Busily Recuperating

The summer cold continues to plague me, although the symptoms lessen slowly over time, I am still struggling to keep up my fluids, and go through boxes of tissues. I was only up twice last night coughing, an improvement. This is one miserable cold!

My energy levels are definitely down, but I am managing to remain a it active anyway.

On Saturday Attila and I took a run out to the Rideau Camp. All was well there, except for the hoards of army worms. They were there in much greater numbers than our last visit, even though I had destroyed hundreds and hundreds of them. The spray works really well for the swarms of them, but not so well on individual worms. Attila sprayed, while I used a stick to squish the low lying outliers. I also tended an all day camp fire, burning a lot of the brush that had been brought up from the swamp area near the road, it had dried out. I estimate that I was on my feet dealing with army worms for over seven hours on Saturday. By the time we headed home it was beginning to get dark, after 8:00 p.m., and I could hardly stand I was so tired. I really enjoyed being a passenger on the drive home!

Mice continue to enter Grace the Trailer, I haven’t found the entry point yet. I spent an hour or so spraying their mess with hydrogen peroxide, then collecting and burning it all in the camp fire. Mice are horrid, destructive little beasts! While working on the army worms near Winnie the outhouse, I noticed debris hanging from the ceiling in there. Sure enough, a mouse was building a nest in the ceiling. I chased the mouse away, knocked the nest down, then used tongs to throw it into the camp fire. Critters!

Yesterday was restful by comparison. I spent my day preparing food, using the back porch as an outdoor kitchen. I used the Nesco oven to bake a rhubarb crisp, with fresh rhubarb from the garden. I used the bread machine to bake a loaf of bread. Using the dehydrator fresh oregano from the garden was dried and powdered. The dehydrated tomato seeds and skins, leftover when the tomatoes were processed with the food mill, were powdered as well. Having used appliances out of doors, in a covered area, the house was not heated up at all, and it remained a cool haven all day long.

One of my projects last week involved the sewing machine. While I had it out to stitch up the skirt curtain for the basement window, I also stitched up some cabana curtains, using my stash of old bed sheets. The sheets were all white, but all different sizes, which looks a little haphazard, but does the job nicely. One of the sheets was the one that was sent to summer camp with Terra, when she was in primary school. It still has her initials painted onto it with fingernail polish, and a fingernail polish footprint, where the project got a little out of hand. When these sheets wear out, I’ll look for replacements of the same size, in bright colours. For now though, the white sheets are doing a fine job of keeping the afternoon sun off the deck. No longer does it heat up to unbearable temperatures in late afternoon.

Cabana curtain back porch june 2018 The back porch cabana curtain. The porch gets full sun from about 2 p.m. until sundown, and it gets very hot on the back porch when that happens. I hung old white flat sheets from long curtain rods, to make “cabana curtains” for the back porch. They work wonderfully well, so that I can now sit out on the porch comfortably all afternoon, and the house no longer gets hot in the afternoons. Note that the porch is a sorry affair. The decking is actually hardwood flooring, never meant to be installed without support. Attila added the outer row of short pieces, from scrap we found below the porch. There was no railing when we bought Mist Cottage. The cast iron railing that is there now, was the railing on the front porch, a huge concrete affair that had sunk towards the house and rotted out the sill plates. The railing was saved and installed on the back porch. The back porch is the next project on the list of renovations, another year.

Today I am resting, as I feel quite worn out!

For dinner tonight I need to come up with something using a single chicken breast. I want to use the mini Instantpot that we recently purchased on sale, couldn’t resist it for the back porch summer kitchen! Most of the recipes I find online use ketchup, soy sauce, and other ingredients that are full of sugars and sodium. I am going to attempt to use the techniques, while using completely different ingredients.

Although I was aware of Instantpots, I didn’t give them a second thought. I have a pressure cooker, and a pressure canner, what would I do with an Instantpot pressure cooker. Bex shared some recipes she tried in one, and I was intrigued. Then I found one on sale, and that was it, home it came. It is the smallest one, 3 quart, there are only two of us here. The first recipe tried was Rice Pudding, it was the best rice pudding I have ever made, hands down. The second recipe tried was Vegetarian Baked Beans, very yummy, very easy. The third recipe was spicy kidney beans for Attila, very nice. The Instantpot is perfect for a one-electrical-outlet based, outdoor kitchen on the back porch. It sautés, in addition to pressure cooking, so that it is the only pot needed to prepare a dish. Since I don’t add any sodium to my dishes, and limit condiments like soy sauce, which are high in sodium, finding flavour requires sautéing. Caramelized onions are essential in sodium free savoury cooking.

I received a call this morning, a dumpster became available. Attila called them back later this morning, and the dumpster arrives today! The driveway is not ready for it. Iris the Trailer needs to be relocated, I cannot do it, so I have my fingers crossed that Attila arrives home early enough to move her out of the way before the dumpster arrives. Otherwise, he will have to carry debris around Iris, to deposit it in the dumpster small load by small load, a real waste of precious time, but it is his time, it is his project. I am a person who likes to think ahead and be prepared, I would have moved Iris on the weekend, but Attila does not move to the beat of the same drum. It will all work out somehow, it always does, and the only tension Attila experiences in these situations is due to my reactions, which I diligently try to keep to myself. [Note: Attila arrived home in time to move Iris onto the front lawn, before the dumpster was delivered. It is huge. I think the whole house might fit into it! This will be a good opportunity to do a all out purge.]

I am an ounce of prevention woman, living with a pound of cure man.

Sometimes I waste time on prevention, for circumstances that never materialize. Sometimes Attila wastes time ameliorating situations that might have been prevented. It probably balances itself out.

Attila seems very settled into his life here, which I am finding comfortable. The one true thing, that I live in a house with Attila, is still true. For now, it is enough, perhaps it always will be. I can only hope that future changes in my life are not so jarring as the terrible, terrible mistake. The knowledge that anything could happen is still very close.

Worldly Distractions

Weather

21°C
Date: 12:00 PM EDT Monday 11 June 2018
Condition: Sunny
Pressure: 102.0 kPa
Tendency: Rising
Temperature: 20.8°C
Dew point: 6.2°C
Humidity: 38%
Wind: NE 18 gust 34 km/h
Visibility: 24 km

Quote

“In preparing for battle I have always found that plans are useless, but planning is indispensable.”
Dwight D. Eisenhower
1890 – 1969

Still Coughing

I don’t remember feeling this raunchy for this long! Here it is Monday, a week and a day since the first symptoms appeared, and I am still hacking away, with a runny nose, with reduced energy levels. I am feeling better, no doubt about it, the sore throat is just a little bit sore from the hacking cough, and the headache has all but disappeared, just short flashes of it now. My shortness of breath has improved.

The cough is intrusive, so much so that when it woke me up at midnight, I could not go back to sleep, having to sit up and cough so often allowed for no rest. I was finally so exhausted I fell asleep shortly after Attila awoke to begin his day, shortly after 5:00 a.m. and slept for a few hours.

I feel better, and I keep expecting to be back to normal now!

Saturday was a busy day at Mist Cottage. Attila loves to BBQ with charcoal. Many moons ago I bought him a Weber portable charcoal BBQ for his birthday. This is the second weekend he fired it up and cooked chicken and beef. The coals last a long time, so three to four meals worth of meat is cooked while the coals are hot, one meal to be shared with me on the day of the BBQ, and the rest to be refrigerated, for quick mid-week microwave meals.

While BBQing, Attila worked on his garden. He decided against growing green beans, because the rabbits will not leave them alone. No need to fence in part of the garden then, so that project was abandoned. Instead, potatoes were planted in the last section of the garden. Also planted were marigolds, cosmos, and zucchini. Attila is really enjoying his garden, it is something that brings him peace of mind, and a great deal of satisfaction.

My activities involved more sedentary projects. I paid bills, updated web sites, hung laundry out to dry, and baked a rhubarb crisp with fresh rhubarb from the garden. I followed a new recipe, calling for 4 cups of rhubarb and 1 1/2 cups of sugar… wayyyy too sweet! It weighed in at about 8 teaspoons of sugar per serving, over the daily limit of 6 teaspoons, and the taste was sweeter than my palate is currently used to, making it less appealing. The recipe will be adjusted for the next batch, reducing the total sugar added to 1 cup only. Attila will take it in his lunches this week.

Sunday arrived cloudy, and cool but not chilly. What to do with Sunday. We dropped off some birthday cards and presents for Sunny and Sky, but did not go in. Whatever I have is awful, not something I want to share with a pregnant Terra, or two bouncy two year olds. Then it was off to the Rideau Camp, which had two weeks to revert to long weeds and dozens and dozens of darks masses of Army Worms in the forest around the perimeter.

Attila cut weeds. I killed Army Worms. I mixed a quarter cup of Dawn Detergent, four cups of bleach, and six litres of water in a pump sprayer and went to it. Wow, that worked so well that I managed to kill off every mass of worms up to the height of 10 feet, higher than that was beyond reach of the sprayer. There were three or four masses above the level I could reach, there was nothing to be done about them. We worked from around noon until 5 p.m., when it started to sprinkle. By the time we packed up to leave it was raining. On the trip home the rain turned into a downpour, which continued all the way home, and then on into the night.

The last two times we arrived at the Camp, we noticed someone had tried to the door to Grace the trailer. Someone has been trespassing. So far there has been no damage, and nothing has been tampered with. Since there are no trespassing signs on the property, this seems inconsiderate at best, aggressive at worst, and illegal however you look at it. We have a few ideas on how to proceed in dealing with this, but are still deciding how to move forward.

The garlic planted at the Camp is thriving! Two weeks ago Attila planted four Blue Hubbard Squash plants; they are up and also thriving. If our Blue Hubbard Squash plants at the Camp, and here at Mist Cottage, bear fruit as well as last year, we will have a surplus of Blue Hubbard Squash. As for garlic, we can never have too much garlic.

Being on my feet and spraying into the trees for five hours on Sunday may have set me back a little, recovering from whatever is ailing me. It may be why my cough worsened to the point where I could not sleep. But perhaps not. My energy levels are rising, and I was truly enjoying myself while at the Camp, being out in the bush, in the fresh air, so busy that time passed unnoticed.

Well, here it is noon, and all I’ve managed is to drink my morning cup of coffee. Eating isn’t appealing at this point, but it is time to spend time in the kitchen, and attend to my breakfast, which it turns out is also my midday meal.

Worldly Distractions

Weather

18°C
Date: 12:00 PM EDT Monday 4 June 2018
Condition: Mostly Cloudy
Pressure: 100.3 kPa
Tendency: Falling
Temperature: 17.6°C
Dew point: 15.4°C
Humidity: 87%
Wind: SW 21 gust 36 km/h
Visibility: 24 km

Quote

“Climbing out of poverty by your own efforts that is something on which to pride yourself, but poverty itself is romanticized only by fools.”
J. K. Rowling

The majority of the population on planet earth have very limited opportunity to climb out of poverty, regardless of their efforts. I think only those who have opportunities could ever romanticize poverty.

Ups & Downs

Wednesday, 10:30 a.m.

Believe it or not, yesterday was a down day. I have a summer cold, which began to show itself Sunday evening when I was sitting out on the back porch. I thought the cough, sore throat, and headache were from the citronella candle, made in China, but I haven’t been near that since, and the cough and sore throat persist. There is no fever, thank goodness, just this cough, sore throat, headache, and sneezing. It isn’t debilitating, just annoying.

Yesterday was a down day in another way, emotionally. It wasn’t that there was anything negative happening in my little world, quite the opposite. Attila and I have been amicably living together here at Mist Cottage, no changes there. I’ve been enjoying the open windows, the birdsong, the breezes whispering to me through the leaves outside the open windows, wonderful. But despite all of this good fortune, and good fortune it is, I was feeling a bit anxious. I don’t know what it was about, but this morning it has completely dissipated.

I plan on taking on a difficult project today. I want to apply a plastic film to the new big window in the basement, for privacy. It has a “curtain” at the moment, an old blue plastic shower curtain that I bought at the Dollar Store in 2010 for $1.00. But it does not do the new window justice. Last Friday I measured the window, cut the plastic film pieces to size, then set it all aside for another day. Today is the day. I am all thumbs when it comes to doing this kind of thing, so my patience cup has to be full.

The first part of the project involves cleaning the window. There are lots of bugs in the basement, so I’ll vacuum the bugs off the window, and from around the area around the window. Then I’ll use vinegar in a spray bottle to wash it clean. When it is dry the film will be applied. Two pieces of film needed to be cut for each window, as the glass surface is much larger than the width of the film.

But first, it is time to close the windows! The temperature outside, now, at 10:30 a.m., has risen to 23C. As much as I love the open windows, I enjoy physical comfort even more, so the windows will be closed, the curtains drawn, for the day.

OK, back to the project of the day. I did all the preparation of the windows, and applied the film. Well, what can I say, there are multiple bubbles that, no matter how many times I lifted the stuff and tried again, are still there. And there they will stay! Then I wanted to hang a light coloured curtain. White seemed like a good choice, as that window gets full sun during the day. A rummage through the fabric tote, nothing gets thrown out around here, revealed a beautiful wrap around skirt, that was a gift. It was worn about 35 pounds ago, and it is doubtful that this old body, as long as it remains healthy, will not be returning to that time and place and weight. It fit over the window beautifully, and is so cheerful in the dreary basement. There will be good memories of Joannie on every visit downstairs to retrieve or store cooking equipment, and it will be enjoyed when passing by that window, every time I leave or enter the house. Some solutions are just so very satisfying.

Wednesday, 12:25 p.m.

Hot! It is hot out there, too hot to run errands in town.

One of the two cheques that were “in the mail” has arrived. The grant for the attic insulation is exactly what we were promised. It is such a relief to see it, as I had overextended our financial situation quite a bit to take advantage of the grant program. It required an up front payment for the work done, and when all the paperwork was approved, a cheque would be sent in the mail. A trip to the bank to deposit the cheque will bring closure on the attic insulation project. One more cheque to come, for the new windows. It is a much more significant cheque, the windows were a lot more expensive than the attic insulation. I want to go to the bank, but after opening the door just now, I decided against it. Too hot!

Once the sun hits the back porch in the afternoons, it is too hot to sit out. Yesterday I hung a curtain rod across a portion of the porch and hung a white sheet on it. Shade. That is one section taken care of, there are two more. There are no more curtain rods here, so a purchase will be necessary. Luckily there are a few very old white sheets in the cupboard, as I said, very little gets thrown out around here. In the meantime, cotton sheets will be pinned across the porch clothesline, to provide partial shade. Yesterday afternoon, when two sheets were up on the porch, the temperature fell from 36C to 32C. The difference will be even more noticeable when the rods are in place, and sheets are hung on them, they will block all of the afternoon sun. The clothesline blocks only about 80% of the sunshine, it hangs lower than the curtain rod.

I know that they say don’t keep things just because someday you might need them… but hen’s teeth, we almost always end up using the old stuff… sometimes it takes 30 years to get around to it though. It is a calculated risk.

Posted this entry and forgot the picture I had taken of the Tamarack! It looses its needles for the winter, they are back again.

Tamarack Spring 2018 Ontario Canada Tamarack in spring, Ontario, Canada.

Worldly Distractions

Weather

23°C
Date: 10:00 AM EDT Wednesday 30 May 2018
Condition: Partly Cloudy
Pressure: 101.7 kPa
Tendency: Rising
Temperature: 22.9°C
Dew point: 10.5°C
Humidity: 45%
Wind: SSE 5 gust 28 km/h
Humidex: 24
Visibility: 24 km

Quote

“Take calculated risks. That is quite different from being rash.”
George S. Patton
1885 – 1945

Honorable Me

I am now recovering nicely from my fall almost a month ago. The hematoma is still there, still painful to the touch, but it is smaller and much less intrusive. Pain from my tailbone has been with me for decades, my body already has ways of coping with that, so the fracture isn’t as intrusive as it might otherwise be. I am also nicely recovering from a nasty summer cold, which saw me feverish and miserable for two days, but only two days, which was a blessing. I probably picked that up in the emergency ward at the hospital, which is not an ideal place for non-life threatening health issues. Where we live, there are no other options.

The weather has been wonderful, until today, which has brought with it a slow steady rain.

The house has had no recent viewers, we have accepted that it will not likely sell this summer. So we ordered firewood, a big financial investment, enough to take us through the winter, which Attila has been busy stacking in the woodshed. It looks like we will be spending much of next winter apart, something that neither of us is happy about.

I have been working feverishly on my genealogy book, and have taken up a new temporary volunteer position as a member of working group studying health care outcomes for older people. Most of the volunteer work I do is self-generated, anonymous, and low-profile, so this is a bit of a departure for me.

I am looking forward to getting back to my physiotherapist recommended exercises, which have fallen by the wayside as I recover from my fall. I have also given up my daily walk, as I am back at the country house, where walking is distasteful rather than a source of pleasure. I find that to sustain a health routine, it must be something I do not come to loath, as I have walking at the country house. At the little house in the city I look forward to walking, every day, and it is sometimes the highlight of my day. What a contrast: location, location, location!

As I continue to follow my natural way of eating, my weight continues to fall towards my own “normal”. This is quite pleasing. I enjoy eating things I shouldn’t, and I still do that from time to time, but I love the control aspects of eating to live. Mostly, I just avoid big helpings, empty calories, and drink lots of water, not much of a formula, but it works for me.

The unfortunate truth that our “puddle problem” was indeed Mist generated has led us to keep her confined to the mud room, where we clean up after her daily. She still uses the kitty litter most of the time, but will unpredictably resort to using the floor, or furniture, occasionally. Occasionally is too much for us. The objectionable smell has all but disappeared in the rest of the house, thank goodness.

Mist is also becoming a bit more difficult to care for in other ways. Yesterday I heard a loud crash, and went downstairs to investigate. She had been on the windowsill, looking out the window, and decided to break through the window screen to gain entrance to the screened in porch. Having accomplished that goal, by demolishing the window screen, she was actively seeking a way to break through the screens in the screened in porch, to escape into the yard. I caught her before she made her great escape, which likely would have cost her her life, as the wildlife here is ever present, and always looking for its next meal. When I opened the door to the screened in porch she stared at me, then sauntered slowly past me into the mud room for a bite to eat. “No problem here,” she seemed to say.

Now we must keep the window closed to keep her safe, and have placed an air cleaning unit in the mud room to keep the air cleaned and the smell under control, at least to some degree. Attila will have to make time to repair the screen for future house viewings.

All in all things seem pretty darn good right now. I am loving this summer weather, with a few moderately hot days, around 30C, cooling night temperatures, occasional rain, and lots of sunny days.

Worldly Distractions

Weather

15°C
Date: 2:41 PM EDT Friday 17 July 2015
Condition: Light Rain
Pressure: 101.1 kPa
Visibility: 10 km
Temperature: 15.3°C
Dewpoint: 14.7°C
Humidity: 96%
Wind: SE 18 gust 32 km/h

Quote

“A life spent making mistakes is not only more honorable, but more useful than a life spent doing nothing.”
George Bernard Shaw
1856 – 1950

[Well! I am feeling pretty damn honorable just now!]