My house either

Weather wise, we have had a really nice week. Monday was gorgeous. The rest of the week was wetter but not so much rain that we couldn’t work outside a few hours every day.

We had three dead Arbutus behind our garden when we first moved here. Eight years ago, John was building a driveway for us and took down one of the dead trees with his excavator. He suggested if we didn’t need the extra wood we should leave the other two until we do. It absolutely freaked my mother out when she was here that we had dead trees hanging over the garden.

Well we need the wood now and playing with the chainsaw is definitely one of E’s favourite things to do. The dead tree landed perfectly, behind the garden shed and between two water tanks. It was almost like he knew what he was doing. It was a great morning’s work and now we have more Arbutus in the growing pile of wood waiting to be split.

We had been meaning to buy a ridge cap for the greenhouse but never did, and now it’s leaking. E found a bit of gutter today, which was left over from the reno, and installed it. It solves the problem, it’s free and it looks just fine. It didn’t take long to do and was a good job done.

The island newsletter is at the printers. One less thing I need to worry about. I was then able to have a productive time in the garden for the rest of the week. I moved plants around, pruned shrubs and took divisions for the nursery. It is lovely up there now and I am hoping I am able to continue well into November. I cannot tell you the peace it brings me to putter with my plants, whether alone or with E nearby working on his own projects. The eagles are in the tree beside the us, the dogs occupy themselves wrestling on the lane and we can now hear the song of the robins who have, just this week, arrived to eat the berries on the Arbutus. None of the world’s problems are in my garden. It is in a word, Zen.

A storm is predicted for the weekend. If I can’t be in the garden, I will just have to spend some time sewing. It’s all good, I am no longer letting the world’s problems into

my house either

responsibilities or obligations

Heavy rain coming. My great Aunty Fanny’s fanny! We were promised a big rain storm. 20-35 mm of rain they said. Ha! Ha, I say! It was supposed to have been raining heavily since 10pm Thursday night. It is 7:00 pm Friday, and we have not had one drop of rain fall on our property. Not one drop!!! Zero, zilch. We are likely the only people in the province who were looking forward to the deluge and we have had nothing!! Nothing!

I had scheduled an indoor chore day, ’cause you know, rain predicted, so spent the day working on the island newsletter. I have to commit to the arrangements with the printers on Monday so we are up against a deadline. It is today or never for submissions on my last newsletter ever.

Last night we had a huge crowd of sea lions barking under the deck as they travelled by. This bodes well for our winter on the nature channel. We have insane winds right now, though, and the sea life tend to stay below the surface during storms, so I doubt we will get much of a visual of them for a few days.

I was working in the greenhouse yesterday, harvesting my herbs. I cannot tell you how civilized it is to work in a heated greenhouse with running water and lighting, on an off grid island. Luxury! The lettuce and spinach are doing well. The peas are up and there are signs of life in the carrot container. I had found a volunteer tomato plant at the end of the season in the compost. I stuck it in a pot in the greenhouse. It is alive with tiny wee tomatoes on it. They won’t be edible or really worth anything but next summer I will definitely be planting indeterminate tomatoes in pots, which I will then bring into the greenhouse in September. Can you imagine if I can continue to get fresh tomatoes long into the fall?

This is going to be a really quick little post ’cause I need to get back to my work. Editing a newsletter is really just a game of Tetris. I am just trying to get everything to fit together in some sort of logical way. I am fortunate to have a neighbour who is amazing at proof reading so, once I finish mucking about with it, I can trust her to find all of my many mistakes before it goes to the printer.

Then, I can focus on a blissful, stress-free winter, far away from any

responsibilities or obligations

I am happy

I feel the need to record another minor milestone. The first snow appeared this morning on the mountains in front of us. Although we are sitting at temperatures of about 10C during the day, November and February are traditionally the coldest months here. One winter there was only snow on the mountains for a couple of weeks. It looks like that will not be the case this year.

An Arbutus tree came down on our upper property by the water tanks, so E bucked it up and we dropped it off the cliff this morning. Eighteen rounds of beautiful arbutus are now at the wood splitter. We have our eye on a couple of other trees which will be murdered in the next week or two but there are heavy rains predicted for the next few days so tree chopping will to have to wait until next week.

I have set aside the books my friend left me because Louise Penny has not one, but two, new books out, and I was able to get a hold of one of them, The Madness of Crowds. Everything else takes one step back in this house when I get a chance to spend some time with Inspector Gamache. Excellent timing for rain.

I will have my last newsletter finished this weekend. Then the quilting can commence! Between you and me, I will be glad to be done with the newsletter. My heart really isn’t into it any more.

I have unlinked the blog from my Instagram and Facebook accounts and deleted everyone else but my family off my Facebook account. I still might need to share pretty pictures of my granddaughter with them. Don’t be offended if I “unfriended” you, everyone is gone. The blog will be the only way to reach me or, of course, through my email or text. As you can see, the lunacy of the last six weeks has made me adjust my world. The blog, once I get it behind the subscriber wall in the new year, will finally be the place I thought it was, where I can connect with friends and write what I want without judgment. Don’t get me wrong, it will still be all about the nature channel and our life off-grid, hopefully with tons of pictures of whales and herring spawn. I am not going to suddenly start spouting political crap non-stop here, but the idea that someone would tell me that I had to delete what I wrote “or else”…. has forced me to put the blog behind a subscriber wall and I appreciate those of you who continue to follow along with me.

A nice big group of sea lions floated past the deck this morning while I was making our weekly bread. When I went out to take a picture, I realized that it was the first time this winter I could hear sea lions barking on the log booms around the corner. I really do hope, for all of our sakes, that the nature channel goes crazy with photo opportunities very soon!

It was a day with a little bit of work outside, a little bit of Louise Penny intrigue, a piece of bread fresh out of the oven along with a bowl of homemade Mulligatawny soup for dinner. I am happy to step away from my island commitments and narrow my focus on our property, our family and the journal of our life here, as long as I have my best guy by my side.

World Cup qualifying soccer is on tonight, Canucks hockey will follow later. E is happy. The wine is poured and

I am happy

a pumpkin pie

I wasn’t going to write today but I want to train myself back to the habits I had formed years ago, to write in my journal everyday, even if it is just a little bit. Something to record the moment. I seriously think I need to rename the blog, “A day in a life Off Grid: Stories about nothing”.

I felt it was worth noting, today, that the eagles have returned for the winter. I saw one at the south end on Monday and today ours have been chattering outside the house all afternoon. I cleaned out the fridge and found a wee piece of forgotten, leftover halibut from dinner Monday and tossed it to the rocks below the deck. At the time, I didn’t know the eagle was back and expected it would be the crabs dining well tonight but it wasn’t five minutes before Henley appeared from nowhere and stole himself a nice meal.

A couple of years ago I quilted a whole bunch of tote bags. It was fun and a really great way to become familiar with my new sewing machine and get the hang of quilting, or, you know, learn the very basics of sewing. I gave most of the totes away and then had the whole ‘accidently throw the tote into the burn pile’ event in the spring and have since found myself completely surrounded by no totes. I need one to go to town, one to go to the garden, one to go to a friend’s with a bottle of wine. Totes: you can’t have enough. Before I start my Christmas quilting I thought I might sew something for myself ’cause, after all, as anyone who knows me, knows well it is always all about me. I have the material to make a couple more tomorrow and then, when they are done, I should be in the sewing swing of things and ready to take on my gift projects.

Speaking of Christmas, I guess I was searching Christmas quilt patterns on line and, now that I apparently have a Corona micro chip in my arm, the 5g man in the sky was watching and then sent me some suggestions for Christmas gifts from the Wayfair catalogue.. Let me just say, looking at this ad, it is clear that we really are in the wrong business.

We are without family this Thanksgiving and that is just the way it has to be. The unvaccinated continue to provide the Delta variant the optimum conditions to survive and evolve. The virus is able to search through the innocent crowds to find a host. The host could be an antivaxxer and, I am sorry, but if they get sick, I have little sympathy. But the Delta variant could also find a host who has done everything right. Perhaps one of the first, last January, who stepped up to get double vaccinated for their vulnerable community and now needs a booster shot. But the Delta variant doesn’t know who “deserves” to get it and who does not. I am so tired of the antivaxxers justifying their position, no matter the risk to all of us. If everyone was vaccinated last spring when they could have been, the Delta variant of the virus would not have had the opportunity to exist, this F#$%ing thing would be over and we would all be with our families. It is not going to be over for a long time.

In deference to Thanksgiving and our missing family, our order from Nesters today included

a pumpkin pie

In my garden

I had a neighbour, when I was growing up, who was quite an unpleasant man. In all the 22 years we lived next to his family not a friendly word was spoken. Not only were the laundry hanging methods on their clothes line suspect, (children of me) but every year, he dug up in the fall and replanted in the spring, 32 bright red tulips in the garden next to the walk to his front door.

You would think I would have liked the tulips. But he planted them in ordered, rigid, disciplined rows which is most certainly not how flowers are meant to be grown. Four rows wide and eight rows deep, 32 tulips in rigid formation. Every morning when I walked past their front walk, I wanted to dig the them all up and scatter the bulbs to the wind. Let them land where they may, and grow as they should. But I never did.

Last spring I dug up a bunch of our crowded tulips and daffodil bulbs which had become overgrown in their pots on the deck. They spent the summer drying out in the greenhouse and today they were scattered to the wind and planted in the new beds in the garden next to the garlic. My bulbs are always planted in uneven numbered groupings, never planted apart from their friends. Never plant the tulips just with tulips, daffodils only with daffodils. In the garden, behind the fence away from the prying mouths of deer, they are planted as they are meant to be, to run amok with each other. Blooming when they want. Bringing spring to the garden on their own terms. Outside the fence it is a bit of a different story as only the daffodils can survive the grazings of the deer.

I have daffodils planted in every nook and cranny of the property. Again, before I planted them, I stood in one place and tossed the bulbs. They were planted where they landed. They chose their home. As I type the words it becomes apparent to me that I sound like a crazy person.

Down at the deck all of the geraniums were put under the house today. I decided I have no room in this tiny house to have them inside so will be eager to hear how it works for any of you who try to keep a few in your kitchen all winter. With any luck they will be safe under the deck and thrive in the spring when we bring them out from their winter nap.

So the garden chores are pretty much wrapped up. I have finished my book but don’t plan on sewing until Sunday. If no more articles are submitted for the newsletter tomorrow I may have to resort to spending another day reading.

To this day, I will never plant a red tulip

in my garden.

Alien landing craft?

The deck lit up bright green at 2 AM last night and stayed that way for forty minutes. A sudden heavy downpour put 250 gallons of water into the tank under the deck which triggered the light and the float valve to pump the water up the hill. The water was coming in so fast though, it just kept pumping and couldn’t empty the tank in the usual twenty minutes.

With our Blue Jays done, we were in bed early last night, with no excuse to sleep much past six this morning. Up early, my chores were done by 11 with nothing to stop me from reading for the rest of the day. My task d’jour was to get the garlic planted.

Last July my garlic harvest was pathetic. The cloves could have been planted too deep, too close or, for all I know, planted upside down. Any possible combination of errors could have been responsible. I know they were definitely planted too late. I barely earned enough garlic to get us through the summer let alone have any left to plant this fall. This year we are going to better document what I did so I know what or, more likely, who is to blame next July if I once again have no success.

I ordered 3 pounds of hard necked garlic from Vesey’s in PEI last year, along with my tomato seeds, and it was shipped to us this week.

1 pound Music = 9 bulbs = 60 cloves to plant

1 pound Purple Stripe = 9 bulbs = 100 cloves to plant

1 pound Racambole = 7 bulbs = 72 cloves to plant

232 cloves to plant in my two new garden beds of compost. When the leaves fall off the maple trees I might pile them on the beds for a little winter protection. I have never done it before but am game to try new things.

I spoke with two very old friends this week who have followed the blog since the beginning. One mentioned that she likes to read the blog ‘cause it’s like we have had a morning cup of coffee together, like the old days, and she is caught up. The problem is, she knows how we are doing but I am not caught up with her life.

So then I spoke with a friend whom I bet I haven’t heard from in eight years. She knew all about us from following the blog but I told her I would like to hear about her family and her life. I spent every day, all day, sitting beside her at work for years and years and years and so loved it when she wrote back to fill me in.

So let me be clear, to all our friends out there who read the blog. We would love to hear from you!

I wonder what it looks like to people living across the water when a large area on a completely dark off grid island suddenly lights up bright green in the middle of the night.

Alien landing craft?