Dreary, soggy, white, and wet… for now!

Spring thaw has begun. The snow is melting into puddles, puddles everywhere. The yard is still mostly white, with pools of water reflecting the approach of spring.

I’ve had a quiet day. I left the cheerful living room lights on for most of the morning, until the day brightened and the curtains were drawn open. I am working on a new crochet project, a cotton facecloth. The blanket I have been working on for, gosh, almost two years, is now finished and keeping Attila warm at night. The blankets were good projects for me, because of the repetition my hands developed strong body memory for the the stitches, and the technique I use for maintaining tension.

There is lots of evidence that spring is coming. The ladybugs who have burrowed their way into the house are crawling on the windows, when the sun shines. I kill them, as they bite. Two wasps have also managed to enter the house, again, drawn to the sunny windows. I kill them. Their sting is seriously painful, and Attila is allergic. Their presence in the house inspires a plan to properly seal the house with caulking, at the bottom of the siding, around the perimater of the house. It is better to keep them out than to kill them. That project will need to wait for much warmer days!

We saw robins yesterday, flitting through the ornamental apple tree in the front yard. The tiny apples have been on the tree all winter. Now, as the barren season stretches on, and the ground is still covered with snow, the apples are suddenly appealing to the birds. They eat the seeds. Many of the plants on the property attract birds and wildlife, and mostly we enjoy their company. But the rabbits, well, the rabbits are fine as long as they stay out of the garden!

Worldly

Weather

-2°C
Date: 10:00 AM EDT Wednesday 13 March 2019
Condition: Mostly Cloudy
Pressure: 102.6 kPa
Tendency: Rising
Temperature: -1.9°C
Dew point: -3.1°C
Humidity: 91%
Wind: S 16 km/h
Wind Chill: -7
Visibility: 24 km

Quote

“I don’t have goals, I have fantasies. They are exactly like goals, but without the hard work.”
Emily Levine

Cookies Gone Wrong

Who makes cookies and forgets to add the sugar! I mean, what use is a cookie without any sugar? Apparently I made cookies without adding any sugar! And you know what, they taste good anyway. I’m not sure just how that manages to be true, but it is. They are Turmeric Breakfast Cookies. I will say though, that even though I will eat all of them, the next time I make these cookies I will strive to remember to add the called for sugar to the recipe. I’d say that I’d learned my lesson and this wouldn’t happen again, but it has happened before, and I am sure it will happen again… I have an avoidance thing about sugar; only because I like it so much, and it is not good for me.

The kitchen is a busy place at Mist Cottage today. The weather can be thanked for that. Blowing snow and rain, and the temperature is hovering just above freezing. The roads are covered in slush and ice, and the wind is wicked. Home is the best place to be when weather like this comes to visit. And what better to do, on windy, wet and cold day, than bake cookies, and muffins (sugar was added), and cook garbanzo beans in the Instant Pot. Attila will make a large batch of Hummus this evening, which I love to eat for my breakfast or lunch, and he loves to eat for his lunch.

Things are quiet and peaceful today, and the house smells amazing.

Attila just brought in a plate, on which he stacked the silicone muffin cups to dry after they were washed. He brought the stacked cups in to show me that the three colours (four each) are stacked without two cups of the same colour touching. He knows how to have fun in the kitchen!

Soon it will be time to turn the oven on for dinner preparations. The menu for this evening is Roast Chicken Breasts, with Oven Roasted Potatoes, and Green Beans. Comfort food.

Yesterday was sunny all day, and a little bit chilly. Attila and I took advantage of the nice weather, and clear sidewalks downtown, to do a little walking tour. It was lovely to be out and walking about. I still needed my parka, boots, and gloves though!

Worldly

Weather

Date: 3:00 PM EDT Sunday 10 March 2019
Condition: Light Rain
Pressure: 100.7 kPa
Tendency: Falling
Temperature: 1.3°C
Dew point: 1.3°C
Humidity: 100%
Wind: S 24 gust 36 km/h
Visibility: 6 km

Quote

“When you get to the end of your rope, tie a knot and hang on.”
Franklin D. Roosevelt
1882 – 1945

I think the erratic and extreme weather has humans tying knots all over the planet! Hang on!

Daily Bread

Years ago I baked all of our bread, all of the time. Then we moved to the country house, and my job demanded my time for almost all my waking hours, and the bread baking just wasn’t possible. Then the job disappeared, and I began taking on a series of truly horrid, very low paying, local jobs with either long hours, or on-call short notice jobs that chopped up my time so that I couldn’t really expect to have open ended hours for bread baking. Bread baking became more and more difficult to undertake, and eventually I just gave it up.

Then we moved to Mist Cottage. Living in the tunnels-through-the-boxes in this tiny house, and working on downsizing, took years. There were also significant renovations going on the whole time. Then, just as the physical environment was stabilizing, Attila had a “midlife crisis”, and life upended in a different way.

Attila’s crisis has eased, 2018 was survived, life at Mist Cottage has stabilized, and I am able to return to baking all of our bread.

Years ago, before we moved to the country house, I purchased 50 pounds of whole wheat flour. If life had not had other plans for me, and my bread baking had continued, the flour would have been easily consumed before its shelf life had expired. But life did have other plans for me. The flour was not consumed. Some of it spent time in the cupboard. Some of it spent time in a 6 gallon bucket. Some of it spent time in the freezer.

The flour that spent time in the cupboard was thrown away a few months ago, when I began to organize the basement and finally checked it, after the garage roof project was completed. It was rancid.

The flour that spend time in the 6 gallon bucket was edible, not fresh exactly, but edible, and it has provided us with bread for the last month. I am glad it is gone, I did not enjoy baking with it.

The flour in the freezer was checked yesterday, it was fresh, not off at all, and so it will be used for bread baking until it is gone.

When all of the old whole wheat flour has been consumed, I will begin to mill my own flour, in small batches, from whole grains. Whole grains keep much longer than milled flour. The whole grains will be kept in the freezer, then thawed in small quantities, to be milled for our daily bread.

I will be experimenting with all kinds of grains, and hope to try Rye, Kamut, Spelt, Red Fife Wheat, and Einkorn Wheat. Currently I am searching for reasonable suppliers. Shipping is the real issue with grains, because they are very heavy, so that the cost of shipping is around the same as the cost of the grain itself. So far I’ve found only a few Ontario suppliers, who cater almost exclusively to the well off, and quite a few fantastic suppliers from the prairies. I”ve even found suppliers from the USA, with free shipping, and their products would be cheaper to import than products purchased locally, or in Canada. Decisions, decisions!

Worldly

Weather

-9°C (-19C last night!)
Date: 9:00 AM EST Friday 8 March 2019
Condition: Mainly Sunny
Pressure: 102.8 kPa
Tendency: Rising
Temperature: -8.7°C
Dew point: -14.2°C
Humidity: 65%
Wind: SW 8 km/h
Wind Chill: -13
Visibility: 24 km

Note: The predicted temperatures going forward are getting warmer, so that our Heat Pump will be taking over the heating from the forced air furnace, most of the time. The low humidity and static problems will subside. Heat Pump heating requires a different kind of wardrobe during the day. It circulates room temperature air, so that the thermal mass in the house does not heat to a higher temperature as it does with the heat from the forced air furnace, which blasts warmer than room temperature air. This means that objects, like the chair I sit on, will be room temperature, and cooler to the touch, thus cooling the body on contact. So, my autumn/spring wardrobe will be adopted. I will need slightly heavier clothing to keep comfortable.

Quote

“Do I contradict myself?
Very well then I contradict myself,
(I am large, I contain multitudes.)”
Walt Whitman
1819 – 1892


Spring is Dressing Slowly

Attila said, when he arrived home from work last night, that the driving conditions were the worst he had ever driven in. Heavy snow and white outs that made the road slippery and everything on or around it almost invisible. He made it home, it just took an extra forty five minutes to get here.

Last night the temperature dropped to -19C and the wind chill was -27C. I awoke this morning to a loud snap as the wood in the house cracked in the cold.

Tonight they predict the temperature will go down to -19C again, but the wind chill will only be -23C.

And then…

On Saturday the temperature is supposed to rise to 2C during the day, and every day after that, in the forecast, it is predicted to rise above freezing.

It seems that spring is dressing slowly.

This morning the sun is shining brightly and the snow sparkles. The world is a little quieter when there is fresh snow on the ground. The sharp edges of car doors slamming and big trucks rumbling by are captured and softened by in the light white blanket.

I am frequently asked “what are you doing today.” The answer is always the same, I’ve no plans, the days unfold like flowers on a summer day. People keep asking. I keep telling. I must be fascinating! 🙂

Life isn’t perfect, but there are perfect moments. I like to gather them as they drift by, and put them in my basket.

Worldly

Weather

-17°C
Date: 7:00 AM EST Wednesday 6 March 2019
Condition:
Mainly Sunny Pressure: 101.8 kPa
Tendency: Rising
Temperature: -17.2°C
Dew point: -19.1°C
Humidity: 85%
Wind: NW 10 km/h
Wind Chill: -24
Visibility: 24 km

Quote

“‘Taint’t worthwhile to wear a day all out before it comes.”
Sarah Orne Jewett
1849 – 1909

Where Virtue Lives

Well here it is, March! At last! We awoke to a winter wonderland, a few inches of snow fell over the course of the night, to sparkle this morning in the sunlight. We had thought to go out for a walk today, but opted for a day of food preparation instead, so as to avoid any possible ice underfoot.

Bread baking and Split Pea Soup making passed the hours pleasantly.

Yesterday was spent moving furniture around. This provided an opportunity to sort through some belongings, clothes in particular. If a piece of clothing holds together and fits comfortably, it stays. A few items went into the trash, they were well past any hope of being useful to humans. A full grocery bag of lightly worn, no-longer-fit clothes, was gleaned from the cupboards, and it will go to the women’s shelter.

Virtue: conformity to a standard of right : morality.

Source: Mirriam-Webster

The keyword, in my opinion, in this definition, is the word “right”, as in correct. Who is to say what is right? How does one know what is right? Who sets this standard by which the virtuous establish their claim to virtue?

Two possible standard bearers are external, or internal standards.

There are thousands upon thousands upon thousands of external individuals and groups claiming the right to define right for themselves and others. A lot of people rely on them as guides.

Many people rely on internal beacons of what is right to guide their path in life.

And then there are people who rely on both, simultaneously or sequentially.

Personally, I find the concept of virtue is of limited value, it can take up shop just about anywhere. I think Hitler believed himself to be quite virtuous, and he seemed very sure that his definition of right… was right.

The human characteristics that I find valuable are things like kindness, compassion, honesty, and similar recipient-oriented attributes.

Worldly

Weather

-5°C
Date: 1:00 PM EST Sunday 3 March 2019
Condition: Mostly Cloudy
Pressure: 101.9 kPa
Tendency: Falling
Temperature: -4.8°C
Dew point: -7.5°C
Humidity: 82%
Wind: SSE 16 km/h
Wind Chill: -11
Visibility: 24 km

Quote

“Virtue is choked with foul ambition.”
William Shakespeare 1564 – 1616
Henry VI, Part II, Act III, sc. 1

[Ambition of the external arbiter of virtue, or an internal virtue rooted in ambition.]