by day and by night   25 comments

Small-eyed Sphinx (Paonias myops) moth

I always mean to post to my blog more often, but time just seems to fly by. Those of you who read my old blog, Burning Silo, will probably remember that I posted almost daily, even when traveling in the most unconnected of places. These days, I’ll suddenly realize that it’s been two weeks since my last post and think, “Yikes! Has it been that long?!”. When working around this place, I’ve found that work is measured in weeks rather than days. Most repairs take a couple of days and often include a trip to the lumber yard or hardware store for the necessary materials.

Since my last post, I’ve been busy both by day and by night. More about the days in a minute, but first the nights. The weather has been a bit difficult here this spring. It seems like things just warm up and get feeling nice, and then we’re back to cool, wet weather. I’ve been trying to photograph moths at night, but without a great deal of success due to the low temperatures. However, there have been a couple of nice evenings when the moths came to the sheet that I put out over a plastic lawn chair with one of those old “bug zapper” lights beneath (set up so that the moths don’t get zapped). I photograph every different species that I see, and then post the photos in a gallery that I’ve set up for this location here at Round Hill. Later, I work on identifying the species, often helped by others who are knowledgeable about moths. While most of the moths are small, occasionally a large moth will come to the light. Lately, it has been Small-eyed Sphinx (Paonias myops) moths that have been coming to the moth sheet – see image above and click on it for a larger view. They usually show up late in the evening – after about eleven when I’m just about to turn off the lamp and call it a night.

I’ve been letting a few people know about the moths that I’m seeing and this has resulted in some interesting feedback. Yesterday, Christopher Majka, a research associate at the Nova Scotia Museum, helped with some IDs and also emailed to let me know that at least 7 of the moths I’ve photographed thus far, are new records for Annapolis County. Also yesterday, Bill Oehlke, who is a specialist in Sphingidae and Saturniidae, emailed to say that my recent reports to him had inspired him to set up a checklist page with thumbnails of the Sphingidae (Sphinx moths) of Nova Scotia. It’s those kinds of interactions that help me to feel at least somewhat as though my life is a little more normal than it has been for a couple of years. It’s still a long way from ever feeling like it is right anymore, but at least there are flashes of normalcy here and there.

Nessus Sphinx (Amphion floridensis) moth clinging to Gill-over-the-Ground

Interesting moths and other insects are also seen by day as well. Last Wednesday (June 2), Sabrina found a Nessus Sphinx (Amphion floridensis) moth for me out in the back yard. It was clinging to Gill-over-the-Ground, which grows rampant in place of lawn grass in my of the yard – see above photo. It’s a beautiful little sphinx moth which I’ve photographed back in Ontario too. Interesting to me is that the last time I photographed one was also on June 2nd in 2008, as it was nectaring at Dame’s Rocket flowers at Mill Pond Conservation Area near Portland, Ontario. That was the last time we were at Mill Pond before Don became too ill to go out for walks that summer. It may seem odd to those who haven’t lost someone very close, but almost everything you see or do seems to remind you of the last time you saw that thing, visited a place, or did certain things with a person before they became too ill, or died. Just another of those aspects of losing someone that few people seem to talk much about.

Rotted out sections above one of the front windows on the house

About a week ago, I finally got around to repairing one of the worst sections of rotten wood on the front wall of the house. Good thing too as it has been raining like hell for the past three days and I shudder to think of the mess that would resulted if all that water had gotten into the wall through this opening. In the above photo, the rotted shiplap siding has been removed to reveal further rotten planking beneath. I tore that out too, and replaced both planks and siding and put a large flashing over top of the window (it had no flashing before) in the hope that it won’t rot out again anytime soon. Unfortunately, I still don’t have a source for the correct siding, so had to modify some clapboard. I can see the difference, but unless it’s pointed out to others, I doubt most would notice that there are a couple of strips of the wrong type of siding in the wall.

Rotted remnants of planks along with a piece of birch bark that fell out of the wall when I took it apart to repair

A couple of interesting discoveries came to light while I was pulling the rotten wood out of the wall. The first was a sheet of birch bark that fell out from between the planking and the shiplap siding. I’ve noticed more of it here and there behind sections of loose siding as I’ve been re-nailing and repairing the walls. Apparently, it was used to help weatherproof the walls in the days before tar paper or plastic vapor barriers. The other discovery was what looks like the initials VK carved into one of the second layer of planks beneath an outer first layer and the siding. These were exposed after I removed all of the rotten stuff. So, now I get to puzzle over the identity of VK – also the initials of my paternal grandmother who definitely never visited Round Hill, so just a coincidence!

The house after repairing the walls up to above the rotted section shown above – and the new little flower garden with the chair where I never have time to sit

Anyhow, after a couple of days of tearing things apart, replacing planks and siding, caulking, and applying primer, the wall is looking much more weather resistant – just in time for the deluge over the weekend. I’m sorry I wasn’t able to work faster and get much higher up the wall as there are a couple of other spots that I would like to have fixed, but that’s just how things go. As of today, the outside walls of the house are so damp that it will require at least a few days before I can proceed with more repairs. A little frustrating, but that’s okay. I’ve turned my focus onto repairing plaster walls and ceilings in the upstairs of the house in anticipation of a moving truck bringing my belongings from the storage locker in Ottawa – probably in another week or two. The arrival of my “stuff” will create a bit of chaos here, but I’m finding it difficult to live without some dressers and shelving, and also finding that I keep needing this or that tool that is stored in the back of the locker, or just missing certain objects that I haven’t seen since I packed them up over a year ago before selling the farm. Living with your clothes and a few possessions in plastic tubs does get a little tedious and annoying after awhile – even for someone like me who is used to traveling with my clothes packed in a few gym bags in a cargo box on the roof of my van.

So, I guess one might say that there’s been some progress around the place. To me, it barely seems that way as I’m in the middle of it all, but I do believe things are improving. Still no water supply though. Last week, in anticipation of the impending deluge, I bought two 45 gallon rain barrels and they are full to the top after yesterday — and that was after a couple of loads of laundry done last week in a big plastic tub which I agitate using my cherrywood Grey Owl ottertail paddle. I’ve found that using the box stroke – a type of ferrying stroke – works very well for mixing the clothes all about and getting them nice and clean. Some might find conditions a little spartan here, but I don’t mind it at all. Feels like living to me.

As I sit here typing this post, I can see the river below – just a couple of small patches of it through the foliage of the maple and ash trees. The flow must be very good this morning as I see glittering flashes and they’re really moving. Time to take the dogs for a walk through the woods to see what’s happening down there.

I haven’t done so in a very long time, but I used to like to post links to good things I’ve seen while reading other blogs. I’m going to try to remember to do this again. Anyhow, a couple of weeks ago, Dave Bonta wrote about Portico Bat at his blog, Via Negativa. I’m sure that readers of this blog would enjoy that post as well.

Written by bev on June 7th, 2010

25 Responses to 'by day and by night'

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  1. Does that plank with the VK show any signs of being recycled from an earlier
    barn or shed? The V looks a lot like a barn framer’s mark for mating the right post
    with the right beam, or maybe for aligning the plank somehow

    The new place seems to be coming along nicely–love your updates.



    7 Jun 10 at 9:17 am

  2. bats. Still cool.


    7 Jun 10 at 9:19 am

  3. I love that you are seeing these very beautiful and interesting moths. What a wonderful new connection with the local specialists too.

    I thought of you over the weekend when we traveled to Sonoma County to see Roger’s daughters. They are part of a homestead heritage pig farm, which they are building from scratch. At the moment they have no electricity, no potable water. They live almost entirely outdoors. Everything takes place outside, including all meals cooked in their homemade outdoor kitchen. It’s pretty amazing to see what they are doing entirely by hand. Their living situation gave me a glimpse of what your life must be like at the moment. I was most reminded of it when I was stooped over a bathtub in the yard, doing a ton of dinner dishes! They do have water from an old well that they can use for dishes and watering.

    About those letters “VK”– makes me wonder if a builder/contractor signed some of his work.

    robin andrea

    7 Jun 10 at 9:32 am

  4. Marci – Pretty hard to say as there just isn’t enough visible without removing more of the shiplap. The house was built by a carpenter (John Healy) in 1867, so it’s possible some of the wood was recycled from another building. Other interesting things about the place that I’ll get to eventually, is that the siding is different on different walls. On the two sides that are most “public” there is shiplap which is the most labour intensive to make and looks the smoothest when finished. On the side toward the property line, it’s Dutchlap siding with a very rough surface (hardest for me to work on, unfortunately). The funny thing about the Dutchlap is that it is pieced together from very short sections about 1 to 2 feet long with the odd 3 or 4 foot section here or there. He was obviously using up leftover scraps from some other job. The good part about that side is that it actually seems to have remained the most weatherproof of all sides on the building. The oldest part of the house is clapboard (the part that sticks out the back) and there is one wall which just has asphalt shingle on it but was probably clapboard at one time. I’ll be doing it over in clapboard or maybe shiplap if I ever find a good supply of it. Anyhow, lots of interesting little things about this place!

    megan – Yes, bats, still cool! Thought you would like the Porch Bat story. Neat, eh?


    7 Jun 10 at 9:38 am

  5. robin – very interesting to hear how Roger’s daughters are living at the farm! I read your note about the visit on FB and clicked through to see their website. I could get the well here running, but have to make up my mind about how I want it done – repair the old stuff, or completely redo the whole thing and go to a submersible pump system. Just haven’t made up my mind for sure — leaning toward a whole new system and having someone else install it. I’ll probably make up my mind sometime soon. I have been buying drinking water and using rain water for washing stuff for awhile, but finally decided to get serious about collecting larger amounts of rain for doing laundry and watering plants as this house has a huge roof with an amazing amount of run-off. Unfortunately (or perhaps fortunately), the eavestroughing was all removed and never replaced when the house was re-roofed about 4 years ago. I say “fortunately” as I would have had to remove it all anyhow as the wood trim around the eaves is in pretty rough condition and will need some parts replaced, or at least re-nailed and properly sealed before being primed and painted. I’ll soon be at that stage. The downside of no eavestroughing is that there are huge amounts of water blasting off the roof and soaking the ground around the house — which I definitely don’t want to see as it has a stone basement with an earth floor. My solution for now has been to lay out containers along the drip lines around the place and also tall buckets, to collect the water and dump it in the rain barrels or use it for laundry, etc… The supply seems to be rather infinite, which is good news for the garden.
    Anyhow, back to living without many conveniences, etc… It is a lot like camping when I’m on the road, so not a huge adjustment for me. However, it would be for some people, so I’ve warned friends not to expect this place to be like normal “home living” until later this year. I’ve got enough systems in place to make it comfortable enough to live fine (for the dogs and me), so no one should worry for us — but The Simple Life is not really all that simple. It takes quite a bit of each day’s energy for me to do all the stuff that needs to be taken care of day to day before even beginning to tackle all the repair work around the house. That makes progress seem a little slow, but you know that I kind of like living this way. Don and I always had a great deal of interest in energy and how it is used around the home – ways of reducing water consumption – and so on. Living as i have while traveling, and now here at the house, have taught me a great deal about just how much we waste each day — especially water — just because it’s “there” and we can squander it so easily. The other thing has been the refrigerator. I’m making do with a little bar fridge and realized that I probably don’t even need a regular sized fridge as this is working out fine. Some change from the old 18 or so cubic foot one that we had before I sold the farm. These seem like important lessons for a small planet with too many people.


    7 Jun 10 at 9:52 am

  6. How much of the world I miss…. You inspire me to take notice.

    Your home is coming along nicely, and I look forward to your next post!

    Thank you!



    7 Jun 10 at 10:27 am

  7. Thanks for the plug! I’m glad you’re finding time to phtotgraph and inventory moths again amidst all the work.

    “Some might find conditions a little spartan here” — that’s the understatement of the week.


    7 Jun 10 at 10:35 am

  8. The moths are fantastic and so interesting to hear how the house is progressing. It’s been quite wet in the PNW also with ground soggier than we remember it in the 33 years we have had this farm


    7 Jun 10 at 10:48 am

  9. ” . . almost everything you see or do seems to remind you of the last time you saw that thing, visited a place, or did certain things with a person before . . .”

    Bev, it’s so painful. And harder for someone who has been in a close, happy, loving relationship like you and Don. The couple I just heard fighting next door will not suffer in the way you do when one of them goes first. Lots of little kids, no shared time – just the grind.

    And this ” . . flashes of normalcy here and there. ”

    Good for you and good for the surveys that you’ll be helping to create and flesh out. Congratulations on the new records :0) That is so cool.

    I’m so danged impressed with your skills in taking on the repairs . And I choose to romantically believe that a love-struck carpenter carved his lovers initials into that piece of lumber 😉 V K Hmmmm . . . Victoria Kincaid. She was beautiful.

    We’ve had some of that rain. In fact, the tornado that killed 7 people yesterday was a mere 16 miles from us.

    How are your mosquitoes? Ours are out and hungry.

    Cathy Wilson

    7 Jun 10 at 5:59 pm

  10. Wendy – These is so much to see in the natural world. For me, it has been the one constant in my life.

    Dave – Yes, I guess “a little spartan” makes it sound more like summer camp that boot camp! (-:

    Rain – Friends keep telling me how soggy it is in the west this year. Strange year everywhere, I think!

    Cathy – Really no mosquitoes to speak of thus far. I’d been warned that the blackflies are bad here, but there were just a couple of days when I was bitten a few times.
    I like your explanation for the VK on the lumber. You should be writing some kind of novel or screenplay!
    Awful about the tornado. Seem to be a lot of them this year.
    Yes, you’re right – going on alone has been very painful. I think a lot of people think that you get over losing your spouse in a few months, or maybe a year or two. Don and I were so very close that I know I’ll never get over this loss. Nothing will ever really be right again, or normal, but hopefully there will be times when it’s “okay” and has some feel of normalcy. You’re right though — it’s strange to see couples arguing and think that they will have years together, and we who never argued and were so happy together, had our lives ripped apart.


    7 Jun 10 at 8:03 pm

  11. Hi bev. Your work ethic, or plain o’l know-how to get things done on the house is quite inspiring. It takes me back to when I first bought my home in SF, and all the work it needed. Back then I had only my daughter, who was two at the time. I would come home from work, and start some project that would take me late into the night. That went on for most of the first year I was in this house. I have a small two story row house that was built in 1906. For my next house I’m looking for something that needs absolutely no work.

    I hope you take some time now and then to sit in that chair, enjoying the fragrance of the flowers, and reflecting on the progress you are making on the house, and in life.


    7 Jun 10 at 11:56 pm

  12. Dan – I’ll bet that old SF house needed a lot of restoration work! I can completely understand why you would be looking for something “finished” for your next place. I must say that there are times when I wonder if this old house just needs a little too much work to bother with, but as you know, I bought it for its therapeutic value. In that regard, it’s what I needed right now. At another point in my life, probably not.
    I do try to take a break now and then and do sit in that chair or another out in the back yard where there is a nice view of the north mountains (a long range of high hills that are across the Annapolis River from my place. The dogs and I also walk to the back of the property to check out our little river a couple of times a day. Yesterday, the flow was so great and so fast that I kept my young dog well away from the riverbank. The day before, the water was barely moving. What a difference a day makes!


    8 Jun 10 at 5:26 am

  13. Those are very nice photos of two of my favorite sphingids. How cool that you have inspired to creation of a checklist for Nova Scotia.


    8 Jun 10 at 3:23 pm

  14. Bev, the moths are beautiful and it’s great that you’ve facilitated creation of a checklist…you have magical powers! I think getting into the work that needs to be done is going to help you get through all the pain that’s been following you around. It won’t go away, but it will get more and more bearable. It’s good to know you empathize, too.


    8 Jun 10 at 8:59 pm

  15. Wonderful to see the moths, bev. Especially the Nessus Sphinx!! And I’m fond of the photo where your hands holding the camera are reflected in the window (-:

    Love the Nova Scotia light on your house and garden and trees and chair.

    Just a few days ago I saw a license plate with Richard’s initials on it. He is never far from my thoughts. Reminders of him everywhere. Rumors of peace.

    Kind wishes always,


    9 Jun 10 at 12:31 pm

  16. didn’t mean to not reply – I would like to talk with you about logistics of solo dog travel, sometime in the next months. bo and I do a lot of short hikes together, it’s the more involved, sustained traveling things that get me. Plus, he is an older dog, and I worry about long term traveling being too much for him. Or losing him in the grand canyon. Or not ever being able to go anywhere or do anything without him for the whole trip duration. Oh who knows. I think if we do a long trip, I’d like us to be self-contained in a camper van or small trailer, not small car-tent-occasional hotel. Oh, I would so like our old life back. Even thinking of doing anything overwhelms me so much.


    10 Jun 10 at 1:28 pm

  17. Doug – The Nessus is one of my all-time favourites, but the Paonias myops could certainly become one as well. It’s quite colorful even for a sphinx. Bill Oehlke’s checklist is going to be a great help for me in getting to know what to expect in this area as it seems we get a few moths I’ve not seen in Ontario.

    John – Being here has been helpful already. I can’t say that there have been any great strides made in how I feel, but I’d say that the anger part is not quite so strong now. That’s an important change as it’s very tiring to carry anger around with you.

    am – The light here in Nova Scotia is very special. I was just talking to my mother about this a couple of nights ago. Two things I notice — because of the tall trees around this property, there is that green filtered light and dappled sunlight on nice days. It has an old time feel about it, especially around this old house. The other thing is that we get very golden light just around sunset. I think that may be because the sun is setting over the Bay of Fundy, even though that is not immediately close by — but it must have some effect on the late afternoon sunlight. It often reminds me of that golden light that you see out on the Pacific Coast – northern California especially, just before sunset. I love that.
    And yes, reminders everywhere. I’m sure you notice them too wherever you go and whatever you do. Although they often make me feel some pain, they are a part of my memory now so they have a place in my thoughts.


    10 Jun 10 at 4:13 pm

  18. megan – sustained travel with your dog isn’t easy, but probably won’t be anywhere near as difficult as you might think. If your dog likes to ride in a vehicle, he probably won’t mind the tripping around one bit. One thing you will probably find — at least I do — is that once you leave home and are on the road , you are focused only on you and your dog and the things you do each day. In many ways, life is greatly simplified as many of the usual distractions have been left behind. When Sabrina and I left home a month after Don died, she was in very bad shape. She was around 10 years old and had become quite debilitated as Don’s health declined as she stopped eating and would not leave his side to go out for walks. When we were traveling, there was more time to sit beside rivers or next to a campfire and I would be able to pay more attention to her – brushing her and talking to her. I think it did her a lot of good. If we had not left home, I kind of think she would not have survived. She’s getting quite old now – over 11. She did okay on our trip to Arizona and back this year. I spent quite a long time on the road last autumn, but may not do that this year. I’ll see. It depends on how she is doing by later this summer. She’s at that risky age where she really hasn’t got loads of time left, but if she’s up to it, she’ll be with me when I leave.
    One thing to keep in mind when you are thinking about trips is to try not to think “I worry” or “I can’t” or any other negative feelings that will sandbag you. Since Don died, I try not to let my mind sabotage my ideas and plans. Throughout our lives we seem to be brainwashed into being “worried” about things going wrong instead of right. What’s that all about? I work very hard to make things happen now, and to just think of things going right. I get a sort of mental image of what I want to have happen, then work toward that goal. True, things don’t always go right, but then they probably wouldn’t be going perfectly right if I just stayed still. A lot of what makes an adventure a success is careful planning ahead — not focusing on the stuff that will go wrong — but trying to think of how to be prepared in as many ways as you can. A few spare vehicle parts that might be hard to get on the road (bulbs, belts, rad hoses), an extra power supply for your vehicle (spare battery, or a storage booster, extra bulbs), warm clothes in case the weather turns crappy, tick treatment for your dog in case you get into a tick-infested region, credit cards and a bank card with a couple of companies in case something stupid happens with one — this year, I had some kind of glitch at a gas pump in Nevada that caused one of my cards to be frozen for a few days — copy all of your ID stuff and leave a copy with someone back home who can be called if you need help — set up all of your bills and banking online so you can take care of everything while on the road, get a blackberry or a modem stick or something for communications as you’ll probably want or need it. I have done a lot of thinking through of what is needed to stay on the road for extended periods of time with the two dogs — one quite young and the other quite old. True, you cannot leave them when you are traveling with them, but chances are, once you become used to traveling with your dog, it will all become comfortable and you really won’t mind having him with you all the time. There have been very few instances when having the dogs with me has been an inconvenience. Anyhow, if you have questions, just send them along to me. I believe I once promised to write a post about this kind of stuff — traveling alone and with the dogs in my van — so maybe I can write more about that sometime soon. Take care, bev


    10 Jun 10 at 4:35 pm

  19. thank you for all that. The travel and adventure part, I don’t worry about, thank goodness. When Matt and I traveled, I did not worry about anything, and I’ve traveled enough on my own to be comfortable anywhere. I still feel that things are fine, and if they aren’t, I’ll deal with it then. Matt and I went cross country with just our packs, tent, and campstove, so I am used to that rhythm. Copies of itinerary and IDs with someone else, extra credit cards stashed somewhere, copies of prescriptions, extra batteries, and AAA roadside assistance. Plan, and let go of the rest. It’s being the sole person responsible for boris’ safety when we are out in unfamiliar places that feels stressful right now. I could not handle it if he took off on me, or if he got seriously hurt. He is who is left of my family. We’d had him just under a year when matt drowned. We had our places – most notably, the river – and we’d taken just one longer hike with him. We had a long road trip scheduled for two weeks later, after all plans stopped. He hasn’t been “field tested” on longer trips.

    I know my nervousness does not help – especially when he picks up that his leader is not calm and peaceful. I think you’re right – a shorter trip, with overnights and a hike, is a good idea. Test it out. I will say that he is awesome these days, and we are learning to trust each other on the trail again. In those early days, I think he was trying to take over Matt’s position as the leader, as I was clearly in no position to lead. We have a system now: exhaust him in a familiar place, then go to a new place the next morning when he is not totally revved up. The more freedom I can give him, the more he responds to my lead, and the more he responds, the more freedom I can give him. And if there is water and a tennis ball involved, he will stick with me anywhere.

    Then there is the unrelated, but completely related, wonder if I am ready to take such an adventure, when Matt’s absence is going to scream out everywhere.

    A logistical, practical question: when it is hot, and leaving the dogs in the car is not a good idea, and you can’t take them in to the rest stop or store with you, and you are now without someone else who can walk the dog around the parking lot while you go in for food or a pit stop – what the heck do you do? I am thinking that the van is a lot cooler than a car, and it is safer to leave said dogs in a van or camper for a short time, even in heat?


    10 Jun 10 at 8:05 pm

  20. Hi megan – I think that, in time, you and your dog will be able to handle just about anything. My dogs are very bonded to me. My young dog was about 8 months old when I took her on the road last autumn and we did 3 months of traveling across Canada and down the west coast before reaching the place that I rent in southeast Arizona. I have a few ground rules that I try to teach the dogs to keep them safe. Number one is that they don’t get out of the van until they are on a leash. They understand that quite well now and that makes it easy to work with them in places where the traffic may be busy, and so on. We adapt as we go along and I find you just figure out systems for doing things that keep the dogs safe. The main thing is to be consistent. No exceptions to the rules.
    As for hot weather, yes, it’s better to travel in a van or some kind of vehicle with good ventilation. I have a van that was bought over the internet – it is from Florida – a 99 Dodge Ram conversion van that has dark tinted windows all around, and sliding windows with screens, as well as the kind of windows that flip out on the side doors and back doors. I just open everything when I stop anywhere. As for shopping – I am never in a store for too long, but if the weather is hot, I just do my shopping early in the morning, or in the evening – park on the shady side of buildings, and all of those kinds of things to keep the dogs cool. When camped in the desert, I look for campsites that are shaded by rock formations for much of the day and have a tarp that can be attached to the roof racks and stretched out to make a sun shelter when we’re camped for more than an overnight. Rest stops are usually okay as the van windows are all open and I’m not gone for long. I have my van fixed up quite comfortably inside — I made a pine frame which is up above the van floor the height of cardboard file boxes. I keep most of my gear and groceries in file boxes which slide under the bed frame. A queen-sized mattress fits almost exactly in the back of the van. The dogs sleep on the mattress most of the time, but can get down if they like. I have one of those AC/DC cooler refrigerators that sits between the front seats. There’s a porta-potty thing inside of a rubbermaid tub with a slab of foam with vinyl upholstery over it, so it doubles as a chair for sitting around inside the van. I have a cargo box up on top of the roofracks and use it for carrying clothing and light but bulky items such as towels, bedding, etc… We’re pretty comfortable. The mattress is a good quality one – a regular one that you use in a house – I have a bad back, so wanted to make sure I was always comfortable. If I were getting a van like this again, I’d probably get one of the ones with a high-top so that I had more headroom, or get a more dedicated small RV van (B class – I think that’s what they call them). O would not get anything larger as I don’t want to be driving some big gas hog. I don’t like to be making pollution, but one way to figure it is that, if I stayed up here in winter, I’d be burning either oil, natural gas, or electricity to heat a home. Being on the road, I don’t have that and try to be pretty careful about not wasting piles of gas.
    Anyhow, I’ve spent a lot of time living as a nomad for the past two years and it’s all been fairly easy most of the time. I’m already looking forward to camping when I leave here this autumn.


    10 Jun 10 at 9:08 pm

  21. Bev, you are always so busy and it’s really beginning to show in your house; it looks quite happy with its bright white ‘skirt’. I love the tower… is that a bedroom at the top?

    The moth photos are spectacular! I’m particularly fond of the White-fringed Emerald because it looks so much like a leaf, and the White Spring Moth because it looks like fragile angel wings.

    You make me weak, thinking of all that you have accomplished and all the heavy physical work that you do. I get tired even watching other people do my renovations! Hopefully, by the end of a couple more months, I’ll be able to find a little place with a patch of grass, but unfortunately it won’t be as isolated and peaceful as yours.


    11 Jun 10 at 9:45 am

  22. Marni – Yes, things are actually beginning to look a little different around here – both inside and out. Not lots yet – after all, I’m just one person and a lot of it is pretty slow work – but enough that it feels as though the house must be feeling a little happier about itself. The tower room is just small – 7 x 7 feet. It could make a nice little studio or reading place, or a tiny bedroom. What’s nice is that it has windows facing both south to the front lawn, and east to the trees and downhill toward the river – although the trees would need some pruning to see the river very well. Also, the ceiling is high in that room. True to most Greek Revival style houses, this one and a half story house has fairly low ceilings, unlike many Victorians which had high ceilings, at least on the first floor.

    I love photographing moths and find the variations so incredible, even on the plainer species. However, my favourites tend to be the larger moths like the many Sphinx species.

    Your mention of the heavy physical work here. Yes, actually it is. I’m finding it heavy going sometimes — not so much on the day that I’m doing something, but I notice it the next morning when I get up. Tired muscles and sore joints and bones. I noticed the same last year when I was fixing a bunch of stuff around the house to get it ready to sell. I suppose it has to do with my age, or with having done so much heavy work in my life. Maybe things are starting to get worn out now. I’m beginning to wonder if this will be the last major building or renovation project I will do. Could be.‘

    Good luck with finding a place with some solitude. That’s getting to be a little harder to come by these days, isn’t it? “


    11 Jun 10 at 12:15 pm

  23. Hey Bev, that house is coming along nicely. I like the dog fence too. I’d be a bit anxious pulling down old walls – memories of scary movies I guess. I can’t believe the renovation projects you take on. Good luck with this one. I’m looking forward to more photos as it comes along.


    14 Jun 10 at 4:19 pm

  24. Bev, I do hope your “meubles” arrive on time and without incident. Whatever you think about repairs to the dear old house not coming along as quickly as they might, I can see lots and lots of progress from here. Any hope of water being turned on in the near future?

    Thank you for the gorgeous moths! One of my first memories is night hunting for moths with my father and seeing my first Cecropia, Polyphemus, Promethea and Luna specimens. Those forays were pure magic, and I remember them every time a moth turns up out in Lanark, or here in town. The Saturniidae are my favorites, and I have always had a fondness for the Sphinx as well.


    22 Jun 10 at 5:31 pm

  25. Hi Michele – Good to hear from you. Yes, sometimes it can be a bit scary once you begin tearing out some rotted planks. You never really know just what you’re getting into until you’re past the point of no return. Hopefully, I’ll get a post and some photos together soon.

    Hi Cate – Yes, the furniture and belongings have arrived – a day early in fact. Not too much breakage and only one thing missing that I have noticed. Not sure if I’ll ever get it back – but I guess I’m okay with that. As time goes on, I realize how I care about things less and less – which is probably just as well! Work on the house has gone okay the past couple of weeks. I turned my attention from outside repairs, to trying to get the downstairs in good enough condition to move my belongings into place. That entailed quite a few plaster repairs and a lot of painting. It took multiple coats of paint to get things looking right – I painted the whole downstairs white and it looks good. I have not gotten back to the water problem yet as I wanted to wait until the weather was sort of dry, warm and pleasant. The well and pump are located down in a concrete walled vault below ground (very weird set-up!). I’m mildly claustrophobic so I don’t much like working down in it, and this is augmented by a general creepiness when it’s cool and damp outside, especially as it seems to be the gathering place for dozens and dozens of very large, dark isopods! I don’t normally mind them at all, but they are hanging onto the ceiling of the vault and there is just something about that that reminds me of old episodes of The Outer Limits, or a particular episode of Star Trek where alien blobs stuck to the ceiling and dropped off and got on crew members and took control of their minds. (-:
    I would love to see some nice large Saturniidae here, but so far – no luck. I’m not sure why, but suspect it has been the weather – a lot of cool evenings. I’m hoping for more ideal conditions soon — just hope I don’t miss the season.


    24 Jun 10 at 7:03 am

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