same thing, really

A young falcon hit our window yesterday afternoon. No doubt he was hungry and the feeder outside my window, crowded with tasty song bird morsels, looked inviting. He misjudged his distance vs. speed ratio and well.. hit the house and landed in a heap on the deck…

The squirrel sat over him wondering if he was going to have a fancy bird feast for dinner. I intervened.

After spending the majority of my working years as a corporate travel agent, I am more than experienced in the heartbreak of unexpected flight interruptions. Delayed arrangements and rerouted trips are well within “my lane”. I felt I could be considered very qualified to take care of an injured hawk.

I have saved many hummingbirds, chickadees and a wren before. A hawk couldn’t be much different..

First I had to get him away from the squirrel so I wrapped him in a towel and put him in a basket outside the guest room where I could keep an eye on him.

It wasn’t long before he hopped up on to the edge of the basket. He tried to fly at one point but then just kind of dropped onto the table… He stayed like that for a few hours.

It started to get windy and cold and I worried the raccoon would stumble upon him when looking for bird seed .

So I wrapped him back up in the towel and put him inside a playpen, in the guest room. There was a log in the pen along with some water. There was a blanket laying lightly over the top and the room was cool and dark. We left him for the night to recover.

I fully expected to find him deceased this morning. But he was bright, if a little cross eyed, bushy tailed and standing up on the log. E opened the door and lifted the log toward the fresh air. The hawk flew off happily to the great outdoors..

Corporate travel agent, avian vet….all the

same thing, really

like to think

Yesterday we went to the special pharmacy where E’s medications from the St. Paul’s transplant clinic are distributed. We get three month’s supply at a time. The parking lot was pretty full but there was a space available set aside for “senior citizens”. E says, “I’m almost a senior. I could park there.” I said “no!” Despite the obvious ethical reasons, and that I knew he was only joking, I felt it necessary to reiterate that I am too young to be married to a senior citizen.

Then we went to the bulk barn to buy ingredients for Christmas baking. (Stick with me, there is a point to the story)

I am quite aware that we are usually just the two of us, my children are old enough to do their own baking and that we aren’t supposed to be eating Christmas goodies. But I bake anyways. I like to. I will take the treats to Vancouver at Christmas time. Someone will eat them.

When we went to pay the cashier at the bulk barn, she asked if we were eligible for the senior rate. 10% off on Wednesdays, she said. I replied “yes, absolutely, we are seniors.” Apparently my thrift overrides my honesty as well as my vanity because I was very pleased with the $8.00 savings.

Next stop was for my haircut and the main reason why I thought I should mention the pharmacy parking lot and the bulk barn.

E had gone off to Costco while I had my hair cut. When I was finished at the hairdressers I texted him that I would wait for him in the London Drugs. He texted back that he would just be two minutes… So, I walked to the other end of the mall, past the London Drugs and straight out to the parking lot. It was cold out there and no sign yet of E. So I moved out on the median in the sunshine. I thought he wouldn’t even need to park to pick me up.

Minutes pass with no E. I zip my coat up higher and pull the attached hat over my newly shorn head. He texted me again… “where are you?”I texted back. “I’m outside the London Drugs.” Then I clarified, texting “on the sushi side.” More minutes pass. I was getting colder so turned my back to the wind only to see E directly behind me with his back to me, texting what I can only assume was “No you aren’t, cause I am here and you are not.”

We were three feet apart, with our backs to each other conversing by text that we couldn’t find each other.

I’m fairly certain that even if we don’t yet qualify for the seniors discount in actual years, those days are closer than we

like to think.

everything goes well

Still not much rain to speak of. Those water tanks aren’t going to fill themselves! We haven’t been able to track our rainfall lately because the battery was dead on our weather station.. Wind was tracking fine but not the rain accrual.

So E climbed out on the perch to change the battery. There was a lot of swearing going on. Definitely not one of his humming jobs Piper tried to help but it was an awkward problem on an narrow cliff edge and Piper’s paws were useless.

While E was inclined to be out on the edge, he took the opportunity to upgrade the thingamajiggy box to our satellite. We aren’t quite sure why it needs to be changed but we are assured it will make a difference some how. Not quite sure if it was worth the risk, but E was game. He can swim.

In between baking and eating pumpkin spice muffins I continue to work on the island newsletter. I am still waiting on three articles (you know who you are) and a bit of ad copy. Putting all of the articles together is kind of like playing tetris and I am terrible at tetris. But it is coming together nicely. Then we will proof read and rearrange and proof read it some more before we put it away and forget about it over Christmas. We plan to publish it at the beginning of January if

everything goes well.

a wine cellar

Two years ago, we didn’t order enough cedar siding to cover the addition to the renovated house. The new fascia seemed to use way more than expected. So when we bought siding for the new bunkie, we included extra boards on the order to finish the main house. We still didn’t order enough.

Not only did we not order enough to finish the house, there wasn’t enough to finish the bunkie either…. So we ordered more this month and it arrived this week. As you might imagine, winter is a great time of year to be outside hammering siding onto your house or bunkie.

If you can do it on the coldest day of the year, even better. On the upside, we don’t have to look at the horrid black paper on the wall of the guest room any more. The down side is that we have to wait to put on the stain until it is at least ten degrees outside or it will just glop.. (that is a word, look it up)

We ordered forty more ten foot boards and it took sixteen of them to finish the house.. Apparently when you order lumber from this particular mill in the winter time they are either in the Christmas spirit of giving or just plain generous in nature because very few of the boards were ten feet. Most were twelve and there were a few thirteen and fourteen feet long. Beautiful cedar. Surely to goodness it will be enough to finish the siding and fascia on the bunkie and maybe a propane shed or well house too.

As we speak I am roasting pumpkin. Cold weather means it’s time for pumpkin spice muffins or bread or anything pumpkiny at all, really, to be cooking in my kitchen. We opened up the small salmon river pink pumpkins but they hadn’t kept well. I should have used them first in October. Then we cracked open the Cinderella pumpkin and it is gorgeous. Thick meaty insides which will make for lots of puree for baking. I roasted them at 400 degrees for 40 min. When they are cool, I will take the skins off and put the insides through the food mill a couple of times. It will then sit in a colander and drain for a bit before I freeze it for future baking treats. Yummy stuff. I may just turn my whole vegetable garden next summer into a Cinderella Patch.

I know what you are saying. “Nice pumpkin but what’s with all of the empty wine bottles? I thought you weren’t drinking these days?”

We dug out the bottles from the back of the studio which we used when we made homemade wine in 2014. I have been washing and sterilizing all seventy eight of them this week before we bottle more wine in town this month.

Maybe E should be using any extra cedar siding to make me

a wine cellar.

with naked somethings

I had already written a post for today but I reconsidered publishing it when I realized it was boring. I had begun with a weather report. I mentioned that it’s cold and there is snow on the local mountains for the first time this winter. Then I went on to review the four books I read this week. Simply put, two were good, two were just alright. There you have it, an entire blog summarized in two sentences. Trust me, reading the original post would have wasted your time.

If I am not going to write about the weather or my reading list what else needs to be discussed to document our off grid island life? The problem is, as again, I have mentioned before, I write better when I have a glass of wine in my hand. But let’s be honest, I may just think that I write better with a glass of wine. It is more likely a situation where my judgement is impaired and boring posts slip past quality control. That is where my Mom came in.. She never let me get away with anything. If a post was boring, redundant or God forbid misused the word lay for lie, Mom would be on the phone to tell me.. Sigh.. I miss her. I still have E to check my work but in eight years he has only found fault with content once. So he’s not really a critic as much as a supportive partner.

I don’t really write to entertain you and I understand that much like the Seinfeld show often my blog is a story about nothing. But I do appreciate that you are all busy people who take the time to follow along so I try to make an effort to make the posts somewhat interesting…

Some of you may not know but I receive stats from WordPress on how the blog is doing. For example I know when someone reads the blog in Australia that it is probably my niece as she is the only person I know there right now. There is someone in the Netherlands who reads frequently but I have no idea who they are. As my friends wander around the world, I am thrilled that they can stay in touch with the activities of the island through this blog.

Some 65,000 times my blog postings have been read. I am the first to admit the content was best in the early days. But each posting is ranked in the stats provided, based on the number of times it has been read. There is one post which is read (hit) at least once a day. I have written 691 posts since beginning the blog when we got here. (Where was this literary energy in school when my essays were due?)

Where was I? Right, I was explaining my stats. One of the stats shows me how you, the reader found my blog. Through a link on Facebook perhaps or was it found by a loyal follower once it had been sent to their mailbox. Or, was this blog discovered through a random google search?

There are two of my blog posts which have been read almost twice as many times as all of the rest. The posting with the most hits, was written last February when the best darned dog in the whole wide world died. All of you were so supportive. I think many of you were able to empathize with what I was going through and perhaps shared the writing with friends. (https://deergarden.me/2019/01/29/my-bunny-rabbit/

But the second most read posting on this blog is discovered day after day with a variety of search engines. World wide, readers from countries like the Netherlands, France, China, Russia and the US find my blog when they search with the three words Naked Off Grid. It brings them to my posting A Naked April (https://deergarden.me/2016/03/04/a-naked-april/).

They come for the Naked April but they find my blog, I don’t mind. But I do wonder if I should try to increase my readership by titling a few more postings

with Naked Somethings

For a swim

We live at the end of an island. This island used to be attached to the island next to us. At low tide you can walk from one to the other. In fact our neighbours enjoy swimming there in the summer. The rocks, warmed from the daytime sun, repay the favour by heating the water as the tide rises.

Back in the day and I mean a good long while ago the story goes that the miners in Nanaimo grew tired of having to go around our island to get to the prime fishing grounds at Thrasher rock.

They brought their blasting skills over and blew a tidy channel through the rocks. This cut the travel time to their salmon dinner in half. No one remembers who they were but every day their efforts are still much appreciated.

I have spoken to grocery clerks and bartenders in Nanaimo who refer to this place as hole in the wall. Fishermen beneath my deck tell their friends to meet them at the hole in the wall. Perhaps they are talking about the actual hole in the wall down the island a bit.

We call it the cut. I have never heard someone from this island call the pass anything but the cut. Whatever you call it, for the last few days it has been blocked by logs and no one could get through.

For E, this was an opportunity to play with his chain saw and for me it was fodder for my blog.

As we were working the tide came in quickly. We almost ran out of time. Lucky we finished fairly quickly, because it was 8 am, only 5 degrees out and neither of us wanted to go

for a swim

what I mean

All too often when we (all of us) return to the island after a trip we find our trucks unwilling to resume their purpose with out some love and attention. If an island truck isn’t started over the winter or even a couple of weeks, the batteries will likely die. It might be the alternator which proves to be the problem or perhaps the engine just refuses to start for no good reason at all. My experience though, is that it is usually the batteries. Temperamental is an under statement.

To make sure the island fire truck is able to start in an emergency no matter the month or how often it has been driven there are a group of full timers who take turns driving the truck around the island for one half hour each week. It was E’s turn today. There is only one road and it’s about 5 km long. I went along for the ride.

One advantage of tagging along with E while he served his civic duty was that I was able to take some pictures of the swamp on the other side of the island.

It was cold today. Blue skies. A particularly beautiful day. The water in the swamp was like glass with the most amazing reflections of the near by cliff. If you look closely you will see

what I mean..