October 16, 2007

Hearth and Home



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]

On Friday last I lit the first fire. In total, six fires were lit that day. Little fires; bright fires; beacons of warmth to come.

The warmth has completely taken hold of the massive concrete structure. It is now day five of the five day curing regime and the temperature in the house has risen from 10 degrees Celsius to 18. That is much warmer than it is outside, where the thermometer reads .8 degrees Celsius. Not a bad start.

I have today’s second fire started. Preparing the masonry fireplace for the winter is a lovely ritual, requiring time and attention to detail. Sitting at my desk, the corner of my eye catches the flickering flames as the blaze gather’s strength. I experience a primal appreciation of fire and more; fire and its warmth have been part of my life experience since birth. My grandparents heated exclusively with wood their whole lives through. I associate a burning fire with love, integrity, acceptance and human warmth; this is an integral element of my personality, one that I treasure.

We installed the masonry fireplace over the first winter in the house; it was completed in time to heat the house the following winter. This will be the third heating season using the masonry fireplace as an exclusive source of heat. Although the original installation was quite costly by our standards, we did the figures and found that the fireplace would pay for itself over five heating seasons. To make the whole project even more worthwhile, this method of heating with wood is very energy efficient and low emission.

We enjoyed a very quiet weekend, curing the fireplace kept us close to home and the cold rain kept us indoors. Not a bad combination really, frequent cheery fires in the hearth as we sat inside, where we watched the wind and cold rain bring down the autumn leaves just outside our window.

Our routine returns. The bread machine is kneading today’s multigrain loaf. The crockpot sits on the counter turned to the high setting; therein cook the beans I soaked overnight, a ready main ingredient for tonight’s refried beans.

In front of me is my list of little things I would like to accomplish over the course of the day. I am a visual person, my concrete memory almost entirely linked to visual cues and spatial relationships. Hence, my list is of great comfort to me, as it anchors my fleeting thoughts to the here and now, as spoken language never could. I learned at a very young age that “talk is cheap”, and developed accordingly.

We have been thinking about painting the interior of our house, eventually. Much work needs to be done before we would undertake such a project. First the deck on the south side of the house must be repaired, as well as the water damage it has caused to the sill plates of the house. We will know how much repair is needed after we get the siding torn off next summer. When we know where we are with the south wall, and have planned and implemented the necessary repairs, we will then consider replacing the well-worn interior paneling with drywall. After the drywall, we will begin to consider painting the interior of the house.

This house has seen hard use, and the poor quality design and implementation of flashy features has resulted in structural damage, We suspected this when we purchased the home, although it has been much worse than we were led to believe by the house inspection. It has have taken us three years to rectify most of the more serious issues. Less serious are the issues created by the structure of the south deck, at least that is what we think before opening it up to have a look. Next spring we will begin to explore the situation. And who knows, it might be that this winter’s snow will remove this deck as well, which would change our plans considerably.

I have mixed feelings about the comment option commonly included with online writing. It seems like a lovely thing, to hear from someone who has read your journal, and I treasure my readers.

When I read someone else's journal, the number of comments influences my perception of its value, to others. I have only read the comments on the journals that I read three times, over the years. The whole concept seems reminiscent of high school popularity contests, to my mind.

So, I have decided to omit the comments option in this journal, and instead invite my readers to jot me a line via email, if you feel the urge to communicate.

Soooo.... if you are so inclined,

Top of Page

Worldly Distractions

A small pine tree on our property died last winter. Out for a walk, we found this massive growth of mushrooms growing from its side, about three feet off the ground. The photo shows a portion of the mushroom(s), which in total were more than a foot in diameter.

By the Easy Chair
"For most of history, Anonymous was a woman."
Virginia Woolf
English novelist (1882 - 1941)

Temp 0.8°C
Press 102.5 kPa / rising
Visibility 15 km
Humidity 99%
Dew Point 0.6°C
Wind Speed ENE 8 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 Peterme.com 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."
Source: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/History_of_blogging

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