Attila and I live in an area that has the highest rate of Covid cases in the province of Ontario, Canada. It feels intense. Much is unknown about the new variant, Omicron, so there is nothing to do but keep safe, and wait for more information. My Mom, Attila, and I have had our Covid booster shots, at least there is that.
Attila is still going to work every day, hoping not to be infected there. There are more Covid deaths here in the last two weeks, than there have been during the last two years, all of them involving the Delta variant. Almost all of our new cases are thought to be the Omicron variant, and so far no Omicron hospitalizations have been reported. It is early days though, so that could change, but it might not. We are staying as isolated as we can, but for Attila having to work in a busy environment.
We are among the people who are being asked to repay The Canadian Emergency Response Benefit CERB payments. Attila’s employer handled all the paper work for CERB, and all of the employees received CERB payments that now require repayment. We expected this. I find it is little miserable to receive these bills just before Christmas, but I suppose they needed to get the billing out there before the end of 2021. It is a big bite. We never did spend the money they sent us, that we were not entitled to, just stuffed it away in a savings account. We spent our rainy day savings, to survive at that time. We knew they would catch up with us at some point.
The arrival of the parts for the kitchen sink had been anticipated for weeks. They did not arrive. After waiting patiently I checked the tracking number, it said they had been delivered weeks ago. Oh my. I then called the Post Office to see what was going on, and they were preparing to return them to sender. The company had written the address incorrectly, failed to provide our telephone number with the shipping information, and the Post Office couldn’t find us. The package was delivered the very next day. Attila used the parts to repair the kitchen faucet, no more leak!
Up until today our weather has been relatively mild, with lots and lots of wind, and lots and lots of rain.
Today is different. The wind has ceased, a light snow has been falling all day. Despite the grey skies, the world is a whirl of white and light.
Attila continues to harvest Brussels Sprouts from the garden for our Sunday dinners. The beets and carrots are still out there waiting for us. I wait patiently for Attila to decide to harvest fresh produce from the garden. There is discussion about erecting the raised bed greenhouses late next fall to extend our growing season, and perhaps having fresh lettuce into the autumn months.
There are no turkey’s for sale in the stores here that we can afford, but luckily we have one turkey left in the freezer for our Christmas dinner. Shopping continues to get more challenging. More and more items that we prefer are available only intermittently. Items that are on sale are often gone by the time our grocery order is filled, so we do without. There are items we have purchased in the past that are no longer available locally. I have begun to order from companies directly online, and have the items shipped here. Despite the shipping charges they are less expensive than what we can find here. Still, we have enough, and that is a blessing.
The jar of brown rice was purchased locally some months ago and was found to be full of bugs yesterday. It had to be composted. A disappointment to be sure. We did not put the bag in the freezer when it was brought into the house, a big mistake. We need more freezer space.
Christmas has become a celebration of food here at Mist Cottage. We have given up shopping to exchange gifts with each other, but purchase a joint item of indulgence. Under our tree are exciting items like a jar of cashews, and one of peanuts, a seed catalogue, and a 2022 Calendar. We also have a big bowl of evergreen branches and cones, gathered when a branch came down from our evergreen tree during a wind storm.
This year our Christmas item of indulgence is a decent electric tomato mill, and meat grinder attachment. The tomato mill will remove the skins and seeds from tomatoes easily, which will make tomato canning season a toddle.
The meat grinder was a bonus attachment for the appliance.
Pork was on sale recently, and a quantity was purchased with the intent of making ground pork.
A whole day was spent with the new equipment. First it all needed to be unpackaged. Images were taken of how it was packaged in the box, so that it could be stored away properly. All the items that would come into contact with food were thoroughly washed and dried. Parts that needed to be oiled received a coating of olive oil. The machine was brought out to pride of place on the kitchen counter. The attachments were installed on the machine. All was ready.
Attila chopped the pork into pieces to feed through the chute. A pan was placed under the exit point for the ground meat.
And so we began.
All seemed well for about 4 seconds, then the meat ceased to come out of the machine as expected. The meat began to exit as pink mush. We attempted to expedite things with the pusher, but then decided to turn the machine off. The cord was unplugged from the wall, and disassembly began. All of the meat had turned into pink mush, which reminded me of hot dogs. The effort was not a complete failure, as the pink mush was mixed with the herbs, and a sample was cooked in the cast iron frying pan. Who knew! Delicious! The texture was wrong of course, but the flavour was amazing. So it was a failure on the texture, and a win on the taste. Of course this could also be done with ground pork purchased at the grocery store. But now we have this wonderful meat grinder, so we will be grinding our own meats in future.
Fourteen sausage patties were made, shaped, and frozen for future meals.
The equipment was carefully cleaned, oiled, and stored away in the boxes it came in.
Then it was time to figure out what we did wrong. We received a lot of good advice from people online, who had much more experience than we have. One of the suggestions was that we had installed the blade incorrectly. The manual for the machine was rather vague on that particular point. I wrote an email to the company that sold us the equipment, and a friendly email message came back with a photograph attached showing how to install the blade. Yes! We had installed the blade backwards. It was a relief to be honest, as the issue is so very easily resolved.
Christmas baking has begun. I love the holiday foods. I have been baking fruit loaves, they are so very good. One is baking as I write, my mouth waters just thinking about it. I make it a little bit healthier by using only 1/8th tsp of salt, and reducing the sugar to 1 tablespoon while adding 1/4 tsp of liquid stevia. The dried fruits are raisins and dried cranberries. One of the loaves I baked this year had my homemade candied melon, and it was so good that I’ve decided to save the rest of the candied melon for a Christmas pudding. I’ll soon be making Mincemeat Squares, and Attila has decided to make Gingerbread Cookies this year. Lots of treats.
Right now Attila is bustling about in the kithen, making himself some Clam Chowder. We are chatting and laughing, because he added chopped Swiss Chard to his chowder and now he has Pink Clam Chowder. He had just came in from shovelling the driveway for the first time this this autumn. Winter will officially begin on Tuesday, December 21, as we pass through the darkest time of the year.
Updated on Sat, Dec 18, 2:55 PM
FEELS LIKE -11
Wind 19 NE km/h
Humidity 91 %
Visibility 1.1 km
Sunrise 7:38 AM
Wind gust 28 km/h
Pressure 101.6 kPa
Ceiling 1100 m
Sunset 4:30 PM
“Mistakes are the portals of discovery.”
1882 – 1941