to my book

It was a dark and stormy night yet we set out fearlessly. We braved the torrential conditions for what we considered an invite most important. A game of Bridge. One of the few activities which could lure me away from my fire, my book and my Baileys on such a night.

Before dinner E went down to check on the water tank under our front deck to see how much rain we were catching from our roof. Coincidentally, the pump was running at the time. The pump comes on automatically when the tank hits about 350 gallons, sending the rain water way up the hill to our storage tanks.

We started November with 1300 gallons of water saved in the upper tanks. Not so very much when you consider we need 8000 to be at capacity. Capturing 350 gallons since the rain started in the afternoon was very satisfying to say the least.

Now, the next few sentences are for Mary, maybe Ron, and a few Annes. The rest of you can jump ahead a bit. It was a great night for the girls at the Bridge table last night. Unlike recent weeks, we had all the cards. For the first time in my life I got a grand slam!! Sure, We only bid four but still.. We got a grand slam.. Never had one before… 🙂

When we came home at 11 pm, E checked the tank. Again, the pump was pumping. Another 350 gallons… 700 gallons in one day. If you remember, previously, when pumping water from our well was our only option, we were only ever able to acquire 30 gallons per day. You can see what an improvement rain water catchment can be for us.

That said, it hasn’t rained very much this fall but we have every expectation that over the next few months there will be plenty to fill our tanks. Especially if yesterday is any indication.. We started November 1 with 1300 gallons and we are now at 2400.

I don’t often go up to the top portion of our property where the water tanks sit. This picture though, taken from the highest point of our property gives you an idea of where the new bunkie sits.

All in all, it was a very good day. Now to get back

to my book

don’t judge me

It has been my experience, that the coldest months here on the island and therefore greatest chance for a snowfall are November and February. It was fifteen degrees Celsius here this weekend.

Sure today the sun is no where to be seen. We have thick fog.

But the water is flat calm and it is ten degrees outside. The fireplace is lit but I keep the window open over my shoulder to listen for the occasional passing sea lion.

Piper and I were out filling the bird feeder this morning and through the fog we could here a sea lion below us huffing and puffing. It’s probably not a picture of Piper’s best side but you can see how hard he tries to see what’s huffing and puffing below us.

Those pots are filled with daffodil and hyacinth bulbs. Not particularly attractive at this point but they hold great promise.

It has been a year since I took the time to read a book. Friends have brought me their offerings. John, Kathy, Anne, Sue, Alison, lots of you have visited and left me a book or two. I thank you. They have sat safely on my bookshelf waiting for me to return to my favorite past time in the whole wide world. My problem, and I have confessed it many times before to you is that I start and I don’t stop. I get nothing accomplished until I finish a book started. If it is a book in a series, I can go weeks before I put the author down. Let us not forget June of 2014 when I read 26 John Sanford books in thirty days.

But my sewing is finished and I have no where I have to be. The garden is packed up for the winter and we have no guests until the spring. I’m supposed to be writing the island newsletter but it can wait til January. I have scheduled the next four weeks for reading. I am going to sit in my chair by the window, fire lit and try my best to work through my stash. It might even be time to open my Baileys. I will accomplish nothing else before Christmas. Please

don’t judge me

is all fixed

I offered to drive to knit night last night. As I pulled away from our property in the dark I could not see one thing out of my window. The fan wasn’t working to dry the moisture on the inside of the front window and the windshield wipers are bent and don’t touch the window. They are unable to clean the outside. The headlights were burnt out so I put on the high beams. They were working but tilt straight up. I had a great view of the tree tops. The only light I had came from the blinking red light reminding me the truck needed gas.

I pulled into my friend’s driveway and explained that she was going to have to open her window and participate in the navigation portion of the driving to knit night. To her credit she remained fairly calm when we got nearer to a ditch than is normally recommended. She was quite vocal though with her opinion that although we didn’t end up in the ditch, it was not an appropriate time to be speeding up.

I know I have mentioned before that E hates working on cars. Well he does. In his defense at least my truck has doors. There are those on the island that don’t.

Very little rain happening. The tanks up top have enough water for our day to day needs but we aren’t getting the supplies we need to fill them for next summer.

E has now connected a new heating coil to the stove so our hot water is free again. The hot water will be free as long as the stove is hot. I know the stove is hot because Sunday night, in the dark, I tripped on a piece of wood sitting on the hearth and steadied myself by putting my hand flat down on the top of it. Fortunately, I have really good drugs and it was the toughest part of the skin on my palm which touched the heat. It could have been a lot worse and was a really good reminder to maybe turn on a light when I’m putting a log on the fire.

I have been sewing all day every day. I have almost finished the projects I need finished before Christmas. I have another quilt I’d like to make this winter and a stack of books to read but I need to put a newsletter together for the island and that should probably happen first.

The temperatures are mild and there are tons of jelly fish in the waters.

We need just a little bit more cedar to finish the cabin siding. It will be another week or so before it is ready so E was able to take some time to look at my truck. He did and I am told it

is all fixed.

the damn vegetables

Here is the thing about Moms.. They give you unconditional love and support when you need it and ongoing concern and advice even when you don’t know you need it. Moms…… complicated relationships for sure and yet we all have a Mom and I can tell you from personal experience, no matter how lame you think she is or how many arguments you have had, she has loved you and only wanted the best for you since the moment the nurses lay you in her arms. When you are sad she is sad. When you are happy she is happy.

I haven’t written for almost a month because my mother drilled into me “if you can’t say anything nice don’t say it”. Even if I often find it difficult to follow that rule in conversation, I like to think I succeed here on the blog. The only way I succeeded this month was by not writing at all..

But I’m back. The mystery of whatever is killing the deer on this island will either reveal itself or go away with time. Me dwelling on the issue here won’t make any difference, but I will summarize that I have seen or heard of more dead animals in the last few months than I have in thirty years on this island and I hope it is over. So let’s move on.

I have been sewing most days. The eagles, seals and otter are usually close by. Yesterday a couple of sea lions joined me.. They snuggled beneath my window obviously enamoured with each other.. Was it rude to watch their mating dance?

E is plugging away at the cabin. He has been working on the window trim and batten boards. There is no deadline, no rush. I like to think he is working at a sane relaxed pace. But it is looking pretty darned good…

The new coil in our fireplace which we use for hot water heat, disintegrated.. Who knew that you have to keep water in the pipe at all times.. We didn’t and as such the first winter before we found our water tank and set up the system, the thermacoil sat empty and became compromised. Yadda yadda yadda..don’t leave your thermacoil empty.

So we went to town to get our new coil , E will install it tomorrow and we will be set for free hot water with this system for fifteen years… You live, you learn…

We stopped for groceries down island after visiting the fireplace guy and while I was in the vegetable aisle I watched a young mom with her two young boys. Thinking while I looked at her that I missed my two sons and where did all that time go …. I overheard her say to the youngest… “ Gordon, don’t spit on people’s vegetables”…

So what has made my mood improve? My ability to move past the dead deer. My daughter is happy, really happy and found herself at the beginning of the best days of her life. We couldn’t be happier for her and her news has really lightened the moods around here.. It’s time to move on and remember what is really important..

And with that, I’m off to wash my celery, tomatoes and red peppers. Well really, I’m going to wash

All the damn vegetables

are all Piper

Twenty years ago, E sat at the head of our Thanksgiving table and gave a toast. He was a forty year old father of three and he was wearing a beeper while he waited for a heart transplant. But his toast that evening, in fact his whole demeanor was about positivity. He said, “I am grateful for all that I have and most of what I don’t”

His secret to happiness and I am sure his surprisingly good health is perspective. He keeps everything in perspective. Difficult situations are dealt with up front and honestly and then left behind him. Our family, and friends have learned so much from watching how he deals with challenges. At the end of our day, if it should be our last day we need to be able to say it wasn’t wasted.

As we head toward the twentieth anniversary of his transplant in March we wanted an opportunity to celebrate with his family. Thanksgiving weekend worked for most and we were able to have seventeen show up for turkey dinner and Prosecco. E and I will celebrate on the actual anniversary, just the two of us, somewhere outside of Singapore, but that is another story.

With our kids visiting, everyone was, as usual, put to work. My daughter ran the burn pile while the boys helped put the cedar siding up.

The crazy summer is over now. The urgency of the cabin has subsided. The guests have gone home and we have specifically not scheduled any social activities for the next two months. We are extremely grateful for all of the help we have received but we need a rest.

We are all Piper


than the next

A tale of two days, on our island.

Yesterday morning I was up early and began to write a blog post. It began like this………………

The problem with the hours I keep these days is that when I get up the heat hasn’t come on yet. In his defense, it’s pretty darned early in the morning when I get up and he works hard. Not a problem. I just pile the wood into the fireplace and cuddle under my blanket with my coffee while I let the arbutus logs work their btu magic. In all honesty, I admit the heater does deserve to sleep til 6 am. if he really wants to..

It is blowing really hard outside and coming in from the north like it is, we are very exposed. The rain is hitting the windows and the tree branches keep activating the motion detector lights. I have nowhere I have to be and would be quite content if this weather comes again next week and I can just curl up with a book. Maybe I can break open the winter Baileys. But we have a ton of things we want to get done this week and I am really hoping the weather calms.

I didn’t finish yesterday’s blog post because I still needed to deal with my harvested apples and had run out of excuses to avoid the bins of ripe fruit any longer. The weather didn’t in fact ever calm and although E tried working up at the cabin it was miserable and he couldn’t keep the plywood sheets he was dealing with under control. After I made six vacuum packs of apple pie filling for the freezer, I went up to try to help him and lasted all of ten seconds. It was just stupid wind. (blowing 34.6 kmh, gusting 47.5 kmh) I suggested we both take the rest of the day off.

Which brings us to today. No wind, flat calm, blue skies, no clouds, an absolutely perfect fall day. We were up at the cabin early.

I got a big burn pile going and puttered in and around the garden. We bought four high grade plywood boards at 43 dollars a piece to make beds. Today was bed making day. E used two of them for his first attempt at furniture making. Mattresses to come. Tomorrow he can make the second one. This will allow our guests to get up off the floor. Next week when we have more time we can paint them and then start to lay the flooring.

Living on an island full time, exposed at the edge of a cliff by the water, our weather can make one day very different

than the next

upgrade to glamping

Nothing more fun for me than playing in the dirt. I spent the afternoon in the garden planting bulbs. Seventy Giant Hyacinth mixed in with forty-nine Delnashaugh Daffodils on the edge of what was a large vegetable garden. Then, I started moving a bunch of flat rocks into the garden to test the idea of laying a path to separate the newly planted flowers from what will now be a much smaller vegetable garden.

Today, E continued to install systems into the cabin. If you don’t have systems then you really are just camping. The cabin now has lights, running water and a toilet which flushes. He installed the solar powered 12 volt water pump and a septic system which honestly, let’s agree, is a big day.

Tomorrow he is finishing the installation of the on demand hot water heater. We found a portable 75,000 btu outdoor heater which we can detach and put away in the winter when it isn’t needed. It’s installed, just needs to be hooked up.

There are no beds yet. We are working on it but honestly, last Thanksgiving when our family visited they were sleeping in tents so I think they will be happy with the

upgrade to glamping