Spicy Globe Basil

Spicy Globe Basil

Monday, August 13, 2018

At least it isn’t a Friday the thirteenth!

Attila just harvested some of our Basil, Spicy Globe Basil, and it is very aromatic.  We love basil, and use quite a bit of it in the course of a year.  I had been receiving organic basil from a farmer friend, as a thank you for help I provided with his computers and internet activities.  Now we have our own organic basil, grown in our back yard!  We are drying most of it for winter use.  I saw a tip on drying herbs on a YouTube video, they suggested putting the cuttings in a paper bag, and placing the bag in the passenger compartment of your vehicle.  Now tank smells divine!

We took a trip out to visit the Rideau Camp, as the weather was lovely on Saturday.  We found a dead mouse in every trap.  And from the aroma inside Grace the Trailer, our guess is that a mouse died in the walls or floors at some recent point in time.  Eventually the smell will disappear on its own, we would have to tear the trailer apart to find the dead mouse, so we won’t find it, we will wait it out.

We spent our time at the camp moving the woodpile that was closest to Grace. A woodpile is a place where mice might hide, nest, and use as a shelter while they wait to scuttle over to the trailer.  It was a big job.  Attila threw the wood into his wheelbarrow and wheeled it over the new location, where he dumped the wheelbarrow.  I stacked the firewood in the new location.  I did pretty well, stacking most of it,  but near the end I felt a little shaky, so let Attila stack the last five wheelbarrows full of firewood.  I sat in the shade, drank a bit of juice and ate a peanut butter sandwich, then felt as right as rain.  It is more and more important to pace myself, age will not be ignored.

I found some Mouse Free spray a short drive from Grace, so we set forth to purchase it.  It is very costly, $140, but if it works it will be worth it.  The sprayer requires an air compressor, so to do the job we have to bring the air compressor and generator with us on another visit.  At this visit, Attila went over the underside of the trailer carefully, applying duct tape and filling any opening he could find with steel wool.  Surprisingly he found three or four additional openings to close up.  Maybe that will do the job to keep them out.  I put dryer sheets in all the cupboards and drawers, which is said to deter them, I don’t hold out much hope.  I am also waiting for my order of peppermint essential oil to arrived, a few drops will be applied to a cotton balls, which will be distributed around the places we think they might be entering.  When we left the traps were all baited and set, including my bucket-of-water-with-peanut-butter-on-the-inside-rim-and-a-ramp-up-to-it trap.  We shall see what happens when we go back.

The woman at the store suggested using copper wool, instead of steel wool, because copper wool will not rust. I will have to have a look around to see if I can find copper wool.

This is my summer of mice and humidity!  Luckily the mice, as I experience them, are a first world problem, and the humidity is fact of life shared by millions.  Things could always be worse, so I am grateful they aren’t.

We had a camp fire on Saturday night.  The stars were magnificent!  Neither of us spotted meteors, but the stars were so beautiful that we did not feel disappointed.  It is so wonderful to sit quietly beside the fire after dark, watching the flames dance, looking up to see the starry heavens, listening to the wind in the trees, the calls of the loons, and hoots of the owls.

Today is hot, hot, hot and humid.  The morning was very pleasant for sitting out-of-doors, it didn’t become close until after lunch time.

Attila is out in his garden harvesting rosemary, basil, beans, and tomatoes.  He has a load of his laundry hanging on the back porch line, and is buzzing around, happy and engaged.

I am enjoying this wonderful thermostat and air source heat pump.  I am able to move about the house, puttering about, without discomfort.  What a hot and humid summer this is turning out to be!  I don’t like the heat and humidity, but as long as I can sit on the back porch for a few hours in the early morning, I am happy to stay indoors, where the air is cool and dry, for the rest of the day.

Tuesday, August 14, 2018

Another hot and sticky day! The weather forecasts for the next two weeks predicts more of the same. I wonder if September will be a stinking hot month as well! My body is slowly adapting, at least a bit. If I am outside in the heat and humidity for more than an hour or so, even if I don’t move, my hands and feet swell, and I become fuzzy. Because of the air source heat pump I am able to sleep at night, and am comfortable through the worst heat and humidity of the day, and so I am getting along just fine with this stifling summer. Attila tells me that one scientist felt this would be the new normal. I hope my body adjusts more quickly each summer!

What is it with air compressors! Attila bought one on sale at Canadian Tire less than five years ago, it has been seldom used. Now the teflon piston ring has disintegrated and it doesn’t work at all! Foul play!

We need it to spray the Mouse Free on the undercarriage of Grace the Trailer. What a dilemma. The parts are not available from Canadian Tire. I only found a place to ask for parts by chance, in a 2015 forum comment that came up in an internet search. So far I have been unable to determine if they can provide us with a part. Email correspondence continues, what a colossal waste of time, but needs must. Disposable air compressors, what a waste of the earth’s resources, I am disgusted!

The thing is, this Mouse Free needs to go on now, not later. The mice will be looking for winter shelter, we need to deter them from considering Grace in the first place. I called the Mouse Free people today, and they told me that it can be applied with a large paint brush. So that is what Attila will do. It is a lot more work than a pressure sprayer, but we hope it will be worth the effort.

I’ve prepared two mediocre dinners in the Instant Pot lately, one a Cabbage Roll Casserole that really was bland without salt in it, and the other a Macaroni and Cheese dish with pureed cauliflower, that would have been nice with salt, butter, cream and a lot more cheese than I am allowed, but without it, well, bland, bland, bland. A lot of the dishes developed for the Instant Pot rely on sodium or fat to enhance the flavour, so they don’t translate well into low or no sodium dishes. Still, there are five dishes we both really like, Spaghetti, Sweet and Sour Chicken with Rice, Spicy Orange Chicken with Rice, Sweet and Sour Beef with Rice, and Chili. If I can come up with a few more we will have a whole weeks worth of dishes to rotate through.

The tomatoes are coming on in the garden. Of the four varieties we planted, three are small paste tomatoes, and the fourth is Pink Girl, which isn’t a particularly sweet tomato, although it is quite tasty. The Amish Paste tomatoes are prolific but very small. The San Marino paste tomatoes are larger, prolific, and have yet to ripen. The third paste tomato is an unknown variety, the plants purchased at No Frills, heavily discounted at the end of the bedding plant season. The unknown tomatoes are the typical pear shape, relatively large, and have yet to ripen. I have been freezing the Amish Paste tomatoes as the harvest comes in each day. We have about a four quart basket of them now. Thank goodness for the food mill, I will be making tomato sauce with it, and drying the skins and seeds to make a powder to add to dishes over the winter. I hope to can the tomato sauce, freeing up valuable freezer space.

I’ve been busy getting things organized for my next colonoscopy, which will be performed months from now. There are extra things to consider due to my anaphylaxis. Oh how I hate a colonoscopy. I react strongly to the preparation chemicals, and the last time I ended up in hospital vomiting and, well, losing fluids from every part of my body. I became extremely dehydrated, and the colonoscopy itself really took the stuffing out of me (ha, none left!). I am hoping for an easier time this time around! This time Attila will take time off work to stay with me while I am at the hospital. The last time my Sister-The-Middle-Girl came and picked me up from the hospital, as she was up at her cottage when I had the procedure done. Attila had trouble getting time off work at the job he had there. At Mist Cottage there are only Attila and I to manage things, and an advantage to his present employer is that he can get time off work for serious situations such as this. The Surgeon’s office emphasizes that you must have someone to pick you up after the procedure, so I am glad Attila is willing.

Where we live there is one day a year where the dump accepts hazardous waste. We have some paint cans and very old propane tanks that need to go, and a few other things that Attila is sorting through tonight.

Wednesday, August 15, 2018

Well! I didn’t get this posted on Monday. I didn’t get this posted on Tuesday. I am posting this on Wednesday!



Date: 5:00 PM EDT Sunday 12 August 2018
Condition: Partly Cloudy
Pressure: 101.8 kPa
Tendency: Falling
Temperature: 27.7°C
Dew point: 16.4°C
Humidity: 49%
Wind: NNE 14 km/h
Humidex: 33
Visibility: 24 km

Date: 7:00 PM EDT Tuesday 14 August 2018
Condition: Mostly Cloudy
Pressure: 100.9 kPa
Tendency: Falling
Temperature: 24.8°C
Dew point: 21.2°C
Humidity: 80%
Wind: NW 8 km/h
Humidex: 33
Visibility: 24 km


“Most conversations are simply monologues delivered in the presence of witnesses.”
Margaret Millar

But when they aren’t, aren’t they grand!


  1. I have found that I rarely use my iPot these days. I used it yesterday to make tomato/meat sauce to go over spaghetti. All the liquid in the sauce stays in the pot which I not a desirable consistency for me. When I make it on the stovetop, I let it bubble away until a lot of the liquid is gone & the sauce is thicker. We like a chunky, vegetable-filled meat sauce. So this was very thin. I will heat it up for leftovers and let some of that liquid boil away first next time. I think my favorite thing to make in the iPot is potatoes. As for potato salad. Cut up in 1-inch chunks, it only takes a few minutes for them to cook up nicely – I did this the other day, using up some older potatoes, but I left them sit in there a while after they were done and they were a bit too soft for potato salad so I mashed them all up, added the milk/butter/salt/pepper, and now we have a nice big bowl of leftover mashed potatoes. They were very good with our meatloaf. But next time, if I want potato salad, I must remember to cook them a little less time (say… about 8-10 mins rather than the 13 that I cooked them) in the iPot. Also, I forgot to set some eggs around on top of the potatoes to go into the p.salad…

  2. Bex Crowell

    P.S. I’ve menat to ask you this Maggie, now-a-days when I go to comment, the boxes below the “comment” box are never automatically filled in any more (i.e. “Name,” “Email,” and Website. I wonder why? They always used to be. Now I have to go in and fill in those boxes manually every time I make a comment. Like now.

  3. Bex, I know what you mean about the runnier texture of the food cooked in the instant pot. I am not a fan of runny foods, and so will be experimenting with different techniques to mediate that. I may or may not succeed. I hadn’t thought of cutting up the potatoes before cooking them, something new to try.

    I am still cooking all of our meals in the Instant Pot. Some of the meals I cook provide us with leftovers, so some nights I don’t cook, just reheat leftovers in the microwave. Last night I cooked 3 quarts of kidney beans, we eat a lot of beans here, Attila favours them for snacks, as they are easily spiced up the way he likes them. All of my failures are my own recipes, and usually a result of not using much sodium and fat. So many flavourings are high in sodium, so I am still experimenting and searching for decent taste without much sodium. Something that is yummy with a cup of cream and two cups of grated cheese isn’t quite the same with skim milk and 60 grams of cheese. I will keep on experimenting, as I have my five low sodium and cholesterol recipes that are liked here, but I need more variety than that. My other issue is hydro, the Instant Pot uses a lot less hydro, and in the summer hydro costs twice as much at dinner time, so this is significant. Even just using the Instant Pot, our bill has gone up significantly because I am cooking dinner daily.

    I have made a bread pudding in Instant Pot, for my breakfast, on several occasions, and really like it. I use one teaspoon of sugar, and include cinnamon for extra sweetness enhancement. It is the equivalnt of a slice of bread with an egg and a glass of milk. Luckily I enjoy relatively bland foods, lol.

    Bex, there are a few updates for security that I implemented after my sites were badly hacked, I wonder if they are interefering with autofil? I will poke around and try to find out what is going on. Thanks for the heads up!

  4. Teri

    I just had a colonoscopy a few weeks ago. I’m not a fan of the prep liquid, though I definitely don’t react as badly as you seem to. I hear there is a new liquid called Plenvu. I believe you only have to drink half as much as the previous liquids.

    I guess in a way that I’m lucky. Because I have that left bundle branch block problem with my heart they don’t put me under, just calm me down. I actually end up watching the procedure on the screen, along with the doctor. I don’t feel anything at all with it and it’s over in less than 5 minutes.

  5. Well Teri, my hat is off to you lying there watching while a colonscopy is performed on you! I’d be interested in seeing it after the fact, on video, but not in real time. The first one I had was extremely painful, alarmingly so, and I don’t want to experience that again! I will look into Plenvu, see what that is about, thanks for the tip!

  6. Teri

    Ouch! I’m so sorry that you’ve had colonoscopies that painful! I really don’t know why they would be as it’s just a thin, flexible tube that floats around inside the much larger intestine. The tube is maybe between a tenth and a twentieth the width of your intestine.

    In all seriousness, I hope you replaced that doctor, post haste!

  7. Teri, actually the last colonoscopy, a very disastrous experience, was at the hospital that serviced the Country House. Now I live at Mist Cottage, and a completely different surgeon will be performing the procedure. I live in hope!

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