This photo was taken this morning, and as the red sky promised by 1 this afternoon it was snowing. It didn't stick but there are puddles everywhere.
Luckily I got all the gardening done and made a considerable dent in the GST reclamation chore.
This morning the sun enticed me outside to plant my box of over one hundred bulbs. I had two types of daffoldils, crocuses, my favourite specias tulips- T. tarda, T. kaufmanniana and T. chrysantha, as well as Chionodoxa-an early blue bulb and the extremely hardy and prolific Pushkinnia alba. The only bulb I didn't have, which I want, is Muscari, grape hyacinths to plant among the primroses.
I took the opportunity to divide my three types of thyme, cutting each into three or four pieces to plant, alternating each type, along the edge of the rose bed. I divided the lambs ears and the Dianthus deltoides and planted them further along the bed. I had not planned to bring the self seeding Dianthus deltoides with me, it came as a seed buried in one of my bags of compost. Unlike its cousins it has no fragrance, although the hot pink flowers contrast nicely with its silvery foliage and it will look good with the roses.
All this took me why longer than I thought it would. I still have garlic to plant, potatoes to dig and spread on the deck to dry, carrots to dig, wash and put in plastic bags, blackened, dead foliage to pull up and put on the compost, pea vines to dismantle, weeding, and the pea trellis to take down and put away. If only the forecast was for sun not rain.
It never struck me that 512 megs of RAM would be inadequate. My eMac seems to do fine on 512 megs of Ram, even when three users have their desktops open and each of them have lots of applications running.But lately performance on my original MacBook, which came with 512 megs of RAM, has been dismally, frustatingly sloooooooow.
Saturday morning I got onto Google. I discovered the MacBook can take up to 2 Gigs of RAM, installed in one Gig chips, one in each slot. The cheapest price was at Memory Depot, $91.78 CDN, for the 2 GIG package. It was just a coincidence the CDN dollar is now on par with the USA dollar. After shipping and GST it came too $104.18.
It arrived Monday by Courier. Unfortunately I did not own a Philips screw driver with a small enough head, size 00, with which to undo the screws to access the RAM slots. I had too wait until yesterday, when I had time to buy it at the hardwood store. The size I wanted was only available in a set for $18. I bought it. Other than fix my glasses I can think of no other use for this lovely, expensive set of tiny screwdrivers? The last time I fixed one of my Macs I was forced to buy a set of torx screwdrivers.
With my ever expanding collection of specialized tools the guy at the hardwood store suggested I start fixing computers for a living. Hah!
Following the instructions in Apples tutorial I opened the back of my MacBook and installed the RAM. I found I had to push really really hard to get it to seat properly, so the computer could recognize it and start up. Other than that it is an extremely easy process.
The best thing, is that working on my MacBook and browsing the internet has become fun, easy and mindless, again.
I'm leaving for work in fifeteen minutes. My sons car is in the garge. I offered to drive him around to the bank, to ICBC and th doctors (He has asthma) Somehow I have to work this in between accounts. Yesterdy was the same. In between working on the GST, at home, I had to go into town to bring my son back home after he dropped his car off at the garage. later in the day I picked up my daughter, took her to get some gas for her car in a Jerrycan . She wanted to go to the superstore because she had a few other things to pick up. I took the oppotunity to buy some groceries. Then I took her home . Then I went to the Alpine Club meeting. Then I came home and collapsed . It was nine PM.
If you build your own home you are entitled to get back a portion of all the GST (goods and services tax) you paid. So yesterday morning I organized all my receipts into piles according to vendor. The resulting mess spread all over the dinning room table.
However, it is not just a simple matter of adding up all the receipts multiplying it by .07 and sending off the result to the government. That would be too easy.
Most Vendors have their GST number written right on their receipt. A few merchants and most trades people, who are just as likely to write their receipt in pencil on a piece of paper torn out of an exercise book, the kind you used in school, don’t have their GST number in plain view on their receipt. When I phoned up the trades people they had their GST numbers memorized, not so the merchants. Most places I phoned didn’t know what it was or seemed to care and the people who might know didn’t work Saturdays.
The Government has laid out a nice neat and tidy chart with little boxes for you to record all the necessary information. In no time at all I had made a huge mess of it. Mostly because I didn’t take the time to read the whole thing or even think about the best way to tackle it. Getting the right answers is crucial otherwise they will send the whole mess back to you demanding you do it again.
The biggest problem. Is trying to decide which pieces of wood I bought last July were used to build the roof or make the stairs or frame the windows. The government wants to know how much money was spent on each of these jobs.
The same difficulty arises when I hire one trades person to not only build the driveway but also dig the basement, connect the sewer, hook up the water line from the well, pound in the hydro pole and dig the trench for the hydro wire Each of these jobs has a separate box in the government form yet this trades person only issued me one receipt for the sum total of all the jobs he did.
Using Microsoft Word I made a spreadsheet to take the place of the governments form, It’s a lot easier to erase mistakes on a computer. As for all those stupid little boxes I decided to add up all the money spent at each vendor, then allot a portion of it to each job. It might not be the whole truth but really GST paid is the same whether I spent it on building the roof or building the deck. Isn’t it?
Sometimes I have to shake my head at myself. Yesterday My daughter phoned. She said the tire on her boyfriends car had exploded, they were on the side of the highway and could I come and get them.
As usual, after getting over my initial annoyance of having my plans, for the rest of the day, wrenched out of my grasp by my daughters expectations. I remembered if she couldn’t depend on me to help her get her out of scrapes who will she depend on?
As I got my purse I realized I’d be able to listen to Ian Brown's CBC Radio show, Talking Books, uninterrupted on my car radio. My daughter and her boyfriend were stranded a good forty five minute drive away.
Talking books was wonderful as always. The news reported enormous lineups at the border. Apparently people were taking advantage, of the fact the Loonie is on par with the US dollar, to load up on cheaper American goods they probably didn’t know they needed.
My daughter was not where she said she would be, waiting on the other side of the road just past the PetroCan gas station. I didn’t see her boyfriends blue van either.
I kept driving and looking, thinking maybe she didn’t want to tell me the truth about how far from town she actually was.
I was so focused and upset, I drove all the way to Vanderhoof, 70K.
Once there I found a pay phone. I reasoned that since I was taking so long to find her she probably would be phoning home. I could talk to Robert and get specific directions. But Robert was in the shed and never answered my frustrated phone calls. I was using a pay phone because I had neglected to put my cell phone in my purse.
I began to realize It would be dark soon. I decided to drive back along the highway, in the vain attempt I would see her. But I also hoped she had contacted someone else to pick her up, since my rescue attempt was obviously hopeless.
I drove to her place and of course she was there, safe and in one piece. Because she has more common sense than me, she had phoned her father on his cell phone and he had gone and got her. She had also tried contacting me, on my cell phone, to find out where I was and to help me find her, when a cell phone rings in an empty house can anyone hear it?
I never thought to phone Robert, on his cell phone, because usually he never turns it on. However, this weekend he is on call, a little point I had forgotten about, so of course he had it on.
I’m trying to forget about those wasted three hours of my life. I have put my cell phone firmly back into its little pocket, inside my purse.
Getting covered in mud and being forced to put on a clean set of clothes is one thing. Another thing is when you drive fifteen minutes to the grocery store, pick out some things to buy, line up at the cash register for a good ten minutes and when the worker is scanning your items, reach into your purse and discover you have forgotten to bring your wallet.
As you walk back to your car you realize you have two choices, (don't you always?) Drive fifteen minutes back home and stay there. Forget about the milk and cream you were going to buy. Or, go home, get you wallet and drive all the way back to the store. I decide to take a deep breath, listen to Beethoven’s Ninth symphony, one of my faves, on Radio Two and drive back to the grocery store.
Getting covered in mud is normal when working in the garden. Even when you try to water the freshly transplanted Blue Spruce tree, but completely forget you left the hose spewing water all over it, while you went off to dig up a Dahlia root and transplant some mint. The fact that the soil is clay is not an issue even when you come back to the scene, turn off the hose and realize everywhere is inches deep in water. You have to slosh through it to divide the Primulas and move around the London Pride into a more pleasing arrangement. The soil in the flower bed is soggy and you think nothing of wiping your muddy hands repeatedly on your jeans Needless to say when the whole messy procedure is finished you decide not to garden anymore.
You go inside, first removing your clothes and leaving them on the porch, and start loading pictures of your recent knitting projects onto Ravelry whereupon you get a craving for a latte and you see a recipe, on your desktop, you got of Not Martha, a month ago for Caramel Banana Cake. Hence the blighted trip to the grocery store.
I got a craving for gourmet muffins. I came up with several possibilities for recipes, ginger pear date, banana chocolate chip vanilla, oatmeal apple cinnamon and cranberry, chocolate zucchini. The last one is the only one I'm a bit dissatisfied with. I think next time I will add chocolate chunks as well.
I also made oatmeal bread and Vienna bread. I put most of this food in the freezer and bring it out fresh every few days
Before we went to Jasper I noticed the concord grapes were in the grocery store. But because I was going away I resisted buying them. However, yesterday I noticed they were still in the store so I bought a box to make grape jelly. It's a tradition like making mince pies and shortbread at Christmas.
I just got an email from Canada Post saying my bulb order is on its way. I just have to remember to buy garlic so I can have a huge bulb planting fest very soon.
On the way to Jasper I knitted a sock or rather finished the one I started on my last trip, four weeks ago.
The pattern, written by Heather and available here, has great instructions and illustrations. It is so well done I felt compelled not to allow myself even the teeniest mistake so consequently I unraveled it and reknit it three times.
rather than make it up I waited until I got home to look up the instructions for kitchener stitch in order to finish off the toe properly. One day I'm going to have the ins and outs of kitchener stitch memorized.
Alas, there is only one sock but I will get to the other one as soon as I finish the Twinkle knits hoodie, for my daughter. I knit another sleeve and part of the body, while in the car on the trip home. I'm planning to crochet a brown edging around the cuffs and the hood, and to have six big brown buttons to make it snug. I'm hoping to find the buttons attached to some throwaway coat in a second handstore somewhere. It is almost next to impossible to find 4.5 centimetre buttons in a fabric store.
Almost a year ago I bought the yarn and pattern for the Electra vest. I finally finished knitting it. Here it is in all it's glory.
This morning we lit our wood stove, shiver. It seems last week were the final days of really hot weather. I'm glad we were able to go on our impromptu trip to Jasper. The photos are of me at the top of Wilcox Peak and Robert relaxing around the lake with his book at the Jasper Park lodge.
I'm taking long sleeved shirts out of my closet, sorting through my coats, woolly sweaters and jackets, thinking about wintry things to knit, thumming the pages of all my favourite clothing catalogs and daydreaming.
I'm not ready for winter yet, just the anticipation of it.
It wasn't just awesome scenery or hot sunny weather but little things like sharing a bottle of wine around the campfire, with our new lexon collapsible wine glasses, sinking our sweaty bodies into the hot sulphur smelling water at Miette hotsprings, sitting back in my bright yellow Adirondack chair, by the lake at the Jasper park Lodge with a book, feeling the sunshine penetrating every pore of my being, for the first time in my life paddling a canoe, down Malign lake and wishing we had rented it for longer than an hour, or even frost, like how I imagine a starched shirt, stiff and white, on the tent fly every morning.
There were Ted and Ernie, the two guys we met at the bottom of the Wilcox pass trail. Meeting them turned the trip into an epic all day affair which included seeing two bighorn sheep, scrambling over the boulder strewn foot of Wilcox peak, ascending its treacherous slope till finally managing to perch uneasily on its narrow top. After that it was easy enough to slip and slide back down the steep gravel side, to the soggy pass below then down further through the trees, alongside tangle creek until it burst over a rocky ledge thundering down into a basin next to the highway. Ted, good man that he is, cracked open some ice cold IPA, from his private stash, to help ease us back to reality.
Bob, whose second home is the Icefields campground, gave us excellent advice on all the details of Wilcox pass, the Columbia ice fields and the magnificent Mount Athabasca.
While walking down the path to the bottom of Malign canyon Robert realized his knees were fixed, three years after surgery, and decided he would start hiking and cross country skiing again
Or maybe it was having no schedule. So this morning when we realised we had an hour and a half wait, in the parking lot at the hotsprings, we got out my pocket rocket stove and boiled some water for tea and coffee. The steam rising off the distant pool made it hard not to storm the place, kick down the doors and dive in, but despite that and the sun, which had no heat at this early hour, we got back into our black car with our books, sipped our drinks and read.
I've been wearing these shoes to work and they are wonderful. They have gel supports making a lovely soft cushion around my feet. If you are on your feet all day I recomend you get a pair. They are called Asics gels.
We are heading off to Jasper for a few days holiday. I'm taking my knitting and two books. I hope to spend some serious time relaxing in the sun, soaking in the hot springs and who knows I may even do a hike or two.
I arrived home to see downed conifer trees all over the yard. The huge beautiful spruce in front of the house was the tree I was most sad to see go. It was providing shade for my Primulas, Columbines and London pride, acting as a support for a bird house and a bird feeder, albeit frequented mostly by squirrels and was home to a zillion ants. The trunk was rotten.
I can't get used to the empty view in front of the house. After the leaves fall off the deciduous trees it will be easier to see the neigbours house across the gully.
I'm going to buy a blue Spruce, the one I have my eye on is called Hoopsii, to replace it. This particular variety is the most desirable, both in terms of having the bluest foliage and because it is the best grower. It will be just as tall as the spruce we cut down, 60 feet, if it reaches full height. I'm going to incorporate it into the garden bed. That way it will have the added benefit of richer soil and more frequent watering, which it loves.
The guy who lives three doors down from us drives school bus. Whenever I see it pass the bottom of my driveway I get all sentimental and something aches deep down inside me. My kids road the school bus for most of their lives, until we moved here.
Every morning Hannah, our great big white Kuvasz, accompanied them up the driveway. She waited until they boarded the bus then came back down to the house until it was time to go back up to meet them. If I was outside rolling one of those enormous bales of hay into the feeder, gardening, chopping firewood or if it were lambing time Bill, the driver, would honk his horn at me and wave until he was out of sight. Our house and barn were at the back of the hay field so there was an uninterupted view from the road. The road was also a dead end. Our house was the third to last house, traffic was scarce.
Bill farms one hundred and fifty head of cattle over on the Tate Creek road, He wears jeans, cowboy boots and a cowboy hat. Secretly Charlotte wanted to steal his hat. It took her until the last day of school of grade eight, the last year she road the bus, to muster enough courage to snatch it off his head. She wore the hat for the trip home then gave it back too him as she walked down the stairs for the last time, saying good bye.
This is the fourth day of uninterupted sunshine. What joy what bliss. I've finally felt like weeding the garden. Instead of a tangled mass of greenery I can now see the plants and the soil between them. The garden looks so civilized.
The shed has been wired for heaters. The spaces between the joists have been filled with pink batts of insulation, R40 for the roof R20 for the walls. Particle boad has been screwed on top like the bottom layer of a sandwich. The top layer of the sandwich, 1x6 made into board and batten, will have to wait until next year.
We got four loads of firewood. Jason is coming this afternoon to cut down some trees. They are very close to the house. Robert doesn't want to tackle them in case they fall the wrong way. One of the spruce trees has huge holes in it from animals, despite that cutting it down will let more needed light into the garden. Two other spruce trees will be cut down for the same reason. Another tree, a dying pine( beetle killed) is in the way of the future site for the woodshed so its gotta go. Of course they will all be bucked and stacked ready to be burned next year in our woodstove.
My daughter Charlotte is an artist. When she is not participating in Green Activities like hanging laundry on the washing line she is drawing or painting or using her ancient analog camera to capture the green world around her. Currently she is applying to a school to take Graphic Design. She would love to have a new digital camera.
I'm trying to win one for her by entering this photo in Darren Barefoot's, The Greenest Photo Ever contest, over on flickr. Please join flickr and vote for my photo,(http://flickr.com/photos/melaniejo/1341382925/) and enter your own. The rules are here on Darrens blog, DESMOGBLOG.COM.
I phoned up Telus, (the phone company) and it was not to chat, it was because I made a huge error in their favour.
Last month, when I paid my bills online, I must have been asleep because I gave Telus all the money, I was going to give to Visa. Yesterday I almost fainted when I saw thebalance on my most recent Visa bill. I was adamant I had paid them last month. The ridicously (sp) enormous bill was their mistake and so was the phenomenal amount of interest they had added on top. It wasn’t until I checked back, in my online bank account, that I realized what I had done.
The odd think is I made the payment to a Telus account that I supposedly shut down at the end of last November 2006. This isn't the first time I have had problems with Telus and phone accounts that I shut down months ago, although I have never given them so much money before.
I wonder if I can talk to Visa about my stupid mistake and get them to refund the interest, they want me to give them, for my late payment?
The first thing my son did, when he arrived home yesterday, was use my macbook to go to his bank account, to see if his cheque had been deposited. Then he asked me to do his laundry. As per my recent dictum I checked all the pockets of his clothes. I found a five doller bill, two dimes, one penny , one laser light and a screw. He took back the screw and the light. I kept the money.
I finished knitting this yesterday. I soaked the pieces in eucalan to get rid of dirt and dye guck then using my new blocking pins, thanks Heather, I spread the pieces out on a towel using my pins to keep them from curling as they dried.
I cast on for my new project, a hoody from Twinkle knits. The hoody is a Christmas present for my daughter. It won't take long to knit because the wool is super bulky and the needles I'm using are HUGE.