A Thousand Poets In His Head

Yesterday I completed the University self-study course I was taking. I did manage to 100% on most of the quizzes the first time around, and 100% on the less than perfect three of the quizzes the second time round. I learned a few new things, which is always fun!

When we bought the second hand windows for the little house, we bought two for the country house. For the last five years or so we have been seriously discussing the replacement of the master bedroom windows. We priced them at $500 to $600 per window, which would ring in at between $1000 and $1200 before taxes. Understandably, we haven’t chosen to invest that much money in two new windows that we could manage without. But when we had the opportunity to buy two used windows for the master bedroom at $50 per window, well, we could not pass that up.

So after I finished my course, and ate my lunch, I headed out to the screened in porch to clean one of the two “new” windows. It took a few hours, they are very dirty. Dirt can be cleaned, the important aspect of these windows is that they function well, and will help keep the house cooler in summer and warmer in winter. Today I cleaned the second window. They are ready to install, if Attila has time this autumn.

Attila is racing the calendar now, trying to get firewood in from the back of the property before heating season begins. He works toting and splitting and stacking wood every night, for a few hours, as soon as grabs a bite to eat after arriving home from work. We can always purchase more firewood if we have to, but that goes against the grain for Attila. He is determined to fill our woodshed with our own wood.

As Attila was splitting wood in front of the woodshed yesterday evening, our neighbour drove into the drive, he came to offer Attila the use of his wood splitter. He had heard Attila splitting wood and kindly offered to let us use his wood splitter. Attila does not like wood splitters. He would rather use an axe. Since I have only ever used an axe to split wood, I had no opinion on the subject. So Attila thanked him and declined the kind offer. I don’t know, it sounds like it would be easier to use a wood splitter to me, but Attila was firm, having spent a week splitting wood with a splitter at one point, he really did not want to use one ever again.

It was very kind and considerate of our neighbour to make the offer. This is the fellow who ploughed our driveway for us with his riding snow blower, that first winter we lived here, before we even had a proper snow shovel. I have never spoken with this neighbour face-to-face, and in the ten years we have lived here we have only exchanged greetings, a wave in passing, fewer times than I can count on two hands. His wife has never even waved in passing, or spoken to me; once in the last ten years she said hello to Attila when they were both at the Post Office picking up the mail, he said she was friendly enough. There are only three properties on our street that are occupied year round, so this seems cold. Be that as it may, when the chips are down, they are very good neighbours to have.

My lone trip to the little house in the city approaches, it requires careful planning. Things have been added to the list, and gathered together in the living room, ready to pack the car next week. The projects to be undertaken during the visit must be carefully thought out, and all the equipment and supplies needed for each must make the trip with me. Attila hopes to finish the firewood while I am away, I fervently hope he manages it, as I miss his company when he has to get at it, every evening after he comes home from work.

On Wednesday last Attila repaired our little car, and it can now be used for his commute back and forth to work. This is quite a relief! We extended ourselves financially, to install the heat pump at the little house in the city, and it will be quite some time before we catch up. Buying another car at this point would bring hardship. Crisis averted! Bravo Attila!

Our little car is a 1998 model Toyota. We bought it new, in the days when I had a job and could obtain a loan. Over the last 16 years it has required little in the way of repairs, and has run reliably, and inexpensively. It is showing its age now, but we hope to keep it in good mechanical order, and on the road, for another five years or so.

Rummaging around in the cupboard today, I came across an jar of Pear Marmalade that I had canned in 1993. The ring was rusted, so was the lid. No spoilage could be detected though. The contents of the jar, when I washed off the dust, seemed as perfect as the day they had been canned. So I pried the lid off with a loud POP, the seal was still good! That would be 21 years ago that I canned that marmalade, and the seal was still strong and intact. It smelled fine, I gave it a little taste, no deterioration in taste either. Pear Marmalade was an experiment on my part, and as far as I am concerned the recipe is not a keeper! The proof of that, is that I did not keep the recipe! I threw out the Marmalade, not because it had spoiled, but because I do not like it.

Then and there I decided that I will make no more jams or jellies until the very last jar in our possession has been located and consumed. Then I will start again. I should be canning jams and jellies again by next summer.

A few years ago I made Sumac Jelly, and discovered that it is one of my favourites, right up there with Black Currant Jam, and Marmalade. I have a few jars left, which I will enjoy this winter. I also have a few jars of Grape Butter that I made quite a while back, still good though. And of course, the ever popular Strawberry Jam, mine was made with wild strawberries. Attila does not eat jams or jellies, only me. I love a little dollop on toast, or a bagel, or a cracker. It makes a nice little pick me up on a busy day.

Today was another beautiful day! With the windows wide open, all the sounds of nature could be heard. including the sharp, frequent, repetitive clangs, as acorns fell from the tall oak trees that surround us. Those acorns were bouncing high when they hit the deck; I would not want one of them landing on my head! No danger of that inside the house though.

Now, how is this for silly! At lunchtime I couldn’t decide what I wanted to eat, so I sat down at the computer to look for a recipe, and three and a half hours later I remembered, that I forgot to eat lunch! Life is good.

Worldly Distractions


Date: 2:00 PM EDT Friday 26 September 2014
Condition: Sunny
Pressure: 102.7 kPa
Visibility: 16 km
Temperature: 22.0°C
Dewpoint: 13.3°C
Humidity: 57%
Wind: WSW 13 km/h
Humidex: 25


“A facility for quotation covers the absence of original thought.”
Dorothy L. Sayers
1893 – 1957

Not always true, in my opinion. My dear friend Paul had a photographic memory. When in a state of high emotion, the first words that connected for him were appropriate quotations. It was a knee-jerk reaction, his memory was of such monumental proportions that it overwhelmed him. He had a lot of original thoughts, was a well published writer in his own right. When emotions were high his personal expressions were drowned out, the thousand poets in his head fought for, and won, his voice.

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TopsyTurvy (Teri)

Love the title of this post!

It’s perhaps a small moment in my history but at one time I was also a writer. I wrote science fiction/fantasy and even sent a number of stories into publishers. My greatest achievement was when I received a personal letter from the then-Editor-In-Chief of Asimov Magazine. Personal letters from EiC are unheard of! The letter urged me to continue writing and submitting stories. Sadly, I went through some severe traumas just after receiving that letter and not only did I stop writing but I’ve also lost that letter, though I’ve looked for it over and over again. Oddly enough, or perhaps not, I still have my stories. They sit in the filing cabinet beside me and, once in a great while, are taken out and looked at lovingly.

Sadly, I no longer write. Now my creative side is fulfilled through my graphic designs.

Early in the spring we had the company that put in our front door price replacing our windows. They quoted us $3,000 for all the windows. We expect we’ll be able to have them done next year, as by then (actually, in just a few months) we’ll have gotten rid of at least one major bill.

We were very lucky to have some nice, new neighbors move in next door to us about a month ago. After the place being abandoned last year and overrun with roaches – a few of which came to visit before the heavy snows, but which didn’t stay thank goodness – we’re very glad to have these new neighbors. They’re clean, kind, seem trustworthy, and they’re making every effort to upgrade their place. I think this time we may have lucked out when it comes to the neighbor lottery.

About a week ago I was making myself some toast and jam, and thinking about how I apparently got my love of toast and jam from my maternal grandmother. She loved to have toast and jam for breakfast! My favorite jams/jellies are rather mundane – grape and wild berry mixes – but I also love to try new things. A few years ago DH and I picked up a jar of lemon and ginger marmalade in the Niagara wine country. It was delicious and didn’t last long!

Your Sumac jelly sounds fascinating! Wish I could taste it.

Glad to hear your little car is now repaired. Hope it does well for a good, long time.


You should have a TV show of your lives there. You have such great stories!

TopsyTurvy (Teri)

Maggie, do you mean staghorn sumac? If so, we have large amounts of it growing all around us, but I definitely agree about staying away from plants that are growing by the roadside or in sprayed areas.

Sometimes DH and I will go by a vegetable garden that’s growing by a busy road and I’ll just shake my head, wondering what the growers are consuming in chemicals given off by exhaust, black top, etc.

TopsyTurvy (Teri)

Oh! Forgot to say that last week I was reading an article about how well self-published ebooks are doing on places like Amazon. It had me thinking about writing again, at least for a moment. Who knows, maybe some day that interest will come alive again.

Irene Bean

I’m behind and trying to catch up, but I dare say there is no way I could ever catch up with you two! Good heavens! The physicality of your days leave me dazed. Bravo! BTW, I’m a huge marmalade fan.