Dead of Winter

Today, January 23rd, it is the Dead of Winter in Toronto, Ontario, Canada, according to an old news media article. The article didn’t come any closer to our location than that, so that is the date I am adopting to represent the Dead of Winter here.

So, here we are then, at the top of the incline and about to descend towards milder, kinder weather. Temperatures are mild at the moment, hovering just above and below the freezing point. It snowed overnight, and the trees are a study in contrast, black and white, branches and snow cover. Colder weather is supposedly on the way, taking us below seasonal averages. But for Attila and I, these below average temperatures are balmy compared to winter experiences at the country house.

Life is very quiet at the moment. Some family news, a new Grand Niece was born recently, given my Mom’s name as her middle name, Mom says she is beautiful. Mom sold the family farm, which is a load off her shoulders. A turning point emotionally, “home” was always just there, even though I haven’t been there for more than a decade. I am glad for my Mom, the farm was a lot of work for her, a big responsibility, a bit of a worry as they say.

We had a bit of excitement in the neighbourhood this past weekend. Although we have no details, the fire rescue emergency truck was parked in front of our house, lights flashing, firemen moving about purposefully in and around, and in and out, of the house across the street. No ambulance, thank goodness. No idea what it was all in aid of, but no persons suffered injury so all is well.

Attila and I are experiencing the Dead of Winter as a period of very low energy. I think we are both exhausted from the ongoing and seemingly relentless experience of having the new heating system installed. That saga has come to a happy end, the system works wonderfully. It ended up costing more than twice the amount expected, due to all the upgrading of things that were substandard in this little house. But now we have a heating system, and an electrical system, that are up to code. It will take many years to pay for this upgrading, we had saved what we could beforehand, but that was swept away early on in the process. Little wonder we are feeling a little stunned by it all, and are busy just getting our bearings before setting off once more towards future projects and challenges.

Our next big challenge will be a new roof, that will not be optional. That will be followed by exterior insulation, we have none, and that will be optional. Then the porch will be fixed, and that will also be optional. Then the basic structural issues with this poor little house will have been tackled. We are aiming at accomplishing the roof update before our mortgage comes due, and the payments double on us. It is a plan, and we all know what happens to plans!

We are lucky I reckon, we are free from want, even though we are not free from worry.

My day began after a good night’s sleep. Every morning Ginger sits by the bedroom door waiting for me to emerge. He wants his water bowl refreshed, it is a ritual rather than a need. This morning he is nestled on his latest obsession, a square of bubble wrap on the floor. He loves it. Earlier this morning he sat on his stool beside my easy chair, as I read out loud to him. He loves that too. He purrs, and makes eyes at me whenever I pause to look at him. We are enjoying stories from Round the Red Lamp being Facts and Fancies of Medical Life, by A. Conan Doyle. The hardcover book is one I purchased decades ago at a used book store, and this eleventh edition was published in 1912, it is over 100 years old. A. Conan Doyle writes a great story, and has a wonderful command of the English language and the elements of story telling. It is difficult to find writing of this quality in stories and novels written these days.

Today I have my list of things I want to accomplish. At the top of the list is “dusting-dusting-dusting”. This house was extremely dusty when we bought it. The basement, despite drying it out and cleaning it out, remained very dusty. The new heating system has been tackling that issue, the filter needs to be changed frequently. My goal is to remove dust manually, constantly, until the filter stays clean for at least three months.

I know that as I dust, lots of little jobs will pop up. The challenge is not to allow myself to get distracted by all the little things that come to my attention, but to write them down on my list for later consideration.

The Dead of Winter is a turning point, one which I am grateful to be spending with Attila and Ginger, warm and cozy and well fed all, here at Mist Cottage.



Updated on Mon, Jan 23, 8:25 AM
-3 °C
Wind 8 N km/h
Humidity 95 %
Visibility 21 km
Sunrise 7:34 AM
Wind gust 12 km/h
Pressure 100.8 kPa
Ceiling 300 m
Sunset 5:05 PM


“Worries go down better with soup than without.”
Jewish Proverb

Soup! Attila and I love soup for lunch. I am having for lunch today, my own version of Stone Soup. This batch includes more than a dozen different vegetables.

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Diane Dahli

I’m so glad that we are leaving winter, and are about to descend into warmer, kinder weather. I know it’s early, but I can’t stop thinking about spring!


Lol! Not sure if I told you or not but last week one of my internet friends saw a robin – in Michigan! For us, that’s almost a stone’s throw, just across Lake Huron. So, at this point we’re hoping the current snow storm will be our spring snow storm.

Congratulation to your mother on selling the farm. I’m sure it’s bittersweet for all but it’s good she could get it done, between mortgages going up and bans on foreign sales.

Dusting is the bane of my existence! With our having had no grass and often having high winds in the fall, it hasn’t been a fun time. I fear I’ll never get rid of the brown sand.