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Code 3610

As a former dairy farm worker (I always called myself a milkmaid so I could be a maid a-milking), I enjoyed this article that gives a great overview of PEI’s thriving dairy sector in Salty, PEI’s monthly food paper. The tip that code 3610 on a package of cheese shows it was made on PEI is one I’m going to test out on my next grocery trip.

On The Map

I’ve been recording precipitation amounts for CoCoRaHS since November, dutifully recording rain and snowfall and entering it on their database every day around 8 a.m. I told my mother this morning we received over 7 cm of snow in the past storm. This evening she told me that the CBC PEI weatherman had included the snowfall total for Foxley River in his report, and sure enough, here’s the proof from his Twitter account. Proud weather nerd here!

Vina

My mother, Vivian, says her time serving in the RCAF Women’s Division during the Second World War was one of the happiest periods of her life. That might sound bizarre to us now, but even those veterans I knew who fought in Europe only told stories of the funny things that happened, both to keep buried as deeply as possible the horrible events they saw, and knowing those who hadn’t been there could never understand what they had been called upon to do and witness.

Before enlisting, my mother had never travelled more than a few miles from home, grew up without running water or electricity, had been keeping house for her father and brother, and working hard on their farm. She served in Canada and Newfoundland, far from the battlefields, so the war really gave her adventure and freedom from drudgery. There were dozens of other women in her group, and she made lifelong friends.

Amazingly, my mother is still in contact with one of the women she trained and served with, a lady named Vina Trowsdale who lives in North Bay, Ontario. They write to each other frequently, sending long letters and newspaper clippings on things the other might find interesting.

I was just searching to see if there was anything online about Vina and found this great interview from 2015. I just showed it to my mother, and she said this is basically her story, too. Thanks, Vina!

Vina Trowsdale, 2015
Vina and Mom
Vina Trowsdale and Vivian Phillips, Foxley River, 1971, 30 years after meeting in Rockcliffe, ON

Green Black Green Black Green Green oops…

The Waste Watch Residential Collection Calendar brochure for the first six months of 2020 arrived in the mail last week. I use that brochure to mark on our household calendar which weeks are for compost and which are for waste, plus the once-a-month recycling.

I got to May and the familiar green/black/green/black pattern for compost/waste/compost/waste broke! The last week of May and first week of June were both green, indicating we should put our compost cart out twice in a row. I checked the calendar for the other region of PEI (that has a waste pickup the week we have compost), and they had two consecutive weeks of waste collection.

I thought that maybe they had to move the schedule around so were repeating the weeks to get them into a new order, but there wasn’t any note saying “hey, this is why your compost is going to be picked up twice in a row.” Hmmm.

Curiosity got the best of me and I had to know if this brochure was correct. I waited a couple of days in the hopes that I wouldn’t be the first calendar nerd to call Island Waste Management Corporation‘s customer service line. They really do have the friendliest staff, so when I explained what I had discovered on their calendar, the lovely woman on the other end said that they had already received a few calls about this, which they really appreciated. The brochure had gone to the printers before it had been properly proofed, so the calendar should not have two consecutive weeks of green or black.

So, ignore the calendar, keep the compost/waste pattern going, and we’ll all get through this together.

Watts up?

So much has been happening this fall. I’ve been trying to catch my breath since the beginning of October. Things are finally slowing down and I can reflect a bit more on the fun bits (the not-so-fun bits can just scram!).

We had the fantastic experience of hosting three people who were doing the inaugural walk of a new 700 km trail around Prince Edward Island in October. I met the trail planner, Bryson Guptill, at Peter Rukavina’s unconference in June, so when I heard on CBC Radio that Bryson was having difficulty finding off-season accommodation in the western part of PEI, I emailed to offer him a bed and transportation to and from their trail.

A commemorative medallion from Bryson and gang, created by potter Michael Stanley.

They ended up staying for three nights over two weekends. It was fun to meet some interesting people and play the role of “trail angel.” They were delightful guests and it was great to support their dream. Bryson has just finished a book about the trail that is at the printers and will soon be available at The Bookmark and Bryon’s Etsy store. And Peter created this great map of the trail, so it all comes full circle!

Our solar panel installation was completed October 9, then we waited for Maritime Electric to install a second meter to finish the process and hook us up to the electrical grid. Some unfortunate miscommunication meant that didn’t happen until the second week of November, but now we are up and running. The amount of electricity we are generating isn’t spectacular, but it has been quite cloudy of late and the sun is low in the sky. You can see some of our stats here.

Watch an animation of our solar panels at work on December 11, 2019.

Last spring I started thinking about purchasing an electric vehicle to replace my 2012 Honda Civic. I will outline my EV shopping experience shopping some other time, but the quick version is that I was told more than once that no one wants an EV on PEI! I finally found someone who wanted to sell me an EV, and December 5 I took possession of a 2020 Chevrolet Bolt EV from Township Chevrolet in Summerside. My first impressions: quiet, torquey, high-tech, efficient, fun. I still have some things to figure out, but so far I really enjoy driving it, especially the one-pedal feature. I didn’t really pick the colour – it was the first 2020 to arrive – but I quite like it now. It is certainly a switch from driving a white Civic surrounded by dozens of other white Civics!

Oasis Blue. She’s called Greta.

My go-to electricians, Moore Electric, installed a Level 2 JuiceBox Pro 40 charger a couple of days before I got the Bolt, so now I drive into the garage and plug in to my own gas station. The last time I bought gas for the Civic was on a windy, rainy day, so good riddance to that and the grubby pump handles!

We took the Bolt to Summerside last Saturday, a trip that A Better Routeplanner says is 47 kms one way and takes 39 minutes and should have used 10% of our battery, which was not a bad guess. To get our battery back up to 100% when we returned home, it took the JuiceBox 4 hours and 37 minutes to add 30.751 kWh. This is a whole new world of numbers, and numbers just aren’t my thing. Someone asked me today what my mileage was for the Bolt and I said, “good,” and it is, I expect! I will figure it all out some day.

Sprinkled over these past couple of months have been many committee and board meetings, a course through Holland College about how to be a more effective board member (not being on so many committees would likely help!), and a couple of fund raising events. I’m am looking forward to a bit of winter hibernating and ruminating.

Give It A Whirl

My mother’s refrigerator is 17 years old, like most of our appliances. It was a floor model purchased at McKenna’s Furniture in Summerside. Nothing fancy, no ice makers or motherboards. Whirlpool Gold GT19DK. 

A few times over this little insulated box’s life, we have found water inside below the crispers and on some of the shelves.

After some internet searching, and remembering the appliance expert on CBC Maritime Noon talking about a similar situation, it seemed the likely culprit would be crumbs in the defrost drain hose from the freezer. I removed a few screws, pulled out some panels, and used a hair dryer and a scraper to remove ice that had built up and caused the flooding. I was soon rewarded with the satisfying sound of water running down the drain into the pan below the refrigerator as I flushed out the hose with a turkey baster and some hot water.

Frozen drain pan.
A turkey baster is an excellent tool for shooting hot water down the drain.

The tell-tale puddle appeared a month ago, so I went through this defrosting process again. Then it happened a couple of weeks later, and I figured I needed a better solution.

So, I watched lots of videos and read lots of articles. Seems this icing up is a problem for many other people, and Whirlpool has released a fix without saying there is something inherently wrong with the design of their products. You can buy this part for about $20 plus $10 shipping. It’s a piece of metal you clip on the the defrost heater.

Or, you can save the $30 and do as this fellow and many others suggest: wrap one end of some copper wire around the defrost heater and stick the other end down the drain hole. This will hopefully direct enough heat to keep this silly setup from freezing and glaciating (I don’t think that’s a word, but spellcheck is letting it go, so now it’s a word!).

The little piece of wire I saved when the electricians were here last year finally came in handy!
Wire on the defrost heater.
Godspeed, little wire. I hope I never see you again.

It’s been two weeks and all is as it should be in the refrigerator. Fingers crossed.