Personal Wealth

Mist Cottage, our little 600 square foot house, is not the stuff of dreams to most Canadians. It would never qualify for a photoshoot for Canadian Living magazine, nor would our lifestyle, most people would not even consider our home worth renovating. We know this because it was repossessed by the bank before we bought it, and it sat empty for years and years, occupied by chipmunks and mice and wasps and birds. No one was interested in buying it, except us. We wanted to invest in sweat equity, to create a small home where we could age in place, following our interests in gardening, food preservation, and food preparation.

Let me tell you that we love this little house!

The images are what we are up to today. We will also can eight jars of Dilly Beans when the first batch of Dill Pickles and Pickled Cucumbers are done.

When we arose this morning it was 4.5C outside. The inside of the house was 22C, the same as it was when we retired for the night.

The air conditioning was turned off a few days ago.

The heat has not been turned on.

We wore parkas to sit on the back porch this morning, with our cups of coffee, watching the sun rise. We returned to the warm cozy house to warm up.

It has been many years of renovation and updating this little house, concentrating on structural issues, like a new roof, fixing the wet basement and insulating it, updating the roof on the garage, stripping the paint off the house and repainting, putting in new doors and windows, insulating the attic, replacing the heating system, that sort of thing, rather than on aesthetics. Our latest investment has been the heating system, which has not yet been completed. It isn’t pretty in here, or very functional yet, indoors. If we ever get to the aesthetic list of changes, that will be very nice. If we don’t get to the aesthetics, oh well.

BUT we are warm. We have lights at night, running water, and a flush toilet. We have heat when we need it, which, having experienced cold at times in my life, is a blessing not to be taken for granted. We have comfortable chairs to sit in, and sunshine coming in the windows. We have a garden that provides us with bushels and bushels of food. We have a kitchen that is well setup to preserve the food that comes out of the garden, and to cook our daily meals from scratch. Our meals are varied and delicious.

We are, quite truthfully, wealthy.

Most of the humans on the planet would consider our circumstances desirable.

It is only the foolish few in our species who expect more, or are distressed because they don’t have more, than what we have.

I pity them, they have missed the best part of being alive, as far as I am concerned.

Pride: “pride refers to a foolishly and irrationally corrupt sense of one’s personal value, status or accomplishments, used synonymously with hubris”

There are other definitions of pride, of course, less odious, representing a sense of accomplishment. When that sense of accomplishment is used to compare oneself to others favourably, then it becomes unhealthy, odious, hubris. This comparison, along with competition, is so ingrained in our culture that it is difficlutto tease it out from the healthy definition of pride. I subscribe to feelings of joy and delight for others in their accomplishments, but not pride, I don’t feel proud of anyone on the planet, which includes myself, it has developed into such a slippery slope.

I am delighted by who I am, and when others are their integrated genuine selves, I am usually delighted by who they are as well.
I pay no attention to accolades, fame, showy material possessions, prestige
, those things a lot of people seem to crave. Those kinds of accomplishments are the external validations that lead our mutual interests as a species on a dead end path.



Updated on Sat, Sep 24, 9:15 AM
10 °C
Wind 9 W km/h
Humidity 86 %
Visibility 21 km
Sunrise 6:56 AM
Wind gust 13 km/h
Pressure 101.6 kPa
Ceiling 9100 m
Sunset 7:01 PM


“Avarice, envy, pride,
Three fatal sparks, have set the hearts of all
On Fire.”
Dante Alighieri
1265 – 1321

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Your home and lifestyles are inspiring. You are both truly wealthy. And you have something that many others lack: self-sufficiency! Oh and all that yummy food you grew or made yourself!


Well said! Yes, so true about that self-sufficiency and resourcefulness. Enjoy your varied blessings. (Stay comfy!)


Your enjoyment of where you are now is very obvious – and you even have a kitty again! When I remember the other house with Attila chopping so much wood, I feared for the two of you. I knew you wouldn’t be able to keep that up in later years. I was so glad when you sold the house up north and move to this little place, where you have the luxury of simply setting the thermostat.

DH and I have been together for 17 years. In our 3rd year a government error gave us $5,000. We set it aside, and because of the way banking was then we were eventually able to use the money on a no down payment mortgage on a repossessed house that was in great need of work. When we made the offer we told the bank we had no conditions and could close in 2 weeks, so we would be the quickest turn over. They chose us over 2 other bidders. We spent 10 years upgrading that house: windows, doors, wiring, deck, re-doing toilets up and downstairs in the basement, a new floor in one bedroom, landscaping.

As housing prices rose and our house drew more in line with other houses in the neighborhood, we gained equity. I looked around and, knowing we’d need someplace very inexpensive in order to survive on just our govt pensions, I looked at using our equity to buy a very inexpensive cottage on rented land. Then we spent more years starting to upgrade the cottage to a 4 season cottage. With covid running things, we were able to sell the house with a reasonable profit. We’d be able to use the money to upgrade the cottage, getting a real furnace, a protective garage for comfort as we got older, upgraded bathroom and water, etc.

Then, as we were getting ready to transition from house to cottage, I saw an ad for newly built homes on leased land. With the money we would have used to upgrade the cottage, we had enough to pay for one of these new homes – but it meant we would have a monthly payment for maintenace of the grounds. This came at a time when the cottage municipality was refusing us clean water at the cottage, so that made a big difference too. Fortunately, it was all just a matter of shifting how money was being spent, so we made a change and used up all the money in one bold move and gambled that everything new would be better for us so we wouldn’t have to wait for good water, or better insulation or a new furnace.

So far, taking this chance seems to have worked. We’re warm, the fungal infection I got from the unfiltered water at the cottage seems to have gone away, and we’ve been able to handle everything that’s happened so far.


Sorry about talking about myself so much. In this kind of venue, give and take doesn’t happen all that much but I wanted you to see that even if I don’t get a chance to talk about it much, in someways we’re in a similar situation to your own.


I echo your sentiments entirely. We are truly wealthy, though not in money, fame, celebrity or prestige. These are empty pursuits never leading to a life of contentment in harmony with nature. Being self-sufficient to whatever level of funds and physical ability one has is amazingly rewarding. I would not trade it for anything. My days are spent as yours, up to the elbows in canning chaos and garden produce, my homegrown flowers on the table, our honey for toast, and our harvest secured for another year. Bliss!