Blanket/Afghan

Another hot one out there today! I am happily and comfortably ensconced on my easy chair, content with my crochet project. I finally decided to create the whole blanket/afghan using the Suzette Stitch, which is a stitch that is created with a foundation chain in multiples of two, which simplifies figuring out how to make the blanket. I decided on a width of 36 inches, then crocheted a foundation chain approximately 36 inches long. The only decisions left to make will be how long to make the blanket/afghan, and what border I would like to add when that length has been reached. Because I am using a yarn that changes colour, there will be only a few ends to sew in, where I have to start a new ball of yarn.

I like to listen to audio books, or “watch” videos while I am crocheting. The audio books are my favourite, and I can borrow them from the library online, so they are affordable and accessible without a car. We have Netflix and Prime Video, which offers enough variety between the two subscriptions to provide enough interesting viewing. Prime has mostly standard popular offerings, most of which I have seen elsewhere, and a lot of vapid crap, and violent crap that I won’t spend time with. Netflix has more variety, some unusual offerings. However, I know there is an inaccessible world of film out there, and I wish it were within my reach. I cannot subscribe to PBS or BBC programming, and I would if I could. I find the Canadian CBC offerings superficial, and provincial, perhaps because being a Canadian I am well aware of what life here is really like for many people, and how different that is from how life here is characterized by our national broadcasting organization. I cannot watch it without feeling disappointed.

Our Scarlet Runner beans are producing a bumper crop this year. The seeds are those saved from last years plants, pods left to mature and dry before removing the beans, which we planted this spring. Attila feels the harvest will slow down now, as he has left quite a few pods to mature for seed. He brought in a six quart basket of beans last night. We eat our fill of fresh beans, and blanch and freeze the rest for the winter. Our tomato plants are not producing a bumper crop, but the tomatoes are plentiful enough that I eat at least one every day. We have our fingers crossed that our squash matures before frost, we don’t have many, but the those that are there are huge. Attila has been picking dill seed, which he enjoys in his tuna salad. I don’t like dill. Attila also harvested one of our cabbages last night. It is quite small, so the whole cabbage was chopped and went into Attila’s favourite cabbage soup, to which he adds salt, so I cannot eat it. Food preparation is an ongoing project for us here at Mist Cottage. It keeps us very busy, as Attila is very fussy about what he eats, and I have extremely restricted choices when it comes to food.

Worldly Distractions

Weather

26°C
Date: 2:00 PM EDT Thursday 21 September 2017
Condition: Partly Cloudy
Pressure: 101.9 kPa
Tendency: Falling
Temperature: 26.2°C
Dew point: 16.4°C
Humidity: 54%
Wind: NNE 13 km/h
Humidex: 31
Visibility: 24 km

Quote

“You begin saving the world by saving one man at a time; all else is grandiose romanticism or politics.”
Charles Bukowski
1920 – 1994

And so you have it. Women have been not just saving, but creating, one man at a time since time immemorial. They also create one woman at a time.
Bukowski’s formula can be approached by anyone and everyone… a little kindness and compassion reach further than we can see.

[I am always saddened by the use of “man” as representing all members of our species, even if it was the accepted usage of their time… wise people should have known better, rather than blindly accepting the social mores of the day.]

Crocheted Top

Summer has arrived in Southern Ontario! The weather is hot, hot, hot, and humid. Not at all like the November type weather we experienced on our vacation. We are rethinking how we take vacations, I can tell you! We don’t have much experience with them, only having had two weeks, one last summer and one this summer, so we are still learning, at our age!

The curtains are closed today, to keep that heat out. This has been working well today, the Heat Pump has only run a few times to maintain the temperature at 23.5, with a humidity around 48%, which is very comfortable.

Today is a blank page. Although the weather is as summery as it has been in 2017, autumn has arrived in my world. My focus has turned to food preservation, and moving into the projects I want to work on this winter. I need to work on my second genealogy book.

Also, I have decided to crochet an throw blanket for the chesterfield in Grace The Trailer, for the 2018 camping season. I purchased some yarn, Bernat Pop! Foggy Notion, which will look very nice in Grace The Trailer, and we like the colours. Now I have to decide on a pattern, or a stitch. At present I am considering a wave stitch, or the Suzette stitch, or a c2c pattern (corner to corner), but have not yet decided.

Bernat pop foggynotion 1 This is the yarn I have chosen for my first crocheted blanket. The blanket will be for use in Grace The Trailer during the 2018 camping season. I hope it will be ready in time!

I finished the top/coverup I was crocheting just before we left for our vacation. It is meant to be worn over tank tops, so that I can go braless without notice. The design is my own, made up as I went along. I am not entirely happy with it, but these days I wonder if what I am unhappy about with the way clothing fits is more about my aging body than with the clothing itself. I don’t really recognize myself completely when I look in the mirror. It reminds me of being 13 years old, and bit confused about who I was, my identity. I don’t know if I will just get used to the changes, and go with the flow, or if I will continue to find it disorienting. If the disorientation continues, then I will get used to that.

Crocheted top 2017 09 18 at 8 16 AM My crocheted top/coverup, meant to be worn over tank tops, to accomplish acceptable bralessness. I learned a lot designing and creating this top. Making it stretched my skill level, and my brain. Behind me to the right you can see that we are still under construction, drywall not finished, flooring that needs to be ripped out and replaced with red pine plank flooring… maybe someday, lol!

The day slipped away on me again. Attila will be home within minutes, and I can’t really say what I have done for the last ten hours. The thing is, if I try very hard I can list all the things I have done today. For example, I researched and bought Attila a charger and rechargeable AAA batteries, using the gift cards I got for my credit card points. I updated plugins on my web sites. Those are what come to mind immediately. I don’t know, why try to remember these things, why not let them flow into the past wordlessly? Sometimes I do, sometimes I don’t. If I answer my own question, it would be that there is no why, it is just what I do, when I do it, and what I write, when I write it. Silly thoughts, but all mine.

Worldly Distractions

Weather

24°C
Date: 3:00 PM EDT Monday 18 September 2017
Condition: Mostly Cloudy
Pressure: 101.8 kPa
Tendency: Falling
Temperature: 23.5°C
Dew point: 19.1°C
Humidity: 76%
Wind: SSE 8 km/h
Humidex: 30
Visibility: 24 km

Quote

“You should not live one way in private, another in public.”
Publilius Syrus
~100 BC

The Little Red Fox

Friday, August 25, 2017, Mist Cottage

Sitting here this morning looking for information about hooking up a 30 amp RV electrical system to a generator. It isn’t straightforward. I found a connector that looks like it will work, but I can’t run to the local Canadian Tire to pick it up, it is in stock, because Tank is at the garage having an issue with the brakes fixed. It is too far to walk to the Canadian Tire store. The same item is available at Amazon.ca for a lower price, we have Prime, so delivery is two day and free.

So it occurs to me that Amazon Prime almost replaces the need for a vehicle to do the shopping. Vehicles cost a small fortune to keep on the road, considering the initial cost, maintenance, licensing, fuel, insurance… Amazon Prime costs less than $100.

Our vehicles are used for much more than shopping of course, so this is pure conjecture, it wouldn’t work for our present lifestyle. But were we housebound this could work for us.

I will hold off my purchase of an RV connector until Tank is back on the road, or Attila comes home from work with the car. The advantage to the local Canadian Tire is that if the connector is not the product we need, we can return it easily. Also, I like the staff at the local Canadian Tire, every interaction there has been pleasant over the years, not always smooth, but always pleasant.

Which puts me in mind of a recent purchase we made at the local Shopper’s Drug Mart. This is the second truly unpleasant experience we have had there, and I suspect it is due to the management. People who aren’t treated well can’t help but pass that along to the customers.

We have spent a lot of time at the Rideau Camp this summer, and have been loving it! Our first season at our Camp was just last year. We didn’t camp there as often as we have been this summer, which means that meal planning for our stays has become more complex. I can no longer eat the wonderful grilled cheese sandwiches cooked over an open fire, the sodium in bread and cheese is unacceptable. Quick canned items, like soup, or beans, don’t work, again the sodium levels are unacceptable. When I was younger camping meant a trip to the grocery store for easy to prepare items, but all that has changed, as now I must carefully watch my intake of sodium, sugar, cholesterol, and my allergen.

Experiments with quick and easy foods is an ongoing project now. Overnight oatmeal sounds interesting, and to that end one minute oats were on the grocery list this week. Since peaches are in season, two Giant Oven Pancakes were baked last night, sectioned, and stored in the refrigerator for quick suppers for me over the next few days. I love Giant Oven Pancake smothered in fresh sliced peaches, no sugar added.

Recovery from the dental work has been taking some time, still requiring that I eat soft foods. Of all the health issues I have encountered in my life, problems in my mouth are the most exhausting. The fatigue that was plaguing me has subsided, but my face still hurts if I talk a lot. Fortunately, I can type a lot instead. As Attila pointed out, when you have an issue with something in your head, it is very hard to ignore it. Thank goodness my issue is temporary. Hugs to anyone dealing with chronic issues in the mouth or head!

Saturday, August 26, Rideau Camp

Tank needed a visit to the garage, so on Wednesday night we both drove to the garage, dropped her off, and drove home in the car. She had a leaking axle seal, which had leaked oil on our trip to the Traditional Camp, which burned and smoked. So in she went. We picked her up yesterday afternoon, the part was $20, the labour was $220, which we considered to be fair. We really like this mechanic!

Our departure for the Rideau Camp was somewhat delayed by Tank’s absence, and the need to go and get her. We took our time packing, and arrived at the Camp at about 8:30 p.m.. Usually at that hour of the evening the mosquitoes are at their peak, but there were none. We unpacked, played a game of Cribbage, turned out the lights and turned in for the night.

Last summer’s vacation was not pleasant. It was our first week long vacation in over 20 years. This year we plan on spending a week in the autumn at the Rideau Camp. Since there are no extra expenses involved, as there would be if we were to camp in Iris in camp grounds for a week, or even more extravagantly stay in motels or at a resort, we decided to indulge in a luxury. We purchased a small, portable, quiet, generator. This will allow us to use the computer while camping, at either the Rideau Camp or the Traditional Camp. It will allow us to run all of the features in Grace The Trailer, except the air conditioning, which would require a second small generator connected to the first small generator for extra power. We don’t anticipate needing air conditioning for our short summer stays in Grace The Trailer, so we did not purchase the second small generator.

I am typing this entry on the computer. My laptop no longer has a functioning battery, which died about a year ago. The MacBook Air will only operate when connected to an electrical outlet, so that it could not be used while camping. The generator enables me to use the computer while camping, which is a very big bonus in my opinion. We don’t use cell phones, so that all of my data is stored locally on my computer, I don’t use the Cloud for serious storage. Now that the computer will work while camping, I can save the information related to the local areas around our Camps, so that we have a directory of the businesses, and local places of interest, at our fingertips.

The biggest bonus of the generator though, at this point, is the lights. We don’t mind the small, inexpensive, low lumen lighting that we use while camping. But now that we have experienced staying in Iris with an electrical service, we are spoiled. Having lights at night is wonderful, it makes a terrific difference. We can use the lights at night as well, on battery power, knowing that during the day we can recharge the battery using the generator.

In my dreams, we install a pump in the deep well at the Rideau Camp, and the generator would supply the power needed to pump the water, and to use it in Grace The Trailer. This is something we won’t be doing in the short term though. If we live to enjoy retirement together, we might want to spend our summers at our Camps, then the investment in a working well would make sense. For now we fill containers with water at home, and take the empty containers back with us, when we are staying at our off-grid camps.

Today Attila is removing three large stumps that prevent us from easily turning Tank around in the open area of the Camp. Until now Attila has been backing Tank out the driveway. After today he will turn Tank around in the clearing, ready to be packed when it is time to go home.

I wrote the words below with a pen on a scrap of paper this morning, before the sun rose, while Attila was sleeping.

A little red fox ran towards the trailer this morning, coming up the drive at a steady pace. She veered around the trailer, the side closest to the bush, and was lost to sight. I would not have seen her at all, had I not just turned to look out the back window, as I was pouring the boiling water over my tea bag. It was 6 a.m.. The sun had not yet risen. She was a small fox, her red fur almost glowed with good health. Although she was running, she did not appear to be in distress.

After she had passed, I finished making my tea, and carried my cup to the chair beside the back window, where I intended to do a bit of reading, as the light was quickening, and the words were taking form on the page before me. A movement caught my eye, something on the drive again. A large black dog, with long unkempt fur, loped up the driveway in pursuit of the fox. He was having fun, hunting, redundantly hunting. His slack expression denoted a lack of intensity, and a lack of cunning. This hunt was entertainment, for if he had been truly hungry and in need of a kill to survive, it would have been written in his face and body.

He followed the fox’s path and was soon out of sight. Five minutes later the dog was back. He walked a weaving path at a slow trot. There was no sign of a kill around his muzzle. At one point, near Grace The Trailer, he lifted his leg and peed on a pine sapling, then slowly strolled down the drive and out of sight.

He wore a dog collar.

Much earlier than the visits from the fox and the dog, in the morning just after I had awakened, the chorus from a murder of crows filled the air, heralding dawn.

A little later than the visits from the fox and the dog, a partridge clumsily passed across the drive, at some distance from Grace The Trailer, stumbling and flapping along by turns.

How important these living beings seem in the absence of human company.

Monday, August 28, 2017

I am back home and writing from Mist Cottage. The weather is much cooler now, and the humidity is not high. This is ideal weather in my book, a view not shared universally. We need neither air conditioning, nor heating, so our electricity bill will benefit from this weather.

On Sunday I took a trip to a country market, a farm that sells local produce, and was shocked at the prices. $3 for a quart of green beans. The rest of the produce was similarly priced. People living without healthy pensions, and those living at minimum wage levels are not going to be buying local food, it isn’t in the cards. The artisanal food movement is offensive, in that the entrepreneurs are constantly whining about needing people to buy locally, while they insist on selling things that only the affluent can afford to buy.

I bought one item though, because I wanted to try Red Fife Wheat Flour. The one kilogram bag of flour was $8.00 plus tax. It will have to be a one-off purchase. I made peach muffins with it this morning, and they are outstanding. Much research is needed to find an affordable source of this basic food ingredient.

Attila just brought in a pound of freshly harvested Scarlet Runner beans. At that country store this would have cost $6.00 plus tax. We love our garden! He also harvested two beautiful tomatoes, and oregano and dill, which we will dry.

I continue to work on my crocheted top. The back was difficult to design, I worked on a design for a day, decided I didn’t like it, tore it out, and would start on another design the next day. This process went on for weeks! Finally a design that worked was finished today. There are loose ends and a few alterations to yet to do. The shoulder straps were too long, I failed to take stretching into account, crochet work stretches. The way I constructed the straps meant they could not be torn out and reworked, so a method of shortening them after the fact must be devised.

We are going to take a week at the Rideau Camp this autumn, and I only have one book that I am looking forward to reading, it is about Gavin Maxwell, written by Dan Boothby, entitled Island of Dreams. The book was a gift from a friend, and I have been especially saving it to read while on vacation at the Rideau Camp. I anticipate that I will want to read more than one book though, so I am looking into borrowing books for my Kobo, from the Ontario Library Service. I like my Kobo, but every time I want to use it the instructions on how to load items into it has to be reviewed. It is wifi capable, but since no books are purchased, the cables work well for loading borrowed books, via Adobe Digital Editions.

Grasshopper DSCF1104 Grasshopper on our back step at Mist Cottage. We also saw one of these out at the Rideau Camp last weekend. I believe this is a Katydid.

Worldly Distractions

Weather

Saturday, August 26, 2017, I’ve no idea what the weather report is for today, we have no internet connection, which I have come to rely on for such information. It was cold this morning, so much so that I sat on my clothes for a long time, until they were warm, before changing into them. The sun is out now, it is almost noon, and I am still wearing my sweater. It is a lovely day.

Quote

“But, if I must afflicted be, To suit some wise design,
Then man my soul with firm resolve, To bear and not repine!”

Robert Burns, Poems and Songs of Robert Burns, Prayer, Under The Pressure Of Violent Anguish

Total Solar Eclipse

“On Monday, August 21, 2017, all of North America will be treated to an eclipse of the sun. Anyone within the path of totality can see one of nature’s most awe-inspiring sights – a total solar eclipse. This path, where the moon will completely cover the sun and the sun’s tenuous atmosphere – the corona – can be seen, will stretch from Lincoln Beach, Oregon to Charleston, South Carolina. Observers outside this path will still see a partial solar eclipse where the moon covers part of the sun’s disk.”
Source:
https://eclipse2017.nasa.gov/eclipse-who-what-where-when-and-how

The day has been sunny thus far. I dare not look at the sun to see how the eclipse is progressing, I do not possess the proper eye protection, and so I am carefully avoiding looking towards the sun.

The crochet top that I have been designing is almost done. The straps fall down over the shoulder, so I need a connecting piece across the back, and have been working on that today. It is almost complete. There are a few mistakes, mistakes I should not have made, I know better, but I am just not that interested, my focus has been less than optimal on the design end of things. Apparently clothing design does not “turn my crank”. It seemed like an exciting idea, but the implementation has not been as enjoyable as was imagined. It will feel good to finish up on this project, and to start something more a more interesting crochet project. At least the tank top cover-up will do what it needs to do. I threw it on over my braless tank top this afternoon, to venture out into the front yard to collect the mail from the mailbox. I felt presentable, which is close enough for me to call the project a success.

I think I have this perfectionist tendency of mine successfully subdued!

Worldly Distractions

Weather

24°C
Date: 12:00 PM EDT Monday 21 August 2017
Condition: Partly Cloudy
Pressure: 101.9 kPa
Tendency: Falling
Temperature: 23.6°C
Dew point: 20.9°C
Humidity: 84%
Wind: S 22 km/h
Humidex: 32
Visibility: 24 km

Quote

“The real hero is always a hero by mistake; he dreams of being an honest coward like everybody else.”
Umberto Eco
1932 – 2016

Seeing The Light

The big adventure of the day began when my glasses fell to the floor. Out popped the left lens. I need my glasses.

I phoned Costco, they said they would try to put the lens back in for me, no charge, and were quite pleasant on the telephone. It is 40 km drive to Costco, not ideal.

The attempt to fix the glasses myself began with trying to find my glasses repair tools. They have not been used since the move, almost two years ago. The search spanned two hours, and was finally abandoned. A small screwdriver that came with the sewing machine, and the matching brush, were fished out of the sewing equipment.

The light was inadequate for the job. The only available working glasses were quite old, and not as helpful as they were when new. It seemed the time to setup the magnifying lamp, purchased many years ago. To setup the magnifying lamp the desk where it would be attached had to be cleared off. To clear off the desk the front bedroom needed to be organized so that the items on the desk could be put away. First the room was organized, then the desk was cleared, then the lamp was installed on the desk. It was time for lunch!

After taking refreshment, an attempt was made to place the lens back in the glasses frame, using the sewing equipment. The screwdriver was too large for the screw head. Another extended search for the glasses repair tools began. An hour or so later, the tools were found at the bottom of a satchel, at the back of the linen closet.

Begin again.

On close examination, with the aid of magnification, the glasses frame appeared to need cleaning. This took about an hour. Finally, the attempt to insert the lens into the frame began. It failed.

Time for a another break.

An hour or so later, I returned to the task. After repeated attempts, I finally secured the lens in the frame. It is not in there quite the way it should be, but it is in, and I can now wear the glasses.

DSCF0728 Maggie’s Awesome Glasses Repair Workshop. Magnifying lamps are amazing and really worth having around for finer work when aging eyes just can’t manage the job on their own. The little white screwdriver was too big for the job, the longer one was just right.

As a treat to myself, I crocheted a second water balloon for the Grandbabies. Yesterday I crocheted the first one, tried it out in a bowl of water, and decided that it was worth my time to create a bunch of these balloons for the Grandbabies to play with on hot summer days.

DSCF0732 Water Balloons. These are crocheted using a 9 mm crochet hook, Bernat Blanket Brights yarn, and a pattern created by Left In Knots.

Worldly Distractions

Weather

20°C
Date: 3:00 PM EDT Friday 16 June 2017
Condition: Partly Cloudy
Pressure: 101.0 kPa
Tendency: Falling
Temperature: 20.2°C
Dew point: 16.9°C
Humidity: 81%
Wind: SSE 14 km/h
Humidex: 25
Visibility: 24 km

Quote

“I will not let anyone walk through my mind with their dirty feet.”
Mahatma Gandhi