Frost Again Last Night

We had frost again last night and it is predicted again for tonight. Attila was prepared, all of the garden, except the Brussels sprouts, cabbage, and Swiss chard, were covered. Attila was off to work early this morning, so the garden will stay covered until he gets home from work. Since it is sunny today, I am hoping that the coverings, clear plastic, will create a slight greenhouse effect, providing enough heat to ripen more of the tomatoes and peppers.

The tomato harvest is slowing down a bit. Last night another two or three quarts of ripe tomatoes were pureed. This morning I added them to a large stock pot with the previously pureed tomatoes that were stored in the refrigerator. A few ingredients were thrown in, such as fresh onion and garlic, and a mixture of herbs. The tomatoes were simmered over a low heat for a few hours, until they were the perfect consistency for spreading on a pizza. After they cooled in the pot, they were measured into tubs, which were labelled and placed in the freezer. We will soon have enough pizza sauce to make pizza once a week for a year. We enjoy our weekly homemade pizza!

Our homemade pizza is made with dough made from our own freshly ground organic whole wheat flour. The pizza sauce is our own, organic. The toppings however, are store bought; red peppers, hot peppers, mushrooms, pepperoni, Vidalia onions, cheese, herbs. Eventually we would like to grow our own organic red peppers. and ferment our own hot peppers. This year though, our pepper plants only produced enough for our immediate use, pureed pepper sauce, and a few 500-ml jars of fermented peppers. I learned a thing or two about growing peppers though, and am looking forward to trying again next growing season.

On Sunday we sliced up a three pound cabbage to make one quart of sauerkraut. Just a bit too much cabbage for the project, but Attila managed to get it all into the jar. I think the jar might have been overfull, because there is quite a bit of liquid coming out of the pickle pipe, about a third of cup so far. This became problematic because the residue was drying on the pickle pipe opening and preventing it from functioning to release gas. When I went this morning to check on it, the pickle pipe was swollen with the pressure from the gas inside the jar, and when I released it there was a fountain of liquid that squirted all over the place.

I brought the jar of fermenting sauerkraut upstairs from the basement, to keep it in the kitchen where I can keep an eye on it. After releasing the pressure, I rinsed the still sealed jar and pickle pipe under the tap, and gently cleaned the vent on the pickle pipe. Hopefully it will begin again to release the fermentation gases as it was intended.

Lesson learned! Do not fill the fermentation jar too full! It needs at least an inch, probably more, of headspace.

Observation about sauerkraut fermentation: the house is going to smell like dirty socks! Luckily the human nose, at least my human nose, becomes inured to mildly objectionable odours after a few hours. I certainly hope that the odour does not collect in my hair and clothing though! How would I know.

We have our apples. On Monday Attila took a run to an apple farm on his way home from work, and purchase a bushel of apples, seconds. My preferred cooking apple is the Northern Spy, so we were very lucky to find them, and to find them as seconds was a big bonus. The price was $25 for the bushel.

Now the work begins. This year I’ve decided to make a small batch of Mincemeat and a lot of Applesauce to can. As well, starting today, I will be baking with apples every few days. Today it will be Apple Oatmeal Squares, and a batch of Apple Muffins. I’ll even do a small Apple Crisp in a mug for my lunch today, yum!

The volume of produce coming out of the garden is declining. This is our entire carrot harvest, and as you can see, not everything in the garden yielded a large harvest. The carrots are about two inches long. Back to the drawing board on carrot planting for next year’s garden. The Brussels Sprout leaves are edible, and I hadn’t tried eating them before. After sauteing them for breakfast, I found they neither added nor detracted from the taste of the dish, so I would say they are mild flavoured, and good for stir fry meals, soups, and stews. I might even try fermenting them!

These were the basic ingredients for my breakfast this morning. I finely chopped the carrots and the broccoli leaves, then sauteed them in olive oil, with chopped onion and garlic. I seasoned it with 1/4 teaspoon of Roasted Garlic and Red Pepper herb mix, then broke an egg into it and when the egg was ready, breakfast!

Worldly

Weather

10°C
Date: 10:00 AM EDT Wednesday 9 October 2019
Condition: Mostly Cloudy
Pressure: 103.0 kPa
Tendency: Rising
Temperature: 9.8°C
Dew point: 6.8°C
Humidity: 82%
Wind: ENE 18 km/h
Visibility: 24 km

Quote

“People need to be reminded more often than they need to be instructed.”
Samuel Johnson
1709 – 1784

One foot in front of the other…

I will start by saying how very much I like (is love appropriate for inanimate objects, if it is I love) the new front door. I love how the small window lets in the light, and lets me see the tree tops, leaves fluttering in the wind today. I like that it doesn’t let the cold air into the house. I like that it opens and closes so easily. I like that the door handle and lock work so smoothly. I like that the new storm door opens on the same side as the entry door, this is a big one! The old set of doors we had, the entry door opened on the right, and the screen door opened on the left, and it was quite interesting to get them open at the same time in order to pass through them, particularly when carrying objects. Attila did a great job on the new front entry!

I don’t think Attila enjoyed installing the new door. The way he just kept on tackling frustration after frustration to retrofit the entry door was inspiring. He is very, very, very glad that the job is done. There are more doors though, that need replacing, but those projects are so far down on the renovation list that they don’t even count.

There are some projects that I dislike. I wouldn’t say I hate them, but I definitely have attitude going on. One of those jobs is installing window film. What an awful job! I don’t like anything about it: the measuring; the cutting; cleaning the surfaces; spraying the adhesive (water in this case); applying the film; removing bubbles from the applied film. Nothing about this project is appealing except the results.

I have been putting off this project, applying window film, for weeks now. ANY other project, task, responsibility, even cleaning the toilet, seems preferable. But today the weather has turned colder, and I realized that I had better get to it, or I might have to wait until next spring to tackle it.

So here I am, revelling in writing, while I should be proceeding with the window film installation. I have broken the project down into small segments, to encourage myself to keep going. The first segment was gathering the needed materials; spray bottle of water; film; table covered with cardboard for cutting; exacto knife; tape measure; pen; and paper. Phew, had to rest after all that!

After a bit of break, I washed the windows in question. Oh my God I don’t like this, had to rest after all that!

After this break, I measured the window film, and marked the area to be cut for just one window of the two. Somebody help me, this is awful, had to rest after all that!

After this break, I measured and cut the film for the second window. Thank you universe, please let this be right! Had to rest after all that!

This break is when I began this entry, and writing made me feel a lot better. A little hand holding can go a long way when the going gets tough. (First world problem, I know, lucky me!)

Okay, back to it.

The next step was to move the furniture out of the way, and all of the items around the window. This is a very small house, every project involves moving something out of the way. Wherever you move it to, it is instantly in the way. Such is living small.

Once that was accomplished, I decided to push on, keep going. The first window was misted with water and the film was applied. Whoah, hills and dales, time for the squeegee. This window took quite a while to smooth out. The film had to be pulled out and reapplied four or five times, but in the end, it was OK. The second window went a lot quicker, there is no substitute for experience.

I used all of the window film that would fit on these windows. There are smaller bits of it left, which can be applied in smaller applications, but not enough to do another window. There are four windows to cover, so more film will have to be purchased at another time, when finances are more fluid, and warm weather returns.

So, it is done!!!! Relief is palpable.

The window film on the living room window. The traffic, vehicle and pedestrian, that travels past our front door and windows, has increased tremendously. There are always vehicles and people just outside the house. It can be very distracting, and it is not a welcome change.
The window film allows me the view I appreciate, the sky and the trees, while the constant movement on the street is masked. I can still look out at it if needed. The sounds are still there, but without visual movement, they are less intrusive. The light shines through the window treatment, today is a cloudy and dismal day, so it is as bright as ever in the living room, just a lot more restful.

Worldly

Weather

8°C
Date: 11:00 AM EDT Thursday 3 October 2019
Condition: Mostly Cloudy
Pressure: 102.1 kPa
Tendency: Falling
Temperature: 7.9°C
Dew point: 4.2°C
Humidity: 78%
Wind: NE 18 gust 33 km/h
Visibility: 24 km

Quote

“She is a friend of my mind… The pieces I am, she gather them and give them back to me in all the right order.”
Toni Morrison
1931 –

Bwa ha ha ha

Happy Hallowe’en!

My All Souls list includes my Granny and Grandpa, my former partner Pat Logier, friends Norm Hacking, Derek Currie, Sam Larkin, Irene Bean, Sarah (Rhubarb), Alison Simms, Paul Simpson-Housely, my brother Carl, my Aunts Marie and Anna, my second baby born too soon and who I never saw, Blackie the Dog, Bim the Dog, Mist the Kitty, and many more. Now they travel other shores. The world was a better place for their lives lived, my world was a better place. How lucky I have been.

What a dismal day! It rained off and on all day, and it was cold. It looks like the little Trick or Treaters are going to have a cold, wet walk-around this evening. Last year no one came to our door, and we ended up eating all the candy we bought for those phantom children. So this year the exterior lights are off, the curtains drawn, and we have no candy, or anything else, to distribute. I always enjoyed handing out candy to the costumed hopefuls who came to the door, so I feel a little let down, but not a lot.

And so October comes to a close. What a month! Well, aren’t they all, in their own way.

This evening I stuck with the tried and true for dinner, Sweet and Sour Chicken with Rice and Vegetables, in the Instant Pot. It was very good, so I feel replenished, and will go back to my Instant Pot experimentation tomorrow.

We are in the midst of a rotating mail strike here, but the bills have made it through! I should be glad, but their arrival is not inspiring joy. One lovely thing that did arrive this week was a book, we don’t buy many these days, but this one took our fancy. Attila has Finnish heritage, so we are both finding Pantsdrunk: The Finnish Guide To Drinking At Home. Alone. In Your Underwear. very amusing. It feels good to laugh. Of course we don’t drink, but we do the at home, along, in your underwear with great panache. Just imagine!

Worldly

Weather

12°C
Date: 6:00 PM EDT Wednesday 31 October 2018
Condition: Light Rain
Pressure: 100.8 kPa
Tendency: Rising
Temperature: 11.9°C
Dew point: 11.9°C
Humidity: 100%
Wind: WSW 10 km/h
Visibility: 6 km

Quote

“One doesn’t discover new lands without consenting to lose sight of the shore for a very long time.”
Andre Gide
1869 – 1951

Adapting

Tank is still at garage camp. Oh my how the weeks fly. After my conversation with the garage staff last week, they are keeping me in the loop. I called them yesterday to see how things stood, they were still working on figuring out just what the problem is, and they called me back near the end of the day to tell me how things were going. They are anxious to get Tank fixed, and the repair paid for, and we are anxious to get Tank back. Similar goals. All I can do is wait and keep my fingers crossed. I am beyond being frustrated about this, and I have now adapted to a lifestyle where I have no mobility when Attila has the car at work. Thank goodness for online shopping, and Amazon Prime. All of my appointments for the next two weeks have been cancelled or rescheduled. There is no public transit here, and taxi fare isn’t in my budget. At some point Attila will have to start taking vacation time, so that I can have a vehicle for appointments, but it hasn’t come to that yet.

My project for today is to make meatless meatballs. We purchased some from Walmart once, and actually preferred them to beef or chicken meatballs. But the store-bought products are full of chemicals, and are extremely expensive.

The second issue with meatballs is the meat. I like to restrict red meat consumption to one meal a week, chicken consumption to two meals a week, fish consumption to two meals a week, and that leave two meals a week that will be vegetarian. We love our Quinoa and Spinach in the Instant Pot, so that will be a weekly dinner. One more meatless meal needed, and that is where the meatless meatballs come into play, Spaghetti and Meatballs.

The solution is to find a good recipe for meatless meatballs, and make them myself. Today is the day for attempt number one. I am following a recipe called Simple Vegan Meatballs. The meatballs will be for dinner tonight, I am trying this recipe for Soccer Mom Spaghetti and Meatballs.

This will take most of the day!

First thing was to find the coffee grinder, to grind the flax-seed. I use a lot of flax-seed. It is a basic ingredient for muffins, breakfast cereal, and my Turmeric Breakfast Cookies. I always use it whole, and do not grind it.

Popular wisdom says flax-seed must be ground to get all the nutrients out of it. I spent a lot of time looking for the research that lends support to that theory, and found none. The often stated “fact” is not supported by any scientific studies, just assumptions. I KNOW the whole flax-seed I consume does not remain whole when digested, don’t ask me how. So if it is being broken down for digestion, I am not entirely sure that grinding it has any nutritional benefit, it might, but that remains to be seen. I am open to reliable evidence one way or the other.

Oh yes, I had to find the coffee grinder, no idea where to start looking for it, so that took some time.

After finding the coffee grinder, stowed away in a plastic bag in the topmost cupboard of the storage closet in the kitchen, the flax was ground and the “flax egg” was made and set aside in the refrigerator. After 15 minutes the flax egg and the rest of the ingredients went into the food processor. The taste was wonderful, but the consistency was nothing like the online recipe. It was too soft to hold a shape. So the saute step was skipped, and the meatball mixture was dropped by spoonful onto the baking sheets and baked.

A few adaptations were made to the recipe. The quantities were changed to: two drained cans of chickpeas, 1 tablespoon of ground basil, 1 teaspoon of oregano, two teaspoons of garlic plus, 1 tablespoon of garlic granules, 1 teaspoon of freshly ground pepper, 1 tablespoon of parsley, and 1 teaspoon of tomato powder (homemade). No salt was added.

These soft meatballs will not go into the Instant Pot, where I fear they will turn to mush, or dissolve. They will be heated, and placed on the dish after the spaghetti has been cooked and plated.

The whole concept needs work, the goal is round meatless meatballs, cooked and frozen, and ready to throw into a meal in the Instant Pot. First steps are always the hardest!

Worldly

Weather

0°C
Date: 9:00 AM EDT Tuesday 30 October 2018
Condition: Mainly Sunny
Pressure: 101.9 kPa
Tendency: Rising
Temperature: 0.4°C
Dew point: -1.2°C
Humidity: 89%
Wind: WNW 11 km/h
Visibility: 24 km

Quote

“It is the mark of an educated mind to be able to entertain a thought without accepting it.”
Aristotle
384 BC – 322 BC

“Keep Calm and Carry On”

Tank was supposed to be ready by noon yesterday. I heard nothing from the garage. Attila called them when he got back from work, and they said they just had to check it out to make sure everything worked, wanted us to come get it the next day, Friday. Attila told them his wife would like it today, Thursday, and that we would be at the garage at 5 p.m. to pick up Tank.

When we got to the garage it was very busy, and Tank was nowhere to be seen. We greeted the desk staff, who said that it wouldn’t be long. Then we saw Tank arrive back from the test drive. We waited patiently. We watched as Tank was driven off the lot again, alerted by the terrible noise she was making as she drove away, she sounded like a diesel truck. Tank does not have a diesel engine. Not good. They explained something about two cylinders not working, they were working when she came to the garage, now they are not working. Not good. The fellow told us Tank will be ready today.

When we were there I decided to take charge of the interactions, after all I am here during the day, so I can call them. Actually I am the “bad cop” when we approach situations like this, a role I can easily assume. I pleasantly but firmly told the fellow that if Tank were not ready by Monday morning, they would HAVE to provide me with a courtesy car. I asked that I be called today to let me know what is going on with the vehicle. It was just after 1:00 p.m. and I hadn’t heard from them yet, so I called them. They are ordering parts directly from the dealer he said. No word on when the vehicle will be ready. They will call me this afternoon to keep me up to date on how things are going. At least no empty promises were made.

It is hard to remain optimistic about this situation. These guys are clearly in over their heads with this repair. I think they will try to make it right, but my GOD this is getting ridiculous. I had a very bad experience with a garage when I was doing research for my PhD and needed a vehicle. The garage was awful, wanted a fortune to return the vehicle, not having fixed it. I took them to small claims court and won, and since they were a franchise I called the mother company. I did not let that one lie. That garage lost their franchise, and I didn’t feel in the least bit sad about that. The consequences of the lost vehicle were catastrophic for me. It wasn’t until this morning that the bad feelings about that past fiasco resurfaced. This situation is going on way too long for comfort.

Feeling so tense, so irritable, what to do!

Why can of course!

I had saved all the apple peels from the 26 Northern Spy Apples that I used to make and can applesauce. They had been boiled until transparent, then strained. The liquid sat all day yesterday, I was too distraught to function in the kitchen. I did boil it for five minutes though, since it was sitting on the range for the day. This morning I made Applescrap Jelly with it. It is so good! I used the Apple Jelly with no pectin recipe from the National Centre for Home Preservation, and included the lemon juice. When the liquid was first strained there were eight cups, which were boiled down to four cups. The jelly had to cook for around twenty minutes to reach the sheeting stage, and it seemed as if it was not going to jell, but finally it did. The yield was small, but oh so good!

Two 500 ml jars of jelly.

Applescrap Jelly made with no pectin. Thank goodness for the new steam canner, which makes canning this wee bit of jelly perfectly viable. Both jars sealed as soon as I took them out of the canner. The partially full jar will go into the refrigerator to be used right away.

Worldly

Weather

4°C
Date: 1:00 PM EDT Friday 26 October 2018
Condition: Cloudy
Pressure: 102.1 kPa
Tendency: Falling
Temperature: 3.6°C
Dew point: -4.3°C
Humidity: 56%
Wind: E 10 km/h
Visibility: 24 km

Quote

“Yesterday is not ours to recover, but tomorrow is ours to win or to lose.”
Lyndon B. Johnson
1908 – 1973