Bwa ha ha ha

Happy Hallowe’en!

My All Souls list includes my Granny and Grandpa, my former partner Pat Logier, friends Norm Hacking, Derek Currie, Sam Larkin, Irene Bean, Sarah (Rhubarb), Alison Simms, Paul Simpson-Housely, my brother Carl, my Aunts Marie and Anna, my second baby born too soon and who I never saw, Blackie the Dog, Bim the Dog, Mist the Kitty, and many more. Now they travel other shores. The world was a better place for their lives lived, my world was a better place. How lucky I have been.

What a dismal day! It rained off and on all day, and it was cold. It looks like the little Trick or Treaters are going to have a cold, wet walk-around this evening. Last year no one came to our door, and we ended up eating all the candy we bought for those phantom children. So this year the exterior lights are off, the curtains drawn, and we have no candy, or anything else, to distribute. I always enjoyed handing out candy to the costumed hopefuls who came to the door, so I feel a little let down, but not a lot.

And so October comes to a close. What a month! Well, aren’t they all, in their own way.

This evening I stuck with the tried and true for dinner, Sweet and Sour Chicken with Rice and Vegetables, in the Instant Pot. It was very good, so I feel replenished, and will go back to my Instant Pot experimentation tomorrow.

We are in the midst of a rotating mail strike here, but the bills have made it through! I should be glad, but their arrival is not inspiring joy. One lovely thing that did arrive this week was a book, we don’t buy many these days, but this one took our fancy. Attila has Finnish heritage, so we are both finding Pantsdrunk: The Finnish Guide To Drinking At Home. Alone. In Your Underwear. very amusing. It feels good to laugh. Of course we don’t drink, but we do the at home, along, in your underwear with great panache. Just imagine!



Date: 6:00 PM EDT Wednesday 31 October 2018
Condition: Light Rain
Pressure: 100.8 kPa
Tendency: Rising
Temperature: 11.9°C
Dew point: 11.9°C
Humidity: 100%
Wind: WSW 10 km/h
Visibility: 6 km


“One doesn’t discover new lands without consenting to lose sight of the shore for a very long time.”
Andre Gide
1869 – 1951


Tank is still at garage camp. Oh my how the weeks fly. After my conversation with the garage staff last week, they are keeping me in the loop. I called them yesterday to see how things stood, they were still working on figuring out just what the problem is, and they called me back near the end of the day to tell me how things were going. They are anxious to get Tank fixed, and the repair paid for, and we are anxious to get Tank back. Similar goals. All I can do is wait and keep my fingers crossed. I am beyond being frustrated about this, and I have now adapted to a lifestyle where I have no mobility when Attila has the car at work. Thank goodness for online shopping, and Amazon Prime. All of my appointments for the next two weeks have been cancelled or rescheduled. There is no public transit here, and taxi fare isn’t in my budget. At some point Attila will have to start taking vacation time, so that I can have a vehicle for appointments, but it hasn’t come to that yet.

My project for today is to make meatless meatballs. We purchased some from Walmart once, and actually preferred them to beef or chicken meatballs. But the store-bought products are full of chemicals, and are extremely expensive.

The second issue with meatballs is the meat. I like to restrict red meat consumption to one meal a week, chicken consumption to two meals a week, fish consumption to two meals a week, and that leave two meals a week that will be vegetarian. We love our Quinoa and Spinach in the Instant Pot, so that will be a weekly dinner. One more meatless meal needed, and that is where the meatless meatballs come into play, Spaghetti and Meatballs.

The solution is to find a good recipe for meatless meatballs, and make them myself. Today is the day for attempt number one. I am following a recipe called Simple Vegan Meatballs. The meatballs will be for dinner tonight, I am trying this recipe for Soccer Mom Spaghetti and Meatballs.

This will take most of the day!

First thing was to find the coffee grinder, to grind the flax-seed. I use a lot of flax-seed. It is a basic ingredient for muffins, breakfast cereal, and my Turmeric Breakfast Cookies. I always use it whole, and do not grind it.

Popular wisdom says flax-seed must be ground to get all the nutrients out of it. I spent a lot of time looking for the research that lends support to that theory, and found none. The often stated “fact” is not supported by any scientific studies, just assumptions. I KNOW the whole flax-seed I consume does not remain whole when digested, don’t ask me how. So if it is being broken down for digestion, I am not entirely sure that grinding it has any nutritional benefit, it might, but that remains to be seen. I am open to reliable evidence one way or the other.

Oh yes, I had to find the coffee grinder, no idea where to start looking for it, so that took some time.

After finding the coffee grinder, stowed away in a plastic bag in the topmost cupboard of the storage closet in the kitchen, the flax was ground and the “flax egg” was made and set aside in the refrigerator. After 15 minutes the flax egg and the rest of the ingredients went into the food processor. The taste was wonderful, but the consistency was nothing like the online recipe. It was too soft to hold a shape. So the saute step was skipped, and the meatball mixture was dropped by spoonful onto the baking sheets and baked.

A few adaptations were made to the recipe. The quantities were changed to: two drained cans of chickpeas, 1 tablespoon of ground basil, 1 teaspoon of oregano, two teaspoons of garlic plus, 1 tablespoon of garlic granules, 1 teaspoon of freshly ground pepper, 1 tablespoon of parsley, and 1 teaspoon of tomato powder (homemade). No salt was added.

These soft meatballs will not go into the Instant Pot, where I fear they will turn to mush, or dissolve. They will be heated, and placed on the dish after the spaghetti has been cooked and plated.

The whole concept needs work, the goal is round meatless meatballs, cooked and frozen, and ready to throw into a meal in the Instant Pot. First steps are always the hardest!



Date: 9:00 AM EDT Tuesday 30 October 2018
Condition: Mainly Sunny
Pressure: 101.9 kPa
Tendency: Rising
Temperature: 0.4°C
Dew point: -1.2°C
Humidity: 89%
Wind: WNW 11 km/h
Visibility: 24 km


“It is the mark of an educated mind to be able to entertain a thought without accepting it.”
384 BC – 322 BC

“Keep Calm and Carry On”

Tank was supposed to be ready by noon yesterday. I heard nothing from the garage. Attila called them when he got back from work, and they said they just had to check it out to make sure everything worked, wanted us to come get it the next day, Friday. Attila told them his wife would like it today, Thursday, and that we would be at the garage at 5 p.m. to pick up Tank.

When we got to the garage it was very busy, and Tank was nowhere to be seen. We greeted the desk staff, who said that it wouldn’t be long. Then we saw Tank arrive back from the test drive. We waited patiently. We watched as Tank was driven off the lot again, alerted by the terrible noise she was making as she drove away, she sounded like a diesel truck. Tank does not have a diesel engine. Not good. They explained something about two cylinders not working, they were working when she came to the garage, now they are not working. Not good. The fellow told us Tank will be ready today.

When we were there I decided to take charge of the interactions, after all I am here during the day, so I can call them. Actually I am the “bad cop” when we approach situations like this, a role I can easily assume. I pleasantly but firmly told the fellow that if Tank were not ready by Monday morning, they would HAVE to provide me with a courtesy car. I asked that I be called today to let me know what is going on with the vehicle. It was just after 1:00 p.m. and I hadn’t heard from them yet, so I called them. They are ordering parts directly from the dealer he said. No word on when the vehicle will be ready. They will call me this afternoon to keep me up to date on how things are going. At least no empty promises were made.

It is hard to remain optimistic about this situation. These guys are clearly in over their heads with this repair. I think they will try to make it right, but my GOD this is getting ridiculous. I had a very bad experience with a garage when I was doing research for my PhD and needed a vehicle. The garage was awful, wanted a fortune to return the vehicle, not having fixed it. I took them to small claims court and won, and since they were a franchise I called the mother company. I did not let that one lie. That garage lost their franchise, and I didn’t feel in the least bit sad about that. The consequences of the lost vehicle were catastrophic for me. It wasn’t until this morning that the bad feelings about that past fiasco resurfaced. This situation is going on way too long for comfort.

Feeling so tense, so irritable, what to do!

Why can of course!

I had saved all the apple peels from the 26 Northern Spy Apples that I used to make and can applesauce. They had been boiled until transparent, then strained. The liquid sat all day yesterday, I was too distraught to function in the kitchen. I did boil it for five minutes though, since it was sitting on the range for the day. This morning I made Applescrap Jelly with it. It is so good! I used the Apple Jelly with no pectin recipe from the National Centre for Home Preservation, and included the lemon juice. When the liquid was first strained there were eight cups, which were boiled down to four cups. The jelly had to cook for around twenty minutes to reach the sheeting stage, and it seemed as if it was not going to jell, but finally it did. The yield was small, but oh so good!

Two 500 ml jars of jelly.

Applescrap Jelly made with no pectin. Thank goodness for the new steam canner, which makes canning this wee bit of jelly perfectly viable. Both jars sealed as soon as I took them out of the canner. The partially full jar will go into the refrigerator to be used right away.



Date: 1:00 PM EDT Friday 26 October 2018
Condition: Cloudy
Pressure: 102.1 kPa
Tendency: Falling
Temperature: 3.6°C
Dew point: -4.3°C
Humidity: 56%
Wind: E 10 km/h
Visibility: 24 km


“Yesterday is not ours to recover, but tomorrow is ours to win or to lose.”
Lyndon B. Johnson
1908 – 1973

Midst of Activity

Tank started to have issues on the 9th of October, I took her to garage number one. Come back Friday, October 12th, he said. On Friday afternoon he said he couldn’t do the job, take it to garage number two. Attila drove right over to garage number two, come back Tuesday, October 16th, they said. They called me on Wednesday, October 17th, and said that they had to order a part, costing $800, I gave the go ahead. We didn’t hear from them again so Attila called Friday afternoon, October 19th, we just got the part today they said, the vehicle will be ready by Tuesday, October 23, they said. No word. Attila just talked to them again. Tank isn’t ready, they said the kit they ordered didn’t come with valve cover gaskets, they had to order them from Montreal, should be there tomorrow, October 25th. Tank will be ready tomorrow they said.

In the meantime I had to cancel two appointments over the last two weeks, and I have an appointment a mile or so away from home at 8:30 tomorrow morning, which I confirmed yesterday based on garage number two promising Tank would be ready today. This appointment could have been rescheduled, if they had let me know what was going on with Tank. Now I have to walk to the appointment. If my knee gives out, so that I can’t get home again, I’ll be phoning a taxi and paying for that. Grrrr.

They told Attila that Tank would be ready by noon tomorrow, to call them. Eventually, one would think, Tank will be repaired and returned to us.

I guess I needed to spell it out for this garage, that they HAVE to call me to let me know if there is any change in their timeline. I had told them I had appointments that might need to be cancelled or rescheduled, but apparently this didn’t inspire them to keep me in the loop. I will be much clearer with them if there is a next time.

My whole day today was planned around picking up Tank when Attila got home from work. I rearranged my projects, and put one off entirely, to accommodate picking up Tank. When he called them and they once again said that Tank was not ready as promised, I experienced a mini-meltdown. Enough! Too much disruption! I let the feelings come, and after an hour so I watched them go. Attila allowed me the space I needed to deal with my emotions, while he cooked dinner, and cleaned up the kitchen. There is a reason I like living with Attila.

Tonight I am going to bake muffins, that should help me feel better!



Date: 6:00 PM EDT Wednesday 24 October 2018
Condition: Mostly Cloudy
Pressure: 102.3 kPa
Tendency: Falling
Temperature: 5.7°C
Dew point: 0.2°C
Humidity: 67%
Wind: NNW 18 km/h
Visibility: 24 km


“We must learn to be still in the midst of activity and to be vibrantly alive in repose.”
Indira Gandhi
1917 – 1984

You win some…

Although I am an experienced canner, I am no stranger to failure. My penchant for experimentation gets me into trouble sometimes, other times it has delightful results. Yesterday was one of the times that things didn’t go according to hopes.

The first batch of canned Northern Spy Apples was successful, but for the packaging that was mistakenly left inside the canning lid during the canning session. The resulting canned apples were delicious, almost perfect, but there was some concern that they were shelf safe, so into the refrigerator they went. The first jar was opened and tasted wonderful!

Yesterday another 26 Northern Spy apples were peeled, cored, and diced. That was a big job. Then one teaspoon of sugar was added to each canning jar, the apples ladled into the jars, topped up with the water they had boiled in. Rims were checked, lids were placed on the jars, and the rings were screwed on the to the new very light “finger tight” that I had seen in a video. My usual finger tight is much tighter than this, so this was the first time I tried this new method of finger tightening in the pressure canner. The jars were pressure canned at 10 psi for 8 minutes.

The jars were removed from the canner when the pressure had fallen to zero. There was a surprise in store. The liquid in the jars had leaked out, about half of it from each jar. The jars were sticky, so the sugar must have dissolved so that it was a sugar syrup that escaped from the jars. All of the jars were sealed.

canning jars of apples with half the liquid missing

Half of the liquid leaked out of these 500 ml jars of Northern Spy apples. All of the jars sealed. The jars were very sticky! The one teaspoon of sugar that was added to the bottom of the jar, before adding the apples, must have dissolved. A failure in that the liquid escaped the jars. A success in that the jars all sealed.

I am suspicious that the leaking liquid was a result of the lightly finger tightened rings. I will try this again sometime, but jars headed for the pressure canner will be finger tightened more securely. The lightly finger tightened rings are fine for the steam canner, but not for the pressure canner.

I had a half a jar of these apples for breakfast, with fresh-baked biscuits. Oh my they were good! Not very sweet, but not tart either. An apple a day is what they say!

I tired myself out yesterday, preparing all those apples for canning. Today is a day to take it easy, paying bills, putting away canning equipment, reading, and anything else that takes my fancy. And I think I’ll just have myself another one of the biscuits!



Condition: Mostly Cloudy
Pressure: 101.5 kPa
Tendency: Falling
Temperature: 7.4°C
Dew point: 4.8°C
Humidity: 83%
Wind: ENE 7 km/h
Visibility: 24 km


“All love that has not friendship for its base, is like a mansion built upon sand.”
Ella Wheeler Wilcox
1850 – 1919