Getting There

Good news on the hydro bills, time-of-use billing has been postponed again until October 31st, but the price jumped from 10.1 cents per Kwh, to 12.8 cents per Kwh. It could be a lot worse! I hate time-of-use billing because hydro gets to decide when I can do what around the house, which feels incredibly intrusive.

The weather certainly is changeable! The hot and humid weather we had last week has moved on, and in its place we have cool, windy, sunny weather. I prefer the cool sunny weather, it is lovely for sitting in the sheltered porch, working out of doors, having the windows open in the heat of the afternoon, and Mist Cottage maintains a lovely 21C day and night, without the aid of the heating/cooling system.

Our new routines are beginning to take form, changed sleeping schedules are the hardest to deal with. I go through an extended period of sleep deprivation when the sleeping schedule changes, so these shifts are going to take me a long time to adjust to. When I add the stress of Attila working with people in an enclosed space, our health issues, and Covid-19, that makes it all the more difficult to adjust to the sleeping changes. I managed four hours of solid sleep last night, which is pretty good. All things considered, we are off to a good start.

Food is another big adjustment. Attila needs portable food, good nourishing food that will sustain his energy during his shift at work. So flour milling and bread baking become more frequent, and Switchel is made weekly. Switchel is a great, healthy, high energy beverage, made with apple cider vinegar, ginger, and sugar. I cut down Attila’s sugar consumption in the Switchel by replacing half of the called for amount with stevia, it tastes the same to us.

All of Attila’s projects except the garden are on hold. My projects will progress as they are, only more slowly because I am taking on all of the domestic responsibility again, such as bread making, beverage making, meal preparation, and soon garden produce preservation. It will take us both time to find a new equilibrium with our schedule, and become accustomed to the daily worry over Covid-19. We will get there, but this is going to take time.

The garden is a source of great joy for both Attila and myself. He does almost all of the work of course, it is his project, but I have some input into what gets planted, and where it is planted. And we get a lot of pleasure sitting on the back porch, surveying the new life in the garden, the birds, the squirrels, and the rabbits.

There are still a few jars of last year’s Dandelion Jelly, so none needed to be made this spring. The rhubarb is doing very well. So far we have harvested about 5 pounds of rhubarb, and baked one Rhubarb Crisp, and two Rhubarb Upside Down Cakes. Today another Rhubarb Upside Down Cake will be baked. The rhubarb harvest is plentiful enough that there will be some to freeze for winter baking.

Last summer a hanging planter of ever bearing strawberries was purchased. The runners were planted in my raised bed and they did well considering the crowded conditions in that raised bed. All in all that one purchased planter yielded about one quart of strawberries last summer, not the best strawberries, but nice nevertheless. In the autumn the plant was removed from the planter and planted in one of the ash log raised beds, and the runners were moved from my raised bed to a hugelkultur bed that Attila built this spring.

This strawberry plant is ever bearing and was purchased at Costco last summer, in a hanging basket. Last fall Attila transplanted it into this raised bed. Around it are Mallow plants, which are considered weeds, but they have medicinal value, and they are free. Eventually the strawberry plant will put out runners, which I will train into this bed to fill it. When these strawberries overgrow the boundaries of this raised bed, I will transplant the new plants into the hugelkultur.
The irises are blooming! I love iris flowers, I wish they were an ever bearing plant, and that they bloomed all through the spring and summer and into the autumn! You can see that sneaky bindweed lurking in the background.
The lily of the valley is blooming! Attila picked these for me, and they are sitting beside me as I type. They smell so wonderful!



Date: 9:00 PM EDT Monday 1 June 2020
Condition: Partly Cloudy
Pressure: 101.7 kPa
Tendency: Falling
Temperature: 14.2°C
Dew point: 7.9°C
Humidity: 66%
Wind: WSW 13 km/h
Visibility: 24 km


“It’s easier to put on slippers than to carpet the whole world.”
Al Franken
1951 –

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Joan Lansberry

I’m glad the adjustments are doable. Your irises are beautiful! I enjoy seeing your photos. Hugs! <3

Eileen Barton

Love hearing about your gardening and baking, etc. Your iris are
beautiful. I have very light purple iris in an earthbox which is bursting to the seams with plants. I have mostly flowers in pots and this year did an earthbox with zucchini…for zucchini bread.:) I also have one tomato and one pepper plant in pots. Hope all works out well with Atilla back to work and hope you both stay safe.


Your iris is really beautiful. I also love lilly of the valley. Switchel! My paternal grandparents were dairy farmers in Wisconsin. They also grew small crops. Every time we visited them (even after they moved back to their first home in Illinois), my grandmother made and served switchel. It was so refreshing in the summer. I remember it having something citrus in it though ~ like lemon or lime. I should really get the ingredients and make some.
Still praying that you and Attila remain healthy. ((Hugs!))


Hello Maggie and all: I would have failed on Jeopardy with the word
Hugelkultur….but, my trusty Webster’s ‘splained it for me. Very interesting. Several years ago, Jason built me a large bed ( 5’ x 65’) along my back fence. I spent the first two years amending the soil using the lasagna technique. Now I have wonderful soil in that bed, and could open a fish bait shop with all of the earth worms! We ended up having to basically double fence it because our dogs and the back neighbors had 3 large dogs, and all 6 dogs MEANT they were going to break through to each other. So we added a strip of the poly- wood lattice work, about 4’ high…so we protected the original wood fence, and I must admit, the lattice is pretty down there. I don’t believe in straight lines for my beds, so I have lots of curves. It is my final bed to get filled up….my other 3 beds have grown so full that there is minimal weeding and upkeep. I planted a lot of cannas, day lilies, hydrangeas, elephant ears, and ferns. All are perennials, so really fall clean up is the biggest chore, and separating others. I LOVE blue iris….I will plant some this fall. I am waiting to receive my 50 caladium bulbs….I like the large, white leaves. I will have to dig and overwinter them in the garage. I didn’t have to do that when I lived in Alabama or Georgia. And, I miss the dogwoods and azaleas…they will not grow here in our soil. I have some Texas Vitex trees and some pampas grass…it is supposed to have deep pink fluffs…so far only white. And I have several crepe myrtles and oleanders. My wood ferns that I got from a dear 85 yr old friend, are spreading very well. One day, I will have it like I want it! Please send me an email, so I can reply… Every time I send you an email, it doesn’t go thru. Strange. My wonderful family is going thru some tough issues. My oldest brother has been diagnosed with metastatic squamous cell carcinoma…left axilla lymph node. We don’t
Know primary site yet. And Jeremy’s mother in law was diagnosed with stage 3-B lung cancer, with lymph node metastasis. She will find out today the possible treatment plan. She lives with Jeremy, Natalie, and the 2 grandsons. They both may be going to M D Anderson in Houston.
Having worked hospice for 10 years….Mike and I had a long heart to heart the other night. I am not at all certain, depending on so many things, what I would do in either situation. Chemo and radiation are so horrible,; Many times the cure can be worse than the cancer. Charlene is 72; my brother is 76. Knowledge and experience that I gained working with Hospice….I have a tendency to lean toward palliative care.
I taught a 2 day END OF LIFE CARE conference to nurses, social workers, to 10 different conferences all over the US. That was at least 10 years ago. But, the basics don’t change. The main issue…getting hospice involved as soon as you can. So many doctors don’t want to have the difficult conversations with patients and families. I can’t tell you how many times we would admit someone and the patient died that same night. At least, they ( the family) then received bereavement care for 18 months. I don’t understand your power systems….at all. It sounds like you have to organize what you do when power is assigned to you??? I hope Attila stays safe and well. I am so sorry about your loss to COVID. We don’t know anyone personally who has died. Is
Switchel like lemonade? Anything with Apple Cider Vinegar is supposed to be super good for you. Well, I have rattled all over the place….stay safe and peaceful. Xxoo. Margarett

Diane Dahli

Beautiful photos, Maggie! I envy the sharpness of them and the clear focus. And of course, it helps to have great subject matter. BTW, Covid 19 cases are going down almost everywhere, but I guess the level of worry you have may be related specifically to your location, and how your health department has handled it. We have been very fortunate to have few cases on our island, but people still worry.

Stubblejumpers Cafe

Mallow in my yard seems unkillable and if left alone will choke out everything around it and spread like wildfire. I’m still pulling it out every time I see it, and still it comes back every year. I bought it at a greenhouse where it was marked as checker mallow, which would’ve been great had that been it. This mallow is a weed and I curse it every summer. Don’t let it get away on you. -Kate