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

Going to change

E had a very rewarding day yesterday.. He spent the day under the house attaching the wiring of the cabin to the load centre of our house. The solar panel system we already have installed has plenty of power available, especially in the summer and it will easily support the cabin.

Nothing better than wiring the cabin then hooking it into the main electrical system then flicking the switch and….. nothing blowing up.

I had a great day in the garden. Second only to the first burn pile of the fall, packing the garden up for winter is a favourite day for me. I threw out plants I am bored with, pruned back the perennials, and moved tons of plants around to new homes. The mulch is all down in the flower garden and I have temporarily put a tarp down on the vegie portion.

When all the maple leaves are down (November) I will shred them and put them on the vegie garden soil. Then I will top it with sea soil and retarp it til spring.

I have long been frustrated with the vegie garden. I spend all of this money and time on vegie seeds. I use my valuable water to water vegies that we can’t use fast enough. We don’t need forty scallopini squash. And so…..I have decided to give in to my real love and have reduced the vegie patch..and added more flowers..

Next summer I am going to only grow asparagus, cucumber, tomatoes, garlic and pumpkin. The rest of the garden is going to be turned over to flowers. When and if E ever has a moment to build the greenhouse I am going to use it for growing flowers. I love flowers and I want to grow them and give them my water.

I’m a flower gardener and that is just never

going to change

Fingers crossed everyone

First of October or as I like to call it “clean up the property” month. Finally able to get rid of the mess we accrued during the summer cabin build. I was up at the burn pile by 8 am and didn’t finish until 4 pm. Admittedly, it was nothing like the mess we accrued during the house reno but still it was unsightly. It’s all gone now. Very satisfying. I should be able to keep up with any mess we make from now on which makes me very happy. It was a perfect day for a burn pile with no wind and rain predicted for tomorrow night.

I’m hoping to get the mulch down in the flower portion of the garden tomorrow. The perennials still need pruning and the garden needs to be put to bed for the winter. Hopefully, if I start early enough it will be done before the rain..

E has finished the interior walls of the cabin now and the electrical. Today, he put the flooring down in the bathroom so he could install the sink and toilet. Plumbing is all ready to go in. It will take a few days but then we should have doors, lights and plumbing.

The clock is ticking. We have ten days to get the cabin habitable for the family’s arrival for Thanksgiving.

Fingers crossed everyone

hang of doors

I finished the required sixteen quilt squares for my seat covers. Actually, I must have been on a roll cause I made an extra one. Wasn’t too long ago, (last year) that it took me a whole day to make one. We still can’t decide what color to paint the table and chairs. Not a big problem. Actually, this part of the project is kind of fun.

Huge winds today. More tomorrow. I have a front row seat to watch the storm and I often get distracted. (hence the extra quilt square) We didn’t even put the bird feeders out. The birds will have to fend for themselves until I am sure the feeders aren’t going to fly off the cliff.

First big pot of soup for the winter is on the stove. Basically, everything in the fridge leftover from our weekend guests and my daughter’s visit went into the pot. Little bit of bacon, cauliflower, mushrooms, carrots, peppers, chicken breasts, tomatoes, Boursin cheese, cream cheese, wine and onions. I’ll let it sit on the stove for a couple of days and it will be delish.. If not, at least the fridge is cleaned out!

E went up to the cabin with the jamb skills he learned yesterday and installed the bedroom doors and the french doors out to the front deck. The bedroom doors were our old cupboard doors and the french doors used to lead out to the perch at the front of the old house. Just one door more to finish, the door to the bathroom but at least now we are closed up from the elements.

I think they look fantastic. Safe to say he now has the

hang of doors