We are experiencing another cold snap, last night the temperature dropped to -20C, wind chill -25C, and tonight it is predicted to fall to -21C, wind chill -25C. In reality it has been a little colder than that here at Mist Cottage, as the thermometer outside the kitchen window reads a little higher than than the outdoor temperature, because it is mounted on the wall of the heated house, where some heat is being given off. We are cozy though. The winter thus far has been mild, so that we have used less than a quarter of our winter fuel oil. Last winter we used 3/4 of a tank, so I suppose there is still time for this winter to catch up!

Life is very quiet, which is lovely.

The work on the basement insulation has slowed considerably, Attila’s next step is to work on wiring, and that requires shutting off the electricity to the house, to be absolutely safe, so it will be put off until the weather is a little warmer we need our heating system right now. In the meantime, this week he finished the trim and painting on one of the windows in the basement, it is quite cheerful down there now! We plan on painting the floor joists and underside of the floor boards, which form the ceiling in the basement, and that should add quite a bit of cheer down there as well.

Our fermenting projects have yielded mixed results. We still have much to learn. The unripe ground cherries I fermented were very good, I ate a few everyday, and now, alas, they are all gone. I like to have some fermented food each day, so I decided to make Yogurt.

It was quite an ordeal trying to figure out how to do it in the Instant Pot! The manual is useless for my purposes. Almost every recipe I bumped into on the internet was for cold start Yogurt, which is fine, except that it requires the use of ultra-pasteurized milk, which is very costly. I wanted to use regular milk, at regular prices, and finally found a video made by a woman who was using regular milk to make her Yogurt in the Instant Pot.

My first run through any food preservation or preparation project is usually pretty rocky. This Yogurt project was no exception. I first discovered that although I had a Duo Instant Pot, as the woman in the video had, the control buttons on mine work differently than hers. So I opted to begin the process on the stove top, heating 5 cups of 1% milk in a saucepan, over s slow heat, simmering it for 5 minutes. Then I poured it into the Instant Pot, and let it cool to 110F. In a small bowl I added some of the cooled milk to 3 tablespoons of active culture Greek Yogurt, that I had purchased at the grocery store, mixed them together, then added the mixture to the Instant Pot. I stirred that in, put the lid on, leaving the vent open, pressed Yogurt on the controls, and set the timer for 6 hours. Success!

This is my Instant Pot Yogurt. I used 5 cups of 1% milk, just regular milk that we Canadians buy in 1.33 liter plastic bags. I love it mixed with Maple Syrup or my Dandelion Bloom Jelly.

Since my first batch of Yogurt, I have done more research. Apparently, on my Instant Pot, I can adjust the Yogurt button to read boil, which will boil the milk in the Instant Pot. This means I will not have to wash a saucepan next time, a small improvement, but they add up over time, so it is worthwhile.

Let’s see, what else is going on around here. Last year I knocked over a table lamp, and broke the glass shade. Finally, the right shade presented itself!

Here is the new shade on the lamp. I really like it, Attila chose the pattern.

And finally the Christmas Tree project continues. The Christmas ornaments were removed from the tree and stored away in boxes above the basement stairs, where they will wait patiently until next December. The lights and tinsel remain, to provide bright lights and sparkle to the new decorations. The new decorations are small hearts, in honour of the approaching Valentines Day. I was decadent today, and also bought Attila a box of chocolates, which I gave to him, under strict instructions to enjoy them privately, as I should not be eating candy.



Date: 8:00 AM EST Saturday 8 February 2020
Condition: Mainly Sunny
Pressure: 102.1 kPa
Tendency: Rising
Temperature: -19.7°C
Dew point: -23.9°C
Humidity: 69%
Wind: NNW 7 km/h
Wind Chill: -25
Visibility: 24 km


“Slow down and enjoy life. It’s not only the scenery you miss by going too fast – you also miss the sense of where you are going and why.”
Eddie Cantor
1892 – 1964


  1. Teri

    Hello! I’ve obviously been watching the goings on in the States a little too closely. Totally missed 2 other postings, until today.

    We have one of those programmable thermostats that the gov’t will help you pay for. We keep our nighttime temp about 21.5 in winter, our daytime temp at 23.3. In summer, daytime is set at 25.5, nighttime to 23.3.

    I’m angry for you at the price you’re paying for electricity! Our last hydro bill was only $65. We use a gas furnace with electric fan. Hmmm… But I do see our electricity usage is much less. We only used 313 kWh of electricity last month, 2/3rds of which was off peak.

    Strange! I don’t understand at all why our usage would be so much less than yours, especially since our house is larger.

    We’re supposed to get one night and one day of cold snap, going down to -22C/-8F, tonight, and -8C/18F, tomorrow. Then we’re supposed to bounce back up to just below freezing for Saturday. Crazy weather – but so much better than last year! I wonder if this deep burst will be our last? Last year we had a final deep burst and then moved into spring. It’s a little early but temps have been warmer this winter.

    Cute lampshade and tree!

  2. Teri, I think our hydro bill is higher because we have been heating the house with the heat pump, which is electric heat. The other factor would be construction, Attila has been building all winter, cutting stud walls, operating the large saw on a regular basis, constantly recharging the batteries for the drills etc. Significant renovation projects use a lot of electricity. In contrast, we have used less than a quarter of our fuel this winter, where other winters when the heat pump did not run so much, we have used 3/4 of a tank to heat the house. The price is the shocker for me, using less energy and having the cost go up by 50%.
    Our house is kept at a steady 21.5C, the thermostat is programmable, but we leave it alone unless we are going away. It is get similarly cold here tonight! Crazy temperature swings. It would be lovely if this was winters last gasp of frigid air, but since we have only had a few cold snaps this winter, I guess one more wouldn’t be all that bad.
    Thanks about the lampshade and the tree. I am having fun with the tree!

  3. Joan, making yogurt is surprisingly easy. The last batch I made I strained in the refrigerator for a few hours, removing 1 3/4 cups of whey. The result was a thick Greek Style yogurt, which i really like. The yield is less because more of the whey is removed, but the upside to that is that more of the lactose is removed, and lactose does not agree with me.
    It was fun to decorate the tree with hearts!

  4. Sandy

    I love the Valentine’s Tree and the new lamp shade. I don’t have a yogurt setting on my Instant Pot. Does it cook at a very low temperature? 6 hours in an Instant Pot is a long time The yougurt certainly looks good!

  5. Thanks Sandy! The tree and the lamp are bringing me joy 🙂

    I use the boil method, I prefer it. There is a cold start method but it uses ultra expensive, ultra processed, ultra filtered milk, not interesting to me. I am more of a traditional gal, using regular milk, which requires the boil method.

    You don’t need the Instant Pot to make yogurt. Yogurt just needs a warm place to ferment, but not too warm. I used to use either the oven with the oven light on, or covered on top of the refrigerator.

    There are methods of using an Instant Pot without the yogurt button, you can do a search with the keywords “instant pot no yogurt button” and a bunch of them will come up, choose the one that makes the most sense to you.

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