Not so much

We have our daughter and her boyfriend here for a visit for two weeks. In these days and times it could be many months before we see them again. I try very hard to be grown up about the situation, and have promised E I won’t embarrass myself when its time for them to leave.

It is supposed to rain again tomorrow so I went up to the garden tonight and harvested my wee garlic patch. I had given up on growing garlic but last year my friend brought me some garlic cloves as a gift in September. Not leaving anything to chance I dutifully planted it in the light of the harvest moon, in October, naked at midnight.

This time I also minded more traditional methods and was careful to water it regularly. Also, unlike last last year, we didn’t drop a tree on it. The resulting effort was happily much more successful. I will dry them now and we should be set for the winter. Thank you Cindy for my Russian Red Garlic. Note to self.. plant more in October.

I took two days off from chores to read a book. Thanks Alison, I enjoyed it but got nothing else done. I have hidden the other two you lent me and tomorrow I will finish my grand daughters quilt.

Kids and I were reading on the deck yesterday when we could hear a pod of whales go by. They have been sighted near us often lately so next time maybe they will be closer.

E has been happily building a box for the boyfriend’s synthesizer. Using leftover bits of fir he made a beautiful customized box. Perhaps a cottage industry has been born?

We had given our daughter all of E’s record collection at Christmas. During this winter’s purge of the storage shed we found a stack of old 45’s which had been separated from the collection. We gave it to the kids for appraisal. Boyfriend found one priced at 80.00 on a collector site and another for 200.00. Vancouver punk scene music from the 80’s is apparently worth money. The lone weird ass polka record probably

not so much.

Who is counting

Our turn for the community grocery pick up on the neighbouring island. Eight families took advantage of the service this week. We all call in our individual orders by Thursday, and they are delivered for no extra fee on Saturday to the government dock by refrigerated truck. The island liquor store delivers at the same time.

We drive our boat the ten minutes back to our island and put the bags, already marked with the family names, on the dock next to our boat. Everyone can then help themselves while we stay on our boat until they are gone. You can not beat the convenience. Eight less families in the island store with no loss of sales. Seven less families in their boats using fuel needlessly. Win win.

This afternoon we put the final touches on the bunkie before our guests arrive. Our son and girlfriend came in February and gave us two ideas for improvement. We have solved them. We hope..

I am sure we have forgotten something but it will be good to see what works and what else needs fixing. It is never going to be more than a bunkie so the bar isn’t too high. Our daughter, and her boyfriend, are not terribly fussy so they are the perfect test guests.

Our favourite leather lazy boy chairs from our home in Ladner were ruined in the rain on the day we moved here.. Jan suggested we paint them with chalk paint. It worked great. Always the most comfortable chairs to sit in while reading, they are perfect for the bunkie.

Our neighbours, after reading yesterday’s blog came through with wood to finish my laundry step. Thank you!

We are really looking forward to the arrival of our guests. Neither when my daughter went to university in Ontario nor when she travelled to Europe, Machu Pichu or the Galapagos did we ever go this long without seeing her. It has been twenty six weeks and three days, but

who is counting

Bubble by two

In case you need proof of the beauty which can be created by endless days of June rain, I submit the following pictures. For years I have been unable to water my flower garden at this time of year and the plants just barely hung on. Sure they survived, but never flourished like this year.

Julia Child rose from my son
Queen Elizabeth rose from Alison
Peace Rose from our previous owners

The apple trees are covered in baby apples. Even the fig tree we received from my brother and sister in-law eight years ago, for the first time, has seven figs. It is going to be a bumper year in the garden. Plants, trees, shrubs, vegetables, they all love the rain…….

Having said that, E and I are ready for some sunshine. Our daughter and her boyfriend, after isolating at home for two weeks are coming to visit for a few weeks and it would be nice if they had some good weather while they are here. They deserve it.

This morning E painted our old leather chairs with chalk paint for the bunkie. They look good. I will show you when they are finished. We have also added a coffee pot, kettle, and toaster to the bunkie for our daughter’s convenience. I am not telling her where my medicine chest (wine cellar) is…

This afternoon, E started to build a platform for me to stand on so that I can safely use our new laundry line… To hang the laundry now, I have to stand on a rock at the edge of a cliff. I am short. After three years of reno projects, unfortunately, we are now starting to run out of left over wood bits and couldn’t finish. We will think of something.

And so life continues. We are happy. We are safe, and this weekend we are excited to expand our very small

bubble by two.

My peace rose

If you are like me you have a big lump on your forehead and you have absolutely no idea how it happened. This life is never without scrapes and bruises but usually I would remember a lump.. On a separate, and I am sure unrelated note I am working my way through the wine cellar. Twenty four down, three hundred and eight four to go.

In the last few weeks we have had rhubarb crumble, rhubarb sticky pudding and today, you would find rhubarb oatmeal cookies were cooking in the oven. It is rhubarb season and my freezer is full of meat, so it will be rhubarb desserts until we move on to berry season. I am not complaining, we love rhubarb.

The water situation we find ourselves in at the end of June is, as you can well imagine, more than satisfactory. Crappy weather aside, June rains have been very good to us.

Last year we began March with way less than our capacity of 8500 gallons, 6000. We enjoyed a summer with a lot of guests (workers) visit (work), the garden was fairly healthy and still we ended August with 1300 gallons in the tanks.

This winter we had two major human errors with the water storage. Both E and I share the blame on this one but to simplify, we lost a combined 2000 gallons from sheer stupidity. But June has been our saviour. We will begin July with a healthy, green, flourishing garden, a power washed deck, clean hands, clean clothes, clean hair and…. drum roll please…….5350 gallons of water in the tanks!

Barring more human errors, with a now fully functioning rain catchment capability from the roof of the bunkie, I see no reason we won’t reach full capacity next year. It can take a lot of fine tuning on this island for systems to work just the way you need them to work. You may have deduced as much from the ongoing water saga I regularly bore you with..

These two fellas and their shy sister spent the morning playing at the cut.

I think these are Pigeon guillemots. They live in the rocks below me.. cute eh?

Evening entertainment this month has been eclectic. We binged a Netflix show called White Lines. Then, in desperation for something cheery, we watched the Great Canadian Bake Off which was kinda fun and left me wanting to learn how to make digestive biscuits.

Then, on recommendation from friends, we watched the 13 episode documentary on Netflix called World War II in Colour. They were quite right. It is excellent. My only criticism, question, concern, a point of irony if you will, is that despite hour after thirteenth hour of repeated death and destruction which is depicted in the show, the warning at the beginning of each episode foretold the possibility of witnessing a person smoke a cigarette. I am talking D Day, Tobruk, Hiroshima, Belsen…. and the censors were concerned I might be upset by the glimpse of a soldier smoking?? Whatever, we liked it

On a more cheerful note I will leave you with this little guy who is living in

My Peace Rose

Deserve the treasure

I spoke to a guy in the parking lot of Super Store the other day who said that he had considered buying property on this island but when he realized he would have to shlep every bottle of wine and block of cheese over here by private boat, he went a different way.

Once something has been in fact, schlepped over here by private boat or hired barge and its original purpose eventually over, a neighbour could likely put it to use. The very fact that it is already here on the island and doesn’t need to be transported is of high value.

The living room chair from our home in Ladner is in my friend’s bunkie. Her bookcase and futon is in mine. Today, another friend’s peg board has a new home in our shop. This week, we also gained a clothes line, music stand and hoe. A lot of our unused building supplies are spread around the island and the majority of our old kitchen, is in another friend’s house.

Since we moved here eight years ago, I have yapped on and on that I would like a clothes line. We have this really cool indoor Scottish drying rack.

It works very well but there is nothing like the scent of sheets and towels once they have been dried on an outdoor line. A friend didn’t need hers any more and passed it on to me. I am sure E was thrilled to see me come home with it. He loves it when I give him an excuse to climb a ladder.

Years ago, I went on the annual South Delta garden tour with one of my many sisters in law. I had no time for people with unlimited budgets who could augment their displays with annuals just for the garden tour, but still I loved going on the tour to steal ideas from clever gardeners. (Side note: is there anything other than a gardener who is clever? What is the opposite of an oxymoron? We looked it up … It is a tautological statement.) Anyhow, I remember two distinct gardens.

One fellow had a Calla Lily the size of a large garden pond in the centre of his garden. He said he kept removing lawn as it expanded. The other was a fellow with water filled milk jugs between his tomato plants. He said the sun would heat the water and it would keep the plants warmer through the night. Sandra do you remember? Anyhow, I have stolen his idea. I need to start drinking more milk!

So, as you may gather, I am drinking wine again and therefore writing…. Apparently my writing inspiration is part Erma Bombeck, part Roald Dahl mixed with a heavy dose of James Joyce.

Back to the fellow in the parking lot. It is true. It is a lot of work to live here. It is the price we pay for the hidden treasures of privacy, beauty and peace. Much like taking the first step into the tunnel of a mine looking for gold, if you aren’t willing to take a leap of faith, risk it all, and do the work you won’t

deserve the treasure

to me yippee

It seems like I have aged a year since we last spoke.

Whether you are interested in what I have to say or not, I need to document some mundane details of our off grid life.

Although in previous years we usually have had our last wood fire on May 7th, we have still had them in June. This week, there were mornings when we woke up to 15 degrees in the living room. It is J.U.N.E.

On the upside, our garden is lush and green without using my water supplies to water it and we added probably 1000 gallons of water to the tanks so far this month.

I have spent an inordinate amount of time lately working on my grand provision project. What I couldn’t buy from the Great Canadian food store and have delivered to yesterday’s scheduled curb side pick up, we ordered from Amazon.

The shopping list was everything I could imagine we might need, from Septonic to chow mein noodles, for the year. As we pulled up to the curb, the young fella laughed when I gasped at the size of the trolly laden with bins full of food. He said “this is one quarter of your purchase. There are three more like it. Forty two bins in all. All four personal shoppers worked on your order.” It was the biggest they have had. Sigh, our car isn’t that big.

I explained that we weren’t hoarding or crazy people. But the young fella had seen how much chocolate and cereal we had bought. Crazy couldn’t be discounted.

Fortunately, we had already taken a load to the boat with our six cases of wine, several dozen beer, gas and the mail. The mail consisted of all the Amazon orders like Pond filters, window blinds, quilting material and such.

At the Post office the clerk greeted E, with a “I know who you are” as he handed her his pick up card. She went to the back and brought out a bin on wheels for him to bring the boxes to our car.

Loaded it all on the boat along with propane and diesel.

Driving down the lane to our house we remembered that we had a driveway down the hill. We never take the truck down it. Even through the reno we carried everything up and down by hand. Driving seemed like cheating. But I am a lot older now..

So, whew, we did it. Provisions are in for the winter…I am so curious to see what we have to add along the way and what, if anything, doesn’t get used.

Either way it is a fun experiment and a huge accomplishment to have most everything we will need here and stored away for life off the grid during a pandemic..

Happy birthday

to me, yippeee