September 23, 2007

Whatever Works



Here are a few of my favorite online haunts:
[This is the site I visit to fantasize about living in Toronto again, which is almost every single day during the winter]

Jonathan Cainer's Zodiac Forecasts
[This is where I visit in the morning, when I need a positive spin on things past, present and future.]

Living Local
[This is where I go to see what Canadians are up to, sometimes I even buy things from the businesses listed there.]

Environment Canada Weather
[This is the site I visit every morning, and before every road trip during the winter]

They have come and they have gone: Luna and Janus our daughter and son-in-law, Imp and Elf the grand-babies, Benny and Bim the esteemed canines and Blackie the cat.

They arrived in a vehicle packed and bursting, pulling a trailer carrying a minimum number of belongings, like cribs and high chairs and a bed. They arrived tired from packing and closing up their house in the south. They arrived tired from all the celebrations of Imp and Elf’s first birthday. They arrived and we were very happy to see them.

After an evening of first birthday celebrations it was off to bed early, and up before dawn to gather their gear together and resume the next length of their three-day journey. I expect they are very tired today, as they will have arrived at their new home by now. I won’t call, as I think they are probably sleeping the trip off.

My latest attempt at making Salsa has yielded disappointing results. Not having been able to find the Bernardin Salsa Mix in the local grocery store, I proceeded to make up my own recipe; a little of this and a little of that. The salsa tastes wonderful, but the texture is like soup. I think the tomatoes were too ripe to start with, making a chunky salsa impossible.

Then the issue of canning jars came into play. Having used all my newer canning jars, I dragged out my thirty year old mason jars. I still have enough new lids to continue canning with them. The problem lies in that to hot water can successfully you need an inch of water above the tops of the jars. My old canning jars are just too tall to allow this in my newer hot water canner. I tried putting the jars into another, deeper pot, but feared that they would crack sitting directly on the bottom of the pot and the heat. So, I have removed the jars, two of which have just sealed, and will keep them in the refrigerator. We will use them over the course of the next month or so, so they should be quite safe.

Yesterday Attila and I hit a milestone. Three years ago in August we began the process of removing the original, badly damaged, fireplace, to replace it with a masonry fireplace. We were promised, by the installer that it would be ready to heat our house before Christmas 2004. The manufacturer, TempCast were as good as their word and had all the materials to us in plenty of time to have the job completed on time.

We learned later that the well-known building tradition here is, “behind schedule and over budget”. Our experience bore this out perfectly. The masonry heater was partially finished and functional on the first day of spring 2005, too late to supply heat for the previous winter. We had to make due, that first winter, with our little wood stove in the basement. It was a lot of work and a little worrisome, as we only had nine cords of wood. Luckily we made it through.

The fireplace cap and back wall have been an unfinished grey concrete for almost three years now. On Saturday I painted all of it a flat black, using a high-heat resistant paint meant for stovepipes. AND yesterday Attila chiseled through the concrete wall below the fireplace and installed the ash dump clean out door. Miracle of miracles, after three long years the masonry fireplace is what we consider finished.

We are ready to begin curing the heater for the winter heating season, come Thanksgiving weekend.

Would I install a masonry heater again? Oh yes! We love it. Would we hire our original contractor again? NO! We would install it ourselves, at least partially. Or alternatively, hire one of the masons recommended by TempCast for the job. If we are lucky though, this one will do just fine for quite some time to come.

Top of Page

Worldly Distractions

Imp and Elf tied to the kitchen chairs for breakfast as Benny looks on.
No high chairs?
No problem!
Imp, Elf and Benny in the foreground.
(To think that just a year ago the two of them slept together, cuddled up in a laundry basket!)

On the Screen
Temp 18.5°C
Pressure 102.5 kPa / falling
Visibility 15 km
Humidity 52%
Dew Point 8.5°C
Wind Speed W 5 km/h

Page by Page: A Woman's Journal
by Maggie Turner

Canadian Maggie Turner writes and publishes poetry, photography, and a personal journal online. Her work reflects the current way of life in Canada, embracing Canada's past, present, and future in a unique portrayal of everyday life. Maggie's voice is one of the many that actively depict the rich diversity of Canadian culture.

Photography: "a term which comes from the Greek words photos (light) and graphos (drawing). A photograph is made with a camera by exposing film to light in order to create a negative. The negative is then used in the darkroom to print a photograph (positive) onto light-sensitive paper.
Source: University of Arizona Glossary

Poetry: "a form of speech or writing that harmonizes the music of its language with its subject. To read a great poem is to bring out the perfect marriage of its sound and thought in a silent or voiced performance. At least from the time of Aristotle's Poetics, drama was conceived of as a species of poetry."
Source: Creative Studios

Journal: " "Though a journal may be many things - a treasury, a storehouse, a jewelry box, a laboratory, a drafting board, a collector's cabinet, a snapshot album, a history, a travelogue..., a letter to oneself - it has some definable characteristics. It is a record, an entry-book, kept regularly, though not necessarily daily.... Some (entries) will be nearly illegible, written in the dark in the middle of the night.... Not only is it a record for oneself, but of oneself. Every memorable journal, any successful journal, is honest. Nothing sham, phony, false...." (Dorothy Lambert from Ken Macrorie's book, Writing to be Read )
A journal is a way to keep track of your thoughts about what you read... as well as what you did on any given day."
Source: Journal Writing

A Blog is an online journal created by server side software, often hosted by a commercial interest.

"The term "weblog" was coined by Jorn Barger[4] on 17 December 1997. The short form, "blog," was coined by Peter Merholz, who jokingly broke the word weblog into the phrase we blog in the sidebar of his blog in April or May 1999.[5][6][7] Shortly thereafter, Evan Williams at Pyra Labs used "blog" as both a noun and verb ("to blog," meaning "to edit one's weblog or to post to one's weblog") and devised the term "blogger" in connection with Pyra Labs' Blogger product, leading to the popularization of the terms."

Copyright 1999 - Today Maggie Turner
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