First Snow!

I think this is the first video clip I have ever created to post on this site! I am a complete beginner when it comes to videos, and this is the result of taking a video with the iPad this morning, then using iMovie to edit it a bit, save it, upload it, and place in this entry. I watched about 45 minutes of videos on how to use iMovie before getting this result. The beginner iMovie youtube videos move way too fast and don’t cover the basics very well. I will be searching for a video made by someone with a bit of instructional ability, not just technical ability! Baby steps!
ANYWAY, this was our snow this morning, so pretty.

It is snowing here this morning, lots and lots of snow. It is melting too, but enough is falling out the sky to accumulate significantly on the branches of the tree branches outside my windows, about 4 inches so far.

I love the first snowfall of the season! It is pretty. But beyond the visual is the feel of the soft white blanket that now surrounds my little house. The busy brashness of late autumn sounds has been muted. White brings sharp visual contrast to the landscape. I can see paths in the snow, where squirrels and rabbits have made their way in our yard. That is on the outside of me.

On the inside of me is a deep feeling of containment and contentment. I am cozy here in my little house, warm enough, well fed enough (understatement), and peacefully occupied enough to love where I am. The first snow always brings into sharp focus how wonderful it is to have a peaceful home to live in. I stepped out onto the back porch this morning, to take out the compost bucket, and to bring in some washed and dried plastic bags that were hanging on the clothesline, and oh what a pleasure to breath deeply that air, so sharp and crisp and biting. And then, what a delight to retreat back into the warmth of this little house.

These feelings of wonder at the first snow never get old. They return every year in late autumn, when the world first turns white. It is amazing to me that I feel this way every year, despite having experienced late winter impatience for it to melt away.

The first snow marks a turning point in the seasons, a natural turning point, dictated by mother nature herself, and it is delightful.

There is another turning point at this time of year however, that is not so delightful, nor is it natural in any way. It is a corporate interest turning point that occurs here in Ontario, where we have Time-Of-Use monitoring and billing for the electricity we use. It is the perfect opportunity to increase prices, and inflict restrictions on the domestic population of Ontario, Canada.

On November first we were switched to winter rates and time schedules. The rates have increased of course. And what this also means is that I must do my daily tasks that use electricity either before 7:00 a.m. in the morning, or after 7:00 p.m. in the evening. In other words, the most economical hydro is largely available overnight, when I sleep. This is very, very inconvenient, and changes the way my whole day is structured.

There is a period of mid-peak pricing from 11:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m., when I will undertake tasks that I feel just cannot be done during the 12 nighttime hours when the electricity is least expensive. But I try to avoid doing that, because it will affect our monthly billing.

It seems Hydro One is determined to make the short cold winter days as dark and dreary as they possibly can.

Heating is our priority, and it is a service I do not want to cut back on significantly, despite the government urging seniors to turn their heat down! The government paid for ads a few years ago, showing an elderly woman wrapped in a blanket, turning down her thermostat, like that was the RIGHT thing to do. I hope the genius who thought up that ad, and the one who chose to run with it, have severe arthritis in their older years, and find themselves wrapped in blankets in chilly homes, doing the RIGHT thing. Heartless campaign.

I’ve been busy. One of the things that has come to my attention is that I experience significant pain if I try to get down on the floor, or back up from the floor. Arthritis is not my friend. All of my life I have been physically nimble, hale and hearty. Age is having none of it! So I did a bunch of research on techniques for getting down on the floor, and up from the floor, and have been practicing. And the practice is paying off, after a few days of cleaning shelves that can only be reached if one is down on the floor, I can now get down, and up again, without experiencing pain. I still forget I am not young anymore, and without thinking try to get down, or up, as I had whole life through, for decades and decades. But pain is a determined reminder that adaptation is required.

On Tuesday I made a loaf of 100% whole-wheat low-sodium bread in the bread machine. The whole loaf contained only 1200 mg of sodium. I added dried mango and dried cranberries to it. Wow, it was so good. I love bread with dried fruit in it.

When I was a single Mom on a tight time and financial budget, a loaf of bread with mixed fruit in it was my only special treat. I even dreamed about that loaf of bread at night, watching the slices fall as I opened the bag. I love breads and pastries. Yesterday, I could not resist having my homemade bread with butter for breakfast, again for lunch, and as a bedtime snack. And I had it for breakfast again this morning, and again at lunch. I know I will not want to eat anything else until that loaf of bread is all gone, and it won’t be long. Well, it is best fresh, right?

I was so in love with the bread I made, that I decided I needed more dried fruit in the house, with which to make it. Out came the dehydrator, to dry the Gala apples purchased at the grocery store this past week. They are Ontario apples, and on sale at the moment for $1.00 a pound. They were peeled, cored, sliced thin, then spread out on the racks. I ran the dehydrator at 140F last night after 7:00 p.m. when the hydro cost dropped to off-peak pricing, and turned the heat down to 90F for the night, to let it run overnight. It seemed best to keep the temperature down when the unit was not being supervised. It was turned off this morning at 6:58 a.m.. The apples are not dry yet, a little rubbery, so they aren’t done. Tonight the dehydrator will be turned on to 140F again at 7::00 p.m. and will run again all night if need be.

The apples cores and peels are now in the crock turning themselves into Apple Cider Vinegar, which needs to be stirred daily to prevent mold.

Last Friday the pressure canner was put into service again, this time to can six 500-ml jars of Taco Soup. These are intended for my lunches, on those days when I am suddenly hungry and just can’t figure out what to eat. Since there were no empty jars left, the pressure canner was cleaned and back into storage it went. But Attila, upon finding out that the jars were all in service, picked up another dozen jars when he was out and about. So there will be more canned instant meals on the way soon.

Six jars of Taco Soup canned, ready for quick lunches.
On the plate are seeds from our Jack-O-Lantern, a pie pumpkin, drying for spring planting.
Pie Pumpkins are amazing, who knew!
I have always purchased field pumpkins for Jack-O-Lanterns, and then cooked, pureed, froze, and baked with them. They were perfectly acceptable. BUT why use a field pumpkin if you can have a Pie Pumpkin. This was the first Pie Pumpkin I had ever had, and wow, the cooked puree is sweet and not in the least bit watery. It is significantly superior to any commercially canned pumpkin pie filling I have ever purchased.

The cabbages were first harvested in September. Each stem that was left started to grow new little cabbages. Attila harvested them on the weekend, and now we have a 1 liter jar of sauerkraut fermenting in the basement. Hopefully this batch will be a success!

These small cabbages, on one stem, were harvested from our garden over the weekend. They sure don’t look like much, do they! These all grew from the “stump” left when the first crop was harvested, a second crop on the same plants.
Here is what the little cabbages looked like when the outer leaves had been removed. they look pretty good!
The cabbages have been cut into thin slices and are now ready to be made into sauerkraut. This cabbage is sweet and crunchy, so good. Not really what might be expected based on their appearance when harvested.

Worldly

-1°C
Date: 11:47 AM EST Thursday 7 November 2019
Condition: Mostly Cloudy
Pressure: 102.3 kPa
Tendency: Rising
Temperature: -1.3°C
Dew point: -3.5°C
Humidity: 85%
Wind: NNW 14 km/h
Wind Chill: -6
Visibility: 16 km

Weather

Quote

“Let us be grateful to people who make us happy: They are the charming gardeners who make our souls blossom.”
Marcel Proust
1871 – 1922

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8 Responses to First Snow!

  1. Teri says:

    We had most of our snow overnight. It’s actually the third snow for us, the first one happening on Nov 1st, but this snow is the heaviest at between 2-3 inches.

    We got our electric bill yesterday. I was very happy to see that our costs have been staying down compared to a few years ago. We’ve replaced all our incandescent light bulbs and when our furnace died last year we opted for a 2-stage fan gas furnace that was very efficient and the proper size for our home. We also only run our dishwasher after 7PM, so that helps too. They send out comparison charts to show the average household consumption every once in a while, our consumption is well below the average.

    I do agree with you that an ad telling seniors to turn down their heat is heartless. So glad we don’t watch commercial TV. We’ve pretty much cut ghe cord and only watch specific programs by streaming.

    No, arthritis isn’t fun. So far, I’ve been pretty lucky and only get mild aches in my hands when they get cold.

    Your bread with dried fruit sounds delicious! I’m a fan of fruit and fruit and nut breads, myself.

    Most of our snow has melted now, thank goodness. I like watching it fall but I don’t like having to walk or drive through it.

  2. WendyNC says:

    I must admit that it will suit me perfectly well if your video is the only snow I see this year–but I’d rather have that than one of our ice storms.

    I’d not thought about adding dried fruit to my whole wheat bread but next week it may be time for an experiment. Since I eat this bread for breakfast, it should be quite yummy. Thanks for the suggestion!

    Very interested in knowing how the second batch of sauerkraut turns out. It’s something I’ve wanted to do for a long time and I hope to learn from your experience.

  3. Teri, the snow has stopped coming down now, and the weather people say no more on the way, yay. A lot of it melted today, and the roads are a bit wet, but that isn’t a problem. I am with you, I don’t like walking or driving through the snow!
    Our electrical usage is fairly consistent, the air source heat pump and the oil furnace don’t use a lot of electricity. But the price just keeps going up. Other than insulating the basement, the exterior walls of the house, and eventually replacing the oil furnace, there is little more we can do to reduce enegy consumption. We will be watching our bills closely this year, and I have my fingers crossed I will not need to turn down that thermostat! I may be crocheting a lot of body warmers to get through the days, lol!
    The fruit bread is a real treat! The bread machine does a fine job with it, the sandwich bread I mix and rise in my mixer, and bake in the oven, because the bread machine only does one loaf at a time.
    It looks like more snow is on the way next week for Ontario, keep warm!

  4. Wendy, like you, I prefer the snow to ice storms! We don’t get many here, but when we do I don’t want to leave the house, and I don’t want Attila leaving the house either!
    Wendy, I made the fruit bread with milk instead of water, following the recipe in the bread machine manual. It also had three tablespoons of sugar in it, which I think is a lot. I reduced the salt from 1 1/2 tsp. to 1/2 tsp. and it was fine. Compared to cheese danish, a slice of this kind of bread is super heatlhy!
    So far the saurkraut is looking good. I had put a pickle pipe on it, then remembered that the first fantastic batch that was made we used only a coffee filter and ring on it, so I switched to that. Only time will tell. The guru for fermenting is Sandor Katz, his information is really well informed. I have to admit I am just a beginner at fermenting, it is a type of food preservation that I haven’t tried in the past. So far so good though, the first sauerkraut and the jalapeno peppers were great. It ended up we did not like fermented brussel sprout leaves, so we threw that out, and were only out a bit of filtered water and 1 1/2 tablespoons of salt as a result of that failed experiment, lol.

  5. Stubblejumpers Cafe says:

    I admire your ambition! -Kate

  6. Kate, thank you! You are one busy lady yourself! All that beautiful bread you bake, yum!

  7. bex says:

    I love cabbage.

  8. Bex, me too! I love it in stir fries, coleslaw (you can can coleslaw you know!), cabbage rolls, sauerkraut… and I may be wrong, but home garden cabbage tastes better than the cabbage you buy in the store! I may be wrong, but I don’t think so.

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