Sorting It Out

White Peonies

This morning I began again. The pharmacist I talked to yesterday answered the telephone to take my call when I called the pharmacy, and I explained that the drug company was not getting back to me. We made a tentative arrangement for her to replace my medication with the original product, it was going to get complicated for her, but she was going to make it happen. Yay!

Later today the drug company called me to apologize for not getting back to me yesterday or this morning, and we arranged for them to send me an email with all the pertinent information. It was received as we spoke on the telephone. She alerted me that Health Canada, a department of the Canadian government, has implemented a web site called Drug Product Database online query, which now lists all the ingredients in any drug legally sold in Canada. This will come in very handy for people like me! I asked the pharmacist if she would like me to forward the link to her, which I have done. This was one of those situations that began poorly and ended well.

Sometimes getting these things accomplished is like priming a pump, you have to keep at it, making an effort until you get results. This is manageable most of the time, like now. At other times though, the issues cluster together, all at once, and it can be difficult to remain calm during days and days of constant frustration, usually under the pressure of a timeline, and usually there is some unpleasantness if one has to push a bit. And then there are times when these kinds of issues are urgent and even life-threatening to me. Although I remain calm and focused, I am not relaxed and cheerful when I am fighting for my life. Who is?

Three months ago Attila tried to get a pneumonia inoculation at the GPs office. They didn’t return our calls, and Attila went to a travel clinic and got an inoculation there, at some expense. I think Teri alerted me to that possibility. Well after all this time, the GPs office called to setup an appointment for Attila to have the inoculation, which he will have next week. There are two types of pneumonia inoculations, the one he had was Prevnar 13, so since it has been over 3 months since that shot, he can now have the Pneumovax 23. I had the Pneumovax 23 in March, and now I have to wait a year to have the Prevnar 13 shot, which is not covered by OHIP as far as I know, but it will be worth a bit of sacrifice financially to have it. Better late than never, on both our counts.

It is hot out there today! Baking had to be done, so unfortunately the house heated up and the air conditioning was turned on. Usually, when no baking needs doing, the house can stay open until the temperature outside is the same as the temperature inside, then the house is closed up tight, and the curtains drawn. This technique allows the house to remain cool during the heat of the day, without using air conditioning and electricity. The passive cooling method works most of the time, just not today.



Date: 2:00 PM EDT Thursday 18 June 2020
Condition: Mainly Sunny
Pressure: 102.0 kPa
Tendency: Falling
Temperature: 23.2°C
Dew point: 15.5°C
Humidity: 61%
Wind: SSE 6 km/h
Humidex: 27
Visibility: 24 km


“A bird does not sing because it has an answer. It sings because it has a song.”
Chinese Proverb


White Peony
Attila picked this for me yesterday. I love peonies.

The peonies have bloomed a little late this year, better late than never. I love them! My Granny grew them in her front garden. They were in the front garden when Mist Cottage was purchased, and are now overgrown with some kind of shrubs, an apple tree, and a maple tree. The apple tree will be left to mature, the shrubs removed, and the maple tree transplanted to another part of the yard if possible. Every other day, while the peonies are in bloom, Attila cuts two flowers to present to me, so sweet.

One of the shirts I altered this week has become my favourite summer shirt. The shirt, as it was, would have looked good on me 20 years ago, and many pounds ago, but in the present reality it didn’t fit quite right. So the shirt was shortened, the shoulder seams shirred to fit, and the sleeves cut to 3/4 length. It is comfortable, and it doesn’t accent the effects of aging, the best that can be hoped for at this late stage in my journey through life.

The weather has been perfect, warm but not hot, sunny with a breeze. But that is about to change as the temperature rises today to 27C, and then slowly inches towards 32C over the next few days. The hot weather is something to suffer through, particularly with the humidity. Summer approaches.

I am annoyed at the pharmacy, they fill my prescriptions and they substituted my regular tablets with a generic brand. This doesn’t work for me, I have anaphylaxis, the new brand of tablets might contain my allergen. Sigh.

I called the drug store, the first employee didn’t listen and tried to blow me off with “government approved substitution” details. Not interested, I know the drug I need is in the tablet, I am not worried about that, it is the non-medicinal ingredients that can kill me. I had to repeat myself three times before she gave up reading me chapter and verse and transferred me to the pharmacist. The pharmacist gave me the same line about substitutions, and I had to then explain to her about non-medicinal ingredients and what anaphylaxis means. She then said she couldn’t help me, and gave me the phone number of the new drug company. I called the new drug company and they don’t answer, so I left a message. I eventually found the company on the internet, using the phone number the pharmacy had given me, then I found an email contact and emailed them to ask for the information I need. What a pain in the patootie bureaucracies can be.



Date: 9:00 AM EDT Wednesday 17 June 2020
Condition: Mainly Sunny
Pressure: 102.6 kPa
Tendency: Rising
Temperature: 19.8°C
Dew point: 10.3°C
Humidity: 54%
Wind: S 7 km/h
Visibility: 24 km


“That is what learning is. You suddenly understand something you’ve understood all your life, but in a new way.”
Doris Lessing
1919 – 2013

Thanks to reality, those new ways are infinite.

Camp Shirts

Tackling the pile of mending began last week, the week before? I”ve lost track of the project, but not sight of it. Because my sewing equipment is stored in totes that only Attila can lift, once it is taken out of the tote, out it stays until the projects are completed. With Attila going back to work on night shift, then being switched after a week or so to day shift, projects lost their momentum in the ensuing chaos in our schedule and sleep patterns. In the meantime the equipment is stored in the small living room, it is quite a clutter!

The dining table has been cleared, the leaf it set up to increase the working space, and the sewing machine it setup and ready to go. The project for the morning is a shirt I use for working in the bush. Working in the bush requires clothing that is loose fitting to allow for maximum range of motion without restriction, that covers all parts of the body to protect the skin from the sun and biting insects, and that can be stained, ripped, burned by camp fire cinders, whatever hard work in the bush takes as its toll. So, my choice was to buy a pre-worn, extra large man’s shirt, from a second hand store. The price was right. The fit, well, the fit has left a lot to be desired.

Lacking inspiration to alter the shirt for a more practical fit, it has been worn for two summers as is. Inspiration for alteration came on the Saturday visit to the Camp. For the first time in my life, I was bitten by an ant, on the back, inside the shirt. It would have gotten into the shirt through the sleeve plackets, which are large and often gape open, letting mosquitoes bite me on the forearms, which I’ve been ignoring. I carry a lot of dead wood to be burned, so the ant must have been on one of the logs I dragged out of the bush, and crawled into my shirt through the open sleeve placket. It was time to get to that alteration!

I’ve sewn the plackets closed, which is not a problem because of the very large fit. The cuffs, even when buttoned, allow my hands to pass through easily. Since the yoke was about four inches too wide for my frame, I have added two one inch pleats on each shoulder. This also shortened the sleeves, which were about six inches too long for my arms, I had been rolling them up, which is no longer needed. Camp shirts are worn for function, aesthetics are of no consequence.

Attila and I are always busy working on our bush property when we visit the Camp, and we dress accordingly. Basically, we both look like hobos when we are out there; we don’t notice, and are unconcerned if others do.

The second project was another man’s shirt, purchased at a second hand shop to be worn at the Camp. Again the yoke is far to broad. The alteration for this shirt was an experiment, instead of pleats, the yoke was gathered to reduce the breadth and shorten the sleeves.

The third project is an old shirt I wear at home when working on renovations. The material on the collar had completely worn through. I turned the collar in and stitched it down. The shirt is good to go for another decade or so.

And with completion of the third alteration, the sewing machine could be packed up and all of the equipment put away, until the next sewing project presents itself.



Date: 2:00 PM EDT Monday 15 June 2020
Condition: Mainly Sunny
Pressure: 103.1 kPa
Tendency: Falling
Temperature: 21.5°C
Dew point: 5.1°C
Humidity: 34%
Wind: ESE 21 gust 32 km/h
Visibility: 24 km


“Men occasionally stumble over the truth, but most of them pick themselves up and hurry off as if nothing ever happened.”
Sir Winston Churchill
1874 – 1965

106 Days

Wild Iris by our pond, at the Camp.

For the last 106 days I have not had a visit, or visited, in person, with anyone but Attila. No runs to the grocery store, or any other store, except for pickup, which does not involve contact with another human. So far, so good.

Since the mid-90s I have had very little in-person contact with friends or family, so the the transition to no in-person contact with friends or family hasn’t been shocking, just more of the same. Now that Attila is working again I see him for a few hours a day. It was unbelievably pleasant to have him here all the time during the lock-down! I think a lot of seniors have similar experiences with isolation, but who would know, they aren’t in contact with anyone, lol.

I have worked hard to strike an internal balance with isolation (not solitude, that is when you have a choice), it was a rough go at first. So I do feel some sympathy for those who are finding it challenging to be suddenly alone all the time during the pandemic. I acclimatized to isolation, so for me it eventually got easier, I hope it does for others too.

Attila and I took a run out the Camp, to check on things and trim the weeds. We drive there, no stops, and drive home, no stops. We keep masks and disinfectant in the car at all times. He trimmed the weeds near Grace the trailer, around the fire pit, down the driveway, and along the road. If he didn’t trim the growth along the road the weeds would cause visibility issues for vehicles traveling along the road, so he likes to keep up with it as a community courtesy. He also worked on the Hugelkultur bed we are building in the clearing, and transplanted some volunteer Ground Cherries that self-seeded from last year’s plants at Mist Cottage. As usual, we had dead mice to deal with, as we are still catching them in Grace the Trailer, our mouse house in the bush. He was very busy!

On our last visit I had pushed down three 20 foot high dead trees in the bush, and dragged them to the fire pit area. Yesterday they were burned, along with some logs from a dead ash tree that was felled two years ago. I tend the fire constantly when it is lit, never leaving it, because an open fire, even one in a legal, well built, contained fire pit, needs supervision. Usually at the Camp my day is spent burning dead wood, and there always seems to be plenty of that in the bush. Camp fires are wonderful, and one of their features is that they are great for cooking meals! We had a lovely lunch, cooked over the coals. Wieners were slowly roasted, then enjoyed on the 100% Whole Wheat Hot Dog Buns that were baked last Friday, with a vegetable side of Home Canned Coleslaw.

The time at the Camp was at first quite hurried, as there was a lot to accomplish on a short day trip. It was cloudy, windy, and chilly upon arrival, only 11C. Within a few hours the sun came out and since so much had already been accomplished, the pace slowed and the day was enjoyed. Last summer there were few birds, but yesterday the air was filled with bird song, Robins, Scarlet Tanagers, Blue Jays, and many other calls that we did not recognize. The leaves rippled in the wind, and the sunlight played constantly across the clearing. A perfect day.

There were a few dozen Army Worms on the tree trunks, which were quickly dispatched. Perhaps this year there haven’t been swarming masses of them, as there have been the last three summers. They are usually plentiful in late May, early June. We may have missed them, as this is only our second day visit in 2020. However, they will strip a tree of it’s leaves, and none of the trees were missing any leaves, so perhaps they aren’t so bad this year.

On the last visit, a few weeks ago, the black flies were numerous but not swarming. Their season is over. There were surprisingly few Mosquitoes! There were a dozen or so young Dragon Flies in the clearing, darting here and there, dipping and diving. I love Dragon Flies, as they are pretty, and they eat biting bugs, like Mosquitoes. As we sat eating our lunch, we were surrounded by swooping Dragon Flies, who feasted on all of the Mosquitoes who thought to make us their lunch. We were surrounded by body guards! Mother Nature has her ways of balancing our universe.

Today Attila made Wild Strawberry Pancakes for breakfast, with the wild strawberries he picked at the Camp yesterday. Since breakfast he has been in the garden planting the small pots of plants that he started from seed. I’ve baked five loaves of bread for Attila’s lunches, and washed and hung to dry a load of laundry. I will also make 4 liters of Switchel for the coming week. So it has been a busy day again today!

Freshly harvested Swiss Chard, Spinach, and Garlic scapes for lunch! The Dianthus are just there to look pretty, I don’t eat them.



Date: 4:00 PM EDT Sunday 14 June 2020
Condition: Partly Cloudy
Pressure: 103.0 kPa
Tendency: Falling
Temperature: 18.1°C
Dew point: 3.9°C
Humidity: 39%
Wind: ESE 16 km/h
Visibility: 24 km


“Time is a cruel thief to rob us of our former selves. We lose as much to life as we do to death.”
Elizabeth Forsythe Hailey
1938 –

Day in the Life

Online Shopping for Food:
These are the carrots the online grocery order provided for us! The black is not dirt, it is rot. If I peel enough off I can slavage some edible carrot from these. This is why I am not ordering fresh vegetables through online shopping if I can avoid it.
Veestar Strawberry:
This is one of the two new strawberry plants we purchased, $4 each. This one didn’t get eaten by rabbits, and this is the one and only strawberry it bore this year. I took this photo this morning. When I looked out the window just before lunch, it was GONE! Grrr. I should have picked and eaten this morning, but I wanted it to sweeten in the sun. He who hesitates is lost they say. This is why I consider wildlife competitors for my food, really, they are.
Steam Juicer:
There were eight bags of vegetable scraps in the refrigerator’s freezer, so it was time to make broth. This is a steam juicer, another wow piece of equipment as far as I am concerned Put water in the bottom pan, and whatever you are steaming in the top pan, which in this case is frozen vegetable scraps, simmer for a few hours and there you have it, broth, or juice if it is fruit in the top pan.
I compost the vegetable scraps after steam juicing. But I save the fruit in the top pan when I make juice, and turn the fruit that is left into fruit leather, so good!
Hot Dog Buns:
Hot Dog Buns have been on the “lets try this!” list for quite a while now. Today wa the day. The recipe made a dozen 100% Whole Wheat Low-Sodium Hot Dog Buns (about 35 mg sodium per bun).
1000 liter Rain Tank:
Attila’s birthday present. He is easy to shop for!



Date: 10:00 AM EDT Friday 12 June 2020
Condition: Partly Cloudy
Pressure: 101.8 kPa
Tendency: Rising
Temperature: 16.8°C
Dew point: 6.1°C
Humidity: 49%
Wind: W 31 gust 41 km/h
Visibility: 24 km


“The ultimate result of shielding men from the effects of folly is to fill the world with fools.”
Herbert Spencer
1820 – 1903

The effect of this phenomenon seems to be cumulative.