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.

And So It Begins

And so it begins. Attila ordered the new roofing material. It will be delivered. Two more large scale orders to go, the lumber for the project, and the large dumpster. Fiddly bits will be needed as well, but they are an in situ decision. We will be leaking $$$$ for a while. Attila’s attention is shifting from the garden to the garage, spending time now moving things out and sorting for throwing things out. From now on, he will be busy with this project every single moment he isn’t at work, eating, bathing, attending to hygiene, or sleeping.

I am girding my loins, preparing for the wave of renovation that will soon hit the house. At least this isn’t taking place inside the house!

It was cold today. Sitting on the back porch became uncomfortably chilly after a short time, even with a jacket on. Yesterday’s rain seems to have pleased the garden. The new Cosmos are already blooming, and in the yard the Hawkweed and the White Clover look beautiful. The Wild Geranium, Columbine, and Irises continue to bloom beautifully and profusely.

The rabbits have not found a way into the fenced in portion of the yard. That inner sanctum was made even more impenetrable with large granite rocks that Attila brought home from the Rideau Camp on Sunday. Birds still wander there at will, and squirrels scale the fence without effort. Next year I am voting that he plant strawberries, protected by chicken wire, or those birds and squirrels will eat the lot on me!

It looks like most of the climbing beans and peas have survived inside the fence, as the squirrels have taken no interest in them. I’ve realized why the bunnies like our yard. The diversity of the plants in our “lawn” is extensive, and the plants are native and wild. This is fast becoming the only natural field of plants in the area, where rabbits can find suitable food, and eat in peace. It is difficult to tell what they are currently eating out there in the yard, it isn’t the white clover, could it be dandelion greens. Wouldn’t that be wonderful!

Worldly Distractions

Weather

14°C
Date: 7:00 PM EDT Tuesday 5 June 2018
Condition: Not observed
Pressure: 100.6 kPa
Tendency: Rising
Temperature: 14.4°C
Dew point: 10.5°C
Humidity: 77%
Wind: SW 11 km/h

Quote

“We are alone, absolutely alone on this chance planet: and, amid all the forms of life that surround us, not one, excepting the dog, has made an alliance with us.”
Maurice Maeterlinck
1862 – 1949

I will say though, we are tolerated by cats, as long as we keep our service standards up to scratch.

Summer Cold

The only outing I had last week was to have a mammogram at the hospital. Two days later, a sudden onset of cold symptoms began, that was Sunday afternoon. All week the cough, sore throat, headache, and more recently a runny nose as well, have been annoying. During the night last night, annoying became painful. Swallowing was downright painful, painful enough to awaken me. I sucked on lozenges for a long time, and finally fell asleep again. This morning the throat is less painful, but the voice is almost gone, only a rasping gasping simile of words emerge. And it hurts, to talk, to cough. Still, no fever.

I had a few plans for today, but instead I’ll be sitting in my favourite chair, or out on the porch, wrapped warmly, sipping lemon and honey.

The heat wave is over, it is 16C this morning. The garden has perked right up, due to yesterday’s heavy rain.

The tomatoes, peppers, squash, onions, oregano, rhubarb, borage, onions and garlic are all doing well after the big refresh yesterday.

The Scarlet Runner Beans, Climbing Snap Peas, and Climbing Pod Peas are all doing well, beginning to grope their way towards the fence. The rabbits haven’t been able to get into the fenced in area of the yard to decimate them. Something did eat the emergent leaves from three of the Scarlet Runner Beans, leaving just stumps of stems behind. My guess is squirrels! I think they should make mesh plant cages, about a foot high, completely enclosed with mesh, similar to the tomato cage idea, to keep the nibblers away from vulnerable new plants. I might devise something of my own at some point.

The blooms on the Crabapple Tree, and the Lungwort, are spent. They are now in full leaf. At the moment we have Columbine, two varieties of Wild Geranium, and Irises blooming. Soon the Yellow Day Lillies will bloom soon, not quite yet.

I would like to get a hanging plant to live just outside the kitchen window. Something that flowers all season. Remembering to water plants is one of my weaknesses, I have good intentions, the plants do not thrive on good intentions. Recently I found a package of two clay waterers, that allow that attachment of a plastic coke bottle full of water to trickle slowly into the soil. I tried this with the Chrysanthemum purchased last winter, and it is thriving! When I went back to the dollar store to look for more, they were sold out. Luckily, Attila found a package of them, that had been removed from the shelf and placed in a cart with a cardboard box over it. He grabbed it, and now there are three of these unused handy little devices, and one of them is slated for a hanging basket outside the kitchen window.

Sometimes I wander aimlessly around the internet, looking at a wide variety of things that I find of passing interest. I watched a video about a fellow who was renting a condo in downtown Vancouver for $3500 a month, emphasizing how cheaply he was living. I doubt that half of the population of Canada could afford that kind of cheap lifestyle.

To affirm that I was looking at a situation that does not represent the majority of Canadians, I looked for some statistics. Then I checked out the median income for Canadians, closest I found was 2015, $80,940 annual family income, before taxes and deductions.. I find the median income more interesting than the average, because it less skewed by the very rich, and the very poor. My personal poverty is much less significant using the median income figures.

Half of the 2015 population had a family income below $80,940. My income falls at the very bottom of the bottom half… Attila’s income is much higher than mine at the moment, so although we have not managed to escape the 25th percentile, it means that living together I fare much better than I would on my own, and so does Attila for a variety of reasons. If we are living together when Attila retires, we will sink close to the bottom of the scale. We know this.

I always find it ironic when younger people target “boomers” as having it all, when that is only true for a certain percentage of the boomers. That would be another statistic to look up, but not today. I ignore the young who think that because I am old my tiny pension makes me wealthy, by definition. I also ignore the judgemental, often condescending, types, of any age, who feel I just didn’t work hard enough… go back to your ignorance-is-bliss bubbles. These are all people I do not want to spend time with. If fate brings them outside their bubbles, I don’t want to be around to hear them whining. No one knows what the future holds.

I found the video of the Millennial guy paying $3500 a month rent interesting, and actually watched it right through to the end. He takes his source of high income for granted, feels it is “normal”, feeling his parent’s generation had it better than he does. Just one affluent family’s experience, valid as an experience, not representative of the population though. Sometimes I wonder if that is how the majority of the population of the rest of the world sees us, as the society of affluence and ease seen in the images portraying the higher income people in the country. Possibly.

I could not afford a parking space, let alone a dwelling of any kind, in Vancouver, or Toronto, or any of the larger cities in Canada; no matter how much I might want to live there, it isn’t in the cards.

So back to bouncing around looking at videos about the different ways people live in Canada. Variety is the spice of life, and that we have in Canada.

I am feeling like crap today! I’ve been lucky that I do not experience this degree of illness very often. I’m drinking lots of fluids, and taking it easy today, postponing any of the projects I was thinking about. Not a hardship, I love sitting on the back porch with a cup of tea, my book, my computer, with my feet up, watching the robins watching me. I feel very lucky today, recuperating in a place I love.

Hawkweed June 2018 DSCF2157 Hawkweed in the back yard. Attila mowed the lawn a few days ago, but at my request he left two round sections long, where the Hawkweed grows. The Hawkweed is blooming!! After it goes to seed, then those patches can be mowed. The Hawkweed blooms are not big or showy, I love their long stems, and enjoy the delicate yellow flowers dotting the yard!

Wild geranium dolumbine june 2018 Here are the oh so subtle Wild Geraniums. Small and delicate and very beautiful, they grow close to where I sit on the back porch. There are two varieties, the tall with darker coloured blooms, and leaves that are purple in the centre and green at the edges. The shorter variety has larger blooms, does not grow as tall as the other, and have leaves that are a solid green colour. To the left of the wild geranium is a purple Columbine. Attila transplanted it here this spring, it was growing in the footpath by the back porch, having invited itself there.

Clay plant waterer mum DSCF2147 The Chrysanthemum from early spring, an indoor plant, and the clay watering device that keeps it watered while it sits in the heat on the back porch. The devices I have are cheaper than these ones at Amazon, but they work well.

DSCF2150 It is just me and my companions, the Robins, staring into the distance, enjoying the day.

Worldly Distractions

Weather

16°C
Date: 5:00 AM EDT Friday 1 June 2018
Condition: Not observed
Pressure: 100.7 kPa
Tendency: Falling
Temperature: 16.2°C
Dew point: 15.6°C
Humidity: 96%
Wind: SSW 8 km/h

Quote

“Always be a little kinder than necessary.”
James M. Barrie
1860 – 1937