Monday, 12 November 2012

Life Off the Grid 41 - July 24, 2012

Life Off the Grid 41 – July 24, 2012

8:30 AM

Pot of millet simmering for breakfast. Very hungry.

9:00 AM

Munching on millet. Thinking about painting.

2:20 PM

I am in an advanced state of Arrrrrgh! My long extendible handle for the paint roller broke, right where the threads screw into the roller handle. I was so close to done the 1st coat of rolling on paint. I am going to have to find some duct tape. I have about 4 square feet left to do. Not impressed. And too surly to do anymore on this today.

3:15 PM

OK, I have driven the quad. Up our drive to the road. And back again. Reaching heart-pounding speeds of 9 or 10 kms/h. It does not drive like the tractor back in Alberta. The slightest touch on the throttle and it leaps. The only thing responsive on this beast is the accelerator. It steers like a drunken ox. If you missed earlier discussions of the quad, it is a Can-am 2012 Outlander 800X. It's a big machine. It's also a scary machine. Ok. I've done my one terrifying thing for today.

I will have to keep doing it. Driving it again and again, until the fear is all squashed down. But not today.

I'm going to make some split pea soup. Soon.

Maybe I'll just sit and read for awhile. I am very tired.

6:15 PM

1/2 cup split green peas, 1 cup water. Bring to a boil.

Add a broth cube (I use Healthy Harvest low sodium vegetable bouillon), cover and reduce heat or shut it off. I turned off the heat because the pot I am using is large and the quantity I am cooking is small.

8:30 PM

Went down to play with the dogs while the peas soften. After a bit I could hear my cell phone in the window of the cabana playing the song that indicates Jeff is sending me a text. So I went and checked. The next couple of hours were spent texting with Jeff and throwing balls for the dogs. It's weird. There are these windows when the signal is good. And then lots of times when I can't find signal anywhere.
This evening I was even able to send him photos of the new paint job.

I had this half a baked potato left over in the fridge, so I chopped it up (took the skin off first).

And put it in the soup.

Put the heat back on. There was a bit of basil pesto still on the potato. More flavour. Nothing wasted. Sadly, I don't have any other interesting leftovers to put in the soup. Except some crumbs from a package of Rhythm Superfoods Bombay Curry Kale chips. It's all natural, organic, no preservatives. You can add this stuff and it's just like adding some kale to your soup. And curry flavour. Yummy.

I added some water because it was beginning to stick. Stir often. Add little bits of water as needed so it doesn't stick. When the peas are really soft, soup's ready!

I am going to prep the other package of prawns, just like I did before (because it tasted so good). And I'm going to soak some more mung beans. Then supper tomorrow will be really easy.

I may wind up dashing to Kenora early tomorrow. Get a new extender and some really fuzzy rollers. Chalet board is brutal to paint. For some reason, someone saw fit to put ridges every so often in the boards. It's all well and good if you are repainting the same colour, but now I have lines where the roller didn't reach that are still dark brown and unless I get a really fuzzy roller, I'm going to have paint them all with a paint brush. And that just isn't going to happen.

Jeff pointed out that it's a $50 trip to Kenora (gas) and I should make it worthwhile. I guess I could also get all the additional electrical things we need (junction boxes, switches, outlets, wire, etc), and samplers of potential paint colours for the deck. That will save me some time in Winnipeg.

9:30 PM

Alright. Prawns marinading, mung beans soaking, split pea/potato/kale soup all set to go tomorrow. Which is good. I think tomorrow will be a heavy day. I will appreciate having easy food that will be ready quick.

I think it must be time to go and lie down and read. And then sleep.

Life Off the Grid 40 - July 23, 2012

Life Off the Grid 40 – July 23, 2012


The roofers were here! I was beginning to think them mythical. Even better... they say they could build a quad path. I just want it to happen, without Jeff and me spending days and days working brutally hard, sweltering in the heat and getting bitten by bugs and scratched by branches. Is that wrong?

I want to be able to bring propane down by quad. That would be sweet. I am usually very frugal, but sometimes it just makes sense to throw money at a problem to make it go away.
2:40 PM

Been painting. Think I've had a bit too much sun. Again. Drinking lots of water, but it's 32C in the shade. Can't do any more. So, what job to tackle next? Sorting tools? I really have to get some practice on the quad. Tearing up the old boat rails in the boathouse? Sigh. It's hot. I just want to go for a swim. Also, Jeff wants me to go up the tall ladder to roof height and see if I get signal on my phone. One of the roof guys said he had 2 bars of service when he was on the roof. I guess maybe that's something I can do. Terrifying as it is.

3:00 PM

Ok. Did the roof thing. Feel all jangly inside. I didn't used to be afraid of heights. One place we lived when Heather was little, I used to climb up a tree next to the house and sit on the roof and read when she was having a nap. I revelled in being up high, above the world. And I'm not thinking scary things, not consciously. But I get up a ladder like that now and my legs have a mind of their own, shaking violently in spite of my efforts to calm them.

I have had some scary incidents. The leg shaking thing began the very first time I skied downhill at an almost real ski hill. Ok, Holiday Mountain in Manitoba, but before that I had only skied at a sort of deep ditch on the outskirts of Winnipeg. It was early in the day. The trails had not all been groomed and somehow Jeff and I wound up at the top of a black run, which was all ice. Now, I have skied a lot since then, but I am still pretty proud to navigate the blue runs at Lake Louise and Sunshine. I am not a black diamond girl. And this was years ago. I was just starting out. I started down, but quickly lost control and felt myself going much faster than I wanted to. Instinctively, I tucked down, making myself closer to the ground and as small as possible. This, as those of you who ski know, is not the right thing to do. Jeff, standing helplessly at the top of the run watching, was wondering 1) what the hell I was doing and 2) what he would tell the kids when he came home with their mother in a body bag. I was not adept at turning at this point. Fortunately, where the path curved there was brush rather than trees. I crashed and, mercifully, came to a stop. I was unhurt, physically. However, the terror I felt careening out of control seemed to transfer to my legs.

Jeff guided me down the rest of the way slowly, and I went and had a hot chocolate, confident I would stop shaking soon. And I did. Until the next time I was in line for the chair lift. Then I almost fell down, my legs were shaking so hard. I made myself go up again and again, carefully sticking to the easy runs. And it got better. My confidence was shaken again, later in the day, when the tip of one ski somehow got caught as I was trying to dismount from the chair lift. I face-planted. Which was more embarrassing then anything else.

As I said, I have skied a lot since then. I did have a major melt-down at one point at Lake Louise where the slope just looked too steep for a human being to get down without being on their belly. I can do that run now. I am not as good a skier as my husband and my son, not even close. They spend their ski days looking for the fastest, most challenging runs they can find. I am quite content with the challenge of the green and blue runs. I can now do black runs at Manitoba ski hills, like Assissippi, but they are like an easy blue run in the mountains. If Jeff and I ski “together” it means he is off at Goat's Head or Delirium Dive and I'm doing my thing and we meet for lunch and at the end of the day.

But I fought past the panic and fear to do this and now I can do it. I can ski and not be in a cold trembling sweat. And yet, the panic seems to be manifesting in all kinds of awkward places involving heights. Up a ladder trying to change a light bulb in our house in Alberta (seriously, cathedral ceilings are over-rated, especially when you are the one who has to reach the light fixtures way up there), or painting up a ladder... Very annoying.

3:30 PM

Ok. I have decided. I have done one really scary thing today and that is good enough. No cell signal at roof height, by the way. I will burn my kitchen garbage, because it's a nice, still day. And then I will figure out what to do next.



5:00 PM

Garbage burned. One bag of burnable garbage in 12 days. And one bag of carry-out garbage. Also, I went and struggled with the rails in the boathouse. I felt like a fly trying to move a building. Glue and long nails. No amount of prying with the pry-bar could shift them even a little. I am not big enough. Frustrating!

I am terribly sweaty now. The dogs have been very patient all day with me working. I suspect some playing in the lake is owed to them. I can't say what a relief it is to know the roof is going to be taken care of without Jeff or me having to go up there. That would be at least 4 days of his stay of 8 days, including travel days (and never mind the days it would take me to carry all those packages of shingles down!). Add in putting the solar panels on the roof and doing wiring, there is precious little time left for him to relax. And that's no good at all. Especially if he is adamant about building that quad path. That's a lot of work. I would rather outsource it. There is pride in building something yourself. But there is also something to be said for just having it and being able to use it. It could be a couple of years before we could get it finished and workable. I say, let the guys who know what they are doing set it up. They will do it much faster and it will probably be better than what we would wind up with.

7:10 PM

The dogs and I have been playing in the water for the past couple of hours. Guinness was more energetic and did more swimming that he has for a long time. Good. I need him tired because his medication (prednisone) has really kicked in and he is drinking a LOT of water. And so he is getting me up in the night so he can pee. I have had awful sleeps for the past week because of standing in mosquito land waiting for him to come back from extensive peeing adventures. And then when I come in I am wide awake, plus a bunch of mosquitoes come in with us so I am battling them for an hour or more before I can go back to sleep. I am feeling like I did with a baby in the house. Just tired. Horribly, deeply tired all the time.
I think I'm hungry. It's tiring, tiring out the dogs. I swam too. A lot. Washed my hair, which is a joy. A clean scalp is a wonderful thing. Living without benefit of hot running water, you really start to appreciate getting to wash your hair.

Fresh food is running very low. It's only Monday, so I have until Friday to cope with living on dried grains. I could drive to Kenora, and I might. But I don't really want to. It seems a dreadful waste of time and gas, since I am going to Winnipeg on Friday. There is no fresh food at Wilson's, but I suppose if I get really sick of what I have I could go there for a can of beans or something. Ugh. If they had yoghurt and fresh veggies I would be set. I realize now, weekly trips to Kenora were centred around getting access to communication with the outside world. Of course, there was always stuff that was needed: groceries, lumber, paint, whatever. But getting news from the family was always really an important part and I would go in once a week even if I wasn't getting desperately low on food. Now I have some sporadic cell access from here... Fewer trips to town I think.

The dogs are sacked out.

In Winnipeg I will stock up again on organic foods. And whatever Katherine and Ty want to eat. Alas, they are not tolerant of my mostly vegan, whole grains and vegetable diet. They will want to eat meat. And Kraft dinner. And chips. And grilled cheese sandwiches and Ramen noodles.

8:45 PM
Quinoa cooking for dinner. Appealing food stocks are growing low. Very hungry now, so this will do.

I hope Guinness will sleep tonight. Just went out and played ball with them for another 20 minutes. Guinness is lying on the deck. Too hot to come in, too bothered by bugs to sleep out there. Ah, maybe he has had enough with the bugs... In he comes.
I'm so tired. And hungry. And tired...

9:00 PM

Dinner is cooked. But too hot to eat. Aaaarrrrgh. HUNGRY!

9:15 Pm

Food finally cooled enough to eat. Hurray!
9:25 PM

Food was so good. Hunger is an amazing seasoning.

Time to go read and text.