The Reserve

I have been waking up very early for the last week or so, sometimes as early as 4:00 a.m. I don’t like it much.

Once I fell asleep again, which inspired me on subsequent mornings, to roll over and wait for sleep. It hasn’t come again. So now I am getting up when I wake up, turning up the thermostat. [Thermostat! I love that word.] I turn the Christmas tree lights on, as it is still dark. I sit quietly with the lights for a while, then I get out the laptop and check out a few things on the internet. I am not fully committed to the computer though, my attention frequently wanders to the windows. It has become a game, waiting for the first signs of dawn. This morning the dawn was lovely, with a few pink clouds, which disappeared into a blue sky.

Our Christmas was lovely. Just the two of us celebrating together. Terra messaged a picture of herself with Lares and Sunny and Sky, wishing us a Merry Christmas. My Mom and my sisters sent email messages and messaged; and we spoke via FaceTime twice on Christmas Day, which is always a treat. We also got to say hello to my Brother-The-Middle-Boy, who was visiting with Mom for Christmas, and my nephew, and my niece. Later in the day we spoke with Attila’s Mom, by telephone to the US, she is an American Citizen. We exchanged gifts and spent our day reading (me), cooking (Attila), watching a few films, and listening to Christmas Choirs. Attila cooked a delicious turkey dinner, with all the trimmings (no salt added). I made Mincemeat Muffins, a recipe I made up the Friday before Christmas, they are a big hit around here.

Yesterday we decided to brave the retail wilds and go shopping, which took us to the city.

First, we dropped off a large box of items to the Salvation Army Thrift Store. While we were at the thrift store, I found and purchased for $1.00 a perforated metal container to place dirty cutlery in, while it waits to go into the dishwasher. I like donating to the Salvation Army Thrift Store because their resale prices are very low, so that the items can be obtained more easily by people who can barely afford food and shelter and heat. Value Village prices are ridiculously high, so I donate nothing to them; a significant proportion of their clientele are not in the least bit needy. I shop there myself.

We bought everything on our list, and one extra item. Actually, there was only one item on our list, and that was a sink drainer/stopper for our kitchen sink. On Christmas Day the old one literally broke, the metal gave out and it was stuck in the drain so tightly that Attila could only get it out with some effort. We think it is the original, which would make it over 50 years old. I looked for replacement at the Salvation Army Store, because you just never know what you will find there, but they didn’t have a used one. So we set off from the thrift store to Home Depot and found a replacement for $10, which I hope will last another 50 years, so that when it breaks it will be someone else’s problem, although I imagine they will throw out the sink rather than replace the stopper.

While at Home Depot we also purchased a Carbon Monoxide Detector. We had one at the Country House, because we heated with wood, and we left it for the new owners. Mist Cottage really does need one since it is partially heated with an oil furnace. A Carbon Monoxide Detectors is a costly item. We also found a small level, a tool, for $2.00 that we will used to level Iris the trailer next summer.

That concluded our shopping excursion. An added benefit was that we walked around quite a bit while looking at all the things we didn’t need or want. It is an odd feeling, not needing anything! I love it.

Yesterday morning, before we left on our shopping excursion, our microwave began to make a disturbing sound. My morning bowl of oatmeal emerged from the microwave undercooked. Attila’s breakfast also heated to the odd sound, and it too was undercooked. Our microwave was no longer viable.

The broken microwave was one that Luna and Janus gave us six years ago, to use at Mist Cottage. They had upgraded all of their appliances and donated the redundant microwave to us. It was old when we got it six years ago, and it has worked reliably ever since, until yesterday.

Because we had two houses, we had two microwaves. When we moved to Mist Cottage over a year ago, we brought the country house microwave with us, and stored it in the basement here at Mist Cottage. It was relatively new, and had been used for only a few months when it was packed away for the move. So obtaining a new microwave oven was as easy as carrying a box up from the basement, unwrapping the microwave, and setting it on the counter. The two appliances that wear out with some frequency at our house are the microwave oven and the coffee maker. I have one more coffee maker, and a two slice toaster, in reserve in the basement. There are no more microwave ovens in reserve.

Slowly but surely our downsizing is progressing.

Yesterday we got rid of two boxes! One was full of items donated to the Salvation Army Thrift Store, and the other was the last microwave oven from the basement.

We attempted to drop off the old microwave oven and the old VCR, but the eWaste drop off centre was temporarily shut down, so we will have to go again another time.

The weather has been unpleasant, and good at the same time. Unpleasant because it has been raining and it is too cold to go out walking in the rain, and good because it is raining and not snowing.

Dawn has arrived here at Mist Cottage. Attila sleeps on. I have enjoyed my morning coffee. The day beckons!

Worldly Distractions


Date: 8:00 AM EST Wednesday 28 December 2016
Condition:Partly Cloudy
Pressure: 101.9 kPa
Tendency: Rising
Temperature: -2.0°C
Dew point: -5.5°C
Humidity: 77%
Wind: W 12 km/h
Wind Chill: -6
Visibility: 24 km


“A gift, with a kind countenance, is a double present.”
Thomas Fuller
1608 – 1661

A Shopping Trip

Tank and I were off this morning to one of the nearby cities. For Christmas we received a Costco membership. When Attila and I did our first foray to purchase items at Costco, I chose some cashews. They were coated with preservatives, which I did not expect. I hadn’t checked the label until we got home. They had to be returned. Today was the day the cashews went back to Costco.

Costco is the nemesis of the pocketbook. I bought practical items, like peanut butter and canned tuna. I also bought some outrageously price macaroni, made with rice flour and quinoa. I wanted to try it. I hope I like it!

Then Tank and I headed over to one of the discount stores run by a church. I had items to donate, so I rang the doorbell at the back of the building, and handed my donations to the friendly gentleman who answered the door. Then I walked around to the front of the building and entered the store area to shop. I purchased an item that Attila had requested for the little house in the city, a casserole dish with a lid. It was like new, and cost $5.00. I could not resist an oval tablecloth, because I was drawn to the design and colour of the fabric. And of course, scarves were on sale for $1.00, so I purchased an extra. It was plain and brown and felt warm to the touch. You cannot have too many warm scarves!

It was bitterly cold and windy today. Not a good day for a walk, as there is a lot of ice about. Costco solved that issue for me, after walking up and down every aisle at Costco I had my exercise for the day.

And so this quiet day draws to a close. I can hear the wind pushing against the windows, and whistling into unguarded cracks here and there around the house. Perhaps the mice enter where the wind whistles.


Frost. When I drew open the drapes this morning, this is what the sunshine projected through the cafe curtains. It was cold last night, and the storm windows had collected dampness from the winter rain the day before.


This is the tablecloth. I loved the colour and the fabric, it may be sewn into something very different than a tablecloth! To purchase this much fabric new would be much more expensive than buying this large used and spotless tablecloth.

Worldly Distractions


Date: 9:00 AM EST Monday 5 January 2015
Condition: Mostly Cloudy
Pressure: 102.2 kPa
Tendency: rising
Visibility: 24 km
Temperature: -11.6°C
Dewpoint: -19.2°C
Humidity: 54%
Wind: NW 23 km/h
Wind Chill: -21


“It is pleasant to have been to a place the way a river went.”
Henry David Thoreau
1817 – 1862

Cleaning the Closet

The morning coffee is still being prepared on the range, with the camping percolator. That old percolator was another yard sale scoop, many, many years ago. It is a stainless steel model, so is virtually indestructible. It is shiny at the top, and black on the bottom, from being used over campfires. It works very well. At first Attila’s efforts were less than spectacular, but it only took him a few days to get back in the swing of things. More time consuming than a electric coffee maker, coffee making has become a significant addition to Attila’s workday preparations.

Last summer I bumped into a sale on electric coffee makers, a decent brand was on sale for $15.00. I bought one just in case. The just in case is now. The new coffee maker is still in the box, at the little house in the city. All that is needed is to pick it up next time we, or I, visit.

The masonry heater was cured immediately following Canadian Thanksgiving weekend. Today, as I sat quietly checking my email, I had my first nosebleed of the season. Sheesh, I wasn’t even doing anything strenuous! This year I am on a vaseline-in-the-nasal-passages campaign, which may or may not help; it was suggested to me by my family doctor. I have always had nosebleeds, since early childhood.

Attila spent the day burning brush from his previous clearing projects, and stacking the newly purchased firewood. He finished both projects by dinner time, we are as ready for winter as we can be!

I spent the day removing everything from my dresser drawers and clothes closet. There are items in there from the 1980s! Some of the clothes will never fit me again. Some of he clothes are just one size too small, so those will be stored in bags with the size written on the bag, in theory they may fit again. Everything has been tried on, and sorted. There is a sizeable stack of clothing to be dropped off at the Salvation Army Store. The place where I donate things has a truly needy clientele, the establishment is totally non-profit, and there are not many items in the place, so I am sure that these items will go to very good homes, where someone will use and appreciate them. The items are in “like new” condition.

There are some items that are are worn or torn or just not suitable in some way for donation. The sound portions of fabric will be salvaged from them. Currently I am planning on making tea towels, hot pads, and curtains from articles that would have been destroyed otherwise.

It has been a mild, wet, and blustery day. That doesn’t discourage the wildlife. As Attila and I were sitting at the table this morning, chatting over breakfast, he spied a Red Fox trotting down the road in front of the house. It was a beautiful looking animal, well proportioned, with a beautiful bushy red coat, and a magnificent red tail. Attila told me he saw a flock of Wild Turkeys at the end of our road, when he was coming home from work on Saturday. Also, a fat Blue Jay has been flying around the house all week, landing in the branches just outside the windows, and a Red Squirrel has been leaping branch to branch, and darting up and down tree trunks for the last few weeks.

My Great Granduncle Sandy:

He was born in 1854 in Grey County, Ontario, and moved with his family, as a child of 12 years, to Humphrey Twp, Parry Sound District around 1871. My Great Grandfather was one year old at that time. The family took a boat from Midland, travelling on Georgian Bay, Lake Huron, to Parry Sound District, then travelling inland to settle on the new land grant.

Sandy lived in Parry Sound for the rest of his life. His father, my Great Great Grandfather, took a large land grant, which had a substantial amount of lakefront property in Humphrey. Sandy Plains Road was named after Great Granduncle Sandy.

He married three times, being widowed twice, and fathered 13 children, three of whom died at birth. Sandy passed away in 1935, before I was born.

Fishing was not only a favoured sport in the area since time of first European settlement, it also provided the local population with fresh and healthy food.

Alexander  Sandy  Boag LAWSON

Worldly Distractions


Date: 2:35 PM EST Sunday 9 November 2014
Condition: Light Snow
Pressure: 100.8 kPa
Visibility: 11 km
Temperature: 1.5°C
Dewpoint: -0.3°C
Humidity: 88%
Wind: SSE 21 gust 32 km/h


“You can’t deny laughter. When it comes, it plops down in your favorite chair and stays as long as it wants.”
Stephen King


During this visit to the little house in the city, I have had, for the first time in a very long time, the opportunity to explore some interesting social groupings in my immediate surroundings. The little house is located near two larger cities, both about a thirty minute drive from the house, on good roads. That means that exploration is affordable and accessible, at least while I have a car at my disposal. It is not the same as being in a city like Toronto, with a public transit system, which allows people mobility without a vehicle, and which I consider to be an ideal and unattainable place to exist.

Yesterday I attended a religious meeting, where tolerance of all beliefs is professed. It was interesting. People were friendly. There were happy children present. I was welcomed warmly and asked if I would introduce myself, to which I agreed, wrongly assuming that the leader would mention my presence. To my surprise, as the meeting got started, I was handed a microphone with which to introduce myself, which I did, as gracefully as I could. There was a speaker who outlined many of his achievements with great pride, and considerable detail in outlining his personal successes. He said that he had made a positive difference in many people’s lives. There was a reasonably priced, very healthy meal offered at the end of the meeting, to be followed by a discussion.

My experience was generally good. There were a few things that made me uncomfortable, and they are things that I find significant.

One was the speaker, who had accomplished much, and spoke of nothing else. During the question period he offered close-ended answers to questions from the assembly, and to my question about the structure of the organization, after the meeting by his pamphlet display table. I always hope for genuine engagement, in those who advocate for others.

I was asked three times, by different people, “What do you do”? I tried different answers with each person (I have held many positions in my life), and did not feel good about any of the interactions. Perhaps I was being exposed to a particular element in the assembly, I don’t know. It is a minus in my book, to be asked, “what do you do”? It is a question I do not ask of others, because I would like to get to know them without the clutter of outer world achievements.

The meal ended up being another awkward experience for me, which was not unique to this group. I was invited to join in the meal by many smiling people. Breaking bread together is a wonderful community activity. It is not something I can participate in, with my disability, anaphylaxis. People seem to be taken aback by the condition. This is always an awkward issue when amongst strangers; which wears away with time and exposure.

Last but not least, I was approached for a donation, the basket held out in front of me, held by a man with an unsmiling face, many eyes upon me, until I gently shook my head no. Had I been discreetly asked, upon entry, for a fee to attend the meeting, I probably would have complied.

The leader of the group told me that every meeting is different, so several visits would help me to get a feel for the group. When I found her, to say goodbye and thank her for welcoming me, she gave me a hug.

Just Hanging Out: Branches on the tree in the back yard on a rainy October day.
DSCF3634 branches ash

corporate landfill

used cardboard
the air-filled gleaming display
when my contents
had value
to the process

no shiny sparkle diamond
tiara gone
just me
not the process


can you see me?

by Maggie Turner, 2013

Worldly Distractions


Date: 11:24 AM EDT Monday 7 October 2013
Condition: Light Rain shower
Pressure: 100.4 kPa
Tendency: rising
Visibility: 6 km
Temperature: 15.2°C
Dewpoint: 14.6°C
Humidity: 96%
Wind: WSW 16 km/h


“We confide in our strength, without boasting of it; we respect that of others, without fearing it.”
Thomas Jefferson
1743 – 1826