Moving Toward Spring 2018

It wasn't long ago that everything was covered with snow.  

After the very cold time at the turn of the year, the thaw was welcome. With frost deep in the masonry, the moisture in the air crystalized all over the stone-work. Some parts warmed up faster than others, leaving in the pattern left after much of it melted away, evidence of relative mass and air movement.

Critter tracks were everywhere. Deer, squirrels and rabbits were frequently found, along with the occasional mice. These were a little less obvious.

Friends, responding to my inquiry, figured that they are from a raccoon.

Using the same path to get to a big white pine where it feeds, the porcupine trail is less clear,

but we know where the trail starts.

By pointing the camera, with its flood-light on, up into the hollow tree the porcupine's tail gives it away.

Every year is different. Last year we were digging kale out from under the snow and eating it right up to the last day of February. This year a thaw exposed the plants and the weather took a toll.

Even so the ends of the long leaves that stayed under the snow could have been eaten.

That said, there wasn't much and we have lots of dried kale, lambs-quarters and nettle, which we've learned to cook into all manner of tasty dishes.

Speaking of stored food, we are still eating carrots and beets that we stored in wet sawdust. These should last us until things start growing in the garden again.

For now, the maple sap is starting to run,

And seedlings: hot peppers, leeks, onions, a what-was-that-seed-from brassica test, and some herbs are catching sunshine on the window-sill along with our cat's wheat grass. (They are now joined by tomatoes, parsley, celery and egg-plant.)

Soon it will be warm enough for camping and there will be lots to do and learn in the gardens and around the land. Consider joining us for a day or a week or a season. The wild-lands are extensive, the forest deep and the possibility of connecting with the land and life reaffirming. We can imagine a future that can work, build a small part of it and develop relations that can last a lifetime. We also have a few indoors spaces for visitors.

A new well

Since first posting this page, the well driller finally saw a window to drive his rig to our cleared area. It was too wet last year and too cold over the winter to work with water as the drilling process does. Finally it was warm enough to work, the snow was mostly gone but the roadway was still frosen hard. Even so, it was touch and go getting the 27 tone truck in between the trees beside the shop.

They made it, set up to drill. By the end of the day we had water.

For the full story of the 200 ft dry hole and the means by which they managed to get the water flowing, click here.

On an unrelated matter:

We learned this from a dear friend, Wendy, who drove straight through, six hours from London, Ontario to this place.

Ever get tired when driving a long distance? If so, try roasted sunflower seeds in their shells. The little bit of extra concentration that it takes to suck the salt off, crack the shell with one's teeth and retrieve the kernel with one's tongue is just enough to keep one's mind from fading out. It works like magic.

This is apparently old news for long-distance truckers.

Having tried it out a number of times, I found that it worked great, except it could be tricky to find the seeds in the dark while keeping my eyes on the road. The discarded shells could also get out of hand.

A technical solution:

A small container, this one 3 x 6 inches, with a partition duct taped in the centre. Whole seeds on one side, spent shells on the other. By having the partition the same height as the container sides, the shells can be easily disposed of by putting something over the seed side and dumping them.

I make sure that the tab on the lid is at the shell end of the container. Then, even in the dark, I can line the container up so I know where the seeds are and where the shells go. While driving, the lid sits under the container, between my legs and when the trip is done, it can be popped back on and the whole thing tucked under the seat.