Monday, May 27, 2013

Best. Camp. Ever.

I own two tents.  One is about 15 years old. The floor is square, and it's a dome tent, with two poles that cross to hold up the roof. It doesn't need to be pegged (although you probably should peg it, if there's any chance of wind).  I can put it up by myself in 10 minutes.

The other tent is 2 or 3 years old.  It must be pegged, and is long, rather than square.  It's harder to put up if you don't know what you're doing.

At one of our first Pathfinder meetings, we handed the girls the older tent and watched them try to figure it out.  There were 4 of them, and it took them 45 minutes to get it (almost) right. 

Needless to say, one of the things we've worked on this year was camp skills, because while the girls were interested and enthusiastic, they didn't have much camping experience.

We did a camp in October. A couple of the girls didn't pack properly and were cold, it took a long time to get the tents up, and, naturally, it rained.

Our second camp of the year was this weekend.

Friday night, the girls took 10 minutes to put up the second (harder) tent, then helped with the dining tent.

They did the meal prep and cooking and clean up.

They built clotheslines and a slingshot and a basin stand.

We spent 3 or 4 hours canoeing on Saturday, and they still had time to spend hours decorating t-shirts and hanging out in the woods.

It was cold, yet most of the girls were fine, because they'd brought everything they'd been told to bring. (One needed an extra blanket, which she borrowed from another girl who had an extra.)

I'm so proud of these girls.

And next year they get to do the whole thing - preparation, planning, and grocery buying - themselves.

I'll have to bring a book.

Sunday, May 19, 2013

The ants go marching one by one

I haven't disappeared or been eaten by the ants that seem to have made themselves at home in my kitchen.

(What are they doing? I found one a foot from the ceiling this morning. What did he think he was going to find up there?)

It's not a crazy infestation, but I seem to kill about 3 a day.  Even with the ant poison.  I assume they're feeding the spiders.So I can't kill the spiders, because they're eating the ants. I'm starting to feel like the old lady who swallowed a fly.

The weird spring we've had (cold/cold/cold/hot/warm/hot/rain) means my garden is planted, but the mulch is still in bags. The BBQ is out, but I haven't used it. The ants ... well, I've already mentioned the ants.  (I think some of them came in on the blue box.)

Things are starting to wind down for summer.  I have 3 boxing classes left, and am looking forward to the break. Pathfinders is over, with the exception of camp next weekend.

I'm ready for the lazy days of summer.

Except that I have tons of plans already, and thus I'm not sure how lazy they will be.

I'm going to Chicago for a weekend, my sister is coming here for a week or so, then my mom & my niece are coming to visit. I also want to get canoe-trip certified, so that's a week somewhere in there.

And, of course, there's lying in the back yard reading a book and going for a bike ride, and walking down by the canal at lunch.

I can't wait.

Sunday, May 5, 2013

Adventures in laundry

A few months ago, I started using vinegar instead of fabric softener.

I haven't really noticed a difference.

I wasn't sure how well it would work after it got nice enough to hang clothes outside, but I've hung them outside for the last few weeks, and it's not a problem.  The clothes get stiff, but no worse than when I wash them with fabric softener.

(The exception was the summer that I lost the cap for the fabric softener - man, my clothes were soft that summer.)

A bottle of fabric softener lasts a long time, and I was afraid I'd go through vinegar a lot quicker, but I'm still on my first bottle. I haven't done the math to see which is cheaper, but I suspect it's vinegar. It's also a lot fewer weird chemicals, which is really my motivation. 

I'm glad I tried it.

Thursday, May 2, 2013

Missing: One Spring

Three weeks ago, Ottawa was preparing for a winter storm.

Twenty days ago, school buses were cancelled and many people stayed home (or worked from home) to avoid the snow.

Yesterday, I sat in the change room at the gym. I listened to the others talk about how glad they were not to have to put socks on, and thought to myself, "Why am I the only sucker still wearing socks?"

I didn't wear socks today.

And clearly the weeks (months?) I spent looking for shoes to wear between boot season and sandal season were well spent.