Friday, June 30, 2023

Going to April Point Lodge

The photo above is of April Point Lodge. It’s on Quadra Island, north of my island. To get there, I will drive 2.5 hours north from Nanaimo to Campbell River where I will catch the ferry to Quadra. Pete and Ali will be going at the same time as me, thanks to my gift to them of their room for all the work they did on my deck. I am excited about driving to Campbell River with them. I hope we ‘convoy’ together, stopping at the same rest stops. I’ll have 2 nights at the lodge with them, then I’ll come home, and they will stay for another night.

We went for a lovely morning walk together in the 707 Forest, and then I came home to stain the last two wooden chairs. Then it was time for lunch before applying a second coat to one of the chairs and then attending to the transplanting of the moss to the sides of the new footpath. It was a cloudy but warm day. It was nice to have a break from the hot sun while I worked, and to give the plants a break from the heat.

After planting all the moss, I called it quits rather early to go into the village for supplies, enjoy a spa and to do some reading/relaxing. Today I start cleaning up all the gardens and yard, and it excites me because all I do will improve the look of Pinecone Park. It’s thrilling to be on the final project of the season in the yard. Once the gardens are tidied, there will only be watering to do.

I’m going to get a few more plants for the courtyard garden. I wish Steve were coming this weekend. He’d see the gardens looking magnificent because the Ocean Spray is in magnificent bloom on enormous bushes on the borders of my property. Their scent is a sweet cinnamon smell that I find enchanting and tropical.

I’ve always loved working with my hands. Building the theatre that I later ran, building sets and props, inventing a game and crafting a prototype, a zillion gallery shows, yadayadayada. The garden may be my greatest achievement of all. This one, though, I did for me, not for others. When I go out in the garden, it is mine and it’s a wonderful feeling to be responsible for something that gives back so strongly emotionally.

My speech is better—a relative term. I feel more my normal broken self, not the extremely broken person. Thank God I quit the clinic. I’m still grateful I left. All this work on my home would not have happened were I still with the clinic. I’m far happier with it being out of my life.

I picked up another ham from Eoin and Fran├žois, and being with them made me want more, so they, me and Jay are having dinner tonight al fresco at Woodfire, the best restaurant we have on the island. 

Thursday, June 29, 2023

Chica Goes Home

Chica is a gardener. She kicks up the dirt and in doing so, does some effective weeding. But she also uproots some of my plantings, but I love having her around in the yard. She’s become another reason I love living here on Gabriola. She adds some rural beauty to Pinecone Park.

Sheba and I joined our friends for a morning dog walk before I returned to assemble the last of the chairs and the table. Then I got onto staining chairs before planting the end of the rest of the moss along the footpath edges. It was another impeccable day. However, the beauty of the day faded from my consciousness as I wrestled with the assembly of the final two chairs and the table. To do those three things took 5 hours!

But it’s done. No parts were missing and now I have a really lovely outdoor dining table that has a smoked glass surface. The glass is easy to clean and will not warp as did my previous wooded table (that now is a very practical addition to my shed). Once done, I hobbled into the lovely cool house to chill and let the pain in my back fade away.

I had two other chores on my list of things to do yesterday, but all other duties just faded away because I was beat from all the work on the dining set. So, Her Highness accompanied me to the village where I got some groceries, and then we came home to do some tidying up and to water the front and edible gardens before having a spa to end the working day.

Today, I’ll do the chores I failed to do yesterday: I’ll be staining two chairs and planting the rest of the moss along the footpath.

Everything is done. Well, almost everything. I must finish the footpath when the store has them in stock again. But that’s only a couple of hours work. And in just over a week, the guy comes to clean the roofs. But I can go back to regular gardening. I want to clean-up all the gardens and tidy. Up the lawn and meadow.

Chica is gone. I found her owner and she came last night just after dinner and took Chica away. I’m glad to be chicken-free again at Pinecone Park. She wreaked havoc with the gardens and there are little turds everywhere. 

I’ve been keeping a diary of the work I began on April 26th. I’ve worked every day except for 19 days. The work involved the major clean-up of the yard after all the Winter storms, splitting wood that came from trees felled in my yard, and stacking all that wood, plus a cord I bought from a local store, cleaning and overhauling the fountain, and then doing the deck, landscaping and the footpath overhaul. It’s now June 28th. So, two months of solid work. Not one day at the beach with Sheba. No strolls through Drumbeg Park.

But from here on, it’s a pleasure to work in my beautiful new yard. I can hardly wait for Steve to get here because we’ll have a party around the new table in my clean shiny yard.

Pete came by today. I love Pete, I truly do. Doing the deck together was a bonding experience. I feel a really lovely friendship has grown between us. He’s open, thoughtful, and charming. He’s English and has a lovely accent. He’s well-spoken and witty, and I now adore him. How I feel about him is more valuable to me than the deck. It truly was bonding. It makes my job of caring for his garden when they go away, is a function of our bond and not a debt to him for work done.

I’m definitely going to go with them to April Point in September if Dave/Ursula will feed Fred and Ethel while I’m gone. 

I’m going bonkers because of my vision, and I have months of waiting to start the process of getting my operations. I’m going to be dealing with double vision for many, many more months. It only matters when I’m using the computer or reading subtitles on TV. Watching TV is really challenging unless I close my left eye. 

The ophthalmologist gave me a prescription, but it’s pointless to fill it until after I get the operation on my eyes. But! My hip hasn’t been bothering me for a couple of weeks. I’ve been debating about seeing or not seeing my nurse practitioner, but I think I will, to ask her about double-dosing daily with Ibuprofen—whether that’s harmful in any way. I couldn’t sleep without it, and I couldn’t get through a day without it.

While so much is going on with my body, all the work of the past two months has kept me active, and they have inspired me. My aging body is telling me to have fun while I can. That’s another reason to go to April Point.

I can hardly wait to stop working for long stretches of every day, when all there is to do is just regular watering I’ll be able to read and eat at the new table in my glorious yard, and enjoy the yard that I’ve worked so hard on for the past two months.

Wednesday, June 28, 2023

Feckin' Self Assembly

I started my day yesterday with a lovely long soak in the hot tub. What a glorious way to start the day, with Chica clucking as she ate her food and the birdsong of so many birds providing harmony. It was a nice warm morning. Then Her Highness and I went for a walk in the 707 Forest before I came home to water the front gardens.

As I was watering, Fedex arrived with my new outdoor dining set. I ordered the set on June 24th and Amazon said it would be here between June 30th and July 6th, but it only took 3 days for the three large and heavy packages to arrive. So, instead of staining the chairs, I got to work assembling the set. First, though, I did my eye ablutions. 

 Well, you get what you pay for. It took me an hour and a half to unpack all the parts for the dining set and to assemble just one chair. Everything is assembled with an Allan key and it’s ridiculously hard to turn the screws because of where they are positioned on the chairs. But hey, I’m in no hurry, so I just slowly put everything together. But it wasn’t very much fun.

The second chair took an hour and a half to put together. The screw holes would not like up. I think one of the pieces of chair was bent. They are metal chairs. The third chair took just half an hour, but by then I was tired of fighting with screws, so I came in for a snack and a break. Then I was back at it, doing chair #4 (and it took another hour to assemble).

By then, it as 4:00 pm and I was done. It was time to clean up and then slide into t spa. But just as I was about to come inside and change for the spa, 2 neighbours arrived, Nancy and Wendy. Nancy wanted to show Wendy my backyard, and Wendy was swooning over Pinecone Park.

This morning began, as usual, with feeding the pets, but that now includes going outside to feed Chica. I worry about her when the bad weather comes. I’m going to have to teach her to come into the shed if I can, where I’ll create a place for her, putting straw on the floor.

Today I’ll finish the last two chairs for my new outdoor dining set, and then I’ll likely stain the last of the wood chairs and I’ll plant the last of the moss along the new footpath. I just got up, and I’m already tired as I contemplate my day of work.

Tuesday, June 27, 2023

Back to Yard & Garden Work

Our morning walk with dogs yesterday was really lovely because the Ocean Spray is out and the bushes, sometimes huge ones, are in full bloom and filling the forest with its sweet, sweet fragrance. I have walls of Ocean Spray at Pinecone Park, and so the yard is heavenly scented.

Chica, the chicken, remains with me. She’s been here for a week now, and yesterday I put out a hutch for her, filled with straw. If she’s still here when Winter comes, I’ll move her hutch into the shed for her and I’ll add a heat lamp for her.

I stained two deck chairs and transformed them from awful neglected looking things, into nice clean and comfortable chairs with cushions (that I cleaned). I’m setting them out on my porch with a low table where I’ll be spending more time reading and enjoying the heat. Inside my house is still very cool. I wear a sweater and cover my legs with two blankets at night.

After finishing the two chairs, I left them to dry and took back some building supplies that I didn’t need. And while in the village, I did some quick grocery shopping and went to Fran├žois’ and Eoin’s for another ham. The first one I got was delicious.

Then I stained a third chair. And then Pete came by with a long list of dates when he and Ali will be away, and I’ll be charged with watering their gardens. After he left, I got started on cleaning up the lovely Maple worktable that was left here by a previous owner. I want to sell it or give it away via the Gabriola Community Facebook page. Once it’s gone, I’ll move my retired outdoor dining table into the shed to use for storing the small things that I use constantly.

I love having Chia here. In the afternoon, she’d settled into the garden where the sun shines. I love seeing her feeling secure enough to chill in the yard. But now I have another new task: picking up the chicken poop off the courtyard and deck.

Today, I’ll finish staining the chairs, I’ll do a lot of watering and I’ll plant some delicate moss all along the edges of the new footpath. Then it will be time to start working on the gardens and yard again. During all the wood chopping and stacking, and then all the work on the deck, they have had no attention.

I have lots of time for yard work, and it’s going to be nice to work because there is naught but sunshine and temperatures between 27° and 29° predicted for every day for the next 10 days. If I tire of yard work and the heat, I will start working on the conversion of the studio. I’m going to give away all my craft supplies and take apart all my ladies so that I can give away the mannequins. 

As my devotion to working continues, so does the losing of weight. It’s amazing how much weight that I’m losing due to being active all day long and changing how I eat. I never eat meals anymore. I’ve become a grazer and I never suffer from acid reflux anymore. I was living on Gaviscon until I made the change, but no more. I’ve lost 27 pounds; that’s a lot of weight I no longer have to carry around.

The Ocean Spray on the west side of my lot. Yes, the lawn needs cutting.
I'll be doing it today.

The Ocean Spray on the south side of my lot. These photos don't
do it justice. I wish you could smell it.

A bad photo of Chica. She is not a poser.

This is the first year I've planted pots like hanging baskets.

The new garden. You can barely see the new Japanese Maple where the
garden butts against the steps.

A chair before.

And after one coat. I do two.