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. So, 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

Not so much

We have our daughter and her boyfriend here for a visit for two weeks. In these days and times it could be many months before we see them again. I try very hard to be grown up about the situation, and have promised E I won’t embarrass myself when its time for them to leave.

It is supposed to rain again tomorrow so I went up to the garden tonight and harvested my wee garlic patch. I had given up on growing garlic but last year my friend brought me some garlic cloves as a gift in September. Not leaving anything to chance I dutifully planted it in the light of the harvest moon, in October, naked at midnight.

This time I also minded more traditional methods and was careful to water it regularly. Also, unlike last last year, we didn’t drop a tree on it. The resulting effort was happily much more successful. I will dry them now and we should be set for the winter. Thank you Cindy for my Russian Red Garlic. Note to self.. plant more in October.

I took two days off from chores to read a book. Thanks Alison, I enjoyed it but got nothing else done. I have hidden the other two you lent me and tomorrow I will finish my grand daughters quilt.

Kids and I were reading on the deck yesterday when we could hear a pod of whales go by. They have been sighted near us often lately so next time maybe they will be closer.

E has been happily building a box for the boyfriend’s synthesizer. Using leftover bits of fir he made a beautiful customized box. Perhaps a cottage industry has been born?

We had given our daughter all of E’s record collection at Christmas. During this winter’s purge of the storage shed we found a stack of old 45’s which had been separated from the collection. We gave it to the kids for appraisal. Boyfriend found one priced at 80.00 on a collector site and another for 200.00. Vancouver punk scene music from the 80’s is apparently worth money. The lone weird ass polka record probably

not so much.

Who is counting

Our turn for the community grocery pick up on the neighbouring island. Eight families took advantage of the service this week. We all call in our individual orders by Thursday, and they are delivered for no extra fee on Saturday to the government dock by refrigerated truck. The island liquor store delivers at the same time.

We drive our boat the ten minutes back to our island and put the bags, already marked with the family names, on the dock next to our boat. Everyone can then help themselves while we stay on our boat until they are gone. You can not beat the convenience. Eight less families in the island store with no loss of sales. Seven less families in their boats using fuel needlessly. Win win.

This afternoon we put the final touches on the bunkie before our guests arrive. Our son and girlfriend came in February and gave us two ideas for improvement. We have solved them. We hope..

I am sure we have forgotten something but it will be good to see what works and what else needs fixing. It is never going to be more than a bunkie so the bar isn’t too high. Our daughter, and her boyfriend, are not terribly fussy so they are the perfect test guests.

Our favourite leather lazy boy chairs from our home in Ladner were ruined in the rain on the day we moved here.. Jan suggested we paint them with chalk paint. It worked great. Always the most comfortable chairs to sit in while reading, they are perfect for the bunkie.

Our neighbours, after reading yesterday’s blog came through with wood to finish my laundry step. Thank you!

We are really looking forward to the arrival of our guests. Neither when my daughter went to university in Ontario nor when she travelled to Europe, Machu Pichu or the Galapagos did we ever go this long without seeing her. It has been twenty six weeks and three days, but

who is counting