Settling Into Winter

Monday, January 3, 2021


I ordered the wrong printer cartridge! This item cannot be obtained locally without a long drive and entering a store. The Omicron surge is in full swing here, and this is not the time for me to be entering a store for a printer cartridge. The unsuitable cartridge arrived, and I can’t return it without printing a label. I cannot print a label because I do not have a printer cartridge. The correct cartridge has been ordered, but won’t arrived for another week or so, hopefully within the time limit to return the unsuitable printer cartridge. The printing I need to do will have to wait. Sometimes my human error is so annoying. Arghh…

It was cold this morning, -19 C on the thermometer outside the kitchen window, which is usually a degree or two warmer than reality, because it is nestled out of the wind, and next to the heated wall of the house. On the bright side, the sun is shining brightly on the snow and ice.

Well, enough of life’s small annoyances, on to the things I find in pleasant in my day. I am making Stone Soup today. It calls for cooked Pinto Beans, so the dried beans are cooked, and cooling down in the Instant Pot. I’ve visited the basement to bring up fresh onions and garlic, and a jar of home canned tomatoes, from 2020. The tomatoes are still well sealed and looking very good. Earlier this morning I took 5 ounces of ground beef out of the freezer, which will do nicely for the meat element of the recipe. This version will include the Brussels Sprouts, carrots, and beets that Attila harvested over the weekend, as well as chopped frozen Swiss Chard from harvested last fall, blanched and frozen.

It is chilly in the house today, and I was too lazy to look for a scarf to wear. So I took one of the old cotton tea towels out of the linen closet, and am wearing that as a scarf. It is quite the visual I must say, but it does the job. No one sees me, and I seldom look in the mirror, so I am good. I will have to sit down and have a think as to where I might have stashed those scarves!

Thinking about cold weather, my mind turns to my parka. I think about my parka often, because I love it so dearly. It has seen me through good times and bad, a trusted part of my winter experiences.

I have never, not even once, felt cold in this parka. It is truly an amazing piece of winter wear. It turns 30 years old this year, and is holding its own. The coat was purchased on sale all those years ago, for about $400. It seemed like a fortune at the time, and it was. Most of the rest of my clothes were from charity shops, but I could not find a truly warm coat there. Not having a car, and needing to walk miles in the winter, I needed something that was waterproof, to keep warm in the cold winter rain. The purchase of the parka seemed ridiculous to some at the time, but I knew what I was doing. $400 divided by 30 years equals $13.33 per year spent on an exceptional, and I fear irreplaceable, winter coat.

I looked at replacements for my parka online this morning, nothing appealed to me, even at prices ranging from $500 and $1000. That seems outrageous, but a garment for winter that is waterproof, windproof, is warm at even the lowest winter temperatures, and lasts for 30 years, well, I think it is worth the sacrifice of many other more fashionable and less expensive items. Maybe it is just me, but function always trumps form in my reality. Keeping warm and dry is important.

I don’t think I’ve ever owned a garment that has given me more pleasure, that has provided so much protection and warmth, as my parka. I did have a very nice pair of German-made walking boots during the 90s, I loved those boots almost as much as I love my parka. I walked everywhere, wore the soles of those boots out many times, which necessitated that they be resoled several times. But alas, eventually, after about 15 years, the uppers began to wear, and the boots had to be replaced. I kept them for years beyond their use, could not part with them, but finally took some photos, and said goodbye.

Pandemic News

Ontario is experiencing a surge in cases and hospitalizations due to the Omicron variant. Our government will take us back to the Step Two level of restrictions on Wednesday, January 5. Apparently a lot of hospital staff are infected and in quarantine, so the hospitals are short staffed. At the same time the number of people going into hospital with Covid has increased. We are still transitioning to the Omicron variant, which means the previous variant Delta is still with us, still having very serious consequences for older people, and the unvaccinated. We don’t really notice a difference here at Mist Cottage, since we have been isolating since February of 2020, and are practicing the same precautions now as we did then. But we are better at our precautions, they are routine now, and don’t feel intrusive as they once did. Also, because we are vaccinated, there is less chance of serious consequences for us should we contract the virus, Delta or Omicron, so that primal fear has decreased significantly. But as they say, “it’s always something”, so waiting to see what the universe tosses into our cage next.

Tuesday, January 4, 2020

We gained two minutes of daylight today, it adds up eventually.

The kitchen was a busy place this morning. A loaf of bread was started at 6:00 a.m., as the dinner menu includes Stone Soup served with Grilled Cheese Sandwiches. There was an overripe banana needing attention on the counter. Combined with milk in the blender it turned into a smoothie, which in turn was stirred into a bowl with 1/3 cup of quick oats, which in turn was microwaved 30 seconds at time, until the consistency I prefer. It made a lovely breakfast. It think I will try this with home canned cherries, or frozen fruit, maybe even apple slices.

The garden harvest has now officially ended, the Stone Soup being the last meal prepared from freshly harvested vegetables. It was a long growing season this year. Next year we hope to extend it by using the greenhouse covers for our raised beds, which will hold cold hardy plants like parsley, and celery, carrots, and beets.

As the winter progresses the number of jars of home canned foods begins to diminish. More and more empty jars are washed and dried and stored away for next years harvest and canning season. It is always interesting to see what jars of food are left when June arrives, and the next harvest and canning season begins. For instance, in 2020 many jars of Zucchini Pineapple were canned, and many were left by spring of 2021. As well, many containers of frozen pureed Squash were not consumed that winter. This turned out to be beneficial, because the garden in 2021 produced no Zucchini,and no Squash either. It will be interesting to see what thrives and what fails in the garden next growing season.

I have avoided several administrative tasks over the Christmas/New Year’s break, but today could no longer put off tackling them. I suppose it is good for me, to take up some tasks that I dislike intensely. Since they are intermittent, not continual, they only cause a few days of disrupted composure over the course of a year. The tasks are well done, for I am good at them. However, although the tasks prosper under my hand, peace of mind does not. So I time these gems so that Attila is absent from home, so that he need not see me in distress. Pushing through something unpleasant is one thing, but having to try to hide natural reactions takes it to a whole other level of discomfort. He does his swearing at projects in the garage, and I do my distressing when he is at work. By dinner time I will be through the worst of it, and all there will be left to do is wait for the printer cartridge to arrive so that the job can be printed and completed. These administrative projects make washing dirty dishes seem like a treat.



Updated on Mon, Jan 3, 10:35 AM
Wind 9 N
km/h Humidity 70 %
Visibility 21 km
Sunrise 7:43 AM
Wind gust 13 km/h
Pressure 102.7 kPa
Ceiling 9100 m
Sunset 4:41 PM

Updated on Tue, Jan 4, 10:35 AM
Partly cloudy
Wind 3 SW km/h
Humidity 81 %
Visibility 19 km
Sunrise 7:43 AM
Wind gust 4 km/h
Pressure 102.3 kPa
Ceiling 9100 m
Sunset 4:42 PM


“Be master of your petty annoyances and conserve your energies for the big, worthwhile things. It isn’t the mountain ahead that wears you out – it’s the grain of sand in your shoe.”
Robert Service
1874 – 1958

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Eileen Barton

Nothing like a pot of homemade soup on a cold winter day! Hope 2022 is a wonderful year for you and yours, Maggie. 🙂


Printer cartridges are such troublesome things! I’ve had my share of mishaps when getting them, so now I look in the printer if I have to. Our last printer had the cartridge info on a sticker at the front of the printer, but I don’t think the newer printer does.

Yesterday I made Cincinnati chili, one of our cold weather favorites. We’ll get at least 2 more meals out of that. Even better!

Wow, you’re making me wonder where you were looking for your parka. My favorite is They have really good coats and reasonable prices. You can set their website to show Canadian prices, though I usually order in American dollars because my credit card has historically had a better conversion rate than what they use.

As of this evening we’ve gained 16 minutes of daylight in the evenings. I LOVE seeing the difference, with it not being dark here before 5PM, anymore. I’m thinking you won’t get to that point until the end of the month, but atleast your sunsets are happening later than they were.

Covid has definitely been a problem. We’re at a point where we’re about to cancel our next vacation for the 3rd time in a row! We’ve cancelled in 2020, 2021, and now in 2022. But – if the business survives – at least we’ll have credits to try again later. The bright spot though is we’ll kind of be vacationing when we move into the new house, with having a different place to sleep. That might be happening in about a month. We’ll see!


Hello Maggie: I have not been away…intentionally. A lot of “life” getting in my way of some peace and enjoyment. I am really fatigued, mostly all the time, and have literally done only minimal online time. I am so sorry about your brother—I lost an older brother a couple of months ago, and I have slipped into a mindset of not depression…but just despondency. Perhaps, soon, I can write a short dissertation about it. For now…please know that I think of you often….I wonder how you find your way; how you manage to live your life as you do. I can barely find the ‘where with all’ to simply get a shower. Heck, I am depressing myself…none of you deserve this. Bye for now…Margarett ooxx