Saturday 30 July 2022

Mysteries and the mundane

First off, some words about my wordless Wednesday post. The book was published in 1985 by Powell River News, with an initial printing of 500 copies. I suspect that was the only printing and it was likely shared with family and friends. As I mentioned last week, it was written by a third cousin, Golden Stanley, who passed away less than a year after his memoirs were published.

17 Dec 1917, The Vancouver Sun

He was born in 1910 in Vancouver, B.C. and moved with his parents in 1916 to the Horseshoe Valley, where they set up a homestead. Golden describes the trek from Vancouver, first by steamship to Powell River, followed by a train, a small dory boat, and finally a long walk through muskeg to reach his uncle's small shack. Their journey took several days and was made more difficult by rain and snow. 

Within months his father had cleared the land and built a home for the family on their homestead and they were able to move to more comfortable digs. Golden went on to describe the pets they had over the years (all who seem to have met with horrible ends), the large garden his mother planted and harvested each year, the foods they ate, the quirks and peculiarities of their neighbours, and the family activities outside of their daily life.

As I was reading the almost 90 pages, I was mindful of the title "Pitlighting Through Conscription" and was most curious to gain an understanding of its meaning. However it was never explained, and the words pitlighting (used twice) and conscription (used once) never appear in the text in the same sentence or paragraph. Based on the context in the book and a definition I located on the web indicates pitlighting is the practice of using bright lights to blind an animal temporarily to provide an easy target in night hunting. It was an illegal practice back then as it is today. The word conscription appears in a latter chapter and seems to partially explain the rationale for the family (and others) who moved to valley may have been to allow the men to avoid joining in the war effort. Though the timing doesn't appear to make this a concern in the earliest years. It was only after much debate, the Military Service Act was passed in August 1918, requiring all male citizens between the ages of 20 and 45 subject to military service for the duration of the war. Thus, I can claim no real understanding of how or why the title was chosen but it obviously had some meaning to Golden Stanley. 

While the story was interesting, it provided little in way of family knowledge that I can use for my research. However, I've spent some time on Ancestry, the newspapers website, Facebook, and Google looking for other family members. Golden was an only child, who had one son who passed away in 2014. There are two grandchildren, one with a very unusual name (that always helps the research). My goal is to make contact to offer the book to a family member. I've located a telephone number for a grandson and plan to reach out over the weekend. 

Beyond that it's been a pretty quiet week. Housework needed doing, (again, pesky stuff!), I did some errands and grocery shopping on Wednesday, and I even got off my butt and did more caulking in the new basement room. I've still got more to do, in the bedroom, laundry room, and bathroom. Next week, maybe as the weather heats up?

We had more rain early in the week and it was cool. Three of the nights the temperature dropped below 10C (50F). That's August weather. Friday started out a little cool but with a forecast of 28C (82F) I was out watering, weeding and mowing early in the day. By 11 a.m. I was dirty, sweaty, and ready for a break. My daughter called and after a brief conversation I cleaned up, made my lunch and went back to the deck. I took my latest book, Belva Plain's "Fortune's Hand" to read. It's what I call a summer read, light fare and no need to think too hard.

Back indoors for the afternoon, I sat on the couch and read for a bit but it wasn't long before I felt myself nodding off. I set an alarm for 30 minutes and the next I knew it was buzzing. I guess I needed it. That evening our Riders had a game against the BC Lions (they lost) but before that I kept an eye on a couple of baseball games. Just a tad bit annoying, the Jays game was only being streamed on Apple TV so I could only keep an eye on the score. With the sports on television, I've been working away on my knitting - I'd hoped to finish the back piece last weekend. Ha! Maybe this weekend; I am getting close.

This morning I headed back outdoors to do some tree trimming. I need to finish the waterproofing of the fence in the back and several branches need to be removed. I discovered, too, that a smaller bush had a lot of dead branches so those were cleared out too. And then there were the branches that overhang the lawn. Since I'm short in stature I tend not to notice them but I had the clippers out so several were lopped off. The debris filled a large garbage bag and now my mower and wheelbarrow are tucked away nicely near the trees.

I'm about to sit down to watch the Blue Jays baseball (and knit) so I'll leave you with a couple of photos from the back yard.

My peppers are doing exceptionally well. Both plants are covered in peppers. One of the plants is a red pepper and I think this is it. (I'd have to look at the tag to be certain. 

The second photo was taken from my chair on the deck as I relaxed after my efforts on Friday. My happy place!

Have a great week ahead everyone!

P.S. The container of petunias on this level of the deck got a hair cut recently and is just starting to bloom again. It was getting leggy and looking very untidy.

Saturday 23 July 2022

Playing catch up

I feel the need to explain Wednesday's wordless photo. Overnight Tuesday we had a large storm system blow through. Again there were several alerts for tornado watches (not warnings) for our area though none touched down nearby. What we did get was rain, rain, rain, and more rain. By the time the rain stopped Tuesday around noon, we'd received nearly 2 inches. That was a lot for us; in fact almost a normal month of July's worth, but areas outside the city actually got closer to 7 inches!!! At some point in the afternoon, I was in the kitchen doing something and I heard a crash outside. I went out to investigate and found that the shepherd's hook holding a 10" container of marigolds had fallen over. The rain had obviously loosened the soil enough and the weight of the pot with all the rain water had pulled it over. I got lucky as the pot landed just beside a begonia, so nothing was harmed. 

We had more rain overnight Wednesday as well. When I mentioned to my son that morning that it had rained again, he said he knew as he'd heard it through the night. I didn't hear a thing. That's a good night's sleep. 

Most of the week has been spent catching up on housework. C was on vacation for the past three weeks and while he's home, I tend not to get as much done around here. I like having the house to myself when I'm on a cleaning tear. By Monday evening, I had the entire upstairs vacuumed, floors washed, windows (inside only) and mirrors cleaned, the kitchen sink scrubbed, and had run an errand for D as well.

I won't bore you with a list of things that were completed the next couple of days but later in the week one of the jobs I got done was putting things back where they belong. I have a bad habit of stacking things on the side table next to my chair in the living room. The other doom pile (a description my daughter uses) is on one corner of the kitchen island. It generally includes mail that I've opened but not filed, and small items that get dropped for some reason. I'm not sure why I wait so long to tidy; when surfaces are clear the entire room looks much neater. 

I've also spent a fair amount of time on Ancestry. I've just under a week left before my two month pause takes effect. I haven't yet cancelled my subscription and may continue to clip even if I can't save the articles to Ancestry. Speaking of which, I discovered a distant cousin who along with his wife and daughters survived a plane crash in 1969. That was an interesting read although there wasn't a whole lot of detail as to the cause of the crash.

Something else occurred as a result of my activity on Ancestry. Another subscriber reached out to me as my profile and family trees are set as public on Ancestry. (I hope the information I've found will be beneficial to others.) She had found, in a book store in Comox, B.C., a book written a distant cousin of mine. She reached out to determine how we were related - we share a set of great-great grandparents - and asked if I would like the book. It was published the year prior to his death in 1986 and contains family information. Of course, I said yes and offered to pay for the book and the postage, but she didn't want any payment for it. I told her if I ever make it out to the island, I'll get in touch with her and buy her a coffee/tea/drink - she thought that would be a great idea. I expect the book will arrive in the mail in the next few days. My plan is to review the book for information that may be useful to my research and then try to find another family member who is more closely related.

I should mention, he was born in 1916 while I was born in 1959 and when I realized we shared great-great grandparents, I was curious to see how that occurred. First, his great-grandmother and my great-grandfather were siblings born 20 years apart. The second factor was my dad's age of 49 when I was born. Now can anyone tell me what the relationship between my cousin and I would be? I'm thinking third cousins but I've never understood the way these relationships are measured.

Outdoors, the lawn was mowed and weeds were pulled as well. With all the rain and the heat everything in the yard is growing. My veg containers are doing very well. The three large tomato plants have fruit, (one is Roma, the others are cherry) and all of the five plants that I started from seed this spring have fruit! The peppers plants I bought are prolific - the smaller red pepper plant has at least six to eight little peppers, the other larger green pepper has only three - but one of those is quite large already. 

This spring I was able to get a couple of marigold seeds to sprout and both plants are with the peppers. 

The one in the smaller pot is busily flowering and doing its thing, while the one in the larger pot hasn't a single blossom, but check the height of that plant! The pepper is actually quite a bit shorter, so I've got the pot turned so the pepper gets the sun. 

I'm hoping I'll get seeds again this year - especially from the larger of the two plants. Bloom baby, bloom!

I did get my welcome sign finished this week too. I had found an old board in the backyard a year or so ago. It had some damage at the one end but was still in pretty good shape. I've seen welcome signs at Michaels and they are expensive. When I saw the board, I thought I could make something from it. 

The wooden letters were the least expensive option at Michaels (about $2.50 per), I used leftover paint from the front door to paint the letters, and got a sunflower stake at Dollarama for $4. I had the glue I needed (I use E6000), along with wire snips. Once the letters were adhered, I added the flower and the leaf and left everything to dry for 24 hours. It's being held in place currently by a large rock - if that doesn't hold I'll affix a stake to the back.

Today looks to be a quiet day. I've have a couple of items on my to-do list but they can wait. I'll spend some time on Ancestry, watch Blue Jays* baseball, and likely knit or crochet. I've been reading Jeffrey Archer's Turn a Blind Eye, and before the baseball I'll head out to the patio for my lunch and some reading too.  I don't need to make dinner this evening as my son is planning to go out with friends to celebrate a birthday. And maybe I'll get a call from this character. (We were taken over by aliens in some game causing distortion to our faces - how he does these things, I have no idea!)

Have a great week ahead everyone.

*The Jays game on Friday turned into a football game with a final score of 28-5 for our team. It should be an interesting game today.

Saturday 16 July 2022

Good times

I had a great, if tiring, time with Eli and D early this week. My drive out on Monday was unremarkable; there was one short section of construction that had me stopped for a couple of minutes. D had warned me, there was more construction, but it was finished and I surprised her by arriving twenty minutes ahead of schedule.

Eli and I spent the morning watching 'toons together, while his mother caught up on some housework. I'd brought the carpet cleaner with me and she put it to good use. After lunch we headed out to the parks, first to one I'd not been to before where a resident cat named Lily often makes an appearance. Eli was disappointed that she didn't show up that day. We played tag for a bit (Eli climbed the equipment out of my reach), and then took a walk on the nearby path. Then it was time to head for the park close to home. There were lots of friends in the park so Eli was quite content to let his mom and I sit in the shade and watch.

That evening, he chose to sleep with G'ma. We read a couple of stories, then he wanted me to tell him a story. I started, "one upon a time, a long time ago, and far, far away lived a little boy named Eli, and his best friend a dragon who was a very nice dragon". At this point, Eli stopped me and told me the dragon's name was Bon, and that Eli lived in a castle. So I started again adding these details, and then saying that one day an evil dragon came to the castle. He stopped me again, and told me that Eli lived in the castle with his mommy and grandma, and he had a secret stash of weapons in the basement. Start again, he said. So I did and this kept on as he added more details until eventually the hero Eli slayed the evil dragon and everyone was safe. 

I can't say I slept well that night because, not only is he a wiggle worm, he's a little furnace too. Their house has no a/c so I slept on top of the covers. A couple of hours in, I opened up the window to let the breeze in.

Tuesday we had plans to head to the beach about a half-hour away. D and I did a few things around the house in the morning, she pulled some weeds in the front yard, and then we started packing lunch and all the beach items while Eli played his learning games on his tablet. He doesn't yet know the names of the letters but can identify the sounds - he even sounded out the word fish on his own. He is only able to access his video games when the learning games are complete. Smart mom!

We arrived at the beach about 10:30 and were one of two small groups there for about ten minutes before several more families showed up. Both D and I wore our bathing suits too, so we were all able to get into the water. Eli had a blast on the slide, jumped off the dock into the water or our arms. But his happiest moment was when he was able to dump a pail of water over G'ma's head!

The water felt a bit cold initially going in, but once I was in and mostly wet, it felt wonderful. We stayed and played in the water for an hour or so before heading back to the beach for our lunch.

D and I had made sandwiches, while Eli had a bento box of crackers, veg and cheese. For dessert, I'd cut up a few pieces of watermelon. What I didn't realize is this kid loves watermelon. I was able to get a couple of small pieces before he inhaled the rest. Then after a bit of play on the equipment, we headed back into the water.

We stayed another hour or so, then headed back into town. It was quite warm by this point, but there was a good breeze so D and I stayed outdoors to catch up on some yard-work. We were both tired so D ordered and I picked up dinner that evening. At bed-time I again read a couple of books to Eli before he asked for Chapter 2 of the dragon story.  This time I knew enough to stop and ask for the details and eventually all was well in the world Eli and Bon once again. This night he decided to sleep in his mother's bed so I had his big boy bed to myself. 

I got away fairly early on Wednesday morning after lots of hugs and kisses from my boy. The temperatures increased as the days went on, and though my son had watered for me on Tuesday, I figured things were going to need a good watering earlier on Wednesday. By mid-afternoon, the tomatoes were looking a little peaked, with the top leaves starting to curl. I gave them a good watering, and waited until early evening to do the rest.

Other than the tomatoes, I might well have waited. We had an incredible series of thunderstorms roll through with heavy rain starting about midnight. I was woken several times during the night and could see the flashes of lightening through the window. The storms finally passed by about six a.m. At that point, the cat wanted to be fed and watered so I was up for the day.

I did get the closet painted in the new room on Wednesday and Thursday. All of the painting equipment has now been cleaned up and put away, or in the case of my plastic drop cloth and couple of rollers tossed in the bin. I'm going to give myself a week or two break before I finish the caulking and baseboard painting. I'm tired of it all.

Yesterday, I went out early and got the grocery shopping done before it got stinking hot. Once home, I spent some time on Ancestry, did some knitting, and had an afternoon nap. As I was watching baseball and football in the evening, my phone alerted me to a tornado watch in our area. I kept one eye on the radar and when the wind picked up and the sky was darkening, I headed outdoors with the camera. (Maybe not the safest place but I wasn't alone - lots of neighbours were on their driveways). These are a few of the photos I took.

The storm seemed to circle around the city, it came from the north but swung around to the east.

Meanwhile the sky to the north west still showed a bit of blue sky with the sun glowing on the clouds.
This was taken a half hour later than the others. The clouds were lit up by the sun. The storms continued east of us, then turned again and went northeast. We didn't get a drop of rain but I'm sure other areas got a dump. D told me this morning, they didn't get rain but did get a lot of wind. One of the city trees in front of her house lost a large branch and there are reports of trees down throughout the small community. 

I was up early this morning in order to get some things done outdoors before the heat arrives. (35C/95F). The containers and front flower bed were watered and did some need deadheading and weeding. I made some breakfast and took it out to the front patio to enjoy the cooler air and the breeze. I opened windows in the sunroom and front room to allow the breeze to flow through the house. It's now after 11 a.m. and my a/c has yet to kick in, though I don't expect it will be much longer. We had a recent announcement that the power company is seeking a 17% increase in rates effective August 1. I don't think they'll have the approval quite that quickly but it's worrisome to think costs are going to increase that much. I'll likely have to rethink my usage and find ways to economize. Our energy costs are also increasing but by a much small percentage. 

The football starts shortly, so I'll be picking up my knitting, to watch our Riders play the Toronto Argonauts. It's an away game for both teams as the game is being played in Wolfville, Nova Scotia. Later the Blue Jays are at home playing the Kansas City Royals. You know my butt will be planted on the couch for much of those games. I'm making decent progress on my knitting and hope to have the front of the top complete today.

Have a great week ahead everyone. Stay cool. 

Friday 15 July 2022

Friday Funny


After spending a couple of days with my grandson, I really feel this cartoon. :)

Saturday 9 July 2022

Before and after

 It's been a crazy weather week here again, with rain and cool temps to start the week and now the heat (and humidity) has ramped up. We're not getting the high temps other areas are seeing but going from 19C (66F) to 28C (82F) in less than 24 hours is a bit much. Especially with the humidity, it supposedly feels like 38C (100F) as I'm writing this on Friday evening. I do know I came in wringing wet from grilling burgers for dinner. 

I had a quiet start to the week too, other than picking up groceries on Monday, I didn't do much around the house until Wednesday morning. I've been putting off painting in the basement thinking I'd wait for the hot weather but got a bee in my bonnet that morning and got started. I did the edging around the room, followed by the first and second coats on the following two days. After I removed the tape today, I noticed a few areas that will need a touch up. I'll use a small brush for those - no need to pull out the roller again. 

This is the before photo, after I'd removed all that ugly indoor/outdoor carpet and scraped the floor of the residual glue. I took the photo from the opening into the room. There was no door at that time, and the wall to the left was only a pony wall.

The after (before the tape was removed obviously). This photo was taken from just inside the door. Bit of a difference, right? For perspective the roof height is just about 6'8". My brother, who is 6'3", can't walk into the closet area without ducking. These are things I don't notice, I'm only 5'2". It can't be used as a bedroom as there is no egress but I think it would make a perfect theatre room....for someone else.

John has asked if I am planning to sell the house, and the short answer is yes. There is more work to be done upstairs (flooring), and outside in the back yard (new sod and replacement of a sidewalk) but that will have to wait for another year or so. I have to pay off the cost of this year's renovations first. 

When I wasn't in the basement - which took about two hours each day - I spent most of my time on Ancestry or knitting and crocheting. I've decided to pause my subscription for a couple of months, and will cancel my subscription too. Accordingly I've been working at adding information from the newspapers into my trees as quickly as I can before I give up my access. Most of this info revolves around obituaries, wedding and birth announcements, but every so often I come across an interesting story related to the lives family members have lived. This mostly relates to more current times, because it is often difficult to determine the individual in the late 19th century as only initials were used for men's first names, and women were never referred to except by the husband's names. Single women weren't often referred to in newspaper articles, except as it related to their fathers.

When not playing on the computer, I've been watching baseball or football (or both) and knitting. My sweater has been restarted again as although I liked the pattern, it just wasn't working up the way I liked. Another pattern for a tank top has been started, as a well as another crocheted baby blanket. I really need to push through my stash.

Today I enjoyed my breakfast out on the deck, the temperature was a lovely 21C (70F). I watered the containers yesterday evening, but the front flower bed needed a good soak. That was accomplished while I relaxed in my chair.

My campanula or bellflower has self seeded throughout the flower bed. I love how the flowers look peeking out from the fern and hosta. 

Then it was time to head back down to the basement to finish the touch-ups and do some cleaning. All of the paint supplies have been put away, the garbage removed and floors swept. I still need to finish the caulking in the new room, and sand and paint all of the baseboards and casings. That will have to wait, as I've decided to take a drive out to visit with D and Eli on Monday. 

This week Eli had his first round of swimming lessons, as the pool has been closed for two years. He had two lessons a day, 8 a.m. and 5 p.m. He did very well and has passed onto the next level, which he's scheduled for the first in August. They have appointments late in the week, so a short visit is in order. I'll return home on Wednesday, but we've got big plans for the days I'm there. More on that next week.

I'm off to do some housework that has been neglected this week. And I'll likely spend some time on Ancestry too before the football this afternoon and baseball this evening. Have a wonderful week ahead everyone! 

Wednesday 6 July 2022

Saturday 2 July 2022

Picking up the pace

 After a couple of week's break, it was time to pick up the paint brush again. But first, I needed more paint. Monday, I headed to Home Depot to get paint for the basement, for the front door, and waterproof sealant for the fence that was put in last year. I had a bit of a scare when I couldn't find the paint chip for the natural gray that I was using. It took a bit of scouring the pamphlets but I found it. While I was at the store, I stopped in at the garden center and picked up a few more annuals (petunias) and a perennial Astilbe for the front bed. I also wanted some annuals for the front flower bed to fill in a bit, but couldn't find what I was looking for there. These need to be shade tolerant as the bed doesn't get much sun as it faces north. I made a stop at Rona, but they didn't have nicotiana (tobacco plant) either, but I picked up three white New Guinea impatience. Back at home I got the plants into the ground or containers. 

The next day, I pulled out my painting clothes and set to work on the exterior of the house. I cleaned the casings around the front door and the garage. I already had this paint, as I had done the window and door casings on the exterior of the house last year but hadn't made my way around to the front. The weather was perfect for it and the paint dried in short order. Next up was the front door. As you can see I've gone with yellow - it was already a lighter shade but I wanted something slightly bolder. The first two coats were brushed on, and on Wednesday I rolled on a third coat. It is such a sunny color and makes me smile each time I open the door. The screen door got a good cleaning as did the windows and I've since hung the wreath and put down a new door mat to make it even more welcoming. First impressions, right?

My brother dropped by mid-week to drop off this display case for Eli's hot wheel cars. R has started making rustic wooden furniture - he plans to start up a business once he retires. D had sent him a photo of something similar as something he could make and sell. She didn't intend for him to make one for Eli but he did anyway. It's made from an old bicycle tire and some leftover pieces of wood he ripped down and stained to make the shelves. R mentioned that he learned a couple of things that he would do differently on the next ones. I think it's wonderful and it should be something that sells. He just needs to find some more old tires.

Thursday I had to run out to do an errand for D, and I needed cat litter so I took the opportunity to visit a couple more stores. Now that fuel prices are over $2 a liter here I'm more conscious of my mileage so made a circuit that brought me back around to home. After my stop for D, I headed to Dollarama - nothing too exciting but Eli will have a new Hot Wheel car for his display (and to play with I'm sure). Next up was the cat litter - is anyone else finding it difficult to find certain brands? I use Fresh for Life, available only at Pet Valu. Normally I would buy a bag or two, but they only had one pail of it. At least I got my 10% senior discount as the pails are more expensive than the bags.

On the way over to Michaels I stopped in at Winners. It's been months since I was in the store, and I was not impressed. I did find a mat for the front door that wasn't a horrid price, but even their clearance items seemed to be much more expensive. At Michaels I found letters for my welcome sign that I've been thinking about for a year or better. I'm hoping to get those painted and affixed to the board this weekend or early next week. 

We had cool weather and some intermittent rain during the week, so didn't make it out to the back to work on the fence until Friday. I did get some very much needed weeding done though both in the front yard and the back. I spent about two hours working on the fence before lunch and I'm probably half finished at this point. I won't have enough of the wood sealer to complete the rest of the fence and gates, so will need to pick up another container. However, my neighbour has been in contact with the fencing company as one of the posts that was installed (just) last summer is leaning and needs to be reinforced. So I'll wait until they've done the work before I proceed on that portion of the fence. I do have enough to do the rest of the back fence and the gates and thought I might get this done over the next few days. However, the weather isn't cooperating, we've got rain and thunder showers forecast for the next four days. 

As a result, today is going to be a quiet day. I've got the first of a double header for the Toronto Blue Jays on the television, while I continue knitting my sweater. Later, our Saskatchewan Roughriders will be on the field. I'll enjoy the games and appreciate the rain as I won't need to water. The potatoes as you can see are doing well. 

Have a good week ahead everyone!
Happy 4th of July to those who are celebrating in the USA.

Friday 1 July 2022