Turn, Turn, Turn

Some sort of turning point has been taken here at Mist Cottage. I can’t really define just when it turned, or what it is, just how it feels. It feels settled. It feels comfortable. It feels right. It feels challenging. It feels fluid. It feels a bit unpredictable. I don’t really trust this change, not yet anyway, in time, if it is real and stable, I will grow to trust it. Trust is earned.

Attila seems to have not only recovered from his “terrible, terrible mistake”, but to have come through some kind of dark night of the soul, and out the other side. He is still the same old Attila, but seems to have awakened anew, and is now able to smell the roses in this lucky life he has with me.

What a year this has been so far! Every year seems that way though, but my mileage varies.

The garage roof project is not done yet. Attila doesn’t usually finish projects at one go. He will push until he is very nearly finished, then suddenly stop altogether. It will take some prodding on my part to get him to complete the few, small remaining bits of the exterior. And that prodding will not occur until he has completely recovered from his injured ankle, however long that takes.

The interior of the garage, well as far as I am concerned, the interior is his space and he can take the rest of his life to finish it, if that is what he wants to do. As long as he moves his tools and building materials out of the tiny basement, to make room for easy access to the stored items that are going to be stored down there long-term, then I am good with whatever timeline he has for the garage interior.

The Heliopsis in the garden is a transplant from my Granny’s flower garden. So many fond memories of that garden, and time spent with my Granny, sitting on the porch beside the flower garden. It loves being here at Mist Cottage. It is over eight feet tall, and is blooming profusely. The right yellow blooms have been cut for vases, and grace the living room and the kitchen with their cheer.

The Rose plant that was transplanted from my Granny’s garden is alive, and has about a foot of growth on it, no blooms this year. I have tried many times before to transplant cuttings and root-stock of those roses, and this is the first time the effort has succeeded to any degree. I am concerned about the plant surviving the winter here. At my Granny’s house the snow is deep all winter, covering the plants and protecting them from frost damage. At Mist Cottage we get some weather just as cold as that at Granny’s house, but the snow cover is significantly less, and sporadic. I plan on putting a heavy mulch over the rose for the winter months, and hope that will protect it from ground frost.

The Inspector for the Hydro Affordability Plan visited yesterday for our eligibility inspection. He was a very personable young man, and even though the news was disappointing, it was a good experience. The upshot was that we are so frugal with our use of hydro that our points were negligible. Assistance is given based on points, the more points you have the more assistance you are eligible for. So no new energy-efficient appliances for us. But we were eligible for some LED light bulbs and a power bar, which was a pleasant surprise. With this assistance program we shot ourselves in the foot by being so frugal with our use of hydro, altering our lifestyle significantly to keep the bills affordable. No rewards for trying! Still, no regrets, we will carry on as we have been, minimizing power usage whenever we can.

The tomatoes are really coming on now! They are being frozen whole as they are harvested, so that the processing can take place all at once. Processing will involve placing the frozen tomatoes in boiling water to thaw them, draining away the water, putting them through the Food Mill, and finally canning them in the pressure canner. Three of the varieties are heritage, so they are high acid and can be canned in a hot water bath, but I will pressure can them, just in case.

I don’t really like eating meat. Attila loves meat.

Years ago we bought a quarter of beef, grass-fed beef. Two grocery bags of the beef packages are still in the freezer. There are several packages of stewing beef. One package came out of the freezer, was thawed overnight, and cooked yesterday in a dish new to us, Lebanese Green Beans and Beef Casserole. Preparing it using diced tomatoes instead of tomato sauce and reducing the salt to 1/2 teaspoon as opposed to 1 1/2 teaspoons, resulted in burning, which I caught immediately, turning off the Instant Pot, and deglazing the bottom of the not so very burnt pot in order to try again. Not enough liquid in the recipe, I reckoned, so a cup of water was added before starting again. The cup of water did the trick, it cooked as it should. It was a bit watery though, so it needed to be thickened after cooking, which is easily done by adding a flour and water mixture and cooking it on Saute for a short time.

This recipe is a keeper at our house. Attila loved it. I wasn’t sure how I Liked it, but found myself returning for a second helping without thinking. That must mean that I like it.

Since Attila is supposed to stay off his feet as much as possible, the shopping has landed in my court. I am more prone to impulse buying than is Attila, as I demonstrated once again. My indulgence? A three litre basket of new potatoes for $3.97. My Grandparents grew wonderful potatoes, and the only commercial potatoes that come close in taste is autumn harvest new potatoes. What a treat!

This morning, at 5:45 a.m., those lovely little potatoes were lovingly washed, pricked with a fork, and set on the rack in the Instant Pot. A cup of water was poured into the bottom of the pot, the lid secured, the vent closed, the timer set to 12 minutes, and the start button pushed. At 6:15 a.m. the lid came off and those lovely little potatoes were cooked to perfection. And that is what I had for breakfast, two little potatoes, with salt free margarine, and a sprinkling of roasted garlic and pepper spice. I felt wealthy!

For dinner tonight I plan on steaming Coconut Lime Fish in the Instant Pot, to serve with new potatoes and fresh Scarlet Runner Beans from the garden. Steaming fish in the Instant Pot is an experiment, wish me luck!



Date: 8:00 AM EDT Thursday 23 August 2018
Condition: Partly Cloudy
Pressure: 101.5 kPa
Tendency: Rising
Temperature: 14.4°C
Dew point: 12.1°C
Humidity: 86%
Wind: WNW 10 km/h
Visibility: 24 km

As you can see, our heat wave has ended! What a relief!


“The real hero is always a hero by mistake; he dreams of being an honest coward like everybody else.”
Umberto Eco
1932 – 2016

Not all cowards are honest cowards!

YouTube Videos

Attila went the Emergency Department at the hospital last night, the injury to his ankle was becoming more and more painful. He was there for five hours, most of which was spend in a hard plastic chair in the waiting room, waiting for the results of the x-ray. Thankfully nothing is broken, it is a soft tissue issue, and the Emergency Department has no further interest, so sent him home with instructions to see his family doctor, and to rest the leg and foot for two days. Attila is sleeping right now, and will probably spend most of his day in bed, or sitting on the back porch when he gets tired of sleeping. Is that a thing, getting tired of sleeping?

He will see the Nurse Practioner later this week, so hopefully she will be helpful.

Projects for Attila are “off-line” for the next little while, until this leg and ankle heal properly.

I have been experimenting with YouTube. Watching videos with subject matter that is of some interest to me, I am following several dozen content creators. I have been very selective in the content I am watching.

Most of the content creators engage respectfully with the comments, whether they agree with them or not, the subject is explored respectfully. Those are the creators who are operating from a position of sharing, which allows for reciprocation of ideas and information.

Very few content creators react negatively to sharing comments, actually I have only observed two so far. What I noticed about both of these creators, was that they routinely went through the comments on their videos, loving every “yay you”, “you are amazing” comment, and ignoring all sharing comments made by viewers.

While looking at this phenomena, I discovered something truly interesting. A sharing comment that was made on a video was discussed as having been made by a “troll”. WOW! I let that sink in for a little while, then went back to have another look at the video and the comments. The comment involved sharing a link to plans for a do-it-yourself off-grid camping air conditioner, as the video content included a discussion about suffering in the heat. To me the comment seemed like a considerate and thoughtful sharing of information. To consider such a comment to be the work of a “troll” is mind-blowing. WOW!

Troll: “Someone who posts inflammatory, extraneous, or off-topic messages in an online community, such as a forum, chat room, or blog, with the primary intent of provoking readers into an emotional response or of otherwise disrupting normal on-topic discussion.”
Source: https://www.google.com/search?q=internet+troll&ie=utf-8&oe=utf-8&client=firefox-b-ab

I guess I have a completely different view about what “normal on-topic discussion” means.

YouTube brings the ability to create content and publish it to just about everyone. What is available is truly the good, the bad, and the downright ugly.

There are pitfalls to exposing your life online. I think the pitfalls are more numerous for videos than for the written word. The audience for the written word can read with comprehension. The audience watching a video need only their eyes and ears, so it is a much broader audience, and includes people with a less education, and perhaps less analytical ability. That seems to be a media trend, less. In this case less is not more.

One sad situation I witnessed was a family who were creating videos of their mobile lifestyle, with children. One child was struggling with the fishbowl life, and frequently threw toys at the camera, and interrupted other family members to shout, “look at me”, clearly hostile to the camera and the dynamic. The rest of the family laughed at all this, not seeming to see or hear the child’s distress, so very enthralled with their own images were they.

Another sad situation, a woman who for years presented videos, thought very highly of herself, presented a fairy tale life, sought to build a following, then suddenly began complaining about how awful it is to be watched. The attention she sought so obsessively, once attained, was not what she had expected.

Well, like anything else in the big wide world, your mileage may vary. I have stopped watching the creators who are looking for accolades, and regard reasonable feedback as intrusive. Luckily that leaves the vast majority of interesting creator content to enjoy.



Date: 9:00 AM EDT Monday 20 August 2018
Condition: Partly Cloudy
Pressure: 102.1 kPa
Tendency: Rising
Temperature: 21.3°C
Dew point: 19.2°C
Humidity: 88%
Wind: SE 10 km/h
Humidex: 28
Visibility: 24 km


“Perpetual devotion to what a man calls his business, is only to be sustained by perpetual neglect of many other things.”
Robert Louis Stevenson
1850 – 1894

The secret of “success”.

Worse Before Better

Attila figured his ankle would get better if he just soldiered through the pain, and kept moving. It didn’t. It got worse.

He insisted on continuing with his projects. The first was applying Mouse Free, a peppermint oil based gel, to the bottom of Grace, out at the Rideau Camp. It was applied with a paint brush. This project was completed this morning, and Attila was so played out that he asked me to drive us home, he usually drives, and he usually wants to stay out at the camp as long as possible. I drove us home, and unloaded Tank, to help keep him off his feet.

But, played out or not, he was determined to finish the new roof flashing under the dining room windows. Moving more and more slowly as the project wore on, he got out the extension ladder, the electric saw, the materials, went up on the roof (cringe) to measure, came back down, cut the pieces, up on the roof again to install the ice shield and the first piece, and measure, down again to cut the final piece, them up again to install the last piece. I opened the windows so I could hear him if he needed help. I dare not ask, as I would be told, “I don’t need any help!”

So I spent my time in the kitchen, to be near that open window, cooking bacon, Attila’s favourite, so that he could have a tasty meal. He needed a tasty meal because come hell or high water, he was going to the hospital emergency department as soon as he had a chance to rest, bath, and eat! By the time he was done the roof flashing, his resistance to going to the hospital had faded away to nothing. He was in a great deal of pain.

At 6:00 p.m. this evening, I drove Attila to the Emergency Department of the local hospital. It is currently 10:00 p.m. and I haven’t heard from him. He is going to call me using his cell phone, when he is ready to come home. I will pick him up. I anticipate that it will be around 2:00 a.m. or later when I get that call. It takes that long for them to give medical attention to people, even when there are only a dozen or so people in the Emergency Room waiting room. I don’t know why it takes them so long, they don’t seem in the least bit rushed. On my long wait times, there were no urgent cases in the emergency room, and it still took forever to be be seen and released.

I think I will sleep in my chair. it is easier to wake up alert when I sleep sitting in the chair. I will need to become alert quickly, so I can drive Tank over the hospital to pick up a very tired, very weary Attila.



Date: 3:00 PM EDT Sunday 19 August 2018
Condition: Partly Cloudy
Pressure:101.7 kPa
Tendency: Falling
Temperature: 25.0°C
Dew point: 16.2°C
Humidity: 58%
Wind: SSE 9 km/h
Humidex: 30
Visibility: 24 km


“Wise men talk because they have something to say; fools, because they have to say something.”
427 BC – 347 BC

Hurt Ankle

Attila is limping. He says he hurt his ankle. He spent the morning resting with his foot up, but by lunch time he was itching to be up and about, so up he got and about he went.

It is a cloudy day here, humid, but not unpleasantly hot. The construction at the end of the street seems much louder today, probably because of the atmospheric conditions. It will be strange to sit in the back yard and have the windows of the rental units looking back at us. I hope the units are occupied by reasonable people!

This morning Attila and I took coffee on the back porch. It was raining, gently, and the light breeze made the flowers dance. A Hummingbird moved slowly along the fence, visiting bloom after bloom on the Scarlet Runner Beans. It was oh so peaceful.

Peaches are in season here in Ontario. I love peaches! I sliced five peaches this morning to serve with the pancakes Attila made for breakfast. The pancakes were made with the last of the pancake mix that was purchased two summers ago, because it required no milk or eggs, perishables that would have to be kept in a cooler. Attila’s from-scratch pancakes are much better, and now that we have a propane refrigerator at the Camp, we can easily keep milk and eggs fresh for his from-scratch pancakes.

Last night’s dinner was prepared in the Instant Pot, Sweet and Sour Beef with Rice and Mixed Vegetables. There were enough fresh Scarlet Runner Beans to add to the dish, they were wonderful!

I have to admit that I miss desserts! There are no desserts here at Mist Cottage, I must limit my sugar intake, and it is difficult to keep within bounds, even just having sweetener in my coffee and cereal. But there are times when I feel “let’s blow this popsicle stand”, and yesterday was one of them. Because Attila is limping, I did the grocery shopping yesterday. Attila loves ice cream. Attila was going to have a vacation day today, kinda special. I decided to treat Attila to ice cream. Oh generous me. That sounds very considerate and generous and all, but honestly, I wanted the ice cream. I am owning that. If I hadn’t been craving something sweet, that ice cream would still be in the freezer section at the grocery store. Of course, Attila was very happy to have ice cream! That was the bonus.



Date: 11:22 AM EDT Friday 17 August 2018
Condition: Mostly Cloudy
Pressure: 101.3 kPa
Tendency: Falling
Temperature: 22.9°C
Dew point: 21.8°C
Humidity: 93%
Wind: SSW 25 gust 36 km/h
Humidex: 32
Visibility: 24 km


“I hold ambition of so light a quality that is is but a shadow’s shadow.”
William Shakespeare
1564 – 1616

Zucchini Surprise

Attila continues to chip away at the garage project.  Last weekend he finished closing in and trimming the back exterior, and the interior back wall.  He continues to move building materials into the garage from the basement.  The push is over, now slowly but surely the garage project is progressing.

Do plants smile?  I think they might, you can see them if you watch carefully enough. We had a thunderstorm and heavy rain yesterday afternoon, the garden was glad.  The few remaining Scarlet Runner Bean plants are beginning to produce beans, we have had two meals with fresh beans.  The tomato plants are prolific.  Attila planted, at my request, mostly small tomatoes, Amish, and two varieties that are of unknown varieties.  There is one round tomato plant, Pink Girl.  The fruit is not particularly sweet, but is very tasty, and perfect for toasted tomato sandwiches.  The hot peppers are yielding quite a crop, those are for Attila, I don’t eat them.  The Pole Squash, a heritage variety we ordered online, are barely surviving, one actually died, and I anticipate no fruit from those plants.  The Blue Hubbard Squash is beginning to take over the yard, and wants to trespass on the neighbour’s yard, requiring constant diligence to set the runners back on our property.  The Zucchini, well, there is a beautiful large fruit on it, and, well, it isn’t a Zucchini, it is a pumpkin!   How did that happen, no idea, I must have mislabeled some seeds.

Today is a perfect day.  Sunny, warm but not hot, not terribly humid.  Just lovely!

I am preparing a new dish in the Instant Pot for dinner, making it up as I go along.  Ground beef (and rosemary, always rosemary with beef or red meat), cabbage, and tomato are the base of it, I’ll be adding water, rice, and a few herbs, we will see how it goes.  A sort of cabbage roll casserole.  I am writing it down as I go along, so if we like it, I can replicate it.

There are companies with a solid, reliable right hand that takes your money, who have a thousand left hands that know next to nothing about each other, or how to provide customer service.  These past few weeks I’ve been on the telephone battling it out with perfectly nice but systemically hobbled customer service people.  Every time I think I have it sorted, another unexplained charge shows up, and after much ado, I receive an apology, and the charge is removed.  No wonder people end up with ridiculously high bills, you have to watch these companies like a hawk, and be prepared to spend a LOT of time getting errors straightened out!  Cell phone service providers = misery!

Attila just arrived home for the weekend.  The weather is as perfect as one could wish for on a summer’s day.  Dinner, courtesy of the Instant Pot, is just a “press the start button” away.  All is well, in the here and now, and it does not get any better than that.



Date: 3:00 PM EDT Friday 10 August 2018
Condition: Mainly Sunny
Pressure: 101.4 kPa
Tendency: Falling
Temperature: 25.0°C
Dew point: 11.3°C
Humidity: 42%
Wind: NNE 12 km/h
Humidex: 27
Visibility: 24 km


“Derive happiness in oneself from a good day’s work, from illuminating the fog that surrounds us.”
Henri Matisse
1869 – 1954