Grackles and Mice

Thursday we had an ice storm. Luckily there was no loss of power where we live, so we were cozily tucked up at Mist Cottage for the duration. With one small exception. I wasn’t feeling at all well. What to do, no doctor here. So I took myself off to the Emergency Room at the hospital. The car was coated with about a half inch of ice, which Attila chipped away for me. It was a little slippery, so I crawled along the road, through the parking lot, to park as close as I could to the entrance. Most of the walkways were salted, but there were a few ice patches to contend with on the walk from the car to the Emergency Room, which I navigated without instance.

They checked out my heart, no problems there thank goodness. What I wasn’t expecting was the news that I have Chronic Kidney Disease. Who knew! I have had no specific symptoms, but in hindsight it makes sense. I am to follow up with my family doctor, which isn’t going to happen since his office is a five to six hour drive away. I have been researching the disease ever since, and now realize I needed more details to have any idea how to proceed with diet and lifestyle changes. I have come to the conclusion that I need a doctor to do more tests and clarify exactly what course of action needs to be taken with this. I hope we reach the top of the waiting list for a family doctor soon, I need a doctor.

There is a government provincial service that will place individuals with doctors, but the stipulation is that you must be completely without a doctor to qualify to put your name on that list, and there is no time line on placement. I do not qualify, as this agency specifically told me I cannot be on that list because I am still listed under the care of the doctor near the country house, so very far away. But I need that doctor to prescribe the medications I must take, and the Emergency Room at the hospital will not prescribe or renew medications of any kind. I must keep my distant doctor if I am to survive. But I am hobbled in finding a local doctor near Mist Cottage because I must keep my distant doctor to survive. Bureaucracy at its worst, in my opinion. It is insanity. I am hoping my GP near the country house will agree to consult with me from a distance, fingers crossed.

When I walked out to my car from the Emergency Room visit, the car was covered with a thick sheet of ice. Feeling in no condition to get out of the car and chip away at it, I sat with the heating fans blasting away at the windows until it melted, which took about fifteen minutes.

When I arrived home Attila was glad to see me. I was glad to be home.

Yesterday, Good Friday, began with freezing rain, which changed to rain for part of the day, then it began to snow. Again, we remained warm and dry and safe at home. The weather was doubly disappointing because Sister-the-youngest invited us to Easter Dinner with the family, and we missed it.

We are disappointed that we have a mouse in the house!

We heard a noise in the basement last week, something falling. We investigated and found nothing. Yesterday Attila discovered a bag of mung beans on the shelf in the basement that had escaped being stored in a glass jar. The bag had been chewed through, and there were mouse droppings all around. The presence of a mouse was confirmed.

We put out a glue trap, but no luck so far. We removed the bag of mung beans, and perused our food stores in the basement to ensure there were no other chewable containers available to the mouse/mice. Today we will be visiting the local hardware store to buy more glue traps. I want to put one in Iris as well, just in case some enterprising mouse has setup a household in there.

The Grackles continue to peck away at the wood covering the hole in the roof facia. So far Attila’s repair is holding fast against them. I don’t remember having to fight so hard to evict wildlife in a house before!

Attila has some ideas on sealing up some of the entry points that mice might be using. I think that will be one of our priority projects this summer.

As I sit here writing Attila sleeps soundly in the bedroom. The light of dawn is beginning to reveal the tree branches just outside the window, where birds are beginning to call. A thick frost coats every horizontal surface in sight. The enshrouded field and trees in the distance lie peacefully in icy silence. I love early morning.

Easter Monday

Yesterday, Sunday, was warm and sunny. Attila and I decided to go out to the Rideau Camp to have a look around. Technically we do not own it yet, but we will in a few days after the last of the legal work is done.

We had a nice walk around the bush, and even saw a magnificent Blue Heron in the nearby wetland. When I first saw the Heron I thought is was a piece of art plunked in the water, when it moved I was mesmerized. It slowly rose above the water on its great wings, and glided silently to the other side of the water, where is stood once again, silent and unmoving in the shallows.

We visit the Rideau Camp and plan and dream. It is very private, and when it is quiet it is very quiet. However, there are nearby cottages, and they are occupied by people with ATVs. The ATVs make a hell of racket. I hate them as much as I hate snowmobiles, because of the noise pollution. Thankfully the noisy machines were only used intermittently.

Our Rideau Camp is vacant land, almost. We have inherited a few items. One is a bag of garbage, mostly plastic items, that has been scattered all along the drainage area. I picked out four large empty vinegar bottles yesterday, flattened them, then bagged them for the recycling bin at Mist Cottage. There is more work to do on that score.

Another inheritance at the Rideau Camp, a high pile of old logs and brush. We will burn the brush and haven’t decided what to do with the old logs, which are partially rotted.
Pile of brush rideau
And another inheritance at the Rideau Camp. This is a septic tank. It is unused because it is cracked. We are thinking about what we can do with a cracked septic tank, it doesn’t seem that there are too many viable uses for it, but we will keep trying to think of something. Maybe a tree house for the grandkids, with a ladder. I don’t know!
Cracked septic tank

We returned home early in the afternoon so that Attila could get some sleep before heading out for the night shift.

This morning the weather is still mild, 10C, with rain and winds gusting to 80 kmh. My walk this morning was lovely, as I was warm in my parka, protected from wind and rain. The birds are in full spring celebration, and quite undaunted by the rain and wind.

We caught a mouse yesterday and reset the trap. Another mouse “bothered” the trap but did not get caught. We now know that there is more than one mouse in the house, so we need to keep baiting traps until we catch them all. Attila thinks they are coming down the outside of the chimney through the wall, which he is going to seal completely.

Worldly Distractions


Date: 5:00 AM EDT Saturday 26 March 2016
Condition: Not observed
Pressure: 102.6 kPa
Tendency: rising
Temperature: -4.3°C
Dewpoint: -5.1°C
Humidity: 94%
Wind: calm

Date: 1:28 PM EDT Monday 28 March 2016
Condition: Mostly Cloudy
Pressure: 99.8 kPa
Tendency: falling
Visibility: 24 km
Temperature: 7.2°C
Dewpoint: 4.7°C
Humidity: 84%
Wind: SW 33 gust 45 km/h


“Humor is also a way of saying something serious.”
T. S. Eliot
1888 – 1965

Winter’s Kiss

Winter has returned to kiss me goodbye. Not satisfied with the slow and gentle farewell when we parted yesterday, the season has turned to gently brush my cheek.

It was sunny and very chilly today, but the temperature did rise above freezing. As evening approached, so did the black volumes of cloud, swept in by the gusty wind.

I accomplished a lot today. I arranged to obtain a Camp Fire Permit to use at the Rideau Camp. I gave the pharmacy some lead time to check into my prescription renewal, which I will need soon. I called the car dealership where we bought our car to make sure the sales department has our new address; apparently changing the address with the service department does not change the address with the sales department. I sent the lawyer’s office information so that our real estate deal can continue smoothly, and at the same time asked a few questions about my concerns, which were completely and competently allayed. I updated the software on all of my websites. I went for my walk, and did my knee exercises. I received reading material attached to an email message. The reading is required for tomorrow’s teleconference, my volunteer work. I read the reading material. I learned how to draw lines and measure distances with Google Earth, and to remove lines as well. If I didn’t list these things, I would be sitting here thinking I had done “nothing”, when that is far from the case.

Terra announced that she is carrying a girl and boy, she is pregnant with twins.

My Sister-the-youngest-girl sent Attila and I an invitation to Easter Dinner, which is very exciting. We are waiting to see what this kiss of winter will bring, and what the roads will be like for travelling; there is freezing rain in the forecast. Fingers crossed that the weather will be good and the roads clear and dry.

It was a quiet day, one full of little bits of this and little bits of that. I love this kind of day.

Worldly Distractions

Special weather statement: …This late season winter storm is threatening to bring significant amounts of precipitation to Southern Ontario. Latest indications suggest significant snow is possible…
Date: 5:00 PM EDT Monday 21 March 2016
Condition: Not observed
Pressure: 101.1 kPa
Tendency: rising
Temperature: 4.4°C
Dewpoint: -11.2°C
Humidity: 31%
Wind: NW 18 km/h


“One’s dignity may be assaulted, vandalized and cruelly mocked, but cannot be taken away unless it is surrendered.”
Michael J. Fox
1961 –

Farewell To Winter Feast and The First Day of Spring

After enjoying some lovely mild weather, where temperatures actually rose as high as 10C, colder weather has returned. A little dip back towards winter. By the end of next week milder weather is expected.

Yesterday, the last day of winter, Attila cooked a turkey dinner; the last turkey dinner of the 2015/2016 winter season, our Farewell To Winter Feast and a week of leftovers.

So here we are, enjoying the first day of spring! It is sunny, the temperature is around 0C, and with the wind the air has a real nip to it. We stepped along lively when we went out for our walk.

Today I baked a batch of Peanut Butter Oatmeal Cookies, and in so doing finally used the last of the Mist Cottage peanut butter. Now I move on to using the supply of peanut butter we brought with us on the move from the country house. Slowly but surely we are consuming the duplicate food stores! Not that it is a hardship to eat such wonderful food, it is just a relief not to have to store it.

Attila and I had an exciting week. We want to camp this summer, and after looking at the bookings in the parks I realized that we would find it stressful to book ahead for a camping spot because of Attila’s unpredictable overtime schedule. What to do? Well, our solution was to buy a plot of land to use as a private camp site, no booking necessary. It is an hour and fifteen minute drive from Mist Cottage, has no facilities at all, is completely off-grid, and is basically just a patch of bush. And we love it. Our camping dilemma is solved.

We have been thinking about having a camp near this area ever since we bought Mist Cottage and started to renovate. However, it just made no sense at all until we moved here last fall. We have been looking at property for camping in this area for the last five years, and found nothing we liked and could afford. Until last week. I found the piece of property by accident, and almost dismissed it as it looked dull and unappealing in the online pictures. It is near but not on the Rideau waterway system. It had come onto the market on March 14th, so on the 16th we drove out to have a look at it. We fell in love. We bought it. Low interest rates make many things possible.

We plan on spending our vacation at our first camp, the little piece of land we bought near our previous country house. It is just down the road from my Granny and Grandpa’s house, near my sister’s cottage, and has a view over the fields, a view I have been gazing at all of my life. When we have extended periods of time for recreation, we will head for the ancestral camp. When we have short periods of recreational time, we will head for the Rideau camp.

This is where Iris enters the picture. She is light and easy to tow anywhere. She has everything we will need to camp completely off-grid. With her we will carry in our cooking, eating, and sleeping gear, and our portable privy. Each time we leave one of our camps we will carry everything out with us again, to leave it exactly as we found it, a little piece of bush with a clearing in it.

Attila and I feel blessed.

The Rideau Camp. Iris will be very happy here!

I am waiting, not so patiently, to get back to giving Iris a thorough cleaning. I decided to put my cleaning on hold until the temperature stays above freezing.

I have however, managed to complete one task. The back of the refrigerator in Iris is accessed through an opening in the side of the trailer, covered by a vent cover. On removing the vent cover for inspection, moisture was found. Yesterday the vent cover was removed and brought indoors, where it warmed enough to remove the disintegrating, leaking flashing. It was thoroughly washed and dried, then received new flashing. A snippet of a flea collar was placed in the access cavity in Iris before screwing the vent cover back into place. The flea collar, some claim, and I have yet to verify, is supposed to prevent wasps from building nests. It would be very handy if it works, as placing a fresh snippet of flea collar each spring would take very little effort; certainly a lot less effort than trying to remove an active wasp’s nest.

Attila is keeping his eyes open for new tires for Iris, we have decided that they are necessary before we take her out for her maiden camping voyage.

Mom has been increasingly active, making trips to the bank, the library, and who knows where else! She looks great, Sister-the-middle-girl sent me a photo of Mom, who was up and about, taken on Thursday. Mom’s is on a steady course to recovery, she really knows how to pace herself!

And now to post this, and thereafter discover what ravages autocorrect has bestowed upon this missive.

Worldly Distractions


Date: 2:00 PM EDT Sunday 20 March 2016
Condition: Mostly Cloudy
Pressure: 102.1 kPa
Tendency: falling
Visibility: 24 km
Temperature: 0.3°C
Dewpoint: -12.1°C
Humidity: 39%
Wind: SE 19 km/h


“An education isn’t how much you have committed to memory, or even how much you know. It’s being able to differentiate between what you do know and what you don’t.”
Anatole France
1844 – 1924

It’s Spring And There is Water

Friday, March 11

Secret Shopper

Attila has come up with a plan. He calls it the Secret Shopper Plan.

What got him thinking about the need for a plan, was the disparity in how he is treated as a male in some retail environments, and how I am treated as a female in those same retail environments. We have had upsetting instances where the male staff at a retail store where we have been doing business are very friendly to Attila, and respectful, but when I go alone to the same store I am met with a less than pleasing standard of service. This frustrates Attila, because he has no way of knowing that this will happen. Because he is being treated so well there is little indication that anyone else would be treated in a less satisfactory way.

So, to solve this problem, Attila has proposed that I do the initial contact with potential retail establishments, when we are trying to purchase an item. That way we know immediately if there is going to be a gender issue, so we can avoid establishments that have a difficult time with female customers.

We will begin this Secret Shopper approach with the purchase of a new roof vent for Iris.

Iris Has A Leak

Iris has a leak. We thought the window might be leaking. I went in to check Iris this morning, as it was raining hard. I noticed a stream of water running under the dining table towards the corner where we discovered the leak. As I stood there examining the situation, a few large drops of water landed on my head. I looked up to find the roof vent leaking, quite a bit, through the screw hole. I gathered together my toolbox, measuring tape, some rags, some plastic tubs, and pen and paper.

I used the rags to clean up the water running across the floor. I placed the tubs under the numerous drips, after removing the vent frame which was full of water. I measured the roof vent and wrote down the particulars. The roof vent is 14 x 14 inches, a standard size.

After putting away all the tools, and closing Iris up again, still dripping, I set about finding a new roof vent. I called the place where I purchased the butyl tape, they had no roof vents in stock, and weren’t expecting anything on the shelves until next week. I called an RV store in a different nearby city, and they had one in stock for $44.95. If this keeps us dry it is worth every penny.

So sometime soon I will be visiting the RV store to buy a roof vent. If they treat me well, we will go back for more parts as we need them going forward with Iris. If they don’t treat me well, there are other retailers to do business with.

Now we know why the Iris came with a large tarp! The tarp is now covering Iris.

The Flooded Driveway

While Attila slept on Thursday, I was very busy. I had dealt with the leaks in Iris’ roof vent. It was still raining. I stepped out of Iris and into a huge puddle of water. Half of our driveway was covered with water.

When the town repaved the road, they graded it so that all the water running down the road pours into our driveway, which is below the grade of the road. When it rains our driveway is flooded.

I rummaged around in the garage, which is full to the rafters with “stuff”, until I found a shovel. I splashed my way to the end of the driveway, shovel in hand. I have wonderfully warm winter rubber boots, so splashing around in water is not a problem.

At the lower edge at the end of the driveway, where the water landed as it poured across, I began to dig. The ground was frozen, so it was a bit of a struggle. I dug a three foot long hole, about two inches deep, at the edge of the concrete, it filled with water immediately, but the water could not drain.

Chopping through the snow, and icy earth, I dug a four foot long trench angled toward the road and the deep ditch beside it, where the water could drain away. It took me quite a while, but at last the water began to flow from my newly dug hole toward the ditch.

That didn’t quite resolve the problem, I needed to block the rest of the water that flowed past the hole and down the driveway. So I began to make a pile on the driveway with the earth I had just removed to dig my hole and trench, creating a barrier that protruded a foot into the driveway. That did it. The pile of mud blocked the water from flowing down the driveway, and diverted the water into my hole and trench.

It was quite a mess, and still is. Mounds of mud line the end of the driveway and the trench. Landscaping will be needed.

Digging the Trenches Here is my rectangular hole and trench to the ditch. The ground was frozen solid, but turned to mud after I hacked it out.

Attila and I are discussing how to add a short concrete berm to replace my pile of mud, to divert the water away from the driveway and into my newly dug hole.

Within an hour the puddles of water in the driveway were gone. Mission accomplished.

I was so preoccupied with playing in the mud that I didn’t really notice how hard it was raining. I was soaked.

That was easy to solve. Into the nice warm house I went, out of the cold wet clothes, and into warm dry clothes. I finished the project by sitting down to a hot cup of tea at the kitchen table, happy and satisfied with my day’s work.

Saturday, March 12

Attila was listed for mandated overtime for Friday night, it was listed on Wednesday. I had wanted to visit my Mom, I miss her so much, and haven’t seen her since she before she began her treatments. The overtime meant the visit was a no-go. Then ten minutes before the end of Attila’s shift on Thursday morning, he was told that the overtime was cancelled. Oh boy!

No time to plan, I just wanted to get in the car and drive! But Attila needed to sleep after working all night, so he turned in for about four hours. We were ready to leave by 1:30 p.m.

Who knew! The traffic jam began on one side of Toronto, which we had to drive through to the other side. Hours later we thought we had managed to get through the worst of it, but we were wrong, it was bumper to bumper, stop and go, all the way to the exit ramp to my sister’s house. The fastest speed we obtained was on the off ramp coming off the highway at the end of trip. We arrived in town at 6:45 p.m., grabbed a quick bite at McDonalds, and headed over to see Mom.

We had a good long visit, and I loved it. Mom is doing so well with her recovery, not pushing herself too far, but just far enough, and bit by bit she is regaining her strength. Her vitality, well I doubt she ever lost that! It was so great to see Mom, I had been worried about her for months, always assured by her messages and those from my sisters. But I needed to see her with my own eyes, I needed to hug her.

My sister-the-middle-girl, with whom Mom lives, has been assuming evening and nighttime home care duties for the duration. I am sister-the-oldest. It has been a labour of love for sister-in-the-middle. My sister-the-youngest, who lives within walking distance of my Mom, took a week off work to stay with Mom through some of the worst of it, and several days off work to accompany Mom to appointments, to push for the care Mom felt she needed. My nieces took time off work and school to assist with daytime home care, and accompany Mom to her appointments, and my brother-in-law was available to check on Mom when everyone else was at work, and to drive Mom and my nieces to the appointments when the weather was severe and the roads were bad. They whole bunch of them were one impressive team of support, so that Mom was able to remain home, loved and comfortable, while she dealt with the treatments. I don’t think people fare as well in hospital, loving home care is much preferable, and I think it helped tremendously in Mom’s endurance and recovery.

We stayed the night, and had a nice breakfast with Sis and Brother-In-Law. They gave us a tour of new-to-them Airstream trailer which is being restored to it’s glory by Brother-In-Law. It is going to be beautiful! After visiting a few hours more with Mom, she looked tired, so we hugged goodbye and headed home.

The trip home took only three hours, the traffic was light. It was a beautiful day for a drive.

Sunday, March 13

I tried to upload this entry last night. I changed the password to the server account recently, and have lost the bit of paper where I wrote down the new password. This meant a call to customer support, who responded this morning, and it is resolved. So here is today’s entry as well!

One of the stops we made on Friday’s journey to visit my Mom, was a visit along the way at an RV shop, where I purchased a new RV Roof Vent. We have all the parts we need now, so when we feel ready, we can tackle the job. The tarp will remain securely in place, to protect Iris from further leaks. I am going to put a small dehumidifier in her today and run it for awhile to give the drying out process a boost.

The purchase at the RV shop was our first experiment with the Secret Shopper Plan. It was interesting. I had called the establishment on Thursday, and been given a price. When I walked in alone to the parts department, the fellow was on the telephone, talking aggressively to someone. Then he asked if he could help me, neutral tone, no problem there. I said I was looking for an RV Roof Vent, he told me they had them in stock and quoted a price $15 higher than the price quoted over the phone yesterday. I told him I had been quoted the lower price, only yesterday. He went to the storeroom and came back with two boxes containing RV Roof Vents, and told me that the price I had been quoted was wrong, but he would give it to me for quoted price since it was their mistake. He proceeded to remove the price stickers from both boxes, which was the lower price I had been quoted. The next individual who purchases an RV Roof Vent Fan from him will be paying the higher price, even though it is last years stock.

It was an acceptable experience. I would prefer a more relaxed and friendlier type of interaction, so we will keep trying other RV parts departments until I am totally comfortable.

We have Grackles. They were born in a hole in our roof facia and have returned home to the nest to start a new family. Attila had blocked the hole, but they are determined to get in. Also using the hole were wasps. Last week Attila filled the hole with foam insulation. This will be effective in keeping out the wasps, but the Grackles are incensed. There are often three or four of them attacking the foam insulation, claiming what they perceive as their territory. Their sense of entitlement and determination will not gain them entry; we are equally endowed with a sense of entitlement and determination to enjoy our home. Today Attila will cover the insulation with wood, so that the Grackles do not destroy it.

There is no snow left on our property! This is so wonderful. For the last 11 years at the country house, March was full-blown winter weather, with no real signs that spring might arrive until well into April. We may get another snow storm here, but it will be an outlier, and of very short duration. March is actually a month of transition from winter to spring at Mist Cottage.

There was a lot of food preparation going on today. Croutons for salads were made, a raspberry crumble and homemade bread for Attila’s lunches this coming week.

I have projects galore to work on, none of which entail a deadline, which means they are the best kind of projects.

The highlight of my day, what really delighted me, was hanging my laundry to dry across the clothesline on the back porch!

Now I had better get this entry posted before another day passes me by.

Worldly Distractions


Date: 6:00 PM EST Thursday 10 March 2016
Condition: Mist
Pressure: 101.4 kPa
Visibility: 4 km
Temperature: 5.9°C
Dewpoint: 5.2°C
Humidity: 95%
Wind: N 16 km/h


“I merely took the energy it takes to pout and wrote some blues.”
Duke Ellington

Back in the Saddle

Mom is sounding better all the time!

The snow is melting! The breeze is cool, and gentle, and welcome beyond belief. It is only 5C and cloudy, spitting a bit of rain, but it could be 20C and sunny, if the way I feel about it were any indication of the weather. How sweet it is.

I am ramping up on my project, cleaning Iris.

Yesterday I washed Iris’ exterior. She was covered with salt from the trip home, and I wanted to remove that to avoid any undo rusting. It took all day, and I even found myself at the top of a stepladder, attempting to reach the centre of the roof, but couldn’t quite get to it. I will have to devise a cleaning wand of some kind. The centre of the roof is not supported, so it will bear no weight. I finished the outside, then I moved to the inside to see what was what.

To my dismay, we discovered water in the “bilge”. I found it quite by accident, as it was hiding in the back passenger corner, under a bench seat, under a carpet. Being a thorough cleaner I was starting with the corners and working my way out towards the door. That first corner was a doozy.

It took three cotton t-shirts that were rags, to soak up most of the water, then a few rags more to finish the job. The water was clear, not soapy, and it was difficult to tell where it was coming from.

Attila checked the back signal light, and there was some mildew behind the fixture, but the hole in the fibreglass where the wiring came through was a dry as a bone. No leak there.

My next suspicion was the back window. A telltale sign that there were problems with the window was the thick application of clear silicon caulking all around the window. We won’t know if the window is the culprit until we reseal it. If then the leak is gone, that would be the problem. If the leak persists we will move on the reseal another window, and then the roof vent which looks poorly installed.

I did quite a bit of research on resealing the window. Caulking an RV window is a no-no, it won’t fix the problem for very long. What is needed, according to many excellent sources online, is to remove the window and reseal it, replacing any rotted wood during the process. The materials we need are butyl tape, a plastic scraper, mineral spirits, TSP, and a screwdriver. It will be a big job, mostly because we have never done anything like this. Today my big adventure was to call around to find a source for butyl tape, then to venture out and purchase it. We have all the other materials needed. Now we must wait for some mild, cloudless days to do the job.

The trailer is lined with Ensolite, which has a white dimpled vinyl coating on the interior side. The vinyl is quite dirty, and the ceiling and walls at the back are sticky, yucky sticky, to the touch. The sticky isn’t old age, because there are sections in the cupboard where it is not sticky in the least. There is a propane range in Iris, I believe the stickiness is a result of 39 years of cooking in an small enclosed space.

Product Description :
Ensolite PVC-NBR-CR is an energy absorbing foam originally developed by NASA to protect equipment from damage. It has virtually 100% memory and is waterproof. Ensolite has been tested to various standards and meet many automotive, military or industrial standards.

How does one clean this stuff? Opinions and techniques vary. Some recommendations are Tilex, which didn’t work for me; painting over the surface, which I do not want to do; using a rotating scrub brush, a very expensive option, and possibly dangerous to the integrity of the vinyl; bleach which no one described as effective; and soap and water which no one described as effective. I think I have listed them all.

I wasn’t really happy with any of these solutions. So my next thought was to research how to clean old vinyl that was sticky. A few suggestions were found scattered all over the internet. Then I read something that tickled my memory. One of the sites mentioned coating a sticky vinyl chair with WD40, to loosen the sticky oil on the surface. I had an AHA! moment.

I discovered last winter that a mixture of oil (I use canola) and baking soda will take off the label glue on the outside of a glass jar. So I thought, perhaps this same concoction will work on vinyl to remove the sticky greasy film.

I mixed up a small batch of 2 parts oil to 1 part baking soda. A wet rag dipped in this freshly stirred concoction was used to scrub a small area, about a 6 inch by 6 inch surface. I let that sit for 10 minutes, then used a vegetable brush to work it into the dimples, scrubbing with moderate force, for one or two minutes. Then I took a wrung-out cloth that had been dipped in soapy water (Dawn detergent, degreasing formula), and washed the area thoroughly. The stickiness was gone.

This will be a very big job, as the entire ceiling and most of the walls need this treatment. I won’t do it all at once though, most of the job is overhead work. It will be tackled in small spurts, when I feel the urge, recording the sections that I have completed. In this way, at some point in the summer, the entire interior Ensolite will have been cleaned.

Cleaning Ensolite: Materials Used. The bucket contains hot soapy water (Dawn detergent). The white cup contains 2 teaspoons of canola oil, 1 teaspoon of baking soda, stirred with the spoon before each application.
DSCF7980 ensolite
Cleaning Ensolite: The Applicator. An old dishcloth, dipped in the hot soapy water and wrung dry, then dipped in the freshly stirred oil and baking soda, shown here ready to apply to the ensolite.
DSCF7975 ensolite
Cleaning Ensolite: The Test. A sticky section of the ceiling beside the vent. there is a “stain” to the left of the vent that would not wash off with soapy water and a brush, and there is mildew around the vent, not a good sign!
DSCF7981 ensolite
Cleaning Ensolite: The Result. The procedure was followed, and the result is that the “stain” is gone, the mildew cleaned up and the stickiness is also gone.
DSCF7982 ensolite

This Oil and Baking Soda solution is effective, and it will be time consuming. I like the ensolite interior, so it is worth the trouble as far as I am concerned.


Two girls walking down our street, coming home from school, waving their arms above their heads, laughing hysterically, skipping along, throwing me a look and a smile as I came up behind them in the car, joyous and enjoying the wonderful weather. They reminded me of spring lambs.

Worldly Distractions


Date: 3:00 PM EST Wednesday 9 March 2016
Condition: Mostly Cloudy
Pressure: 101.2 kPa
Tendency: falling
Visibility: 24 km
Temperature: 5.3°C
Dewpoint: 2.1°C
Humidity: 80%
Wind: S 12 km/h


“For purposes of action nothing is more useful than narrowness of thought combined with energy of will.”
Henri-Frédéric Amiel