Settling Dust

After the flurry of holiday season, the dust is once more drifting down and settling around life and Mist Cottage.

Only seven weeks left until March arrives, with its promise of a new season to come, and the lengthening days. March is my least favourite month, two of the people I adored in life passed in the month of March, so that it hasn’t been the same since 1976.

It has been a busy week for me. I was out and about all through the beginning of the week, taking care of shopping and errands. A quick visit to the bulk food store was overdue, to pick up things not reasonably available at the local supermarket, such as buttermilk powder and rubbed marjoram. Garbage tags were running low, time to stock up on those, which entailed a dedicated trip to the municipal offices. I snagged a free 2020 calendar while I was there. A host of little things to get done were on my list, which had lengthened shockingly over the last few months!

At home bills were paid, and a slow return to kitchen organization was initiated. The first thing on the kitchen list was repackaging some of the save-it-because-you-might-need-it items. The ground egg shells were repackaged from a glass jar to a plastic container with a shaker lid. The cherry pits, cleaned, dried, and stored in a glass jar, were repackaged in a clear plastic recycled peanut butter jar. There are at least a dozen small mason jars with small bits of things like powdered kale, and chamomile flowers, that need to be organized. To this end I’ve taken measurements and now have a set of requirements for a kitchen shelf, to be built and installed by Attila. I have my fingers crossed he will take a brief break from the basement insulation job to build this shelf. A shelf would allow me to move all these necessary jars off the kitchen table, so we can sit there to eat again!

The crochet blanket being made for Attila to use of an evening while relaxing on the sofa, is back in hand. I started it last winter, and I hope to finish it this winter… slow but sure.

I have noticed in the last year or so that I have been losing a lot of hair! My health is good. I wonder, could I have been exposed to some sort of environmental poisoning, all sorts of things will cause hair loss; arsenic, mercury, bismuth, lithium, thallium, cadmium, and gold are poisonous. I will be keeping an eye out for possible exposures. It might be old age of course, but none of the women in my family who have aged have had this issue, so it is not hereditary. Mom has a beautiful head of hair, so did my Granny, and my paternal Grandmother. In the meantime I am supplementing my diet with biotin and collagen to see if that makes a difference. I am thinking about being tested for levels of the usual suspects, just to eliminate that line of exploration.

I would really like to get my hair trimmed, it is getting long (and thinner) and I would like it shoulder length. The local style shops are too pricey for me, over $60 for a simple cut, and they expect a generous tip, or there will be unpleasantness. The walk-in cut-and-go places are a quarter of the price, they don’t expect tips, but they are not close by, so that a visit has to wait for an alignment of opportunities; I have to get there during operating hours. Oh how I wish I could do this job myself! Hair styling is not something Attila is ever going to do willingly, and I don’t want the job done under duress, so it is me or the hairdresser. Hair trimming has always been an issue, it stretches limited resources, and yet it needs to happen, at least occasionally.

I have also been thinking about fermented food. Sauerkraut continues to be a big success story at our house, it is delicious, and easy to make. But it is very high in sodium, so it really isn’t a good idea for me to rely on it for my intake of fermented food. What to do? Attila suggested yogurt, and so I will be gearing up to give that a try. It can be made in the Instant Pot, so all I need to find is an unsweetened, unpasteurized yogurt to use as a starter. I won’t be using the cold start recipes, that call for ultra-filtered milk ($$$). I want to use ordinary milk, and that will require a few extra steps, as the milk must be scalded and cooled before use. I am not sure when I will be getting started on that, but it is the next project I want to tackle. There is no lactose in yogurt, even if it is prepared with regular milk.

The weather, until last night, has been very mild. We have had snowfall, and accumulation, but each time it has accumulated, it has subsequently melted, so that the landscape is brown and black and gray. And almost every day has been cloudy, except yesterday, which was brilliantly sunny.

Our little street continues to be very busy, with vehicle traffic and pedestrians. Since there are no sidewalks, the vehicles and the pedestrians must share the pavement, which is often narrowed with cars parked on both sides of the road. We are becoming accustomed to this congestion. It is quite a transformation from the little dead end street we first knew, where our neighbours were all known, because there weren’t that many of us.

Since the temperature fell to below -15C last night, I was curious to see how cold it got in the basement. After arising this morning, I made my way down the stairs to peer at the thermometer. It was 54F or 12C, so it dropped only 2C over the course of the night. Not bad! Usually in cold weather the temperature in the basement was hovering around 40F to 45F or 4C to 7C. At times, during prolonged cold snaps, it dropped as low as 38F or 3C in the basement. There has been a very real improvement in comfort, and in lower hydro usage.

I continue to enjoy the Christmas tree and the lights. We keep the tree, and light the lights at night, for the month of January. By the time the tree comes down, the days are noticeably longer, and March is only about four weeks away, thoughts of spring begin to stir, and seed catalogues sit beside our easy chairs.

And now I am going to post this entry. My lunch is ready, home canned Taco Soup!

Worldly

Weather

-15°C
Date: 7:00 AM EST Thursday 9 January 2020
Condition: Mainly Clear
Pressure: 104.1 kPa
Tendency: Rising
Temperature: -15.2°C
Dew point: -19.1°C
Humidity: 73%
Wind: NNE 10 km/h
Wind Chill: -21
Visibility: 24 km

Quote

“The mind of a bigot is like the pupil of the eye. The more light you shine on it, the more it will contract.”
Oliver Wendell Holmes Jr.
1841 – 1935

9 Comments

  1. Sandy

    I’m always impressed by how self-sufficient you both are. You also don’t waste anything. For the hair loss, do you notice a loss of hair on your arms and legs as well? This happened to a friend of mine. Her doctor tested her and she had a thyroid problem which was treated. She stopped losing hair after that.

    We have had a manageable winter so far although it’s early on. I’m already getting seed catalogues which makes me happy 🙂

  2. WendyNC

    Maggie, I was coming here to suggest the thyroid test as well. Low thyroid would also explain why your body has been so stubborn about losing weight, even with your substantially reduced calorie intake.

  3. Teri

    I’m so looking forward to more and more daylight in the evenings! Did you know that on January 15th we’ll already have gained half an hour of daylight in the evenings? I can’t wait!

    I gave DH a new, extra large, spice shelf for Christmas. He put it up last weekend and now we’ve been able to remove 3 other shelves adorning our kitchen walls. Yay!

    There is an organization that is looking for knitted and crocheted items for the koalas and other animals displaced by the Australian fires. I thought you and Bex might be interested.

    https://www.onegreenplanet.org/animalsandnature/volunteers-knitting-mittens-pouches-for-australian-wildlife-fires/

    You have a limited diet. Could you be low on iron or zinc? That can cause hair loss.

    We seem to get 2 days with snow and then we have a big melt for a few days. Then 2 more days of snow. Rinse. Repeat. Today, we have a mist, and very dark skies. It’s looked like sunset all day long.

    For the first time ever, we put our lights up a week early, and then we took them down a week early, too. Right after New Years. I was kind of glad to take things down, as the tree interferes with moving around the living room.

  4. Teri, that is good news, an hour of daylight gained, and I did not know that!
    That new spice shelf sounds wonderful, I have great hopes here, lol.
    I interacted witha woman from Australia who mentioned that they have now received as much as they need. My guess is that people on that side of the world responded immediately, and their donations were received immediately. She did say they needed money. I might be able to squeeze a wee bit of money out of the budget for yarn, but I could never afford to send a package to Australia.
    Thanks for the tips re iron and zinc. The blood tests coming up should pinpoint any issues there, but just in case I will mention it to my Nurse Practiioner.
    Today has been very dreary here, no mist or fog, but dark enough that I needed the lights turned on to read recipes.
    Christmas decorations are such a personal thing, so many varied and wonderful ways of doing things. 🙂

  5. Who knows Steve-Paul! I move email messages that aren’t junk, but end up in the junk folder, to the inbox, sometimes doing that a few times lets the algorithm know that it isn’t junk. Some mail accounts let you set approved email addresses, that never go to junk. But these things vary so widely, hard to pinpoint a solution!

  6. Steve-Paul (SP) Simms

    This mailbox does let you approve certain addresses, and I’ve done that with yours, but it didn’t take. Except for once, at random. Never mind – I’ll keep my eyes peeled.

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