Milling Flour Again

What a difference a day can make! Yesterday morning it was -17C, and this morning it is -5C. We are to have cold temperatures at night (-10C or below) for the next week or so, then the temperature will hover just above and below freezing for a while. Today the temperature will rise to 5C, cloudy, with some snow. I plan on spending a wee bit of time on the back porch this afternoon, and will dress warmly so that I can stay out as long as possible. I think I will take a nice hot cup of tea out with me!

Cabin fever is sneaky! I was cranky yesterday, not really knowing why everything seemed so very irritating, crying intermittently. Attila immediately recognized what was going on, cabin fever. This is the first time I’ve experienced it here at Mist Cottage, and I put it down to a year of complete isolation within these four walls, with Attila’s intermittent company. Really, a day or two of cabin fever at the end of a very lonely and scary winter is getting off rather lightly, in my opinion.

Yesterday another loaf of bread was needed, and so baked. The supply of whole wheat flour was low, so there was not enough to make the loaf. It ended up being a “Frankenstein” loaf of bread, a bit of whole wheat flour, a bit of kamut flour, a bit of all-purpose flour, all to make up the whole three and half cups that were called for.

Today was flour milling day. Yesterday 16 cups of wheat berries were sorted, weed seeds removed, so that they would be ready for milling today. When Attila is working, two loaves of bread are baked and consumed every week. When Attila is not working, a loaf lasts about a week and half. Since the freezer is full, bread is being made one loaf at a time, as needed. When there is room in the freezer, as there will be by May, I make five loaves at a time, and freeze them to use as needed. I use the bread machine to make single loaves, and the Bosch mixer to knead the dough for five loaves, which I bake in the oven.

Attila is out of Switchel, the beverage he takes to work. It is also called Haymaker’s Punch, because it is so refreshing for people who do hard physical labour. I prepared four liters this morning, all stowed away in the refrigerator.

The week began with some intense bookkeeping, and I am happy to say we managed to pay all the bills on time this month! Our finances took a significant hit with Attila laid off for months last year, and his absence from work due to medical issues…. then we needed a new vehicle. So frugality is an understatement at our house. Juggling the wee bits of money around is something I really dislike, it requires me to keep on my toes, and to worry almost constantly about what needs to be paid when, and how. I think though, barring any fresh financial disturbances, that we are now holding our own. Of course, austerity is the game here at Mist Cottage, we have cut down almost everything we can and still survive.

This leads me to think about shopping online. It is dangerous territory for most items, places like amazon are too easy. However, online shopping for food has actually reduced our spending in that department. There are no impulse purchases with online shopping, as there are no eye catching displays to tempt one into “lets just try that!” Now we take our list, review every single item, and purchase only what makes perfect sense on our budget. Once we click the checkout button, it is often the case that we can no longer change our minds. Not going into stores also means that there is no running out for milk, or any other last minute item. If it doesn’t come in with the online order, we do without until it is time for the next order, usually every two to three weeks apart.

And then there is clothing. Purchasing clothing online does not work for us. Most items don’t fit right. Sizes are all over the map. Trying things on is the only way to get comfortable, well made clothing. No clothing has been purchased in the last year. Luckily we have enough clothes to last at least a decade, so this has not been an issue. The clothes we have are not stylish. Some of the items are decades old and still going strong, such as my 28 year old parka. When clothing items are too worn for wear, the fabric is used for other purposes. For instance, the new driver’s seat cover that I made for Blue (our new vehicle) was made from a worn out sheet and blanket. Another example is Attila’s worn out work socks. They could be mended, but once I discovered what wonderful rags they make, that is what they become when the holes are too numerous for wear. I cut the ankle section off the sock, then cut the resulting ankle and foot tubes open.

And finally, this morning, I have washed the kitchen floor! The kitchen is in constant use from morning till night, and the floor gets dirty indeed. I use a rag, soapy hot water, and my feet, to wash the floor. I wring out the rag, drop it on the floor, and “skate” around the kitchen, rinsing the rag frequently. It does the job. Gone are the days when getting down on my hands and knees to wash floors was the easiest way to accomplish the task. I don’t like mops, so I’ve never used them.

The sun was shining for about an hour this morning, just enough to provide a cheerful start to the day. It is cloudy now, but no matter, I am well launched into the day’s activities.



Updated on Tue, Mar 2, 6:05 AM
-17 °C
Wind 12 W km/h
Humidity51 %
Visibility 26 km
Sunrise 6:43AM
Wind gust 18 km/h
Pressure 102.4 kPa
Ceiling 9100 m
Sunset 5:57 PM

Updated on Wed, Mar 3, 7:55 AM
-2 °C
Partly cloudy
Wind 8 W km/h
Humidity 81 %
Visibility 19 km
Sunrise 6:42 AM
Wind gust 12 km/h
Pressure 100.9 kPa
Ceiling 9100 m
Sunset 5:58 PM


“Is life worth living?
Aye, with the best of us,
Heights of us, depths of us –
Life is the test of us!”
Corinne Roosevelt Robinson

Pandemic Musings – Skip if you’ve had enough news about Covid-19!

I have decided to put Pandemic related musings here at the end, so that those who need to focus on other things than the Pandemic can easily avoid them. I approve of avoiding information overload. I do record things here because I feel it important to record what it is like to live in these times, and how the decisions of political leaders affect life, and in many cases, death in the time of pandemic.

I live in Ontario, Canada. Our previous governments, and present governments, did not think ahead for public safety, and let the ability to produce our own vaccines waver and fall. We had it, we lost it. We have to rely on the generosity and good will of other nations and corporate entities to obtain vaccines to protect our vulnerable populations from severe illness and death. We don’t have enough. Our supplies have been very limited, the death toll is shocking and lamentable, and could have been mediated with better leadership decisions about vaccines, and about how to handle the spread of the virus. I will never forget the incredulity I felt when our Prime Minister’s wife made the decision to travel to England for a WE conference with thousands of young people. The virus was a known threat, although a Pandemic had not yet been declared. She returned home with a case of Covid-19, and with the best of health care survived easily. Thousands and thousands and thousands of our elders have died since that time. That the government was not thinking ahead was obvious to me when she left the country for England. Few people had died at that point, but one of them was a relative, so we knew this was serious. We have bumbled along ever since.

Now I wonder if corporate investment protection is not leading the decision making process in provinces like Ontario, where the large number of Astra Zeneca vaccines received will be withheld from seniors over 65, the population that suffers the most severe effects of the illness, the population that has suffered almost all of the deaths related to this Pandemic. The Astra Zeneca vaccine will prevent serious illness and death, in all people.

Corporate interests were served when lives were saved in long-term-care homes, people there provide generous profits for shareholders, they are units of gain. I wonder if now that the profit based seniors are sorted out, the rest of our often dying seniors will take a back seat to other corporate interest populations, such as factory workers, a mostly under 65 population. The Astra Zeneca vaccine will save the lives of seniors living in our communities, there aren’t enough of the Pfizer and Moderna shots to do the job.

It is my hope that the concerns I express here are completely unfounded!! That Ontario will move forward quickly to vaccinate everyone over the age of 65 as soon as humanly possible, vaccinate to save lives. Using AstraZeneca for seniors over 65 is vital to save lives, because it would, so it should.

“British scientists urged European countries to take note on Wednesday of interim data showing what they described as “remarkable” effectiveness of a single dose of Pfizer’s or AstraZeneca’s COVID-19 vaccines in frail and elderly people.

The results from a surveillance project called AvonCAP, funded by Pfizer, found that one dose of the Pfizer-BioNTech or AstraZeneca shot was highly effective at preventing symptomatic illness severe enough to lead to hospitalization among patients aged over 80 with multiple other illnesses.”

The actual science, published by the UK government where AstraZeneca has been in use for quite some time:
New Data Show Vaccines Reduce Severe Covid-19 In Older Adults