is very rewarding

Yesterday, E put the shovel into the ground where we hoped to move the Bramley apple tree and much to his delight found soil, lots of soil, not rock. Typically, we have a hard time planting anything outside the fenced garden.. Rocks are a big problem for gardeners on this island.

So the Bramley is moved to a nice sunny location on the opposite side of the lane from our other apple trees. I am hoping it will be much happier there.

The garlic is planted. Russian Red. I planted them much deeper and further apart than last year. Maybe I will have better success. I can’t think why else the crop was so useless this year.

Our septic tanks and final 1×8 boards arrived yesterday. E brought them over from the near-by island after the store brought them down to the dock at high tide.

Today, E started to build the door frames. We could have bought pre-made door jambs but they were over four dollars per foot. Although E had no idea how to make the jambs it seemed easy enough and the 1×8’s were cheap. It took longer than he would have wanted, but now that he has done it once the rest should go smoother.

This door used to be our bedroom door in the old house. The window on the right is the bathroom window and was the bathroom window on the old house. I have no idea where the one on the left came from. My girlfriend and I painted it all black to go better with the cedar siding.

I want to make cushion covers for the chairs in the bunkie and need to quilt sixteen squares. Today, I made eight of what I need.

Tomorrow, there are big winds expected. E will be back up at the cabin putting the french doors in and I will be back at the sewing machine. I love this time of year. We can work at our own pace, on our own projects. It

is very rewarding

back to work

“What is your name please?” asked the polite travel counselor, who sounded like she was from Alabama and works for the cruise ship company hosting our spring trip. I groaned. Thinking here we go again. At Starbucks, I have given up and just use the name Betty. Everyone, it seems can pronounce and spell Betty. But here is my response to her question and how my attempt to make a change to my cruise ship cabin went…

  • Me: Moira
  • Agent: Myra?
  • Me: Nope, Moira
  • Agent: Moyria?
  • Me: Nope, Moira
  • Agent: Maria?
  • Me: Nope
  • Agent: How do you spell it again?
  • Me: M O I R A
  • Agent: oh, it ends in IRA, what if you went by IRA, that would be easier?
  • Me: Nope
  • Agent: Mo?
  • Me: Nope
  • Agent: Mo Mo?
  • Me: Nope
  • Agent: Well, okay Myra how can we help you today?

Sigh. This, after a discussion the night before with my friends that parents who think they are naming their kids something cute or unusual should spend a week using that supposedly cute name before they saddle their kids with a lifetime of “just call me Betty” . The agent really did seem to solidify my position in the previous nights conversation.

On a separate and unrelated note we walked all over the island with our friends on the weekend and took the opportunity to show them our island beaver lodge. Although I have seen evidence of the beaver’s continued existence here, trees down etc., I haven’t seen the actual beaver for maybe five years.… But, as we stood looking at the lodge the beaver made it very obvious he didn’t want us there. From the tall grass next to the pond we could hear him yelling at us to get off his lawn. So we obliged and left him to his work. But, safe to say, he is still living on our island.

True to plan yesterday, I did lots of thinking, and worked on my list but accomplished nothing of significance.

Today it is

back to work

wait til tomorrow

First day of Fall. What a great summer that was. Lots of welcome visits with old friends. Good food, good wine. The diet went out the window in May when the first batch of Biscotti was dipped into the first glass of red wine.

The last of our 2019 guests left yesterday. We had a long walk to the park and a whole day catching up out on the deck. The evenings lasted long into the wee hours of the mornings. It seems we had a lot to talk about!

But now, it is just the two of us and a wet dog in front of the fire. We are watching the rain pouring down outside and thrilled we have nowhere we have to be. The water tanks are filling and I am starting a new Fall to-do list with indoor chores included. I was off the island for five nights all year and yet, still I feel I haven’t got much done. The new list will be a long one.

We have one more delivery coming from the lumber store tomorrow. Certainly that should be it! It is the wood E needs to make the door jambs. Then we can get the front and back doors installed and have the cabin nicely sealed up for the winter. There is siding, plumbing, electrical and flooring still to do but getting the cabin water tight is probably the most urgent as we look out our window today.

I need to quilt four large log cabin squares for the seat covers of the oak table and chairs going into the cabin. They won’t get much wear and tear so will theoretically last at least a couple of years. If necessary I can make some more then.. after all I have nothing but time 🙂

My friend brought me some garlic to plant, so that needs to be done. I need to move the apple tree and plant some grass seed where I intend to be able to play Bocci next summer. The compost needs to be spread and layered with the sea soil we brought over and of course the flower garden needs mulching. There are still apples to be sauced and when the bulbs arrive, 400 bulbs to be planted around the new cabin. I am out of the cards I like to give as gifts, so need to make more.

We are going on a big trip in the spring. I know!!! Me …. travelling!!! We wanted to celebrate E’s twentieth anniversary of his heart transplant and cruising seemed like the way to do it. The fact that I get to go shopping in a very popular batik store in Denpasar on the trip is simply coincidental. After being off island for five nights this month I am not really sure how I am going to like being away from my window for three weeks. I am nothing if not flexible but will have to restart the diet, those cruise ships aren’t known for egg white omelettes and grapefruit.

Apparently, after a two year break, I am editing the island newsletter again so I need to start thinking about that and of course there are all the other stories I am trying to get written…..

So much to do! But for today I have put on another pot of coffee. We are tired and all of it can

wait until tomorrow

Like this island

When we told people we were leaving our island to see, not only one concert but four concerts by the same artist they would ask who and why?

We would reply Mark Knopfler and rarely would anyone know who he is. He used to be with Dire Straits, we would describe. Ah they would reply, I have heard of them. Despite the fact that Knopfler has been on his own since 1995 and released at least ten albums since Dire Straits seemed awkwardly unhelpful. He is a prolific poetic lyricist and one of the top ten guitarists of all time.

Our eagerness to see all we could of him while he was touring, for maybe his last time, bordered on stalking but we were determined fans and resolute in the commitment we made at his last concert in 2015.

We met our friend, let’s call him Paul In Seattle, and we three headed to Portland for concert number one at the Keller Auditorium. Row seven, $164.00 per ticket. We were, to simplify the feelings, in bliss and left the first night wanting more.

Night number two was at an outdoor winery amphitheatre. In Seattle, general admission $116.00…… Low backed chairs, blanket, table, cheese, crackers and wine..lots and lots of wine.. We sang, we danced. We, to use a term ours peers might understand.. went all Woodstock…

Night number three, was again outdoors at the St. Michelle winery. I might add now if you ever have the chance to see a concert at the St Michelle winery in Woodinville, do it. James Taylor, Chris Isaak, Alisha Keys, ZZ Top, Gypsy Kings have played there recently. I drank a little less wine on night number three as I missed my favourite song the night before standing in line at the washroom. But again on night number three we sang and we danced. I got to share an evening with E and one of his oldest and dearest friends.

Back to Vancouver to the Orpheum for concert number four, row ten, paying $210.00 per ticket. We still weren’t doubting our sanity.. In fact there was discussion of flying to Berkeley for the next show..

E and I don’t travel much, if at all. But this was definitely a bucket list kind of week. Much of the enjoyment of the entire experience is sharing it with two of my favourite people in the world. To see these two guys, who face daunting mortality challenges, share a moment of sheer joy when they hear the first chords of Speedway at Nazareth makes every single penny worth it.

We would be crazy not to see Knopfler for four shows in four nights. We would be mad not to spend the money that a two week winter vacation to Mexico would cost.

Life is short and the opportunity is unlikely to ever happen again. These two guys are my hero’s and Mark Knopfler, is one of the world’s secret gems, kinda

Like this island

Any time soon

We ended up going to town yesterday for paint. E loves to paint and wanted to see that particular job finished.. This morning he painted the final coat in the guest cabin. I’m happy with the colour although it wasn’t the shade I expected and I don’t really see why Behr needs 52 different hues of white. But happily the painting is now finished except for, as with everything on this island, the part we can’t finish til the supplies arrive. We are waiting on some 1×8 trim.

My abilities to paint are limited to patio furniture, garden decorations and weather vanes. Long ago we agreed that I wouldn’t go anywhere near our walls. So I took the opportunity to stay out of his way and clean the house for my daughter’s arrival tomorrow. Ironic isn’t it? I now clean our house for the kid who used to do my house cleaning for me..

This afternoon E began installing the cabin lighting. My electrical abilities are infinitely less than my painting abilities so once again I stayed out of his way.

I have a huge freezer and I have been expecting to go to Costco to fill it with meat for the winter. It seemed like a good idea to write a list out of what is in the freezer for my daughters menu planning and my winter shopping list. I got a cooler to put the freezer’s contents while I sorted them. Then I got a second one cause one wasn’t enough. Then it seemed like a good idea to defrost and clean the freezer. It hadn’t been done in two years.. Food was everywhere, water everywhere. It wasn’t pretty.

What I learned from this activity is that apparently all summer when I bought groceries, I bought two or three of everything. Cooking one and putting the rest into the back of the freezer. I had lost complete control of the situation. It was madness, MADNESS, I tell you.. The list of the freezer contents is two pages long!

On the upside I don’t need to go to Costco for meat

any time soon.

Beautiful fall day today

Butter and bananas

Our local eagles are long gone. Hard to say when. It was maybe a month or so ago I realized I didn’t have them waking me at first light. They will be back in December once they have finished feeding in near by rivers. The Canadian Geese shout their goodbyes often during the day as they head south. Most of the hummingbirds have gone. We have three who usually stay for the winter with us and it looks like they are staying again this year.

The pond has maybe twenty healthy goldfish. I feed them til October, then I ignore them and they kind of go to sleep til spring. We have a net over the top to discourage the Heron and Kingfisher from snacking. Our resident seal has survived the summer’s transient whale visits. Every morning he swims past my window to let me know he is ok. This will be our eighth winter here and I am finally getting used to the rhythm of living on the nature channel.

I have a new squirrel feeder for my winter’s entertainment.

A rabbit has set up residence on our driveway. This week he found a way into our garden. He walked right past the vegetables and ate all of my amaranth. Obviously a higher class of cottontail than your regular carrot eating bugs bunny sort.

I am frustrated with the garden. I really am considering turning it mostly into flowers and shrubs with a few pumpkins, peas, asparagus and tomatoes thrown in. It really is a lot of bother to water vegetables which E doesn’t eat. I can get what I need from the local farmers markets.

We had thought we needed to cut down a huge Maple tree which is growing at the entrance to our property. It is shading one of the apple trees. A Bramley seedling hasn’t grown in the seven years we have been here. It should be huge by now. It is such a shame because I really do love that Maple. This week we had the brilliant idea that the Maple can stay where it is if we just move the Bramley.. duh!!!! So now I need to walk about the property and pick the perfect spot. September is the month I move plants around in the garden. It’s time to make a decision about how I can best enjoy the space.

The dry walling portion of our project is finished. Whoo who!! Let the bells ring. E has now finished the first coat of paint through out most of the cabin but of course we have run out of paint and need more to finish the second coat. The second coat is going to have to wait til next week when we are back. I painted the primer coat on the old adirondack chairs we got from our neighbours.

E wants me to thank John for the extension pole he bought him to paint the higher walls. Thanks John!

Just a thought, but maybe instead of growing flowers or vegetables in my garden E would enjoy the harvest more if I learned how to grow peanut

butter and bananas

winter in Hawaii

We don’t leave this island very often. I haven’t slept a night away this year but we are going to the states next week. We are going to a concert at the St. Michelle winery. It’s a gorgeous venue with hot air balloons drifting behind the stage during the concert.

Family will come and take care of the dog and the house so we don’t have to go through any shut down process.

Last week we went in to Westland insurance to renew our truck insurance and while we were there asked about emergency medical insurance. Oh, says she “you should get it on line at Costco, great prices” We thought that was very kind of her seeing as I am sure she must be on commission.

This morning, I found my credit card, plugged in my lap top and sat down to get us some well priced travel insurance from Costco on line. First question on the form asked me our ages. I type 64 and 62. Their response, “We see you are over 60 so we would like to ask you some health related questions”. Things seemed to go well enough for the first four questions but then they asked “have either of you ever had an organ transplant?” “Why yes one of us has” I proudly typed. They responded surprisingly quickly, “thank you for your application but unfortunately you do not qualify for emergency medical insurance.” The form closed.

hmm.. so then I tried Sunlife who have provided our extended health insurance for thirty five years, I thought they would love to sell us emergency medical insurance. For the Sunlife on line application form I had to answer questions for us, two at a time… Again, they asked our ages and also expressed that they would like to know more about our health situation since we were over 60. The first four questions went well but when they asked the now dreaded organ transplant question, E’s form disappeared and he was no longer an applicant.. whoosh.. His options were just gone…. The form closed

hmm.. so then I tried BCAA. We aren’t members any more but we were once. Surely that must count for something. I continued to fill in the form once the obligatory age question was answered. When they wanted to know details of our pre existing conditions asking if either of us has had an organ transplant, I was ready for them and already looking for the Blue Cross website. When you think about it, it’s kind of odd that they would include that question cause how often would anyone ever answer yes.

I answered yes. This time though, E’s form didn’t disappear and there was no passive aggressive thanks but no thanks response. Instead, the running total for the cost for his insurance jumped from $47.00 to $84.00. But they didn’t say no. My costs went up when I admitted to a propensity for kidney stones but that’s okay, they do come up suddenly and it could happen that I get stones when we are away. The likelihood however, that E is going to suddenly need a heart transplant during our four day stay is less so.

We are insured but goodness it’s no wonder we don’t travel very often. I can’t imagine what it would cost us to

winter in Hawaii