CDR for May 18, 2020 – Monday – Turkeys it is

Well, I have been photographing rocks, as promised, and it turns out the trilliums are blooming right now, so I have been photographing them. And the knitted hat is just about finished. But we’ll deal with those issues later. Today, it is turkeys.

We took a short ride today to get the 2nd propane tank for the grill filled. This is the Monday of the Spring Long Weekend, in Ontario, but in Quebec it should be an ordinary workday. The sign at the propane place in Kazabazua says it is open, but it is not. Well. Kaz is a very small town. Most of its businesses are one-person operations. Sometimes they are just randomly closed for whatever reason.

We took the long way home. By which, I mean, we checked out the golf course (not open, but the flags are up) and a couple other short side roads. This brought us by two wild turkeys lurking beside the road – one a little north of Kaz and one along the road just past the back nine holes of the golf course.

The choice today was between trillium photos and turkey photos. So, I chose the turkeys. They are pretty good-looking birds, and I think they are both females because their wattles are small and coloring is more inconspicuous. This part of Quebec is at the north edge of their range, but with the warming temperatures, their range is extending northward.

I am definitely missing my gardening. Next time we come up to the chalet, I will bring my work gloves and some garden tools. There’s overgrowth and fallen junk that should be tidied up, for one thing.

Be well. Stay safe. Time for appetizers and a cold drink on the deck!

CDR for May 16, 2020 – Saturday – rocks and Russian joins

All is well here in Quebec. The cottages we inspected we secure and undamaged. While not as busy as on some weekends, there are many people here. One of the mountainsides has several new “cottages” larger than your house, owned by some high rollers. We hope this will result in improvement to our internet connection which is slow and annoying. Fortunately, Stuart was able to Zoom for Breakfast with the Boys. This gives us hope that we will be able to have our Zoom family visit tomorrow afternoon, and another Zoom coffee hour with Kanata friends – as well as Mass from somewhere.

The black flies are out, here, so when we took a walk it did not last long. I’m not fond of black flies. When they bite me I get big welts. However, I got a few photos of some rocks and a wilder chipmunk than the one that lives near our Kanata house. There are trilliums around the chalet about to bloom – mostly white ones, but one that will be a pink or rose color.

The hat is started but won’t look like much until tomorrow. I’m using a color-joining technique that is new to me called the Russian join, because the hat has many yarn color changes in it.

Be well. Stay safe. Create something new. Or have a cup of tea. That might help, too.

CDR for May 15, 2020 – Friday – slipping into Quebec

Gatineau is the city across the Quebec border from Ottawa, which is in Ontario. Quebec closed its borders to people it deems not to have essential reasons to travel into Quebec. That meant we could not visit the chalet, which is in Quebec. On May 11th, Quebec “opened”, which meant we could visit the chalet legally without being turned back at the Quebec border. However, the city of Gatineau determined to keep its borders closed. Gatineau has police at the border bridges to turn people back, so, no crossing at the usual bridge. We drove to the chalet this afternoon taking a route that did not take us through Gatineau, but instead over a dam. It is about 30 minutes longer to drive but the route is pretty even in rain.

Owners of cottages (or chalets) have been encouraged by the small communities near the cottages not to visit, since we might bring Covid-19 into the small communities. Respecting that, we brought all the supplies we need for our stay. We are here to inspect and maintain our property, and to inspect and maintain the property of friends, and to very much physically distance from “the locals.”

Budding leaves in the Laurentians

So, with not much else to do, I will be photographing the rocks and trees, and if quite lucky, the occasional chipmunk. It would be a treat to find a woodpecker, but I’m going to be satisfied with the beauty at hand.

And I think I will start knitting a hat for a friend. It will be a most cheerful hat, with stripes of many colors.

Be well. Stay safe.

CDR for May 14, 2020 – Thursday – raised bed frame and three loaves of bread

The new bread recipe is a keeper. It is a slightly sweet bread flavored with cinnamon and with fruitcake fruit in it. It could have been raisins, but the raisin bag wasn’t opened, and we have a lot of fruitcake fruit. I think we used to call that stuff citron, but now it is mostly flavored and colored rutabagas. Not kidding, it really is.

Three loaves

I also made my regular bread recipe, which is an adaptation from recipe printed on the Robin Hood Better for Bread bag – the flour you no longer can get here in Ottawa because of a shortage due to the global pandemic, according to the sign on the store shelf. It makes 2 loaves and they are partly whole wheat. Last time I made this recipe, I didn’t get enough oven spring. Oven spring is the final rise of the bread dough when it gets put into the oven. This time, the oven spring has improved and the internal texture is more airy.

Yes, Stuart’s hair is getting long

Stuart spent the morning on a long Zoom meeting with one of his investment groups. I sent myself to my sewing room and worked on material preparation, making mask strings, and some odd bits of quilting doodles. I made French onion soup for lunch while he worked the phones on the Power of Attorney issue for his sick cousin. Then we went outside to play. He finished the raised bed frames, while I managed to dig out two small stumps that were in the way of where the beds are installed. Don’t they look great? If we decide we want the beds to be higher, we can add another row or two of boards, but for this year we will leave them lower.

Our raised bed frames

There are interesting different weeds around here. The pictured one might be a wild grape of some sort based on the leaf shape. I couldn’t find a match on Google Images. I pulled it anyway.

What weed is this!?

Be well. Stay safe. Be patient.

CDR for May 13, 2020 – Wednesday – Finished Object and Plantings

Yesterday was busy with a bit of this and a bit of that. I planted the remaining outside planter boxes along the back deck. I planted more beets, spinach, chard and onions. Inside, I planted more basil, parsley, and squash, both spaghetti squash and butternut squash. The raised beds are waiting for my Strapping Young Lad to put the boards together. The previously planted basil and parsley have started popping up indoors, which is gratifying. We are still waiting for the squash we started.

Last night I finished these slippers. The pattern is called “the Phentex pattern” because it was published on the wrapper of yarn skeins made by the Phentex yarn company, but in my family was known as “Grandma Johnson’s slipper pattern”. The pattern has a lot of stretch to it. The size I knitted fits women but would stretch long enough to get on Stuart’s feet. However, he will get his own, no worries.

Today is bread-baking day, with a special request for cinnamon raisin. I think I will make both the regular and the cinnamon loaves. We also have some paperwork to do to help the cousin with medical problems.

Be well. Stay safe.

CDR for May 11, 2020 – Monday – double dug beds and more ancestors

Stuart had some family responsibilities this morning, so after he left to handle them, I started digging the undersoil for the raised beds using the garden fork. The two raised beds will be 4 feet by 8 feet with about 2 feet between them and at least 18 inches from the cedar hedge. I’ve dug the base soil on which the beds will sit, taking out weeds and most of the roots and rock. The soil here is what I would call a sandy loam. It isn’t muddy, and doesn’t compact easily, but it does not hold water very well, so it’s a bit short on organic matter, or maybe has a bit too much sand.

I am digging up the base soil of the beds, cleaning it up and then, when the beds have been built, will put a layer of newspaper under the loose undersoil. After that, I will bring in the topsoil we had delivered last week. After that, planting. We are too early for planting almost anything right now because we have been having night temperatures below freezing. But I think I will plant carrots, peas, maybe beans, and if there’s quite a lot of space, turnips and potatoes. And squash, lots of kinds of squash. We especially enjoy spaghetti squash, and they are not cheap, so worth planting.

Today I found 9th great grandparents Gaspard Boucher and Nichole Lamaire, who first arrived in New France in about 1634 from the French area of Perche. They brought with them their five children, one of whom was born on the sea voyage. Gaspard was a menuisier, a carpenter. Gaspard and Nichole and their children were among the founding families of Trois-Rivieres, Quebec, and are buried in the floor of the church there. The child born at sea is my 8th great grandmother, Madeleine.

CDR for May 10, 2020 – Sunday – Chilling in the Chilly North

We went to church in Colorado, livestreamed Mass from Christ on the Mountain. It felt homey. In Colorado, the churches can now allow in a small number of parishioners for services, so there were 10 families there today rather than fewer than 6 people. Here in Canada, we are only opening hardware stores, not churches, and the hardware stores are not very open.

The heavy winds from yesterday knocked down a piece of the rain gutter on the north end of the house, so we walked to the local hardware store in the afternoon to purchase gutter hardware. Unfortunately, they were closed, but it was a nice, if cool, walk.

We also took a second walk, to the community mailboxes. That was because Canada Post sent us a message that the delivery problem resulting in our parcel not being put in the right parcel bin had been resolved. Our mailbox did not have a key to the correct parcel bin (it did not have any key in it), so the delivery problem has not been resolved. Yay, Canada Post. Impressive.

I finished a Very Large Knitting Project today. I can’t share it yet. But I can start a new yarn project! Hurrah!

Last year we were in Maui. That seems so far away and long ago.

Be well. Stay safe.

CDR for May 9, 2020 – Saturday – Taco night

By special request we had tacos tonight and I took Tums. But I got frozen blueberries for dessert.

It was cold all day, starting below freezing, and it did not get very much warmer. In addition, there were snowbursts, gusty winds, and at least 6 bouts of hail from BB to small-pea size. I did not dig or plant. I read and sewed. I assembled 6 masks and made some bias strings. I researched some patterns for caps. We did laundry. And we researched some cruises to take later (much later) this year.

I started listening to Underworld by Robert Macfarlane. Macfarlane is a kind of travel writer, in the way that Bill Bryson is a travel writer – in that he writes about places. This book is about places underground, and what underground means culturally, mentally, socially, economically.

Today I finished Climbing with Mollie by William Finnegan. Climbing with Mollie is the story, told by the dad, of a young woman – a teenager – who becomes a climber (of rocks) in New York City. Finnegan enjoys his daughter’s climbing and participates in it, although he does not have the talent for it, nor is young enough to do it. He is interested in why she does it, how she does it, the culture of (hard core) climbing and the people who climb. The book is short, more of a long essay than a short book, with the dad interviewing the daughter at the end of it.

I also worked on the family history and working my way onto a branch which had not yet been researched. I added a couple more First Arrivers and families with lots of children. It appears that most of the first settlers in New France (now Quebec) were single adults, not families. What kind of person would it have taken to leave home and family to go to a wilderness with harsh weather and raw landscape? To an extent I could understand young men going off on adventures. Many of them were in the French military and settled out in New France. But what inspired the women to immigrate is more of a mystery to me. Their situation in France must have been dire. The enticements of the recruiters, the ‘dowries’ offered by the King, seem small. What kinds of lives did they live? They had enormous families – 10 or more children. What a crazy lot of work that must have been.

Anyway, this family branch is difficult. Original sources leave puzzles. Take my 8th great grandfather Jean. A source says he is present but unable to sign at the baptism of his last child on August 7, 1679. But his wife, 8th great grandmother Marie, signs a contract to marry a fellow named Martin on August 20, 1679. Did Jean die between August 7 and August 20? Marie and Martin were married on November 20, 1679. Oh, that’s suspicious. Is the date on the contract wrong?

CDR for May 8, 2020 – Friday – snow and other burnt toast

It snowed this morning. The squirrels and I were not amused. We are experiencing a polar vortex. In May, polar vortexes are not very welcome. But it will be cold through the weekend.

Since it was not a good day for digging, dirt moving or construction, we went to Costco. There was a line to get in, but it was fast moving, and they do a good job of controlling the number of people in the store. We were masked and gloved, as were about half the people in the store. There is no mandatory masking here in Ontario at this time, but people are getting into it on their own, particularly when in stores. There were only a few people that were impinging on physical distancing rules today, and there was enough room to allow us to get out of their way. The meat counter was the most crowded spot. The foot traffic path there intersects with one of the main aisles and the bakery section. It’s just a little busy because of that, and because the ground beef is right at that end.

We found quite a few of our target items, including the frozen blueberries we like to have for dessert, and a double pack of baking powder. We got a couple of special items for a garden railroad friend who doesn’t drive, so after lunch we delivered them to him and took a long ride home to see whether the tulips were blooming by the Rideau Canal. A few of them were, but it is about a week early.

We are waiting for Canada Post to deliver a package containing some (train) engine wheels, a radio controller, and some batteries. It should have been delivered on Wednesday the 6th. We got confirmation of delivery today to our community mailbox. I grit my teeth when I say Canada Post, because it is so disappointing. Yes, again, betrayed. I picked up the mail from the mailbox. There was a key for one of the parcel bins – for Bin 3-B. I opened Bin 3-B. It was empty. The key only opens one bin. So, I think the postal worker put the parcel in the wrong bin (or gave me the wrong key.)

It is truly annoying to call Canada Post to report an issue. I know this because Stuart tried this and was Truly Annoyed. I went to the website, and I got put in line to “chat” live. You know that can’t be good. Eventually, I “chatted” online with “Lopey”. Lopey was sorry I had that problem, and put me on online “hold” while he/she looked up the package tracking number and after a long while figured out he/she had no clue what to do. So now my problem is in queue to be resolved by May 12th. And it has its own tracking number. You want to scream, but it is futile.

Snow in May; Canada Post screw-ups; no bread flour; train engines stuck in limbo (in a pile of parts on the dining room table) without wheels – There is a difference between tragedy and burnt toast. This is definitely burnt toast.

Tonight, I made French onion soup from scratch for the first time. It turned out quite not bad for a first effort. We had that and a salad for dinner.

Be well. Stay safe.