Oh, the weather outside is frightful…

I will begin by wishing you a Happy New Year! May you experience peace, joy, and good health in the year to come!

Yes, the last days of 2019 are proving to be quite unpleasant. Yesterday was freezing rain, power failures all around us, but thankfully the power supply at Mist Cottage remained strong. We had plans for the day, but upon looking out the window, instantly changed them, and stayed safe and warm inside the house, because we could. It is nice to have options!

This morning I arose to ice pellets pounding down on the roof, and accumulating. This is different than freezing rain, ice pellets maintain their integrity and collect like snow. The plow went by early this morning. Now it is snowing, heavily. The temperature is just above freezing. There was a short window of calm weather this morning, and we took that opportunity to run to the building centre to purchase additional insulation, and a few bits of needed hardware for the basement project. It was fortunate we went when we did.

Attila has spent his entire Christmas break working on the basement insulation. He has completed the studs and insulation on all but part of the back wall. There are sections that have vapour barrier, and some sections even have painted drywall installed. There is still much to be done, and another load of drywall is soon to be ordered, and more paint will also be needed to complete the project. Attila is enjoying this project, I think mostly because there are no deadlines, no pressing issues dependent on the completion of the project. He does what he can comfortably, and when he wants to he can walk away until inspired to get back to it, which, it turns out, is almost every day since he started in November.

And me, what am I up to? Yesterday I milled flour, which took most of the mid-peak hydro window during the day (11:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.). The Christmas baking used up every last little bit of flour that I had on hand. And that was the last of the first 25 kg bag of organic wheat berries. On Boxing Day Attila brought the second 25 kg bag out of the freezer, and yesterday it was thawed and ready for milling. The wheat berries are transferred to and stored in a 7 gallon food grade plastic bucket. The bucket sits in our tiny kitchen, as it is too heavy for me to carry up and down the basement stairs. Someday I would like to have a better place to store the bucket, but we aren’t going to be working on the kitchen in 2020.

The other project that was tackled was vegetable broth. Vegetable scraps are saved by placing them in plastic bags in the freezer. When eight or nine one liter bags accumulate, out comes the steam juicer, and they are transformed into a vitamin and mineral rich broth. Two cups were used immediately to make a Spaghetti dinner in the Instant Pot, and the three remaining cups were frozen in a plastic tub for future use. I am finding that the scraps are providing us with 100% of the vegetable broth we use for cooking meals. Not bad for stuff that is usually thrown in the garbage, or sometimes thrown in a composter.



Date: 2:48 PM EST Tuesday 31 December 2019
Condition: Light Snow (HA! Heavy snow more like!)
Pressure: 99.9 kPa
Temperature: 0.4°C
Dew point: -0.4°C
Humidity: 95%
Wind: WSW 23 gust 45 km/h
Visibility: 1 km


“Remember also that each man lives only the present moment:  The rest of time is either spent and gone, or is quite unknown.  It is a very little time which each man lives, and in a small corner of the earth; and the longest surviving fame is but short, and this conveyed through a succession of poor mortals, each presently a-dying; men who neither knew themselves, nor the persons long since dead.”

Marcus Aurelius, Meditations, Book III, Section 10, in Francis Hutcheson and James Moor (translators), The Meditations of the Emperor Marcus Aurelius Antoninus (1742).

For me the most significant part of this offering is that “the longest surviving fame is but short”. In a world where we are increasingly completing in a digital world for even a smidgen of interaction with other human beings, where so many people are after that “15 minutes of fame”, it seems sad that the significance of the here and now, and the with-you, has faded so badly. Will the species ever return to primarily face-to-face contact? I wonder.

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Maggie, I don’t know if we’ll get back to face-to-face contact, but if/when we do, I hope we don’t lose the benefit of online interaction which permits me in central NC to connect with you in your part of Canada. I’m a big believer that the two together offer something greater than either one individually.

It has cooled down here today, but yesterday, we were out in our shirt sleeves at 73F. That’s unusual even for us, but it was a delight.

Best wishes for health and peace of mind to all of us in the coming year.


Happy New Year Maggie and to all who read and post here. My online relationships are as dear to me as my in-person relationships. I think I met you and Bex through Reenie whose spirit lives on. Wishing a happy and healthy 20202 for everyone.

Eileen Barton

Happy New Year to your and yours, Maggie. Hope 2020 brings wonderful things your way.


Happy New Year.

Sandra Rouse

Happy New Year Maggie. Wishing all good things for you in 2020. I just want to thank you for all of your hard work in producing such wonderfully detailed posts on your food growing and preservation during 2019. I often make notes of things I would like to try here in Nova Scotia. I bought a Wonder Mill and love it. It works a treat. As you said in your posts the bread rises very quickly and so high! Please keep up the good work in 2020.