one worth cherishing

Let’s call them community builders. The islanders who put considerable effort into hosting events which enhance the enjoyment of the time spent here by their neighbours.

To name a few, we have a couple who have, in the past, hosted a New Year’s Day lunch and hot tub dip after the annual Polar Bear swim. We have two families who have, for almost the eleventh year and much to the joy of the youngest residents of the island, hosted a family focused Dingy Regatta which includes a blindfolded rowing race and a raft race (no nails, screws, store bought paddles or automatic propulsion allowed).

In the past, one of our neighbours has taken gorgeous pictures of the unique people he has met on his world travels. This summer, he decided to turn his talents to capturing the island culture through black and white photographs taken with a vintage 4X5 film camera.

Today, he hosted an art show at the fire hall to display the results. From 12 – 4 pm and with a 5.00 donation to the island fire protection fund we were treated to the opportunity of seeing our island’s culture through his lens. An avid reader held her book, a musician his mandolin, a forester sat with his chainsaw. Some were photographed alone, some with their partners, some with their dogs. It goes without saying in mine I’m holding a wine glass.

Many who own property on the island choose to keep to themselves and that is awesome too. If E didn’t keep signing us up for everything no one would ever likely see me either. But we are all the better for those who choose to give of their time and energy to enhance the island experience of us all.

We woke this morning to the gorgeous sound of rain on the roof. As our water reserves were down to 900 gallons, it was a welcome sound. A friend texted me that she heard a mid sized tree come down across the road. E moved it while walking the dog. First rains often take down trees around here…

I put on my cleanest of jeans and finest flannel shirt this morning in preparation for the art show.. Can’t just be going to a fancy dancy art show in my usual, worn for two weeks, covered in paint and ashes, jeans.

With the cooler temperatures I thought it might be a good time to put up some tomato sauce after the art show. Not for the faint of heart, I ventured past the doorway of the studio of horror to find my canning supplies. What a surprisingly scary place it is up there… I stepped over the chainsaw, passed four bins of children’s books, climbed around the Christmas tree stand and moved the wine racks and easel. Down on the ground next to the two……TWO!!! brand new, still in their boxes, microwaves covered in mouse poopage, sat my canner.

I stopped in the garden to pick the days meager supply of tomatoes. While I was there I dug up a few reasonable looking beets and discarded the rest of the disappointing crop to the compost. Honestly, next year I’m thinking I’m just going to grow pumpkins!!

And so it is another day on the island. Between the challenges of absent roofing metal, rodents living where they ought not to be living, and the pursuit of rain water, there are days when we put down our shovels, put on our cleanest jeans, and gather with friends to appreciate how lucky we all are. Our culture when viewed through an artist’s lens proves to be

one worth cherishing

have a problem

In the winter I browse seed catalogues and buy far too many seeds for my summer vegetable growing abilities. In the summer, I browse fall planting catalogues for any bulb additions I would like to make to my garden. Growing daffodils is easier than broccoli and to quote my very wise father in law “You can never have enough daffodils”.

I had added cedar siding, sea soil and mulch to the roof metal order to make sure the barge was full. Yesterday the barge arrived. There was cedar siding and lots of soil for my garden but you are correct there was no roof metal on the barge. You gotta laugh..

E plugs away at all of the things which have to happen before the metal can be installed. The tongue and groove is finished and the vapor barrier is now on top of it. He has begun to attach the purlins. It will be probably Sunday before he is actually ready for the metal.. What do you think our chances are?

I have begun to put the insulation in the inside walls. E still has to do the wiring yet so I can’t really finish the task.

Our friends gave us a futon they weren’t using with a very adequate cushion. Another friend gave us some upholstery material they weren’t using and it is enough to cover the futon cushion. I need to drag out the sewing machine and then bingo bango bongo the guest cabin will have the option to sleep six.

The apple trees and plum tree are crowded with fruit. It’s going to be a bumper crop year. There is no sign of tent caterpillars at all. I never know if it is the weather or our pruning which defines our harvest but something went right this year. I will be busy canning all fall.

I want to surround the new cabin with daffodils and add some color to the spring fenced garden. So, this weekend I put my order in for my bulb shipment. Three hundred and ninety Daffodils of all different shapes and sizes for the cabin area and one hundred and ten Hyacinth, both of the giant and regular variety for behind the fence.

I say I have a vision, you all are probably saying I

have a problem

to over do

The process of putting the tongue and groove ceiling into the new cabin is basically, me carrying the one hundred and twenty, twelve foot boards up to the cabin, handing them up to E. E then climbing up and down the ladder hundreds and hundreds of times as he moves it back and forth along the length of the cabin hammering the boards into the rafters.

We have moved past bunkie into cabin category. Other than the fact there is no cooking facility it’s a fairly cabinesque looking building. And no if you are going to ask, the metal roofing has not made it to the island yet. Again it was delayed.. June 13th we first ordered it.. sigh.. I think the problem with the suppliers in this world is that tiny wee orders like ours are not important compared to huge orders for townhouse complexes and such. That was certainly our experience last winter with our small window purchase. Oh well, we aren’t ready for the metal yet anyways.. We still have to lay the insulation and vapor barrier on the tongue and groove, Besides, what’s another barge or two…

We have now added an order for rough cedar siding to finish the outside of the cabin and it will come with the metal to fill up the barge.. some day……

Our friends/workers have all gone now for the summer and we now have family arriving. Tomorrow one of our sons and two of his friends arrive. Hopefully this will be the last year they have to sleep in tents. We always enjoy their visits and are pleased they like to return year after year. The fact that they are healthy and strong and I need a futon moved from a friends bunkie to our new guest cabin is, I can assure you, merely a coincidence.

We do not need a treadmill here. We do not need to measure our 10,000 steps here. We do not need a gym here. Our daily exercise requirements are met very nicely, thank you very much… Now if you will excuse us, We have been tongue and grooving since 8 am. E is going to have a nap and I am going to have a glass of wine… We would hate

to over do

You are welcome

In addition to our shared desire to be left alone, many in this community also share what I embrace as a propensity for frugality. As tradition dictates we are all eager to hear of a good deal, financially.

It was mentioned to me recently that my writing style is like that of Erma Bombeck. For those of you who don’t remember, Erma Bombeck wrote a revolutionary household bible in the sixties, near and dear to my heart, called The I Hate to Cook book. I consider this high praise indeed as I still make her Cockeyed Chocolate cake and could probably tell you the recipe by heart.

So as an tribute to Erma and Heloise of Handy Hints fame allow me to pass on a couple of frugal tips beneficial to those of you both living off or on the grid.

First tip..

Although you have to be a member to buy a Costco gift or cash card anyone including non members can use it. So grab a friend or two and share one membership….

Next, and this is the big one….

To join the CoOp gas station is a fee of $10.00. In return for your membership fee you receive a dividend cheque equivalent to I think 4%, of your annual purchases. Like me, I am sure that for you the chance to save that money on gas would be a good enough thing and thank me for the tip…But wait, there is more. Yesterday I found out that if you buy a 300.00 gas card at the CoOp in advance they bump it to 312.00 right off the top and your purchase still counts towards your 4% dividend cheque. Still not sold? There is more..

They have now opened a CoOp liquor store in Nanaimo and our alcohol purchases count towards our dividend cheque.

So I am actually now going to make money when I drink. Cause if there is only one thing that we spend more money on in a year than gas it would be alcohol

You are welcome

actually finished here

E finished the porch/deck on the cabin and the cedar siding on our house. I guess we can start to put the windows in the cabin while we wait on the roofing. Or maybe some steps into the cabin. Right now we launch ourselves up a precarious board on a rotting stump. What could go wrong?

I grew patty pan or scallopini squash this summer. It’s as good or worse than zucchini depending on your perspective. It is incredibly prolific.. Even that old woman who lived in a shoe couldn’t use all of the Patty Pans that greet me every day.. sigh.. Fortunately kind neighbours like vegetables more than my husband and are willing to take them off my hands.

The tomato flowers are everywhere and there is every indication I am going to have a great harvest. The first tomato is just about ready to pick and of the many different varieties I planted congratulations must go to the Black Sea Men. It’s a beefsteak variety…

There are lots of pumpkins too. This week is the time to scratch your grandchild’s name into the soft skin so the pumpkin grows around the scar.

Today, was baking day. I love baking and I have no reason to bake anymore unless company is coming. I have a lot of company coming… Biscotti for dipping in red wine, Angel Food Cake for berries and whipped cream and Nanaimo Bars just because ……are in the freezer waiting for my guests..

We are in for a hot spell. The rains are finished at least for the next two weeks but our water is in good shape. The surprise recent rains have saved the day.

I said the porch was finished but of course it still needs rails and I said the siding was finished but the trim on it isn’t. We do a lot of work but sometimes we do take a break or two. Let’s be honest. Nothing and I mean nothing is ever

actually finished here

days… dutch days

The dog keeps staring at us… We have been up at the bunkie working all day.. Came down to the house at five, I threw some food in his dish and started to make a salad for dinner… Time passed, we finished dinner and the dog is still pacing back and forth staring at us… Cut it out.. You have food and water and I gave you a bone today…

We were in the boat and on the water to pick up lumber at a near by island by 8 AM. We needed to repay the lumber loan from our neigbhour and after three mixups at the lumber yard we finally had the 4 2X10 14′ pressure treated boards we owed him. Safely dropped off at the other end of the island, we came home for a second cup of coffee at 8:45.

My job d’jour was to stain the 12 1X12 rough cedar boards which arrived on Tuesday to finish the siding for our house. E’s was to build the porch/deck on the guest cabin. Yes, I know, normally one would build a porch/deck last but we don’t have roofing so drywall is on hold and when we do have the roofing he is going to need the deck to put it up safely. The porch/deck will be covered and it was all I could stand for E to climb the ladder for the shorter side for the front rafters.. He quite rightly drew the line for the steeper side. The last rafter can wait til the deck is built.

The weather was on again, off again rain but we managed to ignore it and worked anyways… Actually prefer a little rain than heat. My garden is soooo happy!

When we got the puppy my dear friend from Ladner, (hi Kerry) gave me a hint about training dogs… which we did.. So when we put his food down he isn’t allowed to eat it until he shakes a paw and I push it toward him and say ok… Apparently I was in such a hurry when we came down hungry and exhausted that I forgot to give the okay for the dog to eat his dinner… That was why he kept staring at us….. I clued in and gave him the okay and he inhaled his dinner.. too funny.

On the water picking up lumber at 7:30, back for some coffee at 9. work from 10-5 with no break…. we now call these

days… dutch days

with the seniors

In grade twelve I didn’t attend many classes. I was busy hanging out in a tiny room set aside for the “seniors” down the hall from the office, across from the auditorium, playing Bridge. Once introduced to the game, it can be addictive. That being said, I am a terrible bridge player. But if I can find a forgiving partner, I do love to try.

Two of my favorite women on the island were here this week. They were friends of my father in law. The first neighbours we met here in ’82. One, is a Bridge expert. a genius with cards. She is in her early 80’s and has very kindly accepted the role of tutor to my limited capacities for playing no trump or what the hell to open with when I have eleven points but six or more cards in one suit…

Her sister, in her late eighties, is not as good a player as the card genius but she still maintains her annual ski pass at Whistler cause she is and I quote here “a speed freak” so, it must be said, both women are worth my mad respect. I repeat again, as I often do… The women I have met here on this island are amazing..

So my winter Bridge partner (who is over the charts better at Bridge than me) and I met the sisters for a game of bridge on a beautiful sunny Monday morning in July when most normal people were outside playing or working in the sun and blue skies. Whatever we four had to do, could wait… There was a Bridge game going on!!!

E was back at the house puttering on the guest house, Not so much moving further ahead as fine tuning what has been done. In a holding pattern til more supplies arrived and this afternoon, they did.

Today, we got the boards we need to begin the porch for the guest cabin and the fascia to finish the siding on our house.. On Thursday, we can dig in and make some visible progress while we wait for the roofing to arrive. We feel we have been stalled for a while.

Card expert sister encouraged me to play Bridge at least twice a week to get decent at the game and not forget what I have learned. Awesome, I am in. I’m sure E will understand. I will explain that just like forty years ago, I might need to ignore my work for a bit while I play Bridge

with the seniors