No Heat – Heat

It is really winter now!

This morning I was puttering around and feeling kind of chilly. I ignored the feeling and carried on with my projects. But the feeling persisted, and then began to be more and more insistent on getting my attention. A quick look at the thermometer alerted me to the fact that the temperature in the house was plummeting. Neither the furnace, nor the heat pump, were able to get going. There was no heat.

With a wind chill factor of -22 outside, I was going to have to do something, and quickly. I realized that although we own several electric heaters, Attila had stored them somewhere, and I could not find them. So that option was not available. I dressed warmly and headed out to the side of the house to inspect the air source heat pump. I cleared the snow from it, quite a bit actually, we are experiencing snow squalls. I banged it on the side a bit, thinking maybe it would get going. No. Back into the house I went.

My next attempt was to turn the temperature up substantially on the thermostat, hoping that would inspire the system to leap into action. No.

My next attempt was to turn off the thermostat, and leave it for several minutes before turning it back on. Nothing. So back down to the basement I went to look for the electric heaters, they had to be down there somewhere! No luck finding them. But while I was down there rummaging through the piles of stuff, I heard a noise, and bingo, the furnace kicked in and began to run!

So I was in business, the house began to warm up, and after about a half an hour I could remove my toque and parka. I spent some time down in the basement and finally remembered where the electric heaters were stashed. I found them.

An electric heater won’t keep the house comfortable, but it will keep the pipes from freezing. I also need to know where the antifreeze is, so I can winterize the house if the power goes out. We have all that is needed here to survive a no heat situation, but I have to be able to find the materials needed if I am going to implement the plan.

With any luck the furnace will keep working for the rest of the winter!



Date: 9:00 AM EST Wednesday 30 January 2019
Condition: Light Snow
Pressure: 101.0 kPa
Tendency: Falling
Temperature: -15.0°C
Dew point: -17.7°C
Humidity: 80%
Wind: NW 12 km/h
Wind Chill: -22
Visibility: 16 km


“Good order is the foundation of all things.”
Edmund Burke
1729 – 1797

The Quiet Life

The weather has brought us another cold snap, which is supposed to be short lived. Since my knee seizes up when the temperature dips below freezing, there is no chance I will be going for walks in the great outdoors. Oh well, at least I have the elliptical machine.

Since Attila and I have been together we have always waited until the last week of January to take down the Christmas Tree. Last weekend we slowly removed the ornaments, and lights, and carried our much enjoyed tree out the front door and around to the back yard. The tree will be used as part of the hugelkulture raised bed, which will be built this spring. I am sentimental about trees, and cried this year when the tree was being disrobed for its journey out the door. I miss the tree, and the lights, but am happy to have more floor space in the house. The tree meant walking sideways and stepping over furniture to get around, the house is that small.

My birthday falls in the winter months. There aren’t a lot of things that I can do out of doors in the winter, so celebrations focus on indoor activities. This year I asked for, and received, a flour mill for my birthday. It is an extravagance, a toy, a hobby type item for the kitchen. It is brilliant. All I have done so far is to run long grain rice through it to clean it, the rice flour looked amazing, but was discarded as there were traces of metal and oil in it. The machine is clean now and ready for action. I am currently trying to source wheat berries, and other grains, at reasonable prices. No luck so far, but the search has just begun.

I think my writing has changed over the last year. There has been little in the way of whimsy in my existence during 2018, and my confidence in the future has been at an all time low. I think this is reflected in my thoughts, feelings and writing. Change, sudden and drastic, was the order of my days in 2018.

2019 however has begun on a much more positive and hopeful note. My health is excellent, that is such a blessing. My relationship with Attila is steadily improving, which I did not expect. Attila is in good health, another blessing. My children are healthy, and my Grandchildren, which is also a blessing. My Mom, and siblings, and their children, are all doing well, another blessing. I enjoy my friendships online, and even occasionally get to see people face-to-face. The ability to pursue interests and hobbies continues, which keeps me endlessly entertained. And although I know the world out there seems to be going to hell in a hand-basket, I have no intention of following the public furor into hysteria. It is best not to lose perspective during a time of crisis. Here at Mist Cottage Attila and I carry on, occasionally struggling through a day, but mostly enjoying what good fortune we do have.



Snowfall Warning
Date: 1:00 PM EST Monday 28 January 2019
Condition: Mostly Cloudy
Pressure: 102.4 kPa
Tendency: Falling
Temperature: -18.0°C
Dew point: -26.3°C
Humidity: 49%
Wind: NE 27 km/h
Wind Chill: -29
Visibility: 24 km


“As soon as you trust yourself, you will know how to live.”
Johann Wolfgang von Goethe
1749 – 1832

Killing Bugs

It snowed all day, and now it is raining! Roller coaster weather, which I prefer to continuous deep cold. The snow is wet on all of the roofs now, holding on to that rain. I hope it stays above freezing for a bit, give the roof a chance to shed some of the load.

When there isn’t much else to do on a dreary winter’s day, then we get busy with odd jobs. Last night we spent the evening in the kitchen. We weren’t cooking, oh no. We were boiling laundry. We gathered together all the clean dishcloths, put the half-full-of-water 16 quart stock pot on the burner to boil, then began to boil the dishcloths. This is necessary every so often, to kill lingering bacteria. As soon as they aren’t smelling fresh after being laundered, it is time to boil the bugs out of them. After boiling all the washcloths, we moved on to the white socks in the house. Then we laundered all the boiled items, and hung them up to dry for the night. I folded them all this morning and put them away. They smelled oh so fresh!

Attila has a cold bug, and I think I am coming down with it too. It isn’t too bad, mostly a runny nose, but in my case it is starting with a headache. Good excuse to cozy up of an evening with a hot mug of honey and apple cider vinegar, read a book or watch a movie.

Dinner tonight is Mongolian Chicken, well it is actually Mongolian Turkey, because I am using a thawed package of diced turkey meat, saved from our Christmas turkey dinner. The whole dish is cooking in the Instant Pot of course!

I am noticing that the volume of recyclables coming out of Mist Cottage is falling. This is because we are using a lot of home canned and frozen ingredients, as opposed to tinned items from the grocery store. I do notice that it is a bit of extra work, to continually wash canning jars as I empty them, and to carry them down to the basement to store the empty jars away in boxes until it is time to fill them up with goodness again.

I wish there were local farms that sold reasonably priced produce for canning, but there aren’t. Or at least if there are, they are keeping a low enough profile that I can’t find them. The search continues. In the meantime we are beginning to plan our garden for this summer. Perhaps we can grow enough for a year of something… string beans, tomatoes, spinach, those are my best guesses.



Date: 4:00 PM EST Wednesday 23 January 2019
Condition: Light Rain
Pressure: 100.8 kPa
Tendency: Falling
Temperature: 0.4°C
Dew point: 0.3°C
Humidity: 99%
Wind: S 17 km/h
Visibility: 8 km

Yesterday Morning:
Date: 8:00 AM EST Tuesday 22 January 2019
Condition: Mainly Sunny
Pressure: 104.0 kPa
Tendency: Falling
Temperature: -25.9°C
Dew point -29.1°C
Humidity: 75%
Wind: NNW 8 km/h
Wind Chill: -33
Visibility: 24 km


“What I dream of is an art of balance.”
Henri Matisse
1869 – 1954

Extreme Cold Warning

Attila has been making short, very short, forays out with the shovel. He cleared the driveway over the course of the day. Quite a bit of snow fell over the course of the night and during the morning. it is very cold out there. Attila said that shoveling near the house wasn’t too bad, but out at the end of the driveway, where the wind was howling, was almost unbearable. I didn’t go out to help shovel, too cold for my knee. In an emergency I would do it, but it isn’t an emergency, and Attila did a great job. The snow continues to fall.

Heating with the oil furnace means that a lot of static is generated in the house. It is oh so dry, 22% relative humidity when I arose at dawn this morning, and I’ve only got it up to 26% this afternoon. Still working on it though, as tonight is supposed to be really cold, -24C, so the furnace will be working hard all night.

The dryness creates a lot of static, which means my hair, which is very fine, is standing on end, literally. This morning I had wet my hands and run them over my hair, so that I could capture it all and put it up into a bun. I am wearing a hat over the bun, to keep it under control, as long strands escape confinement with great ease.

It is a quiet Sunday here at Mist Cottage. A day of puttering, crocheting, reading, cooking, and doing little odd jobs around the house, checking them off the list.



Date: 12:00 PM EST Sunday 20 January 2019
Condition: Drifting Snow
Pressure: 100.9 kPa
Tendency: Falling
Temperature: -17.1°C
Dew point: -22.1°C
Humidity: 65%
NNW 26 km/h Wind Chill: -28
Visibility: 24 km

Tonight: Mainly cloudy with 60 percent chance of light snow. Local blowing snow this evening and after midnight. Wind northwest 30 km/h gusting to 50. Low minus 24. Wind chill minus 30 in the evening and minus 38 overnight. Frostbite in minutes.


“Laughter is the closest distance between two people.”
Victor Borge
1909 – 2000

Winter Storm

The cold weather has arrived! Until today the winter weather has been relatively mild and benign. It has been warm enough that a lot of our heat has been generated by the air source heat pump, which heats the house when the temperature is above -7C. The oil furnace took over last night, and will be doing all the work until next Tuesday, at the earliest. The cold snap is meant to intensify into a major winter storm over the weekend, before easing up over the course of next week. There will be snow shoveling going on this weekend!

The air is house is dry! Our humidity is at 25% relative humidity. In the past, this level of humidity resulted in my multiple nosebleeds throughout each day. Since the specialist cauterized my nostrils, I have had only one nosebleed, which was less than a week after the procedure, and must have been due to incomplete healing of the wound. No nosebleeds since then. Yay.

Attempts to raise the humidity have met with little success. A load of wet laundry is drying on a collapsible rack in the living room. Large tea towels have been soaked, and hang on hangers over the heating vents. Tubs of water sit on the floor near the heating vents. Five different soaked cloths hang in various locations around the house. The soaked towels and cloths dry in a matter of hours, so it keeps me busy running around soaking them over and over again. And still the humidity does not change, I am merely keeping it from falling further.

If we ever have to replace our furnace, the expense of a built in humidification system will be seriously considered.

Well, the challenges of winter’s first roar are really not that odious. We are warm here, the furnace heats this little house quite well, and much more effectively with the added attic insulation, all new windows, and some new insulation on the basement wall and rim joists. We are keeping the house much warmer this winter, than in winter’s past. In the past the thermostat was lowered to 17C at night. In the morning everything touched was cool, and it cooled the body, made one feel chilly. This winter we are not lowering the temperature at night, and it has made a difference in our heating fuel consumption. I will be able to calculate just how big a difference this made at the end of the heating season. Our bills are definitely higher, but not drastically so. We do notice though.

Attila is busy in the kitchen. He likes to cook his soups on the weekends. Last weekend it was Pea Soup. This weekend it is Cabbage Soup. These soups serve as Attila’s “second suppers”, he eats an entire second evening meal, every day of the week. I do not eat a “second supper”.

I have been enjoying Taco Soup this past week, for my lunches. I made it last Wednesday, thinking that I might can it in 500 ml jars, for quick lunches. But we ended up eating it for supper instead, so there wasn’t enough left to justify a pressure canning session. Since I like Taco Soup, Attila has been leaving it alone, so that I could enjoy it for my lunches. I would like to make another batch this week, and pressure can it. Once canned it can sit on the shelf for a year or more, waiting until I have a craving for it.

The pressure canner is a big beast, and although I can get it up the stairs from the basement, it isn’t a quick or easy endeavor. It takes up a lot of room in the kitchen, so I need to commit to canning if I, or Attila, bring it up into the kitchen. My future plans for the kitchen include a space to store the pressure canner. Perhaps this storage space will be tackled by next winter, perhaps not. I’ve more ideas for improvements, than time or money to get them done,



Date: 11:00 AM EST Saturday 19 January 2019
Condition: Mostly Cloudy
Pressure: 103.0 kPa
Tendency: Rising
Temperature: -20.2°C
Dew point: -26.6°C
Humidity: 57%
Wind: NNE 21 km/h
Wind Chill: -31
Visibility: 24 km


“In a real dark night of the soul it is always three o’clock in the morning, day after day.”
F. Scott Fitzgerald
1896 – 1940

NOTE: What is it about 3:00 a.m.!?!