Routines are important to me. Life can get very complicated with my anaphylaxis, and our multiple properties, so anything that streamlines recurring tasks is welcome.

One routine I have had to forego is a daily walk, until now. At the country house I made huge efforts to get out for a walk, but the barriers eventually wore away my determination. I could not develop any kind of routine for walking at the country house.

The spring and summer brought black flies and mosquitoes, and not just a few. Going out of doors meant wearing protective clothing. Walking in protective clothing is not enjoyable, and it is uncomfortable when the body begins to generate heat from the exercise. Heat from exercise attracts even more of the blood sucking insects. It became a chore to don all the protective gear for a truly uncomfortable experience. I simply stopped being able to make myself do it.

The autumn brings hunting season. The “bite” here is a lot worse than that the blood sucking insects. Hunters actually hunt on our land, so going for a walk is risky business, one never knows if one will be “mistaken for a swan”. This is not paranoia, just after we moved to the country house a woman, a seasonal cottager, was shot dead by a hunter while she was out for her walk. It wasn’t near our house, but the lesson is transferrable to anywhere that hunting is practised. I cannot make myself go for walks during hunting season.

The winter brings snow, which is ploughed into very high snow banks. It also brings ice, which is slippery. It also brings snowmobiles, which charge up and down our street at high speeds. I would not have a chance, if a snowmobile came upon me, around a corner, at high speed. I am not nimble enough in my senior years to leap almost my own height to get onto the snowbank, and out of their way. There is no other avenue of escape on the narrow country road. I cannot make myself go for walks in the winter.

Walking has always been my exercise of choice. Walking is something I love to do. So, this winter I am taking advantage of being at the little house in the city. Here there are sidewalks. Here there are few biting insects. Here there are no hunters with guns. Here there are no snowmobiles on the sidewalks, or ATVs for that matter. So far this winter the roads and sidewalks have been clear of snow and ice. At the little house in the city I can develop the routine of daily walking, with few interruptions due to environmental conditions.

My health will slowly improve due to my ability to go for a walk.

I am not the only senior out there walking! During my walk I see at least a half a dozen other seniors out walking, some with dogs, some with their life partner, some by themselves as I am.

Another benefit I enjoy at the little house in the city is that the people are friendly. To smile at a passing stranger costs nothing, and the people in this town spend their smiles freely. Every morning that I have been on a walk someone has said “good morning” to me.

At the country house we have few neighbours, and their combined greetings can be counted on two hands… and that is over an eleven year span of time. In the shops in town, I am not treated as a valued customer, because I am not a valued customer. The shop keepers cater to the wealthy seasonal people, low-income locals are not considered valuable customers. The one exception is the local grocery store, the staff there are friendly to all, the store is kept open over the winter as a courtesy to the local residents, which is very much appreciated. The liquor store and beer store might also be friendly, but since I don’t need to shop there I do not know. As for the rest, I haven’t had a good experience yet, as a customer or as an employee.

Attila experiences the country house location in a completely different way than I do. That is due to several factors. He is a white, well educated, male, this goes a long, long way to garner acceptance in provincial Canadian society. Another factor is that he has a decent employer, and his hard work is appreciated. This is unusual anywhere. Another factor is that Attila enjoys many of the people he meets through his work. Since his employer treats him as a valued employee, the customers treat him with similar consideration. The country house location is not toxic for Attila, quite the opposite.

I had a good day today. I went for my walk, following a tip yesterday from Randy, wearing two pairs of socks and securing my laces carefully. I experienced no pain during the walk, and the blister did not bleed!

Later in the day I gathered together all the unused items that have accumulated over the last five years here at the little house in the city. There are two piles of items, clothing for the Salvation Army store, and building materials for the ReStore. I visited the Salvation Army in town, but it was closed until next week. So I took myself off to the grocery store for milk, and came away with three bags of groceries. Bacon was on sale, so I bought a few pounds, and I also bought myself a treat for New Year’s Eve. Attila and I will be spending New Year’s Eve together, via FaceTime, and I wanted a treat for the celebration. I eventually settled on cashews. I love cashews, but they cost the moon! Still, they are better for me than the other alternatives I was considering, which were sweet or salty.

After returning home from the grocery store I started a batch of chili. I used the remainder of the first batch of baked beans I canned. I enjoyed a bowl for supper, set aside two helpings for another two suppers later in the week, and froze five more servings in the freezer.

I seem to be settling in, here at the little house in the city.

Worldly Distractions


Date: 8:00 PM EST Tuesday 30 December 2014
Condition: Mostly Cloudy
Pressure: 102.8 kPa
Tendency: falling
Visibility: 24 km
Temperature: -7.8°C
Dewpoint: -13.9°C
Humidity: 62%
Wind: NNE 7 km/h
Wind Chill: -12


“Since you are like no other being ever created since the beginning of time, you are incomparable.”
Brenda Ueland

Three Days

Tuesday, September 30, 2014

I have just arrived at the little house in the city. Attila and I pulled out of the country house driveway at the same time. At the highway junction he turned left, I turned right, and we flashed our headlights at each other. It was still dark enough to see each other’s headlights in our rearview mirrors.

My trip was an easy one, with lots of stops. I had to come to a complete stop twice on the Highway, for a school bus. I had to stop three times for construction. I stopped once for fuel. I stopped once to buy a snack because I was feeling a bit tired and needed a pick-me-up. And I stopped once at an apple store to buy a quarter bushel of Spy apples.

Just as I left the highway, and was driving through the countryside right outside of town, I passed a field with a huge tanker moving across it. The tanker was spraying liquid manure, and the smell hit me like a fist! This stuff was not composted manure, as we used on our farm, which has very little odour. No sir, the liquid coming out of that tank and spraying around was pure, fresh, liquified manure. Miles down the road, when I arrived home and stepped out of the car, the smell was less strong, but definitely being carried into town on the autumn breeze.

Upon arrival at the little house in the city, I unlocked the door and immediately called Attila to let him know I had arrived safely. Then I turned on the water supply, and checked to see if we had caught any mice in the mouse traps set as we left over a week ago. One was set in the basement, and it was still empty. Another was set in the tool cupboard, and it was not empty. The dead mouse was just beginning smell bad. I got that job over with as quickly as possible, carrying the mouse trap to the compost pile, digging a hole, and burying the mouse in the hole. I will spray the trap with bleach, reset it and place it back in the tool cupboard.

It took about an hour to carry all the luggage and items in from the car. Then I took a long rest, with a tall glass of water, and a handy pen and paper for the inevitable supply list.

The new kitchen curtains; enjoying the open windows!

Then it was time to pick up a few supplies; a quick trip to the local grocery store was in order. When I got back Terra was waiting form me, she stopped by on her way home from work. We had a nice chat, short and nice. She was going to go home to sleep, because she had to be back at work within eight hours, to work the night shift.

The rest of the day disappeared into cleaning and cooking activities, and ended with a brief conversation with Attila, via Skype.

Wednesday, October 1, 2014

I do not know how I turned off my cell phone, but I did. The result was that I slept in, until 7:14 a.m., a truly rare event in my life, and as a consequence, was too late to chat with Attila before he left for work. I felt very well rested. I slept deeply my first night here at the little house.

We receive free delivered newspapers here at the little house in the city, and they are stuffed full of flyers. I noticed that turkeys were on sale, and decided to purchase a few for the freezer. We generally eat between four and six turkeys every winter. We roast the turkey, prepare all the trimmings, mashed potatoes, vegetables, stuffing, etc. Then we eat leftovers for many days, and then Attila makes his turkey soup with whatever is left of the turkey.

So far, during this visit to the little house in the city, time seems to be getting away from me! It is passing so quickly, I hardly notice, and wonder where the day went.

On the agenda for the day was a large pot of chili, for quick meals while I am here alone. I tend to forget about preparing a meal until I feel hungry. Once I am hungry I do not want to wait until a full meal is prepared. My solution, make a big pot of chili, and a large quantity of fried mushrooms with rice. That provides me with two healthy, instant meals. I used two jars of my pressure canned Chili Beans to make my pot of chili.

Thankfully, the mouse traps were empty this morning!

The dehumidifier in the basement was full this morning. It has been emptied, and is ready to be turned on again when the electricity prices go down tonight.

During the afternoon, while the chili was being assembled, a flock of wild geese could be heard flying overhead, heading south.

I picked about four quarts of tomatoes from the garden. The squirrels have been busy raiding, and some very nice tomatoes were lying on the ground half eaten. In order to beat the squirrels to the food, I harvested the largest green tomatoes, and will ripen them on the windowsills.

Green tomatoes and hot peppers; beating the squirrels to harvest.

The last of the cucumbers were peeled and chopped today. I boiled them in a pot, let them cool, put them through the blender, and froze them to use as an ingredient in a future Stone Soup.

I am snacking on Coronation Grapes, I love them. They taste like Concord Grapes, but are seedless, and grown in Niagara. I bought them at NoFrills, a grocery chain, for anyone in Ontario who might be interested in finding them. I also chopped one of the Spy apples into my oatmeal this morning, and added a bit of cinnamon, yum.

When I talked to Attila at 9:00 p.m. last night, he had only been home for about an hour and half, he had worked until 7:30 p.m., no breaks, no lunch break. He came home and chopped wood until 8:30 in the evening. When I talked to him he was preparing his evening meal. They are very busy where he works, and they appreciate what he does for them.

It was a beautiful sunny day today. It was a stinker though, because somewhere near the periphery of the city, fields were being sprayed with liquified manure again. The smell was eye watering at times. This is one of the disadvantages of having farmland nearby. When city folk move to the country they are often horrified by the smells. We do not live in a Fisher Price or Lego world, where everything is made of plastic, and can be sterilized before use. No, real life includes smells, all kinds of them, including manure, and the flowers that grow because of it.

Today I didn’t accomplish any of the bigger projects on my list. I puttered about, and did a lot of little things that needed doing. Lots of time left during this visit for the big projects, to pressure can beans, mow the lawn, and sew the dining room curtains. I may, or may not, get around to all of these projects, as none of them are urgent.

Thursday, October 2, 2014

I have completed the database work for the first draft of my next genealogy book. It was a tough slog! I am sure I will find errors as I go forward, but that is to be expected.

Now I am looking for photos to include, which is tricky. Old photos are no longer under copyright, but I have few of those, as the family history I am writing starts in the late 1700s, and will end in the early 1900s. My biggest challenge is defining parameters, the size and resolution of the photos and charts is where I am starting, and there is a sea of too-much-information out there!

I am beginning to narrow it down though, and am looking for online publishers who provide a lot of step-by-step written guidance on how to prepare for publication. I could publish manually, as I am a registered Publisher in Canada, but I probably will not go that route, as I have to distribute the books myself. The last book I published sold many more copies than I expected, which meant trip after trip back to the printers. Choosing an online publisher should mean that I don’t have to do the legwork myself.

This morning I awoke at 3:30 a.m., and could not get back to sleep. I was worried that I would sleep in, and miss my chat with Attila before he left for work. It was an early start to the day!

After chatting with Attila, which was challenging because Skype was suffering from feedback, I made a cup of coffee and reviewed my plans for the day. There are so many projects to choose from.

But first, time to have a little breakfast. I peeled six Spy apples, sliced them into a saucepan, added a little water, a little cranberry juice, a little sugar, and a generous teaspoon of cinnamon. Then I prepared the oatmeal crust for the apple crisp. The recipe called for baking soda, but I am trying to limit my salt intake to a healthy daily limit, and so used baking power instead. While the apple crisp was baking I hopped into the shower while the water was still hot. I had turned on the hot water heater after 7:00 p.m., and turned it off in the morning before 7:00 a.m., to take advantage of the almost half price electricity rates. Taking a shower takes a bit of planning.

Because the weather was predicted to be fair, it seemed a good opportunity to tackle mowing the lawn, so that was the project I chose for the day. I checked the back yard, and all of the leaves had come down from the big tree, covering the lawn in a thick blanket of leaves. Time to put the new mulching lawn mower to the test!

The lawn after mowing; the thick blanket of leaves is no more!

It took me about two hours to complete the task, I didn’t hurry, and only stopped doing a second pass because I ran out of gas. It was just as well that I stopped, I think I had reached my physical limit. The lawn looks pretty good I think, and the mulching was a great success. I have decided I like mulching the leaves rather than raking them up. The area mowed was about one quarter of our lawn, we have a double lot, and we really know it, when it comes time to mow it.

After taking a break, I wandered into the garden with a big plate and picked a dozen or so hot peppers, and a few dozen tomatoes showing just a hint of red. I am determined to beat the squirrels to the harvest!

And happily, they have stopped spraying liquid manure, the air today was fresh and fragrant!

I wasn’t the only one harvesting and enjoying the last of the warm weather today!

Worldly Distractions


Date: 1:00 PM EDT Tuesday 30 September 2014
Condition: Mostly Cloudy
Pressure: 101.4 kPa
Tendency: falling
Visibility: 13 km
Temperature: 17.4°C
Dewpoint: 12.6°C
Humidity: 73%
Wind: NE 19 km/h

Date: 2:00 PM EDT Wednesday 1 October 2014
Condition: Partly Cloudy
Pressure: 101.9 kPa
Tendency: falling
Visibility: 13 km
Temperature: 17.1°C
Dewpoint: 13.3°C
Humidity: 78%
Wind: N 21 km/h

Date: 2:00 PM EDT Thursday 2 October 2014
Condition: Partly Cloudy
Pressure: 102.0 kPa
Tendency: falling
Visibility: 24 km
Temperature: 18.9°C
Dewpoint: 13.6°C
Humidity: 71%
Wind: SSE 8 km/h


“People are like stained-glass windows. They sparkle and shine when the sun is out, but when the darkness sets in, their true beauty is revealed only if there is a light from within.”
Elizabeth Kübler-Ross