The Chimney Sweep

Today is the first day of spring as far as Attila and I are concerned! The sun is shining, and the temperature is rising above the freezing point where it landed during the night. Heating season is officially over, and the masonry heater has been allowed to rest. We will still build the occasional fire in the cast iron wood stove downstairs, to chase off any chill, but that won’t be necessary very often.

To celebrate this first day of spring, my cleaning project has begun in earnest. It begins with the role of chimney sweep. What a job!!! Five full coal buckets were filled and dumped in the ash pile outside. Each time fine ash billowed, as it came out of the heater, shovelful by shovelful. It took the removal of one whole bucket to reach the grate on which the wood sits to burn. Then two buckets were removed from the cavity above the opening for the ash dump; no wonder it was blocked. Once the ash dump was cleared, the next step was to remove a bucket of ash from each of the back clean-out, and the side clean-out. Then the shop vac picked up stray ash in the firebox and both clean-outs. By the time all of this was accomplished I was pitch black to the elbows, covered with a fine ash dust, and ready to remove my blackened clothing and hop into the shower.

The glass in the fireplace door was then cleaned with wet newspaper dipped in a wee bit of ash. This is a miracle cleaner for glass fireplace doors; it leaves the glass spotless.

With the drywall sanding done, and the fireplace cleaned, there was nothing to generate more fine dust in the living area. It was time for serious deep dusting, and cleaning the blinds. I hate cleaning blinds, and will never again use them as window treatments, no matter how much sense they make in functional terms.

The deep dusting began with the corner entertainment unit, which took several hours to disassemble and clean. The sink full of warm soapy water was black and murky by the time the job was done. Heating with wood has a real down side, and that is the ash. Then the storage unit along the wall was tackled, with a fresh sink of warm soapy water, and again that turned black and murky by the time the job was done.

Tomorrow the plan is to move along to the computer stand and window area, then to the dining room, then the kitchen, and then last, the blinds. That is my week of projects. Also on my list is sanding the deck railing, staining the deck railing, touching up the stain on the deck boards, touching up the paint on the siding along the deck, removing the huge planter from the deck, and removing the plastic window coverings from the screened in porch along with all the staples that held them on.

As I cross things off the list, more get added to the bottom of the list; it seems a bottomless list!

Attila has felled a dozen or more trees and is in the process of sectioning the logs and stacking them as firewood. He is also installing new trim in the recently drywalled hallway, and around the four doorways in the hallway. Also on his list for tonight is leaf blowing, removing the dead leaves from the front garden and around the woodpile. When it gets dark outside he will be back in to have a nice hot bath before turning in for the night.

My second cousin ML, who lives in Kelowna, British Columbia, is coming to Ontario. It is a sad journey that she will be making, to a funeral, with her partner who lost his sister. His sister and her husband lived on a river island in Northern Ontario, and were travelling back to their home from the Marina after Christmas shopping, by small boat in November, when she and her husband went missing. They were found in March, in their boat with their Christmas shopping, frozen in the ice. No one knows the details of what happened, but at least the family can grieve, knowing what became of their loved ones. Our thoughts are with the family members this weekend, as they gather to say their farewells.

Harriet and Hogan visited on Sunday, to drop off our annual supply of maple syrup. We try to purchase it from a farm near London, Ontario, as we like their syrup, and they are reasonably priced. The maple syrup where we live is very expensive, costing about 50% more, and not nearly so nice, in our opinion.

We had a nice visit. They were up to drop off their ATVs, and to do a spring check up on their cottage. All is well at the cottage, it is always nice when there are no surprises. They even had a chance to drive by our new camp, which we will have possession of in two weeks time (just in time for the beginning of black fly season, I have my nets ready, LOL!).

Worldly Distractions


Date: 5:00 PM EDT Monday 5 May 2014
Condition: Partly Cloudy
Pressure: 101.5 kPa
Visibility: 16 km
Temperature: 12.5°C
Dewpoint: 0.7°C
Humidity: 44%
Wind: W 17 gust 30 km/h


“You have to accept the plan and realize that if you slip, and you might, you can’t use that as a reason to give up or stop.”
Jennifer Hudson

Cupcakes and Stun Guns and Bank Shenanigans

I get an RSS feed from a homesteading site. These people merely collect and distribute articles, as opposed to writing about their own experiences. Nothing wrong with that, but sometimes what they share makes my head spin. Here are two consecutive articles they posted: Christmas Tree Strawberry Brownie Cupcake Mix, and How To Make A Stun Gun With A Disposable Camera. I can just see a thirty something homemaker, coifed and ready for a cell phone youtube video session in the kitchen, whipping up cupcakes and stun guns. Makes me wonder about people’s sanity.

I continue to receive the feed though, because occasionally there are gems included, like cleaning your fireplace glass door with newspaper and ashes. I am passing on cupcakes and stun guns though. Take what you like and leave the rest is sensible approach to such things.

Today is full of excitement. The freezing rain is pelting down out there, driven by gusts of wind, roaring up to 50 km an hour. These winds are not damaging though, and nothing in comparison to the 100 mile an hour winds on the West Highlands of Scotland, described in a Crofter’s blog that I read.

Other distractions for the day: I caught the bank making a self-serving and invisible change to my credit card account, and got us out of that mess. I found records of a previously unknown relative and have been entering the data from BMD (birth, marriage, death), and Census records. Tonight’s supper is started, in the cast iron dutch oven. If we lose hydro in this wind I will need to get busy, and fire up the little wood stove downstairs, so that I can cook dinner on it. And I am decorating the Christmas tree, slowly but surely.

Mist is snoozing in Attila’s seat, which she regards as HER seat. There is often a bit of a scrap when Attila wants to sit down!

This is a heritage apple Attila picked in the wild. He picked a half bushel of apples from this old tree, which had not been sprayed or pruned in anyone’s memory. The apples taste a bit like spies, and are very sweet and crisp.
Heritage apple dscf3960

Complaint Department: Right Here: Right Now

The BANK OF NOVA SCOTIA in Ontario, Canada, changed my credit card from a monthly billing VISA to a line of credit, where interest is charged the second you use the card, long before you ever see the bill. Same old card, brand new method of charging interest. Quite a stunt. Caught them on day three, with only 50 cents interest to their credit. That is a credit card that will be cancelled and burned! And I’ll be closing all my accounts at the BANK OF NOVA SCOTIA as well. Credit Unions are looking pretty good.

The BANK OF NOVA SCOTIA slipped that one by me in some kind of mysterious small print deal, I don’t know how, because I never would have knowingly agreed to that kind of an arrangement for a credit card.

They did call here trying to get me to switch to a different kind of credit card, with a monthly fee, but I liked the card I had so I said no; they didn’t mention anything about the existing card switching to a line of credit debit thingy though, in fact they didn’t mention any changes to my existing card, only offered me a different one. IF it was the bank who called me, one cannot know for certain.

I don’t do business with banks who call me, too many scams in the world for that kind of trust to be sensible.

Worldly Distractions


Date: 12:04 PM EST Thursday 5 December 2013
Condition: Mist
Pressure: 100.5 kPa
Visibility: 10 km
Temperature: 6.6°C
Dewpoint: 5.0°C
Humidity: 89%
Wind: W 30 km/h gusting to 50 km/h


“I don’t believe in blooming where you’re planted. I’ve been in too many sterile to hostile soils to adhere to that.”

Allen, Anchor Struck

THAT RESONATES!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!