Being There

Monday, July 16, 2018

It looks like the humidex today will top 40C, stinking hot. I won’t be poking my nose out the door until things cool down. Well, I will venture onto the back porch in the afternoon to close the cabana curtains against the sun, otherwise it will be humidex 50C on the back porch. I feel extremely lucky to have the air source heat pump, otherwise I would be suffering, and unbearable. As it is I am just a little irritated by being housebound due to the extreme heat. Things could be a lot worse, counting my blessings.

After a busy weekend in the kitchen, there is food aplenty in the house. Baked potatoes, sweet and sour meatballs with rice and vegetables, BBQ chicken, vegetable soup, homemade bread. It will be midweek before the Instant Pot will be back in service.

The bathroom is being cleaned today, top to bottom. It is a big job, not a favourite either, but one that, once completed, is very satisfying. There are only five rooms in the house, perhaps another will be tackled!

Tuesday, July 17, 2018

Another quiet day here at Mist Cottage. Another hot, humid day. I won’t be poking my nose out of the air conditioned atmosphere for any length of time today.

Things are looking very, very brown in our neck of the woods. The grass in the neighbour’s yard has been brown for a few weeks, and I fear it will not recover, although it has in the past after long dry spells. Even our yard is starting to look a little brown. Our yard is does have grass in it, some, but it is mostly things like plantain, wild strawberries, dandelions, red and white clover, bindweed, birdsfoot trefoil (my personal favourite), and many as yet unidentified weeds. Although still green, most of the weeds are beginning to look distressed from the drought; except the birdsfoot trefoil, it is thriving with bright yellow flowers and luxuriant greenery. Attila continues to water the garden every night.

Tonight will be a second night of leftovers for dinner. Last night it was leftover BBQ Chicken, and Vegetable Soup for Attila, leftover Sweet & Sour Meatballs with Rice and Mixed Vegetables for me. Tonight dinner will consist the last of the Vegetable Soup and homemade whole wheat bread. Tomorrow evening it is back to cooking again.

There are still bits and pieces to be done on the back wall of the garage, more studs must be installed. Attila didn’t want to tackle much last night, it was just so hot, and he had been working in it all day, so he decided to paint the new back wall white. Attila likes white, so I suggested he paint the walls of the garage white. It will brighten the back of the garage no end, reflecting any light that enters, and make things like wasps nests easy to detect. I have my fingers crossed that this weekend coming up will see the last of the finicky parts of the back wall construction completed, the new window installed, with security guard, and most of the fiddly bits taken care of. The point where the renovation is no longer a pressing priority, and becomes an ongoing relaxed project, if fast approaching.

It has only rained once since the metal went onto the roof, and it held dry then. It has not rained since, except for a few drops here and there, that evaporated within a few minutes. It has been weeks since we had rain!

The garden needs a real soaker of a rain.

I am not really sure where the time goes these days. You would think, alone here for most of my waking hours, that I would be climbing the walls with boredom and loneliness. That does not seem to be happening. The days fly swiftly, they soar. Attila, off at work, or on his own with his garage renovation and garden, might spend fifteen or twenty minutes talking to me, over the course of the day, weekdays, weekends, the same. Occasionally, Attila and I will have a longer chat, but that has been on hold for the duration of this garage renovation. There are no other face-to-face conversations in my day-to-day world.

I have met some wonderful people online, and have come to appreciate and value their (your) intelligence and compassion. So many have shared their perspectives, hearts, minds… well, thanks, just thanks, for being who you are, and being there.

The humidity dropped this afternoon! Oh sweet relief, it is still hot, but not suffocating.

My Mom is in Las Vegas on vacation with my sister, they get on very well together, and are perfect travel companions. I think they will have a great time!

The Back Section Of The Garage Back Wall

The garage back wall closed in on Sunday.

ng>Worldly Distractions

garage back wall painted white

The garage back wall closed in and painted white on Monday.

Weather

26°C
Date: 1:00 PM EDT Monday 16 July 2018
Condition: Mostly Cloudy
Pressure: 101.3 kPa
Tendency: Falling
Temperature: 26.2°C
Dew point: 22.4°C
Humidity: 79%
Wind: SSE 14 km/h
Humidex: 36
Visibility: 19 km

29°C
Date: 1:00 PM EDT Tuesday 17 July 2018
Condition: Partly Cloudy
Pressure: 100.8 kPa
Tendency: Falling
Temperature: 29.2°C
Dew point: 12.7°C
Humidity: 36%
Wind: WSW 23 gust 34 km/h
Humidex: 32
Visibility: 24 km

Quote

“…Doesn’t everything die at last, and too soon?
Tell me, what is it you plan to do
With your one wild and precious life?
Mary Oliver

Paradise

I am sitting on the back porch. The day is overcast. It is the weekend, a Saturday, and Attila was mandated to work today, so he is at work. I can hear the birds singing. I’ve seen a cardinal couple this morning, they flew across the back neighbour’s yard and into the trees. The rabbits have been to visit. The squirrel has also been here this morning. Robins and grackles are looking for food in the browning grass.

What I am hearing mostly this morning though, is the awful sound of trees being ripped out of the ground. The development at the end of the street has circled the standing houses and is ripping out the beautiful mature trees behind us. The splitting of the trees as they are jerked out of the ground is a horrible, horrible sound. With each screech as a tree is destroyed, I send the pain I hear to people who are doing this to make money. Greed. They don’t need the money, they want the money, big house, big trips, big vehicles, big strutters. I send the pain their way, where it belongs.

It seems as if by the end of the day the cardinals will lose their paradise, and so will we.

This morning I am baking a loaf of whole wheat bread. We have several bags of whole wheat flour, and they are getting on in age. Whole wheat does not store well long term. The wheat I was using was unpleasant, but Attila insisted that I make bread with it and that he liked it and wanted to eat it. I found myself avoiding bread baking because it disgusted me to use the flour. I have talked him into abandoning that flour, what little is left of it. There is another bag of flour which has been stored properly, but for quite some time. Today I opened the bag, and so far, so good. It smelled fresh. Whole wheat flour, when it isn’t fresh, can smell awful. Today’s loaf is 100% whole wheat, it is in the bread machine, on the back porch, and it should be ready for a taste test by lunch time.

We had rain! Well, you might call it rain, but then again, you might say the sky was just a bit teary. There were wet spots visible on the top of the BBQ. There were not enough drops to wet the whole surface. Things are very, very dry. The grass is brown, rain barrels are empty, the garden needs to be watered twice a day. The day is overcast and my fingers are crossed that we get a few hours of showers.

Yesterday Attila picked some of our peas. There are four plants still standing, four out of the dozen or so planted. They are pod peas, meant to be eaten pod and all. A few leftover fresh mushrooms from the refrigerator, the fresh garden peas, a quarter pound of ground beef, frozen mixed vegetables and flavourings, into the Instant Pot and forty minutes later a fantastic soup for dinner. Attila is over the moon with this daily hot meal that he doesn’t have to cook!

Worldly Distractions

Weather

23°C
Date: 8:00 AM EDT Saturday 14 July 2018
Condition: Mostly Cloudy
Pressure: 101.7 kPa
Tendency: Rising
Temperature: 23.3°C
Dew point: 18.7°C
Humidity: 75%
Wind:WSW 8 km/h
Humidex: 30
Visibility: 24 km

Quote

“The chief weapon of sea pirates, however, was their capacity to astonish. Nobody else could believe, until it was too late, how heartless and greedy they were.”
Kurt Vonnegut
1922 – 2007

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.

Tipping The Balance

The new garage roof is doing its job, keeping the garage dry! The project isn’t finished yet, but it is beginning to wind down. Last night Attila puttered instead of building. He spent his evening putting away tools, organizing materials, watering the garden, and just generally taking stock of what still needs to be done.

My attention is drifting away from the project. I am still cooking and making sure that everything on the domestic front runs smoothly enough, so that Attila is completely free of the day-to-day tasks that keep a home comfortable and functioning. But I am ceasing to watch, listen, keep a third eye focused on what he is doing. He is no longer working on ladders and on heights, which is a big relief to both of us. My mind is beginning to wander back into my own interests, welcome back me.

Yesterday the bills for the project arrived in the mailbox. Yikes! After careful navigation, I rearranged the financial structure to pay those bills. It will be close to Christmas before Peter is repaid by Paul, but it should all proceed smoothly provided belts are tightened, and discretionary spending avoided.

What a season, new windows, new attic insulation, and a new garage roof! These renovations were all expensive, by our standards, and vital to the integrity of Mist Cottage. Attila and I both agree, it is so much more like a home than a science project now, the balance has been tipped!

We are slipping towards what life will be like, Attila to his garden and studio, me to my research, web, and domestic projects.

Today seems much worse, weather wise, than yesterday. It was already 22C when I looked at the thermometer outside the kitchen window early this morning. I am very fortunate that I can stay comfortably busy inside Mist Cottage, at a temperature of 23C, with relatively low humidity. I will be glad when this heat wave subsides, but it won’t be today.

We picked up the car at the garage yesterday, but were unable to pay the bill because the owner was just locking everything up when we arrived, he had an appointment to get to. Today I paid a visit to the garage to pay the bill. Afterwards I went to the dollar store to look for materials to deter the rabbits from eating the beans and peas. I bought some bamboo trellises, and laid them along the outside of the fence, maybe that will discourage the furry fellas.

The air quality is very low today, breathing the cloying air is unpleasant. It was quite a relief to arrive home and walk into a lovely 23C environment, where the air is relatively fresh and easier to breath.

Attila was just too tired, and too hot, to work on the garage tonight. Best to rest, I say. With a humidex of 43C or 109F, it is best not to push, working all day in a hot factory was pushing pretty hard already. Heaven only knows how hot it was in there!

Time for another experiment in the Instant Pot. A recipe found on the internet, for Spicy Orange Chicken baked in the oven, sounded very appealing. Could it be adapted to the Instant Pot? There was only one way to find out, try it! And so a new recipe was born, Spicy Orange Chicken With Rice & Vegetables. It was a big hit with Attila, and I loved it too! Of course, writing it all down for oneself sometimes means ingredients are forgotten, or instructions seem vague to others, so feedback on the new recipe is welcome.

Well, I hope everyone who lives in heat wave affected areas is staying cool and healthy! And that everyone is comfortable in their circumstances!

Worldly Distractions

Weather

Another stinker of a day!!!

HEAT WARNING

23°C
Date: 7:00 AM EDT Thursday 5 July 2018
Condition: Partly Cloudy
Pressure: 102.3 kPa
Tendency: Rising
Temperature: 23.2°C
Dew point: 22.3°C
Humidity: 94%
Wind: S 11 km/h
Humidex: 33
Visibility: 24 km
dateDetailed Forecast
Today A mix of sun and cloud. 30 percent chance of showers this afternoon with risk of a thunderstorm. Wind becoming southwest 20 km/h gusting to 40 this afternoon. High 34 except 28 near Lake Ontario. Humidex 43 (109.4F). UV index 10 or very high.

Quote

“Our own physical body possesses a wisdom which we who inhabit the body lack.”
Henry Miller
1891 – 1980

Laugh

Sometimes you just have to laugh at yourself.

Tank, the big vehicle, sits in the driveway, unused unless I take a notion to go somewhere. Sometimes I do go somewhere, but mostly, I don’t. Why? It isn’t my lifestyle.

My ideal is to live where I can walk to shopping, to entertainment, to work (retired now, no longer relevant). That is not possible, the cost of living in a vibrant urban centre is beyond my means. Well, it is beyond the means of most Canadians, so that makes me a part of the majority on that issue. My ideal is not attainable.

What to do when your dream can’t come true, and you know it, and you decide to not beat your head against multiple brick walls to try and attain the unattainable… got lemons, making lemonade.

What has been attainable is this very small house, that was in disgusting condition, that I bought with Attila. Since 2010, when it was purchased, every spare minute and penny has gone into making it a viable home. It was not livable when we purchased it, which is why it sat empty for years until we came along. It isn’t in my ideal neighbourhood. The urban area here is anything but vibrant and varied, but it is in a quiet, respectful, and pretty neighbourhood. It isn’t walking distance to anyplace I would like to go, a walk will always consist of parading myself up and down fussy, stuffy, uninteresting residential streets, leaving the house to circle around, and come back to the the very same place.

So, why do I like it here? The appeal, the desirable that has been attained, is Mist Cottage itself. It is a space where Attila and I spend most of our time, money, and expend most of our energy. It is the place where I experience my joys and sorrows, it is a familiar friend. I think Mist Cottage likes me, and I think it likes Attila too. I like Mist Cottage, and I think Attila likes it too.

Oh yes, back to Tank, I was talking about Tank. Although it is vital that Tank sits in the driveway so that I have the choice to go somewhere, I seldom find myself wanting to go somewhere.

Tank is not in the driveway today. The car went into the garage yesterday, for regular maintenance. Tank transported Attila to work this morning, gone for the day.

What day did I decide to go to the store? What day did I get dressed to go out, gather my things together for an outing? Today of course!! So I laughed at myself, of all the days to decide on an outing, I chose the day that there is no vehicle in the driveway. No vehicle, no outing.

Laughing the whole time, I took off the clothes I had chosen for the outing, hung them up, and donned my usual working garb. Today was a day to spend at Mist Cottage. There was no disappointment, tomorrow is another day, my destination was not time dependent, the planned outing could be made any day… if I feel like it.

I have begun checking out the camping gear. The lanterns and battery operated fan were dragged out of storage. Batteries were checked, some replaced and tested, and all stored in the bin that goes back and forth to the camp. Extra rechargeable batteries were charged and placed in the travel bin. Trailer bedding spent the winter at Mist Cottage, it was brought out, aired, and then packed.

I plan on bringing a spray bottle of permethrin solution to the Rideau Camp. I am going to try spraying it around areas where the ants come in, to see if it will deter them. In my dreams it would also deter the mice, but that isn’t very likely.

Looking at the weather forecast for today, 33C with high humidity expected, perhaps it is just as well that I stay happily and comfortably here at Mist Cottage. Better weather is on the way (my definition of better of course) for the end of the week, much cooler.

I have made a discovery! When a very aggressive person invited himself to my home recently, I turned the table and invited myself to his, suggesting materials he could prepare for my visit. I haven’t heard from him since. I will probably not hear from him again. The lesson for me here is that when someone is exhibiting merely annoying aggressive and/or intrusive behaviour, it might work to turn the table on them. As with anything, my mileage may vary.

This evening I tried a new dinner recipe in the Instant Pot, One Pot Spaghetti. The taste was lovely, I made up the ingredient list myself, for the sauce. The sauce, although it tasted great, was very watery, and I do not like watery foods, so I was disappointed. Attila loved it! I will experiment with this one until we both love it.

What an entry! Could it be more scattered! Well, that is what I am like most of the time, a little of this, a little of that, and at the end of the day it all adds up to whole lot of pleasantness.

Worldly Distractions

Weather

HEAT WARNING
25°C
Date: 10:00 AM EDT Wednesday 4 July 2018
Condition: Partly Cloudy
Pressure: 102.7 kPa
Tendency: Rising
Temperature: 25.3°C
Dew point: 19.3°C
Humidity: 69%
Wind: SSE 9 km/h
Humidex: 32
Visibility: 24 km
Sunny. High 33 except 28 near Lake Ontario. Humidex 39. UV index 9 or very high.

Quote

“The idea of perfect closes your mind to new standards. When you drive hard toward one ideal, you miss opportunities and paths, not to mention hurting your confidence. Believe in your potential and then go out and explore it; don’t limit it.”
John Eliot, Ph.D.