Cold Outside

December 15, 2016

Listening to a piano version of “O Come All Ye Faithful”, I was suddenly transported to my Grade 5 classroom, sitting up straight on the hard wooden seat of my desk, arms extended, hands clasped together and resting peacefully beside a closed scribbler and a sharpened pencil, where the teacher played Christmas carols on the piano, and we sang along. Singing along to the piano, with voices raised in unison all around, was one of those rare occasions during childhood, in which the wonder of good will wrapped us all in a warm blanket of inclusion and belonging. I seldom feel that kind of wonder in my life these days, but oh the memory is sweet.

Storms continue to rage around our country house, which is no longer ours, nor are the storms. My gratitude for Mist Cottage is amplified by the severity of the distant storm. It is cold here, the wind is strong and bitter, and yet we are still able to travel to a store, or the the hospital if we needed care. I think only someone who has been oppressed by the limitations of extreme winter weather can regard a -22C (-7.6F) wind chill as relatively tropical, the wind chill is predicted to reach -27C (-16.6F) tonight. We are to receive more snow through Friday and Saturday, but it doesn’t sound as if it will be anything near as extreme as it is in Parry Sound / Muskoka.

Terra dropped by today with Sunny and Sky, to pick up the vintage Mac Software that will be donated to a collector. She will carry those boxes to Luna’s house, and the collector will pick them up there. Two boxes gone, and a little visit with Sunny and Sky, a lovely afternoon! Sky slept through the visit, but Sunny was wide awake and having a great time looking at the all the colours on the Christmas tree and the decorations hanging in the front windows. Sunny and Sky are very appealing little people!

Our evening is winding down. Attila is preparing a green salad, after which we will enjoy Tuna Melts, a new dish to us. We have divided the tuna into two bowls, as Attila will use far more of the salty mayonnaise than I am allowed, and also add other condiments to his portion. My serving of cheese to top the open faced sandwich will be carefully weighed on my new kitchen scale (an early Christmas gift from Attila), so that I can ensure that my portion of cheese does not take me over my daily limit for sodium, or cholesterol. We don’t have many meals figured out that are suitably low in sodium: roast chicken with rice and vegetables; macaroni and cheese with vegetables; and coconut lime baked fish with rice and vegetables. If the Tuna Melts work out, it will be a fourth reliable dish we can prepare for our dinners.

My blood pressure is still borderline high, sometimes even higher, and sometimes lower. I am not sure the low sodium, low sugar, low cholesterol diet makes any difference at all. I continue to take the apple cider vinegar and honey before my meals. My weight has fallen a little, but that hasn’t seemed to make much of a difference to my blood pressure readings. Still, a healthy diet, weight loss, and exercise can’t hurt me, even if they aren’t helping me.

Our Christmas tree is beautiful. I am so glad Attila talked me into having this real tree. It takes up a lot of room, but that is a temporary situation, so although it is a little crowded in here, it seems quite cozy.

Our Christmas Tree

Christmas tree 2016

Worldly Distractions

Weather

-12°C
Date: 5:00 PM EST Thursday 15 December 2016
Condition: Partly Cloudy
Pressure: 101.5 kPa
Tendency: Rising
Temperature: -11.7°C
Dew point: -23.4°C
Humidity: 38%
Wind: NW 29 gust 53 km/h
Wind Chill: -22
Visibility: 24 km

Quote

“The good life, as I conceive it, is a happy life. I do not mean that if you are good you will be happy – I mean that if you are happy you will be good.”
Bertrand Russell
1872 – 1970

The Move: The First Week

Friday, August 28, 2015

NOTE: I want to mention this up front. A week or so ago a mouse died somewhere in our car. We can’t find that little bugger. The smell makes my eyes water. I drove for five hours in the car coming to the little house in the city. We are driving back to the country house for another five hours in the odiferous car. Then I am driving the car back to the little house in the city on the weekend, while Attila brings down the second truck load of our belongings. Then we drive back to the country house in the car, to do the final cleaning at the country house, and do our thing at the lawyers office. Then, someone has to drive the car back to the little house in the city, the other lucky driver gets to drive Tank back to the little house in the city. I vote that I drive Tank on the final run!

Yesterday I spent mountains of time on the phone changing our address in various places. All of the people I dealt with were polite, even friendly, with one glaring exception… the local municipal office… RUDE, ATTITUDE. I know it wasn’t me because every other call on my long list was pleasant, the difference was down to the local “attitude”. I will not miss this area one little bit, not one little bit.

Yesterday was also a packing day, box after box after box. Two rooms done now, lots left to do, so it is another packing day today. It is also bill paying day, and this job will get done first so as not to be forgotten, as it isn’t a favourite pastime.

We pick up a truck Sunday, and a fellow has offered to help Attila with the “two-man” lifts for a small fee. I cannot carry and tote, so I pack and plan and take care of everything I can.

We are feeling as if the weight of the world has been lifted from our shoulders, and the hard work of moving serves to intensify that feeling. Funny old world.

Saturday, August 29, 2015

The house is about 2/3 packed, most of the kitchen cupboards are empty, and the bathroom vanity. This morning, as I sip my coffee and look at the complete chaos that surrounds me, I can see that the packing process has brought us to the tipping point. Yesterday this place still seemed like the same old place, our home. By lunch time today it will seem like an empty shell, our stamp and presence will have faded from the feel of it. Until we arrive at the little house with the first truck load of our belongings, I will feel homeless and a little lost. Luckily, hard work will keep me so busy I will be largely unaware of these feelings.

Attila was off to work early this morning, they are very busy there. Tomorrow he starts his vacation, and we pick up the truck to start loading. For the past five years every vacation has been spent renovating the little house. This year we had thought to taking a different kind of vacation, where we would relax, go hiking, site seeing, and indulge in some of the activities we enjoy. Well, it certainly is going to be a different kind of vacation, just not in the way we had imagined. It is very lucky for us though, that Attila’s vacation has coincided with this move. It is incredibly lucky, when I come to think about it. The universe is watching over us.

Later in the day, at 1 p.m., I can definitely say that we aren’t in Kansas any more, the country house does not feel like home. Still packing.

We got word that the truck was ready for tomorrow, the wrong truck. I called Attila at work to let him know. He called the rental people, they said it was a “free upgrade”, the truck is larger than we asked for. Attila seems happy with this, which is all that matters. Moving is stream of “it’s always somethings”. I am still delighted to be moving!

Sunday, August 30, 2015

Today we picked up the truck, a forty minute drive from the country house one way. Thankfully the drop off for the truck is five minutes away from the little house in the city.

After we arrived back at the country house, Attila called a chum from work, and went to pick him up. He helped Attila load the heavy items into the truck, the dining room set, couch, upright freezer and a few other items. Then Attila drove his chum home and continued loading the truck by himself. Attila likes to do things himself! Where to sit!

I packed until I felt too tired to go on, and Attila loaded the truck until the light failed. We were grateful to fall into our beds!

Monday, August 31

I awoke early, 5 a.m., and decided to let Attila sleep until he could sleep no more. It now feels as if we are camping in the country house, with a skeleton crew of dishes, pots, pans, foodstuffs etc. to keep us functioning. We are trying to eat from the freezer, as what we eat will not have to be moved. I am looking forward to strawberries and rhubarb as a part of my breakfast this morning.

The house looks just as great empty as it did with the furniture in it! My goal is to leave the house as clean as I am able, for the new family. They have four children to start school here when they arrive, it is going to be quite an adjustment for them. I already have a pile of manuals for the appliances and little “Muskoka” knick knacks set aside for them. In particular the instructions on how to cure the masonry heater will be left in a prominent place.

As I look around this morning, I wonder at how much work Attila and I have done here at the country house, and what it looked like when we moved in. The house had been let go for many, many years. The side door had a gap in it an inch wide, letting in insects and mice, we replaced it with a window. The bathroom was a mess, the vanity had broken doors and drawers, which was replaced with a new vanity. The fireplace was badly damaged and did not function well, it was replaced with a masonry fireplace. A corner alcove had been used by the previous owner’s dog as a toilet, the smell was horrendous. We replaced floor boards, and used Killz, to eliminate the smell and reclaim the space for human use. The hot water heater was broken, the UV system was broken, the water pump broke just after we arrived. The roof leaked and we replaced it with a metal roof. We built a woodshed and screened in porch. We replaced windows and doors. The list goes on! We poured a lot of love into this country house, and wish the new family who will live here much happiness in their new home.

When I think about Attila and I and houses, I think about the “land of lost toys” in the Christmas program Rudolph, starring Burl Ives. Attila and I live in the land of lost houses!

I think we are going to stop rescuing houses though, we are getting a little long in the tooth for it. Since we both love the little house in the city, we hope it won’t be too hard to settle down.

Wednesday, September 2, 2015

Yesterday I arose at 3:00 a.m., far too excited to sleep. I packed some boxes, did the dishes, got dressed, and at 5:00 a.m. I moved Tank out of the way, moved the car out onto the road, moved Tank back in the driveway, and left for the little house in the city. Attila was still sleeping when I left, he had stayed up late to finish loading the first truck. He would follow later in the truck, after he had some rest.

I arrived at the little house after a long, long five hour drive. The traffic was light, but I kept getting stuck behind drivers who travelled significantly slower than the speed limit, and frequently had to come to a complete stop due to road construction. Attila arrived in the truck three hours later. Then he began to carry our belongings into the little house in the city.

Terra and Lares came straight to our house after work, and Lares helped Attila bring in the “two man” items. Inside, Terra was a whirlwind of efficiency. She setup bookcases, carried boxes of books for me to place on the shelves, carried a chesterfield from one room the other, and organized boxes. She was a tremendous help. While Terra was moving furniture around, Attila and Lares took the truck to Terra’s house. Terra is getting my dining room set, a custom made solid pine set, which will not fit in the little house in the city. She also agreed to store some of my bulky items that I am trying to sell, temporarily.

Terra and I had a lovely time together, and after a bit of a rest and cold drink she decided to head home to shower, and go to bed. She had to be up early to go to work the next morning. Shortly after she left Attila returned with the truck, having left Lares to put the dining room set to rights.

When we moved to the country house, Luna and Janus helped us move. That is now a happy memory, and their help was much appreciated.

We worked for a few more hours clearing the boxes and bags away from the beds, but couldn’t stay awake for very long. It was a long, long day, and a very happy one.

Attila slept well for the first time since the country house sold.

Today we finished removing everything from the rented truck, and returned it. We had only racked up an additional $12.00 over our basic payment, which was great!

I picked the second crop of green beans from the garden, cleaned up after last night’s dinner and this morning’s breakfast, and got down to breaking down any cardboard boxes that had been unpacked and sat empty. We will be taking the boxes back to the country house, to fill them up again for the second truck load on the weekend. The second truckload will not need to include any large appliances, or furniture, and we hope it will be easier to pack, and to load.

Talking with the lawyer’s office this morning, arrangement to finalize the deal were made. The schedule remains tight, as we must be completely moved out of the country house in one week’s time.

We are driving back to the country house later today to get started on packing… again. 🙂

I have decided to post this now, and follow later with a second posting on the move.

Worldly Distractions

Weather

The weather has been sunny, hot, and very humid since last week. Quite a bit of fog in the early morning, which is when I do my driving.

Quote

“It is not a lucky word, this name “impossible”; no good comes of those who have it so often in their mouths.”
Thomas Carlyle
1795 – 1881

Mountains

Friday, April 24, 2015
Country House

Yesterday I woke up at 3:55 a.m., and did not go back to sleep. I was too excited to sleep, and had a lot to do!

The first thing I did was lie about in bed for an hour with Diesel. He loves cuddling up in the bed, lying next to me with his front legs draped over my arm. It would be the last of this shared morning ritual, at least for now, so I wanted it to be a good one.

At 4:55 a.m. I was up, wandering around, coffee cup in hand, making sure all the last minute things were tossed into boxes and lined up at the door. By 5:10 a.m. I had finished my coffee, eaten my breakfast, and started to load the car. By 5:38 a.m. I was setting off out of the driveway. Light was just beginning to filter into the sky. I drove for four hours, with one stop for fuel, two hours into the journey. At 9:38 a.m. I wheeled into the town near our country house, with the list of things Attila needed from town. By 11:00 a.m. I was home!

It started snowing as I headed north near the beginning of the trip. Sometimes it snowed hard, and sometimes it snowed wet, and sometimes it cleared up a bit. The road was wet and clear despite the snow, except for one stretch where it had accumulated on the road into a slushy mess. It was snowing when I got to the country house, it snowed last night, and it is snowing again today. Yikes!

I am too busy to notice the weather right now. The stack of backed up administrative paperwork is, well, it is staggering, it is a mountain. Yesterday I worked to organize it, I sorted it into piles. I also did things like activate my credit card, which had to be done from the telephone here at the country house. There were several missives in the mail that required that I go online to fill in forms, which I could not do from the little house because all the required reference documents are here at the country house.

Now to the good part of the day yesterday. Attila! He managed to come home for lunch, so that we didn’t have to wait until evening to see each other. I spent some time in the morning yesterday, cooking a rice and bean casserole for our lunch. So, at last, we were sitting across the table from one another eating beans! What can I tell you, it was one of life’s special moments.

Today I am at it again! Two of my clients had issues with their web sites, so I resolved the problems. I had to spend an hour or so on the line with their web hosts to get it sorted, it helps so much that they have authorized me to work on their accounts, I can accomplish a lot more when I don’t keep having to seek permission to do things with their accounts. Sometimes these little issues seem like a big deal to people if they are not familiar with how the sites work. Luckily the fixes were simple, quick and easy. Everyone is happy!

Yesterday I sorted the paperwork that was here at the country house. Today I was hoping to sort the paperwork I brought back with me, but it doesn’t look like I am going to get that far, at least not today!

Laundry! Over the last two weeks I saved my dirty laundry for the country house, where we have a washer and dryer of our own. I have been doing laundry since yesterday afternoon, and I am not done yet! The drying rack is at the little house in the city, as I needed it down there. I washed my laundry at the laundromat all winter, and hung it up to dry in the house. I waited with these last loads though, to come home to the country house. I don’t like laundromats. I have met some lovely people there, but then I have also had to spend time around people I didn’t want to make eye contact with. Attila compares laundromats to sleazy bars, full of unhappy people. He has a point. But only to a point, because after all, I was there!

Today was bill paying day, and Attila and I are very happy that the financial crunch came, and the financial crunch went. We paid back the money we robbed from Peter to pay Paul. Now Peter and Paul are both happy. It works for everyone!

As I am sorting paperwork, cooking, doing laundry, sitting and talking to Mist, I am also getting distracted by computer work that needs to be done. I just realized that Google hits my old site files first, and has decided not index this site because the original journal was hand coded html, created long before cell phone use was common. I’ll have to change that, I have a few ideas, but I won’t be trying implement anything until after the country house goes on the market.

I also found a better program to handle the book I am currently writing, and have purchased it and downloaded it. I want to play with it now! But the paperwork and the cleaning have claimed my time, for now at least.

The house is not ready to go on the market. It is a lot closer than it was when I left to stay at the little house for the winter. Attila replaced the baseboards in the family room, and it is a big improvement. Other than the bathroom floor replacement, and a few little maintenance jobs, we are down to cleaning. Heating with wood is a messy business, we have a lot of cleaning to do!

We hope that by the end of next week we will have progressed far enough to bring in the realtors for evaluations. Then we will need to chose a realtor, pick a price, and get the sign up at the end of the driveway.

Worldly Distractions

Weather

2°C
Date: 2:00 PM EDT Friday 24 April 2015
Condition: Cloudy
Pressure: 101.5 kPa
Visibility: 16 km
Temperature: 1.7°C
Dewpoint: -7.9°C
Humidity: 49%
Wind: WNW 26 km/h

Quote

“There are two ways of exerting one’s strength: one is pushing down, the other is pulling up.”
Booker T. Washington
1856 – 1915

[It seems to me that big business and politicians believe in talking up while pushing down.]

Blast

Monday, February 16, 2015

Today is family day, and I am reminded that “family”, and what we celebrate in the term “family”, can have a wide variety of meanings. Attila left this morning, and I experienced my usual teary response as he drove away. And what do I think about it all? I think I am very lucky to have someone that I do miss! And who misses me! It isn’t the perfect “family” day, but it does highlight how lucky Attila and I are to be able to spend any time together at all.

Diesel isn’t impressed with tears. He has decided he needs a good deal of “consoling”, as he finds if disconcerting to be around someone who is teary. Are cats narcissists? A little cuddle on the couch did both of us a world of good.

And then on with the day. The temperature has risen to -20C, which is cold, but not as cold as it has been the last few days. The sun is shining, which is very cheerful, and beautiful. I spent the rest of the day puttering about. Attila brought down three four-litre-jugs, saved from our maple syrup purchases in the past. These make excellent drinking water jugs. I cleaned them, sterilized them, filled them with filtered water, and stored them in the basement for emergencies. Hopefully these jugs of water will never be needed, just refreshed annually.

For lunch I fixed myself some Guacamole, and enjoyed it with a few corn chips. For dinner I indulged in a spinach frittata for one.

To soften the intensity of the day, I watched the movie “Only The Lonely”, with John Candy and Maureen O’Hara. It worked well, providing a distraction, and a light, positive tone.

The evening closed with a chat with Attila, via FaceTime. I am glad he arrived there, in the north, safe and sound. Mist is glad to see him too, and now that the second firing of the day is under way in the masonry heater, she has decided that he has been chastised sufficiently for his absence.

All is well, February marches on.

Friday, February 20, 2015

The cold snap continues! It was a fortunate decision to have the fuel oil tank filled a few weeks ago! The gauge is heading down towards 3/4 full, which will mean that the month of February will have burned a quarter of a tank of fuel oil.

Every day there are at up to two dozen Asian Ladybugs crawling around the dining table in the kitchen. I kill every one of them, as I see them. This week, for the very first time, I was “bitten”. One of the ladybugs managed to crawl up the sleeve of my sweater and bit me on the arm. It didn’t hurt, but it was noticeable; I thought my sweater had caught and was pulling on a hair on my arm. It was a ladybug bite!

The cold is getting to me! The week long blast of cold weather brought a few mild, brief bouts of melancholy with it. At the country house these feelings begin to manifest with much more intensity by the first week in January. With a larger repertoire of coping mechanisms here at the little house in the city, the dreaded cabin fever may even fail to make an appearance this winter!

This week has been busy with interesting activities. I received a wonderful healing massage! I had provided computer support for the woman who leads the Yoga class, and in exchange I received the massage. It was a great experience, and very timely. Yoga class was attended the next day. And yesterday was laundromat day, which turned out to be a fascinating experience. I struck up a conversation with the one other woman at the laundromat, and it turned out that she attended the same primary school as I did, knew my younger brother well, and she attended the same church as my best friend from primary school. She and her husband had just moved to the area near our little house in the city, from the North, just a bit further north than our country house. They moved south because there is no work in the north. This is the very first time in my adult years that I have met anyone who attended the same public school as I did! A definite blast from the past.

Laundry day here at the little house in the city always has a decorative affect on the decor. Socks and underwear, t-shirts and trousers, festoon every horizontal line of furniture. It dries quickly in the arid atmosphere of the heated house, but is left overnight, so that it is bone dry when it is folded and put away. Diesel has decided that hanging socks are meant to be cat toys, he is one happy cat!

Today was grocery day. The list was compiled over several days, listed by store, to make each visit quick. The little house in the city offers a variety of choices when shopping for food, all of them appealing in different ways. For reasonably priced stock items, there is a NoFrills grocery store. For fresh produce there is a Walmart grocery section. For frozen items there is a local store that sells only frozen foods. Today the shopping trip was planned so as to visit stores in the order of items of increasing susceptibility to the cold. The items from the first store would have to wait in Tank while the items from the subsequent stores were being purchased. The frozen items were purchased first, the fresh vegetables, being most susceptible, were purchased last.

I have yet to get out for a “walk”! I am managing the knee exercises most days, missing a day here and there, but keeping up with it for the most part. But the walks just haven’t been feasible. There is snow on the roads, and that is where I began having issues with the knee, walking on snow. The sidewalks are impossibly snowy and rough, so the road is the only option at present. If we get a break from this arctic cold, the roads will clear quickly, and I will begin short walks on side streets. While I wait for clear roads, and eventually clear sidewalks, I make sure that I am out and about every day, walking the aisles of some store or other, for that little bit of walking.

Attila seems to be dealing well with this prolonged cold snap. He finds it much easier to cope with heating the house in the extreme cold when I am not living in the house he is trying to keep warm. If he fails to maintain it at a comfortable temperature, there is no one in the house who is suffering. Mist has a bed close to the masonry heater, and is quite content to curl up in that warm little nest, all day long. I however, require comfortable temperatures in other areas of the living area, like the kitchen. It isn’t healthy for me to sit in the one warm spot in the room all day long, without moving. When I am living at the little house in the city, with the thermostat at my command, there is no issue with comfortable indoor temperatures. In one sense, my absence takes a weight off Attila’s shoulders, if he “fails” to maintain a comfortable temperature, he is the only one to notice. Attila is used to working outdoors during these intense arctic episodes in the weather, so he hardly notices it when it is coolish in the house.

Worldly Distractions

Weather

Little House in the City

-26°C
Date: 6:00 AM EST Monday 16 February 2015
Condition: Clear
Pressure: 102.8 kPa
Tendency: rising
Visibility: 24 km
Temperature: -26.0°C
Dewpoint: -31.3°C
Humidity: 62%
Wind: W 8 km/h
Wind Chill: -33

EXTREME COLD WARNING IN EFFECT
-22°C (-7.6)
Date: 5:00 AM EST Friday 20 February 2015
Condition: Not observed
Pressure: 101.9 kPa
Tendency: rising
Temperature: -22.3°C
Dewpoint: -27.0°C
Humidity: 66%
Wind: W 17 km/h
Wind Chill: -33 (-27.4)

Country House

-33°C (-27.4)
Date: 6:00 AM EST Monday 16 February 2015
Condition: Clear
Pressure: 103.0 kPa
Visibility: 16 km
Temperature: -33.4°C
Dewpoint: -37.0°C
Humidity: 71%
Wind: NNW 4 km/h
Wind Chill: -38 (-36.4)

EXTREME COLD WARNING IN EFFECT
-27°C (-16.6)
Date: 5:00 AM EST Friday 20 February 2015
Condition: Clear
Pressure: 102.4 kPa
Visibility: 16 km
Temperature: -27.2°C
Dewpoint: -30.7°C
Humidity: 73%
Wind: WNW 11 km/h
Wind Chill: -36 (-32.8)

Quote

“You can’t have a light without a dark to stick it in.”
Arlo Guthrie
1947

A Thousand Poets In His Head

Yesterday I completed the University self-study course I was taking. I did manage to 100% on most of the quizzes the first time around, and 100% on the less than perfect three of the quizzes the second time round. I learned a few new things, which is always fun!

When we bought the second hand windows for the little house, we bought two for the country house. For the last five years or so we have been seriously discussing the replacement of the master bedroom windows. We priced them at $500 to $600 per window, which would ring in at between $1000 and $1200 before taxes. Understandably, we haven’t chosen to invest that much money in two new windows that we could manage without. But when we had the opportunity to buy two used windows for the master bedroom at $50 per window, well, we could not pass that up.

So after I finished my course, and ate my lunch, I headed out to the screened in porch to clean one of the two “new” windows. It took a few hours, they are very dirty. Dirt can be cleaned, the important aspect of these windows is that they function well, and will help keep the house cooler in summer and warmer in winter. Today I cleaned the second window. They are ready to install, if Attila has time this autumn.

Attila is racing the calendar now, trying to get firewood in from the back of the property before heating season begins. He works toting and splitting and stacking wood every night, for a few hours, as soon as grabs a bite to eat after arriving home from work. We can always purchase more firewood if we have to, but that goes against the grain for Attila. He is determined to fill our woodshed with our own wood.

As Attila was splitting wood in front of the woodshed yesterday evening, our neighbour drove into the drive, he came to offer Attila the use of his wood splitter. He had heard Attila splitting wood and kindly offered to let us use his wood splitter. Attila does not like wood splitters. He would rather use an axe. Since I have only ever used an axe to split wood, I had no opinion on the subject. So Attila thanked him and declined the kind offer. I don’t know, it sounds like it would be easier to use a wood splitter to me, but Attila was firm, having spent a week splitting wood with a splitter at one point, he really did not want to use one ever again.

It was very kind and considerate of our neighbour to make the offer. This is the fellow who ploughed our driveway for us with his riding snow blower, that first winter we lived here, before we even had a proper snow shovel. I have never spoken with this neighbour face-to-face, and in the ten years we have lived here we have only exchanged greetings, a wave in passing, fewer times than I can count on two hands. His wife has never even waved in passing, or spoken to me; once in the last ten years she said hello to Attila when they were both at the Post Office picking up the mail, he said she was friendly enough. There are only three properties on our street that are occupied year round, so this seems cold. Be that as it may, when the chips are down, they are very good neighbours to have.

My lone trip to the little house in the city approaches, it requires careful planning. Things have been added to the list, and gathered together in the living room, ready to pack the car next week. The projects to be undertaken during the visit must be carefully thought out, and all the equipment and supplies needed for each must make the trip with me. Attila hopes to finish the firewood while I am away, I fervently hope he manages it, as I miss his company when he has to get at it, every evening after he comes home from work.

On Wednesday last Attila repaired our little car, and it can now be used for his commute back and forth to work. This is quite a relief! We extended ourselves financially, to install the heat pump at the little house in the city, and it will be quite some time before we catch up. Buying another car at this point would bring hardship. Crisis averted! Bravo Attila!

Our little car is a 1998 model Toyota. We bought it new, in the days when I had a job and could obtain a loan. Over the last 16 years it has required little in the way of repairs, and has run reliably, and inexpensively. It is showing its age now, but we hope to keep it in good mechanical order, and on the road, for another five years or so.

Rummaging around in the cupboard today, I came across an jar of Pear Marmalade that I had canned in 1993. The ring was rusted, so was the lid. No spoilage could be detected though. The contents of the jar, when I washed off the dust, seemed as perfect as the day they had been canned. So I pried the lid off with a loud POP, the seal was still good! That would be 21 years ago that I canned that marmalade, and the seal was still strong and intact. It smelled fine, I gave it a little taste, no deterioration in taste either. Pear Marmalade was an experiment on my part, and as far as I am concerned the recipe is not a keeper! The proof of that, is that I did not keep the recipe! I threw out the Marmalade, not because it had spoiled, but because I do not like it.

Then and there I decided that I will make no more jams or jellies until the very last jar in our possession has been located and consumed. Then I will start again. I should be canning jams and jellies again by next summer.

A few years ago I made Sumac Jelly, and discovered that it is one of my favourites, right up there with Black Currant Jam, and Marmalade. I have a few jars left, which I will enjoy this winter. I also have a few jars of Grape Butter that I made quite a while back, still good though. And of course, the ever popular Strawberry Jam, mine was made with wild strawberries. Attila does not eat jams or jellies, only me. I love a little dollop on toast, or a bagel, or a cracker. It makes a nice little pick me up on a busy day.

Today was another beautiful day! With the windows wide open, all the sounds of nature could be heard. including the sharp, frequent, repetitive clangs, as acorns fell from the tall oak trees that surround us. Those acorns were bouncing high when they hit the deck; I would not want one of them landing on my head! No danger of that inside the house though.

Now, how is this for silly! At lunchtime I couldn’t decide what I wanted to eat, so I sat down at the computer to look for a recipe, and three and a half hours later I remembered, that I forgot to eat lunch! Life is good.

Worldly Distractions

Weather

22°C
Date: 2:00 PM EDT Friday 26 September 2014
Condition: Sunny
Pressure: 102.7 kPa
Visibility: 16 km
Temperature: 22.0°C
Dewpoint: 13.3°C
Humidity: 57%
Wind: WSW 13 km/h
Humidex: 25

Quote

“A facility for quotation covers the absence of original thought.”
Dorothy L. Sayers
1893 – 1957

Not always true, in my opinion. My dear friend Paul had a photographic memory. When in a state of high emotion, the first words that connected for him were appropriate quotations. It was a knee-jerk reaction, his memory was of such monumental proportions that it overwhelmed him. He had a lot of original thoughts, was a well published writer in his own right. When emotions were high his personal expressions were drowned out, the thousand poets in his head fought for, and won, his voice.