Learning

Oh the excitement! Well, by modern standards of drama, not really. OK, admittedly by the standards of recent drama in my own life, not really. But I can muster a little bit of excitement over this.

On Wednesday evening, after 7:00 p.m. the dishwasher was doing its thing. The dishwasher generates heat, as it does its thing. Unexpectedly, the dishwasher raised the temperature in the house a whopping 1.5C, which put it at 22.5C. That is too warm for sleeping! The temperature in the house, due to new insulation and new windows, remains constant. Attila suggested turning on the air conditioning. I was resistant. The compromise was to open all the windows in the house until bed time, which brought the temperature down to 21.5. Better. It will take some time to learn how to manage the temperature in the house! I might just open the windows while the dishwasher is running, and see if that keeps the temperature down.

I have been enjoying the beautiful warm sunny afternoons, and chilly clear nights. Everything is green. The leaves are unfurling, the perennials are shooting up towards the sun.

This morning I washed laundry before 7:00 a.m.; it has been hanging out to dry on the back porch clothesline. It has not been a terribly busy day. Attila’s iPad needed some updating, did that. My web sites needed software upgrades, did that. Time is flying by, so I must be having fun.

Things between Attila and I remain friendly, a new rhythm of life is slowly emerging, and I find I am comfortable with that process. The future is unwritten.

Attila’s garden is in the planning stages. The seed packets are spread all over the kitchen table: Swiss Chard, Scarlet Runner Beans, Climbing Peas, Blue Hubbard Squash, Butternut Squash, Basil, Spinach, and a few others yet to be chosen. The Scarlet Runner Beans, Blue Hubbard Squash, and Butternut Squash are seeds we saved from previous harvests at Mist Cottage, originally saved from produce purchased from organic farms. Some of the remaining seeds are Heirloom seeds purchased from Salt Spring Seeds, and some were ordered from William Dam Seeds. This is a gardening weekend for Attila.

I have just come indoors to finish writing this entry. The mosquitoes were beginning to be bothersome. Attila and I had been sitting out on the porch, chatting, and watching the big bonfire that the neighbours had built in their back yard; all the enjoyment, none of the work. There is a party going on around that bonfire tonight, but the revelry won’t disturb me, I’ve been sleeping well most of the time lately.

Worldly Distractions

Weather

17°C
Date: 8:00 PM EDT Friday 18 May 2018
Condition: Partly Cloudy
Pressure: 102.6 kPa
Tendency: Falling
Temperature: 16.5°C
Dew point: -2.6°C
Humidity: 27%
Wind: NE 18 km/h
Visibility: 24 km

Quote

“It’s easier to put on slippers than to carpet the whole world.”
Al Franken

2016 Retrospective

Although the calendar year is a mere human artifact, it is one that is familiar to me, and so has meaning in my life. It is time to say farewell to 2016.

A year in retrospect, the highlights.

At the end of the years I always think of A Tale Of Two Cities, “It was the best of times, it was the worst of times.” Who is to know what will come, I think to myself. How will we know until the end what was the best, and what was the worst, I ask myself.

The year began with Attila starting on regular night shift at his job. This was a big improvement over working rotating shifts, as he had done since our move to Mist Cottage the previous September. By May he had been offered a promotion to a position that was day shift, and allowed weekends off. This was the first time since we have been together that he has had weekends off, it felt like a miracle, and it still does.

Early winter also saw my Mom facing cancer treatment. There was worry involved for those of us who love her. Not a whine or a whimper escaped her though. She underwent radiation therapy with incredible courage, in her typical indomitable way. And now at the end of a very long year for my Mom, she is cancer free, and recovering from the severe effects of radiation treatment. The side effects of the radiation treatment were severe, and are ongoing. Mom seems to have made her peace with the reality, and has resumed almost all of her previous activities, and is a going concern once more. Sometimes I am in awe of my Mom.

Mom 1945 6 Parry Sound High School picture My Mom at the age of 15, cropped from a school picture, at the end of the second world war.

In the spring of 2016 Attila and I found and purchased the Rideau Camp. We spent every spare minute working there, clearing brambles, brush, dead trees, logs, and garbage. We built a fire pit and a compost toilet system. It was easily the happiest spring of my life, and Attila feels the same way about it.

DSCF8642 This is the Rideau Camp at the end of May, 2016. At this point we had owned the property for seven weeks, the brambles that covered the flat area between the gravel and the wood pile had been cleared and burned by then. We were preparing the camp fire pit, and enjoying picnics every weekend at the Camp.

We also purchased Iris the trailer during the spring. She is a 1976/7 Triple E Surfside trailer, in reasonable condition. We enjoyed camping at our Rideau Camp, and at our Ancestral Camp.

TrailerWEB Iris, on March 5, when we picked her up. It snowed that day!

Also in the early spring we demolished the garden shed at Mist Cottage, and Attila replaced it with a solidly built shed. This project was to take only a few weeks, but the summer had other plans for our time, and it was finally completed in late October. Attila also installed a dishwasher in August, and I must say it is game changer in the kitchen, we love it!

DSCF9742 The renewed Garden Shed, ready for duty at last on October 9, solid and roomy and hopefully mouse proof!

NewImage The new dishwasher. Our counter space is limited, you can see all of it in the photo, and it makes a huge difference when the dirty dishes are piled in the appliance and not on the counters. It also takes little time to wash and air dry the dishes, which are very easy to put away in such a small kitchen.

In late spring Sunny and Sky were born, 7 weeks premature. They were in NICU for six weeks, and Sky had a few touch and go moments. They came home with Terra and Lares, began to thrive, and are beautiful babies. One of Sky’s middle names is Robert, my brother Carl’s middle name, which is just a coincidence as the babie’s middle names are all after Lares side of the family, but it gives me comfort nevertheless.

FullSizeRender Sunny (left) and Sky (right) at 5 months (Gestational 3 months).

We had our first ever summer vacation last July. It was an event we anticipated with great excitement. It just goes to show you that you never know what is around the corner. After spending a few days at our Ancestral Camp, we returned home, then received the news that my brother had suffered a massive heart attack and lay unconscious in a hospital in Toronto. He experienced cardiac arrest for 15 minutes before being resuscitated, and never regained consciousness; my Mom, and all of my siblings were by his side through the long days of hope and disappointment. His funeral was held weeks later. Losing my brother was a profound experience for me, we were babies together, I feel his absence to the core of my being. Carl was an organ donor, and saved three lives.

LittleBrother1970sAtGrannys My brother Carl, at Granny and Grandpa’s house. He returned to spend time at the house almost every year, and that is where we experienced our reunion the summer before last.

By August my blood pressure was high, very high, and would not come down, even after quadrupling my medication. I began a round of doctors appointments at the walk-in-clinic (after more than a year, we still can’t find a family doctor), and had a nuclear stress test on my heart (normal!). The levels slowly lowered, but are still in the “high blood pressure” range. In September I adopted a low-sodium, low-sugar diet, and began taking Apple Cider Vinegar before each meal, which helped. By October I had decided to reduce the ineffective and redundant medication dosage back to the original low dosage, which made no difference at all, but I did find that discontinuing the medication resulted in my blood pressure skyrocketing again, so went back to taking the low dosage. The dietary changes are an intense experience, because something like a pickle and piece of bread could put me over my daily limit for sodium. I also found that food without sodium or sugar is not all that interesting, so that as soon as hunger is satisfied, I stop eating. I no longer eat for pleasure, because it is not pleasurable, just necessary. There has been a slight weight loss.

The most significant feature of 2016 has been that we live at Mist Cottage, and that Attila has regular working hours and weekends off. These two situations are game changers, and have improved our experience of life immeasurably.

It was a year of much joy and deep sorrow.

P.S. I invite you to share the highlights of your 2016, would love to hear them!

Worldly Distractions

Weather

-4°C
Date: 7:05 AM EST Saturday 31 December 2016
Condition: Light Snow
Pressure: 101.3 kPa
Tendency: Falling
Temperature: -4.3°C
Dew point: -6.3°C
Humidity: 86%
Wind: E 18 km/h
Wind Chill: -10
Visibility: 3 km

Quote

“You better live your best and act your best and think your best today, for today is the sure preparation for tomorrow and all the other tomorrows that follow.”
Harriet Martineau
1802 – 1876

The Great Dishwasher Installation Saga

When we bought Mist Cottage many people were looking at it, because it was so inexpensive and in such a great neighbourhood. But no one was interested in buying it, there was just so much work to be done. Most people would have just torn it down and started over, but not us! Here was our chance to invest in a place where we might comfortably retire, as neither of us could expect a pension. It has proved to be a lot of work, and on most days it seems worthwhile; not on all days though.

Let me tell you what we found in the kitchen the day we took possession of the house. The lower cabinet shelves were lined with… carpet! It was dark blue floor carpeting, stapled to the shelves. The carpet was covered with mouse urine and droppings, the stench was extremely off putting. My first project in this house was to tear out the carpet in the kitchen cabinets and spray the whole area with bleach. That first summer we rented the largest dumpster bin available on the market, and filled it with the carpet and items with similar horrific physical qualities.

We have been fighting the mice ever since we moved in here. Slowly but surely we are blocking their entrance points. Below the kitchen sink where the plumbing comes through the floor was one of the entry points, and the wall behind the kitchen sink another. They are now both completely blocked.

Saturday, August 13, 2016

Saturday began with a trip to Canadian Tire to pick up plumbing parts to connect the new dishwasher. After arriving back, Attila set to work. First the area where the dishwasher will be installed had to be prepared. The cupboards are the originals, old, solid wood frames, nothing prebuilt about these old cupboards. Attila did the work, I am describing it.

The cupboard doors were removed. The cupboard shelves were removed, one inch thick wood needed to be sawed through and removed, and new supports for the what remained of the shelves were built. The bottom of the cupboard was removed, which proved time consuming.

This is the inside of the cupboard where the dishwasher will reside. Already one shelf has been removed, the rest need to come out, which includes the bottom shelf.
Dishwasher 1 DSCF9268
Here is what we found under the bottom shelf of the kitchen cupboard! The large mouse nest was built using insulation from the wall behind the cupboard.
DSCF9276

With this potential health hazard in the kitchen, we turned off the central air system, removed the curtains from the windows, stapled sheets over the doors from the kitchen to the rest of the house, and removed all visible items from the kitchen, storing them temporarily on the living room floor, creating another tunnel!

I sprayed this mess with hydrogen peroxide, then Attila donned a mask and gloves, and proceeded to use a paint scraper to remove all of the loose debris into garbage bags, which were sealed and put in a larger green garbage bag to go out with the trash next week. The area was sprayed for a second time with hydrogen peroxide. Attila then took a shower.

A second trip to the hardware store was undertaken, more parts were needed.

Upon return the thick wood shelf surrounding the sink drain and plumbing was removed using a oscillating saw.

A third trip to out, again to Canadian Tire, to replace a part that sported the wrong sized threads. Then home again to eat dinner, before Attila took up the project again. After installing a new drain trap, he called it quits for the day.

Thus ended the first full day of work to install the new dishwasher. We have a sterilized hole to place it in. The contents of the kitchen are strewn across the living room, covering every surface.

We have had intermittent rain, and it is beginning to have an effect, after an entire day of infrequent showers.

Sunday, August 14, 2016

Installing the new kitchen taps was first on the roster this morning. The water supply to the house was turned off just after breakfast. Removing the old taps proved to be a mega-job, taking all of the morning. The air was blue in the kitchen this morning. I made very effort to be busy in one of the adjoining rooms, and asked no questions.

At one point Attila became concerned about the number of ants suddenly crawling everywhere in his small tool area in the garage. They crawled all over him when he needed to fetch items, or work on something. Off I went again to Canadian Tire and purchased Wilson’s AntOut spray (not aerosol), hurrying home with it so that Attila could continue with his project in relative comfort. The product, by Attila’s account, was a great success.

Then on to cleaning up the kitchen sink where the old taps had been removed, and installing the new taps. By this time it was well past lunch time, so I was very grateful to have the Lentil Salad sitting in the refrigerator ready for a quick meal.

The new kitchen taps, well tap, the original had two knobs, one for hot, one for cold, but this high flyer has one handle that you can lift to turn the water on with back of your hand when your hands are dirty… what luxury!
Dishwasher 10DSCF9326

I abdicated responsibility for trying to prepare a meal and ordered a pizza, from the only pizza establishment that lists all the allergens in their food.

After dinner Attila got the hoses and electrical hooked up, but the dishwasher will not fit under the counter, it is too high. He will try to raise the counter, we will see how that goes! After the hookup Attila wanted to try the unit out, to make sure it works. I got it all loaded and setup, then pushed the start button. Soon thereafter Attila shouted from the kitchen that I should come and turn it off, as he raced to the basement to turn off the main water supply. It leaked, all of the water that should have gone into the dishwasher poured into the area below the sink. Another mess to clean up. More parts were needed.

Monday, August 15, 2016

Day three of the great dishwasher installation dawned. Oh heaven, above let this be the last day of the dishwasher installation!!

I arose early, showered, then wakened Attila. We have important things to do. He is taking a day off work, and although it was originally planned so that we could have a camping weekend, it isn’t turning out that way! This morning the car was dropped off at the garage for an oil change and checkup, and Tank transported us, bright and early, to the Home Depot a half an hour away, so that Attila could return parts he did not need, and buy more parts that he thinks he does need.

After arriving home Attila went straight to work on the dishwasher. Finally it was time to turn in on for the second time, keeping close watch on the discharge pipes and under the machine and the sink, to ensure that the water was all going where it was supposed to go. It was!

The washing machine took three hours to cycle, and during that time we noticed quite a strong “mousey” smell in the kitchen. We had a serious chat, and both decided it would be best, since the kitchen was already emptied and the cupboards torn up a bit, to carry on removing the base level of the cupboards to reveal the floor below. There had been quite a large mouse nest, full of urine and droppings, below the lower cabinet floor where the dishwasher was installed, and from the smell we suspected there were more nests under the other cupboards.

At this point there was some discussion about installing new cupboards, but the expense was determined to be beyond our means. The old cupboards would have to be made functional, there was no choice but to forge ahead with the old.

I headed off to the Hardware store to purchase a litre of BIN, to use to paint the exposed floors under the kitchen cabinets. I took the opportunity to visit the library while I was out, to return books, and borrow more. I was pleasantly surprised to find a book written by Kip Harness, a singer/songwriter from Toronto who frequented the same places I did when I lived there.

The opening for the dishwasher with the shelves removed, and the floor painted with BIN. Note the holes in the drywall are “sealed” with steel wool, to keep the mice from coming in through the back wall. Someday, when we put in new kitchen cabinets, we will remove this old drywall, and all the nasty mousiness behind it, seal the area to prevent further mouse incursions, paint the whole thing with BIN, insulate, rewire, put a vapour barrier in and install new drywall. Putting in new kitchen cupboards will be expensive and very, very, very time consuming. Eventually we will reclaim this house back from the mice!
Dishwasher 2 DSCF9284

Once again everything in the kitchen was covered with sheets, and all items were removed from the kitchen. Attila donned his breathing mask, and latex gloves, and set to removing the entire lower shelf floor. This involved dismantling the supports for the kitchen cupboards, so that they sagged to the floor, to wait there until Attila would install new bottom shelving. Basically, Attila had to rebuild the bottom kitchen cupboards. I knew this job would not be a simple put-in-the-dishwasher, hook-it-up-and-go job. In an old house these little projects are seldom, I might venture the word never, simple.

The kitchen draped with sheets as Attila removes the bottom shelf of the kitchen cupboards, to reveal two additional huge mouse nests, full of urine and droppings. Mice are so disgusting. Those who find them cute should drop into their homes for tea sometime.
Dishwasher 4 DSCF9300

Just as we suspected there were two other huge mouse nests, filled with dried urine and faces, built from wall insulation, under the sink cupboard. They were soaked from the leak experienced on the first trial run with the dishwasher, and reeked. Attila spent a few hours removing the mouse mess, using copious amounts of hydrogen peroxide to kill any viruses or bacteria that might be floating around. The cooling system had been turned off before the removal of the boards began, so there was no air circulating through the house to spread bad things in the air all around.

The site of one of the other mouse nests, wet after being sprayed with hydrogen peroxide.
Dishwasher 6 DSCF9314
You can see here two issues. first, the dishwasher does not fit under the lip of the kitchen counter, so the counter will have to be raised. Second, in removing the bottom shelf of the kitchen cupboards, the frame sank down to the floor. Attila needs to rebuild the base of the cabinets to bring the cupboards back up to the correct height.
Dishwasher 5 DSCF9311

After showering and changing his clothes, Attila and I drove over to the garage in Tank, where I left him to pay the car maintenance bill before bringing the car home.

After arriving home, Attila performed a second cleaning of the floorboards under the kitchen cupboards, again using a spray bottle of hydrogen peroxide to damp down the small amount of debris remaining, as he scooped it up and discarded it. When this dried, the BIN was applied by brush, and we left it to dry with all the kitchen windows open and the ceiling fans running.

At last, the two coats of BIN have dried on the floor beneath cupboards. The mousey smell is gone. Time to rebuild the cupboards.
Dishwasher 7 DSCF9320
The BIN drying to the left of the sink.
Dishwasher 8 DSCF9324
The BIN drying to the right of the sink.
Dishwasher 9 DSCF9325

Luckily the pizza I had ordered yesterday was adequate for two dinners, so all we had to do was heat it in the microwave.

After a quick dinner, Attila was off to cut the planks for the lower cupboard shelves, pine that he had purchased years ago at a good price. Then, as the two coats of BIN were dry, the reconstruction of the lower cupboards began. The pine boards were installed across the cupboards, supporting the structure of the cupboards, later the cedar boards that line the cupboards would be installed at right angle to the pine, lending great strength as it is needed in these hard working cupboards. With the installation of the pine and cedar in one cupboard it was after 10 p.m., Attila was out of time.

And so ends day three of the Great Dishwasher Installation saga.

Tuesday, August 16, 2016

We awoke to the sound of rain on the roof. It was a slow, steady rain, and already the rain barrels were full to overflowing. The rain continued steadily as the day progressed.

After Attila left for work I jumped into the shower to prepare to attend my first Tai Chi class. It is funny, but I was quite nervous about attending, new situations can sometimes hit me that way. I was determined to make myself go though. Before I left I received a message that additional copies of my first book were ready for pickup near the location of the Tai Chi classes. Perfect.

I drove through a wet greening landscape, where some of the plants had turned a vibrant green in the rain, but others were reacting slowly, turning from brown to yellow. It felt like mother earth was gulping the refreshment offered from the sky. It rained all day.

When I arrived at the Church where the Tai Chi lessons were to take place, I was concerned that there was only one other car in the parking lot. Undeterred I ran from Tank through the rain to try the doors. They were locked. Soon a very friendly woman with a briefcase came to the door, and I asked her about the Tai Chi classes. She unlocked the doors and invited me in, where she checked the schedule, no Tai Chi at the specified time! I don’t know what the mixup has been, but I now know that there is no class on Tuesday mornings.

The next stop was the print shop, where the books were waiting for pickup. The books looked good, so the bill was paid. The next destination was home.

The rest of the afternoon was spent emptying the dishwasher’s first load, and stacking the items on the floor in the bedroom, the only area in the house with free floor space. Yesterdays dishes were washed, and the kitchen counter cleared off completely.

Attila arrived home from work ready for a bath and some dinner. After Attila had a refreshing bath it was time to think about something to eat. To save precious evening time for working on the kitchen project, a can of ravioli was opened for a quick meal. Not ideal but perfect in that it involved only two bowls and two spoons in the way of dirty dishes.

The next stage of the dishwasher installation project was to raise the kitchen counter so that the dishwasher would fit under it. The kitchen was built before dishwashers became a commercial success in the 1950s, and so the counter was too low to accommodate such an appliance.

The dishwasher is too high to fit under the kitchen counter. Attila raised the counter on “shims” by 3/8″, and then in she went.
Dishwasher 3 DSCF9295

After the counter had been raised 3/8 inch, I began to vacuum, then wash with soapy water, the empty finished cabinet to the left of the dishwasher. The contents of the drawers were washed in the sink and dried, the drawers were washed out, dried, refilled with the clean utensils, and inserted into the cabinets.

The amount of storage space in the kitchen has been reduced by 1/4, which is a lot in a small kitchen. The items stored there needed to be sorted, some to go in a tote which would be kept handy in the basement, and some to be returned to the kitchen cupboard. It was decided that no food would be stored in the bottom cabinets in the kitchen, they would be devoted to cooking utensils, baking dishes, pots, pans, and the various items we frequently use as we prepare all of our food from scratch.

Attila spent the rest of the evening installing the pine boards and cedar boards on the bottom of the cabinets to the right of the dishwasher, screwing in a board barrier at the back of the dishwasher to prevent mice from entering the cabinets, and finally putting the dishwasher in place and securing it.

Last night, as Attila finished packing his lunch for work for the next day, we loaded the dishwasher together. Oh what a feeling!

Wednesday, August 17, 2016

The dishwasher is functionally installed, but the job was not done yet.

The newly installed shelves to the right of the dishwasher needed to be washed, then allowed to dry, before items could be stored there. As well, two boxes full of casserole dishes, pots, pans, lids etc. needed to be washed and sorted into what would go back into the cupboards, and what would go into a tote in the basement. These were tasks I easily performed.

Atilla needed to install the footplate on the dishwasher, and install trim on either side of the dishwasher, as the cupboards were not deep enough for it to install flush with the front. Also the raised countertop left a gap at the top of the cupboards at both ends of the cabinets, and that needed trim as well. It was a cluster of fiddly bits, but needed to be done.

After work today, Attila installation for the dishwasher, and began working on the needed trim for the job.

So here we are, so close to being done, just the finishing touches to go. The dishwasher is installed, insulation and all, and it works! Already today’s supper dishes are waiting patiently for an overnight run with a full load.
Dishwasher 11

There is a large cupboard at the end of the kitchen that currently holds detergents, cleaning agents, and all kinds of hardware like light bulbs. Attila wants to convert that cupboard into a food and appliance storage centre. I am all for this! But I would like to leave that project until the winter months, when we won’t have the nice weather to visit parks and go for long walks, or go camping in our trailer.

I know what kind of kitchen cabinets I want if we replace the kitchen cabinetry. Our country house had an island with drawers that pulled all of the way out, so that I could easily see and reach every item in the drawer, without having to move any other items out of the way, or guess what might be hidden in the depths of the cupboard. If I ever get new cabinets they will all have deep drawers and no doors!

We have some pretty serious arranging to do with our belongings as this dishwasher project nears completion, and the garden shed nears completion as well. Things will be shuffled about in the kitchen, in the new garden shed, in the garage, and in the basement. There will be a lot of sorting an organizing going on from now until Christmas, and perhaps beyond. And maybe even some purging!

The heat wave has broken, as has the drought, with yesterdays all-day rain. This morning I took up my morning walks once again, with great relief.

Worldly Distractions

Weather

24°C
Date: 11:00 AM EDT Sunday 14 August 2016
Condition: Mostly Cloudy
Pressure: 101.3 kPa
Tendency: rising
Visibility: 24 km
Temperature: 24.4°C
Dewpoint: 19.1°C
Humidity: 72%
Wind: WSW 14 km/h
Humidex: 31

SPECIAL WEATHER STATEMENT IN EFFECT “A significant widespread rainfall event is expected beginning overnight or early Tuesday morning and ending Tuesday evening. Rainfall amounts will range from 25 to 40 mm in most places. There may be appreciably higher amounts exceeding 60 mm in some locales.”
23°C
Date: 11:00 AM EDT Monday 15 August 2016
Condition: Mostly Cloudy
Pressure: 102.3 kPa
Tendency: rising
Visibility: 24 km
Temperature:23.2°C
Dewpoint: 16.1°C
Humidity: 64%
Wind: SSE 13 km/h
Humidex: 28
[OK, can you believe this, after experiencing a summer long drought, we are now warned that nature may bring to us a sudden, short deluge from the sky. I think that next may come the locusts!]

SEVERE THUNDERSTORM WATCH IN EFFECT
RAINFALL WARNING IN EFFECT
20°C
Kingston Airport
Date: 10:00 AM EDT Tuesday 16 August 2016
Condition: Light Rain
Pressure: 102.0 kPa
Tendency: falling
Visibility: 10 km
Temperature: 19.8°C
Dewpoint: 18.8°C
Humidity: 94%
Wind: NE 8 km/h

Quote

“Be kind, for everyone you meet is fighting a hard battle.”
Plato
427 BC – 347 BC

This saying never gets old for me, and I find that I need to be reminded of it with some regularity as the years slip every more quickly into the past.

Rain!

When I arose this morning I had every intention of heading out for my walk before 6:30 a.m., having learned my lesson yesterday when out walking yesterday morning after 8 a.m. in the heat. Then I looked out the window. It was raining! When it ended there were still patches of dry pavement under the vehicles, so we did not receive a lot of rain, but some is better than none at this point. I would have gone walking in the rain, but when I looked at the thermometer it was already 25C, and the Humidex was over 30C. There would be no walk today, not in the outdoors at least.

As it turned out today, I didn’t stick my nose out the door at all. Instead I worked on my book.

The other activity that occupied my time today was cooking. Attila and I decided to give cooking a try during the mid priced hydro window, which is in the morning. I made a large batch of croutons in the oven, and cooked lentils with which I made a Lentil Salad. One thing always leads to another. My Lentil Salad called for raisins. The raisins we buy are bulk organic unsulphered raisins. It is a big, big box of raisins. To get just one cup I had to open up the entire big, big box. Once opened it needed to be repackaged. I filled four 1.5 litre mason jars, which made a small dent in the raisin supply. Not having any more large mason jars, I opted to seal the raisins in their plastic bag, seal that in a cardboard box, then store the box in a suitably sized tote which would keep out the mice, if we get any this fall. The Lentil Salad was so good that I felt it was worth all the kerfuffle to store the bulk raisins properly.

Lentil Salad

INGREDIENTS:

– 2 ¼ cups (1 lb.) Du Puy lentils
– 1 medium red onion, diced
– 1 cup dried currants (you could also use raisins or other dried fruit)
– 1/3 cup capers
– Vinaigrette:
– 1/3 cup cold pressed, extra virgin olive oil
– 1/4 cup apple cider vinegar
– 1 Tbsp. maple syrup
– 1 Tbsp. strong mustard
– 2 teaspoons salt
– 2 teaspoons pepper
– 1 teaspoon ground cumin
– 1/2 teaspoon turmeric
– 1/2 teaspoon ground coriander
– 1/2 teaspoon ground cardamom
– 1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
– 1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
– 1/4 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
– 1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
– Optional add-ins:
– Arugula
– Walnuts
– Goat cheese
– Fresh herbs: flat-leaf parsley, cilantro, basil
– Sprouts
– Crispy seasonal veggies

METHOD:

1. Rinse lentils well, drain. Place in a pot and cover with a 3-4 inches of water, bring to a boil, reduce to simmer. Check lentils for doneness after 15 minutes, but they should take about 20 minutes in total. You will know they are cooked if they still retain a slight tooth – al dente! Overcooking the lentils is the death of this dish. Be careful! 2. While the lentils are simmering, make the dressing by placing all ingredients in a jar with a tight fitting lid and shake vigorously to combine. 3. Finely dice red onion – the salad is best if all the ingredients are about the same size. If using raisins, chop them roughly to make them a bit smaller, and do the same with the capers if they are large. 4. When the lentils are cooked, remove from heat, drain and place under cold running water to stop the cooking process. Once cooled slightly but still a little warm, place lentils in a large serving bowl and toss with dressing. Add other onion, capers, and currants. If using other add-ins such as herbs, greens, or cheese, wait until just before serving. Otherwise, this salad can hang out in the fridge for a couple days.
SERVINGS: 4
SOURCE: http://www.mynewroots.org/site/2010/06/the-best-lentil-salad-ever-2/

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A telephone call was received to schedule the delivery of the dishwasher tomorrow. Another project! At least this project can be worked on inside the air conditioned house, which Attila will appreciate a lot. I dare not expect this job to be done any time soon, but I can dream!

Worldly Distractions

Weather

24°C
Date: 6:03 AM EDT Wednesday 10 August 2016
Condition: Light Rainshower
Pressure: 101.8 kPa
Tendency: rising
Visibility: 24 km
Temperature: 23.8°C
Dewpoint: 21.2°C
Humidity: 85%
Wind: SSW 21 gust 36 km/h
Humidex: 32 (This rose to 39 by mid afternoon.)

Quote

“You can discover what your enemy fears most by observing the means he uses to frighten you.”
Eric Hoffer
1902 – 1983

[This is true of most people, but not all enemies.]