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Crikey, things are looking up!

Friday, August 24, 2012

News from Loon County August 2012

Hi D, and all,

We finally got the boat in the water! Hoo-bloody-ray! Don and I are both exhausted, physically and we've been very quiet for the last couple of days. We'll be coming up to Ottawa for the first time in over a month in the next few days, so we'll come and see you tomorrow, Saturday, if that is OK.

In the event, everything went very well. We got most of the big things done and a lot of the little tasks can wait for a bit. Next big task is to put up the mast. This can only be done with the boat in the water. We will have to drive the boat next to the crane that is used to lift masts, and then it is carefully lowered through a hole in the deck to its footing on the bottom of the boat. We then attach the wire stays to the chainplates (were leaking previously, hope they are not still doing so!) and then we only have the 2-3 days work of putting all the sails on. Then it will be time to take the boat out of the water for winter...just kidding! (But not by much!)

The various paint jobs have come out looking really good. I am very pleased - some of it is half finished, but we had to stop at some point - the summer is nearly over and working in the boat shelter was really hard in the heat. So we will get out for a few weekend cruises in September and October, I think.

Meanwhile, the house and garden have reverted to a state of chaos...I was lucky that we had a drought - it reduced the amount of lawn mowing required to none. However, the house is now so filthy that I think it needs a demolition team to come in and blow it up...never mind. It's a long winter and we'll do it then.

My vegetables garden has been variable in result. The Chinese kale and bok choy seem to have served only as decoys for every pest that would otherwise eat brassicas - my broccoli are in excellent shape, but the others look very sad. Apparently bok choi is delicious! The broccoli should start yielding as the Fall progresses. We also grew potatoes, which have done very well. We just started digging out the early ones. Beans and peas have been good, but the tomatoes have suffered from the heat - I grew the tiny cherry variety and they are small with tough skins. There are some mutant plants of the pumpkin/zucchini family growing out of the compost bins. God knows what they are. There are some small gourds hanging down so perhaps we'll find out what they are.

I was in the garden picking beans the other day, I was talking to my neighbour over the back fence. He inherited the house from his father a couple of years ago. Hi father was very elderly when we knew him and a furious gardener, he had the whole backyard laid out with frames for climbing Chinese vegetables. His son has carried on the tradition and extended it by keeping chickens and guinea fowl, mostly for the eggs. It's rather nice to hear hens clucking away when we sit out on the deck. The son often tells me stories about how his father came from China, paid the head tax twice, in order to go back and forward to Hong Kong where his family was started. The whole family worships Lester Pearson  - apparently that government allowed the unification of such families, which is when the children came to Canada. They are all mostly in the big cities now, but when the father died, this son was living in Ottawa and decided to move here. He thinks his wife regrets it, but he is happy in his retirement with his garden and his chickens. He says that if he was in any big city he couldn't afford to have a hobby farm. He is probably right.

The marina has finally replaced the rotten old docks that were on the western side of the basin. They had been there for 25 years and were a real hazard, both to foot traffic and to navigation. Some spiffy new docks to match the main dock have been installed by a company from Lansdowne (in the 1000 Islands). These guys are pretty well the only company doing waterfront construction projects on this stretch of the river. They came down with a small tug and crane, cut up the old docks and towed them to the launch ramp where the marina crew dragged them out with their equipment. They then launched and assembled the new docks in about 3 days, which is blindingly fast in terms of the local guys. As expected, the old docks were left, on the common sense principle of "Let 'er lie where God flang 'er!" exactly as they had been dragged out. We have been launching our rowing docks past this crumbling pile of timber and steel, generously festooned with decaying mussels, for the past 3 week. Some nights, the boats at the dock 200 feet away were overwhelmed with the smell - people had to go home. Fortunately the mussels appear to have finally rotted away. The smell is more or less gone as long as you breathe through your mouth.

The problem is, of course, disposal. It is one thing to take a pile of wood and steel to the local dump where they'll burn the wood and recycle the resulting metal. However, since these docks consist of large baulks of timber surrounding huge blocks of expanded foam, they are not allowed to be burnt. It would be too much hard work to break down and separate the materials (for our work-shy crew, this represents garbage picking and is beneath them, minimum wage workers that they are). It will cost a couple of thousand to take them to the landfill, so the marina owner has plans to dump them in a piece of land behind the boat yard. They will add to the huge pile of shipping pallets that have been built up in another improbable wheeze to make money...some guy came to the marina owner with a plan to chip the pallets to make a fortune...however the chipping machine didn't like the fact that the pallets are full of bits of metal (duh) and there they have lain ever since. It makes a good source of firewood for the picnic shelter campfire though.

We have our boat tied up on the new docks, which are now filling up with boats, much to the delight and surprise of the marina owner. If you built it, they will come, apparently.

I finally went to my eye doctor as instructed, 6 months after the shingles attack. The vision in my right eye is now 2 diopters worse than it was, which was making my eyesight very unbalanced. In short, I needed new glasses. She gave me a new prescription and I decided to order glasses online. They came within 5 days and I am very pleased. They are about 20% of the cost of the last pair of glasses I had, and are identical (apart from prescription). The only problem now is that my vision is changed and my brain had got used to seeing fuzzy in the right I now have almost more visual information than I can process. I am gradually getting used to it, but my right eye gets tired and droops at the end of the day.

I hope that we can come and see you tomorrow, Saturday afternoon. I will call early in the afternoon to see if it is convenient.

All the best,

Sue & Don.


St Lawrence Rowing

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