sitting in my kitchen.

Tomorrow I am going to pull the canner out and try to get some hippie dippy, back to nature, Amish homesteading, living off the

land shit done

Do come true

My day started as you would expect on my 37th wedding anniversary…Breakfast in bed. Steaming hot Bailey laced coffee, scones with pads of butter under spoonfuls of home made strawberry jam, chilled champagne, fresh squeezed orange juice. Followed by a little snooze in again til mid day……..

Hahahaha… I am killing it..! We were up at six. Gluten free toast with black coffee. Back at the work site by 8:30. Anniversaries come and go but the guest cabin isn’t going to build itself.

The metal roofing is on, the windows are all in and all of the wiring is done. I have one more day’s work to finish the insulation, the exterior walls are pretty much done, need to do the interior ones. We insulate those ones with sound proof insulation. No one wants to hear their neighbour snore…

E spent the day building the framing thingys that go above the wall and under the roof between the rafters to make a complete line for the drywall. I’m sure they are called something.. We don’t know what. But the thingys are built.

Tomorrow he will put OSB on the outside, I can insulate. Then we drywall.

The siding is ready to go on. Our son might be coming this week so we will do the drywall and save the siding for him. No one volunteers for drywall.

Then I get to confirm my colours for paint…. how fun… I have a bunch of furniture in storage. Everything is getting painted!

So after a long day working with my best friend on a project essentially for the benefit of our three favourite offspring and their families, we retire to the deck and a really good bottle of old wine or two…

dreams

do come true

Is something there

Never a dull moment here on the nature channel. A cougar seems to have gone for a marathon summer swim to our island.

It killed three sheep on the farm Tuesday night and is causing plenty of concern. It’s been many many years since a predator visited our island.

Years ago John came out of his house and happened to look up to see a cougar asleep in the tree above him. He slowly retreated to get his rifle, but it was gone when he went back. A tracker and his hounds came over to help and they followed the scent for a while but lost it on the other side of Link. It was shot shortly after in Ladysmith.

A wolf attack on the farm sheep in the nineties didn’t end well for the wolf either. One of the women on the island shot it after she sat up all night in the farm greenhouse waiting for it. She had left the sheep carcass in front of her as a lure. It worked.

On Tuesday night about twenty of the island women had gathered at my neighbors for cocktails at five. Everyone brought appies and had a grand time, young and old. Some left at a reasonable time walking home at dusk. Some, who shall remain nameless stayed far too late. Had to walk down the narrow treed lane by the light of my phone. 

Conservation officers were here early this morning with their hounds but couldn’t find a trace of whatever killed the sheep. They confirmed however it was likely a cougar.

One of my friends who walked home at dusk from the party, walked through the farm. She was taken with how pastoral the sheep looked in the field and she stood for a moment taking pictures.

This morning her daughter had the brilliant idea to go through the pictures looking for any sign of a predator. Lo and behold far away on the other side of the field where the sheep are minding their business you can see the outline of an animal stalking them. It’s about as good a picture as your normal Sasquatch or Loch Ness Monster picture but still, there

is something there

We are having

Years ago one of my brother and sister in laws gave me a baby fig tree from their garden.. I originally had it in a pot on my perch. I moved it behind the electric fenced garden three years ago after stories of raccoon fig thievery at my other brother and sister in laws house. Last year the raccoons managed to “jump” the electric wire and got both my figs and pears.

We are keeping a close eye on the plums. Those raccoons will strip the tree if given one iota of an opportunity… We had some time waiting for the barge to arrive yesterday, to check why the electric wiring on the garden wasn’t working.

The California lilac, evergreen clematis and mock orange were,although healthy and thriving, touching the wire and rendering it useless. The idea is that if the raccoons touch the wire on their way over the top, they get a little zap and they go elsewhere. Nothing lethal.

I moved around the perimeter of the garden pruning branches away from the wire, while E went ahead of me checking that nothing structural was touching it. There must have been a point when he found the structural problem and I pruned the last offending branch cause I touched the wire and had quite the shock..! On the upside we are positive it’s working now…

We picked the plums on August 17th the last time we out smarted the raccoons.. So any day now…

Yes, that’s right, you heard me say it. The barge came yesterday. It came with the metal roofing.. pause for applause. Thank you I appreciate your support. A friend then came over this morning to help me pass the twenty 10 foot pieces up the ladder to E on the roof. Metal roofing is now installed just needs the ridge cap and flashing..

Although it is a great year for apples and plums and pumpkins and scallopini, not so much for the figs. We got one. Well I say we but what I mean is the wasps got one. Did I mention what a terrible year for wasps

we are having?