July 30, 2023

I don't want to go retro that badly

Growing up, everyone and I do mean EVERYONE, had lawn chairs that consisted of webbing. They went everywhere in the summer. To the grandparent's house, the aunts and uncles, the family reunions, the church picnic, the company picnic, to the river - everywhere. 

I thought I'd go a little retro and get a couple of them. 

I've changed my mind. 

I've got several maple rounds, each cut at seventeen inches, that I can strategically place in the woods for a place to sit and observe the wildlife. 

Strolling down memory lane is a fine thing, but I'm not spending $94.97 to do it. 

The Lady of The Hideaway

Holly Tree Manor, The Hideaway, lawn chairs, memory lane, country lifestyle, rural living, being frugal, wildlife, a writer's life, insane prices 

July 18, 2023

The summer of smoke

July 17, 2023

As I write this, Canada is ablaze with wildfires. 

The smoke from the Canadian wildfires has drifted south to cover the east coast of the US. I've been outside and I can smell smoke. The smoky haze is enough to block the sunlight. Do we want to discuss the impact this smoke may have on our environment? No discussion is needed. We can see it. It is getting progressively worse as the day wears on. 

I don't know why the Canadians can't seem to extinguish these fires. 

I sat in my garden a little while ago and pondered on what I want to do differently next year. My garden is small so I need to make good use of the space, which I didn't really do this year. Then I wondered if it was a good idea to plan ahead. The smoke from these wildfires is going to have lasting repercussions. 

There is a part of me that wonders if the climate change advocates are sitting back and gleefully rubbing their hands together over the wildfires. The longer they allow these fires to burn, the more opportunities they will have for media coverage.

My own personal opinion is that Canadian prime minister Justin Trudeau is a fucking idiot. These fires play precisely into his ideology. It's possible the longer the fires rage, the better he sees his political position. This leads to questions I'd better not put into print. 

Maybe next year, no one will be able to grow food. One thing I believe about all left-wing liberals is if they can't control it, they will burn it down. Would that extend to their own country? 

I will always remember 2023 as the summer of smoke. I have questions about this that will not be forgotten even if not answered. 

To have hundreds of fires burning at the same time across the entire width and breadth of Canada reeks of a coordinated effort to burn the country to the ground. 

Collateral damage in the United States? Well, that's just a little bonus. 

The Lady of the Hideaway

Holly Tree Manor, The Hideaway, Canadian wildfires, smoky haze, questions of ideology, food production, 

July 17, 2023

A patch of morning sunlight

Early morning is by far my favorite time of the day. For years and years, I've gotten up early to greet the day, resenting those working mornings when I had to rush to a day job in a congested city. Saturdays and Sundays were mornings I relished in silent gratitude. 

Times change. I've retired and my housemate's sleeping habits have changed. He gets up when I do, which doesn't exactly please me. I'm sure my being home all day every day doesn't please him, either. But I do miss the solitude of those two mornings a week. 

I see a wider perspective now. I have time to sit on my sunroom porch and observe the habits of deer, foxes, squirrels, and human neighbors. I mark the patterns of the sun as it comes over the mountain and the sunlight as it slips under the cloud cover. And some days I see a spot of magic as if the sunlight is saying, "Visit there today and see what awaits you." 

And while it speaks to me, I think it's better to leave the magic undisturbed and simply enjoy it for as long as it lasts.

The Lady of the Hideaway

Holly Tree Manor, The Hideaway, mornings, sunlight, magic, rural living, country lifestyle, woods, cloud cover, deer, fox, retirement

July 16, 2023

How do I want to spend my time?

I posted a new entry over at my writing blog, Between the Keys, about the intentional uses of my time. Perhaps I'm still adjusting to being retired. Maybe I haven't been completely successful in structuring my use of time. Having a garden means being very flexible depending on the weather and I don't think I've made good use of those fluctuations.  Maybe I've fallen into the trap of procrastinating. 

And maybe I've been thinking about a few things and allowing my subconscious mind to simmer it all. We'll have to wait and see. 

The Lady of the Hideaway

Holly Tree Manor, The Hideaway, rural living, country lifestyle, a writer's life, retirement decisions, doing it my way

July 15, 2023

Well, this is disappointing (to say the least)

Earlier this year I purchased an over-the-counter packet of Beefsteak tomato seeds. At least, they SAID it was Beefsteak seeds. I have my doubts.

The plan is to save seeds from whatever plant does really well here in my micro-climate. 

It will NOT be these.

The Lady of The Hideaway

July 10, 2023

The state of retirement, one year in

I've been thinking about this post for a while. I officially retired May 22, 2022, but I still have close connections to the people at my former job. We keep in touch via email, text, and a monthly meet-up for lunch. I signed a one-year contract to be an "administrative consultant," and although that contract is expired on paper, in real life it continues. It's a good thing, too, because my protégé is pregnant and I'll be filling in for her when she's on maternity leave. 

Not everyone is fortunate enough to leave a job on good terms. A friend is retiring at the end of this month. She'll have her last working day and then two weeks of vacation and some personal leave that should put her official date at July 31st. Her job has made her miserable, so it's a good thing for her that she's doing this. I'm not a professional, but I think her mental health needs the break.

Has retirement aided my mental health? To some degree I think it has. I'm sleeping so much better. I'm more relaxed now. Working on my own schedule presented a few challenges at first. I attempted to do everything all in one day last summer. Now I pick and choose what needs to be done in a day. The weather plays a part in that, as does whether or not I have a helper available for some of the bigger jobs. I also give myself days off.

One disappointment is that I'm not writing the way I thought I would. It's taken a while for me to get caught up with homestead chores, not that one ever does get completely caught up, and settle down to writing time each day. 

The biggest adjustment has been spending so much time with my partner. Nerves are wearing thin. I'm much less concerned about saving gas and wear and tear on my car than I am with getting away for a few hours two or three times a week. Even a trip to the landfill is welcomed. Juuuust saying. #men

I look around the manor and it's easy to see I've worked hard. The wood processing area is a little messy with a few rounds and such that need cut and split, but it's always going to look like that. The grass could be mowed again but that's a weekly cycle. And speaking of grass, I went against the man's wishes and sprinkled some fertilizer around back in February or March and the grass looks better than it has in twenty years! I wanted a garden for a long time and now I have one.

All-in-all, being home is a true blessing to my inner life. I'm glad that I retired and moved away from someone else's daily grind. I simply have a few wrinkles to smooth out, and I know once that is accomplished, new ones will appear. 

It's easy to go with the flow when it's only your flow you have to deal with. 

The Lady of Holly Tree Manor

Holly Tree Manor, The Hideaway, retirement, homestead, rural living, country lifestyle, mow grass, gardening, a writer's life, inner life

July 7, 2023

And sometimes we're lazy

We "work" hard here at our little Hideaway - and we love it! We live in a woodland paradise full of birdsong and bastardly deer who eat veggies for free. (More on that later.) It's a labor of love, for sure, and we do it without complaining because the payoff is huge. Not many people can live tucked away from the world yet close enough to a town to get to a good grocery store in twenty minutes. 

This summer, I'm relaxing hard, too! For the first time in several years, the little pool is up and the water is warm. It's not big enough to swim in, but that was not its purpose. Relaxation is its purpose. 

I generally don't hop in until the shade reaches the pool, but the other day the water was 92F and I couldn't wait. The Lord of the Manor didn't feel like joining me but he did sit on the porch so we could chat. 

And the man just had to snap a picture. 

The Lady of the Hideaway

Holly Tree Manor, The Hideaway, rural living, country lifestyle, work hard, relaxation, summer pools, a writer's life, begonias, swimming, gardening, mowing