The Earth is Flat

When anticipated plans are relentlessly scuppered, I believe the earth is flat. The third dimension blinks out of site, perception eclipses science.

Attila and I had hoped to finally get together with my family for “Christmas”. We tried to get there all through December, and the weather and roads prevented us, every day that we could get away. We tried all through January, and again the weather and roads dictated otherwise. We thought February would bring an opportunity for the visit, but it did not; although we did manage to make a mandatory trip to the little house in the city for its winter check up. And we thought that today, at last, we could make the trip. Ha!!!! We awoke to cloudy skies, snow, and by noon we are to have blowing snow and wind gusting to 50 kilometers an hour. So with heavy hearts we cancelled our plans for Christmas, again. I hope the phrase “Christmas in July” is not a cruel reality this year!

Today is a day for domestic tasks. Attila dug more firewood out of the deep snow, hopefully enough to last us through till the end of March. He also shovelled the rest of the snow load off the wood shed, that was quite a job! After coming indoors, Attila gave himself a haircut. I have been busy hanging wet laundry on racks in the living room, hoping to increase the humidity in the room, and stop the daily nose bleeds I have been experiencing. Bills have been paid. The dust has collected to majestic proportions over the course of two weeks, one dare not disturb surfaces in the living area, for fear of clouding the atmosphere. A rag and a bucket of soapy water is required to remove the dust, so that it becomes suspended in water, and is not allowed to take flight and settle again. The dust consists mostly of super fine wood ash, and there is a lot more of it since the ash dump became clogged, and we had to start removing ashes manually through the door, using a small shovel and an ash bucket.

We have more good weather on the way, warmer temperatures and some sunshine. Apparently there is at least one more night coming, when the temperature will dip below -20C. The weather predictions change daily, and sometimes they change several times during the course of one day. We are prepared for more frigid nights, and looking forward warmer weather.

Worldly Distractions


Date: 7:44 AM EDT Sunday 9 March 2014
Condition: Partly Cloudy
Pressure: 101.9 kPa
Visibility: 16 km
Temperature: -18.6°C
Dewpoint: -20.5°C
Humidity: 85%
Wind: calm


“If I believed that horses turned into artichokes on Tuesdays, would that be better than doubting it?…

…I ought to refuse to answer at all, of course, because a meaningless question has only meaningless answers…

…The whole undertaking of science is to deal, as well as it can, with reality. The reality of actual things and events in time is subject to doubt, to hypothesis, to proof and disproof, to acceptance and rejection — not to belief or disbelief.

Belief has its proper and powerful existence in the domains of magic, religion, fear, and hope.”

Ursula K LeGuin


We have at last arrived at the last of the winter, only four weeks of full-blown winter weather to manage! The first of March blew in cold through the night, and then warmed enough to deliver blowing wind and heavy snowfall. Attila spent part of his day shovelling snow off the roofs of the woodshed and the utility shed. This is the first time he has shovelled those roofs, and the snow is deep and high on them. They are being shovelled now in anticipation of warmer weather to come, bringing with it rain, which will weigh heavily as it soaks the snow; the weight could collapse the buildings. So off comes the winter’s snow load today!

To celebrate the first of March Attila prepared a turkey dinner, with all the trimmings. The vegetables are delicious, the last local farm grown squash, green beans, potatoes, and sweet potato.

Considering that I have spent weeks and weeks and weeks living in one room, remaining relatively inactive within the confines of this small space, my health is excellent. Attila noted that I had put on weight over the winter, but happily it is only five pounds, which will melt away when spring releases me from these four walls. My daily standing is helpful, as are the routine breaks I take from the computer and my chair. I am pleased with myself, for hanging on so well, through one of the worst winters on record.

I have finished my apron! Attila has the dining room table back just in time for the turkey dinner!

This morning Attila slept in until 8:00 am, a rare and happy event. Mist however, felt differently about things. She sat in front of the masonry heater, shooting meaningful looks my way. She paced in front of the masonry heater. It wasn’t really cold in the room, ranging from 14C at the perimeter to 19C near the masonry heater. Still, Mist had her mind made up, an immediate firing was required. Thinking to build the fire myself, I opened the masonry heater to a five inch thick bed of hot coals. The ash dump channel is blocked, and the ashes are accumulating in the firebox! I fetched the ash bucket and loaded it full with red hot coals, then put it downstairs by the little wood stove, then thought better of that, put on warm clothing, and carried it outside to sit in a snowbank. By the time I had accomplished all this Attila was up and about.

We decided that it was not practical to try to free the blockage in the ash dump while the heater is fully charged and hot, that will need to be done later in the season, when we can switch to using the little wood stove downstairs to keep us warm, and the masonry heater has cooled a bit. We have a few more nights of cold temperatures, heading down below -25C, and we will need full firings until this cold snap has run its course. Nothing for it now, but to remove the ashes manually every day! More work generated to make this cold, cold winter even more intrusive and challenging than it already is!

Maggie and Alison, good times and good company in the early 1990s.
Alison maggie 1992 web

I posted this photo on Facebook, taken in the early 90s, of myself and a friend Alison, Steve-Paul’s Mom, who was a truly wonderful human being. When on my timeline, an unkind comment was made, which took me by surprise; I am hoping the person who wrote that was trying to be funny. Then the photo was posted on another wall, where an inconsiderate comment was made about me, again this took me by surprise, in fact, the comment may have had malicious intent. My dear friend Steve-Paul responded with a funny quip that was in turn interpreted and responded to in an unkind way. The quip was withdrawn, as I know it was not meant to be unkind, or to invite further unkindness; only the interpretation was unkind, borne of a long-standing, and in my opinion undeserved, grudge against me. It is interesting how some people allow the pettiness in their personalities get the better of their mouths and fingers, allowing pettiness to represent them in public places. Sigh.

What do I think about being publicly disrespected? Well, it is not an easy thing to deal with, sitting alone with my thoughts, for weeks at a time in the bush, I can tell you. But really, I am not sure it would be pleasanter if I had to spend any of my time with the pettiness barons themselves. I am reminded of a passage I learned as a child, and it must have sunk into my unconscious, and influenced me ever since, as I considered it wise at the time: “forgive us our trespasses, as we forgive those who trespass against us…” And that is exactly what I will do, forgive the trespass against me, and remember to respect the individual’s weaknesses in future.

As it is, today is sunny and milder, there is a warm fire burning brightly in the hearth, yesterday’s five inches of snow has been shovelled off the cars and driveway, and Attila is here to spend a pleasant day with me. Life is good.

Worldly Distractions


Date: 7:00 AM EST Sunday 2 March 2014
Condition: Mostly Cloudy
Pressure: 102.6 kPa
Visibility: 16 km
Temperature: -18.6°C
Dewpoint: -20.7°C
Humidity: 84%
Wind: NNW 9 km/h
Wind Chill: -25


“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