Bubble by two

In case you need proof of the beauty which can be created by endless days of June rain, I submit the following pictures. For years I have been unable to water my flower garden at this time of year and the plants just barely hung on. Sure they survived, but never flourished like this year.

Julia Child rose from my son
Queen Elizabeth rose from Alison
Peace Rose from our previous owners

The apple trees are covered in baby apples. Even the fig tree we received from my brother and sister in-law eight years ago, for the first time, has seven figs. It is going to be a bumper year in the garden. Plants, trees, shrubs, vegetables, they all love the rain…….

Having said that, E and I are ready for some sunshine. Our daughter and her boyfriend, after isolating at home for two weeks are coming to visit for a few weeks and it would be nice if they had some good weather while they are here. They deserve it.

This morning E painted our old leather chairs with chalk paint for the bunkie. They look good. I will show you when they are finished. We have also added a coffee pot, kettle, and toaster to the bunkie for our daughter’s convenience. I am not telling her where my medicine chest (wine cellar) is…

This afternoon, E started to build a platform for me to stand on so that I can safely use our new laundry line… To hang the laundry now, I have to stand on a rock at the edge of a cliff. I am short. After three years of reno projects, unfortunately, we are now starting to run out of left over wood bits and couldn’t finish. We will think of something.

And so life continues. We are happy. We are safe, and this weekend we are excited to expand our very small

bubble by two.

My peace rose

If you are like me you have a big lump on your forehead and you have absolutely no idea how it happened. This life is never without scrapes and bruises but usually I would remember a lump.. On a separate, and I am sure unrelated note I am working my way through the wine cellar. Twenty four down, three hundred and eight four to go.

In the last few weeks we have had rhubarb crumble, rhubarb sticky pudding and today, you would find rhubarb oatmeal cookies were cooking in the oven. It is rhubarb season and my freezer is full of meat, so it will be rhubarb desserts until we move on to berry season. I am not complaining, we love rhubarb.

The water situation we find ourselves in at the end of June is, as you can well imagine, more than satisfactory. Crappy weather aside, June rains have been very good to us.

Last year we began March with way less than our capacity of 8500 gallons, 6000. We enjoyed a summer with a lot of guests (workers) visit (work), the garden was fairly healthy and still we ended August with 1300 gallons in the tanks.

This winter we had two major human errors with the water storage. Both E and I share the blame on this one but to simplify, we lost a combined 2000 gallons from sheer stupidity. But June has been our saviour. We will begin July with a healthy, green, flourishing garden, a power washed deck, clean hands, clean clothes, clean hair and…. drum roll please…….5350 gallons of water in the tanks!

Barring more human errors, with a now fully functioning rain catchment capability from the roof of the bunkie, I see no reason we won’t reach full capacity next year. It can take a lot of fine tuning on this island for systems to work just the way you need them to work. You may have deduced as much from the ongoing water saga I regularly bore you with..

These two fellas and their shy sister spent the morning playing at the cut.

I think these are Pigeon guillemots. They live in the rocks below me.. cute eh?

Evening entertainment this month has been eclectic. We binged a Netflix show called White Lines. Then, in desperation for something cheery, we watched the Great Canadian Bake Off which was kinda fun and left me wanting to learn how to make digestive biscuits.

Then, on recommendation from friends, we watched the 13 episode documentary on Netflix called World War II in Colour. They were quite right. It is excellent. My only criticism, question, concern, a point of irony if you will, is that despite hour after thirteenth hour of repeated death and destruction which is depicted in the show, the warning at the beginning of each episode foretold the possibility of witnessing a person smoke a cigarette. I am talking D Day, Tobruk, Hiroshima, Belsen…. and the censors were concerned I might be upset by the glimpse of a soldier smoking?? Whatever, we liked it

On a more cheerful note I will leave you with this little guy who is living in

My Peace Rose

Deserve the treasure

I spoke to a guy in the parking lot of Super Store the other day who said that he had considered buying property on this island but when he realized he would have to shlep every bottle of wine and block of cheese over here by private boat, he went a different way.

Once something has been in fact, schlepped over here by private boat or hired barge and its original purpose eventually over, a neighbour could likely put it to use. The very fact that it is already here on the island and doesn’t need to be transported is of high value.

The living room chair from our home in Ladner is in my friend’s bunkie. Her bookcase and futon is in mine. Today, another friend’s peg board has a new home in our shop. This week, we also gained a clothes line, music stand and hoe. A lot of our unused building supplies are spread around the island and the majority of our old kitchen, is in another friend’s house.

Since we moved here eight years ago, I have yapped on and on that I would like a clothes line. We have this really cool indoor Scottish drying rack.

It works very well but there is nothing like the scent of sheets and towels once they have been dried on an outdoor line. A friend didn’t need hers any more and passed it on to me. I am sure E was thrilled to see me come home with it. He loves it when I give him an excuse to climb a ladder.

Years ago, I went on the annual South Delta garden tour with one of my many sisters in law. I had no time for people with unlimited budgets who could augment their displays with annuals just for the garden tour, but still I loved going on the tour to steal ideas from clever gardeners. (Side note: is there anything other than a gardener who is clever? What is the opposite of an oxymoron? We looked it up … It is a tautological statement.) Anyhow, I remember two distinct gardens.

One fellow had a Calla Lily the size of a large garden pond in the centre of his garden. He said he kept removing lawn as it expanded. The other was a fellow with water filled milk jugs between his tomato plants. He said the sun would heat the water and it would keep the plants warmer through the night. Sandra do you remember? Anyhow, I have stolen his idea. I need to start drinking more milk!

So, as you may gather, I am drinking wine again and therefore writing…. Apparently my writing inspiration is part Erma Bombeck, part Roald Dahl mixed with a heavy dose of James Joyce.

Back to the fellow in the parking lot. It is true. It is a lot of work to live here. It is the price we pay for the hidden treasures of privacy, beauty and peace. Much like taking the first step into the tunnel of a mine looking for gold, if you aren’t willing to take a leap of faith, risk it all, and do the work you won’t

deserve the treasure

to me yippee

It seems like I have aged a year since we last spoke.

Whether you are interested in what I have to say or not, I need to document some mundane details of our off grid life.

Although in previous years we usually have had our last wood fire on May 7th, we have still had them in June. This week, there were mornings when we woke up to 15 degrees in the living room. It is J.U.N.E.

On the upside, our garden is lush and green without using my water supplies to water it and we added probably 1000 gallons of water to the tanks so far this month.

I have spent an inordinate amount of time lately working on my grand provision project. What I couldn’t buy from the Great Canadian food store and have delivered to yesterday’s scheduled curb side pick up, we ordered from Amazon.

The shopping list was everything I could imagine we might need, from Septonic to chow mein noodles, for the year. As we pulled up to the curb, the young fella laughed when I gasped at the size of the trolly laden with bins full of food. He said “this is one quarter of your purchase. There are three more like it. Forty two bins in all. All four personal shoppers worked on your order.” It was the biggest they have had. Sigh, our car isn’t that big.

I explained that we weren’t hoarding or crazy people. But the young fella had seen how much chocolate and cereal we had bought. Crazy couldn’t be discounted.

Fortunately, we had already taken a load to the boat with our six cases of wine, several dozen beer, gas and the mail. The mail consisted of all the Amazon orders like Pond filters, window blinds, quilting material and such.

At the Post office the clerk greeted E, with a “I know who you are” as he handed her his pick up card. She went to the back and brought out a bin on wheels for him to bring the boxes to our car.

Loaded it all on the boat along with propane and diesel.

Driving down the lane to our house we remembered that we had a driveway down the hill. We never take the truck down it. Even through the reno we carried everything up and down by hand. Driving seemed like cheating. But I am a lot older now..

So, whew, we did it. Provisions are in for the winter…I am so curious to see what we have to add along the way and what, if anything, doesn’t get used.

Either way it is a fun experiment and a huge accomplishment to have most everything we will need here and stored away for life off the grid during a pandemic..

Happy birthday

to me, yippeee

together and hug

There was a large pod of Orca in our waters last week but they were not really close enough for great blog pictures. A humpback sped past too, but it wasn’t Bobby. Sure it was young but it was very vocal and our Bobby doesn’t vocalize very much. But good to know there is still lots of activity near by, even if it isn’t right under our deck.

Very sad to report that one of our neighbours has sold my personally favorite house on the island and are moving on to their next chapter. They have been here seventeen years. I am unrealistically confident that the last eight (since my arrival) were their favourite. The island has benefited from their generosity countless times, from him carving the beast at celebration dinners to her quilting and knitting many many raffle prize. Women’s game nights at their dining table were just too much fun. I have a flowering Cherry tree and three hydrangeas in my garden which, when they bloom, will always remind me of her. Good luck you two! Maybe following the blog will keep us with you.

My flower garden is wild! The bees insane. The scents hypnotic. I haven’t had to use very much of our water reserves so far and it is June. We might actually be okay. The vegetables are all doing what they are supposed to be doing and when their demand for water is the greatest our tanks should be able to handle it. This year more than ever, we will be relying on the garden for our winter food. It looks promising.

I continue to diligently restock our pantry, cupboards and fridge. My goal is to stock the food and supplies we will need for twelve months. It isn’t easy. Thankfully, we have a variety of friends picking up a few items at a time when they are at the store in addition to the supplies we are getting from the neighbouring island. The most surprising lesson I have learned from this venture is the shocking amount of peanut butter we go through in a month.

E built another entrance to the garden nearer to the bunkie. The concept being that guests could take their coffee to the garden in the mornings and embrace the peace of the sounds they might find as they begin their day.

When the news of the day is just so very sad and the worries of the world around us seem so insurmountable, E and I know that we are fortunate to be together and live these days safely and in good health in this paradise. We take strength from the love we have for our family and friends. We miss you all. Please know we are thinking of each one of you in these most difficult of times and take comfort that there will be days ahead when we can laugh together, drink wine

together, and hug

is a bitch

Full disclosure. I never got dressed today. It just doesn’t seem worth the bother. It’s not that I am running around nude, I have my jammies on but E is likely quite sick of my ensemble.

The weather these days isn’t the best, so I am continuing with indoor projects. Unusual for May days for sure. E is contentedly puttering inside the bunkie. There is room for storage above the bathroom for sleeping bags etc. He lay down a stiff plastic panel to make it a cleaner space. I’m probably not describing it very well. But suffice to say. He is down to the last finishing bits.

He finished painting the furniture. I had told you I would show you my Mom’s blanket cabinet with the quilt I made for it when it was finished.

With a scheduled trip to town for us in June we now have the need for masks. In true “me” style I asked a few friends how they did it, spent hours on the google looking at ideas and eventually came up with a plan. This site is titled “What we learned after making 167,000 masks”, hosted by a group of women who have been supplying PPES to first responders in Washington state.

The masks are meant to be custom fit and reused after hand washing. The host has a handy tip section on what you can use if you don’t have the right stuff. Although I have lots of cute material, I don’t have the right bits and bobs… After much experimenting with sizes and the sacrifice of my only two, cloth, re-useable shopping bags. Here is the result. The nose clip is made from the thingy on a coffee bean bag. The shopping bags used as interface apparently give it an almost N95 level of security or,certainly, all we need for our purposes.

Not much unusual in the wildlife department going on. So not really anything to report. I won’t update you on Mrs. Robinson, it’s all too sad. Although I love living here and we are so very fortunate to spend our isolated hours together on the nature channel, sometimes mother nature

is a bitch.