I make out

Ok, today was an ordeal. We had to go to town for a Dr. appointment so, while there, the dog had his hair cut, we bottled thirty bottles of wine (Italian red), went to Costco for the ingredients for antipasto and popped into Canadian Tire for various oils and such. There were also stops for gas, mail, Save On, QFS, and Burger King.

We were up at 5, on the big island by 8 and home by 2. Our solar panels arrived at the boat ramp at 3:30. Got everything unloaded and safe at home by 4:30. It was 33 friggin degrees outside and I collapsed on the couch with a cold Pinot Gris in hand.. ugh.. I hate town days.

Someone, who shall remain nameless, but she is really really sorry, fell asleep with the doors open all night one this week. It was a situation where the house was friggin hot, and she was tired and, well, she fell asleep. After thirty years of keeping houses mouse proof on this island it was a rookie mistake. Now we are suffering.

There is a family of mice in our bedroom. I am sure they are very nice and their family quite kind but I don’t appreciate their evening antics. We cannot for the life of us figure out what they are nibbling on. For certain they were not nibbling on our party favours, on the first two nights. Last night one clever fellow got a lovely piece of Havarti and lived to tell the tale. We have, however, successfully caught three other of the more naive members of the family with peanut butter. We buried them at sea.

The antipasto. September, 1998 in my girlfriend’s kitchen, her mother taught four of us hopeless young mothers how to cook her antipasto. Her name was Gina and honestly one of the greatest Italian cooks there ever was. But her skills at cooking were dwarfed by her disgust at our limited domestic skills. She considered us hopeless. But still, she taught us. With any luck I will be able to redeem myself. I haven’t tried making it since that night but I have her secret recipe such as it is and I am game.

The weather is supposed to cool a bit at the end of the week. Hopefully, if I can start early enough in the day, I will get it made without melting. I will let you know how

I make out

Of a hardship

If it appears that I have accomplished very little for the last three weeks, the impression would be accurate. But I am feeling much better and am theoretically going to be of more use moving forward.

This morning, I started the day, baking our weekly sourdough bread requirements.

Then I moved on to canning the first batch of our tomatoes. We are picking about 2.5 pounds every second day. Lots of yummy sandwiches to be had. The smaller cherry sized ones I have been roasting for pizzas.

Although it is lovely chatting with you, this blog is also supposed to record important facts like water levels, and our off grid trials and tribulations. So, the requisite water update must be addressed.

Last year, at the end of August, I was quite pleased to record that we had survived the summer with 1300 gallons left in the water tanks. It was better than the year before when we had zero, none, nada, in mid July.

This year, drum roll please, we have 3250 gallons in storage! It is the practical upside of this covid summer with lots of rain and few overnight guests.

Last week a large humpback whale (not Bobby) visited on Sunday and Tuesday. There were two here on the 21st of July too. We saw a pod of Orca at the beginning of July, but not since.

We are upgrading the solar panels system which of course doesn’t happen without complications. We had no sooner received the additional controller we needed when our first had a little hissy fit and stopped working for no valid reason. It is under warranty and headed to Phoenix for repair. It should be back by the time the new panels are installed and ready to be plugged in. We should be all set for the fall. Power galore..

We continue to isolate, our bubble is small. Fortunately, we are fairly fond of each other and aside from missing our family terribly, it isn’t too much

of a hardship

While I sleep

As you can probably imagine I was none too thrilled about this process to install the framework for the solar panels.

Much happier with the ladder from the bottom plan. At the end of the day, everything is secure and E is on terra firma.

For those of you keeping track, our eagles are pretty much gone. They will fish on the nearby rivers until early December. Won’t be long at all when they will return and wake me up every morning with their whining. They don’t tell me when they leave, no note, no long goodbye. I just notice randomly that I seemed to have slept in.

During most nights when the tide is high we can hear the seals feeding in the cut. It is usually too dark for a picture. Last week they woke me at 3 am and I went out to find that the phosphorescence was active. Every time the seal moved he would leave a trail of light through the water. Magical. This morning I managed to film him right below my deck. He smashes the water with his tail to stun and kill his fish for breakfast.

I have to admit we have been inside watching a bit of hockey this week. E deserves a bit of a break and I am still unhappy with the heat. Well actually, he watches,

while I sleep

Make an effort

Have we spoken about my grand supply challenge? I mentioned that I was organizing a large grocery purchase in June to fully stock the pantry, freezer and medicine chest (liquor cabinet) for everything I could imagine we would need for, if not twelve months, at least ten.

But I never explained the ongoing restrictions with which I am hoping to live by, now that the house is full of staples, meat and medicine (wine).

With the vegetable garden now producing, my weekly groceries will hopefully only consist of milk and fruit. Once my apples and plums are ripe in the fall, I‘m hoping we will just need milk. Obviously, my first attempt at what could be a huge feat of organization and self discipline is likely to need tweaking. My goal is to spend no more than $25.00 per week on groceries for the rest of the year.

E has been busy drilling holes into the rocks around the house to support the new solar panel frames. Once we committed to four additional panels for the solar panel system we decided to go all in and ordered four more. We needed to add another charge controller but the battery bank we have can stay as it is.

We will have the eight already on the roof, four new ones on the rock behind the house and another four on the rocks at the base of the driveway. Sixteen panels, 4800 watts. I imagine that will do us for a very long time and when things are working as they should, the generator will rarely be needed. Even in the winter, when I am quilting/ironing and E is watching hockey while rain pours on the roof and the pump comes on to send the water up the hill to the tanks, we should still have power stored.

The tomatoes are slowly starting to ripen and there are going to be plenty, all different shapes and sizes. I have never had such a great tomato crop. There is nothing like munching on Sugar Snack tomatoes while working in the garden. They are the size of blueberries and taste as sweet. If any actually make it down to the house, I am going to try to roast them and then freeze them for winter pizzas.

I have four pumpkins. Three ordinary sized, nothing exciting. But the fourth one, the one I scratched my granddaughter’s name into, is huge., and it’s only August. There are pumpkin pies and pumpkin soups in our fall future.

I will try my best to get y’all up to date on the goings on but I have to admit this heat has taken its toll on me. But it’s time to get off my duff and try to

make an effort

Children of me

Surprisingly, the scintillating topic of laundry rarely comes up in casual conversation anymore (did it ever?) and yet, these days my laundry and the drying thereof gives me great joy. I am a simple woman who is loving the fresh scent of sheets and towels dried on our new clothes line.

My grandmother had very specific rules regarding the correct hanging of laundry. I can hear her in my head as I pin the clothes to the line. Pants upside down, shirts upside down, socks toe to top and underwear? It goes sideways. The clothes are never to be hung in the manner they are worn. Towels are hung largest to smallest, like types together.

Our next door neighbour, when I was growing up, had laundry on her line seemingly every day of the year and the audacity to hang it incorrectly (read rudely). It drove my wee Scottish Gran crazy… She never got angry at anyone, ever, but for the neighbour lady, Grandma had disdain.

It is finally summer here. 28 degrees with a gentle breeze. Too hot for the dog, he is passed out under the chair. I had the oven on this morning baking for my son’s arrival tomorrow.

The Yelp review of the bunkie from our eldest in February mentioned needing somewhere to put clothes and some way to darken the room past sunrise. So we added a small dresser and black venetian blinds. The hot water in the shower passed inspection.

The bunkie Yelp review from our daughter last week was very positive but suggested that the second hand futon cushion on the bed was okay for a night or two but for their two week stay a better mattress would have been nice. So we bought a boxed foam mattress on Amazon which came in the mail to our sister’s house and is now ready for our son’s evaluation. If he approves of it, we will get another one for the second bedroom. They are cheap. Daughter also requested a bathroom towel bar… It has been added to the list.

When I hang my laundry or clean the kitchen as I bake, I hear my Grandma. Every time I see a beautiful sunset or inadvertently use lie instead of lay in a sentence, I think of my Mom. What, I wonder, will remind my

children of me?

Canning can begin

If you are anything like me, yesterday you scarred your pumpkin with your grandchild’s name, you made rhubarb ice cream last night, this morning you made your first loaves of sourdough bread and, this afternoon, harvested your lavender.

Under the careful tutelage of our recent guest, I learned how to make a sourdough starter. To be fair, he did all the work and now I have the ability to make sourdough bread forever more, but we don’t need to dwell on the details. It is enough to say it is delicious and that we are big fans of daughter’s fella.

The rhubarb ice cream is made without churning or an ice cream maker. You just need the whipping cream left over from recent entertaining, some fresh rhubarb from the garden and a can of sweetened condensed milk. In our little world ice cream is much prized and for today, at least, I am most definitely in E’s good books.

We are adding to our solar panel system. We have ordered four more panels which will give us a total of 3400 watts. Our first year here we had 80. We need the new panels to be more specifically targeted to the winter sun. E’s first plan was to hang them off the cliff under the perch. His second was to hang them under the window seat. Both plans were thoughtfully evaluated and considered for the best solar angle and then we decided on where I agreed it would be safe to install. Neither.

For the first time since we moved here and throughout all of the renos, he agreed to wear a safety harness on a project. I stopped nagging years ago as he always deferred to the advice of the previous owners. “If I start to go off the edge, I’ll just push off to improve my chances”

But while he drilled holes in the rock at the cliff ledge he wore one. He has now cemented posts into the cliff and a solid frame is now waiting for the panels. They will be well secured.

The peas are finished, the garlic is harvested, rhubarb finished and we are eating fresh beets. Just waiting on the eagerly anticipated tomatoes and then

canning can begin