An Open Window

There is nothing like an open window to make a day peaceful. It doesn’t matter that in the distance there are hammers hammering, diggers digging, men shouting, radios playing, trucks on the highway humming… it doesn’t matter. What I mostly hear is the wind in the leaves, the cooing of the rock dove outside the window. The peaceful sounds are accompanied by a light breeze playing through the house, curtains billowing then resting with a sigh, and the sight of white clouds in a blue sky.

Now, all that is needed here is a night rain, long and steady, to give the gasping landscape relief.

After recently upgrading our internet connection to an unlimited account, to avoid paying for over usage, which is outrageously costly, I noticed while looking at the most recent bill, that the account number didn’t seem right. Sure enough, they changed it! But, since upgrading the account a payment had been made to the old account number. Carefully checking the previous bill, the payment had been processed as it should have been. A call to the company revealed that there was a short grace period where payments to the previous account numbers would transferred to the new account. Well, it is a good thing I noticed! There were no clues in the bill that this change had occurred, and it was not an easy catch to notice it, those long account numbers aren’t usually read. I caught it though, and updated the payment process. Dodged that bullet!

This evening a load of rotting mouldy wood was on its way to the dump. There will be a charge for this, but it was decided that even though the wood could be taken to the Rideau Camp for a camp fire, the journey with the material in the back of Tank would be extremely unpleasant, the smell is very strong. As well, there are drought conditions here, and it would be very ill advised to have a campfire, even if they are not yet banned. So the dump it was.

Whether canned goods are being processed in lower quality containers, or the can opener suddenly wore out, opening cans had become an ordeal. The final straw came about a week ago, when I suffered two deep cuts to my hands while attempting to open a can. The cuts are still not completely healed. So, after a short bit of research, a new can opener was ordered, and it arrived a few days ago. Wow, what a difference, the new can opener, a ZYLISS, works like a charm. The problem must have been with the old can opener, it had just worn out. The need to avoid canned goods due to the difficulty in opening them has ended. I feel like a new woman.

Earlier in the month the pepper mill stopped working, replaced by a Peugeot, made affordable only because it was temporarily on sale at a significant discount.

It’s the little things, the things that you interact with every day, or often, where you appreciate small but significant changes. Almost every day I use either the pepper mill, or the can opener, and every day that I do, I notice how well the new tools work.

A modest investment has provided a large amount of pleasure.

Attila and I were craving pizza last night. Nope, not gonna make pizza right now, so that craving will have be put on hold. Instead Nachos, with Guacamole on the side, were prepared and enjoyed. A quick and nutritious dinner. And tonight it is a bowl of hearty Vegetable Soup. But that pizza is still on my mind!

Worldly Distractions

Weather

22°C
Date: 1:00 PM EDT Wednesday 18 July 2018
Condition: Partly Cloudy
Pressure: 101.7 kPa
Tendency: Falling
Temperature: 22.1°C
Dew point: 6.2°C
Humidity: 35%
Wind: NW 11 km/h
Visibility: 24 km

Quote

“We touch other peoples lives simply by existing.”
J. K. Rowling

Being There

Monday, July 16, 2018

It looks like the humidex today will top 40C, stinking hot. I won’t be poking my nose out the door until things cool down. Well, I will venture onto the back porch in the afternoon to close the cabana curtains against the sun, otherwise it will be humidex 50C on the back porch. I feel extremely lucky to have the air source heat pump, otherwise I would be suffering, and unbearable. As it is I am just a little irritated by being housebound due to the extreme heat. Things could be a lot worse, counting my blessings.

After a busy weekend in the kitchen, there is food aplenty in the house. Baked potatoes, sweet and sour meatballs with rice and vegetables, BBQ chicken, vegetable soup, homemade bread. It will be midweek before the Instant Pot will be back in service.

The bathroom is being cleaned today, top to bottom. It is a big job, not a favourite either, but one that, once completed, is very satisfying. There are only five rooms in the house, perhaps another will be tackled!

Tuesday, July 17, 2018

Another quiet day here at Mist Cottage. Another hot, humid day. I won’t be poking my nose out of the air conditioned atmosphere for any length of time today.

Things are looking very, very brown in our neck of the woods. The grass in the neighbour’s yard has been brown for a few weeks, and I fear it will not recover, although it has in the past after long dry spells. Even our yard is starting to look a little brown. Our yard is does have grass in it, some, but it is mostly things like plantain, wild strawberries, dandelions, red and white clover, bindweed, birdsfoot trefoil (my personal favourite), and many as yet unidentified weeds. Although still green, most of the weeds are beginning to look distressed from the drought; except the birdsfoot trefoil, it is thriving with bright yellow flowers and luxuriant greenery. Attila continues to water the garden every night.

Tonight will be a second night of leftovers for dinner. Last night it was leftover BBQ Chicken, and Vegetable Soup for Attila, leftover Sweet & Sour Meatballs with Rice and Mixed Vegetables for me. Tonight dinner will consist the last of the Vegetable Soup and homemade whole wheat bread. Tomorrow evening it is back to cooking again.

There are still bits and pieces to be done on the back wall of the garage, more studs must be installed. Attila didn’t want to tackle much last night, it was just so hot, and he had been working in it all day, so he decided to paint the new back wall white. Attila likes white, so I suggested he paint the walls of the garage white. It will brighten the back of the garage no end, reflecting any light that enters, and make things like wasps nests easy to detect. I have my fingers crossed that this weekend coming up will see the last of the finicky parts of the back wall construction completed, the new window installed, with security guard, and most of the fiddly bits taken care of. The point where the renovation is no longer a pressing priority, and becomes an ongoing relaxed project, if fast approaching.

It has only rained once since the metal went onto the roof, and it held dry then. It has not rained since, except for a few drops here and there, that evaporated within a few minutes. It has been weeks since we had rain!

The garden needs a real soaker of a rain.

I am not really sure where the time goes these days. You would think, alone here for most of my waking hours, that I would be climbing the walls with boredom and loneliness. That does not seem to be happening. The days fly swiftly, they soar. Attila, off at work, or on his own with his garage renovation and garden, might spend fifteen or twenty minutes talking to me, over the course of the day, weekdays, weekends, the same. Occasionally, Attila and I will have a longer chat, but that has been on hold for the duration of this garage renovation. There are no other face-to-face conversations in my day-to-day world.

I have met some wonderful people online, and have come to appreciate and value their (your) intelligence and compassion. So many have shared their perspectives, hearts, minds… well, thanks, just thanks, for being who you are, and being there.

The humidity dropped this afternoon! Oh sweet relief, it is still hot, but not suffocating.

My Mom is in Las Vegas on vacation with my sister, they get on very well together, and are perfect travel companions. I think they will have a great time!

The Back Section Of The Garage Back Wall

The garage back wall closed in on Sunday.

ng>Worldly Distractions

garage back wall painted white

The garage back wall closed in and painted white on Monday.

Weather

26°C
Date: 1:00 PM EDT Monday 16 July 2018
Condition: Mostly Cloudy
Pressure: 101.3 kPa
Tendency: Falling
Temperature: 26.2°C
Dew point: 22.4°C
Humidity: 79%
Wind: SSE 14 km/h
Humidex: 36
Visibility: 19 km

29°C
Date: 1:00 PM EDT Tuesday 17 July 2018
Condition: Partly Cloudy
Pressure: 100.8 kPa
Tendency: Falling
Temperature: 29.2°C
Dew point: 12.7°C
Humidity: 36%
Wind: WSW 23 gust 34 km/h
Humidex: 32
Visibility: 24 km

Quote

“…Doesn’t everything die at last, and too soon?
Tell me, what is it you plan to do
With your one wild and precious life?
Mary Oliver

Cloudless Blue Sky

I know when the skies will cloud over. The Perseid meteor shower is due to arrive between August 11th and 12th, when humans would love to gaze into the sky and enjoy the show. I predict that we will have total cloud cover on August 11th and 12th, and no rain. It seems to be just that kind of a summer!

Relief from this heat wave is always just a few days away, but it never arrives. The weather people tease us with predictions of highs of 27C, but every day the temperature soars above 30C by early afternoon. I remember a friend telling me that when she lived in Minnesota a heat wave lasted so long that every time she listened to the weather report she wept. I understand now. It feels odd to be housebound due to extreme heat, but housebound I am.

The drought leaves only a few hardy weeds alive in the lawns around here. Everything else is brown and crunchy, in traveled areas the plants have desiccated and disintegrated leaving only paths of dusty earth. Trees are dying everywhere, leaves falling, leaving naked branches roasting in the hot dry sun. So far the trees in our yard are surviving, thank goodness. If we don’t get rain soon I can see us out there watering the trees, trying to keep our source of shade alive. Our garden is not thriving. The bean plants are no longer producing much, and we are only going to get a half dozen tomatoes. The Scarlet Runner beans are still alive and climbing, the few blooms are colourful and pretty, but they are producing no fruit.

Attila and I have taken to using all grey water for watering the gardens. Dish water and bath water are saved and carried out to the yard in buckets. If this is a long term weather trend rather than a uniquely dry summer, I will be researching grey water recovery systems for the house, and rain barrel water storage systems to collect rain when it does arrive. Surely it will rain soon!

I was going to try a Tai Chi class this week, but I don’t know if the Church where it is held is air conditioned, so I am not taking a chance that it isn’t, and have postponed attending until the heat wave abates. Instead I viewed and followed along with several beginner Tai Chi videos on YouTube, which felt good.

This morning I was late getting out for my walk, it was already after 8 a.m. when I headed out the door. Oh my it was hot walking! I walked slowly so as not to put too much strain on my system, managed to walk my entire route, and felt overheated by the time I arrived home. My new sun hat helped me tolerate the merciless rays along the shadeless portions of my travels.

Attila continues to work on the garden shed. He is making some headway, but the end is still some way off. It has been a much bigger project than he anticipated, and has been going on for nearly two months, rather than the two weeks he planned, and I expected (how very foolish). I will be very glad when it is finished!

We are enjoying Ontario grown peaches and field tomatoes right now, yum! I make a peach smoothie every day, just a ripe peach and milk, voila! A favourite lunch is a toasted tomato sandwich, there is nothing so lovely as a field ripened tomato! We added a new recipe to our repertoire this evening for supper, Bulgur Salad, which my Mom made last Saturday for the luncheon for my brother. It is very refreshing, and light enough for these hot summer days.

Worldly Distractions

Weather

31°
Date: 5:00 PM EDT Tuesday 9 August 2016
Condition: Mostly Cloudy – HA! not a cloud in the sky all day long!!
Pressure: 101.9 kPa
Tendency: falling
Visibility: 24 km
Temperature: 28.1°C
Dewpoint: 14.6°C
Humidity: 43%
Wind: SSE 10 km/h
Humidex: 33

Quote

“Know, first, who you are; and then adorn yourself accordingly.”
Epictetus
55 AD – 135 AD

Spinach Balls

We are in the midst of a dry spell here at the little house in the city, it is almost a drought. The drug addicted expanse of lawn behind our property has not been watered, and it is mostly crispy brown at this point. Even so, yesterday a fellow on a riding lawn mower was cutting the grass, moving along in a cloud of dust, which seemed completely redundant to me. Surprisingly, despite things being bone dry, the mosquitoes are noticeable. They aren’t anything like the swarms we get at the country house at this time of year, but even one mosquito is a constant pest.

I have had to water the garden every morning. We spot water our transplants and seeds, not wasting any of the precious wet stuff on trifling things like a green lawn. It takes over an hour to repeatedly fill the watering can, and trek out to every plant and seedling. Hopefully the watering will pay off, with home grown vegetables this summer. A rabbit has been killing, not eating, just decapitating, the new seedlings. I sprinkled black pepper on all the plants yesterday, and am hoping that the rabbit leaves at least some of our garden intact.

The rabbit age two more of the bean plants. Pepper is not an effective deterrent. And to think that I thought Peter Rabbit was so cute, and Mr. McGregor seemed so curmudgeonly. I am not so keen on Peter these days.

Spinach Balls

Rice/Quinoa Macaroni with Olive Oil, Roasted Garlic and Pepper, and Spinach
2015MaySpinachBalls

This is a cross between a recipe and story, probably succeeding at neither, but fun to write.

Last summer I decided I wanted to try rice/quinoa macaroni. It was expensive. Last winter I used it to make macaroni and cheese. I didn’t care for it, and the dry macaroni has been sitting in the cupboard since then. Today I decided I needed to eat the food I had purchased, even if I didn’t like it all that much. So I cooked the pasta according to the instructions on the bag, drained it, added two tablespoons of olive oil, and two teaspoons of dried garlic and red pepper herbs, then set the pot aside.

This is where the spinach comes into play. In the freezer yesterday, I found a package of frozen whole spinach leaves. It was a commercial product, a solid little square of spinach, usually not very good, but adequate as an ingredient. Oh yes, and it was a year past its expiry date. I boiled the spinach until it was well done. After draining it well, I turned the green mass onto a cutting board and cut it into small cubes. When the cubes were the desired size, they were returned to the pot, olive oil and dried garlic and red pepper herbs were added, and the lot was mixed together.

All that there was left to was to mix the macaroni and the spinach together.

It tasted divine!

The spinach remained in little balls, much like meatballs. So there is my new discovery, macaroni and spinach balls! It made a lovely lunch. Since quinoa is a complete protein, my lunch provided me with my daily meat equivalent.

The packaging for the macaroni says that the packager is a member of the WFTO, World Fair Trade Organization. That would explain the high price, as I believe neither rice, nor quinoa of any great quantity, are grown in North America.

I can’t wait to try this with fresh spinach, which is so much better than frozen spinach!

Since the rhubarb has been ready to harvest in the garden, I have been eating stewed rhubarb for breakfast, in a sort of rhubarb crisp format, preparing one serving each morning.

Rhubarb Crisp for One

I take 3 tablespoons of oatmeal, 2 tablespoons of flour, and one tablespoon of sweetener, blend them, then rub in 2 teaspoons of margarine with a fork or your fingers, the mixture is somewhat dry. Spoon one third to one half cup of stewed rhubarb into a bowel, top with oatmeal mixture, microwave for 1 minute 20 seconds, let stand for five minutes, and enjoy.

Another house showing is booked for Saturday. That would be showing number six, which is great. Now all we need is for one of the showings to result in a reasonable offer.

The realtor is doing a great job. Attila has a booklet the realtor produced for the house, it almost makes us want to keep the house! His great promotion certainly makes it harder to let the house go to someone else!

Worldly Distractions

Weather

24°C
Date: 3:00 PM EDT Thursday 28 May 2015
Condition: Mostly Cloudy
Pressure: 102.3 kPa
Tendency: rising
Visibility: 24 km
Temperature: 24.2°C
Dewpoint: 12.4°C
Humidity: 47%
Wind: NW 19 km/h
Humidex: 27

15°C
Date: 9:00 AM EDT Friday 29 May 2015
Condition: Mostly Cloudy
Pressure: 102.6 kPa
Tendency: rising
Visibility: 24 km
Temperature: 14.7°C
Dewpoint: 12.9°C
Humidity: 89%
Wind: S 11 km/h

Quote

“May your walls know joy; May every room hold laughter and every window open to great possibility.”
Maryanne Radmacher-Hershey
1995