First Frost

Attila struggles with his health issue where he works, at the best of times. The heat is extreme year round, 40C or hotter, particularly where he has to perform his tasks. He had been slowly wearing himself out on the job, recovering as much as possible on weekends. But with the present Pandemic, he has been wearing a mask all day in the heat and humidity… his condition is worsening quickly. Apparently the authorities have decided that his condition is not adversely affected by wearing a mask, based one one study on surgeons with his condition, who were able to function normally while working for long hours in the climate controlled operating room, while wearing a mask. OK, I get that, but operating room are climate controlled. Surgeons aren’t using their whole bodies to perform strenuous physical activity. This condition is made much worse by heat, particularly humid heat, the kind of heat Attila works in. Basing the assessment of Attila’s health risks on unrelated ideal, climate controlled conditions, is criminal in my opinion, it is crass, and shows complete disregard for science and for workers, who aren’t working as surgeons in climate controlled operating rooms. The stupidity and inflexibility of the authorities, in so many situations during this Pandemic, is disturbing. So Attila’s condition has deteriorated now to the point where he is on a short medical leave to try and reestablish his health.

There are additional reasons for concern at the weakening of Attila’s health. There are people where he works who are not wearing masks properly, pulled down off their face, or worn under their noses, or in some instances not worn at all. He is in no condition to be exposed to people who are not respecting the guidelines for mask wearing and social distancing.

At least we have a week or so free of worry, which is welcome since the cases of COVID in Ontario are going up, as are the number of cases in this municipality. Then it will be back to constant worry, that his health issue will be irreparably worsened from wearing the mask in hot and humid conditions, and that he might come into contact with a COVID spreader.

Well that is us in the larger context.

The domestic side of life is bustling with activity. Every day there are several food preservation projects on the go. This morning it was canning Cowboy Candy, and pureeing tomatoes for canning. The tomatoes yielded only two jars, not quite enough to justify loading up the canner, so they are in the refrigerator until a few more tomatoes ripen, and we have more jars to fill.

There hasn’t been much opportunity to cook these past few weeks, cooking seems recreational at this point. I have made a few efforts though, just for fun. The Pita bread that was made here in the spring was too thick, and the technique so fussy, that it didn’t seem worth the time and effort. Naan bread seemed like a possible alternative to Pita Bread. The first batch of Naan was made using baking powder instead of yeast. It was good, but not great. The second batch of Naan was made with yeast, it was good, but there were real issues with the bread burning. More research was conducted. The third batch of Naan was lovely, evenly cooked, good colour, slightly chewy. The recipes call for the cast iron frying pan to be heated to a medium high temperature, which burned the Naan. What worked was a preheated cast iron pan at medium low temperature (3.5/10 on my dial). The other thing that significantly improved the Naan was being rolled thinner than was possible with the normal rolling pin. I inquired of Attila if we had some doweling in the garage that I might use, and he found a piece, cut it to about 8 inches in length. After being sanded and oiled, it worked like a charm. So Naan bread is going to be a big part of our diet from now on.

The Naan bread was served with two meals, both were soups made from fresh garden vegetables. The first soup was Tomato and Roasted Red Pepper Soup, we liked it a lot, I didn’t write down how I made it though, I know I will regret that. The second was a Squash Ginger Soup, which was also delicious served with Naan bread. Cooking these meals was lots of fun, and a real break from the intense regime of food preservation projects.

We had our first frost on Sunday night. The garden had not been covered that night, to protect it from the frost. I was alarmed to see the frost on the roof of the house next door, as the day dawned. Luckily there was no sign of any frost damage in the garden, it must have missed us by a few feet.

It is the time of year when harvesting slows down. Over half of the Tomatoes are in and canned; most of the Scarlet Runner Beans have been frozen; all of the Cucumbers made into Dill Slices; most of the Zucchini canned as Zucchini-Pineapple; two of the three Pie Pumpkins have been brought in; many of the Ground Cherries have ripened and fallen; most of the Basil has been gathered for Pesto; a good percentage of the Hot Peppers are pickled or candied; and most of the Swiss Chard has been frozen. Still to come are the Brussel Sprouts, the Winter Cabbages, late Peas, and Squash. We have a bumper crop of Squash again this year, all Butternut Squash, as the Blue Hubbard died during the heat of June and July.

Stay safe dear friends!!

The second batch of Swiss Chard, blanched, weighed, and ready to be bagged and labelled for the freezer.
Last fall we purchased a Pie Pumpkin. My oh my it was nice! So the seeds were saved, planted in May, and here are two of three They are so cute!
Crabapples! Picked from the new tree in the front yard, this is the whole crop. When the Ash tree died some small trees sprang up around the stump. This Crabapple tree was one of those little trees. It is much taller now, and this is the first year that there were Crabapples to harvest.
The Crabapples are fermenting, to eventually become Apple Cider Vinegar. In two weeks the fruit will be strained out, and the remaining Apple Cider set in the cupboard to become vinegar.



Date: 4:00 PM EDT Thursday 17 September 2020
Condition: Mostly Cloudy
Pressure: 101.9 kPa
Tendency: Falling
Temperature: 16.9°C
Dew point: 8.9°C
Humidity: 59%
Wind: NNW 18 km/h
Visibility: 24 km


“The weak can never forgive. Forgiveness is the attribute of the strong.”
Mahatma Gandhi
1869 – 1948

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Hello again, Maggie and all….my procedure went fine. He was only able to work on the 4 lower discs in my lower back…usually they only do 3. Will return in 1 month to do the left. But, I guess they used more steroids than usual, because I am so wired I haven’t been able to go to the grand sleep that I usually am able to do.
Now…from your friend from the great state of TEXAS! What in the heck is Switchel? And, what is Kohlrabi? I prefer your answers to GOOGLE on the “ inter-tube!!!
I am feeling really like a goof ball, that I will catch you, again, later. xxoo…m


Hi Maggie. I really hope Attila’s health improves while he’s off from work. Is there any chance that a doctor could intervene with a statement that between the mask, heat, and humidity, Attila’s health is being harmed? Then he could go on long-term disability? Or maybe they could move him to a different job?

You really had a bountiful harvest. I’ve never seen Kohlrabi either.

Hi Margarett. Welcome back! I’m glad your procedure went well and hope you feel better:)


And we have just had our first over 20°c……such a lovely warm(ish) day. Back to teens with a promise of higher again in a couple of days
Will you be able to use the crabapple fruit for anything after you strain the liquid off (to become apple cider vinegar)

Joan Lansberry

That sounds like awful working conditions! I’d opt for retirement, or at least a different job. But I know you may not feel you have that option. I don’t think I’d care for “switchel”, either.

Anyway, best possible health to both of you and enjoy your veggies!

Bex Crowell

I’d always heard of Kohlrabi but not the rest of it. I don’t believe I’ve ever eaten it though.
I would think Attila would do better in a job like a librarian or something… quiet and alone! I hope he doesn’t have the Covid…has he been tested at all? That workplace of his is a hotbed for spread of it. Such a constant worry!!! At least you are saving lots of $$ on all your garden produce. Those masks are not fun to wear. We had a guest here yesterday for only an hour and Paul and I both wore our masks (as did Margaret) the whole time and by the time she left I felt like I was drowning! I hate them! I need cool air around me to feel normal and masks just don’t allow for that. Ugh. These troubling times… and now SCJ Ginsburg has passed away so the evil ones in D.C. will be at their evil ways again and stacking the Court. More ugh.