Lately I’ve been feeling age in my bones, from the outside in. I massage my hand, and I wonder at the bones beneath the skin. How have I not noticed the structure of my hands until yesterday. It is inexplicable. Aging is inexplicable.
So far we have had a good winter. The weather has been unusually mild up until two days ago, when it turned from cloudy and mild, to sunny and frigid. The new heating system is working flawlessly thus far; the air source heat pump is wonderful. Our hydro bills are a little bit higher now, but our fuel oil bills are no longer.
We took advantage of the freezing temperatures (-15C this morning), to defrost the freezer. Attila removed all the frozen food from the freezer, placed it in coolers and totes, and put it in the unheated garage, where it will remain frozen. Attila defrosted the freezer, removed the melt water, and dried the freezer. Then as Attila brought the frozen food back into the house, I organized it, refilled the freezer, and turned it back on. Job done!
In the past defrosting the freezer has yielded some interesting vintage foods, which I enjoyed finding ways to use. This go round though, there was only one item that needed to be used immediately, a container of frozen apple scrap juice from 2017. I believe I intended to use it to make jelly. I thawed it and used it to make an apple raisin pie filling, which I used as a filling for my oatmeal square recipe. It was so good! I speak of it in the past tense because it has not lasted the weekend.
A batch of vegetable broth was made today, using the steam juicer. Although we don’t purchase a lot of fresh vegetables in the winter, we seem to easily accumulate the ten bags of scraps we need to make the broth, usually yielding about eight cups. Vegetable cooking water is also saved for soups and casseroles. My favourite vegetable water is from cooking squash or sweet potatoes in the Instant Pot.
For my birthday this year, I received a manual pasta extruder. Yesterday I decided to give it a try. I learned a lot. The resulting egg noodles were interesting, too sticky, aesthetically jarring, but edible. I enjoyed them in my latest batch of Chicken Noodle Soup. I have great hopes for this little machine. I would like to master whole wheat pasta, made with my own milled whole wheat flour. I also want to make pasta that includes powdered vegetables, such as kale, or carrots. Fun with food!
When researching pasta machines, I looked at the Phillips electric machine. Many people have this machine and love it. The price tag was beyond our means; the unit is large and would need to be stored; and the unit has plastic parts which eventually will break. The manual extruder I received was a lot less expensive than the Phillips; it is compact and easy to store; and it has no plastic parts.
Lots of little projects happening here. Yesterday Attila cut my hair. He is no hairdresser to be sure, and does his best. This time the results were a “cut above”, quite nice. Today he cut his own hair, with electric clippers, with good results.
Well, that is us, here at Mist Cottage. There is nothing terribly exciting going on, and that is exactly how we like it.
<heating upgrade saga and update>
In the summer of 2021 I began the process of upgrading our heating system. It began slowly with the application for a grant. By the time I had been accepted into the grant program, the pandemic was in full swing, and very dangerous, particularly for seniors. So I deferred the first assessment until the Covid vaccines entered the picture.
The initial assessment was completed in March of 2022, and we paid cash for that. After the report from the assessment was provided, I began the process of hiring a company to install the new heating system, a heat pump, and a backup electric furnace.
The earliest date for installation that was available was in July of 2022. After discovering at the time of the install that we needed a hydro service upgrade, we waited from July until the middle of December for the upgrade.
The five months to attain a hydro service upgrade was the most stressful period of the whole process. After waiting patiently for three months to hear from Hydro One, I called them, and they told me there was no request for service on our property, clearly someone had dropped the ball. The electrician, who would have submitted the request, seemed shocked, and looked into it. The service request was resubmitted, I think, and then we waited from the middle of September until the middle of December to see the work done. During that time I repeatedly called Hydro One and was told something different each time. I called and called and called and called, speaking with someone each time… they were always polite but nothing seemed to be happening. Then on one call, the customer service person gave me the contact information for the person who was making the scheduling decisions. I called and spoke to them, and called, and called, and called, speaking to her each time. A date for the upgrade was given to me. I let the electrician know, and he had a different date for the upgrade. A new, later, date was arranged for the work. On my last call to Hydro One, the scheduling person said to me, “Maggie, this is the last time we will be speaking to one another.” I sure hoped so, as only they could make that happen!!!
Once the hydro service upgrade had been completed, processes began to happen within reasonable time periods.
The completion of the heating system install took place two days before Christmas, 2022.
The process continued. The next step was to arrange for the final assessment. However, after applying for the assessment, I received the information that the company who was to do the assessment had declared bankruptcy. I had a few options, but they all involved putting a request in to the government to change the assessment company, and all options had a higher price tag. I made the official request to change the assessment company at the end of December, and was told that would take up to another 40 days to process.
Which brings me to today. My account was updated to a new assessment company, and the final assessment is to take place this week! With any luck, it will happen as scheduled, the assessment will be approved by the government, I will provide receipts, we will receive the grant, and be through with this process.
Through this entire process I have had to keep on top of researching to make decisions, providing documents, coordinating companies, being present as the work was done, and inquiring constantly and assertively to keep the whole process moving.
</heating upgrade saga and update>
Updated on Sun, Jan 15, 4:05 PM
FEELS LIKE -10
Wind 8 N km/h
Humidity 76 %
Visibility 21 km
Sunrise 7:40 AM
Wind gust 12 km/h
Pressure 102.6 kPa
Ceiling 9100 m
Sunset 4:54 PM
“I always find it more difficult to say the things I mean than the things I don’t.”
W. Somerset Maugham
1874 – 1965
What endless hassles and hoops you’ve been put through! I hope the new heating system is worth the aggravation. Great idea about using dehydrated veggie powder for pasta making. We also have a hand operated pasta maker but have only used cooked spinach or chard to flavour the dough.
Whoops! The above comment was mine. Forgot to put my name in.
Oh Mr Maugham how right you were!
On another matter I would love to have been a fly on the wall during all those conversations you had with contractors. A big tick plus gold star goes to you for your grit and determination not to let them get away with it.
Sandra, the hassles upgrading the heating system do seem endless, lol! The heating system itlself is a great improvement on the former heat pump and oil furnace. The company that installed the furnace redesigned the ductwork and it has made in significant improvement in the way air moves around the house, and so how the heat moves around the house. We are more comfortable, and didn’t even know that was possible. Ah, an experienced pasta maker! I’ve a lot to learn, and I am looking forward to it. We only eat pasta about once a week, so it will be slow going. I’ve read about using fresh cooked spinache or chard for the dough, and might give that a go next summer when they are fresh from the garden.
Cathy, “Oh Mr Maugham how right you were!”… you speak as an experienced writer 🙂
Some of the conversations with contractors were intense, intense enough to mention that I was upset on the paid invoice! It is true I was upset (not abusive) during a few of the calls where they weren’t being particularly helpful, and it would have taken very little effort on their part to have been helpful. In the end they did the job and did it well, so my efforts did the trick.
Wow so many hoops to jump through for the heating system but you did it! Yay! Congrats. My Grandmother has a manual pasta maker. I loved watching her make pasta. 🙂
Thanks Sandy, I am almost there! The most important part of the process has been completed, a working heating system. It has been a long road since receiving the letter condemning our original heating system, to having a new working system installed!
What a wonderful memory to have been able to watch your Grandmother make pasta! I’ve no culinary history with pasta making, so I am starting from scratch to learn. I have good equipment but little knowledge or skill… so far.
Youtube videos are a good place to start, but there is no substitute for experience!
DH and I used to make perogie pasta every year at Christmas. But the last several years it was getting harder and harder to make the 9 to 12 dozen perogies we normally made and older son took over. We gave our manual pasta maker to him. By hand vs machine made a huge difference, we were able to continue with the work for another 10 years.
Teri, perogies! I hadn’t thought of perogies. What a great Christmas tradition. I agree that machines extend our capabilities beyond what age/free time etc. might restrict us to.