This And That

What a beautiful day it is here today! A perfect day for this and that!

Attila has decided to replace the back wall of the garage, since it is no longer a load bearing wall, and it is heavily damaged by water, mildew and mould. Out it will come, and new fresh lumber will be framed to make a new, sweet smelling wall. It needs to be done. Projects can lead to other project, as this one is doing. I am enthusiastic about making the garage a pleasant place to spend time!

The garden needs some attention, and it is perfect day to do it! We will be spending the day out of doors, enjoying the warm sunny day, with reasonable temperatures and relatively low humidity.

The Hoya was growing some very, very long stems, four feet in length. Time to prune it, and put cuttings in water in the window to root. Also, additional soil needs to be added. The Hoya was gifted to me more than 15 years ago, when we lived in the city.

The Spicy Orange Chicken dish was a big hit again for dinner last night. The Instant Pot is my friend. It has made preparing a daily hot meal a simple, and interesting task. Now that I am solely responsible for cooking five days a week, this is a wonderful development.

Most of my Instant Pot cooking involves rice. We have been eating a lot of rice. I am noticing that my body is responding positively to this altered dietary regime. My body likes rice, and it isn’t just my tastebuds.

My next area of exploration with the Instant Pot will be fish. Both Attila and I really like fish, so I am inspired to learn how to cook one pot meals centred around fish. I don’t notice many Instant Pot recipes online that focus on fish, there are many focused on beef, pork, and chicken. I will enjoy ferreting out or creating great-to-us recipes to add fish to our Instant Pot dinner options.

Worldly Distractions

Weather

18°C
Date:8:00 AM EDT Saturday 7 July 2018
Condition:
Sunny
Pressure: 102.8 kPa
Tendency: Rising
Temperature: 17.8°C
Dew point: 11.5°C
Humidity: 66%
Wind: NW 7 km/h
Visibility: 24 km

Quote

“There is an applause superior to that of the multitudes: one’s own.”
Elizabeth Elton Smith

Something that seems to be largely overlooked in the Age Of Selfie.

Summer Cold

The only outing I had last week was to have a mammogram at the hospital. Two days later, a sudden onset of cold symptoms began, that was Sunday afternoon. All week the cough, sore throat, headache, and more recently a runny nose as well, have been annoying. During the night last night, annoying became painful. Swallowing was downright painful, painful enough to awaken me. I sucked on lozenges for a long time, and finally fell asleep again. This morning the throat is less painful, but the voice is almost gone, only a rasping gasping simile of words emerge. And it hurts, to talk, to cough. Still, no fever.

I had a few plans for today, but instead I’ll be sitting in my favourite chair, or out on the porch, wrapped warmly, sipping lemon and honey.

The heat wave is over, it is 16C this morning. The garden has perked right up, due to yesterday’s heavy rain.

The tomatoes, peppers, squash, onions, oregano, rhubarb, borage, onions and garlic are all doing well after the big refresh yesterday.

The Scarlet Runner Beans, Climbing Snap Peas, and Climbing Pod Peas are all doing well, beginning to grope their way towards the fence. The rabbits haven’t been able to get into the fenced in area of the yard to decimate them. Something did eat the emergent leaves from three of the Scarlet Runner Beans, leaving just stumps of stems behind. My guess is squirrels! I think they should make mesh plant cages, about a foot high, completely enclosed with mesh, similar to the tomato cage idea, to keep the nibblers away from vulnerable new plants. I might devise something of my own at some point.

The blooms on the Crabapple Tree, and the Lungwort, are spent. They are now in full leaf. At the moment we have Columbine, two varieties of Wild Geranium, and Irises blooming. Soon the Yellow Day Lillies will bloom soon, not quite yet.

I would like to get a hanging plant to live just outside the kitchen window. Something that flowers all season. Remembering to water plants is one of my weaknesses, I have good intentions, the plants do not thrive on good intentions. Recently I found a package of two clay waterers, that allow that attachment of a plastic coke bottle full of water to trickle slowly into the soil. I tried this with the Chrysanthemum purchased last winter, and it is thriving! When I went back to the dollar store to look for more, they were sold out. Luckily, Attila found a package of them, that had been removed from the shelf and placed in a cart with a cardboard box over it. He grabbed it, and now there are three of these unused handy little devices, and one of them is slated for a hanging basket outside the kitchen window.

Sometimes I wander aimlessly around the internet, looking at a wide variety of things that I find of passing interest. I watched a video about a fellow who was renting a condo in downtown Vancouver for $3500 a month, emphasizing how cheaply he was living. I doubt that half of the population of Canada could afford that kind of cheap lifestyle.

To affirm that I was looking at a situation that does not represent the majority of Canadians, I looked for some statistics. Then I checked out the median income for Canadians, closest I found was 2015, $80,940 annual family income, before taxes and deductions.. I find the median income more interesting than the average, because it less skewed by the very rich, and the very poor. My personal poverty is much less significant using the median income figures.

Half of the 2015 population had a family income below $80,940. My income falls at the very bottom of the bottom half… Attila’s income is much higher than mine at the moment, so although we have not managed to escape the 25th percentile, it means that living together I fare much better than I would on my own, and so does Attila for a variety of reasons. If we are living together when Attila retires, we will sink close to the bottom of the scale. We know this.

I always find it ironic when younger people target “boomers” as having it all, when that is only true for a certain percentage of the boomers. That would be another statistic to look up, but not today. I ignore the young who think that because I am old my tiny pension makes me wealthy, by definition. I also ignore the judgemental, often condescending, types, of any age, who feel I just didn’t work hard enough… go back to your ignorance-is-bliss bubbles. These are all people I do not want to spend time with. If fate brings them outside their bubbles, I don’t want to be around to hear them whining. No one knows what the future holds.

I found the video of the Millennial guy paying $3500 a month rent interesting, and actually watched it right through to the end. He takes his source of high income for granted, feels it is “normal”, feeling his parent’s generation had it better than he does. Just one affluent family’s experience, valid as an experience, not representative of the population though. Sometimes I wonder if that is how the majority of the population of the rest of the world sees us, as the society of affluence and ease seen in the images portraying the higher income people in the country. Possibly.

I could not afford a parking space, let alone a dwelling of any kind, in Vancouver, or Toronto, or any of the larger cities in Canada; no matter how much I might want to live there, it isn’t in the cards.

So back to bouncing around looking at videos about the different ways people live in Canada. Variety is the spice of life, and that we have in Canada.

I am feeling like crap today! I’ve been lucky that I do not experience this degree of illness very often. I’m drinking lots of fluids, and taking it easy today, postponing any of the projects I was thinking about. Not a hardship, I love sitting on the back porch with a cup of tea, my book, my computer, with my feet up, watching the robins watching me. I feel very lucky today, recuperating in a place I love.

Hawkweed June 2018 DSCF2157 Hawkweed in the back yard. Attila mowed the lawn a few days ago, but at my request he left two round sections long, where the Hawkweed grows. The Hawkweed is blooming!! After it goes to seed, then those patches can be mowed. The Hawkweed blooms are not big or showy, I love their long stems, and enjoy the delicate yellow flowers dotting the yard!

Wild geranium dolumbine june 2018 Here are the oh so subtle Wild Geraniums. Small and delicate and very beautiful, they grow close to where I sit on the back porch. There are two varieties, the tall with darker coloured blooms, and leaves that are purple in the centre and green at the edges. The shorter variety has larger blooms, does not grow as tall as the other, and have leaves that are a solid green colour. To the left of the wild geranium is a purple Columbine. Attila transplanted it here this spring, it was growing in the footpath by the back porch, having invited itself there.

Clay plant waterer mum DSCF2147 The Chrysanthemum from early spring, an indoor plant, and the clay watering device that keeps it watered while it sits in the heat on the back porch. The devices I have are cheaper than these ones at Amazon, but they work well.

DSCF2150 It is just me and my companions, the Robins, staring into the distance, enjoying the day.

Worldly Distractions

Weather

16°C
Date: 5:00 AM EDT Friday 1 June 2018
Condition: Not observed
Pressure: 100.7 kPa
Tendency: Falling
Temperature: 16.2°C
Dew point: 15.6°C
Humidity: 96%
Wind: SSW 8 km/h

Quote

“Always be a little kinder than necessary.”
James M. Barrie
1860 – 1937

Learning

Oh the excitement! Well, by modern standards of drama, not really. OK, admittedly by the standards of recent drama in my own life, not really. But I can muster a little bit of excitement over this.

On Wednesday evening, after 7:00 p.m. the dishwasher was doing its thing. The dishwasher generates heat, as it does its thing. Unexpectedly, the dishwasher raised the temperature in the house a whopping 1.5C, which put it at 22.5C. That is too warm for sleeping! The temperature in the house, due to new insulation and new windows, remains constant. Attila suggested turning on the air conditioning. I was resistant. The compromise was to open all the windows in the house until bed time, which brought the temperature down to 21.5. Better. It will take some time to learn how to manage the temperature in the house! I might just open the windows while the dishwasher is running, and see if that keeps the temperature down.

I have been enjoying the beautiful warm sunny afternoons, and chilly clear nights. Everything is green. The leaves are unfurling, the perennials are shooting up towards the sun.

This morning I washed laundry before 7:00 a.m.; it has been hanging out to dry on the back porch clothesline. It has not been a terribly busy day. Attila’s iPad needed some updating, did that. My web sites needed software upgrades, did that. Time is flying by, so I must be having fun.

Things between Attila and I remain friendly, a new rhythm of life is slowly emerging, and I find I am comfortable with that process. The future is unwritten.

Attila’s garden is in the planning stages. The seed packets are spread all over the kitchen table: Swiss Chard, Scarlet Runner Beans, Climbing Peas, Blue Hubbard Squash, Butternut Squash, Basil, Spinach, and a few others yet to be chosen. The Scarlet Runner Beans, Blue Hubbard Squash, and Butternut Squash are seeds we saved from previous harvests at Mist Cottage, originally saved from produce purchased from organic farms. Some of the remaining seeds are Heirloom seeds purchased from Salt Spring Seeds, and some were ordered from William Dam Seeds. This is a gardening weekend for Attila.

I have just come indoors to finish writing this entry. The mosquitoes were beginning to be bothersome. Attila and I had been sitting out on the porch, chatting, and watching the big bonfire that the neighbours had built in their back yard; all the enjoyment, none of the work. There is a party going on around that bonfire tonight, but the revelry won’t disturb me, I’ve been sleeping well most of the time lately.

Worldly Distractions

Weather

17°C
Date: 8:00 PM EDT Friday 18 May 2018
Condition: Partly Cloudy
Pressure: 102.6 kPa
Tendency: Falling
Temperature: 16.5°C
Dew point: -2.6°C
Humidity: 27%
Wind: NE 18 km/h
Visibility: 24 km

Quote

“It’s easier to put on slippers than to carpet the whole world.”
Al Franken

Marine Wax

I awoke very early, before first light. Those early hours were a time of quiet contemplation. Challenges, confusion, these are a bigger part of my life right now than peace, contentment and harmony. And yet, lying there in the quiet hours before the light crept into the room, what I mostly felt was acceptance. Acceptance that life is not what I want it to be, what I hoped it could be. Acceptance that challenges and confusion are about movement, the forces of the universe moving in their mysterious ways. No one, no matter how powerful they may be in the society of humans, controls the powers of the universe. Right now, most of what I feel is confusion, not pain, which is a step forward I believe.

What a glorious day! The sun shone brightly all day long, the temperature slowly rose to 15C. The wind blew hard, then settled into an intermittent breeze. Birds sang, squirrels performed acrobatics in trees, rabbits rested and nibbled on morsels in our yard, but not the garden.

There were so many choices on a day like today. Attila suggested going to Rideau Camp, I suggested getting started on the garden here at home, and in the end we stayed here at Mist Cottage.

Attila worked on his garden, digging out the composted soil from the rough compost at the back of the yard, and the compost bin, then adding it to expand the garden plot. Columbines that had grown beside the back step moved from that precarious position to well prepared beds along the fence and in the front yard. Lavender, planted where there was too much shade, was transplanted to a sunnier location.

I spent the day on the ladder, beside Iris the trailer. It took all day to apply the marine wax to the roof. The middle of the roof is tricky, it will not bear my weight, and the reach to the middle is long. To wax the middle section of the roof required standing on the next to top rung of the ladder. Oh so carefully I would ascend the ladder. Oh so carefully I would position my feet on that narrow rung, then lean and lean and lean over to reach the middle of Iris’ roof. Oh so carefully I would descend the ladder, then move it further along to the next section. In this way the entire roof received a well rubbed coat of marine wax. I must say, it looks great!

I stopped short of getting all the waxing done on the roof. The rounded back and front ends of the trailer are too high to reach from the ground, so perhaps tomorrow, or another weekend when Attila is around, I will finish that off. After that the rest of the job can be done standing on dear old terra firma.

The sun has disappeared for the day, slipping behind a few clouds before sinking below the horizon. It is 7:50 p.m. and still quite light out. Attila is still out in his garden. I am enjoying my easy chair, a well earned bit of rest.

Tomorrow, well who knows. Another day like today would not go amiss, weather permitting, that is certain!

Worldly Distractions

Weather

5°C
Date: 6:00 AM EDT Saturday 5 May 2018
Condition: Mainly Sunny
Pressure: 101.6 kPa
Tendency: Rising
Temperature: 4.6°C
Dew point: 4.1°C
Humidity: 97%
Wind: SSW 9 km/h
Visibility: 24 km

Quote

“Whenever evil befalls us, we ought to ask ourselves, after the first suffering, how we can turn it into good. So shall we take occasion, from one bitter root, to raise perhaps many flowers.”
Leigh Hunt
1784 – 1859

Leigh Hunt had an interesting life!

Heat

The warm weather continues, with some humidity.

My Mom received her birthday present today, she said she likes it. I was concerned about the gift wrapping, as I had no idea what sort of wrapping it would be. Mom said the box came in a “A lovely bag tied with a bright red ribbon. Not paper.”

Mom birthday present 2018 Mom just sent me this picture of her birthday present (Friday, May 4, 2018), so here it is! Thanks Mom!

The temperature in the house remained relatively constant through the night last night, coming in at 21C first thing this morning. The chilly night had almost no effect on the temperature in the interior of the house. This is a new phenomenon, and a welcome one. The heat was turned off on Tuesday evening, so the only explanation for the maintained temperature during the night is the new attic insulation, and the new windows.

This combination of home improvements makes a noticeable difference in how the house feels, and in how I remain comfortable in the house. Suddenly, even with the outdoor temperature falling to 10C overnight, the house maintains its heat. In the winter months the thermostat is turned to 17C for the night, my preferred night time temperature. My light weight duvet provides far too much warmth for an indoor temperature of 20C or higher.

Nightwear and bedding need to be adjusted. Tonight a summer weight pair of pyjamas will be worn, as an experiment, while leaving the duvet on the bed. If I am too warm tonight, tomorrow the duvet will be cleaned, and put away until next autumn; the flannelette sheets will be stripped off the bed, to be replaced with cotton percale sheets. If I am still too warm, I will leave the ceiling fan running while I sleep.

If these measures fail to provide a comfortable night’s sleep, then a day and evening with the windows open might lower the interior temperature. Failing that, as a last resort, the air conditioning could be turned on. Air conditioning seems so wrong, as the heat was just turned off the day before yesterday.

The hydro bills have taken a dive, which they usually do at this time of year, when the air source heat pump runs infrequently. Checking usage online, the month of April saw a 4% drop from last year, in the amount of electricity used. This is more significant than it sounds, as April this year was very cold compared to last year. Despite the increased heating demands based on temperature, fuel consumption decreased. Because of the generous government grants for these upgrades, our investment was lowered to the point that we might see a return over the next few years. Of course, that is assuming the funding reaches us. The cheque is “in the mail”, so to speak, so fingers are crossed that it will actually arrive.

I am enjoying Tai Chi, and have started to follow videos and continue on with it at home, as my paid lessons are coming to an end soon. I anticipate a smooth transition. Videos make learning easy; pressing pause, and repeating the move in the video, allows for personalized instruction. I have my little learning aids. Being slightly dyslexic, the moves can be very confusing in the mirror image that one sees in a video. To resolve this, the demonstrators outfit was determined to have a more intense colour on the right side. A wrist band on my right wrist allows the wrist and intensity to match. Where there is a will there is a way, with many things in life. I tend to be delighted with my little work arounds, it is wonderful to enjoy my ingenuity without a critical, and sadly articulate, “eye” present.

I may return to the paid lessons at a later date, I do enjoy them, but for now they are very expensive. The cost of the lessons is just within financial grasp, but the fuel for travel makes it a very expensive pastime. Perhaps it will be a future indulgence. The warm weather months are not a time for schedules!

Attila and I continue share our house in peace. The garage project is not schedule until June, his art studio will not be available for quite some time. Happily he is finding great pleasure in working in the garden.

My days pass peacefully, reading, crocheting, writing, working on genealogy, taking on small projects like cleaning Iris the trailer, cooking, baking, cleaning, and now sitting on the back porch enjoying the activity of the birds, the squirrels, the rabbits, and the ever active purple ball that lives in the back yard.

Worldly Distractions

Weather

14°C
Date: 8:00 PM EDT Thursday 3 May 2018
Condition: Mist
Pressure: 101.3 kPa
Tendency: Rising
Temperature: 14.4°C
Dew point: 14.4°C
Humidity: 100%
Wind: WSW 10 km/h
Visibility: 3 km

Quote
“Adapt what is useful, reject what is useless, and add what is specifically your own.”
Bruce Lee
1940 – 1973