a good view

Do you remember all the hemming and hawing in 2019 about whether we should build a bunkie or not? (Will break loose)

The thing of it is, we used to visit Papa on this island in the 80’s and, for years, everyone would be sleeping in tents and using the composting toilet which was housed in a garden shed, and it was great. But our kids grew comfortable in the beautiful home Papa and Guy then built here and no one wanted to go backwards. So when we sold our share in their house, which was hard enough to do, to then ask our family to sleep in tents using an outhouse again, well, it was not our first choice.

So we eventually did build the bunkie, and a lot of you helped. The chance to welcome our family with a place to sleep in relative comfort, with its own very simple bathroom, we thought, no hoped, would encourage the kids to come and see us in our new home. Friends too, with any luck. It will never be the same for us as the times we shared together at Papa’s house, but, as one son said, we will make new traditions and memories at this house. And then covid hit.

Last summer, with our beautiful new bunkie, we couldn’t have friends visit, but two of our three kids were able to figure out a way to come safely. They had their space and we had ours. We had all of our meals on the deck and we were able to make it work. If we hadn’t built the bunkie, there wouldn’t be any visit at all.

All of our family are double vaxed now and although E is going to need another booster, we are feeling fairly safe to be with our kids, their partners and our granddaughter.

One son has been staying here a month. We have tremendous internet service with a remote location supported smart hub. We actually have two of them, one in the bunkie and one in the house, which provide internet service throughout the whole property with 530 gigs of available data. He has been able to work from here, while getting a much needed break from covid restricted Vancouver.

When he leaves this week, he passes the baton to our three year old granddaughter who will fly in on her sixth float plane trip. It is only ten minutes away from her parents to us but it seemed forever away last summer when we didn’t see her for ten months. Ten months! Friggin’ Covid.

When our granddaughter leaves, the baton goes to our daughter and her partner, who arrive for a couple of weeks. They came last summer and we had such a great time with them. Presumably, they enjoyed themselves too ’cause they are coming back. I am pretty sure the reason is partly because they like us and some of it is because of the sunsets but a lot of it is because of the bunkie and the privacy it provides for an extended visit in this most relaxing of respites from city life.

I honestly don’t know where I am going with this. But, I understand from my readers that you like reading ’cause quite often I, like the Seinfeld show, tell a story about nothing, ever so insignificant and simple, yet relatable to your lives. Well, I am guessing you can all relate to how hard it has been to be apart from family and friends over the last 20 months. But tonight I am just giving thanks to our decision to build the bunkie.

Without everyone’s efforts to build the bunkie we wouldn’t have been able to see our family at all over the last two years and, honestly, I would have been miserable. I would have sold our island paradise and moved back to the city to see more of my kids and granddaughter. Paradise is one thing but without family it is just a cabin with

a good view

tail party stops

We were fully aware that when we replaced the deer fencing around the garden next to the greenhouse this spring, we would also need a lower level with smaller wire to block rabbits. In our defense, there used to be only one bunny and he/she didn’t seem interested in the garden. Then, there was a heat wave and it’s hard to get a lot of work accomplished when we were laying on the couch in front of a fan. Then we didn’t feel like shopping all over hells half acre to find the chicken wire that we needed and then, well E had other projects he wanted to complete and if the rabbit living under the apple tree was going to break into the garden and eat a little bit of lettuce, fine, said I, from my seat in front of the fan.

But it seems our resident rabbit has found a friend and multiplied. Is that a thing? Someone, you know, could have mentioned that multiplying like bunnies wasn’t a completely outlandish possibility which we warn our children about when they choose bunnies as pets, because bunnies are now everywhere. They are under the apple trees, at the pond, under our neighbour’s shop, under our bunkie, under our driveway, in front of the studio and apparently now in the garden! For the life of me, I don’t know why the eagle is eating our fish when Peter Rabbit’s extended family is currently vacationing on our property.

Yesterday morning they had nibbled on the marigolds, which was fine cause I grew them from my saved seeds and I have tons, but this morning I went up to the garden to find they have eaten my Casablanca Lily, the bottoms of some Jalapeno peppers, finished all of my lettuce and for dessert, nibbled on a few stems of cantaloupe.

I started to call around town to see who had chicken wire to wrap the lower perimeter of the fence. I tried the two closest stores first. Rona had what we needed but only in shorter length rolls which seemed expensive. I never got to ask at Buckerfields because their answering machine advised me that they are currently over run by mice, and customers can’t come into the store. So, E headed off to hells half acre, to search Home Depot, then Shar-Kare, Sleggs and then Lowes. No one had what we needed, not cheaper, nothing at all. Two hours later, E ended up back at Rona for 6 X 25 ft. lengths of 1 inch chicken wire X 3 foot high.

Yesterday, E finished building and tiling the new wood box/range boiler stand. It is installed and we can now, two years after its start, strike the range boiler project off the job list as complete.

Tonight is the last night the bunnies will be feasting in my garden. We know what we have to do and armed with the right sized fencing, tomorrow the cotton

tail party stops

the fishes sake

Had an unusual text this morning from a friend whose garden is about a 1/2 mile away from my garden. She asked me if I was missing a large goldfish from our pond. I admitted that I hadn’t noticed any missing when I fed them this morning but, if one of our fish is in her garden bothering her, please do send him home. Rightly, or wrongly, I assumed it would have been a he fish.

The pond levels were way down today. I assume due to evaporation from the recent heat wave, but we don’t have a lot of extra water for topping up the levels unless it is urgent. The garden itself is stressed from our water situation. I am trying to be judicious with our water supply. The important plants get water. The ones which I know can survive without, don’t.

There were two bunnies in the garden this morning eating my lettuce. They also nibbled a sickly rose and a young marigold. We have chicken wire ready to install for the lower portion of the garden fence to prevent bunny access but we just haven’t put it up yet. Might have to move that chore up the list a bit.

As mentioned, my intention this year was to grow some different things in the garden, so I looked at my grocery lists from last summer for items I have never grown, but would like to try with a little effort. I am trying peppers, dill, cantaloupe and watermelon. I really have no expectation for success because until recently we were not living in an area with temperatures conducive to melon growing. But this morning, lo and behold, look at what I found in the garden.

I am more than a little thrilled with my first baby cantaloupe. Stay tuned for pictures of the first slice.

Back to the goldfish situation. Apparently my friend was in her garden last night when a low flying eagle passed over her head with a large goldfish in his mouth. She advised me that it is unlikely our fish would be coming home.

I am aware that we go through all of these aforementioned issues every summer and you would think I would learn because, after all, they do sell vegetables in the store and there is no practical reason for all of this trouble. But I am determined to prove that one year I can successfully catch 8000 gallons of water in the tanks during the winter and keep them until I need them in the summer.

We have now filled the pond back up to the top with our precious water to give the fish more room to hide. I am also determined to prove I am smarter than bunnies, and deer and raccoons, voles, herons and apparently now I need to outsmart eagles too, for

the fishes sake

a warm fire

During the Sochi Winter Olympics our friend Kathy came down to the house at 3:30 in the morning to watch the gold medal hockey game between Canada and Sweden. In those days there were very few people on the island in February but, we who were here that day, were committed fans. The three of us snuggled under our individual blankets in our best pajamas to cheer on the Canadians. I think coffees with Baileys were involved.

The layout of the original house at the time, had the living room with the wood stove three steps above the room where we watched TV. It was not conducive to great warm air circulation. I took a picture of the thermometer that February morning as we were waiting for the game to begin and it was -4C in the “TV Room”.

Last night we hit 38.5C degrees in the newly designed house with all of the new windows. No air conditioning and no cold water for showers. I got up at 2 am to refill the dog’s water dishes and rehydrate myself and found the living room still sitting at 32 degrees. That is quite a range of temperatures to experience here over the years.

I need to tell you these things not because you don’t know it’s hot out there but because we need to remember this week. This is the week, when for the first time in my life, I have considered buying an air conditioner, have committed to buying two more portable fans and am now going to install reflective film on the upper living room windows. I have ordered the film and it will be here next week. It is too late for the current heat wave but we will have it for any future issues. I imagine we will just keep it installed during the summer months. Who knows, but if we could keep the temps in the living room slightly below stifling during the summer that would be awesome.

It is currently 22 degrees outside and 29 degrees in the living room. So less extreme than yesterday. Tonight’s sunset was just lovely. If I had to choose cold mornings or hot nights I would take the colder temperatures. I do like to snuggle in front of

a warm fire

the year award

In the summer of 1991, I was very pregnant with our daughter and very hot. Compared to our current heat wave, it wasn’t even close, I don’t think the temperatures even hit 30 C, but when you are very pregnant and very hot, you are grateful for the cool basement of a house.

At the time, my girlfriend, who we will call Mary, had two daughters who were near the same age as our two sons, (three and five) and they had come down with Chicken Pox. I was reminded of my eighth birthday dinner at which my mother made me eat on Margot Kidder’s cousin’s sick bed, so that I would catch her case of the Chicken Pox. The incubation period after my birthday would time the illness perfectly so I that wouldn’t miss any school. The illness was usually milder the younger you were and if you could “time it”, my mother thought, all the better. My Mom’s plan worked, so 27 years later, I invited Mary and her virus riddled daughters over to play with our boys.

Two weeks passed and then, as hoped, both of our boys came down with their own bumps and itches. In a manner of speaking, I thought of it as a win.

So the boys were sick, I was very pregnant and E was off earning a living. I parked my sit-me-down in E’s Grandmother’s big old stuffed chair in our basement, pulled out the VHS collection and turned on the only TV we owned which was a 13 inch white one, that I had bought at the Hudson’s Bay with my girlfriend Hilary when we shared an apartment on Dunbar in 1977.

The boys lay on the couch together slathered in calamine lotion watching movies, with titles like Land Before Time and Mary Poppins, for two weeks in the cool basement, while I handed them continuous bowls of ice cream. They had very mild cases, never had to worry about catching Chicken pox in school, and I got to sit in the basement with two quiet, albeit sick, boys eating ice cream and snoozing for two weeks just before the baby arrived. By the time that baby was four years old there was a vaccine and she never got either the disease, or to lay on the couch for two weeks eating unlimited ice cream with her Mom.

I have had to throw my garden watering plan out the window this week. I need to get the plants through the heat wave so am watering daily. The garden is usually several degrees warmer than it is down at the house and the house is 36 degrees right now. My chores are finished in the garden at 7 am and then I return to my spot in front of the fan in the house with the shades drawn. Without a basement any more and living in what could be considered a glass house, I have absolutely no ambition and no shame in taking two days to read a book in front of a fan on the couch.

The dogs are dealing with it in their own way. Piper alternates between laying beside me on the couch in front of the fan, and on the cool tile at the door. Shanty has, for some reason, decided the best way to deal with the heat is under the chair, while keeping her nose out to source potential food opportunities.

In 1990, when I worked for a big blue company, I knew a man who got chicken pox in his forties. It was brutal, he missed weeks of work and the rash was in his mouth, nose and ears and he was in terrible pain. Ick. How did he not have it as a child? What was his Mother thinking?

Honestly, I don’t know why neither my Mother nor I were never up for a Mother of

the year award

in the garden

Tonight, will be our first attempt at socializing with a group of friends (ten) in a very long while. In addition to what will certainly be a most pleasant change to our routine comes the added bonus of a reason to bathe! Armed with our second shot, we are very much looking forward to a warm evening on an oceanside deck with good friends.

In anticipation of the long awaited bubble bath, E checked the levels in our water tanks. Although they are not full, last weeks rains certainly helped and we are sitting at 4100 gallons which is about where we were this time last summer. If we have just a few well timed rainy breaks over the next two months, we should be fine.

Yesterday, the 40 gallons of water from the range boiler was emptied into milk jugs to use on the deck plants. E needs the tank empty so he can move it while he replaces the boiler stand. He has redesigned the stand to allow us to store wood beneath it. We also bought some more tiles to match the stand to the wall behind the stove. Without the need for a fire in the stove for a few months, it is the opportunity we have waited for to finish this particular job.

You don’t need me to tell you that there is a heat wave coming across our province this weekend but it is worth mentioning for the purpose of historic record keeping. Temperatures predicted for the next five days in the 30’s with Monday expecting to reach 37 degrees. So far we are quite comfortable with high winds coming straight at us. With all of the windows open, the house keeps a very reasonable temperature. So far.

I have never grown peppers before but committed myself to growing the ingredients I would need to make a winter’s supply of salsa and a summer’s supply of Greek salad. I have 8 red peppers, 4 Jalapeno (Ring of Fire) and two yellow pepper plants which have been grown from seed. Until last week they were in one gallon pots in the greenhouse. I harvested the last of the peas last week and just as the heat wave arrived, planted all of the peppers in the garden where the peas had been. The garlic looks almost ready to harvest, which will hopefully make room for the cucumbers.

To Heather and anyone else who counts the unusual number of puns I unintentionally slip into my posts, I count potentially three double entendres and no puns today. In a dedicated effort to provide a more pleasant environment to the blog and put all the recent nastiness away forever, I present to you the flowers which are currently blooming

in the garden