CDR for May 28, 2020 – Thursday – bubbles and rhubarb

One of the people who received yesterday’s CDR said some not very encouraging things about my yeast starter. Ha, I say. Ha! Today the first step of the starter had bubbles, and not only that, no longer smelled like pickles. I took a teaspoon of the bubbles, none of the craisins, and dumped the rest of the stuff into the green bin bag. I added the reserved sticky lump of bubbles to a quarter cup of lukewarm water and then stirred in three tablespoons of white flour. That was about 10 hours ago. There are already bubbles in the goo, but I think I will wait until tomorrow morning to cut and feed it again, since the bubbles are not big, and I don’t think the yeast has eaten all the food in the flour. I will, of course, take a photo before I do the cut. But I repeat. Ha! We have a starter!

Isn’t science fun?

Today, Stuart needed to go to TD bank again, part of the Power of Attorney duties. He had scoped out a situation for me getting a Canadian checking account and credit card, so I went along with him and initiated that process. I will have what’s called a borderless account with a TD bank account in the US linked to TD bank account in Canada. Since I am here in Canada quite a bit, this may turn out to be useful/necessary someday.

This afternoon, we stopped by Aggie and Kevin’s house for a physically distanced glass of wine, an armload of rhubarb and a rhubarb plant. The rhubarb will become rhubarb jam, and the plant will go in the back yard near the raised beds. I am so delighted to have a rhubarb plant again. I once grew it in the front yard of the Maryland house, but it began to fail when the tree canopy started closing up. Many thanks to Aggie and Kevin! (Kevin has a sailboat, and is one of the boys from Breakfast with the Boys.)

Be well. Stay safe. Take joy.

CDR for May 27, 2020 – Wednesday – catching up

In Ottawa, we are still having a heat wave, and it will continue until Saturday. Early this morning, Stuart cut the grass and I watered the gardens. The lily of the valley plants are flowering. The big leaves of the Japanese butterbur are back, after being eaten down to the dirt last week. The pictured leaf is about 8 inches in width, smaller (and shorter) than it will be once it has taken better root. Below it, there is a silver Japanese painted fern, which is a nice little surprise I didn’t know was there.

I was asked yesterday why there was no photo of the hat I finished off. The photo shows the hat, OK? It is in the back yard, posing on the onion and radish bins. Stuart is eager for the radishes to plump out. In this weather and with the very long days, it should be soon.

I heard today from Marty, the director of our choirs at St Patrick’s in Maryland. He and his family are moving to Ohio. He doesn’t think there will be choirs as we have known them for at least a couple of years, and therefore the music ministry will be over for now. Gut-punch. I know he is right. There won’t be choirs for a long time in the future. Singing spreads the virus very well; church choirs have been infected by just one member who is a carrier. Choral singing has been so important to me over the past decades, so it hurts my heart to think of losing singing. I grieve not singing.

The yeast starter after 24 hours looked like nothing in particular. Maybe it will look like nothing in particular tomorrow, too. Or maybe there will be bubbles in it. That will mean the yeast is growing.

Be well. Stay safe. If you have someone to sing with, sing.

CDR for May 26, 2020 – Tuesday

We started with a long list, and got a lot done today, and didn’t finish the list. Here are some positive highlights:

We received a care package from friends in Maryland. It was so nice, it really lifted our day.

I planted two planters for the front porch, using up the rest of the bedding plants and adding in the forget-me-nots that were growing wild in the lawn.

I made bread, rhubarb crisp – and, of course, breakfast, lunch, and dinner.

Stuart figured out how to use the green screen feature on Zoom, so looked like he was joining the Breakfast with the Boys from San Francisco. Very cool.

There are now three squash seeds sprouted, including two spaghetti squash and one butternut squash.

I voted in the Maryland primary and mailed the ballot. You can’t cheat. It has a unique barcode.

After researching the reason for yeast shortages and reading several versions of an article about making your own yeast, I started a yeast starter. It uses a little dried fruit, a little water, and a little flour and the idea is to grow the yeast from the dried fruit and the whole wheat flour. It will at least be entertaining, possibly educational.

I also finished another hat – not a hat I had started, but that showed up in the yarn stash I was given. I just picked up the stitches and put a crown on it, then tried to weave in some ends.

Be well. Stay safe.

CDR for May 23, 2020 – Saturday – nothing much, just a nice day

Today we went shopping at the Dollarama, which is a dollar store but better. I can’t say we “needed” stuff there, but we ended up with a bill for $75, covering various things like tomato paste, tongs, boxes intended for trains, notebooks, folders, and some specially animal-themed gifts for a friend who will assure you she doesn’t collect them. Dollarama shopping used to be a fun date for us, and it’s the first time we visited one since returning to Canada in March. Now the aisles are marked with one-way arrows and the physical-distancing signs are posted everywhere. Not that everyone follows them, but they are there.

Compliance is not universal among customers, unfortunately, nor is mask-wearing. People don’t follow the arrows, which is darn annoying. We wear masks and nitrile gloves and try to follow the rules. Stuart hates masks, and I hate gloves.

We also bought a swivel chair for my sewing space, which will be much appreciated. For that, we shopped at Staples, which for a Saturday was very quiet. We got good service except that their website advertises products they don’t have in stock and no one knows why.

Friend Aggie gave us some rhubarb, which we picked up on the way home. This bunch will become cobbler (I am told), while the next bunch, which will be larger, will become jam.

On our journey out of the neighborhood, we saw a line of plants at the end of a driveway. A gardener was giving away splits of perennials in exchange for a donation to the Kanata Food Bank. So we got a couple of pots of blue irises. Yay! In the late afternoon, we finished filling the first raised bed, and I chopped out the root in the middle of the second bed and leveled the subsoil, so that’s ready for filling tomorrow. Before dinner, we chilled on the front porch watching the sprinkler water the new plants in the garden. There was a very nice breeze, and I started a new knitting project.

And tonight, we Zoomed with Maryland neighbors Robin and Mike, which was very, very nice.

Be well. Stay safe. Reach out. Connect. Find simple pleasures.

CDR for May 22, 2020 – Friday – the leaf that was

Today we got bedding plants at Costco. It would have been great to support a local nursery, but they have huge lines and can’t serve many people the way they are set up. Costco has opened a side door to part of the parking lot, and you can walk out to select your plants. If you have an empty cart, you can take that with you. The plants were very reasonable – a tray of 24 was $12. We got a tray each of marigold, alyssum, and coleus. This evening, while Stuart mowed the lawn, I planted most of the flowers, after re-weeding the beds. Face it: It will take a year or two to completely overhaul them.

In the photo above of part of one bed, you can see some of today’s plantings; one of the large bleeding heart plants; the lily of the valley plants; and in the left at the center, the large leaf of one of the Japanese butterburs. These butterbur plants start in the spring as large pale green flowers close to the ground. Then the flowers become brown and look dead. Then the big leaves start to appear.

Front bed plants – alyssum, marigolds, coleus, lily of the valley, tulip, bleeding hearts, peony bush, butterbur leaf

Between the time I took the photo of the bed at about 6 PM and when I watered in the plants tonight at 8:30, some critter had come by and eaten the large leaf. So, I guess we know the leaves are edible.

Butterbur leaf

We have a lot of wildlife, so I don’t know who to blame for eating the butterbur leaf. While I was preparing the beds for planting this afternoon, two chipmunks came out to play together within 5 feet of me. I was armed with a cultivator not a camera, so, no photos. I’m pretty sure it was not them, though. They don’t seem to be the vegetable-eating types and they are small to have eaten a giant leaf. Around 7:30 PM while cleaning up after dinner I saw a very fat racoon in the back yard. It waddled away when it noticed I went to get the camera, so there’s no photo of the racoon, either. It could have been the racoon. Or it could have been the woodchuck, who hasn’t been spotted lately. Or the rabbit, who has not been around for weeks.

Butterbur flower

It sounds like lots of gardening today, but there were several errands related to our ill cousin that took up lots of the day, and it always takes a while to get through Costco. Never mind. The weather will be hot and dry for the whole weekend.

Be well. Stay safe. Don’t let setbacks get you down.

CDR for May 21, 2020 – Thursday – one raised bed filled

One of the raised beds is mostly filled with soil. Stuart thinks I need another load or two to create a mound in the middle. I lined the bottom of the bed with newspapers to keep weeds down. The other bed has a big root that needs to be removed, and then the subsoil leveled out.

Most of the planter boxes are filling out, and I’ve put the seedling boxes out on the back deck, to give them more sun.

There are lots of bleeding heart plants in the front bed and some in the back. They seem to like to spread, which is great.

Time for some knitting.

Be well. Stay safe.

CDR for May 20, 2020 – Wednesday – finished object and, she’s making a nest!

Today I worked on clearing some dandelions from one part of the front lawn (which is a large lawn with lots of dandelions.) And after that area got too sunny, I worked on weeding in the back yard. I’ve very nearly removed all of the cinquefoil, that is, all that is visible. There are bazillions of seeds in the ground from last year that will be sprouting. The compost bin is full. It needs to be watered a bit. I dug up some raspberry brambles to give to Stuart’s daughter, Kathleen, and we paid Kathleen and Sam a distance visit to deliver them and her birthday present

She’s making a nest!

The pictures today are of the female cardinal of the neighborhood, who stopped by to rustle up some nesting materials, and of a finished object called Hat for Elliot.

Hat for Elliot

Be well. Stay safe. Stay sane!

CDR for May 19, 2020 – Tuesday – coming home, leaving home

Today we returned to Kanata. The traffic was light but there’s road construction in Gatineau. It takes a while for the chalet to feel homey to me, and then we leave. As we were driving home to Kanata, we heard that the US/Canada border will remain closed for another month. So, home will be here in Canada, at least for another month. And then maybe we can go home to Maryland.

The weather turned warm this weekend, and that’s made quite a change. The poplars are leafing out in Quebec, with that intense but pale, yellow green of new-leafed poplars. We enjoyed the drive along the river. With most trees bare, you can see more of the houses set back among the trees.

White trillium

Along and beyond the driveway at the chalet, there are many white trilliums flowering and a small group of red ones. Today’s pictures are of the trillums. The white trillium flowers are erect, while the red ones are pendulate (that is they hang facing to the ground). Trillium plants are rhizomes – they have underground systems of roots and stems with nodes that shoot above ground, with three-leaf bracts and three petal blossoms with three sepals (the green ‘leaflets’ behind the blossoms.) I have not seen trilliums since living in Minnesota, so it was a special treat to see them.

Red trillium, pendant flowers

With the warmer weather here in Kanata, we found many blooming flowers – tulips, lily of the valley, and bleeding hearts especially – and the hostas are starting to open. The peony stems are up about 10 inches. In the back yard, spinach, beet, chard and radish seeds are sprouting in the raised bed bins and onion sets are growing.  Indoors more basil and parsley have sprouted, and one of the squash seeds is (finally!) popping up. Gosh they take a long time.

Weeds are going strong here, too. Tomorrow, there will be some weeding.

Be well. Stay safe.