The Cusp

The Cusp

Challenges

Ontario has advised health care providers to once again take up in-person consultations with their patients. Accordingly, both Attila and I have been summoned for consultations. My appointment was this past week. It was interesting. My appointment was for 1 p.m., and I was about ten minutes early. The doors were locked. As I approached the doors a masked woman who was already waiting suddenly barked at me, “they’re not open till one, don’t touch the door handle.” No problem, I backed away. She was first in line and didn’t want anyone to touch the door handles before she used them to enter the building. Apparently the Covid-19 vaccine clinic was in the same building, and she was there for a vaccine shot. She was very fidgety, visibly uncomfortable, and eventually she sank to her haunches, clasped her hands together and began to rock and pray. Getting this vaccine was very obviously a disturbing experience for her. Then a man wearing a mask approached, and decided to wait at a distance for the doors to open. He emphatically stated, “it is an awful day!” He was waiting for the vaccination clinic to open as well. The people who were getting these late vaccinations were not happy about it at all. Misinformation is predatory. I was the only person waiting in line with an appointment with a health care practitioner, and when my turn to enter the building came, I was the only person to sit in the practitioner’s waiting room.

Apparently my blood pressure was rather high when the nurse took it, I wonder why! This was problematic because my Nurse Practitioner felt perhaps more medication was needed. I disagreed. I do not plan on waiting in line any time soon, with agitated, stressed out people, getting a vaccine they don’t want. Being a health care worker these days must be very challenging! I was pleased to receive an annual flu shot during my visit.

I’ve been enjoying reading lately, and just finished the book Unorthodox. I’d chosen another book from the library, an audio book, All The Light We Cannot See, not knowing what it was about. How very droll that I was reading Unorthodox at the time, which is set in Williamsburg, NY, and deals with the Hasidic community that formed when Holocaust survivors came to the USA after WWII. All the Light We cannot see deals with WWII in Europe, graphically describing the cruelty of war, and the intricacies of teaching hatred and violence to young boys. Unorthodox has been an easy read, but the intensity of All The Light We Cannot See requires an inner bracing to withstand the reality of evil, and reading this book the day of my health care appointment probably contributed to my high blood pressure. Doerr’s writing draws one into the underbelly of the beast of war, without gratuitous drama or violence, every word leads down the path of the story. He makes it easy to see how peace-time indifference, greed, and ambition descend into institutionalized depravity during social upheavals.

The Flow of Life

The pace of life is slowing down here at Mist Cottage. The weather dances with the cold, dipping into it on cloudless nights. Soon we will have frost, very soon, and then another upward swirl of warmth. At night the temperature in the garden falls. If we were sitting out there, we would need warm boots, hats, mitts, parkas. But we are not in the garden at night, we are safety tucked into Mist Cottage. At the beginning of this week the air conditioning was needed to cool the house down for the night, to offer comfort while we slept. It seemed strange to need it in mid-October, but need it we did, despite the chill outside the walls. A few days ago the need to cool the house at night ceased. As the temperature dips nightly below 10C, sometimes below 5C, Mist Cottage refuses to follow. The thermostat reads 23C, rising during the day to 23.5C, then falling again overnight to 23C. Our little home hoards the heat, gathers it from rays of sunlight falling on the living room floor, a hot oven baking muffins or bread, a refrigerator motor running, a coffee machine brewing on the counter, and the heat emanating from our bodies as we go about our projects.

The transition to wintry weather is slow this year, very slow. Standing on the back porch, I can take in the furiously blooming Morning Glories, and Nasturtiums, both late bloomers. The Zinnias and Giant Marigolds stand tall and bright in the sunshine. The garden looks green and lush, I imagine we will suddenly find ourselves blowing into cold air to see our breath hang in clouds around our heads.

Attila roasted a turkey for our Thanksgiving dinner, which resulted in five days of leftover turkey dinners, three days of turkey soup for Attila, and seven frozen packages of diced turkey to use in casseroles. We purchased the turkey with our usual online grocery order, and to our dismay, the turkey that came had salt added. If we had been able to read the label, this turkey would not have been purchased, but here we are, taking what we can get. As a result, I’ve experienced a few side effects from the high sodium meat which has probably affected my blood pressure. I was not about to pass up a turkey dinner though, so I am suffering through. Online shopping has a few downsides. We will not purchase a turkey online again!

Attila’s garden is winding down. Amazingly, we’ve not had frost yet, so he is still bringing in a handful of beans here, or a bowl of tomatoes there. Tomatilloes and peppers are still producing as well, and there is some Kale to harvest. The Carrots, Brussels Sprouts, and Cabbages will withstand frost, even freezing, so they will be left to harvest last. The rabbits have had their way with the carrot tops, but the carrots themselves are nestled in the earth, waiting for us.

Last weekend I canned a Green and Serrano Pickled Pepper Mix, which results in a mildly spicy pickled Green Pepper. Also canned were Dilly Beans, Dilly Green Tomatoes, and Tomato Sauce. Savory, and Parsley, from the garden were dehydrated.

Because most of our food is prepared from scratch, the kitchen is a busy centre year round. This accelerates into nearly a frenzy during August, September, and early October, then, as harvest season slows, so does the pace of activity.

Bread needs to be baked three times a week, a single loaf each time, so that it is always fresh. Last spring Attila received a meat slicer for his birthday, which is used here to slice bread. It does an excellent job. We have been reusing bread bags from commercially baked bread. The issue with these is that after many washings the ink deteriorates and becomes sticky and horrid to deal with. Splurging, bread bags were purchased, lovely gusseted bread bags, perfect for a loaf of homemade bread. These bags are washed and dried and reused over and over again, perfectly holding our perfectly sliced bread. I will say that it is such a pleasure to have equipment made for the job at hand. It feels rather decadent not to have to make do!

At present the freezer is full of garden vegetables, so that there is no room for bread products. In the New Year the volume of vegetables in the freezer will have diminished, and it will be possible to bake five loaves at a time. A more leisurely approach is taken to daily tasks. Coolers, used to keep the burgeoning harvest fresh until it could be preserved, are cleaned and stored away. The surge of chaos, that built during harvest and preservation season, ebbs. Jars of leftover brine are used for the last jars of pickles. Stacks of canning jars and rings, the canner, the steam juicer, the large stock pot, the spoons and ladles and lifters needed for canning, and all the other flotsam and jetsam from gardening, preserving, and seed saving, slowly fall into disuse and disappear back into their boxes and cupboards until next year.

This morning saw an early start to preparing a pot of baked beans. Our Navy Beans are getting a little older now, and require a different cooking strategy to get the desired results. This morning they were cooked in the Instant Pot for one hour, which was a great start. Then they were drained and set aside, the rest of the ingredients added to the pot, the beans added, and the Instant Pot was set to cook for a second hour, with good results. Another project for the day was to wash a load of laundry and hang it out to dry on the back porch clothes line. It is chilly out there today.

We are on the cusp of winter.

Worldly

Weather

Updated on Fri, Oct 22, 7:55 AM
6 °C
FEELS LIKE 4
Overcast
Wind 14 NW km/h
Humidity 82 %
Visibility 22 km
Sunrise 7:31 AM
Wind gust 21 km/h
Pressure 101.1 kPa
Ceiling 500 m
Sunset 6:12 PM

Quote

“Books are the quietest and most constant of friends; they are the most accessible and wisest of counsellors, and the most patient of teachers.”
Charles W. Eliot
1834 – 1926

4 Comments

  1. We are here, stubbornly refusing to turn on the AC this October. It got pretty hot during the day, just bearably so. Julia and I tried to get our flu shots today. We went to the drugstore, like we always used to, and found quite a crowd of people. We were told we had to make an appointment!!!! This never used to be the case. They said they were swamped, and I suspect they are. I do feel sorry for all health care workers.

    I’m glad you’re enjoying good books. I managed to read a short novelette, “Once Upon a Time in the North”, from the Phillip Pullmann series. And we’ve enjoyed good movies, old ones like Bicentennial Man and Matilda, which we missed from the 90s, and the new Shang-Chi movie. I’d probably read more if I wasn’t spending so much time on the tapestry art.

    <3

  2. Joan, that is so interesting, that people are lined up for flu shots and an appointment is necessary. Appointments were necessary here last autumn, and again this autumn, where they never had been before. Here it had to do with social distancing limits due to Covid. One wonders how things will be when Covid wanes and the dust settles, what the new normal will look like. I hope you get appointments easily and quickly!
    The Pullan series sounds interesting, it has been a long time since I’ve read fantasy, thanks for sharing that, I’m going to have a look. I’ve been reading, and when I am busy in the kitchen with preserving I’ve been listening to audio books that I’ve borrowed from the library.
    I really enjoyed Bicentennial Man, but I don’t think I’ve seen Matilda, another film to find. We recently watched Unorthodox, which we liked very much. We bumped into it after watching the series Schtisel, with was very good.
    I hope things cool down a bit where you are.
    Stay safe dear friend!

  3. Bex

    “Books are the quietest and most constant of frien ds,,,” In my humble opinion, YARN is the quietest and most constant of friends. WhensI’m alone here crocheting, it’s so quiet you could hear a pin drop (and pins/needles/hooks drop on a regular basis for me. I love quietude. I think this is why I adore working with soft, squishy, colorful, and QUIET yarn so much.

  4. Bex, yarn certainly is a constant friend! Your quiet hours with yarn sound wonderful, I feel peaceful just thinking about you sitting with your colours and textures around you. And the results, you send so much peace and tranquility and compassion out into the world with your hats, and scarves, and mitts, and blankets.
    Stay safe dear friend!

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