Maggie Turner: Page by Page


  1. Eileen Barton

    When I can see grass again I am going to go kiss it. LOL We got about an inch of snow today but it also rained so now we have some ice on the ground. It sounds so romantic to mill your own bread and bake it, etc. I imagine it is a lot of work, too. My aunt used to bake her own bread and it was so delicious and then she would also fry some of the bread dough and we’d have it with jelly or powdered sugar. Glad you were able to get some turkeys. Stay warm and safe, Maggie. 🙂

  2. Eileen, I am with you, that grass is going to look so welcome, even before it starts to green up! We had the snow plow by just after supper, more shovelling. Soon though, very soon, this white will disappear and we will be able to get on with spring!!
    Milling flour is time consuming, I mill two gallon jars of hard white flour and a 1 1/2 quarts jar of Kamut flour at every milling session. This lasts almost two weeks, but not quite. It takes all day because I sort through the grain to remove weed seeds and once I found a small stone, and that takes a lot of time. Also, I only mill a half gallon jar of flour at a time, then let the mill cool for a half hour or so before milling more flour. The mill is electric, so that part is easy, but the mill heats up from all the friction of grinding, so I let it cool for a bit between batches. I can do lots of other things at the same time, so it doesn’t require a lot of focus, just time. Homemade bread is delicious! That fry bread of your Aunt’s sounds amazing! Stay safe dear friend!

  3. I’m so sad you’re losing your ash trees. We had a fine orange tree, which gave us such tasty fruit, but a fungi got after it, and it hasn’t much longer. The arborist tried to save it by removing the most fungi eaten parts, but….

    We’ll have to replant with something that isn’t a fruit tree. Something less vulnerable to fungi.
    I grieve…. I love trees so much.

  4. Joan, so sorry to hear about your orange tree! I too love trees, always have. I was lucky enough to grow up on a farm surrounded on three sides by natural forest land, we spent every single free minute playing under, in, and up the trees! During my teens my bedroom window was right beside the forest, and every morning the at first light the forest birds would begin to sing me awake. Trees are wonderful. I hope you find the perfect tree! I wonder if some varieties of fruit trees are fungi resistant, I know with things like vegetables that some varieties are developed to resist common diseases and pests. Stay safe dear friend!

  5. The vaccine situation may be worse where you’re at. Julia did get her first shot yesterday (moderna). She is 68, but as I am only 62, I have a while to wait.

    When we got back from the Civic Center (I waited in the car), we saw our neighbors to the east outside, having a yard sale (weather here is cool, but not cold). Julia told them of our success. These two neighbors, both of them are battling cancer, one of them goes into hospital quite frequently, but no….. , they are refusing the vaccine, even though they are over 65 and qualify. I don’t get it. They’d rather take the word of conspiracy theorists than scientists!

    It boggles the mind.
    I do hope some sunshine and joy reaches you where you are at….
    We love the ‘all classical portland’ radio we get via the internet. It’s a comfort, good music.

    <3 <3

  6. I am so very glad to hear that Julia has had her first shot. One shot is supposed to prevent a severe outcome even if you do get the virus, it saves lives! I hope you opportunity is soon to follow!

    The vaccine situation in Canada is dire indeed. Our supply comes from Europe, we can’t produce our own vaccines. Europe stopped shipping them to us for a bit, then reduced what they would ship, leaving Canadians high and dry. Astra Zaneca has now been approved and we have some on the way from India, but not enough to make a significant difference, or to vaccinate people under 90. We have managed to vaccinate 94% of our long term care home people, which is marvelous, but that leave the old living on their own totally unprotected. I have to admit the stress of facing severe illness and death is really wearing. I managed to deal with that kind of fear for myself, with the anaphylaxis, but I could control the inputs on that situation. With Covid it the people around us that are dangerous, and the people where Attila works, and we can’t escape their possible negligence. But I think the real tipper for me is the thought that Attila might catch the darn virus, and something awful might happen to him, I find that harder to deal with than the thought of my own demise. There is nothing for it but to keep going. I have to admit to some indulgence today, the anniversay of one year in isolation, to express my feelings about the whole situation. I will put these thoughts and emotions aside, now that I have aired them, and will enjoy the better weather that is soon to arrive!

    Wow, those neighbours are really pushing their luck! It is mind boggling! It just goes to show that the education systems in North Amercia are failing to teach people how think!

    Your weather sounds perfect!! The classical radio station sounds lovely, I am going to have a look for it!! Stay safe dear friend!

  7. I laughed so hard last night as we watched an episode of Brokenwood, where a New Zealand man says matter-of-factly in response to a conspiracy theorist: “So you DO have a plate in your head” before walking on.
    Well it would be laughable if it weren’t so shocking and dangerous that so many people aren’t thinking straight.
    Here, or should I say out in BC, my dad has come out of hospital for the fourth time and my sister called yesterday to say he’s not improving and she doesn’t know what to do. Neither do I. My being there is not going to help him, and my travelling there might actually take something ugly to him, and yet … if I don’t go, and he takes a turn for the worse again and goes downhill fast … and at his age and after three serious surgeries … I am so, so torn. I don’t know what to do, either.
    I want to be there, but I don’t want to be one of the people spreading around this plague.

  8. Sandy

    I also heard that one shot can provide significant results.
    My feeling through this pandemic is that many consider the elderly to be expendable. Well we’re not! I’m over 65 and have yet been contacted for a shot, despite being registered at 4 different places. But I plan to wait patiently (sort of) until the summer when the vaccine supply is supposed to increase.
    I don’t understand the reluctance to get the vaccine either. But I hope that those two elderly neighbors of Joan’s survive this and continue to lead the lives they wish.

  9. Kate, in the face of such insanity I think laughing is the immediate response, a laugh of incredulity. It would not be so tragic if these people were not endangering the lives of others, but they are. Before social media these people would be fanatics of some kind, clan members, religious extremists for example. I think they used to remain frightened and silent, now they are frightened and vociferous, and easily led.

    I am so sorry to hear your Dad is not doing well! Goodness, this pandemic has put you in a tough position. Is it feasible to travel to where he is, isolate for two weeks, and then see your sister and your Dad? Could you gain access to a covid test when you arrive, and isolate until the results come back? Surely the tests would be available to you under such difficult circumstances? How very difficult for you and your sister! Whatever you decide, you are doing your best. ((HUGS))
    Stay safe dear friend!

  10. Sandy, the research does support that once the first shot has done its work, usually about two weeks after the shot, there are no Covid-19 related deaths. It won’t prevent you from getting mild or moderate symptoms, but it will keep you alive. All of the approved vaccines offer this type of protection. One caveat though, the variants are largely unknown, although England has run the gauntlet with the UK variant and the vaccine will keep you alive if you catch it. As for the rest, the results are not in yet.
    I agree that this pandemic has shown us graphically how little our culture values our elders. Perhaps it was always so, but I preferred to have my rose coloured glasses on believing in the value of all human lives, regardless of race, sexual orientation, age, and any characteristic that has been deemed “other” in our modern world. I adored my Grandparents and would be so worried about them if they were still her during this global event.
    I remember when my Grandpa was exposed to a rabid animal, when he was in his 70s, and mentioned it to my dentist during a regular appointment, who told me Grandpa’s survival really wasn’t important due to his age. It was difficult to control my disgust with that unprofessional jerk, but I’ve been aware of how selfish younger people are, and how freely they express their disregard for older people, ever since that experience. Grandpa had a decent health care provider, got the treatment he needed, and lived another decade in perfect health.
    Wishing Joan’s neighbour’s health and survival is very kind. I would also wish all the people they potentially infect the same good health and survival.
    I hope you get your vaccine very soon! It sounds like you have done everything within your power to make that happen. Johnson and Johnson vaccines were just approved for the US, so hopefully there will be more and more shots available to people who need them, and want them.
    Stay safe dear friend!

  11. Our new printer didn’t even last a year, a paper jam did it in. The old one, acquired in 2002, lasted 17 years. Do you have a Kinkos near you? Or a similar place that does printing? That might be your cheapest option.

    I’m still mad the new printer lasted only three months. So I’m in no hurry to buy another, just to have it do the same….

    Stay warm!

  12. Joan, 17 years! Wow, were the old and new printers the same make? One year is not so great. I’ve never had good luck with printers, I don’t like them. There are no printing places near here except one small company, and did go there once, but they could not load mac files for some reason so they couldn’t print my forms. The nearest large printing place is a $20 in gas drive away, the ink cartridges are cheaper I think. I’ve wondered about laser printers, but know so little about them. I wonder if the ink would last longer, not dry out the way ink jet cartridges do. But there may be other issues with them that I haven’t though of, so I’ve stuck with the ink jet variety.

    Stay safe dear friend!

  13. “The warm wind is busy escorting the snow to its next destination, water.”
    I like that sentence.
    I’m in the market for a printer too. They’re so convenient.
    Meanwhile when need be I email the odd file to myself and print it at work.
    I did buy a printer a few years ago but as soon as it used up the colour ink it didn’t want to work anymore and now it’s like yours, dried up and crusty!
    I could probably take my thumb drive in to any business in Wadena and they’d print for a small fee. It wouldn’t cost me $20 to drive there! Just six miles; 12, round trip. I thought “I” was the one who lives in the boonies!

  14. Kate, thanks!
    The ink cartridges are so darned expensive, this one was $30. I hope to get a year out of it. I wish they sold black and white only ink jet printers, those colour cartridges are unwanted here! That is why I thought about laser printers, they are black and white, no stupid colour to dry up and freeze the machine. I haven’t really spent a lot of time looking for a black and white only ink jet, but I think it might be something I’ll pursue at some point. I’ve had better luck with Canon and HP, but even though it was better it was still abysmal.
    Stay safe dear friend!

  15. Sandy

    We’ve had a few warm days mixed in with colder days, but I feel like Spring is coming too! Your buckwhet pancakes sound delicious! I hope you and Attila have a wonderful weekend!!

  16. Thanks Sandy! The weather seems to be up and down with the temperature. Slowly but surely the ups and downs are getting higher. 🙂 The pancakes were excellent. The recipe was from allrecipes web site, and it called for all buckwheat flour, but I used half buckwheat flour and half whole wheat flour and they were very nice. Wishing you a wonderful weekend!! Stay safe dear friend!

  17. Thanks Bex! My life is very happy at the moment!

    Life has its ups and downs. I am aware that my Grandchildren, Great Grandchildren, and generations beyond the present day may read what is written here. I do not want to create a falsely rosy picture of what it is like to live in this time and place. That one can have a happy life AND be aware of the underbelly of what goes on in this world is essential to personal balance, good decision making, and ultimately healthy communities in which to live. Every life has challenges, it is the nature of existence. So I do include here some of the down sides to living in Canada, my personal experience of the larger structures within which I must exist. I don’t live in a Disneyland of wonderfullness, where all people are caring and smiling and nice to each other. Not all outcomes are happy endings, and people have stories that should not be silenced if we are to live in a compassionate world.
    I love living in Canada, and would not want to live anywhere else,. I am well aware of the underside of this country, and will not pretend it doesn’t exist. That downside seldom intrudes on my personal space, but the Pandemic is intruding on everyone’s personal space in some way or another, and I write about the impact of the situation in the here and now. Acknowledging and writing about challenges does not preclude a happy life. In all things I seek balance.

    Stay safe dear friend!

  18. Thanks Joan! These quiet weekends are a real treasure!

    Life right now reminds of a snippet of lyric from Harry Nilsson song, Joy.

    “Things went good and things went bad
    Things went good and went bad
    Good, bad, good, bad, good, bad”

    Sort of the roller coaster ride this Pandemic has for a lot of Seniors and other vulnerable people.

    I do wonder if I am focusing a bit too much on the impositions of the Pandemic, but it is looming quite large in my little world, with Attila out there daily and at risk. I have to spend time every day monitoring what our country is doing about Covid vaccines, because we don’t have enough here to save lives effectively. With the severe shortage of vaccines every little decision politicans make will decide who lives and who dies. I keep my eye on things to navigate around the huge gaping cracks in Canada’s ability to effectively obtain and equitably distribute life saving vaccines. It is tiring work, keeping an eye out for our survival. If only one could rely on all politicians and people of influence to do the right thing by the people they represent, when lives are at risk, these issues would not permeate life to the same degree.

    I know that my friends and loved ones are all facing challenges at this time. My concern is palpable. Beyond what I can do towards our survival here at Mist Cottage, all I can do is bear witness to the political superstructures that have facilitated this horrendous situation in all our lives. The superstructure I am most intimately familiar with is that in Ontario, Canada, so that is what I have most to say about.

    I am seeking balance above all. For me that includes mention of how this Pandemic is playing out in my small nodule of the universe.

    My life is a happy one, although very challenging right now, as Attila and I wait for the life saving first shot of a vaccine, as do my Mom, and one of my brothers who has a chronic illness. Things seem to be looking up for those of us living in Canada, in that there will be a greater number of vaccine shots arriving soon… soon enough I hope!!

    I looked up from this screen, to the high branches of the Ash tree just outside the living room window. Perchaed on a swaying branch is a Robin, feathers puffed against the cold. Welcome Robin!!! Spring is definitely on the way.

    Stay safe dear friend!

  19. :Perhaps this phenomena only affects people with potential for compassion.” I think so…..

    I sure hope you can soon get some towels in cheery colors. I can’t imagine towels even lasting since the 60s!

  20. Joan, I think so too, compassion is so elemental to human survival as a species, it is at the very core of what we are.

    The towels will go into the washing machine tomorrow, then onto the clothes line on the back porch, folded when dry, and then put away. Unofficial spring starts tomorrow, the towels won’t be needed until next November!

    The 60s towels are very threadbare, but they hold together still, and are great to have around. Attila likes to keep EVERYTHING. I have to be careful what I bring into our lives, because once it is here, it becomes a permenent fixture until it is utterly worn out. He has clothing that he got when he was a teenager. I keep everything too, I have a blouse I made in 1969, still good as new, of course it doesn’t fit me anymore 🙂

    Stay safe dear friend!