Slowly

Attila took a log nap when he got home from work yesterday, 40 minutes. I had thawed some stewing beef, organic grass fed beef purchased many years ago when we lived at the Country House, before we bought Mist Cottage. It turned into a lovely stew in the Instant Pot, and was ready when Attila got up from his nap. After eating, he changed into his work clothes, and out he went to work on the garage roof.

Yesterday it rained hard, for a quite a long time. In the morning I had ventured into the garage and placed tarps over all the water vulnerable items. Attila felt the unfinished roof might leak where the nails held down the waterproof sheeting. At noon, during his lunch break, Attila called to see how the garage roof was holding up. The tarps were dry, dry, dry. It put his mind at rest, and mine. No extra clean up needed!

Last night’s efforts on the roof saw the metal trim installed, and two of the nine metal panels installed. The trim and the panels look beautiful! It is very pleasing that the colour we chose is so very close to the colour of the trim on the house, which we did not realize until the metal panels were in place. Bonus.

Two metal roof panels installed.

Two metal roof panels installed.

Attila is beginning to grow weary. This morning his alarm went off for twenty minutes, wakening me from time to time, until I finally realized he wasn’t getting up to turn it off. When I woke him up he was in a deep sleep. I am so glad that the roof panels are finally going on, which I hope he finishes tonight. Once the roof panels are on, the roof will be reliably waterproof, and the rest of the project can proceed at a slower pace. It might be time then, for Attila to take a few days off the project!

The Instant Pot cooked my breakfast yesterday, a Bread Pudding. Another Bread Pudding was pressure cooked this morning. This time I used very low-sodium homemade bread and added diced apple. The apple added so much volume that my appetite was fully sated by eating just half of the pudding. The other half is safely stashed away in the refrigerator, a quick breakfast for tomorrow morning.

Bread Pudding in the Instant Pot!

Bread Pudding in the Instant Pot!

When I made the Beef Stew in the Instant Pot last night, I sautéed half of the stewing beef, removed it from the pot, and refrigerated it for tonight’s dinner. The Beef Stew was such a big hit with Attila that I will make another one tonight. I don’t care much for beef, although I can enjoy a bit of hamburger from time to time, if it is well browned. Attila likes beef, sometimes he craves it, so I try to take as little of it in my portion of the stew as possible, since I don’t enjoy it, and leave the rest to Attila.

Apparently a heat wave, high heat and high humidity, is fast approaching. I hope Attila gets all of the metal roof panels installed tonight, so that he won’t be on the roof in the extreme heat. There is still a lot of work to be done on the walls, installing the window, the cleanup, and then organization, all of which can be done in a leisurely fashion, slowly, in the shade. It is a long weekend, Monday is a statutory holiday. It would be ideal if Attila allows himself to slow down once the roof panels are safely secured into place.

The faux Cabana Curtains I created out of old white flat sheets are working very well. The afternoon sun no longer turns the back porch into an oven. With the Cabana Curtains drawn, the back porch remains at ambient temperature. The back porch will be hot during the heat wave, but no more so than sitting in the shade under a tree.

When it started to rain yesterday, I ran out into the yard and removed the cover on the rain barrel under the drip line of the back porch. This is kept covered during fair weather, to prevent mosquito reproduction, and to prevent loss due to evaporation. Much water will be needed to water the gardens during the heat wave, and now the rain barrels are full and ready for action. So far this season, intermittent rain has minimized the need to water the gardens. Even so, the rain barrels have been emptied several times, only to be refilled by the heavens.

Worldly Distractions

Weather

22°C
Date: 1:00 PM EDT Thursday 28 June 2018
Condition: Mostly Cloudy
Pressure: 100.8 kPa
Tendency: Rising
Temperature: 22.4°C
Dew point: 20.2°C
Humidity: 87%
Wind: SSW 10 km/h
Humidex: 30
Visibility: 24 km

Quote

“The best time to plant an oak tree was twenty-five years ago. The second best time is today.”
James Carville
1944 –

Craving!

I have been craving something sweet. What caught my fancy was bread pudding. I’ve been thinking about bread pudding ever since the Instant Pot came into the house. I have gotten out of the habit of serving desserts with a meal, so it seemed that this craving would not be satisfied. This morning I thought, well, why not for breakfast!

I don’t like “fussy” recipes, ones with lots of ingredients that are not usually found in our home. For instance, bread pudding recipes that call for egg bread, or cinnamon bread, are glossed over, those kinds of specialized ingredients won’t be found in the Mist Cottage kitchen.

I don’t plan menus, or make grocery lists from them, never have. I look in the garden, in the freezer, in the refrigerator, to see what is available. I choose an ingredient, and then the search is on to find or create a recipe that will bring that ingredient to the table in a pleasing way. This past week it was a forgotten cabbage at the back of the vegetable bin, which inspired several meals of cabbage roll casserole and a wonderful Sweet & Sour beef and cabbage casserole. This morning I noticed two withering apples at the back of the other vegetable drawer… and I meant to chop one of those apples to add to my bread pudding. Perhaps I will make another bread pudding tomorrow, chop one of the apples to add to it, and restrict myself to only eating one serving for my breakfast!

Here is my recipe, developed by reading dozens of recipes, coming to the conclusion that I could use bread ends, saved studiously in the freezer so that nothing would go to waste. So I rummaged around in the refrigerator freezer and produced a small bag of rye bread ends. Perfect. I used the equivalent of two slices of that bread, which was very easy to cube in its frozen state. I used one cup of milk, one egg, some sugar, some raisins, some vanilla, some cinnamon… Maggie’s Bread Pudding For One!

What I am very impressed by is the nutritional lineup of this particular dish, lots of nutrients to counterbalance the indulgence in calories, sodium, sugar, and cholesterol. No empty calories here!

The dish was meant to last for two breakfasts, one hot out of the Instant Pot, and the other cold from the refrigerator, to be heated in the microwave. Well, that didn’t work out, I celebrated my successful recipe by eating the whole thing at one sitting! And even then, if I’m careful for the rest of the day, it won’t put me over any of my daily limits. An improvement for future puddings: I will use my own low-sodium homemade bread instead of store bought bread, which will reduce the sodium content to almost nothing. The nutrient information with the recipe reflects the amount of sodium in commercial breads, not my homemade bread.

The last loaf of bread I made, on Sunday, turned out very well. I used less than 1/8 tsp of salt in that loaf, so eating it will not affect my daily sodium intake. It will be better for Attila too, he needs to cut down on sodium, because he is a condiment hound. He love salty condiments of all kinds. That is where he enjoys his sodium intake most, so cutting down the sodium in other food items helps him keep his intake down, while eating the foods he loves.

11:00 a.m.

A thunderstorm is predicted for today, and rain. The garage roof is a bit vulnerable to the rain just now, the strapping will prevent the water from draining off the roof, so it will pool on the upside of the strapping, and lead down into the holes where the nails are holding down the sheeting and strapping. It can’t be helped. Tonight Attila will be adding flashing to the roof. And when the whole thing dries again, when fairer weather returns, the metal will be installed. So close and yet so far. I am not cleaning the garage until the metal roof is installed.

The rain has started. I was just down in the garage, in my rubber boots, proper footwear, to check the roof for leaks. No leaks so far, but the day is young. I covered all open containers and cardboard boxes with tarps, it is the best I can do. If the roof leaks, these few days of rain will be the last time, this will be the last cleanup after a rain. I don’t think I’ll ever be comfortable with the pound of cure approach to projects.

I notice the wind is billowing some of the waterproof sheeting. This is a bit of bad luck. Some of it has been lifted, torn from the nails that were holding it, that will need to be repaired before the metal roof can be installed. This might involve pulling up some of the strapping, I hope not. Attila, when pressed, has been known to take the “good enough” approach to resolving an issue, which is a very bad idea when it comes to a roof. I will get involved in the decision making about this issue, when the time comes, for my own peace of mind. The roof is worth taking the time to do it right the first time.

Roof renovations remind me of farming. So much risk due to weather! I would not have made a good farmer, scratch that, I would have made an excellent farmer, I worry enough to watch and to think ahead, but I wouldn’t have been a happy farmer, not happy at all.

Worldly Distractions

Weather

18°C
Date: 12:32 PM EDT Wednesday 27 June 2018
Condition: Light Rainshower
Pressure: 101.3 kPa
Tendency: Falling
Temperature: 17.7°C
Dew point: 17.0°C
Humidity: 96%
Wind: SE 23 km/h
Visibility: 8 km

Quote

“When all is said and done, the weather and love are the two elements about which one can never be sure.”
Alice Hoffman

Routines

Attila has decided on the routine he wants to follow until the garage roof project is complete. After arriving home from work, he will nap for 20 minutes. Then he is flexible as to whether he eats and then begins work on the roof, or he works on the roof and grabs a bit to eat when he feels like it. He will work until dark every night until the project is complete.

I spoke too soon yesterday about not having to return items to the building centre. The nails I purchased at the building centre yesterday, at closing time, did not suit Attila. I took them back this morning. I also drove to the city and picked up paint for the siding, and some dust masks, to wear while cleaning out the garage. And I bought myself a large container with handles, to use when I am pulling weeds, or doing other yard work that generates greenery that needs to get carted to the compost pile. We have several of these large containers already, but Attila has them filled with stuff… this one is MINE!

I continue to marvel at the light in the dining area. It was golden yesterday, reflecting from the plywood sheathing, and today it has a blue tinge, because the waterproof sheets that were installed last night are blue. It will be interesting to see what the light is like when the grey metal roof!

Attila has set his sights on installing the strapping and the metal roofing tonight, after he gets home from work. His plan it to have a nap, then get started and keep going until the roof is on. It is supposed to rain tomorrow, and I think he wants it on before it rains again. It won’t really matter though, because the plywood sheds the water from rain, and the waterproof sheathing will too, so rain or not, the interior of the garage is dry.

8:00 p.m.

Attila is still out there, I hear the saw, the hammer, stuff is happening. He took a break a little while ago, his sights are now set on finishing the strapping tonight. The metal roofing will have to wait for another day. Slow but sure, the project is moving from one segment to the next, one step at a time.

Worldly Distractions

Weather

21°C
Date: 3:00 PM EDT Tuesday 26 June 2018
Condition: Mostly Cloudy
Pressure: 102.2 kPa
Tendency: Falling
Temperature: 20.9°C
Dew point: 6.0°C
Humidity: 37%
Wind: S 10 km/h
Visibility: 24 km

Quote

“Hold a book in your hand and you’re a pilgrim at the gates of a new city.”
Anne Michaels

Business As Usual. Well, almost.

6:00 a.m.

I got the kitchen ladder and climbed up on it to reach the top cupboard above the range, where the appliance to create aqueous oxygen had been stored for many years. It has not been used since the contractor dug up around the basement, and I killed all the mould and mildew, spores included, in the suddenly dry basement. Now there is another mould and mildew challenge, this time in the garage.

I wasn’t sure the appliance would still work, after all it has been a long time. So I rummaged through the manual drawer until I found the original manual, followed directions and fired it up. Eureka, we have aqueous oxygen. The efficacy lasts only 15 minutes, then it reverts to plain water, so I wanted to use the first batch quickly. I threw on my housecoat, and headed out to the garage in my flip flops, pyjamas, housecoat, to spray the floor. Attila was concerned about my being out there in flip flops, thought I might hurt my foot somehow, or track horrid stuff through the house on my flip flops. Ignoring his concerns I sprayed the traffic areas, watching my feet carefully the whole time. He made me promise, before he left for work, that I would wear proper footwear to work in the garage. I agreed to that, he has an excellent point.

6:15 a.m.

Attila heads out the door, back to his job! He’d rather be here renovating any day. He packed a lunch with fresh homemade bread, and some homemade muffins, then drove off into the morning.

7:30 a.m.

A huge truck pulled up in front of the house, then backed up into the driveway to pick up the dumpster. I have no idea how the fellow maneuvered that huge truck into the narrow driveway, from the narrow road, but he did it without hesitation. The dumpster, the old roof, the mouldy, rotting lost items, gone!

truck and dumpster

8:00 a.m.

Looking out the kitchen window I spied, by the yard waste compost pile, a RABBIT! Aha! Out I went, grabbed my trusty water canon, and then snuck up on the rascally critter. I shot the water canon when I got close and the chase was on. Full circle around the yard we went, until the rabbit squeezed through a narrow opening between the porch support and fence. Aha, again! Another of the few remaining peas was bitten off at the stem, it was rabbit revenge. I took a cedar log and lodged it in the space where the rabbit had entered the yard. Then I found a piece of wood that was sitting in the back yard pile from the garage renovation, carried it around the house, and secured it along the bottom edge of the porch, no rabbits will be gaining access there again.

9:45 a.m.

Sitting here, in my easy chair, gazing out the window, listening to the birds, feeling the cool breeze from the open living room window, I suddenly notice that I feel calm within. For the last nine days, no longer than that, more like three weeks, I’ve been psychically “holding my breath” over this garage roof replacement. It was hard to know how it would go, if nine days were really enough for one man to remove the old roof and get far enough along that the new would shed the rain. That tension is no more. Suddenly there are no unspeakable regions here at Mist Cottage. There are no waiting piles of disgust that will have to be dealt with. Suddenly, it feels as if we have control here at Mist Cottage. This is a new feeling, and I like it. I can’t imagine how great this must feel for Attila, because added to the resolution of tension, there must be a feeling of accomplishment. Perhaps he is fending off that feeling of accomplishment until the many fiddly bits are done, the project is still a long way from completion. I think though, that he will enjoy the garage all the more in years to come, because he alone transformed it into a pleasant and secure space.

12:45 p.m.

A window will be installed in the north west wall of the garage. Natural light is desirable, and I privately think it is needed if Attila is to create an art studio in there. The window that was removed from the kitchen in March will be installed. It was covered with sawdust, and a lot of dirt from where it was stored in the garage. Attila put it out on the back porch for me. This morning I gave it a vacuum, and a wash. Then I applied privacy film to the glass. Really, I did a good job when I did the dining room windows, a few years ago, so what happened to me! The film did not go on well, there are huge bubbles. I had to get down on my hands and knees to do the job, and the mosquitoes were out and biting… perhaps that was the problem. Since this is a garage window, it isn’t crucial that the film look great, it will prevent intruders from seeing into the garage, and let the light in, so it will be good enough, bubbles and all. I don’t like doing projects that turn out to be “good enough”! The perfectionist in me is dissatisfied. I’ll have to get over it. Done!

2:40 p.m.

One of the goals for today was to clear the driveway of construction waste. It was kept relatively free of large debris, but there was a lot of small bits of singles, the gritty bits off shingles, sawdust, and just general dirt. I spent my afternoon with the shovel, a plastic bucket, and a dustpan. I filled the 5 gallon bucket with “stuff”, and pulled out all the plant life between the cracks in the concrete. The concrete driveway at Mist Cottage has seen better days. It is cracked, lots of cracks. The weeds march down the cracks like soldiers going to war, implacable. I haven’t pulled the weeds for a few years now, too busy with the Rideau Camp and other things. So this was the year for pulling weeds out of the cracks. The section of the driveway where Iris the trailer will rest has been cleared. The rest can be done at a later date.

That done, I am thinking about starting on the garage floor. It might happen, but then again it might not. At least it might not happen today. I am still wearing flip flops, it would require a change of footwear. I will though, at the very least, vacuum by the door from the garage to the basement, a lot of gritty shingle stuff and sawdust got tracked in there. It was sprayed with aqueous oxygen this morning, so it should be fine to vacuum. I can wear my flip flops to to that job.

I received a call from the dumpster company, Attila moved 2.2 tons of debris into that dumpster. I am so glad he only had to move that once!

Sitting here on my easy chair, I can see the windows in the dining area of the kitchen. The light has changed! The windows are just above the roof of the garage. The old roof was black, and tarry, and stinky, and hot, hot, hot. The plywood is fresh, sweet smelling, and light in colour. The light reflects off the wood, so different than the black that absorbed all light and turned it into unwanted heat. The light coming in the dining area windows is bright and cheerful. There is very little heat emanating from the plywood on the roof, so that the windows can remain open, whereas before I had to close them in the afternoons to keep the heat from the black roof from heating up the house. The new metal roof is light gray, so I anticipate that open windows are a part of my future. More delightful advantages of the new garage roof!

7:45 p.m.

Attila was a bit knackered when he got home from work today, first day back and all, so he put his head down for a 20 minute power nap before dinner.

Dinner was Nachos with Guacamole. Mine were made with salt free corn chips, which are seldom available in local stores, chopped sweet onion, and lactose free cheese. Attila does the traditional salted corn chip, sweet onion, and regular cheddar cheese. The Guacamole is homemade, a quick recipe with just fresh Avocados and Attila’s homemade salsa.

Now Attila is just outside the window happily hammering away. He is installing the waterproof sheeting over the plywood tonight. After he got home from work, he decided he needed plastic cap nails to install the waterproof sheeting. He wanted 1″ nails, but of course, none are available anywhere near here, so he decided 2″ nails would do the job. He sent me off to the building centre to buy the 2″ nails. I arrived at the building centre 15 minutes before closing time. They had some 2″ nails mixed in with 2 ½” nails, and it was so close to closing time that they weren’t going to sort through them to sell 200 nails. There was another box with exclusively 2 ½” nails, so I bought those instead. They assured me I could return them in the morning if they didn’t suit Attila. I was relieved that he decided they were just fine.

Waterproof sheeting is going on tonight. Then the strapping… then the metal roof.

Being a “runner” is a hard job. Decisions have to be made, out of context, one has no idea why the specific item is needed, so no idea what substitutes could work. Luckily, so far, on this project, I haven’t had to return any materials.

It has been a beautiful and busy day, my kind of day!

Worldly Distractions

Weather

22°C
Date: 2:00 PM EDT Monday 25 June 2018
Condition: Mainly Sunny
Pressure: 102.2 kPa
Tendency: Rising
Temperature: 22.2°C
Dew point: 4.5°C
Humidity: 31%
Wind: NW 18 gust 29 km/h
Visibility: 24 km

Quote

“Did you ever walk into a room and forget why you walked in? I think that’s how dogs spend their lives.”
Sue Murphy