Thursday, March 28, 2013
This morning movement on the drive suddenly caught my eye. Startled, I looked out the window. To my delight a large crow, four blue jays, a woodpecker and three other birds that I did not identify, were feeding on something tasty on the drive.
I love bluejays. While growing up on the farm, I often awoke to their calls. I find them beautiful, with their blue feathers and the white tips that flash when they take flight.
After they flew away, it seemed like a good idea to sprinkle some sunflower seeds on the deck off the second floor of the house. A little later, during a stroll down the drive to pick up the empty recycling bin, they were to be found flitting about in the treetops, in the mighty oaks near the house.
They did give my spirits a lift.
Our weather is overcast. But it is not snowing!
Although fewer firings are needed in the masonry heater as spring progresses, the air continues to be very dry in the house. I have been suffering from daily nosebleeds. Today a load of laundry is drying in front of the heater, in an attempt to humidify the air in the house. Tomorrow I may wash and dry the bedding, for added measure.
Our financial uproar has calmed. Thank goodness. Peter has been reimbursed and Paul is happily paid off. We are good to go for a while now.
Last night we found a movie we found entertaining on Netflix, “Midnight in Paris.” It was written and directed by Woody Allen. The performance of Owen Wilson was an eye opener. Prior to this movie I have watched Woody Allen deliver his own written lines on screen, to poor effect. For me, Woody Allen’s lines come alive through Owen Wilson’s performance in this movie. Huh, so that is what Woody Allen was getting at! Who knew!
Happily, the woman who called me today sounded nothing like her recorded voice mail message, which was a very good thing. This morning I received a callback from the District local government representative. She apologized for not getting back to me more quickly; explaining that she had been out of the office earlier this week. So, we carried on from a new and neutral starting point.
She reviewed with me the proportion of processed foods in the basket. Her description is that the food basket is entirely fresh fruits and vegetables, and that the processed food items are only provided in addition to the fruit and vegetables on an occasional basis. That means I could easily leave the processed food at the pick up point for someone else to enjoy. Or I could bring it home for Attila, although I do not like the idea of having potential poison, disguised as food, lurking in the kitchen cupboards.
I was greatly relieved to get an appropriate response to my query, and I feel that is better late than never. I do not really like that processed foods are included at all. However, unless the inclusion of processed foods impacts on the value of a basket I purchase, I am willing to leave that decision unchallenged.
I suppose I could have mentioned to the young woman from the government that her voice mail recording leaves a lot to be desired. I decided, however, to just accept her pleasant manner during out interaction as what most callers will encounter, when she answers her telephone.
Friday, March 29, 2013
We are sending kind thoughts to Attila’s stepfather. Attila’s mother called the other night to let us know how things are going at their house. Attila’s stepfather has been having memory issues for the last year or so; he has experienced a sudden and severe drop in his ability to remember things. Attila’s Mom is hoping that the medication he started taking about six months ago is the cause of this sudden decline. The medication dosage will be gradually lessoned to the point where it is eliminated altogether. The hope is that this medication is affecting his memory, but only time will tell. Attila’s Mom is finding her husband’s care, and the worry, challenging. It is a challenge she is meeting bravely and keeping up with. She moved to the USA when she married him, and they live a great distance from us in another country, so we are not able to visit or offer support other than emotional from a distance.
A sunny morning! I am watching the snowbanks recede with great pleasure. Soon the need for keeping the wood heat going will be over for this year, and the roads will be reliably clear so that we can venture an overnight visit to the little house in the city. We have a two day weekend coming up at the end of April and we have quite a list of renovation projects at the little house that we need to get underway.
This is the time of year when we begin preparation for next winter’s heating requirements. We will purchase some of our firewood and have it delivered during the spring, then we will need to tote it and store it in the woodshed. Attila will begin to cull deadwood from our property to supplement the stock of firewood. We will also purchase fuel oil for the furnace at the little house in the city. We keep the temperature at the little house just above freezing during the winter and this year were able to do that with one tank of fuel oil. It is empty now though and needs to be refilled. These are both big ticket items in our budget, and rightly so. The saving has begun; we are diligently setting aside our sheckles to pay these two bills.
I had a nice chat with Terra yesterday, catching up with the news, as we hadn’t talked for a while. They are in love with their new house, and their new neighbours who are welcoming them to the area with enthusiasm. The gentleman next door was born in the century farmhouse that they purchased, he grew up there. When Terra called she had just come in from raking part of the lawn. She is enjoying herself, as is Lares. We love to see them so happy!
I felt a few pangs of envy as Terra was describing raking the lawn and puttering out in the yard. Our yard is still under quite a few inches of beautiful snow. There are snow banks taller than I am on either side of the screened in porch. We estimate that it will be another two weeks or more before we see the yard, and can begin to putter around out there.
Saturday, March 30, 2013
Tomorrow is the last day of March! I am not sure just when March became such a hurdle for me, but it has. Now April, April is a different month altogether! And on Monday, it is coming my way! And yours too, of course.
The genealogy project is such a pleasurable way to spend time! There is quite a lot to put in order after more than fifteen years of research! There are records for more than 70,000 people in my database; all carefully recorded one by one by me.
There are more then 2324 sources at the moment. There will be substantially more sources than that when I am finished, if I ever do finish. Just one of these sources can represent ten individual primary documents, necessitating the creation of nine additional individual sources, one for each of the ten primary documents. At the time I was doing this research, fifteen years ago, time was of the essence. I had only a few hours here, and a few hours there, to spend in the library to transcribe the primary documents. So to save time I transcribed the material and the reference details as text only, and assigned a single source to the lot. Now I have to tease out the individual document transcriptions and create a source for each of them.
This activity is picky and painstakingly; and wonderfully engaging and mindless at the same time. It keeps part of my mind from fixating on things I do not want to think about in the physical world, while freeing up other parts of my mind to ramble around in a creative way. I find it extremely relaxing and regenerative. Much like knitting or cooking I think.
Attila is working today, right in the middle of the Easter “long weekend”. We had three consecutive days off on the last statutory long weekend, so this one is going to one of his workmates. Attila was home yesterday, works today, has Sunday off, then back to work Monday. Two days off work! But since they are not consecutive we can’t really take advantage of them, to visit or travel. In another month we will enjoy our next two-day weekend!
Working hours, completely dictated according to an employers needs and schedule, have a massive effect on how one’s personal life plays out. There was a time in my life, when I was teaching, and when I was in the academy, when weekends always lasted for two consecutive days. My first husband never worked weekends, always had two days off work at the end of the week. I took all of that for granted. At the time I did not know what a luxury that was. Now I know.
I think I would feel one-day weekends a lot less keenly, if friends and family were not so far away.
Condition: Mist (named after my cat!)
Pressure: 102.3 kPa
Visibility: 10 km
Humidity: 98 %
“Have courage for the great sorrows of life and patience for the small ones; and when you have laboriously accomplished your daily task, go to sleep in peace. God is awake.”
1802 – 1885
I saw on the Dr. Oz show yesterday the segment about amalgam tooth fillings with mercury – the kind that we all have in our teeth from years ago – and they have discovered that the mercury in these fillings is leeching (or is it “leaching”?) out into our systems in the form of fumes and one of the effects of this mercury in our systems is “memory loss.” A light went on in my brain then… could this be a cause for all the Alzheimer’s diagnoses lately? It seems that everyone is coming down with this including people in my husband’s family, and what do we all have in common? Tooth fillings with mercury in them. They advised that people get those new all-white fillings instead of the amalgam silver kind. One woman in the audience suffered memory loss and had all her fillings removed and replaced with the white kind and her memory improved a bit. There were other side effects too that affect nerves etc. We really have to wonder what this mercury is doing to us all. Food for thought.
Bex, isn’t it amazing how “unwonderful” modern technology can be. Those mercury leaching fillings were once the cutting edge…
It is not science itself that I mistrust, it is those in charge of applying it to profit, and who have no real interest in long term or comprehensive knowledge.
Beautiful picture of moonrise!
I grew up in an old upstate Connecticut farm house without heat or indoor plumbing. We had fireplaces in every room and a big wood burning cast iron stove in the kitchen. I well remember, as you describe, starting as soon as winter released its grip, re-stocking the woodpile for the winter to come.
When we did get an oil-burning furnace we were horrified at how expensive it was to heat the house, and left it set at a low temperature at night, with the idea of keeping the pipes from freezing, while during the times we were up and about, continuing to burn wood in the fireplace(s) to keep warm–and minimize the cost.
I really like your idea of drying clothes indoors to increase the ambient humidity. I’ll try it the next time I do laundry. Thanks for the idea!
Sarah, the farm house where you grew up sounds wonderful, and a lot of work!
Since we have moved here, I’ve wished that all the plumbing were run through the center of the house, near the masonry heating system. That way the heat would not need to keep the exterior walls nearly as warm, and there would be a lot less danger of the plumbing freezing at night. But alas, whoever designed this place thought they were in Arizona or California, the plumbing runs along the outside walls of the house, the absolute worst location in a wintry climate.
Glad you like the laundry drying idea!
Here is another idea if you are heating with wood and have a glass door. Slightly wetted newspaper dipped in the wood ash from the fireplace cleans the glass perfectly, and cost $0. And it is always on hand.