Wednesday, March 31, 2021

Asparagus Soup! Yes!


After months of sitting on my butt or, even more than sitting, lying on the couch, I’m feeling wonderfully energized by the weather and by the enumerable chores needing doing in the yard..

I awoke yesterday to a clear dark sky; the stars were blindingly bright, as was the full moon. It was glorious. But by nine, when I went for a walk with Her Highness, it had completely clouded over and it saddened me because of how nice a day Monday had been, doing work all day in sunshine. I thought I’d be spending the day indoors, so I went to the village and got supplies to make Asparagus soup.

By the time I got home, though, the sun was out, and the sky was clear. I had lunch, fed the pets and then I got myself outside to clear the back deck, the edible garden and the courtyard of their covering of forest fall. The large branch that fell on the edible garden—one of three, too large to carry—was the big challenge, but I used my skill saw to get it into pieces that were manageable. (The photos above are of two of the three branches that fell; the photos don’t effectively convey the size of them.)

There’s much, much more to do to bring the yard back into order: the front lawn is still adrift in crap from the storm, as is the entire backyard lawn. And all the gardens are submerged in Fir cones and twigs. It’s going to take quite a few more days to get it all done.

When I got everything done that I wanted to do yesterday, I got into the spa and then I made the soup. Oh my God! How I love Asparagus soup. It’s delicious and so, so French. I saw a post on Beth’s friend Juliet’s blog; she lives in Paris and posted a photo of Asparagus soup she’d made. As soon as I saw it, I wanted some. I’ll be making this soup again many, many times. Yum!

This morning, it gives me terrific pleasure to look to my left, out the backdoors to see the pristing courtyard. Pinecone Park can look so beautiful to me when it’s all tidied up!

Today I’ll be working on the backyard lawns after the dog walk with my friends. And man-oh-man will I be eating well today: Asparagus soup and a sandwich for lunch and Prawn risotto for dinner. Double yum!

Tuesday, March 30, 2021

Weather and Work: The Best Medicine

Forest fall in the seeded area (above) and the driveway (below)

Today I tackle the three huge branches that require sawing.

What a relief! I woke up this morning with tremendous enthusiasm for the day. I’ll be outside all day and I’ve lots and lots to do. In fact, I have days of work to do on the yard and both today and tomorrow promise to be sunny, so I’ll be busy all of both days just as I was yesterday.

I had a true beauty of a day yesterday. After the walk, I spent all outdoors clearing up the yard after a quick trip into the village for supplies with which to make Prawn risotto—one of my favourite dishes. 

As soon as I got home, I was out in the yard. Now that my entire lot (1/2 an acre) is landscaped, I need to clean up all of it after a storm—and this was the second worst storm I’ve experienced since moving here.  I cleaned the newly seeded lawn (see above) and the driveway (look again) and some of the old part of the front yard. 

All that took three hours because first I had to rake it all up and then I had to burn it in the incinerator—and the burning takes a while. I stay with the burn when I’m incinerating to be sure nothing spills out, and I feed the fire slowly with all the forest fall I’ve collected into the wheelbarrow. I have to burn some, or I’ll amass too much waste in my wood waste pile that’s just outside my back fence. (Thereby attracting many huge Barred Owls who find food in the rodents that move into the pile to den.)

When I was done with that, I reinforced the parts of my tent garage damaged by a branch falling during the storm, and then I made the risotto. I was on my feet and active from 9:00 am to 8:00 pm and I don’t think I could have done anything better to lift my spirit.

I’d been depressed for about ten days due to pain and a serious decline in my speech.

Just before I am to talk to a clerk, nurse, vendor, my friends, I try to speak to get an idea of “where I’m at.” That’s how I assess capacity; it’s how I learn who’s in control, me or my affliction. I’ve been doing this kind of self-assessment for years, and usually my worst was being only able to say a single syllable. It sounded like I was saying “Uh.” 

I’ve been functionally normal with my dog walking friends for two years, thanks to spending three hours a week walking our dogs together. I really like them all, and deeply. Regina is a blessing. We, Judith, Di and Donna … the five of us are sisters. Being with them is the best part of my life on Gabriola (other than visits from long-time and dear friends). 

But these past ten days have had me barely able to speak to them. I felt a loss of control, that the affliction was increasingly in charge—a dominatrix. I couldn’t make a sound. It was like I was talking at 33 RPM instead of 78. (I’ll bet you haven’t thought about record speeds for a long time. I’m that old.) Plus, I started having seizures in their company and over the course of the week my speech worsened.

Now, if I try to speak alone, I have a seizure. I’m way, way worse than I’ve ever been since I went into the hospital at the onset of the C-PTSD crisis in April 2016. Some “spasticity” is back in my arms and face, again like back in 2016.

All this got me down. I sank low, but yesterday the fog lifted, and I credit the exercise and being outdoors all day in sunshine—exactly what I’m in for today and tomorrow and every coming sunny day. I feel saved by the weather. I still am locked solid mute and I’m worried about this decline, but in two weeks I can talk about it with Dr. Shoja.

Please pardon my kvetching.

Monday, March 29, 2021


The lovely wide Tait Road trail.

Twenty seconds of (large-is) hail fall yesterday.

I took Sheba to a favourite Summer trail yesterday morning—the Tait Road trail. I like it because it’s a fire road; fire fighters use it if there’s ever a fire in the forest. It’s wide, so friends can walk side-by-side, but in Winter it’s covered in water. Huge puddles, lakes almost, fill up in the Fall and that’s why I’m only a summer user.

We walked for an hour and light, light rain started falling so we headed back to the car and got back just as (welcome) real rain started. The rest of the day was classically Spring: bright sunny periods and then dark cloudy ones.

My neighbour, a fisherman, has his home open again as a fish store. He has Tuna, Cod and Prawns at bargain prices. His goods are flash frozen on his boat. I’m definitely up for the Prawns so that I can make Prawn risotto, and I’ll ask about the grade of the Tuna. If it’s Sushi grade, I’m in.

At 2:30 it got really dark. I was online and my computer went off and I think it was due to lightning. As I was rebooting it, it started hailing—really hailing. It was a dense downpour of pea-sized hail that lasted about four minutes and then it haled for another five minutes of small hail. And it got very, very windy. I loved the sound of the hail on my metal roof and I loved being warm and cozy indoors. I’m so glad I wasn’t out walking with Sheba.

At 3:15, it started snowing—not for long, but big wet flakes as the sky started getting brighter. And then, by 5:30, after some strong wind and a short power failure, the sun was out, and the sky had cleared. And then the wind picked up and between 4:00 and 11:00 last night we had four more short power failures.

Going to sleep was hard because there were soft (Fir cones) and loud (branches) noises as things landed on the metal roof of the house. I took an Ativan to go to sleep and I’m glad I did because today I have a lot of work to do and the pill gave me a good sound sleep.

One very large branch collapsed one corner of my garage tent; I’ll have to fix it today. And another huge branch, one too heavy for me to lift, fell into my edible garden but it fell between my raised beds thank God! And in the backyard, another enormous branch just missed one of my gardens. It, too, will have to be cut up so that I can remove it.

I’ll go for a dog walk with my friends this morning, and I’ll bet everyone will have a lot to say about the storm. I think that was the worst storm yet, since I’ve lived here. Then I’ll come home to do yard work all day, clearing forest fall from the yard.