Not Able To Work From Home!

Today Attila returns to work. His only other option is to stay home with no income, and since we still need to eat, need shelter, well, he doesn’t really have any choice in the matter. So here we are, dreading the possible exposure to Covid-19, taking every precaution we know of to prevent either of us from contracting the virus, and living as healthy a lifestyle as we can under the present circumstances.

Our stress levels are going to be very high from now on, because our precautions may not protect us. We feel vulnerable to the stupidity of greed, that sees low risk people at home without work, and high risk people working when it would be wiser to isolate at home.

If Attila is infected, we will know it happened at his workplace.

The virus is more often fatal for vulnerable people, two of us here, and yet there is very little consideration taken to support isolation for the most vulnerable people who are living independently. If the employer calls an employee with co-morbidities into work, if the employee needs an income to survive, the employee will go back to the workplace with all those who are younger or have no co-morbidities. If the employer calls an employee living with a vulnerable individual, or a senior, then the employee will go back to the workplace with all of those who are not living with vulnerable people.

Co-habitation and family are not part of the economic equation of protecting the vulnerable members of society. To be honest, I am having trouble seeing just where the protection for the “most vulnerable” is actually going on. The only truly visible support for the long-term care homes where many, many people are dying, is the national military stepping in, and responsibly reporting abysmal conditions in for-profit run care homes, after which the Premier suddenly decided to take over the care-homes reported by the military.

Why did people have to die before the issue was addressed?

I accept that this is the way it is, but I have trouble listening to rhetoric that claims our leaders are taking care of the most vulnerable.

For Example:

“As we face some of the darkest times in our province’s history, we have a duty to protect and care for the most vulnerable in our society… we must go above and beyond to ensure they get financial relief, food, medicine and other essentials without delay.”
Doug Ford, Premier of Ontario, April 21, 2020. https://globalnews.ca/news/6847643/ontario-coronavirus-additional-funding-seniors-vulnerable/

I guess “most vulnerable” didn’t really cover the people in long-term care, who are still dying in great numbers, some living in appalling conditions that our Premier calls “gut wrenching”. I guess “most vulnerable” didn’t really cover seniors and people with serious co-morbidities who live independently and need to work to survive. I’m not sure just who got the financial relief aimed at the “most vulnerable”, I fear top heavy “helping” agencies are fattening up with the dollars, but I do know it wasn’t us, and it still isn’t us.

Anyway, that is my perspective on Attila being forced back into the working world during this pandemic.

I am scared, and not ashamed of being scared.

I admit to having a little cry after Attila drove away. A good cry can be very cathartic.

Now that I have that off my chest, it is time to carry on.

Our garden received new plants from the local nursery this year. Most of the plants were healthy and are doing very well. BUT the most expensive plants, the shrubs, arrived heavily diseased, which became apparent after about a week in the garden. Aphids attacked both plants, a red currant bush, and a high bush cranberry bush. The red currant bush seemed to be fighting them off with success, but the high bush cranberry was losing almost every leaf to those dreaded little beasts.

I started with a spray of insecticidal soap. It slowed the aphids down for one day, then they were back worse than ever. Watching the shrub slowly die just didn’t seem like the right thing to do. So I brought in the big guns, which I haven’t needed to do over the last 10 years, but this nursery baby was so severely infected when we got her, that our usual organic approaches to insect control would not overcome the issue.

I have been waiting for a day without wind to spray the high bush cranberry with an insecticide, as I do not want the chemical spray drifting anywhere else in the garden, where it is not needed and would kill the insects we welcome. The weather has been very windy! But this morning, at 6:00 a.m. the air was calm, so I put on my protective clothing, and out I went to relieve the bush of its aphid infestion. I hope this works!

I am not impressed with the local nursery, who sold us the two infected shrubs for top dollar.

Today is baking day, Attila will need muffins for his lunches, as well as more loaves of bread for sandwiches.

I’ve been mending again. This time I am working on mending my “new clothes” purchased at Costco over the last five years, one pair of pajamas, and two shirts. I don’t buy many new clothes, so having to mend the only ones I’ve purchased in the last five years is truly disappointing. I will contrast those poor quality clothing items from Costco with the other piece of clothing that is being mended, a linen shirt I purchased used for $10, 25 years ago. After 25 years of wear the fabric itself was wearing thought at some pressure points. The Costco clothing needed repairs to frayed seams (cheaply made with inadequate seam allowances) after less than 5 years of very light wear. I hate remaking new clothes because they weren’t made well in the first place.

Here are a few images of my mending projects.

The bottom pant cuff on my almost new pajamas has frayed and detached from the cuff, the seam allowance was not wide enough. Two thirds of the cuff had detached after only a few washings.
I repaired the cuff by turning it up on the right side, stitching it, then used a zig-zag stitch to secure the frayed material to the turned up cuff material. Not elegant, but very functional and good enough for me!
The collar of my 25 year old linen shirt is fraying badly, the fabric has just worn through with use. Not bad for 25 years of wear!
I turned the collar to the inside, stitched it down on the collar band, then stitched the collar edge for stability. I like it better than an actual collar, it will never be out of place.
This is where the fabric wore out along the back yoke of the linen shirt.
What you see here is all of the material left from a shirt I rescued from I don’t know where, it would be over 50 years ago. I’ve used the material from this shirt for various projects over the years, most recently for my face mask. This fabric looked nice with my linen shirt, so I cut a piece from it for mending.
This is the mending patch pinned to the linen shirt, ready for stitching. This floral band was sewn to the seam of the yolk, which has several layers of fabric and is very sturdy. It will then be pressed over the area of the yolk that has worn thin with aga and wear, and sew on.
The linen shirt, the collar turned in and stitched down, and the new floral patch applied across the weak fabric in the back yoke. This is a very big floppy shirt, almost like a cape it is so big and loose fitting. I love it, it offers cool covering that protects me from the sun. It isn’t a particularly pretty shirt, but I wasn’t willing to give it up! We have seen some good times together , this shirt and I.

I like mending better than I like clothing construction, there is something satisfying about rescuing much loved clothing items!

Worldly

Weather

22°C
Date: 1:40 PM EDT Friday 29 May 2020
Condition: Mostly Cloudy
Pressure: 100.9 kPa
Tendency: Falling
Temperature: 22.2°C
Dew point: 18.8°C
Humidity: 80%
Wind: WSW 9 km/h
Humidex: 29
Visibility: 24 km

Quote

“I wanted you to see what real courage is, instead of getting the idea that courage is a man with a” gun in his hand. It’s when you know you’re licked before you begin but you begin anyway and you see it through no matter what.”
Harper Lee
1926 – 2016
To Kill a Mockingbird, 1960

At Last!

Rhubarb!

At last we have a beautiful spring day! It is 15C out there, the sun was shining this morning, although it has disappeared now behind grey clouds, and there is a lovely breeze, as opposed to wind. Thursday and Friday were dismal indeed, cold, heavy rain, high winds… but today, beautiful!

Attila just came back from a visit to the home building center. Attila was again the only person wearing a mask when he went to the building center. People were properly lined up outside the store, two meters apart as required, allowed to enter one by one, and the cashier was behind her plexiglass wall. No one was wearing a mask, not the staff, not the customers. Except for Attila, he wears his mask, he changes and washes his clothes when he comes home. We hope for a vaccine for the coronavirus, and accept that it might never come. In the meantime we intend on enjoying what we do have, and that we are relatively safe as long as we avoid other humans.

Attila is just finishing off the last of the fiddly bits on the third wall of the basement. That makes three walls completely insulated, dry walled and painted. The fiddly bits today are the wiring, the ground rod outside needed to be replaced, so we ordered a new one, Attila went to pick it up, and now he is installing it.

The fourth wall is insulated, and has the vapour barrier installed, but it is a wall that will be challenging to finish with drywall, as the pipes, water and sewer, and the heating system, and the hot water tank, are all lined up along that wall, so it needs finicky, bit by bit, application of drywall, and in some areas wallboard because drywall is too thick. But the insulation is there, we have the benefit of that, the drywall is just the finishing touch that is missing.

At last I can sit on a chair in the basement, and begin to plan on how to arrange things, to organize things. I will take my time planning, as I don’t want to do this twice! We have waited 10 years to get to the point where we can begin to organize the basement for optimum storage and use. I feel rather stunned, and excited, that the day has finally arrived!

Last week I managed to find yeast to make my bread, and cocoa for baking, with the online order. Attila wanted to celebrate that we have chocolate, and initially thought of cookies. But I cannot eat cookies, the sugar content is far too high for me. We finally decided on a loaf of Whole Wheat Chocolate Bread (yeast bread), which is in the bread machine right now. It smells wonderful!

When I want to “deep clean” fabrics, such as dish cloths, or pot holders, I boil them for ten minutes in a big pot of water on the stove top. This morning it is pot holders in the pot. After boiling and then rinsing them, they will be popped into a load of laundry to be washed, then hung up to dry on the back porch clothesline.

The Heliopsis is coming up beside the fence, with a a Day Lily…
both transplanted from my Granny’s garden, growing with love in mine.
The Wild Geranium is up! The blooms are small and delicate,
but oh so pretty when they arrive.

Worldly

Weather

9°C
Date: 1:00 PM EDT Saturday 2 May 2020
Condition: Mostly Cloudy
Pressure: 101.5 kPa
Tendency: Falling
Temperature: 9.4°C
Dew point: 6.5°C
Humidity: 82%
Wind: SSW 21 km/h
Visibility: 24 km

Quote

“whoever saw old age that did not applaud the past and condemn the present?”
Michel de Montaigne
1533 – 1592

Well! The thing to applaud about the past is that we survived it; it is sure thing. The thing to condemn about the present is that we may not survive it. Age brings increasing awareness of this, and the difference between past and present becomes more poignant. There are some adroit young people who are also aware, but they are usually regarded as “pessimists”.

Rhubarb Juice

Friday, May 17, 2019

The day dawned sunny, but still a bit chilly, just under 16C. Not lounging weather to be sure, but good working weather. As the day progressed the clouds became more numerous, and there is no rain expected for a few days. We have had a lot of rain this spring, and here at Mist Cottage the flora and fauna are burgeoning with life.

This morning I watched a Blue Jay flitting about the yard, from the Ash tree, to the lawn, and up again. Sitting on the fence, watching him closely, was a Cardinal. Sitting in the Ssh tree, watching him closely, were two Robins. Sitting on the fence at the far side of the yard, watching him closely, were two Chickadees. The Blue Jay has been an unwelcome marauder in our yard, the other birds are frequently going after it and chasing it away. I have seen some bird’s egg shells on the ground, so he must be after their nests.

This morning I explored possibilities for our felled Ash logs. I think I might have found some people who will use the wood, not burn it for fuel, but use it to make things. I am still waiting to hear back from them, fingers crossed.

Yesterday Attila picked some Rhubarb from our largest plant. It was ready for harvesting, now that it is well established. I cleaned it and weighted it, less than pound. So out I went to the garden and picked some more. I ended up with 1.77 pounds of fresh rhubarb, when washed and diced. So here is what I did:

Step One:
Place 5 quarts of water and a marble (it will rattle if the water gets too low, time to add more!) in the Stock Pot of the Victorio Steam Juicer. Place the Juice Kettle on top of that, insert the hose into the spigot, and clamp the hose. Place the Colander with the 1.77 lbs. of diced rhubarb in it, on top of that. Finally place the lid on top of that.

Step Two:
Turn the burner on under the steam juicer, as soon as it reaches a rolling boil turn it down until it maintains a slow boil.

Step Three:
Wait. Enjoy the heavenly aroma that filled the house.
I waited 1 1/2 hours. Then I turned off the heat and let the unit cool.

Step Four:
If I had had enough juice in the Juice Kettle to reach the drain hose, I would have drained the juice that way. But there wasn’t much juice, relative to the size of the Juice Kettle, so I carefully removed the lid, then the Colander, and poured the juice into a measuring cup, from the opposite size of the Colander from the spigot.

Step Five:
Be impressed. It made 1/8 cup less than 4 cups of juice.

Ah, now, what to do with the juice-less fruit, and the juice! Fruit leather with the fruit I think, and Rhubeena with the juice. Rhubeena is like Ribena, only it is made with Rhubarb. All the recipes I found for it cooked the Rhubarb with water and sugar, then strained it, to make the Rhubeena. I used the Steam Juicer to make the juice, without sugar, and will later add the sugar, 1/2 cup of sugar for each cup of juice, and bring it to a boil, then steam can one 500 ml jar, and store what is left in another jar for the refrigerator and immediate consumption.

Rhubarb! Rhubarb leather on the plate, this was like candy! All gone now. The two jars of Rhubarb Juice were canned for long term storage, and the open jar is being kept in the refrigerator for immediate consumption. The Victorio Steam Canner makes canning two jars of juice easy peasy. The Victorio equipment is top notch, pricey, but high quality, and should last a lifetime, which at my age I guess it isn’t saying much, so I’ll say it should last several lifetimes. We are finding that our food preservation equipment has already paid for itself, when our preserved food is compared to the prices for organic canned foods. And of course, there is the variety we enjoy that cannot be had at any price, no Organic Rhubarb Juice on the shelves, or Organic Dandelion Jelly. Another added benefit to all this gardening and preserving of food is that we generate a lot less packaging waste. And another added benefit is that our food has no preservatives in it, and we know exactly what has gone into the jars,.

It has taken me some time to find time to try out a Steam Juicer. I am not disappointed! This Juicer makes making juice a breeze.

Next in the Steam Juicer, vegetable broth from frozen vegetable scraps we have been saving in the freezer!

Wednesday May 22, 2019

Things have been busy!

After making the Dandelion Jelly, it was decided that more was needed. So I spent many hours Saturday, sitting in the sunshine, plucking petals. The result was enough Dandelion “tea” for two more batches of jelly, which were frozen for future jelly making. But that didn’t seem like enough, so Monday saw me on the back porch once more, plucking more petals, enough for one more batch of jelly. That should do it! We plan on using the jelly as a bit of a medicinal, a teaspoon a day each, a small and simple little treat that is good for us.

Attila was busy with the construction of the Hugelkultur bed, it is a lot of work to set up. He also set up the rain barrel that we purchased several years ago, at last.

His big project though, over the last four or five days, has been to get the garden turned and planted. Tomatoes! Thirty-six Roma Tomato plants were planted in rows, and four plants of Cherry Tomatoes. The hope is that the garden will provide enough canned tomatoes and Tomato Red Pepper Sauce to from this gardening season to the next. Only time will tell if this plan succeeds. I planted Green Bell Peppers and Red Shepherd Peppers in my raised bed, in among the strawberry runners, and if they grow and yield well, they will provide the peppers needed for the sauce.

The first little plants from the cold frame, Radishes, were transplanted into the garden. Oregano was moved to a new location in the garden. Two small Black Currant bushes were transplanted to the back of the garden. And I think Attila did a whole lot of other little rearrangements in his garden, that I didn’t really notice, being busy with my own little projects.

Attila was very busy in the flower garden as well. Gladiola were planted close to the house and along the fence, and the echinacea were moved to the same location to make room for the Cherry Tomatoes, which were planted near one of the compost bins. Along the fence, between two of the compost bins, the Scarlet Runner beans were put in.

At some point, during all this activity, we found time to head out the Camp for a few hours. I wanted to see if there were any Army Worms developing on our trees there. We were only there a few hours, and got a lot accomplished. Attila cut the grass, and I worked on getting Grace the Trailer up and functioning for the season. The propane range was used for the first time this year, heating up Taco Soup, which I served with cheese and crackers. We decided not to have a fire, as it was a whirlwind visit and we would be very busy while there. I mixed up a batch of detergent/water/bleach and sprayed the army worm nest I found in one of the trees. Their season has begun, and we are hoping to stay on top of it this year. The season for black flies has also begun, they aren’t swarming yet, but they are biting.

My raised beds are looking great so far. My Spinach, Beets, and Peas are all just coming up, and soon I will be able to discern which are weeds and which are my plants (straight rows), so that I can weed the bed. The chicken wire over the bed has been successful in keeping the squirrels from digging up my seeds, or burying things in the soil and disturbing the seedlings.

The strawberries, in the other raised bed, are growing vigorously, and in a few weeks the runners will be ready to transplant into another bed, whic will not be a raised bed. We are going to use some of the logs from the felled Ash tree as a Strawberry bed border. The transplants will not bear fruit this summer, but hopefully next summer we will have a crop!

Now I am waiting for the Lilacs to bloom, and if there are enough blooms on the property, I will be making Lilac Jelly. I am hoping that the Nasturtiums Attila planted will proliferate and bloom well, because I would love to try Nasturtium Jam, I think the peppery flavour would have a real kick! Oh, and yes, Strawberry season should be coming up in a few weeks, and I am really looking forward to that.

And I am happy to record that on Saturday the weather was so warm that the temperature on the back porch reached 30C. It was too warm for me, sitting in the full afternoon sun, so I had to retreat indoors. But it did inspire me to drag out the “cabana curtains” from winter storage, which are really white bed sheets, and hang them on the rods across the back porch. And of course, since I did that, Monday was cloudy and dull, and they were not needed. But now they sit at the ready!

Worldly

Weather

16°C
Date: 12:00 PM EDT Friday 17 May 2019
Condition: Mostly Cloudy
Pressure: 100.6 kPa
Tendency: Rising
Temperature: 16.4°C
Dew point: 11.9°C
Humidity: 74%
Wind: W 16 km/h
Visibility: 24 km

9°C
Date: 7:00 AM EDT Wednesday 22 May 2019
Condition: Partly Cloudy
Pressure: 102.5 kPa
Tendency: Rising
Temperature: 8.5°C
Dew point: 5.9°C
Humidity: 83%
Wind: N 12 km/h
Visibility: 24 km

Quote

“I like manual labor. Whenever I’ve got waterlogged with study, I’ve taken a spell of it and found it spiritually invigorating.”
W. Somerset Maugham
1874 – 1965

I found a balance, when I worked as a manual labourer on a farm, picking fruit. I would read a book at night, and think about what I had read all through the next day, whiles my hands reached, plucked, and placed the sweet aromatic fruits, as I stood high on a rickety ladder held up against a swaying branch. Aerial literature.

Little Things, Lotsa Little Things

Well, my last post took on a life of its own! I sat down to write about the little things, and the meaning of the little things overwhelmed me. So I am writing this post about the little things.

Last Friday last was one of Attila and my Anniversaries. It was the 25th Anniversary of the day he and I became a we. He surprised me when he decided he wanted to take the day as a vacation, to celebrate the occasion. Things have changed considerably over the last year and a half, between Attila and I, and thankfully life seems to be balancing out. We both thought about what we might like to do. There were no events or entertainment types of things in the area that interest either of us, so we thought about spending time at a park. But it was cold and raining, not a good day to spend out of doors. Soooo…. we went to Costco.

Costco

Costco is a store we do not frequent. Attila calls it the $500 dollar store, as we have spent that much there on the odd occasion, and we always spend far more there than we do at any other retail outlet, except for home renovation projects.

It was extremely crowded at Costco. We managed to find unpopular aisles to walk slowly and quietly through, to rest after navigating the hustle and bustle through the busier aisles. We did not purchase much, mostly fresh produce, and bulk items that are less expensive there than at other places we shop. We had fun. We bought a huge strawberry plant in a hanging basket that was on sale. We were glad to get home!

Our evening was enjoyable, watching a Netflix program and enjoying homemade pizza. We love our homemade pizza, and Attila feels it is the best pizza he has ever had in his life. Thank goodness I finally conquered 100% whole wheat bread dough, it makes an excellent pizza crust. We use my home canned Red Pepper Sauce, and lactose free cheese, lower sodium pepperoni, and a variety of vegetables, such as onions, peppers, and mushrooms.

Cold Frame, Raised Beds, and Dandelions

Saturday was bright and sunny, in the morning. Attila was very, very happy to finally have time to start building his cold frame. All of the wood was salvaged from the original shed that we demolished, and the wood Attila purchased at significant discount when he worked in the lumber industry. The lid was made from one pane of the dining room window that was in place when we bought the house.

This is the cold frame Attila built from reclaimed lumber and a pane of glass from our old dining room window. You can see he isn’t finished planting and adding all of his little seed pots, he has used egg cartons for planting some of the seeds.

I had several projects on the go. One was to plant my raised beds. Attila built them out of reclaimed boards from the original shed on the property, and pine boards he purchased during his years in the lumber industry. They are mine, I was going to use two large totes with holes drilled into the bottom, but Attila wanted to build them, so there they are. I insisted that a sheet of hardware cloth be attached to the bottom of each, to keep out voles and moles and other animals. He will build a third for himself, and he is the gardener in residence for the larger garden outside the fenced area, which he is increasing in size this year.

My raised beds are a sort of Hugelkultur setup, as we filled the bottom half with logs, pruned branches, leaves, and twigs. This was stomped down thoroughly, then watered thoroughly. Then our own compost formed a deep layer over the brush layer, and finally some topsoil was placed on top of the compost. I find it easy on my knees to care for such a garden bed, and easy on my back as well. After a quick trip Canadian Tire, to pick up a meat thermometer to measure the temperature of the soil, it was determined that the soil in the raised beds was warm enough for planting seeds.

The strawberry plant that we purchased had a dozen or more runners hanging down from the plant. After hanging it up under the porch, it was quickly observed that the runners would be destroyed by the wind. What to do. Attila suggested setting the hanging basket in the raised garden bed. This gave me an “aha moment”, when I remembered all those hours in the fields on our farm, setting strawberry runners. So the basket went into the centre of the raised bed, and I set the runners all around the basket in the soil of the raised bed. When the runners root, they will be cut from the plant, and then the hanging basket will be hung once more under the porch.

This is the hanging Strawberry plant we purchased at Costco. The runners were copious and long, so I set the runners in my raised bed garden. I’ll cut them as soon as they root, then hang the planter on the back porch.

That was one of my raised beds planted. On to the other raised bed. I planted three different plants, one row of each: snap peas, beets, and spinach. I love snap peas and spinach, and will eat beets. But really, what I want from the beets is the beet greens, we love beet greens! We have squirrel varmints here, and they dig up our gardens. I didn’t want them digging up my newly planted seeds, so off I went, back to the building centre, to pick up some chicken wire. Attila cut it for me and placed a sheet over the raised bed containing my peas, beets, and spinach. The strawberries are not as prone to squirrel damage, so that bed was not covered. It will be eventually be covered by a chicken wire hoop, when the strawberries are close to ripening, to protect the fruit from squirrels and birds.

This is my other raised bed, where I have planted three rows, one each of sugar peas, beets, and spinach. The chicken wire is there to prevent the squirrels from digging up all the seeds!

The other project I started on Saturday was a batch of Dandelion Jelly. I’d read about it quite a bit online, but had not ever tried it myself. Since our yard has had no chemical treatments of any kind since 2010, I felt quite confident that our crop of Dandelions were organic, and quite safe for consumption. I spent part of my day in the sun, picking big yellow Dandelion blossoms. Then I spent another part of my day, and this was time consuming, removed the petals from the Dandelions I had picked. It is important not to allow any of the green parts of the plant into the petal bowl, greens are bitter. It was laborious work, rolling the receptacle of each blossom between thumb and forefinger, to loosen the petals, then remove them carefully to place them in a bowl. In that way I plucked three cups of petals.

I used the recipe from the Old Farmer’s Almanac, and a few other recipes consulted for ideas. I placed the three cups of blossoms in four cups of boiling water and simmered them for 10 minutes. Then I strained the liquid through a coffee filter and refrigerated it to be dealt with on the morrow. The liquid was a dark brown, with a mild “greeny” taste to it. I wasn’t optimistic, but I was determined to see it through.

Attila worked all day Saturday on his cold frame, finishing it just before dark. He had been stressing about getting to this project, and his relief at having it ready was evident.

Tank, Peat Pots, and Jelly

Had Sunday dawned sunny and warm, we would have headed out to the Camp. But it was just the opposite, chilly and clouded over. So we decided to stay home and work on projects here at Mist Cottage.

The first project of the day was a joint one. We had purchased a code reader to read the OBD codes for Tank. It was a BAXF wifi unit, and after I purchased the necessary software to use it, we watched a video on how to get it working. It took some time and experimentation, but we finally got it going with the iPad, and discovered that two cylinders in the engine are still misfiring, after $5000 worth of work… those garages won’t be getting my business again any time soon. So we are researching to try and figure out just what is going on with Tank. There were no other issues detected!

Attila spent a very happy day, planting peat pots and trays of seeds, and arranging them in his newly built cold frame. He didn’t even stop to eat lunch, he was having such a great time.

I spent the rest of my day in the kitchen. It was time to make Dandelion Jelly. Jams and jellies are easy things to make and can. I brought up my jars, lids, rings, canning accessories, and steam canner from the basement, then set to work. After adding the sugar, the dark liquid was transformed, and it smelled amazing, quite a bit like honey, but not exactly the same. The batch made three 500 ml jars, and they all sealed.

Dandelion Jelly: It was a lot of work pulling the petals off each Dandelion bloom, to make 3 cups of petals! I wasn’t sure it would be worth all that trouble. Having tasted this jelly, I think that yes, it is well worth the effort!
You can see the jelly is not clear, that is not the way it should be. I’ll be troubleshooting the next batch, based on my notes here. I think the problem was that I added lemon juice to the petal liquid, and afterward noticed that the commercial pectin contains citric acid, which means I used double the needed acid in the recipe, which I think caused small globules of over-jelled jelly that cloud the resulting product.
This Jelly will be enjoyed, the cloudiness does not affect the taste or texture.

The jelly was not clear, as it should have been. I think the problem was with the pectin which I purchased in powder form. I hadn’t used commercial pectin in, well, decades, and assumed it was the same product I had always used. It is not. This pectin includes citric acid, and upon inspecting the recipes that came with it, none of them called for lemon juice. I had added lemon juice to my recipe, as was traditionally done, but apparently that step is now removed with this commercial pectin, as the citric acid serves the same purpose. So, my recipe had far too much acid in it, and it jelled more quickly and intensely than I would have expected. I think that the cloudiness is actually small globules of very thick jelly. Unless they crystallize, it won’t be a problem. So, I learned something new yesterday, about modern commercial pectin.

Dandelion Jelly is delicious! It does have a taste reminiscent of honey. I think it is worth the time and effort, and will make it again when this supply runs out.

I think we have reached a point where all jams and jellies at our house will be made from plants that grow on our own property: crab apple and dandelion.

I cooked a pork roast in the Instant Pot, and Attila roasted potato wedges in the oven, which made for a wonderful evening meal, along with mixed vegetables.

Monday was a day of catching up with domestic things, cleaning, laundry, those little things that make home feel more comfortable.

A New Project On Our Plat

Tuesday brought some excitement! It all began as I was minding my own business, seated in the bathroom. Suddenly there was a very loud noise, very close to the bathroom window. At first I was alarmed. Then I figured out what it was. The sound was a chain saw, and the utility company must be out there taking down the large dead ash tree in the front yard. It only took them about an hour to limb the tree, bring down the trunk, and section it into short logs.

We knew we would have this project on our plate sooner or later. It is a big job, and will take most of the long weekend coming up to get it sorted properly. It is our intention to keep all of the material on our property, building hugelkultur beds, and the logs, well, we haven quite figured out what to do with the logs yet. Ash is a beautiful wood, and the logs are in great condition. I looked into having the logs milled, but the expense of that was beyond our means. It would have been nice though.

The Ash tree came down Tuesday morning! These two fellows were methodical and very efficient. They knew what they were doing. As I had requested, they left no debris at all on the neighbour’s lawn, he wouldn’t like that at all. As you can see there was quite a pile of branches left to deal with, and the logs, my they are big, you can get an idea of the diameter by looking at the trunk next to the fellow working on the ground. Not even his very large chain saw would section a piece in one go. Since Tuesday, I have sectioned and removed the branches in front of the man on the ground, and to his left. Tonight Attila is working on sectioning the pile of branches underneath the man in the basket.

We worked until dark last night, using loppers to break down the small mountain of branches. Attila toted a pile of the small bits of branches to the back yard, and placed them beside the location of the third, and yet to be built, raised bed. They will make a wonderful hugelkultur base for that garden bed.

After some discussion, we decided to use a lot of the branches to create a long hugelkultur bed outside the fenced area of the yard, beside the bigger garden. Attila dug a concave hole and began filling it with sectioned branches. We only managed to deal with about a third of the branches.

This morning I took the loppers out and tackled breaking down more of the branches. I kept at it until I had worked up quite a sweat, then broke for lunch. After lunch I relaxed for about an hour, then headed back out with my loppers. After a few hours I was soaking wet from all my hard work, and had managed to break down all the branches in one of the larger piles. Then I decided that it was enough for one day. This old body will rebel if I overdo things. So far I have been feeling fine, no stiffness this morning, or this afternoon. I did take Ibuprofen last night though, a while before bedtime, just to make sure that no inflammation took hold of me.

If we had paid a company to take down the tree, they would have removed all the branches and logs and left the lawn neat and tidy. But they also would have removed around $1000 from our savings account. It was such good fortune that the tree was taken down by the utility company, what we saved in money we are paying for with sweat. Sweat we have! Money we don’t. It worked out very well.

The weather has been chilly, and wet. We stop working outside when it rains, and work hard when it stops. Chilly is good, when you are doing hard labour. I even found myself wanting to take off my shirt, I had worked up quite a sweat, but of course, I did no such thing.

So that’s us, busy with the little stuff, happy as clams really.

Worldly

Weather

9°C
Date: 7:13 PM EDT Wednesday 15 May 2019
Condition: Light Rainshower
Pressure: 100.9 kPa
Tendency: Falling
Temperature: 8.8°C
Dew point: 7.6°C
Humidity: 92%
Wind: NE 3 km/h
Visibility: 24 km

Quote

“Far and away the best prize that life offers is the chance to work hard at work worth doing.”
Theodore Roosevelt
1858 – 1919

A Life of Cloudless Nights

When I was first blogging I got a lot of encouragement from other people who were writing online journals. Actually, “blogs” did not exist yet, people were coding their own web pages, writing online journals or diaries. People like John Bailey and NilkNarf encouraged others to write. It was a very positive environment, for the most part.

There were a few trolls out and about even then. Online, they made snarky comments about other journal writers, criticizing code and design, a spelling mistake, just about anything they could find that could be considered a flaw. (Not to be confused with genuine and helpful feedback that some people offered.) None of the “pot-shot” writers that I knew of lasted very long, their online writing efforts were short lived.

The trolls in real life, people who had face-to-face comments to make, almost all took up the contemptuously delivered, “what makes you think anybody cares about your boring life”. After delivering their message, they found that they no longer had to take any notice of my boring life, they weren’t a part of it anymore. I never felt the slightest inclination to address their angst.

And now, almost 20 years later, yes, my 20th journaling anniversary will be coming up in October, I have no regrets about writing here. I’ve made some very good friends through my writing on Page By Page. Sometimes I write and am not really sure that anyone reads what I write on that particular day. Sometimes I write to keep myself company. Sometimes I write because I am bursting with wonder at my good fortune, to be alive, to live the life I am living; or because I am amazed and delighted how the little things are really the big things, and that I have so many little things that twinkle in my life, like stars on a cloudless night.

But mostly I write because I know that the individual lives of humans, connected, are fragments of a whole; a whole that is greater than the sum of each life lived here on earth, a whole that is greater than any church, or government, or corporation, a theory, a doctrine, or power seeking social entity that ever existed in the times of human existence. My insignificant writing, read or not, is my connection to that greater, multifaceted, ever-changing force that is beyond the hubris of human social engineering of any kind. I’ve had almost twenty lovely years of expression, my earthly garden has thrived.

And I’ve been lucky, because I’ve had the honour of receiving the gifts that others have shared, comments, poetry, prose, music, laughter, books, a smile, a hug, a hat, a transistor radio, picking berries in the wild… and a thousand other hugely small gifts that have lit my way through the years.

Worldly

Weather

8°C
Date: 7:00 AM EDT Monday 13 May 2019
Condition: Light Rain
Pressure: 101.2 kPa
Tendency: Falling
Temperature: 7.6°C
Dew point: 6.5°C
Humidity: 93%
Wind: NE 17 km/h
Visibility: 19 km

Quote

“You can’t love a crowd the same way you can love a person.
And a crowd can’t love you the way a single person can love you.
Intimacy doesn’t scale. Not really. Intimacy is a one-on-one phenomenon.”
Hugh Macleod
1965 –

“Intimacy doesn’t scale”
I love this phrase, it is oh so true. In a world where there is so much emphasis on getting public attention, making a name for oneself, having that 15 minutes of fame in some form or other… none of it feeds the soul, because intimacy doesn’t scale.