Britbox

It is snowing out there this morning. It accumulates on the tree branches, white icing, then it slowly disappears into clear drops that drip, drip, drip. Occasionally the sun peeks out, sending a blaze of pleasure across the living room, before hiding once more behind the sheet of gray that is the sky.

I haven’t had cabin fever since the winter of 2013/2014, the last winter I spent at the country house. The following winter I stayed alone at Mist Cottage during the winter months, and even though I saw no one, received no visitors other than Attila, and spent all of my time alone within the four walls of Mist Cottage, I did not experience cabin fever. We moved here in September of 2015, so that after my lone winter, I did not have to spend another in the country. I will always remember those winters as the bleakest, loneliest period of my life, particularly the months of February and March, when the cold white aloneness entered my very soul.

This snow that is coming down now, it is disappointing. This disappointment is relatively benign. Even being housebound over the weekend due to the severe ice storm, that raged for over two days, has not dampened my spirits. Soon the sun will shine, the temperature will rise, and I will open these beautiful windows and let the breeze play through the house.

The day today will be filled with small tasks, all aimed at organizing “stuff”. Now that all my books are out and easily available, the temptation to graze on words is strong. I am resisting that urge though, and moving through more pragmatic activities: bill paying, appointment making, purging, cleaning.

Attila has been busy working on the house, winterizing. The rim joist perimeter in the basement has provided an incredible amount of air circulation from the great outdoors. This is not a good thing. The fellow who insulated our attic recommended sealing the cracks at the rim joists, the insulating, then applying vapour barrier. Attila has accomplished this for about 1/4 of the perimeter of the basement. Since the temperature is hovering around 0C now, and will rise from there, I doubt I will notice the difference until next winter, when the cold winds howl and batter the house. Although I might not notice a difference, there may be a noticeable lowering of the hydro bill, once the project is completed.

The garage project has been slated for June, according to Attila’s latest plan. He wants to spend May planting his garden.

My projects involve organizing “stuff”, which is ongoing, and not subject to interference by weather conditions. My crochet blanket is coming along slowly, no hurry, just a row or so a day, keeps my hand in. I am thinking of doing some pressure canning, but haven’t been motivated to get started on it yet. Tonight I am preparing baked chicken, roast potatoes, and green beans for dinner. Attila plans his second supper himself, he always eats two suppers over the course of an evening.

I did some exploring, feeling the need for additional entertainment sources, as Netflix, and Prime Video offerings are just too violent and nihilistic, or banal and shallow, for my taste. I tried BBC iPlayer, not available in Canada. I tried PBS, not available in Canada. Then someone on Facebook shared a link to Britbox, which recently became available in Canada. I had a look and signed up for the free trial. The first program I am watching is Unforgotten. Wow! This is a very good program. The initial episode of the season involves the discovery of a long dead person, the short, to the point visual image of the dead person is not dwelt upon, but included as a viable part of the story. The rest of the season’s episodes involve finding justice for the person who was found dead, developing the story of their lives, their loved ones, their enemies. It is an excellent program! One murder a season I can handle, as opposed to the more common North American multiple, graphically violent deaths in every episode.

Soon I will begin to think about what I want to do when the weather warms, and being outdoors holds some appeal! Soon the weather won’t make the roads impassable, footpaths treacherous, plans precarious. Waiting!

Worldly Distractions

Weather

1°C
Date: 7:48 AM EDT Tuesday 17 April 2018
Condition: Light Snowshower
Pressure: 100.2 kPa
Tendency: Rising
Temperature: 0.6°C
Dew point: -1.1°C
Humidity: 88%
Wind: WSW 17 km/h
Visibility: 24 km

Quote

“Even now,” she thought, “almost no one remembers Esteban and Pepita, but myself. Camila alone remembers Uncle Pio and her son; this woman, her mother. But soon we shall die and all memory of those five will have left the earth, and we ourselves shall be loved for a while and then forgotten. But the love will have been enough; all those impulses of love return to the love that made them. Even memory is not necessary for love. There is a land of the living and the land of the dead and the bridge is love, the only survival, the only meaning.”
Thornton Wilder

love… the only survival, the only meaning

Thinking of you Reenie, your message, your life.

Shut In

It was a fitful night, filled mostly with sleep, sleep interrupted frequently by the howl of the wind, and visits to the loo. When morning light arrived, it found me snuggled under my eiderdown, gazing out the window at the tortured trees, as the wind ripped across the landscape.

It was -5C outside the window when I finally arose.

We had hydro, all night, and it is still with us this morning. The weather today may change that.

The sand truck just passed, leaving a dark stain down the middle of the road. The truck returned, to plow the accumulated ice pellets to the side of the road. Transportation routes are passable again.

It isn’t over yet though! Today promises to bring more ice pellets and freezing rain, along with strong winds.

I am shut in, as is Attila, for the weekend. Yesterday was quite pleasant, allowing ample time to attend to reorganizing the domestic space here. There were two large unpacked heavy totes in the basement, containing my text books. Attila carried them to the main floor for me. I thought I would want to get rid of them, but alas, no. Many of them were written by friends, colleagues, some of them reference my work. There is a whole world of memories in those books, good memories, so I carefully sorted through them, organized them, and placed them on the bookshelf. Two totes down in the basement, yay!

Within a few days all of this ice will be gone. Hopefully the roads will be clear by tomorrow morning, when many people need to go back to work. For my part, I am looking forward to some weather that resembles spring, so that I can sit on the back porch, and plan activities away from the house that won’t be cancelled due to weather and road conditions.

Yesterday I spent some time in the kitchen preparing Falafels. The recipe I have is low in sodium, as I only add a pinch, rather than the recommended amount, and includes grated carrots. I love it! It was created by the cook, Maya Jagger, at the day care centre at the university, when Terra was enrolled there. The woman was one of the nicest you would ever want to meet, Terra loved her. She liked Terra. Terra has a genuine appreciation for good food, so they were bound to like one another. I bought Maya’s cookbook, and the recipe for Falafels became one of my favourite meals.

Last night I shared my creation with Attila, and we enjoyed a lovely meal together.

Netflix has done a remake of Lost In Space. I liked that program as a kid, and this new rendition is very amusing, very different, and very amusing. So far there is no gratuitous violence, or extreme intrigue, just ordinary human orneriness, with the usual undetected sociopath in the mix, there is always a sociopath, in real life as in fiction.

This morning I have baked muffins while the hydro is here, and a loaf of bread is in the machine, chugging towards a loaf.

Worldly Distractions

Weather

FREEZING RAIN WARNING IN EFFECT
-4°C
Lightning
Light Freezing Rain
Date: 8:00 AM EDT Sunday 15 April 2018
Condition: Light Freezing Rain
Pressure: 102.8 kPa
Tendency: Falling
Temperature: -4.2°C
Dew point: -7.0°C
Humidity: 81%
Wind: NE 41 gust 58 km/h
Wind Chill: -13
Visibility: 16 km

Today: Periods of ice pellets or freezing drizzle changing to freezing rain near noon and ending late this afternoon then cloudy. Risk of freezing drizzle late this afternoon. Ice pellet amount 2 to 4 cm. Wind northeast 40 km/h gusting to 70. High minus 1.

Tonight Cloudy. Rain beginning late this evening. Risk of freezing drizzle this evening. Amount 15 mm. Wind northeast 40 km/h gusting to 70. Temperature rising to plus 2 by morning.

Quote

“When it is not necessary to make a decision, it is necessary not to make a decision.”
Lord Falkland (1610 – 1643)

Ice Storm

It is Friday night and here in Eastern Ontario we are heading into a weekend of severe weather conditions, including freezing rain with accumulations, and snow. It is spring, but winter just does not want to let go.

I managed to get to two Tai Chi classes this week, it won’t be long until my membership runs out and must be renewed, so I am taking advantage of the opportunity to attend classes while it lasts.

I continue to use the elliptical machine most days, at least five days out of a seven day week, which for me is pretty good. I have been active indoors this last month, the moving of furniture has begun a process of reorganization that will be ongoing for quite some time.

Because we might lose power this weekend, I will be preparing quite a bit of food for the cooler, so that if a prolonged period without hydro occurs, it will be easy to heat things up on the propane camp stove, out on the back porch. Attila has filled the gas can, so that during a power outage the furnace can be run from time to time to keep the house relatively warm. I have candles, and battery powered lanterns, so we should be good for light. Although reading by that light would be difficult, a rousing game of mahjong, or scrabble, or cribbage, could fill the dark evening hours.

The new windows are still noticeably wonderful, every room is not only more comfortable, but brighter and cheerier as well, even during the overcast chilly spring days that dominate the weather.

I continue to crochet, still working on my second blanket. It is taking form ever so slowly, and I enjoy having it here beside me, ready to occupy my hands if they get restless. Currently two books are on the end table, Kristen Lavransdatter, by Sigrid Undset, and
The Paying Guests, by Sarah Waters.

A lot of my time is consumed with cooking and baking from scratch, and the endless cleanup that goes with such activities. My days consist of a little bit of this, and a little bit of that, taken up in between culinary processes in the kitchen. The days spent at home pass quickly.

All spring the “better weather” has been only two weeks away, according to the weather predictions, and so it is today, two weeks away. Those two weeks have taken a tedious few months to pass.

Our domestic holding pattern is holding. My anguish over the recent events has diminished significantly. That is not to say I am happy with things as they are. I am actively working on adjusting to this new reality, which seems to take up a lot of my time, at least for now. It is time well spent.

Worldly Distractions

Weather

5°C
Kingston Airport
Date: 5:00 PM EDT Friday 13 April 2018
Condition: Light Rainshower
Pressure: 101.3 kPa
Tendency: Falling
Temperature: 4.8°C
Dew point: 3.3°C
Humidity: 89%
Wind: NE 15 km/h
Visibility: 16 km

Quote

“You desire to know the art of living, my friend? It is contained in one phrase: make use of suffering.”
Henri-Frédéric Amiel

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

Weather

-4°C
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

7°C
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

Quote

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

There and Back Again

The ice storm last weekend was spectacular! Not here of course, we experienced a slight drizzle of ice that had little effect. We know about the incredible ice storm only because we drove through the aftermath on our trip down to the little house in the city.

On Christmas Eve Day we headed out in the early morning for the little house in the city. The roads were cleared by then, and the sun shone brightly. As we travelled south we entered a fairyland of glitter and sparkle. The ice was more than a inch thick on all the trees, grasses, everything! The sunlight lit up the landscape such that I have never seen before. It was a joy to behold.

We arrived safely on Christmas Eve. There was a two foot high, solid ice barrier across the end of the driveway. Attila began the long process of chipping out an opening for the car, to get the car off the road for the night. Soon Terra drove up in her car, and then Lares drove up in his van. We were delighted when they opened the back of the van to show us our Christmas present, from Terra and Lares, Luna and Janus, a hot water heater! And to make the present totally perfect, Lares proceeded to install it for us, on the spot! After the water heater was installed, Lares helped Attila remove ice from the driveway, to the point where we could park the car off the road. Then off they went to visit other relatives in the area.

We spent the rest of the evening watching A Christmas Carol, the 1951 version starring Alistair Sim. On Christmas Day we opened our presents under our tiny tree, enjoyed our morning coffee, and listened to Christmas Carols. Then we drove out to Terra and Lares place to share a wonderful breakfast with them, and Lare’s long-time friend Gamers, again enjoying the ice encased scenery during the trip. Terra’s house was beautiful. She had several small Christmas Trees that they harvested from the back bush, and a large one in the bay window at the front of the house. It was festive and warm and wonderful.

The next day Attila and I headed out to Terra and Lare’s place again. We arrived in time to prepare the dressing, dress the turkey, and get it into the oven. Then Lare’s Dad and partner arrived, and Luna and Janus and the Grandbabies arrived, with Luna’s homemade cookies. Next Lare’s Grandmother arrived with her homemade rolls and apple pie, yum!

Terra’s house became to centre of our known universe for the next three days. Terra and Lares made us all feel welcome, safe, and warm.

And we had dogs, lots of dogs. First, the resident pooch, Dash, who was very pleased and excited to see all of us. Lare’s Dad’s dog, T-Bone, a good natured Bassett Hound arrived, much to Dash’s delight; they are best friends. Luna and Janus’s dogs Benny and Bim arrived. Benny is very good natured and affectionate. Bim is older now and easily overwhelmed by commotion. There were a lot of us, and we created a lot of commotion. Bim did very well, all things considered. Lare’s Grandmother’s dog Jeannie arrived next, another relaxed and good natured dog. And we also had cats, Terra’s three cats, who were not always enthusiastic about the dogs. Adults, kids, dogs, and cats everywhere, glorious.

We spent almost all waking hours visiting with Terra and Lares, and Luna, Janus, the Grandbabies and Gamers.

What fun to spend time with the the Grandbabies, Imp, Elf, and Tink!

This morning Attila removed most of the ice that remained on the driveway at the little house in the city. It was thick. The temperature today was above freezing, which facilitated breaking the ice into small enough chunks that they could be heaved aside. Most of the ice that had clung to the trees fell this morning as well, which means that there will be no further ice damage.

While Attila shovelled, I did made a whirlwind shopping trip, visiting five different stores, list in hand. When I returned from my shopping trip the drive was cleared. Attila and I ate a quick lunch, and then began the process of loading the car for the trip back to the country house. The very last carry out to the car was with Mist in her cage.

The trip home was uneventful. The roads were wet and clear, and dry and clear in spots. We encountered a wee bit of fog close to the country house. Although we were happy with the circumstances of our journey, Mist definitely was not. She yowled, mostly at the top of her lungs, through most of the journey. That is a lot of yowling! We brought her into the house as soon as we arrived home, and within five minutes she was ensconced on Attila’s seat and sleeping peacefully. Home sweet home.

The electric heaters kept the country house cozy and warm, so we arrived to comfort. The first fire is in the masonry heater, the car is unpacked, our belongings are put away, and we are beginning to wind down and relax.

Our time away passed in the blink of an eye!

Worldly Distractions

Weather

0°C
Date: 7:00 PM EST Saturday 28 December 2013
Condition: Mist
Pressure: 101.6 kPa
Visibility: 6 km
Temperature: 0.4°C
Dewpoint: -0.5°C
Humidity: 94%
Wind: SSW 8 km/h

Quote

“It is well to remember that the entire universe, with one trifling exception, is composed of others.”
John Andrew Holmes