Getting There

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 –


  1. 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.

  2. Eileen, so gald you enjoy hearing about these small doings here, I love sharing it. Writing it feels like I am in the kitchen with my Granny, and actually doing it feels the same way. It is such a companionable thing to do, puttering away in the kitchen. Some of my best experiences have been in the kitchen with loved ones and friends, preparing food, preserving food, doing dishes, anything really, is fun with an aminable companion.

    I had to look up earthbox, what a great idea! I love purple irises! One of the homes near us has a row of purple irises across the front of her house, and it is so pretty! Our irises were here when we bought the house, lucky us. Growing things is such fun!
    Stay safe dear friend!

  3. Sandy

    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!))

  4. Sandy, thanks! The flowers are a real source of pleasure, and the lilly of the valley sends its aroma through the interior of the house, so nice.
    My Switchel recipe is made with Apple Cider Vinegar, but lemon or lime juice could be substituted I think. I am going to do up a batch with lemon juice and see how it tastes, thanks for the idea!
    Thank you for your prayers, we are assisting providence by doing everything we can to stay safe. ((Hugs))
    Stay safe dear friend!

  5. Margarett

    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

  6. Margarett, you garden sound very beautiful! Ours has some flowers, but it is mostly edibles for the table, and for preserving.
    Interesting career with hospice care, no one in my family circle has ever been in hospice, or received any assistance with the process of death and grieving.
    The hydro here, previous to the state of emergency with Covid-19, were what they call time-of-use, peak time, mid-peak time, and off-peak time, all different prices. We are on a strict and tiny budget, so I cannot afford to pay twice as much for hydro, I have to pay attention to when it is cheaper.
    Peak time cost twice as much per kWh, mid-peak expensive but not so expensive as peak time, and off-peak was half the price of peak time. I had to try and get things done during off-peak time. The times were chopped up during the day, periods of peak time (usually supper time), and overnight and weekends it would be off-peak time. So I ended up scheduling my whole day around the price of hydro, and did a lot of my intense baking and preserving on weekends, which was exhausting. I found that I was too tired during the week, by the time the price dropped, to do anything useful, I would be so tired I made mistakes. During this state of emergency they have lifted the time-of-use so I can afford to do my chores during the day, when i am alert and they fit into what I am doing. I hate time-of-use billing.
    Switchel is refreshing, it might be like lemonade if you substitute lemon juice for apple cider vinegar, but we like the benefits and taste of raw apple cider vinegar, so that is what we use.
    Stay safe dear friend!

  7. 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.

  8. Thanks Diane! I love flowers and the garden so it easy to see them in a beautiful light. Yes, cases of Covid-19 are going down in many places, and as reassuring as that is, people are still catching the virus, dying every day, and areas see flare ups. I have experience being in the wrong place at the wrong time, at no fault of my own, so I know only too well how easily that chance can turn to tragedy. Ontario is seeing an increase in cases right now, mostly in Toronto, and in care homes, and I do not live in Toronto, there is that. Unfortunately with this virus it only takes one irresponsible person to change everything in an instant, as New Brunswick discovered, when a doctor travelled to Quebec and returned to spread the virus around care homes and hospitals. Hopefully things will only get better, but until then I will remain concerned and vigilant. I don’t think about it much actually, as we have our routines for dealing with our own protection, but when time is spent every day in close contact with other workers, one can only hope that everyone is being repsonsible, that is in everyone’s best interest.

  9. 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

  10. Kate, I hear you! It is a weed in our garden too, Attila transplanted it into my strawberry plot, not sure why, but there it is. It has been all over our yard since we bought the house, it is everywhere, but it is very easy to pull out, at least there is that, I spend a lot of time weeding it out of every bed in the garden. I think Attila thought it would be a good filler until the strawberry plant puts out runners, and when it does I’ll pull the mallow in that bed.

    One website even says it is medicinal and that you can eat it, though I hope never to be that hard up for a salad:

    “For starters, mallow is highly nutritious. The plant is exceptionally rich in vitamins A, B, and C, along with calcium, magnesium, and potassium. The tender young leaves actually have one of the highest amounts of vitamin A in any vegetable.

    (Strange as it sounds, mallow should be thought of as a vegetable — and not a weed to be rid of.)

    The leaves also have a mucilaginous quality, similar to okra, and can be used to thicken soups and stews. (I’m personally waiting for the next round of mallow to spring up in my garden so I can try it in my gumbo!)”

    Stay safe dear friend!

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