Peach

Here it is, 12:30 p.m., and I am still sitting on the back porch. The shade won’t last much longer out here, my fingers and feet are beginning to swell, and the air is beginning to feel oppressive. After I type this paragraph I will pull the cabana curtains across the deck, bundle my stuff into my arms, and head for the air-conditioned inner sanctum of Mist Cottage. I have enjoyed sitting out here on the back porch all morning, watching the wind blow in the trees, the flowers sway in the wind, the hummingbirds and butterflies, the birds, and Attila working away at the exterior finishes of the garage. But alas, the heat is chasing me away!

I feel thoroughly refreshed for having sat outside for over six hours!

The garden is beginning to gift us food. This morning breakfast consisted of a toasted tomato sandwich, with a plump, juicy, red tomato from the garden. There are Scarlet Runner Beans sitting in the refrigerator, washed and prepped for tonight’s Instant Pot dinner. All morning I have been snacking on the last of the edible pod peas. Since the rabbits and/or squirrels killed most of the Edible Pod Pea plants, the few remaining plants have yielded only a few handfuls of peas, which I have been washing and eating raw.

This morning, while enjoying my view of the back yard from the porch, I decided to try to identify some of the weeds that constitute our “lawn”. Plantain is prominent close to the porch, along with Wild Violets, Dandelions, and Bindweed. We have several huge Catnip plants in the yard, one near the back fence, and the other up against the porch. Further out there are Wild Strawberries, Purslane, Birdsfoot Trefoil, Crabgrass, a variety of other native grasses, one huge blooming Elecampane, Hawkweed, White Clover, Michaelmas Daisy, Burdock, one large Jacob’s Ladder, Common Mallow, Ragweed, Queen Anne’s Lace, and Chicory. On a cooler day I may go out into the yard for a closer look, to hunt down other plant species that live there.

It is just too hot to attempt activities like visiting a park, shopping, taking a country drive. When 23C feels like sitting in a refrigerator, you know it is hot outside.

It is a statutory holiday here in Ontario. But the poor fellas working on the new subdivision are not enjoying it. They are working hard, and making a lot of noise while doing it. I can’t imagine what is like for them today, toiling in the hot sun, in this heat and humidity.

Ontario peaches are on sale at our local grocery, so on Saturday we purchased a 4 quart basket. They were a bit green, but this morning they are perfectly ripe. Attila has been eating them out of hand, and I have peeled two to make myself a peach smoothie for my lunch. I love peach season in Ontario! We grew a few peaches on the farm where I grew up, but the best peaches were on the trees at my paternal Grandparents farm. There is no peach for sale in a retail outlet that can compare with a juicy ripe peach picked fresh from, and eaten in the shade of, a peach tree.

Wishing you all comfort, wherever you are. Safety from the fires raging across many areas of the Northern Hemisphere, the stifling heat in some areas, and many other environmental challenges that plague Mother Earth during this record-breaking summer.

Weather Perspective

“A humidex over 40 is considered to be extreme and Environment Canada recommends that all unnecessary outdoor activity be curtailed under those conditions. When the humidex reaches the mid to upper 30s, rigorous outdoor activity should be reduced with special attention paid to the age and health of the individual.”

“As oppressive as the humidex has been this summer, it has been worse in Canada in the past. On June 20, 1953, Windsor Ontario had a humidex of 52.1 and on July 25, 2007, Carman, Manitoba reached 53.0.”

Humidex and Degree Chart of Comfort

Source: https://www.theweathernetwork.com/news/articles/humidex-vs-heat-index-whats-the-difference/10243

The humidex is the heat the body percieves and reacts to, so that a humidex of 43C will, in theory, have the same effect on the body as 43C temperature where there is no effect on the body due to humidity. For the purposes of our body’s needs, a humidex temperature is comparable to an actual temperature where humidity is not a factor for the body.

Worldly Distractions

Weather

33°C (34°C at the Rideau Camp)
Date: 1:45 PM EDT Monday 6 August 2018
Condition: Mostly Cloudy
Pressure: 101.6 kPa
Tendency: Falling
Temperature: 29.6°C
Dew point: 23.7°C
Humidity: 70%
Wind: SSW 18 gust 30 km/h
Humidex: 42 (43 at the Rideau Camp)
Visibility: 19 km

Quote

“I am an expression of the divine, just like a peach is, just like a fish is. I have a right to be this way…I can’t apologize for that, nor can I change it, nor do I want to… We will never have to be other than who we are in order to be successful…We realize that we are as ourselves unlimited and our experiences valid. It is for the rest of the world to recognize this, if they choose.”
Alice Walker
1944 –

Hula Hoe

A while back Kate (hey Kate!) described the hoe she uses to weed her beautiful flower garden. It looked like a great hoe, and I had never seen anything like it before. Well, I finally got around to looking for something similar. I finally found one that seems the same, a Hula Hoe, called by many other names.

My reason for pursuing this now is that the garden is almost overwhelmed with weeds. Attila is the gardener here. He has been working on the garage roof project since late June. It is a huge project, and he has been working on it almost every waking hour that he has not been at work. At the same time we experienced a very dry four or five weeks, almost a drought, which was hard on the garden. Attila took time off from his roof project to water his garden. There just wasn’t any time left for weeding.

I have arthritic knees, there will be no kneeling to work on the garden for me. I also have back and shoulder issues, less serious, but serious enough that bending down to weed causes enough pain to require medication. I was not going to be weeding the garden. I have suggested many times that raised beds would allow me to participate in gardening, but Attila has not liked the idea. The upshot is that the garden has not been weeded since mid-June.

Saturday, August 4, 2018

There are some very big weeds in the garden, and mats of smaller weeds.

What to do!

This morning I decided to try to find the hoe that Kate described, and as soon as I found it, out we went to purchase it. This evening, after the sun had sunk below the horizon, I ventured into the garden with my new hoe. I weeded about two-thirds of the garden, without breaking a sweat, and only bending down a few times. This hoe is a miracle tool! Well, it is for an old gal like me who can’t get down on the ground to tend the plants.

This hoe is a game changer here at Mist Cottage. There are still quite a few home renovation projects to be tackled, all of them will be tackled by Attila. This Hula Hoe will allow me to gently tackle some of the landscaping, some of the gardening. And I will enjoy it!

August 5, 2018

Another stinker of a day, too hot to do anything out-of-doors, except find shade and try to keep breathing.

I took my morning coffee out onto the back porch where, although the air was very humid, it was quite pleasant. I sat for an hour or so, watching the birds, the clouds, and the movement of shadows as the sun lumbered into the sky.

Eventually Attila awoke, made his morning coffee and came out onto the porch too. After revelling for a few hours, in the luxury of sitting around, we decided to work on the garden. Attila didn’t favour my chances of lasting very long, and how right he was. After about thirty minutes I was unable to continue, and feeling a bit frantic, so I decided to head into the coolness of Mist Cottage. I had to cold cloths to cool my body down. The garden looks a little better, and I recovered relatively quickly, within 15 minutes I felt comfortable again. Without the air-conditioned escape, I would not have cooled down until the heat wave subsides. Note to self, no air conditioning, no vigorous activity during heat waves.

Attila spent the rest of his day finishing off the back wall studs in the garage, building shelves between the studs, and painting the back wall. One step closer to completion. Blocking between the rafters, trim around the new window, and odd bits of flashing and trim on the roof, and more painting, still need to be completed. I think though, that after this weekend, if a day of decent weather presents itself on a weekend, activities other than working on the garage roof can be prioritized.

Worldly Distractions

Weather

HEAT WARNING
27°C
Date: 5:00 PM EDT Sunday 5 August 2018
Condition: Mostly Cloudy
Pressure: 101.9 kPa
Tendency: Falling
Temperature: 26.6°C
Dew point: 20.9°C
Humidity: 70%
Wind: S 18 km/h
Humidex: 35
Visibility: 24 km

Quote

“True humor is fun – it does not put down, kid, or mock. It makes people feel wonderful, not separate, different, and cut off. True humor has beneath it the understanding that we are all in this together.”
Hugh Prather

A Lazy Saturday

I slept in until 6:30 a.m. this morning, which isn’t surprising, considering I was up until after midnight doodling about with who knows what. Where does the time go! I seem to be getting lazy, if you can call sleeping into 6:30 a

The air was close but comfortably cool, when I carried my morning coffee out the back porch. And it was quiet, the construction crews had not yet arrived at the new rental unit complex. The flowers are blooming, sun yellow Heliopsis, bright red Scarlet Runner Beans, yellow Giant Marigolds, orange Marigolds, purple Clematis, purple Echinacea, and white/pink/red Cosmos.

In the weeds that function as “grass” in our yard, a pecking Grackle was led here and there by wily insects, a Blue Jay sat on the back of a lawn chair, a chickadee rested on the fence above the lemon balm, and a robin hopped about on the neighbour’s yard behind us.

Time passed, birds came and went, sometimes singing. A breeze came up, died away, and came up again. I love early mornings.

It is stinking hot out there this afternoon, and will be hotter and stickier tomorrow and Monday. Attila manages to work in such heat, but I can only stay active for about five minutes before feeling ill. I don’t bother trying to be active on days such as this, as five minutes isn’t long enough to tackle anything much.

So, in this lovely little house with a thermostat, where the temperature does not waver far from 23C, I decided to bake and cook. I baked Pumpkin Muffins in the Nesco on the back porch, and a Beef Stew in the Instant Pot in the kitchen for my dinner. Attila barbecued chicken on the charcoal grill for himself.

The Beef Stew is my own recipe. I have some vintage organic, grass-fed stewing beef, that I had taken out of the freezer. After tossing around various ideas, I settled on the idea of a stew. There are no potatoes in the house, so I made the stew with cabbage instead. I cut the meat into very small pieces, sautéed it until it was cooked through, added chopped onions, vintage frozen celery, a half cabbage, chopped, a can of tomatoes, niblets corn, some herbs and macaroni. This was an experiment! The beef was cooked through during the sauté session, so I used the time required the pasta to cook the whole stew. The results were pleasing, so it was a relative success. The pasta was a little overdone, but not terribly so. I ate two bowls of the stew for dinner, it was the consistency of soup. This is a recipe worth working on, so I’ll be trying it again to tweak it. When I run out of vintage stewing beef I will make it with ground beef instead.

Worldly Distractions

Weather

HEAT WARNING
27°C
Date: 6:00 PM EDT Saturday 4 August 2018
Condition: Mainly Sunny
Pressure: 101.8 kPa
Tendency: Falling
Temperature: 26.9°C
Dew point: 22.1°C
Humidity: 74%
Wind: SSW 21 km/h
Humidex: 36
Visibility: 19 km

Quote

This comment was made in response to a 98-year-old woman’s video, demonstrating a main dish she prepared and served during the Great Depression.

“Imagine in the future when all the tattooed millennials are old and teaching ppl how to make unicorn cupcakes.”

Wild Flower

This morning I picked Queen Anne’s Lace, a wild flower from the “lawn”. It isn’t thriving, the blooms are airy and delicate this year. They are so pretty, sitting in a white mug of water beside the Heliopsis in the vintage Coca Cola glass.

The sun is peeking out from time to time. Although the temperature is an otherwise comfortable 24C, the humidex is already 31C, and the day is just getting started. Since we had substantial rainfall yesterday afternoon, the garden will be able to make the most of this heat.

After a naughty breakfast of leftover Tuna Noodle Casserole, I’ve taken the chicken out of the freezer to thaw for tonight’s dinner. I’ve paid bills, tied up loose administrative ends, and fussed about a bit in the kitchen. I have a list of things I would like to accomplish today, laundry and cleaning. Not very exciting, but when these tasks are done it creates a lightness in the atmosphere.

Attila finished securing the garage yesterday evening. All of the openings, through which flying insects could enter, have been closed. He even painted the remaiing bare wood bits of the exterior finishes. There is still much to do, and I am hopeful that this weekend will bring the project to the point where Attila feels a sense of completion, and the process of moving items from the basement to the garage can begin in earnest.

I wandered away from writing this entry and forgot to come back! Until now, after 10:30 p.m., when my eyes are so bleary that I can hardly see, and my bed is beginning to look like heaven on earth. Spell checking is not happening here tonight!

Worldly Distractions

Weather

23°C
Date: 9:00 AM EDT Thursday 2 August 2018
Condition: Mostly Cloudy
Pressure: 101.7 kPa
Tendency: Rising
Temperature: 22.6°C
Dew point: 20.7°C
Humidity: 89%
Wind: SW 14 km/h
Humidex: 31
Visibility: 24 km

Quote

“Happiness is not achieved by the conscious pursuit of happiness; it is generally the by-product of other activities.”
Aldous Huxley
1894 – 1963

August Begins

Well, here it is, August!

August came in with a big thunderstorm and downpour this afternoon.  It was most welcome, and I could almost hear the sighs of relief from the flora and fauna.  The rain started just as Attila arrived home from work, finding me in the garage listening to the rain on the new metal roof, enjoying the dryness of it all.

July was a month where the humidex reached from 30C to 35C almost every day. It looks like August will be more of the same. It isn’t my favourite kind of weather. The humidity is so cloying.

Tonight’s dinner was a quick and easy Instant Pot Tuna Noodle Casserole.  This recipe has grated cheese stirred in after cooking, it was very nice.  Attila loved it.  There isn’t much I love since I am eating such a low sodium diet, nice is as good as it gets.

When I was shopping earlier in the week, I bought a bag of beautiful looking grapefruit.  We have been eating them in the evenings as a snack.  I love grapefruit, and for years I could not have it because it was contraindicated by my medication.  The medication changed and now I can eat grapefruit again.  A small, but welcome, mercy.

Attila’s cell phone is pay as you go, and needed to be topped up.  Since he uses his cell phone a lot more than I use mine, mostly to call me here at home, his minutes disappear a lot more quickly.  Therefore the cheapest 100 minute prepaid plan seemed a viable solution, with a monthly fee which annually adds up to about the same price as the current pay per use.

I felt sorry for the people I dealt with today, sorting out the cell phone account. I asked a few simple questions, but because the call center people are not from Canada, the nuances of our culture are not familiar to them.  The simple questions ended up taking almost three hours to work through, and the unfortunate last fellow I spoke with, I spoke to three different people, was downright discouraged by the end of the call.  He was polite to the end though. We got the job done, in the end, the cell phone works and in a few months I will go back into the account and set up automatic updates.

Cell phones are getting increasingly expensive to operate, the options are narrowing, masked as improvements, which they aren’t.  My cell phone service provider recently sent me a text message informing me that my pay per use plan was no longer available, and that I would be automatically transferred to a much more expensive plan.  I spent an entire morning on the telephone with them as well, and I can’t say they enjoyed my company.  We got the job done.

Where we once spent $200 annually on cell phones, we now spend $300 to $400 annually.  At our income level this is a significant incursion on available funds.

Worldly Distractions

Weather

26°C
Date: 6:00 PM EDT Wednesday 1 August 2018
Condition: Mostly Cloudy
Pressure: 101.2 kPa
Tendency: Falling
Temperature: 25.8°C
Dew point: 22.1°C
Humidity: 80%
Wind: SW 16 km/h
Humidex: 35
Visibility: 24 km

Quote

“Use what talents you possess: the woods would be very silent if no birds sang there except those that sang best.”
Henry Van Dyke
1852 – 1933