Clear and Frosty Morning

Yesterday we got to see almost all of our Grandbabies! Terra hosted a family get together at their large country house. Luna and Janus and Imp and Elf and Tink were in Quebec City for Christmas, a work related situation, and stopped for a day and night at Terra’s house. They arrived at Terra and Lares’ home yesterday morning, minutes before we did. Terra cooked a delicious turkey dinner, I brought pumpkin pie squares, mincemeat squares (homemade mincemeat), Attila’s chocolate chip cookies, and ice cream. We enjoyed a wonderful day together, saying our goodbyes late in the evening, as Attila and I left to head home. Luna and family left this morning to make another stop before carrying on to their home.

What wonderful little creatures grandchildren are. Their personalities, their innocences, each unique and fascinating. It always, always, surprises me that they remember me, that they love me even thought so little our lives are shared, and how much I love them. I think they can tell that they delight me, to the very core of my being. My highlights were Sunny and Sky strutting around in their new foot blankets, tottering a bit now and then in their toddlery ways.

Another activity I enjoy with the Grandkids is back massages. Elf and I exchanged back rubbing and hand rubbing, taking turns. Elf has always enjoyed physical affection, as do I. I have been rubbing his back, his feet, his head, ever since he was a baby. This visit he gave me a hand massage while I rubbed his back, then I gave him a hand massage while he rubbed my back… could there be any greater joy in life! And the back rubbing continued, as Imp took her turn having her back rubbed, and then Tink took her turn. I love touching these wondrous living creatures, feeling the warmth and softness of their skin. It is life affirming, this contact with healthy blooming lives, that are a continuation of the love passed down by my Mom, my Granny, my Grandpa, and those loved ones who came before them and shaped our lives in untold ways.

It is very cold right now, a true cold snap. We are very grateful to be tucked up here, safe and warm, in Mist Cottage. I worship our thermostat, which I still do not take for granted. Attila is spending his time off work happily in the kitchen, preparing all his favourite foods, taking his time, enjoying the leisurely pace. Attila loves to eat, and thankfully he prefers his own cooking!

My days are floating gently by, filled with a bit of crochet work, a bit of writing, a bit of baking, a very difficult crossword puzzle (Van Gogh’s Starry Night), a bit of dithering about on the computer, and the hard work of resisting the urge to overindulge in all the wonderful holiday food we have in the house. The extreme cold is enforcing inactivity at the moment, the elliptical machine calls to me from the corner of the living room, I’ve ignored it for days… but not tonight.

Worldly Distractions

Weather

DATE: Wednesday 27 December 2917
A few clouds
-28°C
FEELS LIKE -38
Wind 14km/h NE
Wind gust 21km/h
Humidity 78%
Sunrise 7:43 AM
Sunset 4:33 PM
Pressure 103.3kPa
Visibility 24km
Ceiling 30000ft

EXTREME COLD WARNING IN EFFECT
-26°C
Date: 6:00 AM EST Thursday 28 December 2017
Condition: Clear
Pressure: 103.8 kPa
Tendency: Rising
Temperature: -25.8°C
Dew point: -30.1°C
Humidity: 68%
Wind: W 16 km/h
Wind Chill: -37
Visibility: 24 km

Quote

“The artist is a receptacle for emotions that come from all over the place: from the sky, from the earth, from a scrap of paper, from a passing shape…”
Pablo Picasso
1881 – 1973

Sweet

The weather was overcast all weekend, snow fell on Saturday, but only a few isolated flurries. It was good weather for a journey, and on Saturday we left Mist Cottage at about 8:00 a.m., to make our way to a Christmas get together at my Sister-The-Youngest-Girl’s house. The weather was perfect for travelling, both on the way there, and on the way home again, our easiest trip ever in regards to road conditions and traffic.

On Saturday my two sisters, their husbands, my Mom, and Attila and I, sat down to a Christmas feast. There was roast turkey, dressing, four vegetables, and condiments, followed by apple pie, lemon meringue pie, date squares, chocolate chip cookies, and ice cream. My Sister-The-Youngest-Girl cooked the meal, and I helped with the dressing. The meal was cooked without salt, and it was so very delicious, I didn’t miss the salt at all. I think my taste buds have completely adjusted to the low sodium diet, most foods taste good without any salt added. The desserts were my downfall, I had a serving of everything on offer, and enjoyed every single bite! What a good time we had! Mom, my sisters, and I, worked on a jig saw puzzle in the dining room, through the evening. The “fellas” watched a hockey game.

This morning, unable to resist temptation, I enjoyed a serving of each kind of dessert. What a breakfast! At home we don’t keep sweets in the house, and no longer eat dessert, so this was my big chance to “have it all”, so I did, lol.

Over the last month or so I have been working on a pair of slippers to give my mom for Christmas. Her feet get cold sometimes, so I decided she needs foot blankets. I found a pattern and used the same yarn that I purchased to make the water balloons for the Grandbabies.

DSCF1651 Foot blankets for my Mom, aka slippers.

My sisters, Mom, and I, had our Christmas get together rather early this year, because Mom is heading for Florida, any day now. She will drive from Ontario, Canada, to Florida, by herself. She has done this for many years, except for the last two when she was sorting out health issues. She is ready to roar once again, and is busy getting her gear ready to go. We loved being able to see her before she leaves!

I talked with Luna on the weekend, she recently had a birthday. She is well, and was telling me that they will be spending Christmas in Quebec, because Janus works through Christmas, and he is stationed out of Quebec at the moment, so Luna and Imp and Elf and Tink are going there so they can all be together for Christmas. We might see them as they pass by on their way home after Christmas.

Worldly Distractions

Weather

-1°C
Date: 5:00 PM EST Sunday 10 December 2017
Condition: Mostly Cloudy
Pressure: 100.9 kPa
Tendency: Falling
Temperature: -0.7°C
Dew point: -7.7°C
Humidity: 59%
Wind: WSW 31 gust 40 km/h
Wind Chill: -8
Visibility: 24 km

Quote

“Remember not only to say the right thing in the right place, but far more difficult still, to leave unsaid the wrong thing at the tempting moment.”
Benjamin Franklin
1706 – 1790

Quiet

February has been a very, very quiet month. Winter arrived in February, which means I only get out for a walk occasionally. Today was one of those days that I got out there to pound the pavement. Our snowstorm on Sunday left quite a bit of snow behind, and the temperature has remained below freezing ever since, so that the snow is still with us. That meant that sections of the road were covered with snow packed to ice. Conditions for a walk were not ideal, and several times I had to inch my way onto the ice at the side of the road, when a vehicle approached at speed, speeding on a quiet residential street. If one of the neighbours decides to petition for a speed bump I will be signing on the dotted line to support it. Although I had to remain alert and cautious, I enjoyed my walk, taking in the crisp breeze and enjoying the odd ray of sunshine that shone down on me through breaks in the cloud.

I have been forcing myself to work on my book. I admit to extreme inertia when it comes to working on my book these days, who knew I would dislike searching my archives for copies of images, and references. I haven’t even reached the stage of inserting the images into the book! Still, a few times a week I manage to get myself seated in front of the new iMac, to work for a few hours. Progress is not steady.

Attila’s Christmas gift to me was a set of books written by Elena Ferrante. I have been enjoying the first book. It took some time to become engaged in the story, but now I am hooked.

Last weekend Attila cooked a full turkey dinner, which will provide us with our daily dinner for a about a week, and after that turkey soup for many days. The dressing for the turkey was made with my sodium-free bread, so that I could eat it without compromising my food choices for the day. On Sunday I baked two loaves of sodium-free bread, and low-sodium squash muffins for Attila’s lunches this week. I had planned on a visit to a farmer’s market in the nearby city on Sunday, but the snow storm made a cozy day at Mist Cottage seem very appealing; maybe next weekend we will venture out.

I am enjoying my mornings here at Mist Cottage. Attila leaves before dawn each day, and I am always awake to give him a hug before he heads out for work. Usually I sit in my rocking chair after Attila departs, taking my morning coffee, watching the dawn slowly arrive through the living room windows. Every morning I am delighted by this scene, it is as if an animated Maxfield Parrish painting slowly comes to life before my eyes. I love where we live now. Mist Cottage, this neighbourhood, this town, they are not perfect, and I do have some small complaints and concerns, but they are only truly small, there is nothing in our context to mar our happiness here, such a contrast with our life at the country house.

Lull brook winter detail Lull Brook Winter, Maxfield Parrish, 1945
Source: http://www.scanopia.com/maxfield-parrish/lull-brook-winter-detail.html

Worldly Distractions

Weather

-10°C
Date: 8:00 AM EST Tuesday 14 February 2017
Condition: Mostly Cloudy
Pressure: 101.2 kPa
Tendency: Falling
Temperature: -10.0°C
Dew point: -11.8°C
Humidity: 87%
Wind: ENE 8 km/h
Wind Chill: -15
Visibility: 19 km

Quote

“I began to have an idea of my life, not as the slow shaping of achievement to fit my preconceived purposes, but as the gradual discovery and growth of a purpose which I did not know.”
Joanna Field

“Marion Milner, sometimes known as Marion Blackett-Milner, was a British author and psychoanalyst. Outside psychotherapeutic circles, she is better known by her pseudonym, Joanna Field, as a pioneer of introspective journaling.” Source: Wikipedia

Winnie

We spent yesterday at the Rideau Camp. Attila alternately shovelled crushed stone, removed small debris from the large pile of logs and dead trees for me to burn, and stacked the cedar logs that he extracted from the large pile. Occasionally he would bring a few armfuls of dead branches over to the camp fire area, for me to break into pieces and burn. My task for the day was to burn the debris.

We also tackled emptying our compost toilet buckets into our humanure composter on Saturday. We gathered all the needful things, the full buckets, the long handled brush, liquid soap, and some loose hay that we had stored in “Winnie”. We had prepared the bed of the composter on a previous trip the Camp, so everything was set up and ready to go. I emptied my bucket first, I have my own bucket! Then Attila dumped his bucket. We were prepared to deal with some pretty horrendous aromas… and there were none! No bad smells, not even a whiff. We rinsed our buckets and dumped the rinse water on the deposits, still no smell. Then we used soap and the long handled brush to wash the buckets and lids, and dumped the wash water onto the deposits. Finally we covered the deposits with a fresh layer of straw, then lay the heavy metal rack over all. The metal rack will prevent animals, such as the neighbour’s dog, from digging the whole thing up!

I am extremely impressed with the composting toilet system!

We used 12 litres of water to process a whole summers worth of waste for two people. Years from now we will have rich compost for shrubbery.

We have been using our five gallon buckets “as is”, no seats. Eventually I would like to build seating for our buckets, but there is no rush for that.

Now, you may ask, what is “Winnie”?

The outbuilding that Attila built to house the compost toilet buckets is called “Winnie”, after Winnie the Pooh.

We doused our fire around 4 p.m., then packed our things and headed for home. The day had been quite chilly, and it sprinkled rain on us as we ate our lunch, but otherwise was cloudy and dry. We were grateful to get home to a hot spaghetti supper and our own warm beds.

Today Attila prepared a turkey dinner, including dressing, gravy, potatoes, squash, and green beans. It takes Attila most of the day to accomplish this, and I NEVER complain!

Worldly Distractions

Weather

17°C
Date: 9:00 PM EDT Sunday 2 October 2016
Condition: Mostly Cloudy
Pressure: 101.5 kPa
Tendency: rising
Visibility: 24 km
Temperature: 17.2°C
Dewpoint: 14.9°C
Humidity: 86%
Wind: S 13 km/h

Quote

“While the fates permit, live happily; life speeds on with hurried step, and with winged days the wheel of the headlong year is turned.”
Seneca
5 BC – 65 AD

Farewell To Winter Feast and The First Day of Spring

After enjoying some lovely mild weather, where temperatures actually rose as high as 10C, colder weather has returned. A little dip back towards winter. By the end of next week milder weather is expected.

Yesterday, the last day of winter, Attila cooked a turkey dinner; the last turkey dinner of the 2015/2016 winter season, our Farewell To Winter Feast and a week of leftovers.

So here we are, enjoying the first day of spring! It is sunny, the temperature is around 0C, and with the wind the air has a real nip to it. We stepped along lively when we went out for our walk.

Today I baked a batch of Peanut Butter Oatmeal Cookies, and in so doing finally used the last of the Mist Cottage peanut butter. Now I move on to using the supply of peanut butter we brought with us on the move from the country house. Slowly but surely we are consuming the duplicate food stores! Not that it is a hardship to eat such wonderful food, it is just a relief not to have to store it.

Attila and I had an exciting week. We want to camp this summer, and after looking at the bookings in the parks I realized that we would find it stressful to book ahead for a camping spot because of Attila’s unpredictable overtime schedule. What to do? Well, our solution was to buy a plot of land to use as a private camp site, no booking necessary. It is an hour and fifteen minute drive from Mist Cottage, has no facilities at all, is completely off-grid, and is basically just a patch of bush. And we love it. Our camping dilemma is solved.

We have been thinking about having a camp near this area ever since we bought Mist Cottage and started to renovate. However, it just made no sense at all until we moved here last fall. We have been looking at property for camping in this area for the last five years, and found nothing we liked and could afford. Until last week. I found the piece of property by accident, and almost dismissed it as it looked dull and unappealing in the online pictures. It is near but not on the Rideau waterway system. It had come onto the market on March 14th, so on the 16th we drove out to have a look at it. We fell in love. We bought it. Low interest rates make many things possible.

We plan on spending our vacation at our first camp, the little piece of land we bought near our previous country house. It is just down the road from my Granny and Grandpa’s house, near my sister’s cottage, and has a view over the fields, a view I have been gazing at all of my life. When we have extended periods of time for recreation, we will head for the ancestral camp. When we have short periods of recreational time, we will head for the Rideau camp.

This is where Iris enters the picture. She is light and easy to tow anywhere. She has everything we will need to camp completely off-grid. With her we will carry in our cooking, eating, and sleeping gear, and our portable privy. Each time we leave one of our camps we will carry everything out with us again, to leave it exactly as we found it, a little piece of bush with a clearing in it.

Attila and I feel blessed.

The Rideau Camp. Iris will be very happy here!
RideauCamp

I am waiting, not so patiently, to get back to giving Iris a thorough cleaning. I decided to put my cleaning on hold until the temperature stays above freezing.

I have however, managed to complete one task. The back of the refrigerator in Iris is accessed through an opening in the side of the trailer, covered by a vent cover. On removing the vent cover for inspection, moisture was found. Yesterday the vent cover was removed and brought indoors, where it warmed enough to remove the disintegrating, leaking flashing. It was thoroughly washed and dried, then received new flashing. A snippet of a flea collar was placed in the access cavity in Iris before screwing the vent cover back into place. The flea collar, some claim, and I have yet to verify, is supposed to prevent wasps from building nests. It would be very handy if it works, as placing a fresh snippet of flea collar each spring would take very little effort; certainly a lot less effort than trying to remove an active wasp’s nest.

Attila is keeping his eyes open for new tires for Iris, we have decided that they are necessary before we take her out for her maiden camping voyage.

Mom has been increasingly active, making trips to the bank, the library, and who knows where else! She looks great, Sister-the-middle-girl sent me a photo of Mom, who was up and about, taken on Thursday. Mom’s is on a steady course to recovery, she really knows how to pace herself!

And now to post this, and thereafter discover what ravages autocorrect has bestowed upon this missive.

Worldly Distractions

Weather

0°C
Date: 2:00 PM EDT Sunday 20 March 2016
Condition: Mostly Cloudy
Pressure: 102.1 kPa
Tendency: falling
Visibility: 24 km
Temperature: 0.3°C
Dewpoint: -12.1°C
Humidity: 39%
Wind: SE 19 km/h

Quote

“An education isn’t how much you have committed to memory, or even how much you know. It’s being able to differentiate between what you do know and what you don’t.”
Anatole France
1844 – 1924